What Have You Been Doing Lately?

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written anything in my blog. Don’t worry, I’m not discontinuing it. But I just took a few weeks off from writing and decided to take time some extra time for myself.

Plus, in all honesty, I hadn’t had an inspirational idea in a while that I felt compelled to write about. Which is OK, isn’t it?

What have I been up to? Well, actually a lot of things. Fun things. Relaxing in the pool in my float with a glass of wine and a good book (on my Kindle of course). I love those restful couple hours in the afternoon after a day at work. It’s my quiet time. My time to just be me and do what I want to do. It’s great. Especially when I discover a new author that I haven’t read before, and decide to binge read a bunch of her series. It’s so fun finding new friends in those beach series, and so sad when the series ends. It’s like your friends moved away and left you! And didn’t tell you where they were going!

I’ve also been making my jewelry. In fact, the last several weeks I’ve been making a lot of beachy bracelets. Most of them are stackables made with alphabet beads spelling out some of my favorite beach things, like salt water taffy, flip flops, mermaids, etc. It’s a fun and actually a bit of an addicting project. And they’re really fun to wear! Now it’s time to make some for our daughter and our granddaughters. They love them as well. And no, I’m not making any for our grandson.

Plus I’ve decided to try my hand at sketching and painting again. I say try, because it’s something I tried out several years ago. I didn’t do bad with it, but this time I’ve decided, what the heck. It’s time to get serious about it this time. I want to learn to draw and paint….what do you think? Flamingos, of course! Flamingos doing fun things that the flamingos in my stories do.  I haven’t quite gotten ready to share the sketches yet, but I will as I get a bit better with my ideas.

Summer is my favorite time of year, and it really doesn’t last long enough. So I try to soak in every minute of it while I can.

So what have you been up to recently? Tell us about the fun things you’ve been doing. And if you haven’t done anything fun yet this summer, there’s still time! What’s stopping you!?

If They Wanted to…They Would

I read this the other day as someone’s Facebook post, and did it ever hit home.  

Six little words with such a powerful message.   

Read it again. I’ll wait.  

If they wanted to, they would.   

So why do you wonder why someone tells you they’re going to call in a few days or weeks, and then wonder why they didn’t.   

It’s real simple. If they wanted to, they would. But they didn’t want to, so they just said what sounded good at the time, with no meaning behind it. No intention of doing anything. And they never bothered.  

It wasn’t important to them. If they’d planned on calling, they would have. They didn’t want to.  

So they didn’t.  

Someone keeps saying, yes, we really do need to all get together soon. Let’s make plans. I’ll call you soon.  

If they really wanted to, they would. You think you should call? Why bother when they said they would. And they obviously don’t want to.  

They really didn’t care that much, so they didn’t. Obviously other things came up that were much more important to them, or they really didn’t mean it in the first place.  

Don’t bother asking yourself why someone isn’t following through with a promise. You already know the answer.  

If they really wanted to, they would.

I’ll Remember Graduation Day

There’s an old song called “Graduation Day.” It was sung by the Four Freshmen in 1956. The Beach Boys did a cover version of it in 1964.

“There’s a time for joy, a time for tears. A time we’ll treasure through the years. We’ll remember always Graduation Day.”

I remember it well, having grown up in the 60’s era of those really great meaningful songs. I graduated from high school in 1968, and have fond memories of that senior year.

We thought we were all going to make a difference in the world. We were going to really show the world what we could do. We were invincible.

Many of us went on to college. Some to trade schools. Some joined the military. There were weddings and babies. Established couples grew apart and went separate ways. Established friendships faded and were replaced with new people.

That was life. But there was one thing that stayed in our minds and our hearts and that was the feeling of a well knit and established community. Of people who cared about us.

It was a time of peace and happiness, even while the Viet Nam war raged on.

Some of us moved away and some of us stayed near our hometown. But we always had memories of each other, growing up and becoming adults. Those high school memories were and still are precious to us, and we continue to get together for high school reunions which is a great time for us all to catch up and discuss our lives then and now.

But today is sadly different. 

Just last night there was a mass shooting after a high school graduation in Richmond, VA, just a few hours from where we live. Seven people shot and two so far have died. Many others were injured and at least one person is still fighting for their life.

