And wouldn’t you know it?

The day after my post on completing Citizen’s Police Academy, a couple of graduation photos arrived by e-mail.



They sent a picture of the cake too, but the file exceeded the maximum upload size. I told you it was a big cake. I’m sitting in the front row wearing the non-issue floral shirt.

~ Kay




I’m a CPA graduate–but don’t send me your taxes

Tuesday night I graduated from the Citizen’s Police Academy. Turns out it was a big deal.

After firing official police weapons, riding a shift with a patrol cop, visiting the emergency management and 911 centers, I guess it really was a big deal. We also learned about street drugs, gangs, domestic violence, SWAT, forensics, Internet crimes, organized crimes, and the judicial system among other things from the law enforcement point of view. Yep. It was a big deal.

The previous week we’d each been given an “official” CPA golf shirt and most wore theirs to graduation. I didn’t. We’d been warned the shirts were big and we might need to shrink them, but that’s a little hard to do when one waits until the last minute to try it on. At least I wasn’t the only one in street clothes. There were a handful of others.

The graduation ceremony started with a procession led by a guy playing the bagpipes. This bag piper led a full color guard (flags, rifles) that came in only for the Pledge of Allegiance. Formal. Snazzy. Short. Those guys had to put on all those clothes for such a brief appearance. Kind of like our dance performances.

After their departure, the Chief of Police introduced the other dignitaries in attendance. (He’d made several prescient commanders and division heads attend.) Then he addressed the class and our guests. Hubby was still in Japan so I was perhaps the only graduate without my own personal photographer and cheering section.

Four classmates gave mini-speeches, but had been given a two-minute time limit, which meant most of them kept their remarks to less than five. They shared why they’d taken the class and what the experience had meant to them.  I was asked if I wanted to speak, but declined. I’d taken the class to more accurately portray law enforcement in my fiction. While I’m sure the brass appreciated my intentions, I didn’t think it prudent to broadcast my motives when others had much more noble reasons such as becoming better prosecutors, neighborhood watch leaders, and volunteer crisis response chaplains. A better writer? I kept that one to myself.

We each received a certificate and an official photographer made a photo they’ll send to us. After we were dismissed, we were reassembled for a group photo—not an easy task with that many folks. This was followed with punch and the largest cake I’ve ever seen. I would have taken a picture, but my camera was in Japan.

In all seriousness, if you ever have an opportunity to take a class such as this, it’s worth your time, even if you don’t have a reason other than becoming more aware about your community. It was an amazing experience–one I hope to repeat with the TBI and FBI. The information I garnered for my writing will be useful, but what I learned about my community is invaluable.

Have a safe holiday weekend.

~ Kay

Welcome home, Daddy

You might recall Hubby and I were in Oahu for the birth of our first grandchild in March. Unfortunately, our son was only present via Skype and has gone two months without holding his child. He is a Marine and was deployed to Afghanistan in October, so he also missed much of his wife’s pregnancy. It takes special people to live the military life. True grit. The soldiers and their families not only have my gratitude, but my utmost respect.

As you’ve probably guessed, we have good news. My step-son’s unit is home and his family is reunited. Get out  your hanky. Here are  photos by family friend, Jillian Dazey (also a new mom) who did a beautiful job capturing the homecoming.




Who's kissing my momma?

You look different from Skype, Daddy


Daddy baby moment


First family portrait






These pictures take my breath away. What more can I say?


Long day

Our homeowners’ association sponsors an annual yard sale and they do a good job of advertising and promoting it. I’d not participated in it during the nine years I’ve been in the subdivision. In fact, this is the first solo garage sale I’ve EVER hosted and now I know why. It takes a LOT of transactions at a quarter or a dollar, or even two or three bucks, to make any money. When I told Hubby I was considering this ((mis))(ad)venture he stressed the objective of a yard sale wasn’t to make money; it was to get other people to pay money to haul off your stuff. What does he know? He’s in Japan stuffing his face?

While he was gone seemed like a good opportunity to get rid of a lot of his our junk things. I had a couple of card tables, borrowed two more from neighbors and constructed another one from things in the garage–probably my biggest accomplishment. I had a couple of racks of clothes and hauled them and the rest of the loot into the garage Friday afternoon. I’d planned to push everything out into the driveway first thing Saturday morning. I made and attached pricing signs and stickers Friday night. It’d only take a jiffy to put those out Saturday morning, right? Oh, I was such a novice!
















The event was scheduled to start at eight. I went out before seven to move everything out and finish pricing. Would you believe people began arriving immediately? Of course you would. You probably would have researched other yard sales before having your own. Duh! I didn’t have a “people-free” moment to take a picture until about 9:30, but this is how it ended up looking.

