Archive forSeptember, 2012


Will everything fit as we prepare to head south Wednesday? We’re still cramming. The back seat of the truck is a real challenge. We’ll somehow need to fit in two gym bags (for our overnight stay while in route), a hammered dulcimer, saxophone, banjo, autoharp, huge marimbula, Charlie our bird in his crate, camera bag, computer bags x 2, snack food, file box, etc.

The bed of the truck is nearly full. John has yet to pack his clothing bin, wine/juice in covered pails, some food, and some small items which hopefully will fit in. His bike will go on the “back porch” (which is a deck that goes into the trailer hitch).

Will everything fit?

Stay tuned.


It will work!! Still a few things to slip in the cracks, but we’ll be able to fit everything in. I’m still cleaning house and wrapping up all the chores here. We leave tomorrow!!!!

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Saying Good-Bye

We’re packing in earnest this weekend. That way, when everything’s stowed in our truck, I can easily go through and polish and dust so we’ll leave our house clean. True, it’ll get dusty the winter, but hopefully it’ll feel cleaner when we return than if I didn’t put forth this effort. The windows won’t be done (and they need it), but it would be wasted effort, since the winter grime would cover up any efforts I’d make now.

Today’s Saturday. We’re down to single digits on our countdown to our departure on Wednesday a.m. We could actually take off earlier, but there’s no rush, and this way, we will be totally ready to pull out. John can even spend time making wine and picking fruit to take with us.

The next few days here are supposed to be lovely (high 60’s.) In fact Monday through Wednesday it’ll probably reach the low 70’s, but toward the end of next week, Michigan will be hit with a brutal cold spell that will include frost.

Florida’s weather is predicted to be cooler than it has been with lots of rain. That’s unfortunate, since I am anticipating lots of pool time. Oh, well, we’ll make the best of it and get our flu shots, sign up for our new gate pass, stock our refrigerator, clean the condo, and enjoy some social time.

Tonight here in Saginaw, we’ll go to a dinner at the Moose Club. We attended a similar event last year and it was very nice. We skipped the Original Dulcimer Players Club’s annual meeting today in Evart, MI, but it wasn’t necessary that I attend, and the travel expense and our commitments here were more important.

We are anticipating Florida fun.

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New “Header” Photo

I figured it was time for a change. I’ve inserted a new photo in the “header” position (at the top of this page).

The small photo directly above is a reduced-size version of the one I used for several years for Sharon’s Blog. It was taken at one of our favorite outdoor restaurants, Little Harbor Marina on Tampa Bay. The picture was out of date. The pier had been replaced several years ago so it no longer resembles the photo.

The newer picture which is now in the “header” is one that I took out the back of our condo. You can see why I want to enlarge the window so this view is visible to me when I’m seated in our great room. The sunsets from our condo are often fantastic. This one was sensational! It was taken October 16th, 2011. The summer and fall seasons seem to produce more colorful sunsets. (I want to get back before the season changes to the winter sky, which isn’t as dramatic.)

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Answering a “Why do you like Florida?” Inquiry

Here’s a (slightly revised) message I sent to a friend who wanted to know about Florida (she’s considering moving south). She only knew we love our Florida life and wanted to be filled in. You might be interested is my explanation to her. She asked about costs, pros and cons, and general information.

Here’s how I explained things to her:

Actually I don’t have a lot of knowledge about Florida in general. We moved to the community where we live because it was where my mom and dad had retired. I had to care for her so we went there. It ended up being an excellent choice for us, but I’m sure other folks would prefer other areas.

We have a place in Kings Point, a gated community, within Sun City Center. It’s about 30 miles east and south from Tampa. Ours is a very social environment. We love the activities which are centered around two large club houses, four outdoor pools, three indoor pools, tennis and pickleball courts, classes of every type, clubs of every ilk. We personally love dancing and belong to a ballroom dance club, a baby boomers club, a country couples club, line dance, and an Oldies but Goodies club. We also belong to the Michigan Club, a writers club, John’s in the chorus and we are part of several other organizations.

We pay a monthly home owners fee (about $400 a month) over and above our household expenses which goes to our owners association. The activities and facilities within Kings Point are supported by the HOA fees. The fee also covers cable TV, our “exterior” insurance, our lawn care, water bill, and maintenance on the exterior of the unit. It’s worth it. We have exercise rooms, safety, educational choices and fun.