Talk about remembering your graduation day….and not in the way any of the graduates had planned.

For those graduates, there will be no happy memories. Only fear and sadness. Lives just beginning were cut down. And suddenly graduation meant entering a world of hate and violence; where one moment your entire future is ahead of you, and in an instant,  friends you’ve known for years are fighting for their lives. The happy pictures that were being taken of graduates and their families when the shooting began became photos of a scene of horror.

What is happening in our country these days is beyond my comprehension. I do not understand any of this. It is a sickness that has infested far too many events in our lives, to the point that none of us feel totally safe at any event, be it graduation, a birthday party, a wedding, a concert, or a church service. 

And the list continues to grow every day.

What is it going to take to end the gun violence in our country? How many more lives will be lost before we say enough is enough!?

It’s time to take a stand and make our voices louder than the sounds of bullets flying through the air.

Please, for our future generations’ sakes, so they will have a future, let’s do something before it’s too late.

A Memorial Day for the Fallen – 2023

Today is Memorial Day. A day set aside to honor those who have given their lives for this country. In countless wars and overseas conflicts. Brave men and women who gave their all.

They gave their lives to protect our freedoms. They went where our country sent them, and did what they needed to do. 

Did they question their reasons for going? I’m sure many did. But they went. Some returned and some didn’t. Today we honor those that didn’t return.

But I cannot help but ask us all to add another couple of categories of our citizens to remember and pay our respects to on this Memorial Day. Citizens who left home one day as usual and never returned.

Let’s remember the hundreds of first responders, police and firefighters as well as EMT’s who have also given their lives to save others. Oh, I know right now the police are under attack again for not doing what they’re supposed to do. It’s become a o popular sport in this country, unfortunately. And there will always be those officers who are in the wrong, but the majority are good people, who’ve dedicated themselves to such service, and those of them who’ve given their lives in the line of duty should be honored as well. It’s a job I wouldn’t want to do, and I am thankful for each and every one of them that have chosen to do it.

And we need to continue to support those who gave so much, and even today are still trying to readjust to a world that isn’t the same as when they left to serve; a world that sometimes tends to forget them, or ignore them; a world that sometimes has trouble remembering all they went through, and how hard it is to re-adjust to a life that has certainly changed them, emotionally as well as sometimes physical.

And I want us to also remember another group of people…innocent people who’ve been senselessly murdered by cowardly people with guns, out to spread their hatred and violence for whatever twisted and deranged parts of their minds that were urging them forward.

Innocent children. Worshippers in their chosen houses of God. Innocent shoppers in malls and grocery stores. Innocent concert goers who were enjoying a night of music. 

They unwillingly gave their lives because someone they didn’t even know decided they didn’t deserve to live.

And we continue on with our lives, thankful it wasn’t us.  

But such violence touches all of us in some way. It forever changes a part of us, and sometimes we don’t even realize it.

The awfulness of so much violence in this country will eventually be forgotten by the majority of the country, but never by the families and communities which have been devastated by the tragedy. Just like the families of our servicemen and women who were lost in combat, they will NEVER forget. Not a day will go by without a memory sneaking into their mind, and those memories are all they have left. They can’t call to say hello. They can’t visit with them or invite them to dinner. They can only look at their pictures and relive their memories.

Today as most of us gather together with friends and family for picnics and parties, or go out to grab up the best Memorial Day sales, let’s take the time to remember those families who are grieving over their loved ones who will never attend such events again.

Remember the fallen, because they deserve never, ever to be forgotten. And remember the families who will also never forget.

Sailing Into Your Sunrise

I’ve never heard that term before but I read it in a book the other day. The character was discussing setting a date for her upcoming wedding, and told her sister she was ready for her real life to begin. “I’ve waited years to sail into my sunrise.” (Seabreeze Wedding by Jan Moran)

An interesting way to look at life, isn’t it?

We hear a lot of people talking about sailing into the sunset with friends or loved ones. I’ve even said that as well on occasion. We picture the sun setting on our old life, perhaps because of a job change we didn’t anticipate; major changes in a relationship; changes in our finances. Or just being tired of the same old thing and wanting to embark on a whole other thing!

But when thinking about it further, and comparing it to sailing into your sunrise, there’s a really big difference, isn’t there?