It ended at noon and I was $142 richer. It doesn’t seem like much for all that work. The big accomplishment was I didn’t bring anything back inside. What was left went to Goodwill. I Skyped with Hubby (3 a.m. for him), took a long shower and a much longer nap.

I have ceremoniously marked “garage sale” off my bucket list. Okay, you’re right. It wasn’t on my bucket list–you know me well–but if it had been, it would be marked off now, in permanent marker!


Weekend insanity

With Hubby ensconced in Japan and a photo shoot for my tap recital on the calendar for Sunday, I decided to move head-first into the first neighborhood garage sale I’ve participated in since moving into this house nine years ago. Am I nuts? Don’t answer. I already know, but I’m in too deep to dig out now. Wish me luck and cross your fingers the photographer can photoshop the bags from under my eyes.


Have a good weekend.

~ Kay

The challenges of time

Well, Hubby survived his trip to Japan. I dropped him off at the Nashville airport at 1 p.m. Monday afternoon and he touched down at his final destination one stop past Toyko at 8 p.m. last night. That was 10 a.m. Wednesday in Japan. He was picked up at the airport and whisked off, not to a hotel to sleep, but to offices to work on strategy for a trial that starts on Thursday. He was flown over as an expert witness, though I’m not sure how much of an expert anyone can be with that much jet lag.

When he finally called, it was 2 a.m. here. He’d tried to Skype, but couldn’t get his password to work. I was sound asleep with my computer in bed with me. Ahhh…

I’d set up an account for him and checked it out before he left. When his password didn’t work, he tried to change it, but didn’t realize I’d used a new e-mail account I’d also set up for him (yes, I’d told him about it) instead of his work e-mail. It didn’t matter, when he tried to sign in to his work e-mail, none of his e-mails were there. Someone had opened his Outlook at the office so his e-mails downloaded to the server. So, he couldn’t have gotten to the e-mail from Skype had it gone to that address anyway.

When he called me (again, this was 2 a.m.) he wanted me to e-mail his business partner to ask his staff not to “help” him at work by covering his e-mail. I told Hubby I’d also change his Skype password, what e-mail account I’d use to contact him, and strongly suggested he GO TO SLEEP! I woke up enough to do those things and to send his mom an e-mail informing her of his safe arrival. She worries.

Then I got another e-mail at 3:30 a.m. saying they had called and awakened him up from his nap. This would have been 5:30 p.m. tomorrow there. Happy hour, but he didn’t seem happy. He said his back and hip were hurting. Well, duh! He’d just spent twenty-nine hours on planes and in airports, then worked half a day. I’m surprised he’s cognitive enough to type in my e-mail address or dial our phone number. I’m pretty sure I’d be walking around in a stupor. Maybe not. Walking might be an exaggeration. Someone would probably have to pour me into a bed.

He’ll get (I hope) a full night’s sleep then it will be Thursday, the first day of the trial. It is scheduled to last for a full week, including court on Saturday. Then, he will start the long trek home arriving the Saturday morning before Memorial Day. At least it will be a long weekend.

The challenge is going to be scheduling times to talk or Skype. With a fourteen hour time difference, and him tied up during the day, we’ll have to be creative. I made an Excel spreadsheet to make it easier to convert the times at a glance. I sent it to him, though he can do it in his head, I’m sure. I’d prefer not to waste brain cells on conversion exercises. It looks like we have about a two or three hour window very early in the morning (my time) to talk before his normal bedtime. I’m most cognitive in the afternoon and evening so maybe I can catch him before he goes to work, though that’s when he likes to work out. But, we can Skype on his Ipod, too, so who knows? Maybe we can Skype all day. Yeah, right!

I have plenty to keep me busy while he’s gone. Tap. Neighborhood yard sale. My writing. Geez, have I neglected that lately. This is a perfect time to get back into a routine. I guess I’d better get to it…

~  Kay

Ah-So Hubby-O

I’m posting late today because I’ve been running like a banshee to get Hubby to the airport for an out of the blue business trip to Japan.

This is the same husband who had such severe hip and back pain ten short days ago, he not only let me take him to the emergency room, he asked for drugs. You’d have to know him to know how significant that was. I’d never seen him in so much pain, even after his hip replacement surgery last summer. After x-rays, a CT and an MRI, the conclusion was a few bulging discs and a pinched nerve. He was given some muscle relaxers and pain meds (which he hasn’t taken) and will start PT after this trip.

