Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

                      Top 3 Things That Piss Ella Off 

                                      1.  Idiot Drivers

                                      2.  Dreaded SIL, Patty

                                      3.  Dogs Barking

At first I started to make a comprehensive list of everything I could think of that pisses me off.  It soon became evident that such a list would be far too long!  There were some great ones, though.  Like people who blab on their cell phones in restaurants.  Like people who can't park between 2 lines.  Like "failing schools" and "failing teachers!"  Anyway, I just picked my top 3 for the purposes of this post.  I think Sam would agree with these choices as we have so many "discussions" about them. 

As far as patience while driving is concerned, that is a very up and down thing for Ella.  Remember the "little girl with the little curl" nursery rhyme?  "And when she was good, she was very, very good.  And when she was bad, she was horrible."  This usually affects my evening commute most often.  You have all heard tales of Ella and the Speedy Little Truck.


And, of course, most of my readers would also suspect that the Dreaded SIL would be in the top three as well.  She will probably never slip below the mark - that woman has a remarkable capacity to piss me off.

But I don't think I have ever discussed barking dogs.  For some reason, dogs barking drives me crazy!  Our dogs and anyone else's dogs, too.  Our older dog is a real sweetie but has always enjoyed barking like hell when anyone comes near our house or has the audacity to walk down our street.  The younger dog is not the brightest crayon in the box but has embraced this one bad habit from her older sister.  When someone rings the doorbell, it is as if they feel they must warn everyone in a 5 mile radius of imminent danger.

If we know a friend or family member is coming over, it helps quite a bit to put the dogs in the front bedroom for 5 or 10 minutes before anyone arrives.  They come out happy and calm, and the worst thing might be excessive tail-wagging.  But when there is an unexpected guest, the din is obnoxious.  It is best if Sam deals with this.  He is infinitely more patient than I am.  He will either get them settled or put them in Doggie Time-Out.

But if the barking continues, Ella's temper starts to rise.  I try to be patient, but if pushed, only add to the cacophony.  Many times I have tried to lead them by the collar down the hall, but they are much stronger than I am.  After I got hurt a few times, Sam finally outlawed my "helping" some time ago.  I am to leave it to him.  "DO YOU UNDERSTAND?" he asked and/or told me.  I thought I did.

So the other night, Son #2 and his lovely fiance came by a bit earlier than planned.  A holy hell canine ruckus ensued!  I started to lose it and felt Sam was not intervening quickly enough.  While
family waited at the front door, I grabbed one dog's collar and started trying to move an unwilling pet down the hall.  Sam's eyes narrowed and his finger pointed at me like the Grim Reaper coming to gather another poor soul.  "Ella, stop it right nowI will take care of this."  I let go of the dog immediately and opened the front door as soon as I heard Sam close the bedroom door.

Hugged my boy and sweet daughter-to-be.  The four of us talked and enjoyed each others' company.  I had to make a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies for work the next day, so I had mixed up the dough and started popping trays in the oven.  Knew that boy and Sam would start sampling the goods as soon as they were out of the oven.  They did, and the cookies passed inspection.

As soon as the kids left, Sam was back in the kitchen, and it wasn't for more cookies.

"I thought we had settled this problem you have with the dogs?  What did I tell you?"

In my opinion the problem is with the dogs, not me, but I did not say that.  "Um....I forgot.  Sam, you know I hate the barking," I pleaded.

This one is for Meredith

"Tough," he said, his voice just dripping with sympathy.  "Let's go," he continued, standing by the hallway, arms crossed over his chest.

I knew better than to argue; this spanking was going to happen as sure as the fishes swim and the birds do fly.  However, I thought I had the perfect reason for a postponement.  

"But, Hon, I have a batch of cookies in the oven."

He didn't budge but asked, "How long?"  

I looked at the digital timer on the range top and told him, "Three minutes."

"Plenty of time," was the answer.  

