Marshall Flippo · My Thoughts · Writing

How Do You Cut Any of Marshall Flippo’s Stories?

Scissors to cut stories

If you knew Marshall Flippo, you know he wiled you with his stories and he had many—not surprising with the longevity of his 91 years! So, after 40+ hours of interviews, stories galore and 258,000+ words, I faced the dilemma of cutting some of his stories as I prepare the manuscript to be published, but which ones?

Early on in this project, Flip told me he wanted to tell stories about his caller/cuer friends and include them in his biography—an interesting reflection of him. He saw himself through his relationships.

So, originally, we made a list of seventy-one names of callers, cuers and dancers, and it was amazing to listen to how he listed them. After Flip identified the names that came to him easily, he geographically traveled the United States and added to the list, saying, “northern California, northern California. Around and Around. I thank I’ll have a funny story for each one of them.”

That was the criteria—a funny story! So he eliminated some of the names based on that criteria.

Next, he moved to those who called frequently at Kirkwood Lodge where he called for six months out of the year for 42 years. Then Flip moved to his home state of Texas to add more names. Next, he went to “around St. Louis, and oh, Memphis, Memphis, Memphis!”

Regularly he instructed me on how the chapters should be set up, “That’s going to be quite a few in a chapter—headline like Gary Shoemake. The next one would be Ken Bower.”

As we progressed down the list, Flip moved west to Reno and Mesa. Then he jumped back east to Chicago, then East Coast, North Carolina, and then down the East Coast, Alabama and Georgia.

At this point he emphasized, “Put Georgia down thar. I have a story about Georgia.” Be ready for this hilarious one included in the book. He returned to Texas and listed his mentors and dear friends there. He headed to East Texas and then New Mexico, over to Arizona. Then he went south and northwest.

Quickly Flip announced, “I’m down in Houston again.” He added from San Antonio, Amarillo, Lubbock. This went on for weeks!

After we compiled this list, we went back through it, and Flip told his stories, crossed off some names and added some. Again, I saw the importance of relationships to this man.

When Flip first stated he had a list of callers he wanted to tell stories about, with a snicker, he added, “I have another list but it’s short: Callers I’ve Slept With!” I gasped when he said that but laughed when he told me the story. You’ll have to look for who that is in his biography.

Always involved in the layout of his biography, Flippo later requested I separate out the stories and have a section at the beginning of the book, “Before Marshall Flippo was born in Tuscola, Texas,” identifying the callers who have passed away and had helped him, so these people and their stories hold a premier place at the beginning of his biography.

So, back to my dilemma of cutting stories—I’m still deciding which stories will be in the book, and which will land up on the website, but it doesn’t matter because if you purchase his biography, you’ll have access to all of them.


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

~Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft for digital or paper copies of all my books: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

Holidays · My Thoughts

2020 is Larada’s Year!

Happy New Year! 2020 is here and I’m ready! 2019 was a hard year for me health-wise, so I’m ready for a change, and Lin, my husband, and I have dubbed 2020 as my year!

Yesterday, I started the new year off with a Cribbage game with Lin during breakfast, and he won. We jumped into the Rose Bowl parade—a tradition Lin and I both enjoy.

Since I have been in recovery, I try to attend a meeting on New Year’s Day, and I did yesterday. It was a glorious celebration of life, and exactly what I needed. Afterwards, I bought some black-eyed peas to serve for our lunch for good measure to start the year off right, southern style.

After our late lunch and between football games, we played two more Cribbage games, and I won. I started off the year ahead 2 -1. For years, LIn and I have started each morning off with a couple Cribbage games during breakfast, and he has beat me over the last two years like crazy. Three years ago, after losing a lot, I told him, “You win more than I do.”

He denied it, saying, “No, you win as much as I do!”

So, to prove my point, I created a spreadsheet of wins and losses, and he has been relentless: in 2018, he beat me by 43 games, and 2019 wasn’t much better. He beat me by 44 games.

We played this morning, and in 2020, I’m already ahead—I’ve won 4 games and he’s won 2! Yahoo! So I’m keeping track again this year!

Yesterday, after my wins, my wonderful day continued with cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer. Because I was sick a lot of last year, I kept bypassing this chore. But I felt it was a good way to bring in the New Year, and metaphorically it felt right—cleaning out the old to make room for the new!

After some relaxation time, I worked on my current project, the Marshall Flippo biography and assigned ISBN numbers to the different versions I will publish. I also investigated Ingram Sparks, a self-publishing company I’m using to publish the books and e-books.

My biggest goal of the year is publishing this biography. I’ve been working on it for two years, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The manuscript is with the editor right now. I’m busy doing behind the scene work because I self-publish my books, so I design the cover, adjust the pictures and lay the book out, so I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I see that it is going to get done. The release date is April 6, 2020 at the annual CALLERLAB Convetion in Reno, NV.

Here’s my favorite Facebook cartoon as we face this new year! Yes, I plan to take advantage of all 365 opportunities ahead of me–how about you?

Yes, I started 2020 in a fulfilling way, and it promises to be fantastic. I hope your start to this new year was as a great as mine!


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~40% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE–All Digital Copies of my books are yours at a reduced price. PRICE GOOD UNTIL JANUARY 5, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~30% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE-All Paper Copies discounted until January 6, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Albuquerque · Christmas · Holidays · My Thoughts

Why Celebrate Twelve Days of Christmas?

You hear this song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” every holiday season many times, and it’s a mystery what it means. Let’s look at a possible explanation.

The Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas, has strong liturgical ties to the Catholic and the Anglican church which is my church, the Episcopal church. I cherish the celebratory nature of stretching the Christmas season out for twelve days instead of one day only. I mean, we work so hard preparing for it, it should be more than twenty-four hours!

“The 12 days of Christmas is the period that in Christian theology marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day).”

https://www.vox.com/2015/12/25/10661878/12-days-of-christmas-explained

Another explanation for this song is based in the Catholic church: “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written in England as one of the “catechism songs” to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith – a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head – or hanged, drawn and quartered, a rather peculiar and ghastly punishment I’m not aware was ever practiced anywhere else. ” https://www.catholic.org/advent/advent.php?id=2

I love this song and idea that Christmas lasts for twelve days, so when the rest of the world takes down their decorations and folds away their favorite Christmas leggings, I continue enjoying my decorations twinkling and wearing my colorful Christmas outfits.

Here’s the traditional words of this favorite song:

The 12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me:
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me:
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me:
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me: 
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree. 

http://www.chiff.com/home_life/holiday/christmas/12-days-lyrics.htm

Listen to the traditional song for a moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fe11OlMiz8

I live in New Mexico, so here’s a regional humorous take on this familiar song:

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS LYRICS (NEW MEXICO STYLE)

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me….
A roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Red and Green chiles
And roadrunner in a piñon tree.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Four hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
10 pork tamales
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
11 biscochitos
10 pork tamales
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
Five turquoise rings!
Four hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
12 farolitos
11 bisochitos
10 pork tamales
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree…

https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/12dayschristmas-79060/

Take this information to heart and keep celebrating Christmas until January 6 this year, and you will be in the real spirit of Christmas, then next year when you first hear this Christmas carol, remember my blog and plan on twelve days of celebrations.


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~40% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE–All Digital Copies of my books are yours at a reduced price. PRICE GOOD UNTIL JANUARY 5, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~30% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE-All Paper Copies discounted until January 6, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Christmas · My Thoughts · Writing

How about our Christmas Letter?

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is writing our annual letter. Here’s our Christmas letter–enjoy!

Lin & Larada's Newsletter

NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~40% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE–All Digital Copies of my books are yours at a reduced price.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Cats · My Thoughts

Do You Own a Pet?

My pet, Jesse with a Christmas bow
Last Christmas, Jesse with a bow!

The answer for me is a resounding “Yes.” I rescued a Siamese silver tip cat ten years ago, and his name is Jesse. At the time, I was going through a divorce from my third husband. We had a dog I loved, and the Ex got the dog, so I yearned for a pet.

Petless, I floundered. Friends said I needed to get a cat instead of a dog because I traveled a lot and they’re easier to leave. One afternoon, one of my colleagues who pushed this idea repeatedly, called me and said, “Where are you?”

“I’m leaving a training and will be back at the office in about thirty minutes.”

She proclaimed, “Your cat is here!”

When I got there, she ushered me out a side door outside, and I saw this compassionate lady’s work: she had food and water out. She lured the cat with treats out of the bushes, and I was smitten.

The night before I had left the office late after doing a teacher’s training, and as I closed my door, I heard that eerie Siamese cry. I stopped to see where it was coming from, but it stopped, so I went home. I guess it was this cat.

But wait a minute! As an adult, I had never owned a cat! I was a dog person! I have had dogs my whole adult life—a cat??

We admired this sad, scared animal. She urged me, “Take him home tonight!”

My immediate response, “No, way! I’ve got to think about it,” so I went home catless, and felines ran through my dreamed all night.

After my restless night, I succumbed the next day, and this enthusiastic cat lady helped me buy a litter-box, scoop and cat food, and home I went with my new companion. I named him, Jesse, a name I was almost given as a child.