So, you can understand why I was less than thrilled when he sprang it on me he’d be spending nineteen hours in the air. That doesn’t layovers—about ten hours worth going and thirteen hours coming back. I packed one whole carryon bag of hip, back and neck cushions for his comfort that I hope he’ll use. I threw in an ice pack for after he gets there.

And, of course there were a zillion things to do before he left. While he tied up the loose ends at work, I tried to get him packed.

I had several hours of sheer terror when I couldn’t find his passport. I keep our passports either in the safe or in a Lucite container on my desk. It wasn’t in the safe. I tore the house apart looking for it. It wasn’t in the luggage we’d used the last time we went out of the country. On the plus side, I cleaned out drawers, sorted through things to be filed (and actually filed as I went through the stacks), cleaned out from under things, and cleared off my desk, the surface of which hasn’t been seen in over a year. Where was it? In plain sight in the Lucite container which had been moved slightly but was still on the desk. I did five Hail Mary’s (and I’m not Catholic) and a happy dance before collapsing from the emotional exhaustion of my search.

This reinforces my desire to minimize. I want to clean out my study and make it more zen like. A place for everything and everything in its place. I want to paint it a good feng shui color for writing and creativity. Our neighborhood’s having its annual garage sale Saturday. If I were truly ambitious, I could really do some moving and shaking between now and then and whip my space into shape. Then, I could get it painted before Hubby got home–we’ve been talking about painting a couple of rooms anyway. I’m not sure if I can manage a project of this magnitude. I’ll keep you posted.


I’m not a mom

When trying to decide what to post today, I thought, “Mother’s Day. Easy!” Initially, I considered posting a picture of me with my mom and another of me with my mother-in-law.

But, my mother died twenty years ago this summer and I have no digital photos of us together. Come to think of it, I can’t recall many photos of the two of us as adults. There are plenty from my childhood, but what happened? Was I always behind the camera? Is my memory faulty? This makes me sad. I kind-of sort-of want to search the cases of photos I have in the basement hoping to prove myself wrong…but what if I prove myself right? I don’t think I want to go there.

I flipped through all of my digital photos and I have plenty of shots of my mother-in-law, but I was the one taking most of the pictures. Her daughter also takes lots of pictures so I’m sure she has plenty of me with her mom and we can swap. I could have made that work, but I decided to go in a different direction.

My easy post turned out not to be so easy. Isn’t that always the case? I decided, if it’s going to be hard anyway, I might as well make it really tough.

Mother’s Day is always a difficult day for me. I’m not a mom. I’m a stepmom. But I’m not a mom, and as our ex-wife has told me many times, it’s not the same thing. My husband’s boys were all but grown when we got married—15, 17 and 20—but I love them like they were my own. Or, I think I do. How would I know since I have nothing to compare it to.

When Hubby and I got married, I told the ex and I told the boys, I didn’t plan to try to mother them. They had a mom. I only wanted to be another trusted adult in their lives. The boys never lived with us, so it didn’t really come up. I’m pretty sure they couldn’t hear my intentions then, but over time (ten years), I think (hope) I’ve proven myself.

Now one of the boys has a son of his own, making us grandparents. Had I come into the family after the birth of this grandchild, I’d think of myself as a step-grandparent. But, I am firmly entrenched in the family and consider myself 100% a grandmother. Right or wrong. What do you think?

And though, I’m not a mom, I’ve got godchildren scattered all over the country—five officially, two more who think they are and I’m not telling them differently. I have a niece from my first marriage and a niece and nephew from this one. In addition, for many years I worked with college women in varying roles of advising chapters of my collegiate sorority. I truly cared for these young women, but someone else had birthed and raised them. So, while I’ve been around a lot of young folks, and maybe even influenced even a few, I’m not a mom.

Right smack in the middle of my little pity party, my doorbell rang. It was the mailman with a package. I didn’t remember ordering anything. I opened the box and found a gift…a mother’s day gift. Out of the blue. Not from one of the step-kids. Not from a relative or godchild (though they sometimes send cards). Not from one of the sorority women. It was from someone else. Totally unexpected. The gift was inscribed, leaving no doubt it was for Mother’s Day. It oozed with love. I didn’t need a present, (okay, maybe I did to snap me out of this funk) but to be remembered on Mother’s Day–well, I’m still bawling.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there. And to those of you who aren’t…well, a special Happy Mother’s Day to you, too. I’m sure someone, somewhere has special feelings for you whether or not they remember to tell you.


Happy feet

With awesome pedicure and new toe ring (thanks, Erica)



I’ll be back Friday.

~ Kay