Because a sunrise signals a beginning. A new adventure that’s ahead. New things to try and new people and places to discover.

A sunset is beautiful but it signals an ending. The end of a day most certainly, but also it could be the end of other things in your life. Things that you didn’t want to end, perhaps, but they ended nevertheless.

But a sunset is always followed by a sunrise. There’s always that new chance, that new opportunity that a sunrise brings. 

Don’t let yourself wait years to sail into your own sunrise. If there’s something you want to do or to accomplish, there’s no better time than now to set sail into that sunrise and take charge of what is waiting for you.

Yes, there will always be other sunrises, but none just like the one before you right now.

So take charge, set your sails, and sail into it. While you still have the chance.

A Gift of Sight, Part Two

As I said in A Gift of Sight, Part One, for most of us, our eyesight is something we take for granted. We open our eyes in the morning and see our bedroom, our alarm clock or phone, the sun streaming into our windows.

We may see our pets curled up beside us, or our spouse who’s beginning to awaken as well. We really don’t think that much about it because we’re used to our world of sight, our comfortable surroundings; things looking the same every day.

Until one day it doesn’t. Until our vision starts to gradually fade, blur, become fuzzy or dim. We don’t really notice it right away, because it’s a gradual process.

But then comes a day when someone comments on something they’re looking at, and you realize you don’t see it quite the same as they do. Or quite the same as you used to.

Now imagine being told that you have an eye disease that’s incurable. That’s not a pleasant thought. You may start thinking about what might or will happen eventually. And it’s scary.

Part One described the events leading up to my husband Ben’s eye surgery. But let me explain the reality of that surgery.

Cataract surgery by itself is easy. The recovery time is quick, even though you are limited to not lifting anything heavier than 20 lbs for a few weeks, doing nothing that could cause getting debris in your eye such as gardening or going in the pool or a hot tub, and using a series of eye drops every day for about 4 weeks.

But you can see well out of your surgical eye right away, or at best, the next day. However a combination of cataract surgery AND a cornea transplant along with a stint for drainage entails other issues, a few of which we didn’t expect.

We knew he had to lay flat on his back for 48 hours, which I will tell you is not easy. Or fun. He doesn’t like to read anything but his newspaper and of course he couldn’t even do that. He tried audio books but couldn’t find any he really liked. He found a few comedy podcasts to listen to, but that really didn’t do it either.

He could get up for 15 minutes every 4 hours to eat or take meds or use the bathroom. Other than that he was flat on his back. Laying on our bed was miserable and hurt his back so he ended up on the sofa downstairs which he said was more comfortable.

But he wasn’t able to sleep well, even with sleep aids, so he was exhausted.

Why flat on his back? Because with a cornea replacement an air bubble is inserted into the eye to help hold the graft material in place. The air bubble dissipates over a few days but it’s extremely important for the bubble to stay in place so the graft will heal properly. Which means not moving around or standing because gravity has a way of trying to move that bubble where it’s not supposed to be.

We went back for a post-op visit the next day after surgery. I drove of course with him lying down on the reclined front seat. Certainly not a comfortable position. While the eye looked good for the first day after surgery, the pressure in it was too high, and they had to give him more eye drops as well as a pill to hopefully reduce some of the pressure while we were there. If that didn’t work they would have to drain the eye somewhat, which I didn’t even want to think about.

Fortunately the meds helped, and his pressure went down enough so we could go back home and get him on his back again. And another night of sleeping on the sofa on his back. And another night of not sleeping well.

The next morning he did follow his instructions and waited (but not patiently) til 11:45 to get up since that was a full 48 hours. His eye was still blurry with a shadow in it, which was normal, but still not what we’d expected. He had a lot of trouble trying to read so we bought him the strongest pair of reading glasses they make, which fortunately allowed him to read the newspaper, albeit a little at a time. But that did make him quite happy!

The next visit on Monday fortunately found the pressure lowered down to the teens! He was still restricted from driving so it meant another week at home and him not working. And did I mention he drives as a courier for a bank?

His vision slowly, and I mean slowly, improved daily, and the Thursday post-op visit found his pressure down to 10 in both eyes, which was fantastic news! His doctor was very pleased!

His vision was still somewhat hazy, though. However he ventured out on Friday to try driving and actually did ok. Enough for us to go out for a quick dinner that night to a restaurant not far from the house.

