Wanted: One Hossie Player

Hossie players.Wanted: One Hossie Player.

Must be very handsome.

Like birch beer and pink lozenges.

Able to fell large trees and rock small babies.

Have super-size heart and tiny ego.

Can tackle all homework and home repair.

Kind and generous.

Rugged and brave.

Love animals.

Sing like a crooner.

Quick to laugh and joke.

Mad baseball skills.

Watch Jeopardy and O’Reilly (if you must).

Able to stop a sibling brawl with one growl.

Enjoy primitive camping in Potter County.

Concoct candy from powdered sugar, peanut butter, cocoa, and milk.

Give all your love; ask for nothing.

Reliable as an oak tree.

Dependable as sunrise.

Apply at the house on Old Stage Road.

Paul L. Wray

1929 – 2015

Photos 1

Photos 2

Photos 3

Photos 4

Kids’ Fundraising Methods Reviewed

Here's something I wrote when my child was at the age where fundraising never ended.

October 5, 1999

begger.fwIt’s that time of year when we are besieged by pint-sized salespeople raising money for their school, club, or sport, and I feel the need to blow off a little steam.  So I offer my review of various fund-raising methods.

The convoluted campaign.  Once upon a time a psychotic PTA president with too much time on her hands was approached by a slick sales rep from the Jun-Key Merchandise company who had figured out a way to legally use child labor to sell his goods.  Evidently the school made a lot of money, because 30 years later your kindergartner comes home from school with 3 catalogs of merchandise, a prize list, order forms, and 2 pages of instructions including order due date,  delivery date, money-due date, and distribution procedures.  As you stare in bewilderment, you realize that it is not your 5-year-old who will be selling this stuff, rather you will become a parasite on your fellow employees for the next 13 years.  Try not to be too embarrassed when you ask your workmate to hand over $10 for 3 ounces of stale chocolate.  After all, you are now obligated to buy something from each of her children next time they are selling.  And together we make the Jun-Key Merchandise company very rich.

Socially acceptable begging.  At the opposite extreme of complexity, a more straightforward little league coach once devised this brilliant fund-raising plan – give the kids each a can and drop them off in front of a popular store to beg for handouts.  Hence, we can hardly walk into Walmart without being accosted by these junior pan-handlers who look as embarrassed as we feel.  I ask you, what does this teach our children about how to make a buck?

The American work ethic.  I truly admire a group of kids willing to work – not just sell – to earn money for their cause.  They wash cars, they make sandwiches, cook hot dogs, fry potatoes, boil spaghetti.  They’re not asking for a donation; they give you something for your money.  Three cheers!!

The simple transaction.  This is my absolute favorite!  Hand me a candy bar [or sandwich coupon]; I’ll hand you a buck.  Transaction complete – beautiful in its simplicity.  I don’t mind buying them; I don’t mind selling them.  I implore HSA members and coaches everywhere – think candy bars.

Adolescent Transformation

Here's another writing I had forgotten about from 2001. Just recently my daughter told me that I really had been a cool Mom after all despite my perception. What a relief!

May 17, 2001

Shortly before I lost all cool.

Shortly before I lost all cool.

It happened one night as I slept.  I had gone to bed a relatively together parent.  Funny, bright, self-assured around my daughter’s friends, fun to talk to, full of information, the mother of a fine 12-year-old daughter.  But when I awoke in the morning, a transformation had taken place.

I looked the same in the bathroom mirror, so I didn’t realize at first what a horrible change had occurred.  But over the next several weeks the full impact of the metamorphosis became clear.  I was now the mother of an adolescent which I’ve come to learn is the middle-aged equivalent of the audio-visual geek in high school.

I’ve lost all verbal ability.  My jokes are met with cold stares.  My friendly remarks to her friends are so heinous and ill-constructed that my daughter gives me the silent director’s “cut” signal with the hand across her throat.  Now I sit silently as I drive them to school.

Heaven forbid that I should be seen in her company.  For I am a total embarrassment.  “Park the car way in the back of the lot, and don’t walk up to meet me.”  “You can come to the field hockey game, but don’t address me, don’t hold an umbrella, and don’t sit in a lawn chair.”  I once drove my daughter and her friends to a school talent show, and when we walked in the door, I was told that I was sitting on the opposite side of the auditorium from the girls.  Who can blame them, for I am a most egregious thing.

I’ve slowly come to accept my new station in life.  At the mall I trail several paces behind Kimber and friend. Head hanging low, I take up my post on a bench while they each spend more money than I would have in a year at their age.  My only words, “yes, dear.”

