Empty-Nester Servives

I am getting used to being an empty-nester. It is helpful that I am in a photography club, taking pictures to enter in monthly contests.

I am working on the house to declutter and downsize so I can start working on crafts and my doll mission.

I am taking a lot of pictures of my pets, my daughter’s pets, my friends’ pets! There is a limit to how many pictures you can take of kids and grandkids before they start to protest. Pets don’t complain when you grab a camera or your phone and snap a quick photo.

The Granddogs

 Selfies with Sollie

Caught sitting together




Waiting for Daddy to get home




Sheryl’s Book


I even read a book! My friend, Sheryl Stapleton, wrote a science fiction mystery adventure. It is called, “Helendor: Book I, The Sliding Cave”. Sheryl has always had a creative writing gift. Her descriptions are spot on, painting the mental pictures one wants to find in a novel.

This book is the first book I have read cover to cover in. a. long. time.

(Interested? You can buy the book on Amazon.com)

I am also trying to cook more, and I need to get to the kitchen and get dinner started.




It Isn’t Easy to Say Goodbye..

My son moves to Washington DC in the morning.  It isn’t like he is moving to the next town over, (7 minutes away), like his sister did; it is halfway across the continent!


I know other kids have moved away, with their parents pushing them out the door. Either they are stronger than I am, or their kids are not as wonderful as mine is. And mine is wonderful.

He is fun. I guess you could say we are a lot alike, laid back, forgiving, and just fun to be around. Not that I am all that wonderful. But it is a blessing we get along.

You see, he is an “aspie”. He is smart, very smart. He has always been smart, but he has not always been fun to be around. He was what you might call a difficult kid to raise. Asperger’s makes a person unable to understand what other people are thinking and why. It is hard enough for them to control their own feelings, how can they understand everyone else?

There are other enjoyable things to deal with. He was easily frustrated and when he did get frustrated, he would have a “meltdown”. (It is what it sounds like). He figured that one out on his own, thankfully. His psych teacher in high school said he had solved his own problem. Good thing, I never could help with that one.

I did teach him how to tell what someone’s face meant. I sat down with him and showed him different faces and we discussed what they meant. (I enjoyed acting, so I put it to work.) I only had to tell him once, and that seemed to help.

He never had many friends until he hit high school, though a few of his friends from grade school are still among his friend group now. He tried out for a play in his junior year and made a bunch of friends and solidified friendships from choir class. These guys are still hanging around now.

The most important thing my husband and I taught our son was to love Jesus and have a close relationship with Him. His dad was very hands on with that. He taught how science proved God’s existence. That struck home and stayed in his heart.

When you raise a child that you had when you were past 40, was hard to raise, see him through your cancer and his; that can either bring the two of you very close or make you virtual enemies. Thank God, it brought us all close together as a family. And that is what is making this move so hard on this mother. We have a history.

I cannot imagine not having him close enough for a hug when I need one. When he moved out a year ago it was to an apartment 2 blocks away. If I needed him, he was close. Take out the trash, move something in the house, paint the deck, rescue me when I locked my keys in my car.

Thank God for Skype and cell phones. He set up Skype on my new cell phone, and taught me how to use the phone. We are set to communicate across the miles.

I guess when he leaves, I will get busy and do a few things I have wanted to do. Sort stuff. Clean stuff. Create stuff. Finish my genealogy project. Cry a little. Spend more time with my other family members and friends I have neglected since I learned he really was going to move away two months ago.

Tomorrow I go with him to the airport to see him off and try not to cry. I am already crying, so that will be next to impossible. But, he asked a friend of his to drive us and bring me home. Isn’t that just about the sweetest? His friend is going to finish painting the deck too. It is almost done, but hot weather and rain is not a good mixture for painting.

So, tomorrow, I guess I have to grow up, and start a new chapter in my life.


Vintage TV

Even with my strong faith, I have days where things are just not fun. It is so hard to be a grownup. Sometimes every decision seems impossibly hard. When we were young, all we had to decide was which homemade dress to wear, which library book to check out, (ok, that was hard), which doll to play with, and what to watch on TV after school.

One of my favorite TV shows as I grew up:

M-I-C-K-E-Y  M-O-U-S-E!!

Mickey MouseAnnette Funicello

I loved, loved, loved the Mickey Mouse club! Music, singing, dancing. Short story movies. Cartoons. Everything a kid could want in one show!

Mickey Mouse Club Walt--Kids Mickey Mouse Club Moochie Kevin Corcoran

Kevin Corcoran, who wasn’t a Mouseketeer but appeared in a few shows, later went on to star in several Disney-like movies, “Old Yeller”, “Toby Tyler”, “The Swiss Family Robinson”, to name a few. I thought he was cute.

He later went to college and became a producer and director for TV shows like “Murder She Wrote”! He died last year of cancer.

Mickey Mouse Club

This page is like a school yearbook page of the Mouseketeers in 1957. My favorite “regulars” besides Annette were Cubby and Karen. They were my age and they made me feel like I too could be a Mouseketeer!

1957-Kendall Helen and Paula

My brother, Ken, Mom, and me in 1957. I need Mickey Mouse ears and a shirt that says, “Paula”!

