Category Archives: Uncategorized

Childhood memories. The good ones that stick with me.

My sister, Pati, has been text bombing me with memories of our childhood in Colorado.

Around 1964 our parents moved us to the boonies. Erie, Colorado was a small town which was hard to get to from the highway. Now it is no longer the boonies and has easy access from Interstate 25.

The long dirt road that lead to the few acres our dad purchased for our trailer house holds many memories. Now those memories are buried beneath a blacktop road.

Our neighbors included a family with a teenage daughter and adolescent son, along with their parents. The girl’s father would have a conniption fit when Pati and I would visit the daughter. We, Pati and I, were filthy little mongrels.

Hygiene, personal or otherwise, was something we were not familiar with. Our hair got combed only when our mother was home from one of her frequent admissions to the mental hospital in Denver. Bathing was not something we did.

Two little girls with matted hair, dirt encrusted toes, dried mud on arms and legs. Me stinking of urine because I was a bed wetter, and the both of us seeking food from anyone that would talk to us.

I was a truant. With little to no adult supervision I would tell Pati I was not going to school. The bus stop was a long walk down several dirt roads. During the winter months that trek was akin to walking 100 miles. Ragged coats that were too small for either of us left us shivering in the cold morning air as we waited for the bus. Shoes too small for our growing feet had big holes in the soles that soon filled with wet slush, soaking our socks making my toes feel like they would freeze and pop off like toe-cicles.

Being in the warmth of our trailer was far more desirable to me than going to school.

Our dad was a brick layer. He would leave in the mornings long before the sun came up and be home long after the sun went down.

Bread was a tantalizing sight. Pati and I were under strict orders to not eat it because it was for his lunch. Tiny cans of “Deviled Meat” was slathered on the bread as he made his lunches. Pati and I watched as he packed his lunch bucket each night. He would make coffee in the mornings and fill his thermos after he had his morning cup with a couple of unfiltered cigarettes.

When we woke up in the mornings Pati and I would root through the trash can for the treasure of a nearly empty Deviled meat can. Each of us swiping a finger around the sides and bottom of the can then suck the goodness off. Some days the can held coffee grounds, cigarette butts and ashes, potato peelings, and other trash. We’d pick it out then fight over who got to get the first lick.

All the food in the house had to be cooked. Neither Pati nor I were brave enough to figure out how to use the stove. After the butt whippings we got for being close to the knobs and hollered at about burning down the house because of a careless or selfish act we steered clear of that device. Our dad, when he was home, would do the cooking.

Pati and I tried every combination we could think of to make raw potatoes taste good. Rolling them in sugar, sprinkling salt and pepper on them, slathering a coat of Miracle Whip over the top, even liberally smearing butter over the raw potato. Nothing made that potato taste good. It did, however, make the gnawing and noisy bellies quiet for a bit.

Saltine crackers were the next food item we would attack. Unlike the potatoes located within our reach, the crackers were put up high in the cupboard which called for a bit of climbing. Pati would push a chair up to the sink counter, climb atop the chair then step up on the counter. The crackers were above the fearsome stove. She would delicately place one foot between the burners. Touching the surface with a toe then quickly jerk it back just in case the stove was hot.

I’d get a heel in the mouth sometimes after one of her jerks. A split lip, blood dripping down on the dress I had worn for that entire month, or longer, and a fight would break out. Me slapping the back of the offending leg, her kicking out at me ever more energetically. She hanging onto the cupboard door knobs and trying to keep her balance as the doors swung open then hastily closed with a bang.

The fights were vicious. Name calling. Slapping, kicking, and then hurling objects at each other that were within reach and sure to land a stinging blow.

Things would degenerate from there. Pati would hop down on the chair while I was distracted by a growing goose egg on my head from a ceramic bowl she took out of the cupboard and fired at my head.

Pati would leap from the chair and wrap her scrawny legs around my waist and she would commence pounding her fists about my head and ears. Trying to pry her off if me was next to impossible to I’d slap her with an open hand anywhere I could leaving stinging red welts on her legs.

We’d end up rolling around the floor with clumps of dried mud brought in by our dad’s boots and left there. All the while slapping and punching each other. Calling each other names and vowing we hated one another, wishing the other dead.