After he settled down and l examined him, I realized he had recently been cared for and wasn’t a stray. I waited until Saturday and took him to VetCo to see if he was chipped. He was! The veterinarian called the chip place, got the owner’s name and called them, then they called me and relinquished ownership of him to me! Jesse was officially mine.

Over the years, Jesse has been an angel for sure. He has made me laugh. He used to like to do late night antics after the lights went out like throwing my shoes around the bedroom and walking all over me.

Since Lin and I married, he’s not allowed in the bedroom because Lin has cat allergies, so needless to say, Jesse doesn’t wake me up with those crazy cat behaviors, but he loves to meow first thing in the morning! Lin and Jesse have a meow fest to start the day!

At first, Jesse wasn’t a lap kitty which I preferred, but I had shoulder surgery in 2012, and his instinct told him I needed extra love and care, so now he takes up residence in my lap anytime I’m relaxing in front of the TV, and I love it. In fact, he’s such a habitual kitty, he parks himself on the arm of our loveseat in anticipation of TV time.

In 2015, Jesse was diagnosed with feline diabetes. He was so sick at the time. Normally he weighed around 20 pounds—fat cat, but he lost down to 13 pounds! At first, we changed his food to diabetic cat food and that helped some, but then the vet added insulin and now has increased the dosage to 3 units twice a day.

Jesse loves our Christmas tree and hides under it whenever he can. After I add gifts under there, he gingerly steps over the packages to get out of his hiding place.

As Lin and I prepared for future travel plans next year, I texted my pet sitter about watching him. She is so conscientious about Jesse’s care. She related her concern about me leaving him during the winter with the possibility of a snowstorm and her not able to get him his insulin shot! Wow! So, we’re coming up with contingency plans. What an awesome pet sitter for sure!

My pet, Jesse relaxing
Jesse Curled Up & Sleeping!

I love this 16-year-old senile fat cat! He’s gained up to over 16 pounds now, and we have managed his diabetes. He’s aging before my eyes, sleeps curled up in a favorite place and moves slower. He loves the sunshine and follows it wherever it is during the morning. In the morning, I make sure I’ve given him his shot before he trudges upstairs to the loft to find his beam of sunshine. Often in the evening, Jesse meows at me like “It’s time for my insulin.” I wonder–does he know?

He’s just precious! I’m a committed pet owner through and through!

What are your feelings about pets? Cats? Dogs?


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Christmas · Christmas · family · Grief · My Thoughts

Christmas Traditions or Not?

            Do you have repeated Christmas traditions in your family? We did—my Mom, Dad and I! During my lifetime, I often helped Dad shopped for Mom’s Christmas gift over the years, but this one was special.

Mom & Me in the mid-1980’s

In the mid-1980’s, Dad asked me to pick out a dress alike for Mom and me and started a tradition that continued while he was alive and after he died for seventeen years until Mom’s death.

Any time we wore of outfits alike with Dad, his chest swelled, and he smiled a lot and made a point of letting everyone around him know the history of this tradition—he was so proud!

            When Dad died, Mom whispered to me in her grief, “You don’t have to buy our look-alike outfits for Christmas anymore.” We both sobbed. I shook my head, and I never wavered. I continued this heartfelt idea.

            Our first outfit was a dress, then during the years Dad was alive I bought us dresses. After he died, I bought us a variety of outfits: slacks and sweaters, warm-up suits and dresses. One problem I faced when I bought slacks was my Mom’s height. She was short; I’m short, too, but she was shorter.  So, I always had to buy her petite size slacks so she didn’t have to cut them off. Often that forced me to have to look hard for outfits in two different departments or I would buy petite for me and just deal with shorter slacks than I preferred!

            So, we wore our outfits together proudly and often explained why we were dressed alike. We always gave Dad the credit for starting this tradition.

            When Mom passed away, getting rid of our look-alike outfits broke my heart! I couldn’t imagine seeing them on someone else. Then I had a brainstorm! I shipped them off to a girlfriend in Virginia, wanting her to have them, and I didn’t have to see them again. In fact, those outfits were the first of Mom’s clothes to go!

I did continue wearing mine, celebrating the connection to Mom. This tradition blessed my heart for many years. Do you have anything like it in your family? Share yours with me!


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Christmas · Christmas · My Thoughts

My Hair Was on Fire!

My childhood holiday experience included activities at our Community Church. Here’s a poem from my book, A Tumbleweed Landed, recognizing the place that church had in my life.

Branson Community Church

The Branson Community Church
small and quaint.
 
People that touched my life
Maynard Bowen,
Walt Graham
Ministers of God, who took the time for me.
The Loudens
The Gilstraps
The Smiths
The Warners
The Cummins
Mabel Survant
Mrs. Jamieson
 
Sunday School teachers
and family friends who let me sit with them,
singing my songs out loud
when I couldn’t even read.
Beautiful old hymns and singing.
They loved me, taught me,
and encouraged me.
A safe place to be on Sunday morning,
and a nice place to meet God.
 
Youth group on Sunday night
games and talking about God
Youth group picnic and campouts at the Gilstraps
and the annual Christmas programs.
 
One year, at the Christmas program
I was an angel
with the other young girls.
Donned in our white robes, wings, and haloes,
we walked in a straight line
carrying lit candles.
The girl behind me got too close
and caught my hair on fire!
Our teacher quickly handled the situation, and
I wasn’t burned.
The program went on.
 
Copyright©2014, Larada Horner-Miller

NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Christmas · My Thoughts

Bobby Pins & Christmas Ornaments?

Bobby pins and Christmas ornaments? What’s the connection? My Grandma Horner was ahead of her time! She used bobby pins to hang her glass ornaments up on a Christmas tree decades before someone invented those great little ornament hangers we all know!

My Christmas decorations resound with memories! Here’s a few of my favorites:

Grandma Horner’s Glass Ornaments with Bobby Pins

Grandma's Christmas Ornament with Bobby Pin
One of My Grandma’s Glass Ornaments with Her Bobby Pin

When Grandma Horner died, I waited until all the other grandchildren went through her belongings to make my selections. I chose her Christmas ornaments—three boxes of vintage ornaments which I had seen yearly on her Christmas tree. When I took them out to hang them the first year, I noticed her use of bobby pins as hangers! And I’ve kept those precious bobby pins attached to many of them every since!

I’m sad to say several ornaments broke one year when my Christmas tree toppled over! But I still have about fifteen I hang every year.

Santa Claus Dollar Bill

My Dollar Bill with a Santa Face
My Santa Dollar Bill

As a beautician, I received tips as a part of my pay, and gladly so! I had regular customers who came in every week and were like family to me. In 1979, I received a surprising tip from one of my clients, Tex White: a dollar bill with a Santa Claus glued on the face of it–it looked real!

Forty years later, I giggled as I placed it on my tree this year, remembering the joke that Tex had pulled on me with this dollar bill! I had never seen anything like that! Every year, it’s one of my favorite ornaments to decorate my tree.

Wooden Cut Out Ornaments

A Sampling of My wooden ornaments
A Sampling of My Wooden Ornaments

About 1974, in the first couple years of marriage, we had little money and no decorations for our tree, so I bought a set of wooden cut-out decorations and hand painted each ornament. Each year since then, I’ve enjoyed adding those simple ornaments to my tree and remembered how I felt when I finished with the numerous decorations.

Colorful paint spotted my hands, and I gathered up the newspapers every night when I finished and set the painted pieces on the porch to dry. I continued this routine for several evenings proud of the dazzling set when I finished. I painted Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, Frosty the Snowman, an angel, Soldier, dove, and many other Christmas figures.

This year, I placed these ornaments near the bottom of my tree because I have a cat, Jesse, who loves to hide under the tree. If he knocks one off, it’s safe and won’t broke!

Santa Claus & Mrs. Santa Claus (Plaster Craft)

Mrs. Claus & Santa Claus (Plaster Craft)
Mrs. Santa Claus & Santa Claus

My Mom loved to do crafts, so I inherited her interest in working with my hands. I couldn’t afford ceramics when I was a young married woman, but I found plaster craft. I truly enjoyed the handicraft, so I did my Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus in the mid-70’s. I love their whimsical expressions: Santa’s wink and her focus on her knitting!

For many years, I stored this precious couple in my guest bedroom closet, up on a shelf safe and sound. I was so afraid something would happen to one of them, but 40 years later, they still look perfect even though he’s yellowed some.

Christmas Tree (Plaster Craft)

My Christmas tree (Plaster Craft)
My Plaster Craft Christmas Tree

After my success with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the next year I moved on to a lighted Christmas tree. The original tree was small, so I bought an extension to make it bigger!

I keep the small colored bulbs in a zip lock bag and enjoy putting them on the tree, making sure I spread out all the colors. This is another item I have kept stored safely, so it looks pristine!

Since Lin and I married, we put this tree up in our bedroom, and it’s a pleasant light to go to bed and see!

Latch Hook Noel

My Latch Hook Noel Hanging
Latch Hook Kit I Made

I thoroughly enjoyed latch hook for many years. I bought the kits, finished the pattern and created ways to hang them. For Christmas, I did this Noel hanging and also a Christmas wreath. These two decorations adorned my living room and hall way.

As you can see, the majority of my decorations I either made myself or inherited. I have never wanted a perfectly trimmed Christmas tree; I prefer one loaded with ornaments and memories!

How about you? What are your favorite Christmas decorations?