In 5 steps he was over to the counter.  In about 10 seconds, I was over said counter with my pants down, and he had some wooden kitchen utensil in his hand.  (Am seriously thinking of moving these to another less convenient location.)  When he started whaling away on my ass, I read the digital countdown.  Now, I have never been able to tell you how long a spanking lasts because of being preoccupied trying to live through it.  This time I can tell you exactly because it said "2:37."  And that is exactly how long this little fast and furious reminder took.  Even though I did not look at the timer again, I know because the timer went off. 

                       "Beep-Beep.... Beep-Beep....Beep-Beep"

"You're cookies are done," he said cheerfully as he delivered one last swat, "and so are we - all in under 2 minutes."  He seemed particularly proud of this.  I certainly wasn't going to correct him on the time discrepancy.  As I was moving cookies to the counter to cool, I suddenly thought of the modern trend called, "speed dating."  Was Sam some sort of trailblazer breaking ground on an even newer novelty?  Speed spanking?  As my bottom and the cookies cooled down, I said to myself, "Let's not even think about that."


We just recently made the switch to Windows 10, and Sam and I were both loving the feature of being able to leave little virtual "Post-It" notes on the desktop.  Besides practical reminders, I embraced them as an innovative way to leave suggestive sexual messages.  Sam, too.  But the morning after the barking incident, the Post-It Sam left for me read, 

                "Just remember - your attitude can be adjusted 
                                  in under 2 minutes."  

                               I much prefer sexual innuendo. 


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Memorial Day - A Study of Valor

                                                      We cherish, too, the Poppy red
                                                 That grows on fields where valor led;
                                                        It seems to signal to the skies
                                                 That blood of heroes never dies.....
                                                                                                                           Moina Michael

Memorial Day has always been a day for Americans to pay tribute to those people who have died while serving the United States in the armed forces.  We can't tell them thank you in person anymore, but we can take the time to remember them.  This year I think Memorial Day has a special meaning for me.  It is different because Sam and I have spent the past year reading and studying a lot of military history.  We are preparing for a trip that Sam has wanted to make for many years.  In a few months we are traveling to the Normandy coast in France to visit the D-Day beaches where so much history took place.  Sam has had a keen interest in WWII for a long time and a special passion for the events that occurred on June 6th, 1944.  We are taking 4 full days - one day on Omaha Beach, one day on Utah Beach, one day on Gold and Sword, and one day on Juno.

Sam reads military history constantly and is very knowledgeable.  As we prepared for this trip, I was determined to be more than a tourist.  I wanted to "know my stuff."  The planning and training and secrecy that started so long before that June morning.  The enormity of the equipment and supplies needed to support the largest air, land, and sea operation in the history of the world.  What and who did the Germans have in place to defend the coastline from the invasion they knew was coming?  The key planners and generals that each played a vital role in Operation Overlord.  The major battles that took place on those 5 beaches.  And the thousands of soldiers who assembled for this undertaking.

As Sam and I read together, there are times where we have to put the books down for a while because our voices will crack and the tears come to our eyes.  The carnage on that June day was horrific.  No matter how often we read about what happened to those men, it affects us the same way again and again.

So for all the soldiers we always remember on the last Monday in May and for those soldiers who served and lost their lives on June 6th, 1944, we will never forget you, and we can never thank you enough. 


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Saint Azotaina, Patron Saint of Spanking

Although I am not a traditionally religious person, I do pray and take it quite seriously.  I say that because of the post title today.  Yes, it sounds like Ella might have something funny to say, but there's truth in prayer.  If there is a family member or friend in turmoil or if health is threatened, or if I have fallen into that sinkhole called "depression," I speak to God and ask for help.  If one of you out there is going through a very difficult time, you get some prayers sent your way even if you don't know it.

Now I am ready to talk about saints.  I recently sent a small St.
Joseph statue to some friends who were desperate to sell their
house.  They had never heard of the tradition of burying his likeness upside down in the yard and having him help you sell the house.  Once I explained this custom, my friend promptly buried the little statue in her yard.  And Snap! They promptly put up the "Sold" sign out in the yard as well.  Done and done! 

