the Fourth’s top four

On the Fourth, my family circus celebrated Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in our own special way; which I like to imagine is exactly what Thomas Jefferson envisioned when he wrote down those words.

Why should pundits and politicians be the only ones who can know what our Founding Fathers were thinking some 239 years ago?

Am I right?!

Our family circus top four moments on the Fourth are:

Watching Independence Day as we do every year because it makes perfect sense to us to be sitting together and watching this movie. Next year is likely to be different because Independence Day Resurgence…thank you, Roland Emmerich!

Barbecue, swatting flies, trading stories and just generally enjoying the company of family and friends.

Number three is a two=parter because it is.

Prime viewing of our town’s fireworks show. Added bonus not getting stuck in traffic because we are in our neighbors’ backyard.

Lighting our own, although this year The Big Top’s fireworks show was greatly subdued, as was the rest of our neighborhood’s, because everything is brown and dying while we all do our part conserving water during this drought…all of us except that one neighbor on the corner who literally waters his lawn SIX TIMES DAILY!

But, hands down, the top moment of our Independence Day celebration was when this kid swam underwater the width of our neighbor’s pool for the very first time! Absolutely the very best moment!!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ~ Thomas Jefferson


Celebrating today in and around The Big Top men who influence.

These three. Yes, these three, who really did not cooperate and take direction well in the taking of this photo. But let it be known that they all were definitely smiling on the inside. These three influence every day people whom are very important to me…and I’m glad that they do.

Bonus is today we all had the opportunity to celebrate the biggest influencer in my life and the lives of our children. We have joked that we could only played the almost-died-from-a-massive-heart-attack card up until today, Father’s Day. But, truth be told, every day, every moment we can’t help but to be thankful because we have that one more day, one more moment with him influencing us all.

Moments like this, where I am witnessing the man that I love and the father of all my babies and papa of my grand babies as he danced to Taylor Swift with Hazel’s and Fallon’s Kingston. Definitely a moment, a priceless moment, to celebrate.

Happy Father’s Day to all the men who have positively influenced my life and the lives of the people whom I love so very much!

for the uncommon dad

Father’s Day is coming!!!…because June is all about the dads…and the grads…and the brides.

That’s my darling husband adding the grads and brides with just a hint of snarky bitterness because dads must share June with grads and brides and…then I roll my eyes just a little reminding him of the fact we married the day before Mother’s Day on his grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary which, 13 years later would also be our 4ht circus clown’s birth day.

Whatever, my darling husband!

But this year especially, we are all about celebrating dad…my kids’ dad because so many reasons and yes, we intend to celebrate him being here to celebrate everything with us for as long as we can because he is…here.

The thing about my darling husband, the father of my children, is he likes to celebrate Father’s Day in his own uncommon way. Please, no ties or golf or gardening stuff. Just let him chill with the family, grill some meat, enjoy a brew or more and maybe fall asleep watching a movie on Netflix.

Perfect Father’s Day level unlocked.


Even easier now, the challenge of finding the perfect Uncommon Father’s Day gift for our uncommon dad here under the Big Top is not so challenging after all because this dad definitely does not want or need another necktie. Of course he is not the only Uncommon dad which is why I am sharing with you all now Uncommon Goods and the wonderful, uncommon gifts for dads, grandfathers, husbands, boyfriends and more. From the grillmaster dads to the sporty dads to the geeky dads to the musical dads to the veteran grand dads to the newborn dads, Uncommon Goos has so many original gifts to choose from that is most definitely not your ho-hum necktie kind of Dad’s Day gift.

For our Uncommon dad the perfect gift was something to enjoy and share a little refreshment while doing exactly what he is wanting to do this Father’s Day.

Chilling with the family, grilling some meat, enjoying a brew or more and maybe falling asleep watching a movie on Netflix.

The perfect Father’s Day celebration unlocked.

Be sure to check out Uncommon Goods and their amazing Father’s Day gift ideas for the very best uncommon Dads and Grand dads.

“see you sooner”

Memorial Day isn’t just about honoring veterans. It’s honoring those who lost their lives. Veterans had the fortune of coming home. For us, that’s a reminder of when we come home we still have a responsibility to serve. It’s a continuation of service that honors our country and those who fell defending it.