A Colorado Country Christmas with Santa Claus
My NEW Christmas Chapbook

~ NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Marshall Flippo · My Thoughts · square dance

Who Was Bob Osgood in Marshall Flippo’s Life?

Marshall Flippo and Bob Osgood enjoyed an amazing working relationship for many years. Bob, the visionary, and Marshall, the new hot caller made quite a team.

Bob published and edited the square dance magazine, Sets in Order, from 1948 – 85. Flippo’s name first appeared in Sets In Order November 1958 in the “Round the Outside Ring” article for calling at the Permian Basin Festival. “The Auctioneer,” Flippo’s first smash hit, also first appeared in the same issue in the “On the Record” section, listed as a new release.

From then on, readers saw Flippo’s name regularly, whether in reports about where he was calling around the United States or a review of his newest released song.

Flippo’s name appeared repeatedly with song after song being reviewed and lauded in Sets in Order, and Bob noticed this! After Bob hired Flip in 1964 to call at a week and a weekend event at Asilomar, California, he actually saw Flippo in action. Flippo’s skilled calling prowess and his popularity with dancers drew respect from Bob, and their relationship deepened.

“. . .his personal appearance tours throughout the country have given a real ‘lift’ to thousands of dancers,”

Bob Osgood, Sets in Order, (August 1965):33

Bob wrote this in an ad in his Sets in Order magazine, August, 1965 issue.  Flippo’s years of tours touched many lives, his popularity increased, and Bob watched Flippo’s successful calling career grow.

So, Bob started a series called DIALOG in Sets in Order magazine in February 1968 and stated, “This month we inaugurate a new series of dialogues directed to those people who have a desire to call square dances.”

Bob Osgood, Sets in Order (February 1968): 12

First of all, Flippo and Frank Lane teamed up with Arnie Kronenberger and did two interviews for Sets in Order magazine in May and June 1968 on “How Does One Go About Learning to Call?” Bob Osgood wrote in the May issue, the focus: “If you have never called before, then there must be a thousand questions running through your mind. We’ve tried to anticipate some of these, and we’ve brought together several outstanding callers to field the answers for you.”

Bob Osgood, Sets in Order (May 1969): 19

Then the second interview on this topic in the June 1968 issue focused on “Last month we asked this trio of experienced callers several questions having to do with memorizing calls and with sight calling. This month we question them on a variety of related subjects including some hypothetical questions a beginner caller might be expected to ask. We start of by trying to get some opinions.  

Bob Osgood, Sets in Order (June 1968): 19

In the third interview, Frank and Flippo teamed up with Bob Page, longtime friend who Flip worked yearly with at Asilomar, in the DIALOG article titled “Leadership In Square Dancing.” This article focused on “Calling a square dance is only a portion of the caller’s many responsibilities. He is looked up to as a “leader” and there are many opportunities for the caller to evidence good judgment, to develop sensitivity and to provide the type of activity that the dancers hope to receive. We asked three nationally known callers a series of questions and we think you will be interested in their frank replies. We began by asking, “What do you consider the caller’s responsibilities in a club run by the members themselves?”

Bob Osgood, Sets in Order (April 1969): 19

Finally, the fourth interview saw Frank and Flippo back with Bob Page and the title of the DIALOG article was “BuildingDancer Reaction.” Bob Osgood introduced it with “Being able to work with people — with human beings — to impart to them your ideas, to encourage them to follow your instructions and suggestions, is just about as basic to square dancing as it is possible to get. Only the caller who naturally gets on well with others or who specifically trains himself to do so, can really do the job successfully. This month we question three well-known callers on this subject and the first thing we asked them was how to “lift” a group that seems disinterested, that seems to have no spark.”

Bob Osgood, Sets in Order (June 1969): 19.

You can see that Bob identified Flippo as one of the leaders in the square dance world at this time and respected what he had to say. He felt this so much, he asked Flip to write a chapter for a book he published about square dancing, The Caller Text which took 36 years to write.

This dynamo duo loved and respected each other and touched so many with across the country and the world. Enjoy the four articles below.

Here’s the four DIALOG articles from Sets in Order

  1. “How Does One Go About Learning to Call?”
  2. “How Does One Go About Learning to Call?” Second Part
  3. “Leadership in Square Dancing”
  4. “Building Dancer Reaction”

~CYBER MONDAY SPECIALS! 20% Discount! Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 10, 11 & 12 – Cork, Ireland, Back to England & Home

            Our 12 day British Isles cruise was drawing to a close with stops at Cobh, Ireland and back to Portland, England. On July 31, 2019, we docked at Cobh in County Cork, Ireland, famous for being the last port Titanic saw before its disaster.

Cork County Excursion

Our last excursion in Ireland, Kinsale Village & Countryside Villages, left the ship at 8:30 am, so we up early and to breakfast.

Annie Moore Statute, Cobh, Ireland
Statute of Annie Moore and her 2 brothers!

In our walk to the tour bus, we passed a famous statute of Annie Moore.
           

“Annie Moore was born in 1877 in Cork City and left Queenstown (Cobh today) on the SS Nevada on 20th December, 1891 with her 2 brothers. On 1 January, 1892 (her 15th birthday), Annie was the first immigrant to be processed at the newly opened Ellis Island centre in New York.”

From Legend in the Heritage Center, Titanic Experience Cobh

Again, I enjoyed driving through the Irish countryside with luscious green checkerboard pastures edged with rock fences. We saw many castles during our cruise but saw a unique one traveling to Kinsale with a gold tree on top and an American flag blowing in the breeze!

I loved a stop we had before Kinsale–Charles Fort, situated on a hill overlooking the bay and Kinsale.

Charles Fort (IrishDún Chathail) is a trace italien fortification, a bastion fort with one section of the curtain wall built in star fashion. It is located on the water’s edge, at the southern end of the village of Summer Cove, on Kinsale harbour, County CorkIreland.[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Fort_(Ireland)

Kinsale was a beautiful colorful village. Sailboats drifted in the bay as we parked the tour bus. We had the opportunity to stop at the Actons Hotel for tea, but Lin and I opted to head downtown to shop and sightsee. Lin went shopping on his own, and I wondered through shops, enjoying the Irish goods.

We retraced our journey back to Cobh and saw the strange castle with the gold tree again.

We returned to Cobh and had three and a half hours to explore this lovely seaside port with its colorful square two and three-story houses, stacked along the edge of the bay. We walked a steep incline to St. Colman’s Cathedral, a truly breathtaking sight and toured this beautiful cathedral perched above the city on a hill.

We ended up in Kelly’s pub and savored a coffee and scone and wonderful Irish music. We stayed for a couple songs then continued our walk down the street.

Two musicians entertained a crowd on one corner, so we stopped and enjoyed the Irish music. We came to the end of the shops, so we ended up back at Kelly’s pub and enjoyed the musician there again. Lin requested some traditional Irish music he had remembered from his bartending time in an Irish Pub in New Jersey. The singer loved Lin’s tip in the shape of a free Guinness and Lin’s resounding enthusiasm.

On the way back to the ship, we quickly went through the Heritage Center to see the exhibit, Titanic Experience Cobh.

“Queenstown (known as Cobh today) was Titanic’s last port of call before disaster struck. The legendary ship has left an undeniable mark on this maritime town.”

ounty-antrim/belfast/articles/titanic-in-cobh/

We reluctantly boarded the ship, knowing we were leaving Ireland. As our trip was winding down, we became worried about our souvenir purchases and limitation of bags on our plane trip home.

When we boarded the ship days ago, they took our passports—that had never happened before. So, I stood in line to recover them with hundreds of other passengers; I read my James Joyce book, The Dubliners, as I waited. The time passed quickly.

Lin napped as we left Ireland, but I went up to Deck 13 and grabbed a fish cake for a snack and watched as we left Ireland—a country that has become a significant one in my life.

We had a delicious oriental dinner in Shogun’s and went to the 7:00 PM show of Elements which was a combination of all the entertainers. Then the show ended with the traditional finale with the crew coming on stage. Again, it was awesome!

Lin ended up buying an extra bag to carry onboard the plane—so many souvenirs! We stopped and listened to music in one of the bars and was in bed by 11:00 pm.

Back to England & Corfe Castle

On August 1, 2019, we woke up back in Portland, England and had one more excursion, English Countryside & Corfe Castle. We left the ship at 10:15 am and had another wonderful trip through countryside settings.

Corfe Castle was overwhelming and memorable. The other castles we visited were still intact—Corfe was in ruin. As we neared the ruins at the base of the hill, we walked through a Medieval Village with men dressed as knights educating families gathered around.

We had a serendipitous experience with an Oriental man. I asked him to take a picture of Lin and me, and from then on, he adopted us. At one place, he instructed us where to take the best picture, and he was right!

The place the Oriental man suggested!

After our tour of the castle, we had tea and scones in a Tea-room and shopped around the square.

Rabbit Identifying the thatcher of this roof!

While driving back, our tour guide educated us about thatched roofs and the images the builder put up to identify the thatcher, so we watched for different ones. So here’s the rabbit!

When we returned, we toured Weymouth, seeing the beach area teeming with swimmers, and then we went to Portland and drove up to where the Olympics symbol is now placed.

Wow! One of the jelly fish!