Pati and I were locked in a battle of survival. For food to sustain us. We loved each other and hated each other. We were fierce and angry little girls.

Today, as grown women, we are learning to love each other for who we are now. We are amazed that we survived our childhood.

Being placed in foster homes didn’t change much for us. At least we had food. Later we would be taught personal hygiene.

Ghosts from the past still haunt us.


Book Club news and update.

This is not meant to steal thunder from Maureen Mathis, the genius that she is, and her awesome creation on Facebook for the Foolishness and Mayhem Book Club.

It has been brought to my attention that not everyone is fond of Facebook and their privacy issues of late.  Several people I know have left Facebook with no intentions of returning.

While home today, amidst my duties to get ready to leave once again, I have created another blog.  This one is strictly for use with the Book Club that has been created.  I’m hoping that those that wanted to take part but have declined will reconsider and connect with us through this blog that I have made.

You can find this new blog at “” .  Since I was the instigator of this endeavor I have chosen the book that will be read.  Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik.  Why this book, you might ask?  Well, the one suggested by my friend, Lynn from England, is one I cannot get my hands on right now.  Summer’s Storm by Denise Domning.  It will be a minimum of two weeks before it will arrive at my home, and I will be in Washington state or somewhere else when it arrives.  The second book suggested by Maureen Mathis on the Facebook Group page – The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas – is in the same predicament as Summer’s Storm.  Not available at my local bookseller (Barnes and Noble) and will be two weeks before delivery.  So it became a process of elimination in finding a book that I could get my  hands on right now.

If you wish to be a part of this book club you have two access routes.  The Facebook Group titled Foolishness and Mayhem Book Club or my other blog – Foolishness and Mayhem Book Club (

This will be the last post – on this blog – dealing with the book club.  This blog will return to the usual programming.  Groan, I know.  You are just on pins and needles to know what I do for a living 🙂  So set your bookmarks, or whatever you do, to either the Facebook Group or the book club blog.


Update on the Book Club.

I have news about the Book Club glitch. My friend, Maureen, has come to my rescue and has done so in her usual superb way. This girl, I tell you, is a genius!

Okay, okay. I’ll get to the point here. Maureen has started a Facebook Group entitled “Foolishness and Mayhem Book Club”.

If you already have a Facebook account you can find the Book Club by searching “Foolishness and Mayhem Book Club” under groups. Once there request to join and that is it. You will be notified of your acceptance – sorry that sounds so “Clickish”.

If you have questions about the Book Club you will find that Maureen has started getting everything ready. She will be able to answer any questions you might have.

I do have a Facebook account and mainly use it to spy on my kids and grandkids. See what they are up to and checking they are behaving themselves 😉

As for answers to any “How To” questions asked of me you could end up going away wondering which rock I just crawled out from under. 😱

So go check out the Foolishness and Mayhem Book Club Group on Facebook and ask the guru there.

You want to know what a dolt I am about Facebook? Okay, I’ll tell you.

Maureen sent me a message saying she had the Group thing already to go and she added me to the Group.

Did you see that? She already added me to the group. Remember that little bit there.

I go and check out what she had done. Fantastic! AWESOME! I was so excited and thrilled with the entire thing and left her a very appreciative comment. I also asked Maureen “So, how do I join the Group?”


Maureen left a very sweet comment informing me that I was already signed up.

Ask me questions about truck driving, laundry, or cooking. Don’t ask me questions about Facebook. You could be the next one saying “DUH – What’s up with her?!”

So go check out the Foolishness and Mayhem Book Club Group on Facebook. Maureen created it just for all of us.


A small glitch in Shelly’s Book Club.

Here’s the deal. The “Page” idea I had for this Book Club is not going to do what I thought it would. It is only a single page that allows comments but no updates can be added. I can not even put up the selected book cover photo or a synopsis of what the book is about. I will not be able to have a post with the chapter selections to read and include a place for your comments and thoughts on what has been read.

The next little problem I have is figuring our what, exactly, type of book to start off with.

Lynn, all the way over in Jolly Old England, has suggested a “historical Medieval romance” novel which looks to be quite good. I’ve Googled “Summer’s Storm” by Denise Domning and find it quite tempting. There is one book before this in Ms. Domning’s series.

