This post is in response to the WordPress one-word daily prompt: Fragrance

Favorite spring fragrances









Freshly mowed grass


Favorite summer fragrances

Swimming pools


Salty ocean breezes


Appalachian mountain air




Favorite fall fragrances



Pumpkin bread




Hay Field


Jack-o-lanterns aflame


Fall candles

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Crunchy fallen leaves on a hike through autumn woods


Favorite winter fragrances

Hot coffee


Crisp winter air


Hot lemon tea


Christmas smells



Other fragrances I love



Puppy breath


Peppermint and spearmint leaves


Freshly bathed and powdered babies


Heaven Sent perfume and Design Perfume

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Freshly baked bread


The smells of a county fair

fair-939951_960_720The smell that hits you when you walk into a bakery




Fragrances I miss

My father’s pipe (especially when he smoked cherry tobacco)



Photo credit:


My father’s English Leather and Old Spice cologne

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My mother’s Chantilly


My parents’ attic and other smells of my childhood home

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my parents’ wood burning fireplace


My mother’s cooking


waking up to the smell of sautéed onions on Thanksgiving morning

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What about you?  What smells do you love? Do you have favorite seasonal smells? What smells do you miss?  


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Sunday Glory



Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!  Luke 6:31 The Message



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Teddy the Porcupine Eating a Frozen Banana

It’s hot out there today folks! The heat wave continues… I just heard our temperature—96 degrees with a heat index of 109.  And I believe it.

Teddy knows how to stay cool on hot days.  I love this porcupine!


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Lollipop Lessons

4My mother and two sisters used to tell a story from my childhood in the mid 1960s that I don’t remember too well. It’s all very fuzzy in my brain.

There was a five-and-dime close to where we live that our family used to frequent. It was run by an older couple. We called them Mr. and Mrs. Paul. I can remember to this day exactly what they looked like— his white wavy hair and ruddy complexion and her dark rimmed pointy glasses and dark gray beauty parlor-styled hair. I remember how she moved ever so slowly when she was checking us out and how her lips seemed to always be in a permanent pout. I don’t remember this couple ever smiling, so as a child I was a little fearful of them.

One day while out running errands, my mother needed to run into the five-and-dime. So she took her three young daughters with her. I’m thinking I was about 4 which would have made my sisters about 5 and 7. We stuck close to each other as our mother checked out.

This is the part I remember.  

At the end of that checkout line and right next to the exit door was a huge wooden barrel filled to the brim with Dum-Dum lollipops. It was as tall as I was. I’m sure our eyes were wide with desire.



My mother thanked Mrs. Paul for her purchase and then walked out the door. We followed on her heels, my oldest sister leading the way and me, bringing up the rear.

My oldest sister, on her way out, grabbed a Dum-Dum right out of that barrel. Because her little brain reasoned that since they were in a barrel beyond the check-out and right by the exit door, that they surely must be free. (You have to admit, that’s a strange place to have Dum-Dums). After that it was monkey see, monkey do, and in the blink of an eye, my sisters and I each held a Dum-Dum in our tiny hands. I don’t remember us taking the Dum-Dums, but I do remember that colorful barrel filled with them.   

My mother didn’t notice the newfound treasures we held as she opened the back door to the station wagon to let us climb into the back seat. It wasn’t until she had situated herself in the front seat and was starting the car, that she heard us ripping the wrapper off of our “free gifts” and smelled the sweet fruity smell wafting in her direction. She turned around to see three happy little girls licking away on lollipops. She said in her serious but calm voice, “GIRLS WHERE DID YOU GET THOSE LOLLIPOPS?” To which my oldest sister nonchalantly replied, “in the barrel by the door mommy.”

My mother made us all get out of the car and marched us back into the store. She told Mrs. Paul how we had taken the Dum-Dums believing that they were free. She paid the money owed for them and then asked Mrs. Paul for a trash can where she made us throw all three of our prized Dum-Dums away. Mrs. Paul had smiled and told her we could just keep them but my mother said, “OH, NO,NO,NO—  they need to learn that we don’t take things without first paying for them.”

