Monthly Archives: March 2023

Early, antique, faux, reality check Jackie

Okay, I’m a little steamed right now. In fact, I’m downright angry right now. Why? Well, if you’re still reading this far, I’ll tell you: I just read an article from a so-called “decorating expert” about all of the things you shouldn’t have in your house because they are just “tacky” and I fit just about every category she didn’t like.

So, just for her, I took a picture of what my living room looked like this morning. It shows every bit of my early, antique, faux, reality Jackie look and if that decorator were to see it, she would undoubtedly light it on fire!

For one thing, my pictures are not quality, they are things my family makes and the prints (not originals) that I saw and liked, so I bought them. My furniture, according to her standards, is too bulky, mismatched and in some cases, loudly printed. I have taken care of that with the comforters hanging off of much of the furniture and the pillows I set in the mostly unused chair, in case we are watching something boring on television (like a home decorating show) and we want to take a nap instead. I have furniture that is from the 1950s, the 1990s and some ultra-modern stuff from this century. I don’t put rugs down (except for that crooked one the dog always slides on) because I am messy and rugs pick up dirt and smells quickly.

I also have no color scheme and my lighting comes from mis-matched lamps that allow me to see what I’m reading or sewing in the evenings. I had no idea that there was such a thing as too much lighting or “appalling” lamps. Now that I know that, I will turn on my too-bright lamp, so that you will be able to see my face, which just doesn’t care.

I have a cupboard in the corner containing all of the mugs I have collected in my travels. They are all there, but I put them there, so I could look at them and remember, with some fondness, when I traveled to those places. If the decorator does not wish to look at them, she should probably not look in that corner!

However, if she turns to look in the other corner, she’s going to see the copy of the Lord’s Prayer that I have hanging there. No, I do not believe my house is a chapel, but I also don’t believe you get to tell me whether I hang up religious quotes in my house or the latest quotes from the stock market.

By now you’ve figured out that I have a problem with decorators. People who want to use them are most welcome to do so and I have seen many a beautiful home which has been decorated by them. However, if I want to hang up wallpaper with fake books on it, I think that’s my prerogative and no skin off the decorator’s nose.

I feel so much better for having got that off my chest and now, I’m going to go get a cup of coffee, sit down in one of my mismatched chairs and probably leave whatever book I’m reading on the mismatched end table beside me! Happy decorating!

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Jump for the sky

Photo by Sebastian Arie Voortman on

My daughter posted on Tik Tok the other day about her lack of belief in people who react strongly when surprised. She said any jumpiness she has is because of me, her mother, and MY jumpiness. She says people can look me in the eye and say “Boo” and I will jump. This, of course, is not quite accurate, but I was startled enough by her post to decide to address it.

While it’s true that I am a little jumpy, I take issue with the fact that someone who looks me in the eye and says “Boo” can make me jump. This is not true. They do not have to go through the effort to look me in the eye. Just say “Boo” from anywhere in a 20-foot radius and I will hit the sky.

I know that I’ve always been like this and I also know that people tend to use someone else’s jumpiness to entertain themselves. My husband and I had not been married very long when he discovered that I was a very jumpy individual. He exploited this in a way that he somehow instinctively knew he could get away with then. He was a new bridegroom. I was too much in love to kill him so early on.

So, he would come into the bathroom during my peaceful showers and throw a cup of water on me. He soon discovered that it didn’t have to be cold (although he preferred that), just any cup of water would cause me to jump a foot off the shower floor and shriek.

He also found that hiding around corners and barking like a dog (we didn’t have a dog then) would cause the desired jumpy reaction. He continued that until one day, he tried to bark at me and discovered that it was his mother coming around the corner. My mother-in-law is a very mild woman and that is the only time I heard her give him the “I brought you into this world and I can take you out” speech. It ended the barking.

Over the years he has learned that only a new bridegroom gets away with scaring his wife and things for us have settled down. Not so with others.

