Day 28 of the June Challenge

Twenty-eight Dominoes

June 28, 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo along with his wife, Duchess Sophie. This assassinated started a domino effect resulting in World War I.

There are 28 dominoes in a full set of dominoes. Do you like to play dominoes? Do you like to play games? Why or Why not? What are your favorite games? Tell us about a time you played a game with friends or family.
Or write about The Big Game from your high school or college days.”

So … Do I like playing games…? NO!

I grew up playing cards with mom, grandma and the sisters. I even played tri-dominos with my grandma Kay. But my love of playing games fell away and I don’t even know when. My enjoyment for playing games, the challenge was still around when I was 23. That is when I tried out for and was on the gameshow – Super Password – back in 1986. I played well, well enough to become a retired 5-time undefeated champion. But I wonder if that was when my game playing enjoyment began to fade.

I became a person who was not a game player.

Some may say, often it was my children who I heard saying it in different ways, I am too serious in life. It was needed back then. But stalking can have that affect on a gal.

I remember … there was this one time, in 2001 — I remember when I felt forced to learn to play the color bubble game on the computer, yep, by my kids. I felt forced at the time. But I really tired to learn to relax and do something to affirm life.

“Come on mom, you can learn to play it. We’ll teach you!”

The kids repeated often. So I relented in hopes of getting them off my back. After all, I could no longer resist the willing encouragement from my two beauties.

A week later my son, Ethan, age 10-ish lead the troops into the house from school. Kayla, 8, was right on his heals when they found me sitting at the computer and he said with much surprise, “Mom, what are you doing?”

I looked up, a bit of guilt in my eyes, “I am playing the game you taught me to play,” my cheeks became flush as I looked to see the glee in his expression. Both he and Kayla gather around me in disbelief with giggles. I know they thought I must be just hammering out another article. But to their surprise… I really was playing the game they had encouraged me to learn to play.

So now, even with the empty nest, when I am board and want a bit of that happiness back… I find a modern game associated with colored bubbles and I download it and play it in memory of that once joyous time.

Oh for the colored bubbles my kids just knew they could teach me to play with. ❤

Day 7 – Seven Days Off

The June Challenge Day 7 brings up another anniversary:

“June 7, 1982. Priscilla Presley opened Graceland to the public.
Many Elvis fans have taken vacations to Memphis just so they can tour Graceland.

Where would you like to visit on your next vacation? What would you do with seven days off? What is your idea of a perfect week-long vacation?”


There was a time, as a mum on the farm, as a young mother trying to keep her children, and self, safe from the stalking ex-husband/dad I would have said … “va…… what?” and needed to look this word up to find out its definition. But I am able to smile now, as I know what this word v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n means.

I wouldn’t mind going to Yosemite National Park.
It is a beautiful place I grew up in summers as a child. I desire to go see the house my grandfather, father and cousins built, back when private parties still owned property within the gates. I desire to allow myself the joys of what was and see how relaxing it still is now with all of the grandeur the good Lord has granted.

With seven days off I would go hiking – I’d love to hike up beside Nevada Falls (again), sleep in, swim, hot tub, eat well, enjoy some Champers with breakfast and listen to the earth and the animals instead of music, TV and/or the computer. And time without the concerns of home (the dogs and cats) nor work … enjoying life and laughter with my spouse-type fella is my idea of a perfect week-long vacation no matter what we are doing together. Yosemite will, most likely, always be there so time off anywhere, even home is just fine with me.

Days 6 — Six Sounds I Love or Hate

June 6, 1944. The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded in London?

Are you a fan of the song YMCA by The Village People? Or do you hate it?

Write about and share six songs or artists you love or six songs you hate. This is a chance to learn how to embed media in a post.”

My 6 telltale sounds:

  1. One sound I love is the cry of a newborn baby. Some folks are irritated with new mums who don’t stop their babies from crying, but not me… there is a distinct tenner to a newborn baby’s cry who is just pissed at the world because he/she is hungry and they don’t yet understand, for example, that mum can’t stop in the middle of the store and feed them. It is one sound that makes this mommy smile at such a wonderful sound.
  2. The sound of a light wind through the trees, now that is a sound that is relaxing to me. The wind has its own music and when it lightly pushes the leaves around on… Aspens, Polar and Maple type trees it soothes something in me.
  3. A hawk’s cry and the wwhhoooppp wwwhhhhooooopp wwwhhooopp of his/her wings as they cut through the air that is most often accompanying the cry. I live in a mountain area. I am blessed with raptors of many variety and am blessed with the sight of Golden Eagles, California Condors, Turkey Vultures, some Bald Eagles, Red Tailed Hawks, Crows and Ravens in the Cummings Valley.
  4. The sound of light music. For example, Ray Charles’s version of “Georgia on My Mind”. Just a few bars in and my heart swells. You see, it is a song that my son came to love. There are other songs too, that I would not know if it were not for one of my three children introducing them to me. (It worked out to be a great trade-off for us all.) Those songs I like. I like hearing the Piano rendition of “Overdue” by David somebody. And then there are the songs from Phantom of the Opera, my youngest beauty loves that production and the music from it. And hearing it makes me smile again and again.
  5. The sound of my dogs’ claws ticking on the tile floor when they think they’ve heard something and they just know they need to come see what it is.
  6. The sound of silence – this sound causes me to be filled with mixed pleasures and pain. I used to love getting on a horse and heading across the pasture, up into the mountains, etc., hearing the silence of all around me – except the wind and the hoof-falls of the horse. I used to love the air devoid of anything hitting my eardrums, too.