We will be delivering in Charlotte, North Carolina tomorrow, Saturday, and will be heading home for a couple days before leaving for the west coast and Washington once again. We should be home on Monday and stay for a couple days.

See, this is what happens when I make a snap decision without doing any research. Not to worry though.

I think a new blog, a separate blog, will be the answer to the glitch. I can start it from my phone (I think) and tweak it when I get home to my computer. This only means a slight delay.

While I’m working out the new place for Shelly’s Book Club to live I would like to take a poll, of sorts, to find out what genre of books you guys all find enjoyable.

I’m not much up for shoot’em up and gore – I get enough of that listening to books with Joe as we travel. Murder mysteries and police procedural books have been listened to for the past year. Suspense and dangerous situations took their toll on me.

I paid him back though. He had to listen to a Nora Roberts book – The Witness – which was actually good. Funny to watch him squirm during the erotic bits. That was hilarious! Poor guy 😜. Thankfully, for him, there was more good story than erotic bits LOL.

Since I’ve never been part of a book club I don’t know how a book gets selected. I’m positive there is a leader whom the decision falls to and everyone else follows.

If there are no other book suggestions from you guys then we will begin with Summer’s Storm. This time delay will allow us all to get the book.

Check with your local library to see if they have it or can get it for you. If you choose to do an “ebooks” I saw this book available at Amazon, Booksamillion, and on Kindle. It is NOT, however, available through iBooks. You can also purchase it from your local bookseller or online from Barnes and Noble.

Here is a link to the book Summer’s Storm”

Last, and most important, I am both amazed and thrilled with the amount of interest and support this “Project to help Shelly” has garnered. It is my wish that everyone benefits from this venture and we all feel part of something even though we are from all over the place.

A side benefit is we can carry on a discussion of the books in our jammies at no particular time. No one will have to break their neck cleaning the house and baking cookies for the gathering 😎

Okay, time to hit the road.


Do you look for the “Invisibles”?

I have a challenge for you, my dear readers. It won’t cost you one single “red cent”, as the penny used to be called. However, it will cost you about 2 minutes of your time and a little bit of discomfort.

Most, if not all, of the “invisibles” are in your everyday life as you journey from home.

The grocery store check out clerks, convenience store clerks, servers in restaurants, fast food servers, car wash attendants, store clerks of all kinds.

Joe and I encounter them all over this country and at home. These workers, always paid minimum wage (even less for restaurant servers who work for tips), provide a convenience to us. They all stand on their feet for 8 hours and watch as one person after another comes into their space for a few minutes and are quickly gone, only to be replaced by a new warm body.

Every time I have to wait in line to order food or check out purchases I watch the people in front of me dealing with the clerks. For the most part no one says “Hello” to the clerks. No one acknowledges the person in front of them providing a service to them.

My challenge to you is to actually look the service provider in the eyes, smile like you are glad to see them, say “Hello”. If you are loading your goods on the conveyor belt at the grocery store, when finished loading, get yourself to the pay area and say “Hello” to the store clerk. They will look up from the task they are doing and look at you like you’ve shocked them. Give them one of your best smiles and look them in the eye.

If you are in a restaurant look the server in the eye when he/she comes to your table to take your order. Remember. Big real smile and “Hello”.

When you have placed your fast food order or completed the store purchase process make sure to clearly say “Thank You”. When at the restaurant make sure to also “Thank” your server out loud.

Who provides a service to you in your daily life? Please take a few minutes to let them know they are not “invisible”.

Let me know if you notice a change in your service experience. You will also get a lift in your spirits as well.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Oh! Don’t forget to get in on the Santoku Knife. Check out my post and get entered in the contest.

Blog Candy Winner Is….

Let me tell you, this was tough.

I thank you all for sharing a part of yourself with me (and everyone else).  I loved reading your driving/passenger stories so much.  I had to have Joe read them all and help me choose.  He loved them all as well and put the ball back in  my hands.  So I had to resort to the computer and I went to Random.Org to take on this brutal task.

Nancy, I did include your entry because this is the first time I’ve ever done this without a bowl to draw names from.

Random.Org had numbers of 1 to 5 to generate the winner and it came up with 4.  The fourth entry, and the WINNER, is Shelly Makowski from ASpot2Stamp.  Congratulations Shelly.  I will get the gift card in the mail to you today.