My company is not wanted.  Sharing a bathroom didn’t use to be a problem.  But now my morning routine is greeted with shrieks to “get out.”  We used to have a conversation in the car, but now she listens to headphones.  We used to watch Nick at Night, now she’s on the internet or talking on the phone.  If she goes away for the weekend, I can hardly tell the difference.  Once I caught a glimpse of my little girl as she emerged from her room, and I shouted “A KIMBER SIGHTING!…WHERE’S MY CAMERA!”

I am a repellent being.  Unable to cook decent food, unworthy to hear about young romance, unsuitable for public display.  My purpose now is to chauffeur and dole out money.

I wonder how long it will be until I am back to my old self.  Four years?  Six years?  I have discovered others like me to commiserate with.  The hunched shoulders and hang dog look help us to identify each other.  Some have made it through to the other side and been restored to their former selves, somewhat older and wiser.

For now I’m beaten down and whipped, with just one question on my mind, “Kimber, why don’t you like me anymore?”

“You’re silly,” she answers.  “Of course I like you…why would you say something like that?”

Oh I dunno.

50th Birthday Speech


My daughter arranged a surprise 50th birthday party for me in 2007. She thought it would be funny to dress up my Aunt Phyllis as a hoochie.

Cleaning up my Word files tonight (um..this morning), I came across the speech I wrote for my 50th birthday back in 2007. This gave me a chuckle, and I thought I’d share. The best lines are completely pilfered from the internet.

As I pass my 50th year on earth, I pause to reflect and pass on the wisdom I have gained

I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic and give in.

I’ve learned that one good turn gets most of the blankets.

I’ve learned that no matter how much I care, some people are just jackasses.

I’ve learned that whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others – they are more screwed up than you think.

I’ve learned that it is not what you wear; it is how you take it off.

I’ve learned that you can keep vomiting long after you think you’re finished.

I’ve learned that we are responsible for what we do, unless we are celebrities.

I’ve learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

I’ve learned that the people you care most about in life are taken from you too soon and all the less important ones just never go away. And the real pains in the ass are permanent.

And now for the part I made up myself.

To those of you who are older than I

I can only hope to look as good as you when I am your age

But since I don’t now, there isn’t much hope of that.

To those who are younger than I

I lead you boldly through the quinquagenarian door

Do not fear, for there are many benefits to old age

An AARP membership

Discounted meals at Denney’s.

The Hoveround electric scooter

And Ted stockings

I follow in the footsteps of a long line of tough dames

So I know I have but another 40 years or so to live

But I can look forward to growing more cranky and stubborn as time goes on

Until I finally wear out my welcome completely in April 2047.

Until then, let us travel this life together

And always remember that 50 is the new 40.


Ode to Students

Are my substitute teaching days over? That’s yet to be seen. But just in case, I leave a few great resources for my former students. Click the blue-links below to learn more.

  • Become more powerful. Girls in particular often suffer from a lack of confidence that holds them back in school and career.wonder woman You can learn to appear more bold. But the astounding thing is, you actually become physiologically more powerful in the process.
  • The sleep-deprived teen. Can’t get to sleep at 9 pm? Need dragged out of bed in the morning? Falling asleep in class? It’s not your fault! There’s a reason, and you can take this to the school board to try to get school hours changed. Good luck!
  • A Better Way to Tie Your Shoes. You’ve been tying your shoes the same way since kindergarten. Who knew there was a better way?
  • Learn to Code. Want to learn the nuts and bolts of building a website? Here’s a great, free, online resource.
  • Program with Alice. Get your third-grader started early on the STEM path with Carnegie Mellon’s free 3D programming software.
  • Jimmy the Lonely Mule. For the littlest ones, here is my multimedia class project – an online, narrated, children’s book about my largest pets, geared to the preschool set.

Where I Call Home

In case you’re not from around here, and you think that the eastern US is one giant urban sprawl, or you’ve heard central PA called Pennsyltucky (an insult to both states), behold the beauty of where I call home. This video shows Big Valley, an area about 20 miles from me.

When you’ve lived in this splendor your whole life, sometimes you take it for granted. I had a high school teacher who was well-traveled, and he brought to his students’ attention his opinion that we lived in the most beautiful place he had ever seen. Who knew?


Magic in a Diaper

And now, Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the greatest, most incredible, cutest, most lovable human being to ever inject a boat-load of joy into a family!

Drum roll please…

Heeeeere’s Keegan, my grandson!


A baby is the one medicine that cures whatever sadness comes into our lives.


My Blog Sucks

suckfaceDear oh dear, I haven’t written a blog post since January. This is mostly because there is nothing going on in my life that’s both suitable for publication and of interest to anyone outside my immediate family. But that’s never stopped me before.