The next two days we went out shopping for flowers and plants for the yard, and he did well driving. In fact his biggest problem was not being able to lift any of the heavier plants into the cart or into the back of the car like he usually does. I had to stop him several times. 

Then Monday morning came, and it was the first day for him back to work. He was a bit nervous because his courier route takes him on a number of back roads in the area, with narrow shoulders as well as narrow roads. But he did fine, although he drove a bit slower than usual, and his vision is still not quite what we expected, although it’s legal vision for driving, but every day it gets a little better. And when it’s time he can get new glasses, and this will all be but a memory. 

We’re thankful, yes, for the doctors and nurses, and most importantly for the donor who made the transplant possible.

Take good care of your eyes, because you don’t want to have to rely on the gift of a second chance to see. Sometimes things happen, and if it does, get to a doctor right away. And if your eye doctor tells you you need to do something to improve your vision, listen to them. You’ll be forever glad you did.

And please, if you’re not already an organ donor, please consider it. For more information on becoming an organ/tissue donor, please go to organdonor.gov. 

A Gift of Sight, Part One

For the majority of us, the first thing we do when we wake up in the morning is open our eyes and look at our clock or phone to see what time it is. A simple thing, right?

But for many people it’s not that simple. Some can’t read the time without their glasses or contacts. Some can’t read it because of eye diseases…cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration.

Some can see but not very well due to those eye diseases, and may be considered legally blind. And some are unfortunately totally blind.

Those of us with minimal or no problems don’t stop to consider how truly fortunate we are to have the ability to see, either with or without the assistance of glasses or contact lenses. We usually take it for granted. 

Until something happens to change our situation.

In my case, a change in my vision started gradually. Which happens to almost everyone as we grow older. It got harder and harder to see my computer screen clearly and working on my jewelry projects was very difficult unless I took my contacts out and used reading glasses to see the holes in the beads because of my astigmatism.

Even though my eye doctor is fantastic, I was still scared to have the surgery and kept putting it off for several years.

Until my husband was diagnosed with glaucoma in both eyes.

Which forced me to have the cataract surgery, which was, yes, the best thing I’ve done in ages. 

But this isn’t about me.

It’s about my husband Ben.

Some 25 or so years ago he was on a business trip and woke up in a hotel room four hours from home with his left eye red and extremely swollen and sore. He said it looked like something in a horror movie. 

Fortunately he found a local eye doctor who was able to get it calmed down enough with eye drops so he could see well enough to drive home. He told him to get to an eye specialist as soon as possible because it looked like something called iritis, which could be serious if not treated properly. Luckily he did find a specialist when he got home and was able to get in to see him quickly.

And it was iritis, which is an inflammation of the iris. And according to the doctor, a bad case. So bad, in fact, that he had to have an injection in his eye to help calm it down. 

Iritis is something that cannot be cured. It is an autoimmune disease that in many cases is caused by the chicken pox virus, which is most likely what caused his. And it can also cause problems with vision, which of course it did.

His was a stubborn case, naturally, and over the course of several years he had to have two more injections in the eye. He’s been on daily steroid eye drops which eventually also cause vision problems, and a number of years ago he was put on a daily pill to hopefully help reduce flare ups. So far it has, but not before the eye damage was already done.

The steroid drops caused a cataract and surgery to remove the cataract was done probably at least 15 years ago in the left eye.

But as time went by, and even though the flare ups lessened, the eye damage continued, until he was told he needed a partial cornea transplant to save his eyesight in that eye. You can read more about this in the blog I wrote titled “The Expense of a Second Chance”.

That surgery was fortunately a success. 

That was almost ten years ago. 

Fast forward to now. 

As I said previously, Ben was diagnosed with glaucoma in both eyes last summer. Fortunately he has an excellent glaucoma specialist who’s doing everything he can to keep his sight from getting worse, using a number of eye drops to reduce the pressure. Of course he’s monitored frequently.

But his vision was slowly getting worse in his right eye. The pressure didn’t want to stabilize and he began having issues driving at night and especially in the rain. His peripheral vision on the right side wasn’t good either. And he also was having fuzzy vision in that eye from a cataract.

