Thursday, September 17, 2015


Seven years ago on September 17, I created "Side Trips" and put out my words on the world wide web. It was a challenging time for me. The care of my aging parents had become my responsibility. I had to make the choice to put my father in assisted living where he later passed away. Not long after that my mother followed. The clearing out and sale of their home also fell upon my shoulders. My siblings seemed to feel the less they knew about the situation the better. It's very difficult to face the decline and death of loved ones and much easier to hold on to good memories and pass over the truth.  That reality was brought into focus when my younger brother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away a few months later.  I treasure the comments he made on my blog in the time before he became ill.
At the time I didn't realize it but "Side Trips" was an outlet and a therapy for me. I've tried over the years to find the positive and humor in life. Focusing on bitterness and fear can make a person grumpy and is just a big waste of energy.

Since that day I've written almost a thousand posts.  I've made many friends all over the world who I'll probably never met and a few that I've talked to face to face and found to be just as welcoming and entertaining as their writing.  I like to think this little exercise has kept my own writing skills from getting too stale.  Another benefit is several three-ring binders full of memories and records of events.  I've almost always composed my blog posts first in Microsoft Word;  photos included.  When I've checked things over a couple of times I print them out and then transfer the writing and pictures to "Side Trips."  Reviewing is a real trip down a rabbit hole.

So, happy birthday, blog, and thanks to any followers who've checked in occasionally and kept me cheered and amused with your comments. 

Monday, September 14, 2015


If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair.  Because five minutes at the fair, you’ll be going, ‘you know, we’re alright. We are dang near royalty’.—Jeff Foxworthy

 I don’t know what it is about a state fair that brings out all the unreal weirdos, but it sure makes for some first-class people watching.  We wondered if it was Look Like a Loony Day and we missed the memo.  I’d show you some samples but there were too many and, frankly, I was afraid to be caught taking their pictures.

 Our group love to see the farm animals so we proceeded directly to the barns.  Grandson, JD, was kind enough to oblige when I asked him to pose with the poultry.

 Having grown up on a dairy farm I always have to check out the big Holsteins.

 JD kinda liked the little white pony.

 But he wasn’t so sure about the BIG ponies.

After cruising through some of the displays, we progressed on to the Fair Food.

 Deep fried is okay, but this might be taking it to extremes.

 JD wanted something cold and green.

 This was the perfect solution.

 Cold and green sounded good to me, too.  I went for my favorite, Fresh Lime Freeze.

 Now that’s what I’m talking about!

 One of the top sellers at our fair is the Tiger Ears sold to raise money for the Boy Scouts.

 JD’s mom needed help with this one.  I was glad to assist.

 DH returned with a Smoked Turkey Leg.

 It was still sizzling so it was consume with caution.

 The weather was muggy hot, and mom and dad and grandma and grandpa were tired, so we didn’t tell JD about what else could be done at a state fair.   He’ll get plenty of chances to pay money to spin until he barfs in the coming years.