There will be another Blog Candy drawing in the coming weeks so keep watching to see what you have to blab about in your life and what you will win.  It will be something from the road since I’m not home.

Once again, thank you all for your entries.  I love you guys 🙂


Surprise For Me In The Mail!

Promotion Certificate

Yesterday, I had to go to my Stampin’ Up! website to enter in the things I’m doing for next week (so my calendar wouldn’t look so bare).

I’ve seen the page so many times that I don’t pay much attention to what is next to my name.

While I was thinking on what to write about a particular item for next week I happened to look at my name.  Next to it, instead of “Associate” was “Senior” Associate.

I thought that title was only given to demonstrators that have recruits and have had a lot of sales.  I have no recruits and my sales have been the minimum quarterly amount since I started.  Mostly I have been my best customer.

There is a woman in my town with the same first name as mine and her last name begins with a “B”.  She has lots of recruits and she can sell the sweat off a cool glass on a hot summer day.  I thought there was some kind of computer error and the main office mixed us up.

I called the woman that signed me up (my direct upline) for some answers.  Was there someone at the Main Office I needed to contact or would she be able to handle it?  I got her voicemail.  Then I received a text message from her that she was in a meeting and would call me later.  I think she is at the Leadership Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.  Through text messages, I found that I was indeed a Senior Associate.  There is no mistake.

To be a Senior Associate one has to have $1,000 in lifetime sales and I had reached that in November 2009.  THAT goal was reached because my daughter, in Arizona, held a workshop for me while we were there for Thanksgiving.  THANK YOU CARISSA!!!

Having a certificate, an actual Certificate Of Promotion, is just plain AWESOME.  The only other Certificate I have received in my lifetime is my High School Graduation Certificate.  AND to get this certification for not being a “sales person” is truly amazing.

I don’t know why other people sign up for Stampin’ Up! or any other direct sales company.  Mostly I think it is because of the income potential for selling the products.

I have my long term goals and my aspirations, just like all the other demonstrators.  I will have monthly sales amounts because you order from me.  I will achieve the next goal set by Stampin’ Up! with your help and by placing my own orders.  But that is not, totally, why I decided to become a demonstrator.

My main reason for becoming a demonstrator has been from the long hard road I’ve traveled to learn this craft.  You know that saying about a person wanting to represent themselves in a court of law has a fool for a lawyer?  Well, the same can be applied to learning this craft all by yourself with  no support or guidance.  The cost can be outrageous.  Emotionally and financially.

Someone knowledgeable and experienced can guide you through the pitfalls you would face at the local craft and hobby store.   Had I found someone to guide me through the first stages of learning I would not have found myself in Michaels one afternoon with over $600 worth of stuff in my shopping cart that I thought I just had to have.  Crazy.  Just plum crazy.  When I got home with all that STUFF I didn’t know what to do with the majority of it.  What looked great on the shelf didn’t look so great at home.  I thank God for my loving and supportive husband whom I have no secrets from, but that day I truly ran through all the lies I could tell him when he called to ask what I had done that day.  I was miserable.  I was not happy with myself, with what I had just done, and what I was thinking of doing.  I did “own” it and tell him what I had done.

Yes, I had worked hard for the money I had spent.  Yes, I had the money saved so that I could go to the hobby store and buy the things I would need (or only thought I needed).  The terrible amount of money I spent at one time was what really bothered me.  You can be sure that going into my “studio” was no longer a fun place to be after that stunt.

I’ve come to terms with it, learned a few lessons from it.  Gritted my teeth and pinched my fingers a few times to learn how the machines worked.  The main lesson I learned was the lack of guidance can lead you to a place you don’t want to be.

My videos, website, and this blog are geared to selling Stampin’ Up! products just as all the other demonstrators are doing.  I can’t speak for the reason why they are selling Stampin’ Up! products, but I can speak for myself.  I am selling Stampin’ Up! products because they have a full line of items that I have learned how to use, albeit similar products purchased at the local craft and hobby store.  I now know how to use them.  I don’t want you to find yourself in a craft store about to purchase an item you don’t know anything about except that someone, somewhere, said you needed to have it.  You don’t NEED anything, except a bit of information.

Your money and the way you spend it is your business.  My business is to help you choose wisely and to be able to use it once you buy it.