This little story got me thinking about what if there was a saint just for spanking?  Quite a question, huh?  Well, there's not.  I checked.  But the more I thought about it, the more I decided there should be such a saint.  If there can be a patron saint for travel and rain and temptation and chivalry and fortitude, why not a saint for this need in me that made me feel ashamed for so many years.  Goodness knows, for decades I would have been happy to say a few prayers to such a patron.  She could have given me patience and wisdom and reassurance that there was nothing wrong with me at all.

So I have named this patron saint of spanking, St. Azotaina.  If you speak Spanish at all, the name may have some significance.  She watches over all of us who need spanking in our lives to feel fulfilled.  She is there when you first come to know, "This is me.  This is who I am."  She is there when you feel confused or a little afraid.  St. Azotaina is listening when you begin to wonder, "Why am I different this way?  What's wrong with me?"  She is there when you feel embarrassed and alone.  When there is no one in whom you can confide, you can offer a prayer to her, and she will understand.  She will smile and tell you that you are a good person, and that wanting to be spanked does not make you a bad person.

And I want to be spanked.

When you start to gather courage to bare your soul to your husband or partner, St. Azotaina might give you a few figurative taps on your backside and a push.  "You can do this," she would say.  This is the BIG TALK and many prayers might be needed.  When the day comes, she'll help you with the words to explain this to the one
you love most in the world.  She will be there if there is a big fat, "No!" at first.  You will somehow know that with time and patience and love, you will be understood for the first time in your life.

Your patron saint would listen to your prayers by helping you comprehend that the dream you have carried in your head for so long isn't necessarily the way it will play out in real life.  Your husband's approach to this will come from the sum total of his life experiences.  She will guide you to come to terms with the fantasy and the reality.

This clever little saint would know how overjoyed you felt when spanking was finally part of your life - even if it is just a little bit. She would never let you give up on a man who didn't quite "get it."  She would keep that hope and love bright and new and help you believe that someday he will understand that this part of you won't ever go away - just like you need air to breathe.  "This is me.  Please love me the way I am."

Finally I believe Saint Azotaina would know how essential it was that you know that there are other women just like you .  When she heard your prayers, she would send you some good friends.  Women that laugh and cry and love just like you do.  Women that become a circle of support for each other and take great joy in each others' happy times and are also there to give you solace and comfort when times are hard.

Hello, Friends.

I like to think that my patron, St. Azotaina, was a good and holy person in her own life, but also that she has just a little mischief in her eyes.  Maybe her halo is a bit crooked and there are a few other more serious saints that give her stern looks once in a while.  But I know she is there and listening.  After all, my life right now is my own little slice of heaven.  Keep praying.

                               Words from the patron saint of spanking - 

           "Count all your blessings along with all your spankings."

Bend over and start counting.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Last Word

Just finished a really stressful month at work last Thursday.  To explain it simply, it is like a yearly audit of the medical records I manage for a large group of doctors.  Besides being ecstatic that the site visit was over and that we passed with flying colors, I was taking Friday off work for a quick little road trip with Sam.  "Wahoo!" describes my feelings best as Ella left the building about 2:30 pm that afternoon.

Absolutely love road trips with Sam.  I so enjoy just the two of us with hours to talk.  Many times Sam will drive, and I will read aloud to him.  Interesting places we are going to visit or history books so we understand the story behind our destination.  Back when we were just getting to know ttwd, I would also print articles and posts.  I would read to Sam as we traveled down the highway, and we spent many hours discussing these as well.  Anyway, it feels like we can just shut out the whole world when we are together in the car.  Sam and I and the road before us.

Busted out at least 3 errands on my way home that afternoon and hit the floor running coming in the front door.  Hugs and kisses, of
course.  Nothing sweeter than having Sam push me up against the wall for several "Kiss Her Like You Mean It" kisses.  Those are the best.  Then it is time for Ella to slam dunk several beers and kick into chore mode!