Good lesson mom.  


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Blogging and the Social Media Dilemma

I started blogging about 7 years ago in August of 2010. I didn’t know a blasted thing about blogging and I literally threw myself into the deep end to try to learn about it. Not knowing where to start, I went to Books-A-Million and bought WordPress for Dummies. (I had at least settled on a platform for my blog).  


I may as well been reading that book in French. It was over my head. I told my husband, I’m not sure what that means— not being able to understand a book called WordPress For Dummies.  

I wrote on my ABOUT page (which totally needs updating by the way) how I nearly pulled my hair out trying to set the blog up. What should have taken minutes took me hours upon hours. I said a few words that would have made a sailor blush. I banged my fist (and head) on the computer desk.  I took deep breaths. It was all so foreign to me, this talk about Widgets and Gravatars, RSS feeds and HTML, Permalinks and Plugins, and metadata and Domains.

I still feel very new to blogging despite the seven years under my belt but I’m still learning so that’s a good thing.

I am not a technologically minded person.  My brain wants to run and hide when it hears the word technology.

I recently read a book called Blogging for Writers: How Authors and Writers Build Successful Blogs by Robin Houghton.


When I first heard about the book, I thought it wasn’t a book for me because I’m not a real writer. But then I read some reviews and read that it was good for new bloggers who wanted to write better. The back cover read: “No Technological knowledge is required.” That’s great, I thought, because Lord knows I am not a techy person! I’m still using a flip phone for crying out loud. I don’t use social media. I don’t “do” Facebook.  I don’t twitter (or is it tweet?), I don’t have an Instagram account. I don’t have a pretty Pinterest board. I’ve heard of Linkedin, Reddit, and Snapchat, but don’t really have the foggiest idea what they are. I’m Wilma Flintstone, and I’m married to Fred Flintstone. It drives people crazy that neither of us have a smart phone. We’ve never texted, nor do we have texting capabilities.  You think I despise cell phones? Meet my husband. We were made for each other.  We have no idea how we ended up with two techy math and physics-loving children who both became engineers. It’s a mystery.


Anyway, I bought the book because it looked like an easy read. Its colorful organized pages appealed to me. While it was thorough and had some good advice, it wasn’t the book for me. It was way over my head from a technological standpoint and I was so totally lost towards the end that I really did want to cry. But I was still glad I read the book.

I did learn some things. I learned some things I’m doing right. I learned things I’m doing wrong. I should be utilizing social media to get more readership, I need to employ the use of an editorial calendar which would mean less writers-block, I need to quit being so long-winded and write shorter posts (this will be my biggest challenge as you can tell by the length of this post) and I need to update my About page which hasn’t been updated in seven years since I started this blog. There was a lot of helpful advice in this book but so much techy stuff I didn’t understand.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the thought of having to utilize social media makes me want to vomit. I used to be on Facebook many years ago but am not now. Facebook has pros and cons. I enjoyed it for a while. But I started feeling like I was spending way too much time on it. It was a huge time-suck. It had become my golden calf. Maintaining a presence on Facebook requires a lot of time and effort.


ipad-tablet-technology-touchThere were definitely things I liked about Facebook. I loved hooking up with old friends I hadn’t seen since high school and catching up with them. I enjoyed staying more in touch with distant family. I think social media does make one feel more connected and part of community. I loved being on at night and having my college-aged sons (who both live out-of-state) pop up to chat with me, telling me about their day, their classes, projects, college life, roommate issues, etc. I cherished those late night chats.

There were things I didn’t like about Facebook too. Like the bullying and all the political in-your-face comments that were sucking the life right out of me and making me need blood pressure medication. There was way too much drama. I didn’t care for the offensive language and inappropriate content that would sometimes make its way into my Newsfeed. There are some interesting articles I’ve read that report psychologists have noticed links between heavy Facebook use and depression. Facebook can also cause jealousy, envy and coveting. I was already figuring out that Facebook wasn’t healthy for me. I needed to get away.