With the exception of the Oldies but Goodies club and an occasional dance outside the gate, all the activities we are involved with are in Kings Point.

Why do we like the gated community? We can easily be snowbirds and spend six months in Michigan without worrying about our place in Florida. It is maintained without us being there. The city outside the gate (Sun City Center), is well kept, but the homeowners are responsible for their own lawn care, roofs, painting, etc. Often they pay a lot for services that are done for us.

Our residence is a condo which we purchased in 2008. It’s about 1,500 sq ft with a huge lanai (screened porch). We’re located on a golf course with a view of two lovely ponds. We’re within walking distance to one of the two club clubhouses with a large heated pool.

The landscaping is very nice. It’s a place you can be proud of. Kings Point has about 8,500 residents. Sun City Center has about 10,000.

The primary negative is the heat in summer. The area really clears out during the mid-summer months. It is in the 90’s most days with humidity. (Sorta like a hot, humid Michigan day but all the time.) Our area has successfully gotten rid of mosquitoes but we do have pesky “lovebugs” that don’t buzz or bite but they nearly crowd us out two times a year for a couple weeks each time. Sometimes January and February can get pretty chilly, but most of the time, we are able to enjoy the pool and lots of out-door time.

We have friends who first tried Sarasota but they sold their place there, and now live in our Kings Point community. Why? … They are very conscious of the risk of hurricanes (because they work with emergency radio and with emergency medical services). Sarasota was too vulnerable and at sea level, so they felt it was a risk. Our community is more elevated and 7 miles from Tampa Bay. We are the evacuate “to” area for much of our county. (We are where they’d direct folks if there is an approaching storm.) Our buildings are all cement block so very sturdy and quite storm resistent.

The community is enhanced with many volunteers. There’s a wonderful emergency service which staffs a free ambulance service for both Kings Point and Sun City Center. It’s a model for any community that cherishes it’s residences.

Kings Point also has the unique distinction of being served by a bus route with buses that will take you to doctor appointments, shopping centers, etc. It’s all free to residents.

But by some, KP is thought of as sort of unfriendly because you can’t just drive in. You must have approval of a resident before you can enter the manned gates.

Expenses?? Housing is CHEAP! You can buy an older unit for about $30,000 but you still have to pay that $400 home owners fee monthly. Of course there are nicer places up to about $200,000. Those same units were priced at $300,000 a few years ago, but we were really hit hard when the housing market tanked. (Values are gradually recovering but there are lots of deals to be had.)

You can also rent in the area. There are two kinds of rentals, annual and seasonal.) Annual is cheaper. Prices run as low as $800 a month if you sign a year lease. Seasonal rentals are generally for three or six months at a time (or occasionally one month). You can rent inexpensive units for about $1,500 a month (with a 3 month lease). Most of the seasonal rentals come furnished, but the yearly rates are proportionally lower and you generally provide your own furnishings. (Be aware that there’s a hefty tax assessed by the state of Florida for units rented for less than six months.)

Our condo is pretty typical. It’s about 15 years old but it’s been VERY well maintained with a new roof installed last year and the exterior totally painted (all of that exterior work was paid by our home owners association).

We have two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a two-car garage, a huge living area 20 x 22, a dining room, kitchen, and my office.

Most everyone has a golf cart and the whole town is covered with golf cart paths. (After dark, you can’t have them on the streets in Sun City Center but it’s acceptable in Kings Point if you are equipped with headlights.)

We drive our big GMC diesel truck down there (to bring all the stuff we need for our stay). But once we’re down there, we put the truck in the RV storage area (which we rent for an extra annual fee) and we use our Florida car which is waiting for us in our garage. The other half of our garage is for our golf cart and a workshop for John. Also my washer and drier are in the garage (which I prefer because it’s always warm down there and the extra heat and mess is kept out of the house).

Food costs are a little higher than in Michigan but we pay less for our heating/air conditioning. (We paid last year to have a humidistat installed and it lowered the summer electric bill by about $40 monthly because the A/C doesn’t run as often but it’s triggered when needed to keep the humidity down.) Insurance is higher but part is covered by our home owners fee.

Yes, having a home in Florida is a luxury for us and we have no plans to sell our Michigan home. But I know that if anything ever happened to John, it’s where I would choose to live. It would be doable for me. I could swing it financially and it’s an easy life-style. If I ever got so I couldn’t drive, there are the buses and that’s a big sell to some folks. (Kings Point is the only city with this service.)