So both his glaucoma specialist and his cataract specialist recommended that along with the cataract removal he also needed a partial cornea replacement in his right eye, because the glaucoma was making the cornea thicken too much. Both procedures would be done at the same time. But before that he needed laser surgery in each eye to prepare for this next surgery.

Yes, that was a lot to take in. A lot to consider. And trust me, we had several discussions with both doctors, and among the two of us.

And there were a lot of “what if’s?” In those discussions. What happens if we don’t do it? And we knew the answer to that. Everything we do revolves around our ability to see, and see as clearly as possible.

The bottom line is, our eyesight is vital. And it’s a gift that many people don’t have. We take for granted that we can see and don’t really think about it until something starts to go wrong.

And then our whole perspective changes.

And in order for this procedure to take place, he had to have a cornea donor. Which meant someone had to die and give him the gift of their eye tissue. If you’ve read the previous blog I referenced you know how that affected my thoughts.

But he did have the surgery. And we are truly grateful for the person who cared enough about other people to decide to be an organ donor so others could have lifesaving or vision saving surgeries that were desperately needed.

The surgery was easy but recovery from the transplant surgery took longer than just cataract surgery, which basically takes a day.

More on that recovery process in “The Gift of Sight, Part Two”, hopefully to be published the week of May 8.

And for more information on becoming an organ/tissue donor, please go to organdonor.gov. Both Ben and I have been included in the registry for years.

You Will Never Know the Value of a Moment

Until it becomes a memory. A memory that can never be recreated. 

Unfortunately most of the time we don’t realize how important those memories will one day become.

Until the day you realize there will be no more.

One of my special moments was on my mother’s birthday some 18 years ago. She’d started having memory issues and just didn’t seem to have fun anymore when my daughter Ashley and I took her anywhere. 

But this one day, this birthday lunch, turned into one of the best memories I have with her. You see, Ashley’s birthday was two weeks before hers, so Ashley convinced her we were celebrating her birthday instead, and suddenly Mom’s face lit up, and she started smiling and laughing like a teenager. My aunt was with us, and she joined into the fun as well, and we all joked around about the memories the two of them had growing up together for several hours, just enjoying that special time together. It was really the last time Mom enjoyed herself like that; when I saw that spark of enjoyment in her eyes she always had when she was with her granddaughter.

How much I’d give to have that moment back again.

There are others as well, as I sit here remembering lots of unique special moments that will never come again. We don’t appreciate them enough at the time, because we don’t stop to think about how such moments will never come again. 

And how one day those memories would be all we have left of our loved ones.

What special memories do you have that you don’t ever want to forget? My advice: write them down somewhere in a special place, because as much as you don’t want to think about it, one day those memories will begin to fade as if they’d never happened.

And what will you do then?

Conditional Love

Yes, you read that correctly. I’m not talking about unconditional love. You know, the kind parents have for their children; or the love they’re supposed to have for their children.

The unconditional love we have for family, whether we agree with them or not, is what family has for one another. Or it’s what we’re supposed to have.

It’s not always easy. I daresay there are a lot of people who say they love their family, but they don’t like them. They don’t like their political or social views. They don’t like something they’ve said or done in the past. 

But most often, if someone asks about that family member they’ll say they love them, but they don’t really see them any more because they’ve had a “falling out” and they’re waiting for the other side to apologize. Which isn’t likely.

But then there are other times when family members decide they want nothing to do with other family members, simply because they won’t do what they want them to do. And because of that, they cut them off, refuse to see them or talk to them, because they won’t do what they want.

We’re talking adults here, not children. And we’re talking especially about parents and their children. Parents who try to control their children long after they’re grown, many times with children of their own, simply because they want them to do what they want, in return for their version of love.

That is not love. That’s control. And it does nothing but destroy family relationships. Parents insisting that their children, or grandchildren for that matter, do what they say or else, instills feelings of abandonment, resentment, loss of self esteem, or the inability to form lasting relationships with others. 

Why should they care about others, or why should others care about them, because if they do something wrong, something the other person doesn’t like, then that person or persons will discard them like a useless pile of trash.

That is what we call conditional love. “I love you as long as you go by my rules; if you don’t, then I don’t want you.”

And that is so far from love, I don’t even have words to describe it.

