Relief from political distress, day 15…


We were tired after spending most of the week inside the rental car, driving from one end of Yellowstone to the next, in an effort to see everything the park had to offer. In truth we only managed to see about 5% of what the park had to offer, but found we were blessed by  everything we saw. On our way out of the park after having spent the day being awed by the majestic Tetons, we slowed the car down curious to see why everyone ahead of us were pulled off, to the side of the road. Scanning into the distance we followed the pointing fingers from cars ahead and found a wolf, resting in the tall grass. A WOLF!! Naturally, I pulled out my camera and began snapping photos. When the wolf became bored by the human onlookers, he stood up, looked around and began moving away. As we slowly drove away, geeked out happy that we had spied an elusive wolf, I went back and looked through the photos I’d just taken with the camera’s viewfinder, landing on the many photos of the wolf. Taking a closer look, my husband announced “Um, that’s not a wolf…” “What? Yes it is..” we all replied. “No, no it’s not. That’s a coyote,” hubby replied, disappointed. 

All the excitement over the day’s discoveries seemed to vanish with that one realization: What we thought we had found, turned out to be something else…

Election moral of the story: be careful who you vote for, they may be completely different from who you thought they were.


Beautiful coyote of Yellowstone

dumbstruck trilogy…


I’ve said this before, but I think it bears repeating; parents today have an unfair advantage over their children’s school performance records. Why, if my parents had been able to spy my grades whenever they felt the need to while I was in high school, I think I would have been grounded most weekends. Thankfully, my children are much better students than I was, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need the occasional reminder to do better.

So was the case this past week when the doll, eager to show me her all “A” end of the first quarter grades, asked me to open the online reporting system. After congratulating her on her accomplishments, I quickly jumped over to see how the boy was fairing. All A’s except for a pesky B in English. Curious, I opened the link to his class and found that since the start of October, he failed to turn in his assignments. “Bay…” I called him into the kitchen.

“What’d ya need Momma?” He asked, entering the kitchen carrying his iPod for viewing and earbud headphones comfortably resting in his ears. “Bay, what’s going on with this class?” I asked pointing to the screen shot. “Yeah, I’m carrying a B- in the class, no big deal,” He replied. “Bay, I’m not concerned about the “B-“, bur rather the reasons listed here for why you have that grade. You have two in-completes and three missing assignments. What’s going on?” I asked. Lifting his left hand to his eyes to rub, he replied, “I’m having a trouble finding the time to get that work done…” He replied.


I was dumbstruck.

“What?” I asked hoping he would elaborate on his answer. “I’m too busy. Haven’t you ever noticed how stressed out I am in the morning? That’s when I do all my English homework; in the mornings, before school and I’m always running out of time,” He explained.


Even more dumbstruck by his explanation.

“Bay, when you come home from school, what is your usual routine?” I asked. “What do you mean?” He replied. “I mean, what do you usually do when you come home from school… oh and let’s say this is after one of your clubs, just to be fair,” I explained. “When I get home around four thirty, the first thing I do is make myself something to eat, before I get started on any of the homework I didn’t finish at school,” He replied. “So, that’s like what, three hours of work?” I asked giving him what I thought was a generous window of time in which to get his work finished. “Yeah, so…” He replied. “Well, let’s see…that takes you up to about 8:00 pm. Yet everyday I see you connected to that iPod from eight until eleven when you go to bed…a full three more hours in which, you could finish that English…” I said.

He was not amused.

“That’s my “free time”, he replied.


I couldn’t believe it! That boy struck me dumb three times in one conversation.

“Free time? Free time? What in the heck is that and more importantly, why do you need free time? I mean you don’t have a job outside this house, so your number one job would be to keep your grades up. Wait, I know when you’re free time is… that’s the weekends at your grandmothers,” I replied. “You don’t understand the stress I’m under…” He argued. “Tell me… explain…” I replied. “I have a research paper I’m working on, plus I have interviews I have to arrange, take notes and then write…I need that free time to make sure I get everything accomplished,” he tried. “Everything except your English…” I countered and he walked out of the room. “Bay,” I continued as I followed him, “You want to be an English teacher, right?” He stopped, sat down and then nodded in agreement. “What will you tell your student who decides not to do his assignments for lack of “Free time?” “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I don’t understand what’s the big deal… I mean it’s a B- which isn’t a bad grade…” He came back.

“The big deal is that you’ve made an agreement with the school and your parents to do your best work and this B- is far from being your best. Next year when you’re in college, you will be the sole person responsible for keeping those grades up. In addition, if you choose not to do your very best, you’ll be wasting your own money, possibly even losing a scholarship or two in the process,” I tried. “You’re being over dramatic,” he argued. “Maybe so, but dude, if you can’t seem to manage the time you have now and get ALL your work done, you’ll be screwed in college,” I replied, then left him alone to contemplate improving his grades.


Relief from political distress, day 16…


Over the past four months, I posted photos taken from various family vacations taken over the years, but today, I thought I’d stay closer to home. Last year, my hometown was named one of top areas of the country in which to live, due in large part to the large quantity of outdoor recreational areas located within the city or within a 20 mile radius from our downtown area. After reading about the newest metro-park to open in the area this morning, the hubby suggested we take an afternoon jaunt out into the country to take a look.