So much for musing. Gotta return to today and pay bills.

Have a nice TODAY!

Confirmation Sundays

About 50 years ago today, I confirmed my baptismal vows and my faith in Jesus Christ at Hope Lutheran Church, Shawnee.

FIFTY YEARS? Ridiculous! I don’t remember that many years passing!

I shared my confirmation picture displayed in the church with kids today:

Paula's Confirmation IMG_5520
My Confirmation Class

I am in the last row, second from the right. To my left is Melanie Cooper and just in front of her is Diane Beaman. I remember most of the other names too; most, not all. Our pastor is Pastor Glinsmann, I see him occasionally. His son still attends our church as well as I do.

Why am I going down memory lane? I went to two confirmation ceremonies this week. The first was last Sunday. My youngest granddaughter, Roma, was confirmed at her Catholic Church in a beautiful though long, mass. There were 83 young people there!

The second service was at my church and was for a dear young friend I look at as a granddaughter as well. There were 13 confirmands and the service was not as long as last week. The church was not as packed as well.

Today’s service was much different than mine was. First, it is in a newer sanctuary, mine was in the old one. It was small, with maybe 20 pews. There was a small electric organ for music, we now have a monstrous custom-made organ.

We took one picture together in our white robes. It is above. These kids had pictures taken earlier this week. Their group picture will be displayed with mine at the church. There were also individual pictures taken as well. Not for us. We were 13 years old, like the Jewish boys who have a Bar Mizva and become men in the temple. The year my brother was supposed to be confirmed, they added one more year to the age and he was 14 years old and went to an extra year of “Midweek”, a weekly Wednesday night class that started at 5:30 and seemed to last forever.

I know for a fact these students did not have half a sandwich and a small bowl of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup for dinner every week, prepared by the church ladies. That never filled me up. We also had choir practice every week after that meager dinner. That was the worse part, I knew I had no singing talent.

Our red carnations on the robes were real, they re-use silk flowers now to save money. Today, the confirmands make beautiful banners, with a chosen Bible verse illustrated in colorful felt cutouts.

Other things were the same. The girls today had new dresses and new high heel shoes, often the first pair. There were, and I suppose are today, some students who are more serious about the creed we recited and the questions we answered during the ceremony. Some never returned to church after that day so long ago. Happily, several do still attend one church or another. And some have died.

So many things change, so many things stay the same.



Our Son Turns 21, How Can I Be 29 Anymore?

Today was Nate’s 21st birthday. When did he grow up? 1999 Mom and Nate at a wedding

Now I have not changed a bit, but as you can see in this next picture, Nate has changed a lot!


How have parents been able to stand their kids growing up for all these years? You get used to one stage, and seemingly overnight, they change; and repeat over and over again until you have an adult. Then POW! they do not need you anymore. But your heart still needs them to need you and refuses to believe they are grown.

Tonight we took Nate to the New Theater Restaurant for the first time, to celebrate his birthday.  It is Kevin and my favorite date place, I don’t know why we never took him there before, it is perfect: food and food and food and great theater! We saw “Over the Moon”.

We have always taken Nate to live theater and have included him in anything we have been in, for example, Nate was in his first play at the tender age of 3 months. As you can see, he was type cast:

1995-Stage Debut        1995-Stage Debut-2

He played the part of a baby! We appeared in “Annie Get Your Gun”, (part of the chorus), in Branson, Missouri. Neither he nor I sang. Interesting note, the dress he wore was his sister’s baptismal gown.

I digress.

How do you stand it when your kids grow up before you are ready for them to?

Happy Spring Surprise

A few weeks ago I happened to meet this nice lady in a parking lot…

Reserved for Goose
Reserved Parking

She and her husband made a striking pair…IMG_6408 IMG_6346

Today, on a whim, I went back to check on them…


They were taking their new family to their new home in a pond across the parking lot. What a thrill! If I had been even 15 minutes later, I would have missed them!

I love geese. Yes, I know, they are big, and plentiful, and make BIG green poop. But they fascinate me! They mate for life. They take care of each other. They make good parents. They are big and majestic. You can hear them coming from a half mile away, always calling to one another as they fly. One flies in front to break the wind for a while for the others, then moves to the back to rest. Very efficient. Did I mention they are big birds?



Iconic Kansas City, Missouri Western Auto Sign Goes Dark

Western Auto Sign DA by Kevin

I think everyone remembers the Western Auto sign in Kansas City, Missouri on Grand between 20th and 22nd. You can see it from Kansas City, KS and from I-35. You can see it from the air. But not at night now. The lights went off. The old wooden scaffolding is deteriorating. Several bulbs are already burned out as you can see from the picture. It is not safe to use the structure to get to the bulbs. That many bulbs use a lot of electricity and the money to finance that is not available. Question: Would it be cheaper to replace the old bulbs with LEDs and a computer?

The above picture was taken by my husband, Kevin Anderson, The Back Roads Photographer. He enhanced it with a special software he concocted within Topaz. Okay I don’t understand how he did it either, that is why HE is the artist, and I just take pictures.

This is so sad that an icon of this size is impossible to fix. Anyone have any memories of the Western Auto sign? Any ideas how to fix it?