But for us it’s the pools, clubhouses, and the friends we have made. It seems that because everyone is from some place else, they are all open and friendly. I know everyone in my neighborhood down there. We socialize a lot and they are friends. Contrast that with my Michigan neighborhood where I can’t tell you the names of my next door neighbors and wouldn’t recognize them if I saw them elsewhere.

I am reluctant to encourage folks to come to our area. It’s kind of “our secret” but I do love it!!

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Maybe we could use a shoe horn

[Note: The number of days until we leave automatically updates so the “countdown” will continue until our departure.]

The big question: Will everything fit in our truck? Every year we vow the load we’re hauling south will be smaller the next time. Hasn’t happened yet, and in fact it tends to grow, and this year our stuff may not be able to be squeezed in.

I’m so fanatical about “planning” that I’m actually thinking about doing a scale-model of the back of our truck to see how many plastic “bins” and other bulky items we can crowd into the available space. Instead, I’ve “prioritized” my stuff. I have two bins of clothes and a bin of electronic stuff. John has one clothing bin plus a zipper bag for his suits. There are a couple additional boxes and John will put his bike on the back rack. All of hese things MUST go with us.

In the back seat of the truck, we will pack Charlie in his big cage, a box of our important papers and our instruments. Our overnight bag and munchies will also go in.

But if there’s room (doubtful), we’d like to bring along some other items including an inflatable bed, pump, and frame. We also need to fit in some grape juice which we’ll allow to ferment in Florida.

The plan is to start loading up the truck on the 30th, that’s next weekend. We may have to leave some stuff behind and we want to do it right.

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Cute suit

Ok, so I’m a bit of a clothes nut. I don’t go shopping in stores very often, but I do love having nice things to wear. (Don’t all women?)

I use eBay and for most of my purchases.

My method: I buy primarily things I know will fit in a style that is similar to what I have. I insist on measurements and compare them to clothes that I know fit me. I also try to always have a little spandex in the fabric contentent.

Others have said, “How can you buy a bathing suit without trying it on?”

I get wonderful deals on new swimsuits on eBay. I buy from only three brands of quality suits. I know how they fit me. I like Miraclesuit, Carole Wior, or Gottex. Generally I pay less that 25% for a suit which is good because I go through suits fast. (The Florida sun, chlorine, and long periods I wear them means that I’m lucky to get two seasons out of a suit even if I switch it with others and only wear it every other week or so.)

I just got a new one which arrived today. It’s marked $168 with tags and the sanitary liner. It’s a Gottex, stylish, fully lined, with removable straps. I paid $25.51 including shipping. That’s $142 off the original price. It fits like a dream and it’s cuter than I thought! Now I’m even more anxious to get to Florida and go to the pool.

When we arrive, I know there’ll be work to be done, but as soon as we can, I want to head to the pool in my new suit.

As I wrote two days ago, the only way I’ll be satisfied is if I can shed a little weight. I’m sure trying. The new suit is inspiration!

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Condo Renovation

When we get to Florida, I want to have a contractor in mind for the renovation to our condo which hopefully we can have complete by the middle of November.

The window in our great room has 12-panes which crank out and allow lots of wind to whistle in around them. (Especially in January, when it’s often chilly.)

We would have the window and an extra amount below the window removed. The replacement window would be a “slider.”

I went to a Florida contractor’s website (Knox) and found the look I’m thinking of. It would certainly be an improvement.

If you look at the doors in the two photos, you can see that our current top of the window is considerably higher than the door. I have a feeling our wall is taller than the one in the contractor’s photo. If the opening is too tall for the window I show, a fixed transom type window like the small photo, could be put above the slider. Either way, it would give us a much better view, and a better “match” to the other condos in our building. (We’re the only one with those ugly windows. All the others have the kind we’re proposing.)

Here’s the composite photo taking a photo from Knox site, and Photoshopping it with the photo of our place now. It gives you a good idea of what it would look like. Much better!!

Although I’m the one pushing this project, John acknowledged that our place looks shabby from behind because of that window. All of the other units in our building have windows similar to what we are proposing. We’d be a better fit.