Thus after a rather quiet day of news headlines, I give you a quiet day spent walking inside the Blue Creek MetroPark located in Whitehouse, Ohio. Enjoy…

Milkweed cotton blowing in the wind resemble fireworks against the sky

Milkweed cotton blowing in the wind resemble fireworks against the sky


tall ornamental grass against the beautiful blue Ohio sky…


End of life warm and fuzzy's ?

End of life warm and fuzzy’s ?



Relief from political distress, day 17…


Over the course of the election cycle, I heard a few names applied to various candidates, which liken them to reptiles or small mammals, commonly known to as snakes and rodents. While I’m not what you would call a “snake or rodent” person, I nonetheless find this type name calling a huge disservice to small mammals everywhere. Considering, these animals probably work harder and are more productive than most politicians, not to mention, a whole lot cuter.

Judge for yourself….


Marmet on boulder on the way to Gibbon Falls, Yellowstone, NP July 2016

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrell

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel- Lewis Falls, Yellowstone NP



Yellowstone Chipmunk 2016

Yellowstone Chipmunk 2016

Unita Ground Squirrel, Yellowstone, NP

Unita Ground Squirrel, Yellowstone, NP







Relief from political distress, day 18…


This is my take on the upcoming election: Regardless who wins, there are a lot more unknowns (country’s direction), than knowns. Hopefully, in the aftermath of these horrible campaigns, the path forward will be made clearer, enabling us to heal/bridge the gap to some of the divisions that continue to plague our society. Let’s hope so… 

By the way, do you see the mountain in this picture? 

peering into the future…


“I’ve come to believe I have OCD when it comes to holding doors open for folks,” The boy explained as the last person exited the building. “Yeah? Well, you’ve done a great job today,” the man replied before turning his attention back to the young college student conducting the University campus tour we were on. After making a point of walking into every major building on campus, our guide stopped and apologized, “Before we go in, let me premise this by saying, this particular residence offers the smallest accommodations/dorm rooms on campus. In fact, due to your tour group size, you might only be able to peer inside the room from the hallway, simply because the room won’t accommodate these many people,” She finished. Yet one by one, we all had the opportunity to step inside the tiny room, look around and then exit. “This is perfect…” The boy mumbled aloud, just before we turned to leave.

Following the tour I asked the boy how he felt about possibly of attending this university next fall. “Eh, I liked the campus and architecture, though the one building that’s supposed to represent a receding glacier looked more like a freighter,” He explained. “Buildings aside, do you think you could see yourself living and going to school on this campus…?” “Maybe…’ He replied honestly.

A few hours later, we took another tour at a small private University not far from home and once again, he expressed interest in the campus. “I’m really torn between the two…” He said. “Well let’s go over the pros and cons…” I offered. “Mom, this private college is too expensive,” He noted. “Let’s worry about that later, okay? Let’s concentrate on if you think you could see yourself attending this school. The biggest problem I see bay is your transportation to school. You need to get your driver’s license to get to classes. If you attended the other school and lived on campus, you could walk or take buses everywhere…” I said. “Mom, you know my position on driving..” He replied. “Bay, you need to overcome your fear of dying a fiery death…” I replied. “Easier said than done…” He offered.

“Mom, I liked both schools…” The boy said this afternoon. “I did too…” I replied. “I’m not sure my grades and ACT score would be enough to make the private school affordable though,” He explained. “I know, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. In addition, you’ll be expected to “work” on campus to pay your way…” I replied. “I know, I talked to one of the women about possible jobs…” He replied and smiled, “You didn’t know I did that, did you…” “Impressed bay, I’m in impressed,” I said. “Yes, I could tutor, work in the library among other areas to help offset the cost,” He explained.

Well we have a few more schools to see in the coming weeks… are you getting nervous?” I wondered. “To tour the campuses?  Not really. To go to school…yes. Definitely, yes” He replied.

“I know how ya feel bay,” I said to myself, “I know how you feel…”






Relief from political distress, day 19…


Last night, midway through the debate, I found myself torn: Continue watching the third debate or change over and watch American Horror Story’s much anticipated “game changing” episode six? Both offered compelling reasons to watch. With kudos to Chris Wallace’s strong  skills as Moderator, this third and final Presidential debate before the election, was (up to that point) entertaining, informative and in some spots downright hilarious. But the pull to watch a fictional horror story rather than the very real (Horrifying) political one playing out before us, won out. Happily the doll and I enjoyed our guilty pleasure, screaming, jumping and occasionally laughing at one another’s reactions to the action taking place on the screen. Once the episode came to a close, I did in fact return to the debate saved on YouTube and finished watching.

Hindsight being 20/20, I believe my decision to watch American Horror Story was the better choice between the two shows, save for one thing. When Chris Wallace tired of Mr. Trump’s interruptions; keeping him from controlling the debate pointedly said, “I’m not a potted plant here I’m allowed to ask you questions…”

In respect, I give you a once potted plant, now firmly planted in my garden, known as the “Celebration” flower. Rather an apt flower to help us “celebrate” the near conclusion of the presidential debate and election seasons.

"Celebration" photo taken on a foggy, damp morning; water clinging to the plant.

“Celebration” photo taken on a foggy, damp morning; water droplets clinging to the petals, leaves and stem.