We arrived back at the ship and didn’t want to board because this was the end. We noticed a family looking over the pier into the water, so we went over and investigated—there were at least 20 jellyfish swimming around.

Last Night on Ship

After dinner, we took turns packing our suitcases in the limited space in our stateroom. Lin went first and did a masterful job of getting everything in, but he did need the extra bag he bought. My turn came, and I worked hard and succeeded but desperately needed the extra bag I bought. We showered and relaxed and put our bags out by the door to be picked up.

Travel Day Home

On August 2, 2019, our travel day home was uneventful, thank God! The Norwegian cruise line shuttle gathered us up at the dock, and we drove back to Heathrow in London. We flew back to Denver and returned to the hotel we had stayed in twelve days earlier. We spent the night and returned home on August 3, thankful for such a wonderful cruise and so many memories of the enchanting British Isles.


~$500 Black Friday Giveaway ending November 26! TWO DAYS LEFT—HURRY! Hey, here’s a chance to win a $500 Amazon eGift Card just in time for BLACK FRIDAY from The No. 1 Site for #Reader Giveaways~~The Kindle Book Review. Just click the link and enter (everyday if you want). It’s easy & fun. If you love #reading, enter now; giveaway ends Nov. 26, 2019. Click here for details ~> https://buff.ly/2NDNtRQ

~BLACK FRIDAY SPECIALS! Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 9 & 10 – Dublin, Fair City

We had two days in Dublin on our 12 Day British Isles cruise, and we were in excited! The first day we decided to tour on our own since we had been there two years ago. The second day we took an excursion out to Powerscourt Garden, rated by National Geographic as #3 in the world!

Day 1

            On July 29, 2019, we woke in Dublin, Ireland at 6:45 am, ate breakfast and were out to the pier to catch the shuttle by 8:00 am. Impatient to get to Dublin, we had to wait until 8:30 am before taking off. The shuttle took us to Merrion Square where there’s three statues celebrating Oscar Wilde.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde_Memorial_Sculpture

            Immediately, we bought Hop-Off-Hop-On bus passes for two days which included the night tour. We hopped on the bus and enjoyed a tour of the city heading towards the Guinness Storehouse. We sat upstairs in the open air and enjoyed Dublin. We circled around Trinity College, the Irish Whiskey Museum, Christ Church and the busy Dublin streets. I enjoyed the beautiful flowers decorating many businesses on the decorated city streets.  

We went to the Guinness Storehouse to buy something Lin had planned on for months—socks! When we were in Dublin two years ago, he bought socks at the Guinness Storehouse souvenir shop and wanted more.  They wouldn’t let us into the souvenir shop without buying a tour ticket. One of the workers there told us we could probably find them at any of the Carroll’s Irish Gifts souvenir shop, but especially the big one on O’Connell street.

            So off we went on the bus towards O’Connell street but again enjoyed the tour along the way. We went through Phoenix Park, seeing “the Wellington monument, the largest obelisk in Europe at 62mm high.”

http://bit.ly/37cJUed

The first Carroll’s Irish Gifts souvenir shop we visited didn’t have any socks, but the second one did. There I also bought a beautiful silver ring and a plaque of my favorite Oscar Wilde’s quote, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken!”

            From there, we walked to the Temple Bar Pub, enjoying being on the street with the people. We had hoped to eat lunch there, but they were swamped, so we took pictures and walked to the Brazen Head Pub, the oldest pub in Dublin, dating back to 1198.

            Notice our first stops in Dublin were either pubs or breweries!

            The Brazen Head Pub was too busy, too, so we crossed the street and ate lunch at O’Shea’s Merchant restaurant where we had eaten two years ago. I had clam chowder; Lin had lamb stew—gigantic bowls and so delicious!

  After lunch, we discussed our options for the afternoon and decided to ride the bus over to the EPIC The Irish Emigration museum. We had ridden by it in the morning on the shuttle from the ship, and it looked fascinating.

https://epicchq.com/

            The afternoon had gotten away from us, so we when we got there, we only had 30 minutes until the last Hop-Off-Hop-On bus would leave the museum, so we couldn’t do the tour—how disappointing! I grabbed a book about the museum, and we put it on the list for our next Dublin trip. Good thing we went outside quicker than 30 minutes because the bus came early.

            When we got back to downtown Dublin, we enjoyed a walk through a lovely neighborhood and found a delightful café, the Busy Feet & Coco Café. My stomach problems surfaced—severe stabbing pain, so this was a great time to stop. The wait staff was truly international (Polish and Brazil), friendly and talkative. Lin enjoyed hot chocolate and chocolate goodies, and I had a latte. We paced ourselves during our time in Dublin, and Lin was so understanding with my stomach problems.

Our break eased my discomfort, so we walked along the Liffey River and bought souvenirs. There are 23 bridges crossing the Liffey, and I took pictures of several!

            In the morning, we had stopped at a bookstore, and I saw a paperback copy of The Dubliners, had it in my hand a couple times, but finally I put it back. After our memorable day in Dublin, we went back to the bookstore and I bought it! There was a great statute inside The Temple Bar Pub of someone reading The Dubliners!

            We wrapped up the day in Dublin with the evening bus tour winding our way through the sights of Dublin at night. It sprinkled a little but only added to the atmosphere. The bus tour took us back to Merrion Square, and we took pictures of the Oscar Wilde statute. We caught the shuttle back to the ship and boarded about 9:00 pm—a full day of Dublin, Fair City!

Day 2

            Our second day in Dublin would take us out of the city to a beautiful garden. We slept in and enjoyed a leisure breakfast. After eating, we went up on deck 13 to try to find familiar landmarks in Dublin with our binoculars.

            Lin wasn’t feeling well, so he napped. I woke him at 1:40 pm, and he got ice cream.

            Our afternoon excursion was “Leisurely Landscapes & Powerscourt Gardens.” As we waited for the shuttle on the pier, it started to rain. When we arrived at the gardens, mist hung over the garden.

            The Powerscourt Garden was breathtaking in color and design. National Geographic has identified these gardens as number three in the world!

The first stop was the Powerscourt House. Looking out towards the gardens and the Triton Lake, statutes of Greek gods circled the walk. We saw the Italian Garden, Pepperpot Tower Valley, Japanese Garden, Triton Lake, Pet Cemetery, Dolphin Pond, and Walled Garden. At first, we walked with the guide through the garden and admired the flowers.

Then we took off by ourselves and wandered in the woods. We walked to the top of the Pepperpot Tower and took pictures of the area. I specifically enjoyed the Pet Cemetery and the names of the pets. Again, we didn’t have much time after the tour, so we did no souvenir shopping.

            On the drive back to the ship, it poured. As the ship pulled out of the port, we sadly waved goodbye to Dublin. We ate dinner in Windows restaurant and celebrated our wonderful time in Dublin!

Molly Malone Statute

You can’t go to Dublin, Fair City and not celebrate Molly Malone and this song. Enjoy for a moment!

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=tightropetb&p=dublin+fair+city+%2B+lyrics#id=2&vid=bd90f7c9b001c15faed913ed4f1b3b73&action=click


~$500 Black Friday Giveaway ending November 26! Hey, here’s a chance to win a $500 Amazon eGift Card just in time for BLACK FRIDAY from The No. 1 Site for #Reader Giveaways~~The Kindle Book Review. Just click the link and enter (everyday if you want). It’s easy & fun. If you love #reading, enter now; giveaway ends Nov. 26, 2019. Click here for details ~> https://buff.ly/2NDNtRQ

~BLACK FRIDAY SPECIALS! Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 8 – Holyhead & Conwy Castle: Exciting to See!

            Lin and I woke up on July 28, 2019 to a rainy day of drizzle and clouds. It wasn’t that bad but set the atmosphere for the day. This was our only port in Wales, and we were headed to Conwy Castle!

            I loved the drive through the countryside and the small towns, and again we had a fantastic tour guide, Sara. The roof lines in the cities fascinated me with chimneys and angles, and then what did I see—a McDonald’s sign! Again, sheep grazed lazily in luscious verdant pastures in the countryside.

A unique sight on the drive along the coast caught my attention, a beautiful cottage on an island,

“Ynys Gorad Goch, Private Island Coastal Cottage, Menai Straits, Anglesey.

: http://www.walesdirectory.co.uk/holiday-cottage-s/S8425.htm

            Back at home, Lin and I had researched, and Conwy Castle was our first choice for this port, but when we booked our excursions, it was sold out because of its popularity, so we went ahead and booked a tour to Penrhyn Castle & Gardens. Our Norwegian cruise line agent told us to go to the Excursion desk as soon as we got onboard to see if we could change tours. To our amazement, they created another tour to Conwy Castle, and we made it easily!

As we came into Conwy, the street views captivated me—so I took several photos. Sailboats drifted lazily in the bay along the road.

First View of Conwy Castle

As I first saw Conwy Castle, it didn’t look the same as the pictures on the Norwegian excursion website, but quickly I saw the beautiful setting. The touring of Conwy castle was awesome. When I wended my way up one of the towers, the small steps and dark staircase concerned me about possibly falling. A wonderful young man from Florida helped me by using the flashlight on his iPhone. I never thought of using mine because I had trouble accessing it on my iPhone 7. With his help, I didn’t fall.