After studying web development for the past 19 months, I know that this is one sucky website. Let’s consult the experts at websitesthatsuck.com to learn why.

  1. A website should offer some benefit to the user, not scratch an itch for the creator. I’ve tried to impart a bit of humorwisdom, and inspiration along the way, but the well just about ran dry.
  2. It should not take longer than 4 seconds to ascertain the purpose of the site. I’m still trying to figure it out.
  3. I should present myself as a credible professional. That ship left port when I posted Top 10 Perks of Unemployment.
  4. You’re not supposed to borrow your design from another site. This is a WordPress template probably used by thousands of others. I wonder how many of them have blogs that suck.
  5. I have never conducted user testing, although I did ask my mother-in-law what she thought about it. She is very biased in my direction.

Nevertheless, I persist. And there is one subject that I am most anxious to share. Stay tuned.

Advice for Grandmas

grandma_with_kidYesterday I asked a class of first-graders for advice on being a good grandmother since I will become one in June. They had plenty to say on the subject. So without further ado…

Grandma to-do’s:

  • Be nice
  • Give them money ($100 for Christmas)
  • Take care of them
  • Make breakfast
  • Take them to the park
  • Make blankets
  • Sew clothes
  • Be nice
  • Watch kid movies
  • Buy a crib
  • Read stories

What to avoid:

  • watching scary movies
  • doing jumping jacks (my favorite)
  • running
  • yelling
  • giving them the wrong candy
  • throwing the baby onto the hard ground
  • running with the baby
  • watching news on television
  • too many cats
  • feeding people-food to the cat
  • smoking cigarettes

Good grandmother names:

  • Graham Cracker (I like that one)
  • Grammer
  • Granny
  • Butterscotch
  • Meemee /Mimi
  • Grammie
  • Gram
  • Grandma

A Year of Gratitude

I watched this video, and it seems like a good idea, so here I go.

November 7 – What a joy! I suddenly realized that the lady working in the cafeteria at work had been Kimber’s babysitter when she was just a toddler. And what luck, Kimber joined me for lunch, I took her over to Gloria, and they shared a big hug!

November 3 – Thankful to live in a country where I can freely cast my vote and hope for a better tomorrow. I’ve reviewed the candidates and am excited to visit the polls tomorrow.

November 2 – Poor Marie has been so sick for so long that I keep wondering if it’s time to say goodbye. But today she laid on my shoulder as she used to do. Maybe she’s not ready to give up this life yet.

November 1 – So happy that I could spend the whole day with my little Keegan even if he wasn’t always a happy camper.

October 25 – Discovered my name on a road sign today.

Discovered my name on a road sign today. Perhaps it will help me find my way.

Glad to return to blogging again for the first time since January. The clouds are slowly clearing. Also, I had a wonderful walk with the dogs today discovering new territory.

August 25 – So very happy to start a full-time gig as a software trainer..

June 15 – Ecstatic over the arrival of my grandson. I doubt if anything will ever top this.

January 31 – Well, as you can see, my interest/time for this petered out as soon as college and work started up again. Sorry.

January 8 – I’ve been blessed with the sweetest, friendliest cat in the world for 10 years, and I hope to have Marie another 10 following her surgery tomorrow.


January 7 – I forgot to snap a picture, but I was so happy for a rare lunch with my daughter today. Many of her patients had cancelled due to the cold weather, giving her time for a bite to eat and a chance to show me the designs she has chosen for the baby’s room.

Kimber white coat

January 6 – Ozzie, who hangs out at Blaise Alexander, was just what I needed on a cold winter day while I got my oil changed. Not at all impressed by me, he patiently endured my pets and hugs before strolling on his way. We need more Ozzies – at the doctor’s office, the shoe store, the dentist, kindergarten…




January 5 – Feeling well enough to forgo the cold med and do the laundry. I’m thankful that this washer and dryer is still going strong since Kimber was a toddler some twenty-odd years ago (knock on wood).

That salesman did not steer me wrong with the Roper.

That salesman did not steer me wrong with the Roper.

January 4 – Still have the crud today, but the boys got me off the couch long enough to take them some grain. Thank you Jimmy and Skye.

the boys

January 3 – Miserably sick with a chest cold today, I am grateful for my warm bed, time to rest, Nyquil and a 6th season of Doc Martin.


January 2 – I am grateful for my only child’s friends who are like part of the family, and for the women who taught me to sew as a child.


Rox stops by for alterations.

January 1, 2014 – It’s not because he’s simply available, and I have only 45 minutes left in the day. It’s because he has stuck with me through thick and thin and thinner that I am grateful for my husband, Don.


« Older posts

© 2015 Adventures of Polly

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