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My Goal: eliminate pounds and inches

I want to lose about 15 pounds! A couple of weeks ago vowed to quit procrastinating and make the effort. I’m not happy with my shape. Within those two to three weeks, I’ve lost maybe five pounds, which is a good start, but I can’t seem to make any dent in the next 15. And if I don’t hang in there, I’ll re-gain the five I’ve already lost.

Now that I’ve started on my way to my goal, you’d think I’d be happier, but I see the next five pounds as almost impossible to shed.

My bulges and belly are discouraging.

And John told me the other day that “You’re getting a big butt.” He’s definitely my most effective critic. He doesn’t let me hang on to excuses.

I just bought another cute size 8 bathing suit. It’ll be a snug fit. With that incentive, I want to lose another five pounds before we take off for Florida.

Now if I could only select the pounds I want to lose. I don’t mind a little extra fullness in my face because it keeps me from looking older, but I want to have my old waist back or I want to shed some in that area as well as my “back fat” which creates an unacceptable “fullness”.

I remember when I was a size 2 or 4 with a 22 inch waist!!!! Sadly, that’s just a memory. I now wear a 8 or sometimes 10 and my waist is 28-30. I’m only 5’2″ so I end up looking like a dumpy, fat old lady.

Guess that’s what happens when you’re 70.

So here are my new rules:

  • When eating at home, a maximum of one glass of wine (or beer) with meals. (Once a week, if we go out for the evening, I can splurge a little.)
  • No more than one slice of toast in the a.m.
  • Count each chip, nut in trail mix, etc.
  • Write down EVERY BITE I eat and stick to less than 20 Weight Watcher points (and don’t cheat).
  • Enjoy a large lettuce salad (no dressing) with egg for most lunches.
  • Fill up on raw fruits and vegetables (consider them “free” from points)
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day and earn extra point allowance with exercise. (If weight doesn’t come off increase the time exercising.)
  • Wear my pedometer and track my walking. When in Michigan, make sure I walk at least 5,000 steps a day, and aim toward 10,000.
  • Fill up on water when hungry.

    Hopefully with these new rules, I can get rid of another five pounds before October 3rd when we leave and maybe those pounds will help eliminate a bulge or bump or two.

    My goal: Lose five pounds by October 3rd. Lose five more by November 1st and the last five by January 1st. Seems doable!

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    Fine tuning

    Packing is more than just boxing up items. When you’re going to “move” from one home to another for a six month stretch, it requires a lot of forethought. I have been trying to be sure that we aren’t leaving behind anything which will be essential to our comfort.

    Tax payments are a huge consideration. I have to make sure that in April, when it’s time to do Income Taxes, we are prepared. Today I went through our box of tax “back-up” information. Most of that stuff didn’t needed to be hauled to Florida, but I wanted to make sure that nothing we will need will be left behind. (I actually heard about a couple that had to make a trip back to Michigan from Florida because they forgot tax information they needed for their April 15th deadline.)

    I went through everything.

    Our accountant always asks for insurance information on all of our policies. So today I looked for the insurance receipts to be certain that we’d have them with us when required in Florida. I realized it would be a monumental task to go find all the back-up copies of all the payments on our four vehicles’ and two homes, so I called the insurance company and got a list of what we insure through them. We have a Chevy Malibu, GMC truck, and in Florida a Jaguar. Both our fifth wheel and golf cart are also covered. We also have coverage on our home, our condo, and an umbrella policy which extends the liability on everything.

    I asked State Farm Insurance if it was possible to find an area on-line where the payment information was clearly spelled out but, after trying to find something that would work, I decided the easiest way is to create my own list of insurance payments. It didn’t take long. With their list of our policies, I was able to fill in the payment amount for each. We’re set!!!

    Then I realized I also need license plate costs for our three licensed vehicles. I got the amount we paid on two of the three. (No problem, the third amount will be available by the time we’re asked to renew in March — before tax information is due).

    Why worry now? Because if I don’t take the documentation with us, we’ll have problems. We can’t just go back and get what we need.

    We have also been advised that when we get to Florida we’ll need to apply for new Kings Point identification cards for us and our vehicles (necessary to enter the complex, use any facilities, or attend any activities). The requirements to submit the applications are involved and specific. I can easily meet my Florida Condo residency requirements because I have a Florida drivers’ license, but John must prove his “part time” residency with back-up documentation. (They suggest cable or electric bills containing the “owner’s name” with address.) Most of our accounts are only in my name (because that’s how it was when we lived in Mom’s condo, and we just transferred the accounts). It’s also more difficult because we have chosen not to receive “paper” billing. It was therefore hard to prove his Florida involvement. I finally located a copy of our Hillsborough tax payment with his name on it and our Florida bank accounts. Hopefully those will be acceptable.