I once whacked my boss in the face for appearing in a doorway where I was not expecting him. He wasn’t terribly pleased, but it seems his wife was also a jumpy person, so he understood. My children liked to wait for me in unusual places: in the bushes, in large containers, in cupboards and then, when I actually registered that they were there, they would say “Hi” or something and I would throw whatever I was holding into the air, emitting the requisite scream.

Being jumpy for a teacher can be even worse. Students will leap into the room or bang on the side of the door, or sneak up behind me and they get the hoped-for response. Some have been hit or lambasted with books or papers, but that does not seem to slow them down. I recently had a new administrator tap me on the shoulder from behind and he received a fist to his shoulder for his trouble.

My jumpiness when people are around is nothing compared to my reactions when I am working late in the school building. It’s dark through most of the building and even my desperate singing to the radio does not alleviate all of my jumpiness.

The worst reaction ever was when I was ready to turn off the lights in my room and head for home. As soon as I doused the lights, I became aware that someone was crouching on the floor; I could feel their presence on my leg. I reacted instantly: I screamed and kicked that person soundly, even following them as they tried to get away. Then, I hit the wall light switch and discovered that I had very ably drop-kicked my large trash can across the room. Serves it right. Never rub up against a jumpy woman in the dark. That trash can has learned its lesson and now does its best to stand over in the corner, making itself small whenever I walk by! Sometimes it pays to be jumpy!

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Ask the two and a half year old…

Photo by Brett Sayles on

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog, but I have been experiencing the unpleasant aspects of growing old. A lot of knee and shoulder pain have been occupying a great deal of my time and attention. Since this is the time of year I don’t spend much of my time traveling anyway, I haven’t really considered how I might look to the outside world, but a visit from my grandsons took care of that.

I went from days of my physical therapist spending her time and effort to make me contort myself into positions that she assured me were better for me: Me: But Kayla, I can’t bend my leg like that–Kayla: Sure you can–let me just add this weight to help you. I advanced from that to at least two of the three grandsons visiting and finding that dear old Grandma is a little under the weather.

Now, Grandma usually has some kind of fancy meal for when they arrive. This time they got hamburgers and chips–because Grandma couldn’t do much cooking. They ate without complaining, but before and during the meal, I got lots of hugs (unprompted, which is unusual) from the middle child and the oldest, unbidden, loaded the dishwasher, insisting that “I can bend over a lot easier than you, Grandma, I’ll do it.”

Walking around, using a walking stick for balance and trying to get by with a clumsy gait, I think, at least the older two gave me a lot sympathy. The youngest, not having seen me for several months, was not too receptive. He clung to Daddy and Grandpa and tended to give Grandma and her clutzy walking a wide berth. He responded when questioned, but when you are two and a half, you either are interested in something or you’re not.

I had a little better success when I put on Curious George–a perennial favorite show. He watched with rapt attention, even when his oldest brother–a fan from way back–complained about the quality of the artwork–he remembered it as being better. I tried to explain that a different television can change things, but I was an old woman on a crutch–what did I know?

I was moving around the house, making sure everybody had all of their things, when I noticed the two and a half year old, squatting a little and grunting. “Oh, oh, he’s trying to fill his pants,” I thought. I was incorrect. Watching him more closely as I followed him down the hall, I realized he was simply bending his knees slightly and walking in a slow, ponderous way which was kind of familiar to me. Then, I heard him, grunting with every step just as I was doing. This, then, was the 2 1/2 year old’s perception of what I looked was not flattering.

So, while I struggle to recover from all of my problems, I must face the fact that my oldest grandson is more helpful and considerate, the middle grandson believes I’ll be cured if he just gives me a little extra lovin’, and for the youngest grandson, my physical struggles are an opportunity for him to do a little mimicry and provide me with a mirror to see my own physical presence. I think it’s time to do the job and recover, if only to prove to the youngest that he is not quite correct in how Grandma normally appears!

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