We went through the many parts of the castle: West Barbican, the Northwest Tower, Great Hall, Prison Tower, and Inner Drawbridge. We saw a well 91 feet deep that still has water in it.

A seagull with an attitude

On top of the towers, we had breath-taking vistas of the castle, the city and the bay. Three bridges connect Conwy Castle to the city: a highway, a walking bridge and a suspension bridge. The seagulls entertained us on one tower with their insistent nature.

When we finished the castle tour, we enjoyed part of a walking tour Conwy with Sara. We stopped at St. Mary’s & All Saints church and saw an unusual grave sign, “We are seven” which referenced a Wordsworth poem:

http://www.greatorme.org.uk/conwy7.html

At one point on the tour, Lin and I quit to stop at an ice cream shop, the Parisella Ice Cream Parlor. Lin loves his ice cream and had to sample Welsh ice cream. I had Welsh Honey and Honeycomb ice cream that was beyond delicious. We had a delightful break visiting with a multi-generational family from Florida and enjoying our treat.

Street view of Conwy

Conwy’s streets fascinated me!

After the ice cream parlor, we stopped at a souvenir shop, Conwy Gift Shop. Our time was running out. Lin still had part of his double or triple scoop of ice cream, so he couldn’t go inside, so I went into the shop and scouted out possible souvenirs. I ended up buying bright red polo shirts with the colorful Wales’ flag on it for both of us.

Leaving Conwy, I took this picture of the Llewellyn the Great statute:

“This is a statue of Llewellyn the Great, grandfather of Prince Llewellyn, the last native Prince of Wales, who led the people of the mountains of Snowdon against Edward the 1st of England and swept the English from Wales in 1256. This statue stands in the town square of Conwy, North Wales.”


https://www.flickr.com/photos/bmott/1386358542/

On the trip back to the ship, we went through the city with the longest name, the tour guide said, Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch

 After researching it, I found:

“The long form of the name, with 58 characters split into 19 syllables, is the longest place name in Europe and the second longest official one-word place name in the world.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llanfairpwllgwyngyll

            Here’s the translation of the name:

When we got back to the Holyhead pier, we looked for shops to continue our souvenir shopping but didn’t find much. Boarding the ship was quite a trick: the tide was way down, so we had to crawl onboard! Being short, it wasn’t that difficult for me, but the taller people had quite a time!

Then we had fun taking promotional photos for our 2020 New Mexico Square and Round Dace Association festival. First, we tried to take one from our cabin through the window, but it didn’t work, so I went out to the pier and took one.

When we got back on board, we ate a light lunch, took a nap, woke at 5:00 pm, dressed up for once and ate dinner at Windows, one of the nicer restaurants. After dinner, we went to the Excursion desk to talk about our next port—Dublin. Also, I bought two deposits for future cruised and saved $250 off of my onboard bill.

We had some time before the 9:00 pm show, so we gambled in the casino and had a fun time—not winning millions but I stayed ahead. The evening show was the “Beatles Invasion” and it was great!

Our next port excited both of us—Dublin which is our favorite city! Lin and I had spent several days there two years ago and were looking forward to our two day return on this trip! So, next week it’s Dublin!


~$500 Black Friday Giveaway from November 4-26! Hey, here’s a chance to win a $500 Amazon eGift Card just in time for BLACK FRIDAY from The No. 1 Site for #Reader Giveaways~~The Kindle Book Review. Just click the link and enter (everyday if you want). It’s easy & fun. If you love #reading, enter now; giveaway ends Nov. 26, 2019. Click here for details ~> https://buff.ly/2NDNtRQ

~BLACK FRIDAY SPECIALS! Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Marshall Flippo · My Thoughts · square dance

It’s Been a Year Since We Lost Flippo!

            Monday, November 4 will be a year since Marshall Flippo died! When he passed away, I was in shock. I wasn’t ready for our conversations to end. I knew he was in the hospital and not doing well, but he had bounced back before. I had endless questions to ask: to clarify, to expand and to enrich the forty interviews we did.

            We had talked weekly for over a year—40 hours of laughter, memories and stories. I felt honored and privileged for Flip to share his intimate life details with me. Yes, several of the stories will not be published in his biography, but I laughed at his bawdy humor and deep joy for living.

           I wasn’t ready for our weekly dates to end–for the end of “us”!

            An interesting situation transpired around his death. His life-long friend, Frank Lane, died on October 31, 2018—just four days before Flip. Flippo’s son suggested Flip might have died of a broken heart.

            Yes, Flippo’s health was failing—three times in the hospital in three months with pneumonia–and his 91-year-old body wore out, but I wonder about that possibility. . .

“Being the last person standing” was something my husband, Lin, questioned Flip about and here he was. Frank and Flippo were the last of the “original 11” who formed CALLERLAB. After Frank’s death, Flippo truly was the last man standing of his peers.

            The one person Flippo referenced the most in his stories and recounting his calling life next to Neeca, his ex-wife, was Frank Lane.

            Flippo said, “I worked with Frank Lane two weekends a year for 36 years. I got to know him pretty well.” In reality, they worked together more often than that!

Frank and Flippo worked together at Asilomar’s week event for 35 years. Frank and Flip were two of the original members that started CALLERLAB and were active throughout their careers with this organization. Frank owned the Dance Ranch outside of Estes Park, Colorado and Flip was a regular there every year in July for decades. Flippo and Frank worked together at Kirkwood Lodge for decades. There they worked together, and they played together water skiing.

            Bob Osgood started an interview series called DIALOG in Sets in Order magazine in February 1968 and stated, “This month we inaugurate a new series of dialogues directed to those people who have a desire to call square dances.”

Bob Osgood, Sets in Order (February 1968): 12.       

In 1968, Flippo and Frank teamed up with Arnie Kronenberger and did two interviews on “How Does One Go About Learning to Call?”, answering different questions in each interview about this gigantic topic.

            In 1969, this duo teamed up with Bob Page, longtime friend who Flip called with at Asilomar’s weekend event yearly for many years, to do two DIALOG interviews titled “Leadership In Square Dancing” and “Building
Dancer Reaction.” Both Frank and Flip were respected leaders in the square dance world.

Here’s an ad for a dance they did together!

They started out calling about the same time and their paths crisscrossed over the United States where they teamed up at numerous festivals and events for decades.

The stories Flip told on Frank were priceless centering on the fun they had golfing and Flippo pulling tricks on Frank. Flippo created enduring relationships with people that lasted his lifetime and did things to nurture those relationships like regular phones and visits. In mid-2018, when we spoke of Frank last, I wanted to call him to get his side of some of Flippo’s stories.

         Flip readily shared Frank’s phone number with me and said, “Well, he’s pretty bad off, so. . .. Sometimes Barbara answers, so. . .. Let it ring a good while. I don’t know whether he’s got answering (machine) or not. The last time I talked to him, Barbara picked up pretty quick, about three rings. I don’t know.”

         I did call, and Barbara answered the phone, telling me that Frank couldn’t talk on the phone because of his hearing, so I never had the opportunity to get his side. I also missed a prime opportunity to see the Lane’s in personal during the summer of 2018 when Lin and I went to Loveland, Colorado to visit a friend—Estes Park is just one hour from Loveland, but I wasn’t thinking!

         All of this talk about this pair reminds me of one of Flippo’s favorite Frank Lane stories. Here’s a partial exposure of Flippo’s side of the story, “I probably told you that Asilomar was my favorite, favorite weekend and week to go to, right? Frank Lane and I were doing the week, and he was, of course, the leader.”

         With a chuckle, Flip added, “He was a born leader. At that time, there’s a thing come out called a Barge Thru. If you said, ‘Barge Thru,’ it’s kinda like square through four and then Trade By. So, at that time, you said, ‘Barge Thru,’ then you sung the words of the song as they were doing the Barge Thru. Jerry Haag had a call, I don’t have an idee what the name of this call was, but he had a call out at that time that had Barge Thru in it.”

         “Star Thru came out at the same Nationals as Snaparoo in one hall. At the same time, somebody was calling, I think it was Les Gotcher, and he called it Star Thru in the other room. I think it might have been Red Warrick, introduced it as Snaparoo. So thar became a good big ole debate about that, and finally we all decided we’d stick with Star Thru.”

         Frank Lane said, ‘That’s ruining all your Star figures when you call it Star Thru.”

         Flip added, “And he was absolutely 100% correct. It hurt a lot of our Star figures. And so, he stayed with Snaparoo. He’d tell people at the dance, ‘Now when I say Snaparoo, it’s the same as a Star Thru. Don’t let it bother you.’”

         The story continued with lots of bantering back and forth about Flippo’s favorite call, Barge Thru, and Frank’s renaming of a call, Snaparoo.  This exchange had a hilarious ending (find it in Flippo’s biography, Just Another Square Dance Caller, In the CALLERLAB chapter). You can see how they interacted!

Melton Luttrell, Tom Miller and Marshall Flippo at CALLERLAB, 2018

         During his lifetime, Flippo loved people—many people over the past two years have repeated this phase to me as being one of his sterling characteristics. He created relationships that lasted a lifetime—Melton Luttrell was one of his best friend for six+ decades. Whenever he mentioned Frank Lane, he had a deep love for this man and he always had a laugh to accompany that name.

         So, did Flippo die of broken heart that day a year ago thinking about life here without his dear friend? Who knows?