I used to be in a church book club. Lent was approaching, and one day the book club ladies and I were sitting around after our meeting discussing our Lenten disciplines. I mentioned I was giving up Facebook for Lent and you’d thought I’d just announced I was getting a nose ring. I realize that giving up social media for Lent is quite common now but back then it wasn’t. I deactivated my account that year on Ash Wednesday. Giving it up was difficult, especially at first. But it got easier and easier and I found I didn’t even miss it by the end of Lent. Another time, I deactivated my account because it was an election year and I was tired of the political bashing and name-calling. I saw so much hatred being spewed and it was wearing on me. I was tired of all the disrespectful political memes. So I deactivated my account again and it was a welcome break.

pexels-photo (2)


lake-balaton-sunset-lake-landscape-158045In August of 2012, after much deliberating, I made the decision to delete my Facebook account (the previous two times I had only deactivated it— this time I was deleting it). With deactivation, you can bring your account back up in a snap just by logging back in. When you delete, that’s permanent. After you delete, and if in the future, you decide you want back on, you’ve lost everything and so you must start all over. My friends laughed and told me I would never survive without Facebook and that I would be back. I deleted it and I haven’t looked back. I’ve enjoyed Facebook sobriety now for nearly five years.

I do admit to sometimes feeling more “out of the loop” and more isolated since I’m no longer on Facebook. Like I’m no longer a member of the club. I do miss keeping up with friends. I don’t have the blog readership I had when I was on Facebook. I actually had friends say to me, “Oh, I miss reading your blog since you got off Facebook.” Some even asked me why I quit blogging. I tried explaining I still had a blog and that they could still read and follow my blog even though I was no longer on Facebook, but it didn’t seem to register.

pexels-photo-262508I have no desire to get back on Facebook. Yet, at the same time, I feel I’m being forced to IF I want to be a successful blogger and increase my readership. I have been left to feel that blogs don’t fare well without the aid of social media. If I ever want to write and publish a memoir (and I’ve thought about it), social media will be necessary to build an author platform (more about that later). I love to write but I’m starting to think that maybe offline journaling is a better fit for me than blogging.

I’ve got decisions to make. 

Your thoughts?  Feelings about social media and blogging?  I would love to hear your comments.   


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Birthday Girl

Today is 7/17/17.  It is also my 58th birthday. I was born 58 years ago in Cincinnati, Ohio. Weighing in at 6 lbs. 5 oz. and 18 inches long, my mother used to get irritated when people would refer to me as a “premature” baby. Because I wasn’t.  I was full term and just a small baby.  I came into the world at 12:24 am so was almost a July 16th baby instead of a July 17th baby.

newborn Gail

Me as a newborn. There’s no date on this photo but my mother estimated it was taken when I was 6 days old.

I’ve told this birth story before on my blog and since my mother’s not here to tell it like she always did on my birthday, I’m telling it again.  It was funnier hearing it from her in person but oh well.

I was the third child born to my parents. They already had two girls— a 3-year-old and a 16 month old. My mother got pregnant with me when her last baby was only 7 months old. I guess you could say I was an oops baby. Well, actually I was a “diaphragms don’t work if you don’t take them out of the nightstand drawer” baby. My mother always laughed at this part of the story and said that my dad sorta snuck up on her that night.  Okaaaay. But anyway, when the doctor told my mother she was pregnant with me, she looked at him and said, “I CAN’T BE PREGNANT!  I JUST HAD A BABY!” Well, she WAS pregnant and needless to say, I was supposed to be the boy. My mother said when she woke up from having me (back then they put women under anesthesia to have babies), she looked down at her wrist and saw another pink bracelet.  She stared at that bracelet thinking maybe her eyes weren’t yet focusing, but yep, that bracelet was definitely pink and not blue.  And according to her when she always told this story, she then said, “Well, damn…. another girl.” That is SO my mother… You just had to know her. The lady in the bed right next to her said, “Well, I just had my 3rd boy. You wanna trade?” And then they both had a good laugh.