    But then there came a time when the silence was scary (during the years the kids and I were stalked). Then I found myself, my mind, my ears searching for sounds. Searching so much that I began playing music or the TV in the background most to help my mind get some rest, when it could.

    The silence became painful there for a while – after the death of my son. Even driving to and from work was difficult, to say the least. For weeks, if not months, I had to be “talked to work” and “talked home” by one of my family members. Then came the last 12 months that my house has been empty of children. As the girls spread their wings and find their own way I find the house silent. It’s taken a while, but now, now I am pleased to announce I am finding myself not even turning on the radio for background noise. It is the silence that I am finding comfort in, once again, and this makes my heart sing again.

    What do you find easy or hard to listen to?

The Strength of Anger

In the five stages of grief:

There was no chance to work through Denial…. that call from the Sheriff… well, the “I am sorry to have to tell you this over the phone…” nope, no chance for Denial in this Grief.

Bargaining was taken out of the equation too, because I believed the Sheriff. I mean, who would lie about a thing like this. I don’t even believe, a couple of weeks later, the night I brought Ethan’s ashes home, that I thought any kind of barging could be struck. I just wailed, “I want my son back.” Repeatedly. It was not a bargaining request. It was a painful, loud, repetitive fact. One I had to work through.

Depression, it is a part of my grief. It still comes and hides and comes again. I know it is here for the long haul.

Acceptance … I did that early too. Even if I did tell the Sheriff, “I can’t talk about this now, I will have to call you back.” It was because I couldn’t hear any more. His words stung my ears and my heart. But there were too many news reports; too many conformations for me to even think this was not real. And later, my wish, no my prayer: “Please don’t make Ethan’s death be in vain,” has been answered time and time again.

It is that Anger that is rearing it’s ugly head … again. It hit me very hard as my mind wrapped around the Sheriff’s words making me understand the oddness in my kids’ step-mom voice that morning, on the phone. And my (then) husband’s softly spoken, “You are going to have to call. You’re his mom. They won’t release any information to anyone that his not his next of kin.”

And the Anger has swelled many a time over the last 5 years 9 months and 2 days. But I have been able to keep in caged, most of the time. But, it began to have a life this weekend. A life of it’s own. I did release it in the company of comfort; with someone I am completely comfortable with, completely trust; someone who does not look at me like I have two heads.

But I did not like that it grew and grew and grew
and I did not stop it.
I did not like that I actually fed it.

Allowed it to blossom.

Not one other person around us knew what was growing inside of me.
Not one other person around us heard what I was saying.
They did not hear the conversation my confidant and I were having.
But I don’t like that I was in public.

I don’t like that after the conversation ended the Anger stayed around… it did not go back into its cage. It lingered at the door waiting to be given free rain to destruct.


I have always been afraid of this beast called grief.
I have worried it would grow so big that I would get lost in it.
I have worried it would engulf me.
Be more powerful than I.

And this weekend … it felt too comfortable letting the Anger exist.
Darn it!



Day 5 Five Favorite Foods

June 5, 1941. Robert Kraft, founder of Kraft Foods, was born.

I have been challenged to tell about my five favorite foods or five favorite restaurants. I will tell a little bit about both.

My Favorite Foods:

  1. Leg of Lamb

    My mum cooked us a Leg of Lamb, Greek style, which is to say that she cut into the leg meat with a sharp knife and inserts a clove of raw garlic, then she would slather the fat-sided up leg with yellow mustard and sprinkle with garlic salt. I am grateful that my mum,  not only handed down a traditional Greek receipt, but shared this with me as I still prepare and cook my lamb in this fashion.

  2. Champagne

A Brut. With fresh fruit or without, with… for Sunday breakfasts or mid-day. Oh… wait that is made of grapes.