         I ponder the possibility of them reading this blog post. Are they still arguing good-heartedly about Snaparoo and Barge Thru? I doubt it! I believe they’re calling one heck of square dance festival to our dance friends gone from this earth who are enjoying those two callers once again!

         And yes, I was not ready to lose this man—who was?

         Here’s a recording of Flippo sharing a part of the Snaparool/Barge Thru debate—enjoy!

Flippo’s side of the Snaparoo/Barge Thru Debate!

~$500 Black Friday Giveaway from November 4-26! More details in next week’s post!

~Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

God · My Thoughts

Does God Hate Anyone?

Does God hate anyone? A Jesuit priest, Fr. Tom Weston, often said in recovery retreats I attended, “We create God in our own image, and he loves who we love and hates who we hate.”

Again this week, I veer off the British Isles travelogue to address a current issue. I frequently post pictures on Facebook because I’m a visual learner and I believe a good picture says more than words. The above photo had words, too, and it elicited some reactions this week which caused some deep thoughts for me.

Searched the Scriptures

During my quiet time this morning, the reaction to this photo sent me to my digital Bible, and I searched the Scriptures and found answers like I always do.

“How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalms 82:2–4 NIV) These words should direct my actions in this world today.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV), so I see an invitation to any weary traveler.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16, 17 NIV) My Jesus has a world view, the whole world, not excluding anyone.

St. Paul wrote, “Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,” (Romans 3:29 NIV)

“The term refers to a person who is not a Jew.”

https://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-a-Gentile.html

So, my God is for all men and women.

Look at the Text on the Photo

 “Jesus wasn’t neutral. He sided with the poor, sick & immigrant. Be like Jesus” posted on a church board.

My Jesus is not neutral on what many call social issues today. He loves the poor, the sinner, the immigrant. If that is political, then my suggestion is choose the side that “DWJWD” (do what Jesus would do). It shouldn’t be a political issue–it should be a person helping person issue.

“He sided with the poor, sick & immigrant.” The Scriptures above confirm that, and many today active in social action reach out to these three entities.

“Be like Jesus.” Quite a daunting task in this twenty-first century, but I must try!

My Higher Power

As a person in recovery, “my Higher Power” or “the God of my understanding” is a loving God, and to me his name is Jesus. I love the imagery of a shepherd and sheep–probably from my ranching background. The idea that my Jesus cares for me the way my cowboy Dad cared for his calves is precious!

My Jesus hates no one and invites all to His feast. God, the Father, hates no one—He hates sin.

My Jesus was a rebel in his time, ignoring what it meant to be politically correct and got in the face of those in power in the Jewish world. He rebuked the Pharisees. He questioned the establishment and hung out with notorious sinners.

My Jesus has open arms, embracing anyone in need whether they are on the border of the United States, living desperate lives on the streets of many of our cities or monetarily comfortable but living a life in quiet desperate.

Each political party says God is on their side, but really? My God doesn’t hate Republicans or Democrats or Independents or Green Party people. I think he applauds honest involvement focused in his goals: serving the poor, the needy and the immigrant.

My Father God especially doesn’t hate brown people—He sent His Only Son as a brown man.

If My Jesus Were at the Border Today

If my Jesus were at the southern border of the USA today, would He support snakes and alligators as a deterrent? Would He support separating a crying eight-month-old baby girl from her loving scared mother? Or would my Jesus be detained and imprisoned?

My Jesus had brown skin and long cobalt black hair with no possessions. His body smelled of sweat, dirt and grime. His calloused sore feet, caked with mud from his travels, needed the care of Mary Magdalene, her loving touch and her oils.

If the border patrol stopped Him, His searing stare would say, “I’m a man of this world—I claim no country. The world Is my home!”

My Conclusion

Yes, I know this photo has political overtones, but it’s time I face that head on. It is my duty as a God-fearing Christian to stand up for what I believe my God meant in the Scriptures. This controversy became religious when many like those who responded to my Facebook page twist and turn everything to support their political views!

When a Pharisee asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22: 36-40 NIV)

I must not be neutral. I must love the poor, sick & immigrant. And if I do this, I will be like Jesus. How can you argue with that?

I encourage your thoughts!


Fall Giveaway: Here’s a chance to win a $200, $100, (2) $50 Amazon eGift Cards from The No. 1 Site for #Reader #Giveaways~~The Kindle Book Review. Just click on the link and enter the Rafflecopter on the giveaway page. It’s easy & fun. If you love #reading, enter now; #giveaway ends October 31st.

Click here and enter every day ~>

https://buff.ly/31shCYZ

Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft

Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

I HAVE 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 7 – Belfast, Northern Ireland – We Saw Giants!

Day 7 – Belfast, Northern Ireland—We Saw Giants!

            Back to our British Isles 12 Day Cruise and up to Northern Ireland and the capitol of Belfast! We ended up spending little time in Belfast and more in the countryside on our way to the Giant’s Causeway. I walked in the footsteps of giants!

Port at Belfast, Northern Ireland

            Our day started early with breakfast, and I made a quick clothing change from leggings to jeans because a woman warned me in the elevator that it was cool outside—I was glad I did! The port was right next to the ship and disembarked on Deck 5, a boon for us because our room was on that deck.

            Again, we had an exceptional tour guide on our excursion, Kathleen, who entertained us with her vast knowledge of the area and the folklore. We wove our way through the edge of Belfast to the countryside and beside the sea. I took lots of photos.

            We drove through Ballycastle, “. . . a small seaside town in County AntrimNorthern Ireland. It is on the north-easternmost coastal tip of Ireland, in the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballycastle,_County_Antrim

            Dunluce castle loomed majestic on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. As we drove by, I wondered about the remains and found this out!

  “Dunluce Castle (from IrishDún Libhse)[3] is a now-ruined medieval castle in Northern Ireland, the seat of Clan McDonnell. It is located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in County Antrim (between Portballintrae and Portrush), and is accessible via a bridge connecting it to the mainland. The castle is surrounded by extremely steep drops on either side, which may have been an important factor to the early Christians and Vikings who were drawn to this place where an early Irish fort once stood.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunluce_Castle

“The romantic remains of Dunluce Castle lie teetering on the craggy headland. This 14th-century stronghold was abandoned in 1641 after part of the kitchen collapsed into the sea during a storm. Small wonder this place is said to have inspired C. S. Lewis to create Cair Paravel in The Chronicles of Narnia. Is that epic enough for you yet?”

       
https://www.ireland.com/en-us/destinations/northern-ireland/county-antrim/articles/a-giant-journey/
Our First Glance at the Giant’s Causeway!

            When we arrived at the Giant’s Causeway, we decided to walk and didn’t take the shuttle. The walk was downhill and gorgeous. Plus, we each received an audio tour of the Causeway, and the stories told by the narrator were priceless, entertaining and hilarious—so much Irish blarney for sure! The narrative added to our hike!

            The brochure we received spoke of the stories: “The Giant’s Causeway is steeped in myth and legend. Carved from the coast by the mighty giant, Finn McCool, who left behind an ancient home full of folklore.”

            It also said about the science: “It’s not surprise this place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A geological wonder with over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the Giant’s Causeway is the result of intense volcanic and geological activity.”

            We marveled at the sight, took pictures and enjoyed the sight. Lin hiked farther up the coast, and I opted to stand in line for the shuttle—walking up the hill wasn’t an option for me. Again, he timed it right and arrived just as I climbed onto the shuttle and joined me.

            We shopped in the souvenir shop and boarded the bus to return to the ship.

            On the way back, my camera’s battery died, so my photo of the Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge isn’t great.

“Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge – suspended across a 20-metre chasm, this precarious bridge was initially erected by salmon fishermen, but is now one of the highlights of the Causeway Coastal Route.”

http://www.laterlife.com/travel/visit-irelands-causeway-coastal-route.htm

            When our excursion ended, we decided not to go into Belfast butto eat instead. We had a delightful fish and chips lunch talking football to another Philadelphia Eagles’ fan (my husband is a life-long fan) and other football enthusiasts. Lin and I played Cribbage and I won, then we napped.

            I woke up first and worked on a couple of ongoing projects of mine. We went to the late show and saw a violinist. Afterwards, we went upstairs to Raffles, the buffet, for snacks, and here we had one of those memorable experiences!

            Seated at a table next to us with her parents, a little Italian girl greeted us enthusiastically, and her mother told us she spoke no English yet talked to everyone. She spied two little American girls several tables away and ran to greet them with a hug. She scooted back to her parents, seeing a little black boy eating with his Dad. She stopped to hug him on her way back to her table.

            After her greeting, the black boy played peek-a-boo with through a chair and scared her. She squealed with delight and gave him a kiss.

            Her mother explained her daughter had been in daycare all day with the three other children, and she pleasantly described her daughter, “She’s always like this.” What I saw was friendship across the world! Skin color didn’t matter.

            My husband talked to this friendly little lady as we left, telling her Mom to translate, saying, “you have a wonderful life ahead of you!”

            What a glorious ending to a great travel day–the Giant’s Causeway and scenic northern Ireland and an international ambassador who demonstrated what true diplomacy looks like! I went to bed with a smile on my heart! Have you had a travel day like this? I’d love to hear your stories!