    It’s those little preparations that make our time in Florida easier and more relaxed. And I sure wouldn’t want to give John an excuse to head back early.

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    Fall’s in the air

    The grapes are harvested. The leaves are letting go of their branches and drifting to the ground. Mornings are cool with steam over our little lake.

    You can tell summer’s waning. Tomorrow and the next day will probably be the last 80 degree days for 2012. We’ll have to enjoy them.

    It’s been a long, hot summer. The unusual weather made for very hot May through August. The heavy rains we got at the beginning of August lessened the drought conditions we’d been plagued by until then. Of course months of dry weather and the hot weather in March impacted farm crops. No one has ever heard of 80+ degrees in March, but there were two weeks where the temps ranged from 70-87!!!! Trees leafed out, critters woke up, and spring arrived, two months ahead of schedule. Of course then it turned cold, so fruit crops were affected.

    We picked only about half the grapes we’d normally harvest. They’ve been squished but it’ll be months/years before this crop is drinkable wine.

    Yup, fall’s in the air.

    John said that at this point he’s not anxious to head south but if it turns cool (or better yet COLD), we both know he’ll feel differently.

    Come on, cool weather! Three weeks and counting until we leave!

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    Packing for Florida

    [Note: The number of days until we leave automatically updates so the “countdown” will continue until our departure.]

    Today I officially started “packing.” I don’t usually start this early, but as part of my plan for “purging” my closets, I am anxious to get all of the clothes I’m taking to Florida out of the closet. The remaining few items will be “harshly reviewed” and most of them will go to Goodwill. Every item I put in a bin is recorded so I can locate everything. I’ve already donated one gigantic load.

    Actually I kinda like the idea of getting stuff together to go. Makes it feel like we’re making progress toward our departure.

    This first bin will have stuff that I definitely won’t need until we’re back down South. I’ve already packed bathing suits, hot weather tops, and camisoles.

    With the exception of two days this coming week, temperatures here will probably be no higher than the 60’s and 70’s from now until we leave. In fact tonight it’ll only be 48!! Might as well stow all the hot weather apparel.

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    John and I tend to be pack rats.

    Over the 27 years we’ve been married, our hoard of stuff has grown and is now threatening to over-take us.

    I have clothes from 15 years ago. My size has changed. I have items that are from size 2 to 10. Many of the things are totally out of style. I need to get rid of 90% them. They fill my bedroom closet and two bedroom dressers. There’s the guest room closet on the second floor and two chest of drawers in that room. Down in the basement, John has provided me with two portable closets, again filled with clothes I’ll never wear.

    So today I started “purging.” I’m going to clean out all the unwearable, out-of-date stuff. I will make sure anything I save fits me now. No more saving items hoping I’ll shrink to fit it someday.

    Putting it down in writing here will force me to stick to my vow. I promise you, I’ll purge and get rid of some of my unwanted items. A local charity will benefit.

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    What’s your best feature?

    What’s your best feature? is a question many women can answer without hesitation. Maybe their best feature is their eyes, or maybe it’s their mouth, their butt, their legs, their bustline.

    At one point, I actually earned a little “showing off” my then slender legs. An advertiser used them (against the interior of a car door to advertise panty hose). (Just my legs.)

    But that was years ago. My ankles have gotten stout and I don’t wear very high heels which makes them look matronly.

    My waist which was once 21″ is now closer to 30″.

    My butt is non-existent.

    My belly is impressive, but somehow I doubt anyone thinks of their protruding belly as a good feature.

    My arms are better than many of my contemporaries, but I see loose skin which doesn’t wave, but does move unacceptably.

    So what’s my best feature?

    I would say, my hair.

    A special cut or color can help its look, but hair is sort of a reflection of good health and a God-given gift. I’m fortunate that mine behaves.

    I don’t wash it every day, nor even every other day. More like twice a week.

    I don’t use hair spray, gels, or any other “additives.” I wash it with cheap shampoo and use a cream rinse. That’s it.