I’ve seen it in a number of natural or dating relationships in which one person attempts to force the other to do what they want, regardless of their partner’s feelings. That’s bad, and it’s a form of emotional abuse. Which no one should ever have to put up with.

But what about when it’s a parent or grandparent who acts that way to their children or grandchildren? That even worse. Parents and grandparents are supposed to love their children and grandchildren whether they agree with their decisions or not. They can give advice to those who are older, but making their love or acceptance contingent on doing certain things isn’t love.

It’s control, or conditional love, which can be taken away as quickly as it’s given. And it’s not healthy for either side of the spectrum.

I’ve seen this far too often in family relationships. And almost always it results in broken families, broken relationships, and children, cousins, nieces and nephews, or grandchildren being estranged or emotionally damaged because of no fault of their own.

Parents, grandparents, and other family members, this message is for you. If you’re doing this, stop

It. Look at it from the other point of view. How would you like to be treated that way? Or even more, if you were treated that way, how did it make you feel? 

And if you are honest with yourself in admitting such actions made you feel bad about yourself, why are you doing this same thing to people you’re supposed to love? Why are you continuing the cycle of emotional abuse?

Conditional love isn’t love. It’s control; a way of making you feel important by making others feel unimportant. And it gets you nowhere.

Parents, love your children. Treat them with respect and love. Guide them but teach them to make their own decisions. So they’ll be able to teach their children the same things.

Unconditional love is the key to those relationships. You cannot put a price tag on love. 

It’s not conditional.

Are You Leading By Example…or Something Else?








Self righteousness




Don’t do as I do…Do as I say

All of these behaviors do nothing to build someone up, to make them want to be a better person. Instead of leading by example, you’re making people feel worthless, incompetent, and destroying whatever self confidence they once had.

All because YOU want to be seen as a power figure, someone important. Someone who knows so much more than anyone else.

And why is that? Could it be that you’re really not all the confident and self assured? That you don’t want anyone to know you don’t have all the answers? That someone else may actually have a better solution for a problem than you?

Why do you always have to be right? Why do you always have to have the final word?

A true leader doesn’t need to resort to the tactics I mentioned in the beginning of this post. A true leader leads from strength, concern for others, and by listening to those around them, and letting others speak what they feel without fear of reprisal.

A true leader is respected, not feared. They don’t try to bully others into doing what they want.

And this is true in your personal relationships as well as business situations. While there should never be a “leader” in a relationship, since a relationship is a partnership, neither partner should try to make the other do something using any of the methods listed above.

Look at yourself closely. Are you using any of the negative tactics mentioned above? And if you are, don’t you think it’s time for some self-evaluation?

Don’t Make A Permanent Decision…

….based on a temporary emotion.

It never turns out good.

And you’ll find yourself suddenly living in the land of regret.

Sure, you may be devastated because your significant other just broke up with you, but that doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and move to another town where you don’t know anyone and start over because you’re afraid people will talk about you. 

You may be angry at your employer, angry enough to quit your job to “show them how much you’re” needed”, but all that does is make you unemployed with no immediate job prospects and no hope of a good reference from that former employer.

Or you may be upset because of the way you thought one of your friends was treating you and decide to tell them exactly how little you think of them. Only a day or two later you discover you were wrong, and lost several of your other friends because of your actions.

Uncomfortable or life-altering situations occur in our lives more often than we’d like. And our first reaction to such situations is often anger or in some cases devastating heartbreak, as in the loss of a close loved one. At those times we’re not thinking rationally, and our thought processes are turned upside down. 

We’re not able to totally comprehend the gravity of what may have just happened, let alone think clearly enough to make permanent decisions based on what happened. Because the next few days may start to clarify things that will enable you to make more rational decisions. 

We’ve all heard stories such as this, like the woman who thought she’d caught her husband cheating, and went home and destroyed all of his clothes, his important papers, and told his employer what she’d supposedly “discovered”. Only to find out the woman she’d seen him with was a travel agent helping him book a surprise vacation for their anniversary.

Farfetched? Not really. Most of us have been in or heard of similar instances. 

Our emotions can easily get the best of us when we’re angry, stressed, or facing a difficult situation in which we can’t see a way out. Making permanent decisions when we’re in that frame of mind are a recipe for total disaster. And if you sign your name on the dotted line, there’s usually no turning back.