   

Fall Giveaway: Here’s a chance to win a $200, $100, (2) $50 Amazon eGift Cards from The No. 1 Site for #Reader #Giveaways~~The Kindle Book Review. Just click on the link and enter the Rafflecopter on the giveaway page. It’s easy & fun. If you love #reading, enter now; #giveawayends October 31st.

Click here and enter every day ~>

https://buff.ly/31shCYZ

Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft

Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

I HAVE 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

My Thoughts · square dance

Huntsman Senior Games—Our Third Year!

Gold Medal Winners banner with three pictures of dancers

Lin and I just returned from our third Huntsman Senior Games, and we had a fabulous time winning three gold medals in square dancing—yes, square dancing!  We had a set square with three couples from Albuquerque, New Mexico and one couple from St. George, Utah. As a square, we won gold medals for the Mainstream category and the Plus.

My three gold medals
My Three Gold Medals

            Then, Lin and I won a gold medal for the Random square competition. We were lucky in the random square to have Aaron and Kathy Beans, a caller and her husband from Utah and two Japanese couples! What a square we had!

            While there, we participated in all the fantastic events connected with this event! Check out my post from last year—October 15, 2018–for the specific fun activities.

            This year was different because the Japanese contingency was there, and we reconnected because we met some of them three years ago! We also made new Japanese friends, too!

            As we traveled home, I wondered about all the rewards of participating in this activity, so my answer is within a poem:

Man with trophy

Is Winning Everything?


Our square just competed in
            The Huntsman World Senior Games,
                        A friendly contest
                                    Amongst dancers,
                                                Many personal friends.
 
We won two gold medals
            As a set square.
 
Then, Lin and I won
            Another gold medal
                        In the Random squares competition.
Ben and Monica from Albuquerque
            Won silver.
            This event revered
                        By many!
                                    The luck of the draw!
 
As we celebrated our victories,
            I pondered,
                        “Is winning everything?”
 
Yes, I am competitive
            To the bone!
 
Dad’s often repeated mantras
            Have guided my life
                        “Winners never quit
                                    and
                                                quitters never win!”
                        “Stay in there
and
            drink a lot of ice water.”
 
We, as a set square, are competitive!
We participate to win!
                        Positive talk fills
                                    Our conversations!
 
But as I thought about it,
            A quote a speaker said
                        At the Awards Brunch
                                    Caught my attention,
                                                “Be satisfied with
                                                            your performance.”
 
I can honestly say
            We were! No matter what!
So, before we did our traditional
            Screaming and hollering
                        When the first names were called,
                                    We were winners!
 
We won because
            We participated
            We reconnected with Japanese dancers
                        From two years ago
            We made new friends
                        Locally and from Japan
            We laughed
            We danced
            We encouraged others
            We hugged
and
                                    Danced more.
 
We arrived at the event
            With our winning ways!
It wasn’t housed in a medal.
 
Yes, we came to win medals!
And we did
            But we left with
                        So much more!
 
Full hearts
Happy souls
            Rich
Memories of a time
            Where language barriers
                        Didn’t exist!
We were one (WON)
            In the dance!

What are the rewards of competition? Have you ever felt this way?


Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com

Fall Giveaway: Here’s a chance to win a $200, $100, (2) $50 Amazon eGift Cards from The No. 1 Site for #Reader #Giveaways~~The Kindle Book Review. Just click on the link and enter the Rafflecopter on the giveaway page. It’s easy & fun. If you love #reading, enter now; #giveawayends October 31st. Click here and enter every day ~>

Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft

Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

I HAVE 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Blogs · My Thoughts · Writing

Who Sits Beside You?

            As I look at the current statistics on my weekly blog, I’m amazed at its geographic reaches and have pondered the reasoning. People from around the world drop by weekly to taste my words. Today I veer off of my travelogue of our 12 Day British Isles cruise to a poem about this phenomenon and envision us sitting around an international table.

A joyful time together!


We sit at a joyful table
                        Across from each other
            My words dancing between us.
                        We laugh, you point
                                    I nod and we brush shoulders.
           
Hungry eyes from all over the world
             Sit with me and view me through my words!
                                    View my blog
                                                View my thoughts

People I don’t know;
             People who don’t know me!
 
But they come
              To my sumptuous table
                                    Filled with enticing flavor in each word.
They look at the title
               And
                                    Make the choice to partake.
 
Wonder
            Curiosity
                        Spirit speaking to spirit
                                    Deep food nourishes your soul.
I have to admit—
            Your visit to my table surprises me!
                        I serve up words
                                    And you eagerly slurp them up!
           
My blog surprises me!
            Personal topics
                        Ideas
                                    Events
            My life happenings
                        One day at a time
A 66-year-old country girl
            Who loves words and stories
 
Weekly the topic comes.
            I let it percolate for days,
                        Then I write.
 
What surprises me is
            You accept my invitation
                        And come.
                                    You are interested!
 
Why, I wonder—
            Some from
                        Iraq & Indonesia
                        Egypt & Denmark
                        India & China
Yes, mostly from the United States
            With its melting pot of ethnicity.
 
But a spattering
            From around the world
                        A LARGE SPATTERING!
 
Again, I ask
            Who sits beside you
                        as you read my words?
                                    A Christian
                                    A Muslim
                                    A Jew
                                    A Buddhist
 
Who gently nudges your elbow?
            A Caucasian?
                        A Hispanic?
                                    An East Indian?
                                                An African?
 
At this universal table, a cacophony of smells explodes.
            Green chili from New Mexico
                        Curry
                                    Sage
 
I invite all to participate!
            All are welcome
            To sup on my words
                        To feed on my thoughts
                                    To bask in our communal experience
            Because
                        It’s common
                                    Every day
                                                Universal!
 
Welcome!


The round table in Branson, CO
The round table where I heard so many stories!

I have so many memories sitting at our round table in Branson listening to my Dad tell his fascinating stories. Join me here in your mind any time you read one of my blogs–I will be waiting for you!


Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com

Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft

Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

I HAVE 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

My Thoughts · Scotland · Travel

Day 6 – Greenock & Stirling Castle–Unicorns Everywhere!

My musings about our 12-day British Isle cruise is a joyful time. As I look back at the pictures and the journal I kept, I get to relive this wonderful trip all over again. I hope you enjoy this sixth day of our adventure!

On July 26, we slept in a little and had breakfast in Windows, one of the specialty restaurants, and had Salmon Benedict, sitting by the windows enjoying the ocean side view.

The View on Deck 12

After breakfast, we went to Deck 7 and took pictures, then up to Deck 12 and took more pictures—clouds hanging over the hills! The ship moved inward to the dock with land on both sides and a wonderful morning of picture taking. We docked at about noon.

My stomach flared up in before we left and didn’t feel good all day—I just continued!

We were welcomed by a bagpiper and this big Scottish friend. Also we laughed at the welcome sign at the terminal at the door of the terminal—what fun!

Lin Shopping to Add to His Kilt Outfit!

The terminal had great shops and we left the ship early enough to have time to shop before our excursion. Lin added to his kilt outfit: a beautiful black vest, white shirt and long white socks. I joined the shopping spree and bought a beautiful jewelry set made of heatherwood: a necklace, bracelet and earrings. Lin ran our purchases back to the ship and we left.

We boarded our bus to drive to Stirling Castle, our excursion for the day. Ian, our guide, shared his Scottish knowledge for one and half hour—lots of information! We drove through Glasgow, a city’s name I knew from an Abba song, “Super Trouper!”

Stirling Castle, located in Stirling, is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland, both historically and architecturally. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusivecrag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. It is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, giving it a strong defensive position. Its strategic location, guarding what was, until the 1890s, the farthest downstream crossing of the River Forth, has made it an important fortification in the region from the earliest times.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_Castle

The castle was well-worth the wait! We toured several spectacular areas inside the castle with numerous fireplaces & decorative unicorn shields and/or tapestries over the fireplaces.

We craned our necks to see amazing ceilings with wooden carvings.

We went through the Great Kitchens with life-sized figurines working at their tasks, and a beautiful green view of the surrounding area. The cloud-covered day added to the mystique.

We wandered around the walkaway at the top of the castle, seeing the cemetery near by and the grand vista of the area!

Lin and I in Queen Anne’s Garden

My favorite part was Queen Anne’s garden. We wore our 2020 New Mexico Square and Round Dance Association Festival t-shirts and took pictures in the garden. The array of flowers was beautiful!

We crammed as much as possible into the allotted time at the castle: Chapel Royal, the Great Kitchens and walking around a walkway around the top of the castle.

So when I got to the gift shop, it was closed. I opened the door and begged the clerk to let me in for just a few minutes. She reluctantly agreed, so I ran through the shop and ended up buying a small unicorn—in memory of all the unicorns displayed throughout the castle!

Bridge at Glasgow, Scotland

The ride home through Glasgow was delightful, and I took a great picture crossing a bridge there. When we returned to the terminal, we checked email. Once we boarded the ship, we ate dinner quickly, so we could see the musical production in the Stardust Theater, “Rockin Nights,” a lively tradition to Soul music!

We chalked up another delightful day in Scotland, wandering around a lovely castle, loving the mysterious unicorn interest at Stirling castle and admiring beautiful wooden carved ceilings!