  1. Eggs Benedict

  2. Green/garden salad —

    It’s just tossed green lettuce, tomatoes, sometimes green onions, sometimes radishes, sometimes black olives, but usually Fetta or soft Goat cheese or Blue Cheese and the  family’s homemade oil and vinegar “Greek” salad dressing.

  3. And instead of a 5th favorite food I will tell you my favorite restaurant:

My Favorite Restaurant is Parkway Grille on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena, Calif.

– It is one of the 5 restaurants that Greg and his family owned when I was in my early 20s. Back then my spouse-type fella (not then, we were only dating then – 30 years ago) trained a good number of the opening staff for Parkway Grille and I was “trained there” by another waiter just before the opening of Crocodile Café, on Lake Ave in Pasadena. I love the level of gourmet food that constantly comes out the Open Air kitchen and has since 1984. Plus, now the head Mixologist, Mark, makes a wonderful set of cocktails.


Day 3 Three Things I Can’t Live Without


“June 3, 1937. The Duke of Windsor married American Wallis Simpson. He loved her so much he knew he could not live without her, so he gave up the Crown of Great Britain to marry her.

What are three things you can’t live without (or wouldn’t want to)?”

Day 3 of the June Challenge –

I used to think I couldn’t live without my three (3) beautiful gifts from God – my son (Ethan), my daughters (Kayla and Elantra) – but life has taught me differently with the murder of my son and the fall out, within the family since. So, I hold out for not one more thing that I would believe I could not live without for fear that that too would be taken from me.



Day 2 Two Goals for June

“June 2, 1835.  P.T. Barnum and his circus started their first tour of the United States.

Do you want to learn to ride an elephant? Or fly on a trapeze? Or juggle fire? What new ills would you like to learn? Or do you simply want to improve in some area of your lives? Do you have projects that you’ve started and desire to finish?”

Well since I have already ridden an elephant, and done a shorter, 10 foot, high fall (which is close enough to a trapeze that I am okay with that), been spun on a wheel and hand knives thrown at me (on the Wheel of Death by Larry Cisewski) and jumped out of a perfectly good airplane I have to admit my goals for June, as of May 30 were different then it seems they need to be today, June 2nd.

Goal 1 – Get more of the bushes planted at my home.

I have shrubs and rose bushes that I wanted to get planted last year, but a very badly broken leg sidelined me last year so this year, no this month, I have set a goal of getting as many planted as I can physically plant myself. I hate working so hard to keep plants alive in their “greenhouse pots”, for years now, just to have them die because they are root bound. So, I have gotten the holes begun, I soaked them again this morning, and I will be putting no less than two shrubs in the ground tonight. Yes, tonight. Right. No turning back.

Goal 2 – Get the spare bedroom transformed into my sewing room.

Part of the fallout of the murder of my son, Ethan, was the final falling apart of my marriage. With that came a big move and the loss of my sewing studio. I miss my creative space. It is time, yes it is time to regain that which the murderer and the wake of someone else’s actions has knocked over, destroyed and tried their best to take away from me. I will take the extra clothing, that is already separated into bags, out of the room, wash the floor and paint the walls.

Goal 3 – Get my instructors certificates.

This is the new goal presented to me with the closing of May and the beginning of June. I have been asked to take on becoming an NRA trained and certified firearms safety instructor. Hence enabling me to work as an instructor with the local firearms store (and?). And last night I was shown which classes I should take and, well, the first class is June 18th. So, I shall take this class, take the tests, prove my safety first thinking and take more classes.

It is interesting that as I allow some doors to become opened, I push to open a couple for myself (again), more and even some unexpected doors are opening as well. This June 2016 is promising to be an interesting one.

I hope, by the end of the month I can show positive fruits of my labor.

June 1st challenge

Today I will be accepting a June challenge from KathleenBDuncan…

Day 1 One Piece of Advice —

On June 1, 1926 American actor Andy Griffith was born. He played the role of the sheriff of Mayberry in The Andy Griffith Show. He was often shown giving fatherly advice to his deputy Barney Fife (played by Don Knotts) and his son Opie (played by Ron Howard).

Share one piece of fatherly (or motherly) advice.

What one piece of advice would you give your teenage self? What would you tell a couple about to get married or have a baby? What one piece of advice did someone give you that you’d like to pass on to others? What one piece of advice would you give a new blogger

Share the wisdom!

<b>My Advice is to put your best effort forward each and every day.</b>

I know this may sound overly simple, but in reality it has a wide birth of ramifications.

You see, if you put your best effort out each day, even if one day’s best effort is not but 20% of your very best… well, it does not really matter. Because, after all, if you put your best efforts into each day then who, including St. Peter, can deny that you have done your best each day.