I noticed that Sam had not emptied the dishwasher which he usually does if we flip it on before we leave for work.  That's OK.  No big deal; he had to go the bank on his lunch to get cash for the trip.  "Let's just get it emptied together," I said.  We both started,
still chattering about tomorrow morning.  As we finished up, I moved to put away some glassware around in the dining area.  When I returned to the kitchen, I meant to load the dirty dishes that had been sitting on the counter back into the empty machine.  But the dirty ones were gone, and so I asked Sam where they went.

You can probably see what's coming.  Sam had put all the dirty dishes and flatware back in the cupboards and drawers.  I made a face and an impatient noise.  Then I opened a drawer and cupboard, but there wasn't really a way to tell.  He made an impatient noise, as well, and then some remark which I cannot even recall.  I could tell I should just bite my lip and shut up.  But within 2 seconds I countered with a smart-ass retort, determined to have "The Last Word."

Big mistake.  How dumb could I be?!  It wasn't even that important; I should have just laughed and blown the whole thing off.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  Quick as a bullet, Sam decided to demonstrate that "hind-sight" was exactly what he intended.  My hind end and his sight.  I was flat over the counter above the dishwasher with jeans down before you could say, "clean or dirty?"

Sam grabbed the closest thing he could find, a big bamboo spatula, and went to work.  For a second I thought maybe this might just end up a happy spanking; kitchen spankings are usually fun.  I discarded that thought about 5 seconds in.  He was pissed off and proceeded to explain that to me over a good long while.  How I
needed to keep in mind how I should speak when something doesn't go right in Ella's world.  He diligently cautioned me about a positive attitude during our little road trip.  He even said if this happened during our drive, he would be happy to pull right over and provide a reminder!

What?!  Pull over?  In the truck?  Later I recalled someone using the term "spatulated" (Was it Katie T?), and that really says it all.  I came over to Sam's way of thinking very soon.  I apologized profusely for having a short fuse and wanting "The Last Word." 

After another minute or two, Sam finally said, "OK.  I think my
work is done here.  Just wanted to be sure you would still feel this when we climb into the truck tomorrow."  That's my Sam.  So thoughtful and attentive to my needs.

Dateline.... Friday morning - Yes, I certainly could feel his work all the way to our destination.  Absolutely positive outlook on our weekend and respectful as hell.  By the way, I never did figure out what dishes were dirty, but we haven't come down with any deadly gastric issues.  In the future I will try to ignore that troublesome Ella instinct to always want.........




Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ella's Bookshelf - Finding Love at the Trail's End

"Westward, Ho!"  Is there anyone else who remembers that cry from the westerns at the movies and on TV?  Well, Sunny does, and she's served up a new cowboy story that takes place on a wagon
train heading west on the Oregon Trail.  Think back to those
American History lessons on westward expansion.  This 2,200 mile trail began in Independence, Missouri and took pioneers and adventurers west across what is now Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and on to Oregon.  The years I taught 5th grade, I used a "Choose Your Own Adventure" unit (not the computer game) where the kids had to make crucial decisions as they traveled west along the trail.  They had to keep a journal, and write about what happened on the long trip.  They thoroughly enjoyed this experience, just as I know that you will enjoy this new book by Leigh Smith.

Title:  Finding Love at the Trail's End

Author:  Leigh Smith

Number of Pages: 146

Themes:  Exploring New Territory, Growing into Love, Dealing with Death, Finding Your Way Home

Setting:  West along the Oregon Trail, Homesteader's  Ranch near Fort Laramie in what was the Wyoming Territory.

Main Characters:
  • Lily Rose Cochrane - a young girl struggling to run a mercantile on her own in the town of Sweet Grass after the death of her mother.  Her father is wallowing in grief and alcohol.  She is looking more for an escape from this life than in finding love.

  • Johnny Billings - a young scout for Captain Lansing's wagon train.  He is looking for adventure and opportunity - not a wife.  His own parents died years before on just such a trip.  As soon as he meets Lily, he is interested, but she is a bit of a hellcat.