Have you ever had a castle experience? Do you get a sense of history when you step into a castle? Then add unicorns to it! What an experience!


Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com

Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft

Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

I HAVE 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

My Thoughts

Apple, I Want My Company Back!

Steve Jobs was a visionary!

I want my Apple company back—the Steve Jobs Apple Company where the products were exceptional and innovative and the customer service outstanding. I’ve been an avid Apple supporter since 1986—36 years! I love Apple products and the visionary that Steve Jobs was, but something has gone wrong!

I am frustrated! I just spent 45 minutes on the phone trying to get a box to send back my old iPhone 7 for a rebate on my new iPhone 11 I bought last week.

In mid-September, like a crazy person, I pre-ordered my iPhone 11 online. I got caught up in the iPhone hysteria , thinking I could return my old phone when I picked up my new one. Yes, an iPhone 7–I loved and it was working perfectly, but I worried about the technology future with the trade wars going on with China, so I decided now was the time!

Last week I witnessed the iPhone 11 hysteria head-on! I picked up the new one on Release Day after standing in line for nearly one hour. The tech that worked with me said I had checked a box online saying I would return my phone online and Apple would send me a box to return it in. That didn’t sound right to me then, but I didn’t challenge her—I ASSUMED she knew what she was talking about.

Fast forward a week—I realized this morning I hadn’t received the box, so I called the only number I had on my phone – Apple Care, but I was sure they could help me connect with the appropriate department.

After being put on hold for several minutes, the Apple Care tech asked me to look at the iPhone 11 box to see if there was a label on it so I could use it to send back my old phone—really?? So, I got the box out—NOTHING. Then he connected me with the supposed right department.

After making sure I was truly who I said I was, the tech checked and told me that my online application said I would turn in my old phone when I picked up my new one! Whew! I thought I was losing it. Wait a minute! The instore tech said the opposite. What’s going on there?

In a cheerful voice, then the Apple tech asked if I liked my new iPhone 11.

“No, it randomly discconects from the network, so I have to keep reconnecting. I have several old apps that won’t open with the new operating system, and you sound like you’re in water right now.”

Her response, “Well, maybe it’s defective and you need to replace it.”

My response, “What a horrible statement about a brand new Apple products!”

So, then she said I had to go the Apple store in Albuquerque to return it—that she couldn’t send me a box. I begged, cajoled and demanded she send me a box. I’m not feeling well today, and I didn’t want to have to drive 18 miles to town to do this, plus navigate a parking spot and the hassle to get to the store. She kept repeating I had to go to the store to return it—THEY COULD NOT SEND A BOX!

After being put on hold for several minutes several times more, she returned reading to me from a document saying that since I didn’t turn it in at the time of the purchase when I was supposed to (I WANTED TO, BELIEVE ME! I DIDN’T WANT TO HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS!!), I couldn’t return it to the store, and Apple would send me a box!

REALLY!!! After 45 minutes!!! The tech really tried to help but her incompetence frightened me! I asked for a phone number to make a formal complaint, and she delayed and fumbled not finding it. I easily found the number on the Internet. So, I politely thanked her, hung up and called to complain.

The Apple representative at Customer Service listened quietly to my rant and rave and profusely apologized. I was so angry and was going to go down the “Angry Customer” path, then decided on a different route.

“I want my company back, the company of Steve Jobs. You are not going to run me off with your incompetence! If I was a new customer and they experienced what I just did for 45 minutes, you would have probably lost her. I will be bugging the hell out of you from now on! I WANT MY COMPANY BACK!!”

The Apple rep accepted my statement, we hung up and here I am.

I am!

I’m stubborn and will never leave Apple, but I am so disgusted with what just happened! I have an appointment with an Apple Tech to straighten out my iPhone woes—I’m sure they’ll fix it.

Is there another Steve Jobs-like person out there? PLEASE, WE NEED YOU!

My Thoughts · Scotland · Travel

Day 5 – Kirkwall & Orkney Islands – A Serendipitous Day!

Surprised cute woman
This Serendipitous Day Surprised Me!

A DISTURBING MORNING

Day 5 turned out to be a serendipitous day, but it’s beginning was harsh! Up at 4:45 AM because of our early excursion, I had trouble sleeping. We received a text from AT&T the night before warning us of a device usage on the cruise that had already exceeded $100. The text also had a phone number to call at no charge, so I did in a panic.

I talked to Josh from AT&T, and he tried to sell us a cruise package. He assured us there would be no charge after I explained that it was a mistake. Somehow my husband, Lin’s iPad had Airplane mode turned off. Also, LIn had trouble getting on the network on the cruise ship. Apparently, he thought he was on the cruise ship network, and he was using AT&T’s data. After thinking about it, I’m pretty sure the network tech was the culprit because he took Lin’s iPad away from him and was fiddling with it trying to get it to go online. It was after that the charges started!

We’ve all heard horror stories of travelers who had gigantic phone charges. When we traveled to Ireland and England in 2017, Lin found AT&T’s International Day Pass plan, and we activated it on my phone then. It’s a great plan: $10 for a 24-hour period of unlimited calling and texting. I used it sparingly and it was great—exactly what they said.

So, for this trip, we set it up on my phone again before we left. We hadn’t used it yet on this cruise, so this whole problem with the charges seemed crazy to me. My stomach flared up in the midst of this, but I was able let it go—I didn’t want this to ruin our trip!

We got ready and took our tour stuff to breakfast, planning to leave from there, and was at the Stardust theater at 6:45 AM. The ship docked at 7:00 AM and would be leaving early in the afternoon at 1:00 PM. The Norwegian travel agent entertained us with fun-filled activities while we waited. Our cruise ship was docked away from land, so we caught the first tender available.

SOUTH ISLAND PANORAMIC EXCURSION

Cattle Graze with the Ocean in the Background
Cattle Grazed with the Ocean in the Background

Seated in the back of the bus, we traveled through checker board farm land so rich and green! As I looked at all the green pastures and abundance of water, my ranching background kicked in and I marveled at it. Our southeastern Colorado family ranch has a horrible water shortage right now with all our reservoirs empty!

Churchill Barrier

As our travels continued, we passed over the Churchill Barrier. Our guide told us that the Barrier was built because of the sinking of HMS Royal Oak in 1939.

“Four barriers were built during the Second World War to protect the great natural harbour of Scapa Flow, the home of the Royal Navy during the conflict, from enemy attacks. Construction of the causeways was ordered by Prime Minister Winston Churchill after the sinking of HMS Royal Oak in October 1939 by a German U-boat.”


https://www.orkney.com/news/churchill-barriers

Water surrounded us as we traveled through this chain of islands—water, water, everywhere! Cattle and sheep fed in green fields.

Catholic Chapel on Lamb Holm Island

Our first stop on our tour was a picturesque Catholic chapel.

“The Italian Chapel is a highly ornate Catholic chapel on Lamb Holm in the Orkney Islands. It was built during World War II by Italian prisoners of war captured in North Africa, who were housed on the previously uninhabited island while they constructed the Churchill Barriers to the east of Scapa Flow. Only the concrete foundations of the other buildings of the prisoner-of-war camp survive. It was not completed until after the end of the war, and was restored in the 1960s and again in the 1990s. It is now a popular tourist attraction,”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Chapel

As always, we didn’t have enough time to linger, but the inside of this chapel took my breath away. Admiring the ingenuity of these prisoners to use what they had available, they used a Quonset hut for the building, light holders made out of corn beef tins, and the baptismal font created from the inside of a car exhaust.

From there we traveled to St. Margaret’s Hope.

St Margaret’s Hope is a town in the Orkney Islands, off the north coast of Scotland. It is known locally as “The Hope” or “The Hup”. With a population of about 550, it is Orkney’s third largest settlement. . .”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Margaret%27s_Hope

I had a delightful time shopping there at a Craft Workshop, buying a wool/cashmere blend yarn. I love to knit and plan on making something beautiful out of this. Lin found the local ice cream shop.

It was back to Kirkwall on the bus, and the line for the tenders to get back to our cruise ship was long, so I immediately got in line. We were leaving at 1:00 PM, and I didn’t want to be one of the casualties of not managing our time appropriately and getting left behind. Lin always pushes it to the limit, so he shopped and found a beautiful new Scottish beret. Our trip back to the cruise ship on the tender was pleasant and we were back on time!

ONBOARD THE SHIP

We ate a quick lunch and napped the afternoon away, sleeping four hours! Later, we ate dinner up on Deck 12 at Raffles because I needed a small meal–the restaurants served such big meals. Then we gambled in the casino our obligatory $20 limit, but I left the slots with $15! After that, we went to the 9:30 PM Danielle Williams show, a woman singer, and it was great.

What a delightful day we had in a remote area of Scotland where peaceful rural life was the norm. The serendipities of the day surprised me: the chapel so loved by the Italian prisoners of war and a lovely small village so welcoming and warm.

Have you ever had a serendipitous day! on a trip? What was it? I’d love to hear about your experience!


Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com

Two memoirs, a historical fiction, a nonfiction and three cookbooks! It’s your choice! Just be sure to select at least one. Also, I have bundles where you save money when you buy more than one! Also, FREE SHIPPING now in the USA. Visit my Etsy Shop for all my booksLarada’s Reading Loft

Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

I HAVE 199 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY! Be the 200th to pre-order! You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42