My cute little feet

Gail's first birthday


My mother with me and my two sisters.  I’m the baby sitting in her lap. 1959.  I think my mother had her hands full.

My mother said I’m lucky to be here because my sister who was 16 months older than me tried her darndest to poke my eyes out.  Really.  She always went for my eyes.

My husband offered to take me out tonight for a birthday dinner, telling me I could choose the restaurant of my choice since I was the birthday girl. But I told him I thought grilled hamburgers at home appealed to me more. So that’s what we did. He grilled the burgers and I made salads, baked beans and oven baked waffle fries.

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Later there was birthday cake. Can you tell my favorite color is yellow?  Hubby always gets yellow flowers on my cake.



And there was homemade strawberry ice cream again, left over from hubby’s birthday six days ago.


It was all delicious. My dear sweet mother-in-law’s 88th birthday is in 4 days. And then our anniversary will be here in just over 2 weeks on August 2nd (our 32nd)! And so the celebrations with cake continues. Losing weight in July is well, impossible. That’s all I’ll say about that.

I miss my parents on my birthday. Always do. Always will.


My mom and dad at my wedding– 1985.

Gail       ♥ 

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Vintage Dog Food and Nostalgia

I was watching an old Johnny Carson show from the 1970s the other night when Johnny mentioned Gaines Burgers. I looked at my husband and said, “Aww, Gaines burgers! I had forgotten all about those!” Hubby, who didn’t have dogs growing up, said, “Oh, yeah, I remember those!” And then we both tried to painstakingly figure out when and why in the world they had quit making them.

Who remembers Gaines Burgers???

Let me refresh your memory.

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Gaines Burgers were a type of soft-moist dog food which were shaped into hamburger patties and individually wrapped in a cellophane wrapper.  They were made by General Mills and came out in 1961. Production ceased sometime in the 1990s.

My mother would sometimes buy Gaines Burgers for our dogs but only as a special treat. Like most semi-moist foods, they were quite expensive as far as dog food went. We had a German Shepherd in the 1970s who had a malabsorption syndrome. Poor Baron was always thin and he was a crappy eater. The vet’s advice back then was to feed him whatever we could get him to eat. Gaines burgers were a favorite of his and so my mother would feed them to him periodically because he loved them so and because she was always trying to get weight on that dog.  Sometimes, we would crumble a Gaines Burger or two over the top of his regular food so as to make it more edible.  I can still smell those reddish crumbly burgers now.

In my nutrition course in veterinary school, I learned that semi-moist foods aren’t really all that healthy for dogs and cats. Mostly because they are full of sugar (which is precisely why most animals love them). They’re also full of preservatives and dyes and some other not-so-healthy stuff. I never fed any of my animals semi-moist foods after hearing that little lecture and I advised my parents to do the same.

But I do have fond memories of Gaines Burgers.


I had also forgotten about this dog food.


Ken-L-Ration in the blue can.

I raised I don’t know how many dogs on this canned food. The veterinarian I went to work for right out of school always used to recommend this food to his clients. I can still hear him telling them to buy Ken-L-Ration, and then he’d always say, “in the blue can.”

How many of you remember the Ken-L-Ration advertising Jingle from the 1960s?

My dog’s better than your dog,

My dog’s better than yours.

My dog’s better ’cause he gets Ken-L Ration,

My dog’s better than yours.

Boy, did that bring back some memories.  And now, I’ll be singing that little jingle in my head all day.

And just as a side note, do you remember the name of the little yellow dog on the can? I had forgotten that too.  It was……. Fido! Now I know you can all sleep easier tonight knowing you have that important tidbit of information.   🙂

Gail ♥

Posted in Animals, Daily Prompt, dogs, Memories | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment