World Emoji Day

As a general rule, I dislike emojis. I did not use them until about a year ago. They felt juvenile and silly and unnecessary. I still feel that, to a degree.

Emoji is a Japanese expression, which roughly means “picture world”. It was developed in 1990 by Shigetaka Kurita. While working for NTT Docomo, a Japanese telecom company, Kurita designed picture words as a feature on their pagers to make them more appealing to teens. 

When Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, an emoji keyboard was embedded to grab the Japanese market. It was not intended for the U.S. users to find. However, they did and quickly figured out how to use it. 

Every year new emojis (by the way, both emoji and emojis are acceptable plurals of the word), are developed. The keeps tracks of all the emoji updates across all platforms and operating systems. There are over 1800 emojis and they cover much more than just emotions. Transportation, food, wild and domesticated animals, weather, bodily functions, and many more virtually speak for themselves. 

Though I do not want admit it, there are a couple of emojis that I use often because the facial expression is so incredibly fitting. One is the ‘laughing so hard tears are coming out of my eyes’ face. The other one is the face that emotes a humble, sweet smile. It is a fitting complete answer to many text messages. Another few favorites are a smiling face with a blue halo, a fuchsia heart, and a cup of steaming coffee.

I distinctly remember my small cell phone of 2004-05. I believe it was a  LG TU500 flip phone. I wasn’t texting much then but I did occasionally send a message that required a smile, to ensure ‘just kidding’ or ‘sorry I was a stinker’ or various other statements that require an extra amount of emotion. Early on, I actually typed out the word and put it in parenthesis, like this (smile). Then I learned that I could use a colon and one side of the parenthesis which worked beautifully for a long time. 

Emojis have come a long way since then. I still dislike symbols because it feels lazy, but I have come to appreciate them. 

I will, however, never understand the fascination with the poop emoji. If we are going to be that invasive, why don’t we just go ahead and make different colored poop emojis; mahogany, burnt sienna, sepia, raw sienna, burnt umber, desert sand, tumbleweed, and van dyke brown. I borrowed these color names from the Binney & Smith crayola chart. 

If we are going to keep advancing emojis, we may as well go all out. It seems a bit narrow-minded to have one plain brown poop. 

Phun and Games

We all hear of lies and fake offers and tricks aimed at older people. First of all, those meanies need a good paddling. Most likely, they didn’t get it when they were growing up and needed it and now they are just punks.

“Phishing” involves email messages pretending to be from legitimate companies, trying to get account fractions, passwords, and other personal information.

Several years ago, my mama received numerous phone calls informing her that she had won a million dollars. The caller claimed to be from the national clearing house. She was informed that she needed to send a check for $499 for taxes and fees before her money could be sent. The other option was to send her bank routing number for an automatic withdrawal. 

At one point, I was at her house and answered the phone. I informed the caller that they we would happily meet them with a check in the Kroger parking lot and that we would bring the police along just to insure validity. We never received another call.

We were all a little disappointed in one, that she didn’t truly win a million dollars, and two, that they did not agree to meet us. We really were hoping for a showdown. 

Mama was very upset about the whole thing. She was (and still is) smart enough to not give any personal information but it certainly unnerved her. She became afraid to leave her house, thinking someone was watching her and would make their way inside while she was away. It began a flurry of fear issues that lasted a long time. 

The word phishing is a neologism created as a homophone of fishing due to the similarity of using a bait in an attempt to catch a victim. According to the Microsoft Computing Safety Index published in 2014, the annual worldwide impact of phishing could be as high as $5 billion. That is a whole lot of phishing.

Another type of this debauchery is called evil twins, a phishing technique that is hard to detect. A phisher creates a fake wireless network that looks similar to a legitimate public network found in places like airports, hotels, or coffee shops. When someone logs on to the bogus network, fraudsters try to capture their passwords and/or credit information. 

Lastly, a phishing attack that is directed specifically at senior executives and other high-profile targets, is called whaling. The content of a whaling attack is often written as a legal subpoena, customer complaint, or executive issue.

I wish that people could keep with real fishing. It is so much fun to pull in a big, fat walleye and grill it up for dinner. It may not make you billions, but the feeling is indeed priceless. 

The Running of the Brides

June was traditionally the most popular month to marry, and still very common. This is, in part, because the goddess Juno, for whom June is named, was the protector of women in all aspects of life, but especially in marriage and childbearing, so a wedding in Juno’s month was considered quite auspicious. 

The idea of June weddings also comes from the Celtic calendar. On the cross-quarter day of Beltane, or May Day (May 1), young couples would pair off to court for three months and then be wed on the next cross-quarter day (Lammas Day, August 1). Youths, being impatient, prompted the waiting period to be moved up to mid-June and the popularity of June weddings was born. 

Of course, June also (usually) brings good weather so it was (is) easier for guests to travel by horse-drawn buggy or airplane. 

I got married in June, so it must most certainly be a good idea. We were young and impatient, just like the Celts. Forty-two years later we are not so young, but more patient.

I love this photo – Thai brides-to-be competing in the ‘Running of the Brides’ event in Bangkok, Thailand. Six hundred people competed in the race, which gave away prizes worth two million baht or $61,000 US dollars. This race actually took place in December, which means about now, some lucky bride has already had or about to have a fancy-pantsy wedding.

Martin Luther said “Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.”

If every married couple truly lived that line, it would change the world. 


This morning my husband and I attended the annual Memorial Day parade in our town. It is a nice little parade with the high school marching band, local fire trucks, members of city council riding in convertibles, tossing out candy to the kids, and marching men holding flags representative of their branch of the military. It is very home-town and sweet and I have gone for many years and waved my small American flag. It is the least I can do.

Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day – Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died who serving, whereas Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. It is also not to be confused with Armed Forces Day, a minor U.S. remembrance celebrated earlier in May, which specifically honors those currently serving in the U.S. military. 

Since it is a day of remembering, let’s remember some significant statistics. 

The number of Americans who died in WWI was 116,516

The number of Americans who died in WWII was 405,399

The number of Americans who died in the Vietnam War was 58,220

By far, the most costly war in terms of human life was World War II (1939-45), in which the total number of fatalities, including battle deaths and civilians of all countries, is estimated to have been 56.4 million, assuming 26.6 million Soviet fatalities and 7.8 million Chinese civilians were killed. Some project that the total number of lives lost was closer to 80 million. 

As we attend our parades and wave our American flags and eat our grilled burgers and potato salad, may we also remember. 

I sit on my lovely deck complete with pots of beautiful flowers and sip on sweet tea as the sun dips into the west. I am humbled and grateful. 

And I am free. May we always remember. 

Yale Glee Club

Tonight we had the privilege of attending the Yale Glee Club 2018 Commencement Concert. It was so very good! 

We commented on the enthusiasm these students portrayed. Of course they are incredibly talented and groomed musicians. But passion comes from within. And it showed. 

There was such an eclectic mix of songs. One was a Shaker melody named “I’ll Go with You.” Here are the words:

I’ll go with you what e’er be-tide,

Thro’ sorrow, joy and pleasure,

You will always be by my side,

A friend beyond all measure.

I’ll walk with you the lowly vale

Where streams of life are flowing

And there partake of every good,

Onward we are going. 

The graduating class of 2018, the seniors, sang this song. There were hugs and smiles and tears. 

There is true camaraderie in this group, it was obvious.

The hope is that these students will never forget this night, their four years at this school, their fiends, their connections. And that they will learn to take this mindset into the rest of their lives; jobs, marriage, parenthood. 

What e’er be-tide,

Thro’ sorrow, joy and pleasure ~

To always be a friend beyond all measure. 

That is how they can change the world. That is how we can all change the world.

Where streams of life are flowing

International Women’s Day

Okay, so I am a day late. It’s a woman’s prerogative.

International Women’s Day was yesterday. It is observed annually on March 8. The global day celebrates cultural, political, social and economic achievements of women. The day also is intended to bring international awareness to gender parity. According to the World Economic Forum, global gender equality is estimated to be achieved by 2133.

Gender parity is defined as providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work and representation in political and economic decision-making processes.

So 2133 is 115 years from now. I can’t imagine celebrating International Women’s Day in 115 years. If we continue in the current direction, will there be a day dedicated to specifically women?

Having worked outside the home for many years during the rearing of my children, I am supportive of gender parity; equal pay for equal work, equal access to education, health care and political representation.

My family often has discussions about the progression of the Church. We are all deeply grateful for our roots and our tradition. We also see that the Church must progress. It must continue moving with technology and forward thinking. However, those things must be built on the foundation of the Church and on the foundation of Truth, that is never stagnant.

It is similar to the way I feel about International Women’s Day. We must always be moving forward in parity. But we must never forget the clawing, scratching, bleeding hands that brought us to this day.

For all of my life, I’ve had the honor and privilege of being surrounded by strong and beautiful women. My maternal grandmother worked harder than any woman I have known. Yet, she maintained her laughter and her femininity and her First Love. She deserved recognition. She deserved parity. She deserved to be honored at awards luncheons. She didn’t get any of those things. They were not within her reach. But she is the foundation on which I stand and the foundation on which every woman in her bloodline stands.

To my grandmothers and mother and mother-in-law and aunts and cousins and sisters and nieces and sisters in the Lord, thank you for showing me what it is like to be a honkin’ porterhouse steak and melting butter on a hot biscuit at the same time.

In the prophetic words of Rihanna: “Sometimes you gotta be a beauty and a beast.”

Every woman I know is a little bit of both. Now that, is parity.

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week wrapped up a couple of days ago. I looked at a few pictures. I’m thinking that ‘fashion’ may be a stretch. It is more like ‘fishin’ week.

From what I saw, the clothing looked like someone had been fishing around in the basement of an old house and put on whatever could be found in a box of clothing, and on their heads, stuck dried out dollar store artificial flowers and dowel rods.

I have mentioned in a previous post that my mother was a clothes designer and seamstress and model when she was in high school. I’ve heard my mother talk about fashion all of my life. And fortunately or unfortunately, I inherited that love of fashion.

To add insult to injury, these poor models have been made to appear so pitiful. I realize it is part of the art. But many of them look as if they just stepped off of the set of The Walking Dead. Others look as if they may be in the final stages of ebola.

I am sure  that a 22 year-old in Paris would read this and blow me off as an unsophisticated old lady who lives in small town, midwest in the good ole’ U.S.A. That is okay. And to be fair, a few of the styles and models were truly lovely.

As the daughter of a woman ahead of her time, designing and creating fashion without enough money to buy paper patterns, and then modeling them at grand Shillito’s in downtown Cincinnati, I am not a total ingenue.

My mama was Grace Evelyn Hall of Hughes High School fame. I am proud of her passion and her drive. She was attaching fabric flowers to dress waistlines and wearing her hair twisted into cute little knots with leaves and twigs 75 years ago.

There is nothing new under the sun.


Wrapping it Up

I love the physical and mental challenge of the Olympics. It shows us the best and the most disciplined of humanity.

Sports psychologist, Jim Taylor, wrote an article in Psychology Today titled “Mentally Preparing for Olympic Sports Success”. One of the strategies he teaches is ‘Dance with the one who brung ya.’ Yes, bad English but it portrays an important message.

Often, when athletes are preparing for a big event, they feel the need to do something different, something special, that they need to ‘raise their game’ because the event is so important. “That is the worst thing you can do”, states Taylor.

“To the contrary, you want to keep doing exactly what you did to get there. Dancing with the one who brung ya means sticking with the fundamentals of what has worked in the past.”

Taylor suggests that athletes maintain good eating and sleeping habits. He also says they should continue their usual conditioning program, though dial it back to ensure staying rested. He said it is important to keep to the practice and competitive routines that got them prepared in the past.

The Olympic athletes that Taylor worked with identified some specific strategies that they use as their competitions at the Games near and deploy them on the day of the competition.

One of the major ones was ‘be happy’. It seems a bit cliché but just doing things that made them happy was one of the most common suggestions among the athletes. They identified particular people and experiences that generated positive emotions. Ideas included listening to music they love, watching fun movies, reading interesting books, spending time with friends and family and meeting athletes from other countries.

With all of the information and technology available, two little words that make up one simple thought can help athletes meet the mammoth challenge of the Olympics. Be happy.


The 2018 Winter Olympics are about to wrap up. As in all major sporting events, there was the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

I’ve heard that winning bronze in an event is similar to being third runner up in a beauty pageant. Sure, it is a great honor. Yes, it means you accomplished more than the other pageant participants. Of course, it means you are still amazing. But will they remember your name? It is a hard reality.

The photo above is the epitome of what many of us would love to do and look like doing it. However, most of us, perhaps it is not a stretch to say not one of us, will ever get there. It is a hard reality.


What’s with all the S*#t?

What is the fascination with poop? In my blog from September 19, entitled “Vanity Plates”, I posted a photo of a license plate that I saw on a car in the Kroger parking lot. Check it out, if you don’t remember.

The above photo is from a magazine I received, full of Easter and spring ideas. I do not get the connection of small vinyl poop emojis. Do you really want to put those in your kids Easter baskets?

I am well aware that I am 60 years old. I am well aware that I do not always understand the latest trends and technology. Thankfully, my boys help bring me up to date on many of those things. But, poop?

Which brings me to another pet peeve. Do we really need/want a dippy woman with a fake British accent asking people on TV about their pooping habits? Do we really care if they are clean enough to go commando? And one more thing, do we need cute little bears telling us to “enjoy the go”?

Advertising executives – newsflash! We are going to buy toilet paper anyway.

When I was dating my now husband, if a commercial like that had come on TV, I would have been mortified. I know, I know, it was the mid 70s. But good heavens, is there nothing sacred anymore?

I didn’t want Mike to know that I ever did that bodily function. I wanted him to think I was a rare, magical princess who did not require such quotidian duties. I wanted him to think I was a lady, a royal, not some commoner who did that kind of business.

That may be just a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I hope you are hearing my heart. EVERYTHING does not need to be discussed in public; on TV, at social gatherings, at your kids elementary school, not even at church.

Now that I am mature and all, I don’t mind doing this, but when I was younger, I did not want to put a mammoth 20-roll package of toilet paper into my grocery cart. I was nervous that I would run into someone from my church, or even worse, the pastor!

You are probably thinking how strange I am. That may be true. But let these thoughts linger for a while. Maybe we can drop all of this poop stuff (no pun intended.)

For now, I need to make a grocery run. But first I must find my blond wig and dark glasses. If I see you at Kroger, I may pretend to not know you. Just sayin’.

Hurting Thursday

I had a Healthy Thursday blog ready to post today, but I changed my mind. It is a helpful one and I will post it next week. Today, however, it did not seem appropriate.

In light of the tragedy in Florida yesterday, I felt a need to go in another direction. On October 2 I wrote about the Las Vegas shooting. In my last paragraph I said this:

The tragedy ripples out. The dead, the injured, the terrified, the culprit. There is no part that is not tragic. What kind of pain, what kind of illness, what kind of brokenness begins this? Perhaps the biggest tragedy is not knowing that answer.

How sad it is that the above paragraph fits in with nearly every other similar tragedy.

The incident yesterday screams of the unthinkable, the unconscionable, the unimaginable.

When my boys were in high school, I am sure there were days that I sent them off with an occasional parent/child disagreement about homework or dirty clothes left on the floor or something else that in hindsight, is meaningless.

When I hear of things like this, it makes me wonder what that last morning was like at home. Was it rushed? Was there a hug and a smile before heading out the door? Was there a misunderstanding, perhaps even harsh words?

My heart aches for these parents, these siblings, these grandparents. My heart also aches for the shooter and his family.

Yes, certain gun laws must be tightened. Yes, there are mental health issues. Yes, he was a ‘bad kid’, as I heard one person say. But Lord forgive us for making this about anything less than what is truth. That truth is that we all need a savior. I know that word can sound a bit ‘churchy’. But here is what savior really means.

Savior is defined as one that saves from danger or destruction.

Some savior synonyms are: Defender, hero, deliverer, protector, preserver, rescuer.

That is what a savior does. Those students needed a deliverer, a protector, a rescuer. But oh my goodness, if the shooter felt he had a savior, maybe, just maybe those students would not have needed one.