~ Pete Hegseth

Years ago my Great Uncle Ernie said to me, almost verbatim, the same thing. I was thanking him, a decorated WWII 1st Lieutenant, pilot and POW, for his service and wishing him a “happy Memorial Day”. Truly I can not be more proud for his service, my Grandpap as a Navy Seabee, my father’s and step-dad’s service in the Navy and Air Force, my father in law service in the Coast Guard, my Uncle fighting as a Marine in Vietnam and my brothers’ service in the Marine Corps. But they, as Ernie reminded me, all came home to their families and lived. On Memorial Day I should be honoring the ones who gave all, and their loved ones who lost so much.

Before work this holiday weekend, I took the time to pay my respects to the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, a half-sized traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington D. C. Walking along side it seeing name after name after name after name….one can not help but be overwhelmed of the enormity of the loss…names of young men and women who did not come home. It’s humbling, even for a pacifist like me. My uncles words resonated loudly in my mind as I stopped at each panel and reflected on a random name.

I stopped then at panel 23W and reflected on this name.

1st LT Sharon A. Lane of the 312th Evacuation Hospital, Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam worked caring for injured Vietnamese as well as the most critically injured American soldiers in the surgical ICU. She wrote home upbeat letters to her parents about movies she missed, the heat and GIs in her care. Her last letter home she ended it with “see you sooner.”

On the morning of June 8, 1969, the 312th Evacuation Hospital was struck by a salvo of rockets fired by the Viet Cong.  One rocket struck between Wards 4A and 4B, killing two people and wounding another twenty-seven.  Among the dead was 1st Lt Lane, who died instantly of fragmentation wounds to the chest.  She was one month shy of her twenty-sixth birthday.

Though one of eight American military nurses who died while serving in Vietnam, Sharon Lane was the only American nurse killed as a direct result of hostile fire.

photo credit:

So today I honor, remember and thank a fellow nurse who served saving lives and died in combat. Thank you 1st Lt Sharon Lane.

adventures in pet sitting

When you regard a mother of five healthy, bright, engaging children, ages ranging from 28 to 13, you might imagine that this person certainly can manage the care and feeding of someone’s beloved fur-baby…

especially a cat, because, it’s a cat.

Cats do what they want, where they want. Your job is to keep the food bowl full, the litter box clean, share your lap and, if they so decide, offer a little bit of affection…not too much though…they’re not needy, pet-me-all-the-time dogs.

This can’t be hard.


True, Albert is comfortable enough under The Big Top now to TAKE OVER our bed; but he is also relaxed enough to open doors and possibly turning on the water in the kids’ bathroom and letting it run for at least an hour or more during the night…severe California drought and family circus water conservation efforts be damned. Don’t argue with the whole he has no opposable thumbs thing because he can literally open doors!

Still he seems to be settled. He even let me pet him…once…and he is quite happy to curl up next to me when I am sleeping during the day when I am Vampira, the Night Shift Nurse. Yes, Zelda is curled up on the other side and I am waaay over-heated.

Even Zelda has settled into a playfully antagonistic almost sibling-like relationship with him…or perhaps younger auntie/older nephew relationship which seems awfully familiar as I recall my first born and my youngest sister’s relationship as they grew up. At least Zelda and Albert haven’t drawn blood…yet.

That doesn’t mean that there has not been blood.

Being the nurturing pet-sitter that I am, I gifted Albert with a lovely collar  He wears it well and I can hear him when he stalks me. Zoë warns me that it won’t last.

Of course I don’t listen or ask why.

I’m having fun pet sitting.

Easter Sunday evening came the blood. Albert decided that he had had enough with the fancy blue collar with the bell and tried to take it off getting it stuck partly in his mouth and choking him. Such a bloody mess…and a very angry, scared cat.

Naturally the 24 hour pet hospital is closed because it is Easter Sunday and this is my family and we only do things like this over holidays, vacations and out of town travel.

So Bill and I corral the frightened, angry, choking, bleeding cat, remove the collar and try to clean away the blood to figure out just how badly hurt he is and if he needs to see a vet. After a time, the blood is washed away revealing a cut nose and a lop-sided, swollen mouth…and a very angry cat piercing us with his Zoë warned you angry eyes!

Yes, she did.

This girl. This cat. This girl’s cat. This girl’s cat just might be the death of me. Thank goodness he is okay because he is this girl’s everything. Of course he makes no apology because he is a cat…and an asshole.

No one ever ask me to pet sit.

I’m serious.