  • Billy and Beth Hanson - an old friend of Johnny's who is also traveling back to Fort Laramie to buy a place of his own.  He joins Johnny and Lily Rose on their return journey to the Duncan's ranch, and his family soon joins him.  His wife, Beth, and Lily Rose become close friends.

  • Matt and Mary Duncan - Matt owns and works The Whispering Pines Ranch near Fort Laramie.  His grown son, Jessie, and Jessie's young wife, Callie, also live with them.  Matt and Jessie rescue Lily Rose from a dangerous situation more than once in this book.  He encourages Johnny to settle and buy some land.

  • Martha Carruthers - runs the boarding house in Greystone.  When Lily Rose decides to make a fresh start, she works there for a while.  Martha becomes a mother figure to Lily.

  • Mystery Man - a man from Johnny's past becomes a key character late in the story.  I just can't bear to spoil some of the compelling events that accompany his appearance.

The scope of the settings in this book is as enormous as the Western Expansion itself, and the author has put so much effort into the
historical details.  Lots of description gives it a richness that most cowboy romances do not include.  I couldn't help but note that just as the story setting has the huge West opening up before them, the love story of Lily Rose and Johnny opens up with it.  They even spend their wedding night outside under a sky full of stars.
Not your standard main characters either.  Johnny Billings was not an educated cowboy with a big ranch.  He was not wealthy and not gorgeous.  Just a hard-working, poor cowboy.  Lily Rose was not your generic heroine.  She was not only hot-tempered, independent, and spunky, she was downright nasty and selfish at first.  In fact I couldn't even like this character when she was introduced.  It doesn't take Johnny long to spank her silly in front of the townspeople of Sweet Grass.  They even cheer him on.  While Johnny is wondering whether he shouldn't just walk away from this wild girl, Lily Rose soon realizes Johnny could be her ticket out of town and away from her alcoholic father.

Even though Johnny wants her to wait for him, Lily Rose disobeys him and, using supplies from the mercantile, barters her passage in one of the covered wagons leaving town.  It is Captain Lansing who marries them out on the trail.  Spankings are plentiful as Lily Rose learns to submit to her new husband.  Using the colors of the two flowers in her name, Johnny tells her, "Besides I want to look at the lily white ass I'm about to turn the color of a bright red rose."

When Johnny finally buys a wagon from Matt Duncan, he decides that some day he and Lily Rose will return to buy some land.  He plans to settle near the Duncan family and work for Matt.  When the newlyweds make love in their new wagon, it is the first time Lily Rose sees her man naked.  "She sighed at the thought that he was hers and realized she had come to love him..."   It seemed to me that sex was when Lily Rose really started to show a softer side.  She was becoming a woman in more than one way.

Once the young couple reaches Ft. Bridger, a bit beyond Independence Rock, Johnny bids good-bye to Capt. Lansing, and they begin the trip back to Whispering Pines Ranch.  They are accompanied by Billy Hanson who also plans to work for Matt Duncan and to build a home so that his wife, Beth, and their children can join him.  On the way, Lily Rose wanders away from the wagon and is attacked by a lone miner.  After rescuing her, Johnny tells her, "I don't think I could have lived with myself if anythin' happened to you, Lily Rose.  You are my heart."  I just loved that.  

                                 YOU ARE MY HEART.  

Am thanking the author for including the prettiest metaphor I have heard in a long time.  What a perfect way to say, "I love you."

Once Johnny and Lily Rose build their first little home on the ranch, it looks like they have also built stability into their young marriage.  Matt and Mary Duncan welcome them both and become the wiser, older generation that serve as an extended family and example to Johnny and Lily Rose.

As one of Dickens' ghosts says, "My time grows short."  Just when you are ready for the sun to set slowly in the west on this unique love story, everything turns upside down.  I definitely don't want to reveal any of the surprises that Sunny has built into this book, but I will tell you honestly, it was the first time I have had tears in my eyes while reading this genre.  So, this is Ella signing off and advising you to reach for the newest Leigh Smith novel and enjoy.