    I don’t completely dry it with a hair drier. Instead I let it air dry and then use a flat iron to smooth out waves. A large curling iron finishes the smooth look.

    It takes me about 30 minutes to go from wet to ready-to-go.

    I have it cut and colored every six weeks. I wear hats a lot in the sun to keep it from being burned and dried out by the Florida sun.

    I enjoy my hair because for me it’s fun and not work.

    I wish I could say my best feature is my figure, but I’d be dreaming. Hair doesn’t change when you gain weight. Thank heavens!!

    (PS: I hope I can revisit this post in a couple of months and brag that I have lost weight, because I’m really trying, and some other feature … maybe waist? figure? arms? looks really good. Somehow, at 70, I think I should be content with good hair.)

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    Living the Dream

    Am I living the life I dreamed?

    Actually, things are much better than my imagination ever conceived.

    I walked through the house at dawn the other day. As I looked out on the lake, the tranquil scene was perfect. A fish jumped leaving pretty ripples on the water. A swan was reflected in the water. It was lovely. I was in awe.

    And the view from our Florida condo is just as breath-taking. I’ve often been stopped in my tracks by the view from our southern residence of a sunset or the reflections in the ponds behind us.

    How could I have guessed that we’d have it so good? When I was a kid, I didn’t know of anyone who had a situation like we have now. During our lifetime the economic situation has improved for the middle class so we share this “dream existence” with most of our friends who are our age. Our generation has it all.

    I worry about my daughter’s age-group. They are working hard to financially get ahead, but because of the current economic situation, they don’t make much progress.

    And our grand children have it even tougher.

    Let’s hope that success will again be possible for those who put forth the effort.

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    When I was about 10

    I was walking home from Eastlawn Elementary School in Midland, maybe in the 5th grade, when a man pulled up to the curb beside me and offered me a ride. I knew he was up-to-no-good. Of course I said, “No.” He continued to follow me. I was scared. I told him I’d tell my mother, but he said, he wasn’t worried. My mom was far away and he was right. I was more than a mile from home.

    He continued to try to lure me. I kept walking straight ahead. A house at the corner of Eastlawn and Virginia Streets was a welcome sight. I didn’t know who lived there, but I felt that my chances were better there than with the man trying to pick me up. Determinedly I turned toward the man and said, “I’m home now. I’m going to tell my mom you were following me.”

    I firmly walked directly into the house of the stranger without hesitating (because I felt if I knocked or even paused, he’d be there, waiting for me to continue walking home). I’ll never forget the look on the face of the lady of the house. She was ironing. Needless to say she was surprised. (I burst into tears.) When I told her what had happened, she was comforting and sympathetic. She suggested that I call my parents. My dad came after me.

    I am still proud of how I handled “stranger danger.”

    Using Streets and Trips (a computer program), I just tracked the distance I was “followed” on a map. It was about 1/3 of a mile. That’s a long way for a scared young girl to keep her cool. But I did it.

    I hope your grandchildren would do the same.

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    I was the skinny girl with glasses (kinda smart and very geeky).

    In today’s climate what I was subjected to would be called bullying.

    I was picked on but not picked. I know what it’s like to have other girls selected to be a partner in a dance class, while I stood there waiting.

    I was too scrawny and too flat-chested. My glasses were too thick and I was awkward. I was taunted with calls of “boney” because I was under 100 lbs. and “four eyes.” I even had a sing-songy nick-name “Lame-Brain” because I was too smart and my last name was Layman.

    Isn’t it funny how life changes.

    Although I’m past my prime, I don’t wear glasses, and I’m a size 8 (but I do need to tone up and lose about 15 pounds.)

    Back then, my family wasn’t rich or poor, but definitely in the middle of the status chain so no one was impressed by my dad’s job, nor our house. But now I enjoy a level of success (due to hard work) that I never imagined. My husband and I have a lovely home (not palatial but on a pretty lake and very comfortable.) In fact, we have two homes (one in Michigan and one in Florida). We don’t have to worry about anything. Life is good.

    But what about those kids who teased me, called me names, chased me? I don’t know and I don’t care. They probably influenced me to be more aggressively successful. I worked harder and was forced to believe in myself more. I overcame lots of hurdles to be debt free and earn what it takes to be comfortable.

    No bitterness toward them. I love life. I wonder if those bullies can say the same.

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