The lesson here? Don’t make major, permanent decisions until you really think them through. A day or even better, a week or two, will give you a cooling down period in which you can determine the best way to handle your particular situation. 

Because if you don’t, you’re most likely going to regret it.

Making Mud Pies

Do kids even do that anymore? With all the different play food items there are in stores today, do they even need to try to enjoy the fun of making mud pies?

Our granddaughters have all kinds of play food items, plus all kinds of kid’s kitchen appliances, cooking utensils, plastic dishes, etc. They like to see what they can put together for each other, and what “meals” they can make for mommy and daddy and their dolls, but the “food” they “cook” with is plastic, perfectly shaped and colored to resemble real food, from ice cream to pizza to cakes and pies and burgers and hot dogs. And everything in between, or so it seems.

They don’t have to imagine they’re making something that doesn’t really look like what they say it’s supposed to be. Everything is “served” looking like what it is, and no one has to guess what they’re being “served”.

I’d have loved to have had all the fun food toys we bought for our daughter to play kitchen and tea parties. And our granddaughters have even more, or so it seems, especially since they have most of what we’d saved from their mom’s toys.

But having all the play food and kitchen toys didn’t instill any love of cooking in our daughter, but that’s a whole other topic.

But maybe it’s because she never really learned the art of making mud pies. Even though she’s an only child, she spent a lot of time with other kids at daycare as well as with other kids in our neighborhood. They didn’t make mud pies either. She never really wanted to. It just didn’t interest her.

Maybe it was the times I grew up in, as well as being an only child with not a lot of other kids my age to play with living nearby. And not having the huge selection of toys that kids have today. I had a small set of play food, but it wasn’t anything like what kids have now. And my dolls did seem to enjoy it.

But I sure enjoyed making mud pies. That’s actually one of the memories I do have from being a little girl. I pretended for hours I was really cooking, and was so proud of myself when I presented my mother with all of my goodies.

My mom actually let me use one of her old saucepans that was clearly beyond its useful life. And she found a few small aluminum pie plates and cake pans that I could use to “bake” my creations. And a couple of very old kitchen spoons.

In my little girls’ world back some 60+ years ago I didn’t need anything more to make my creations!

I carefully mixed the dirt I dug up from different areas of the flowerbeds, making sure I didn’t leave a gaping hole that my mom would see, or step in. We had several water spigots outside where I could get just enough water to make my “batter” the right consistency. Experimenting taught me that the thinner batters made for better “cakes” and “pies” while the thicker batters were better for “cookies” and “biscuits”.

“Baking” was really important, and it took forever (so it seemed) to get them done. You see, when making mud pie creations you have to let them bake in the sun. And sometimes that takes longer than you’d think. You had to check them often to make sure they didn’t crack.

And of course you had to serve them in the pans you prepared them in. Otherwise it would be a disaster. I can still see them in my mind. Of course most likely the actual creations look nothing like I remember, but we didn’t have digital cameras then, so there are no pictures to compare them to.

As my mud pie baking skills improved I’d add bits of decoration to them. I started with grass in the cake tops to look like coconut. That was interesting. Then I tried adding dandelions (I knew not to bother my mom’s flowers) to the top. They looked good at first but the next day…not so great.

Rose petals looked good, too, but I was careful to use the ones that had already dropped on the ground. I also experimented with putting pebbles in the “cookies”, you know, sort of like chocolate chip cookies?

And when my mom “tried” them, she was always so pleased with my creations, and said they were delicious! Thank goodness we all had enough sense not to really eat them!!

You’d think with all my “baking experience” I’d have really gone all out when I became an adult, making and decorating cakes and cupcakes. Unfortunately my talent was in the actual baking, not the decorating. That’s not my forte at all. But I do like to make cookies, and I use that talent every Christmas.

But maybe this spring I’ll start to teach our granddaughters the fine art of making mud pies. At their parents’ house of course. And remind them their baby brother won’t be quite old enough to help yet.

They’ve already learned how to decorate real cookies with tons of sprinkles, so I’m sure they’ll be good at mud pies. And I’m sure they’ll end up wearing a lot of mud like they did the sprinkles.

Anybody have some favorite mud pie “recipes” to share with the girls? Maybe they can even put together their own cookbook!