I’m back after approximately 6 years. Where have I been? Living my life, moving around, getting older. Speaking of getting older, a few months ago I celebrated my 65th birthday. Alone. The first time in my life I was completely alone on my birthday. Thank you, COVID-19, for screwing up such a milestone birthday. Even so, I had a good day. Family and friends were in abundance through calls, texts, cards, and gifts.

I had plenty of time to reflect on time. At 65, I may have another 5, 10, 15, 20, or even 25 years left. At this age, who knows? Since I don’t have a clue, I’m going to spend some time here on this WP blog to fill in the last 6 years and maybe do a little planning for the future.

Right now, maybe a weekly blog post would be enough and not bore my family and friends to death. If you are still with me, thank you! See you next week!

Miss Marly

P.S. I’m in sunny Florida where it is much warmer than my home in IL, but cold for FL. Brrrr…

An Open Apology To Dolly Parton 

Beautiful apology and admiration for Dolly.


Dear Dolly,

10040291_300x300I’ll be honest. I used to think you were a bimbo. I used to think you flaunted your big boobs, teased hair, tiny waist, and your syrupy-sweet southern accent just to sell yourself and your brand as a country singer. Granted, I was raised in the Midwest and lived as an adult for many years in the Northeast. I didn’t get you, much less the South.

For example, I’d heard about your origins as a poor girl from the hills of East Tennessee, and when I learned you’d created a theme park in your native Sevier County I rolled my eyes. “Really, a theme park?” I thought. “As if rollercoasters will really help the people of rural Appalachia. Why not create something truly useful to give back to your community, like a library.”


You have created a library, actually, and possibly in a bigger and more…

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Fan Friday—Abortion

My views exactly.

Robin Writes

Yes, I’m going there, because the whole “issue” pisses me off no end. Otherwise intelligent women are blah, blah, blah-ing about “my body, my choice.”

Yep, your choice. To be made BEFORE YOU HAVE SEX. Yes, birth control can fail—abstinence will never fail. Very, very few women, relatively speaking, become pregnant from rape or incest. Not that it can’t happen, but statistically, it’s rare.

Even so, why should an innocent child suffer? Why compound the crime of rape or incest with murder?

Oh, wait—you say it’s just a clump of cells? A “fetus.”

Do you even know what that word means?

From Webster: a human being or animal in the later stages of development before it is born; a developing human.

It’s so not like removing a part of your own body, a tumor, a mole, whatever. It’s a removing a LIFE.

Sex is fun, enjoyable, a blast, whatever you…

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Prep Monday—How Much is Enough?

From my friend, Robin, Tidwell, some great tips on avoiding mice. I hate mice. A lot. I really hate mice.

Robin Writes

Last week, I talked about how much food to grow. Today, I’m going to list some other supplies that you might want to stock up on, maybe even some things you hadn’t thought about purchasing or storing.

Let’s look at the basics. Everyone uses toilet paper, but how MUCH do you use? That’s where you start, with every item you plan to store.

We use about 2-3 rolls per week, which comes to maybe 10 rolls a month. With 114 rolls in the supply closet, we’re good for nearly a year.

Because we have messy pets, we go through maybe one roll of paper towels a week—by the way, I use regular dish towels and older kitchen hand towels for many things, such as letting garden vegies dry after rinsing; you can too. Paper towels are handy, but you could certainly get by without them if you had to. We…

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Prep Monday—Politics

My friend, Robin Tidwell, does a much better job of describing this situation than I ever could.

Robin Writes

My husband asked me yesterday what I thought would happen, vis a vis SHTF, regarding the upcoming election. Well, that’s a loaded question . . .

Some of you will likely be offended by what I have to say, some won’t, but I’m not directing this personally to anyone. Not even really going to discuss the candidates. So, read on:

If Trump is elected, I suspect things will be quite dicey during the time between the election and inauguration—remember, that’s nearly three months. And as president, Trump can still only do so much, as a lot depends on Congress and to which side the aisle is tilted.

I think that we’ll see more protests and more violence.

Now, if you’re not in an area where these things tend to increase, i.e., urban, you might think you’ll be just dandy. However, while physically safe, you can be hurt in other ways.

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Prep Monday—Taking Back America

Yes. This.

Robin Writes

I know the left makes fun of the phrase “taking back America,” mostly because, no, things weren’t rosy for everyone back in the day. But to me it means that many things WERE better then, for everyone:

Prices were more reasonable, even considering inflation.
Kids were actually disciplined.
Kids were taught the basics in school, and yes, memorization worked.
No one freaked out about what the kids were doing outside all day.
Products were made in America, and that means
Jobs were in manufacturing, not the service industry, and that means
People did less sitting on their asses pushing papers and were more active and therefore
We were healthier as a whole, in spite of smoking being cool, because we ate
Real food instead of crap.
At any rate, we didn’t worry about it, so there’s that, because we didn’t have
24/7 news and information—we were only concerned about shit…

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Fan Friday—Let’s Talk about Protesting

This blogger is a friend of mine. I agree with her views on this 100%. We MUST speak out against injustice.

Robin Writes

A lot of protesting in the news the last few years, like Ferguson and Baltimore, the Bundy stand-off; just to name two. And people can argue both sides, all day long. I’ve talked about Ferguson, particularly since it’s so close to me, and I’ve tried to be fair and to boil things down to the facts themselves without emotion.

I haven’t really looked into the Bundy situation—people, again, argue both sides and it’s hard for me to know where the truth lies. I draw the line, however, at making fun of anyone protesting, anyone who believes, in their hearts, that they’re right.

Notice I said the protestors, not the armchair gurus. They’re fair game.

The other night, a friend called me, absolutely beside herself and very angry over the treatment of a another individual whom she knows well. I do not know this person, but I DO know my friend…

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Fifty Shades of Grey – Movie Review

Last night, I drove 35 miles to see an advanced showing of Fifty Shades, maybe the most anticipated movie of the year. I read the Fifty Shades trilogy when it first came out and devoured each one. While E.L. James has received much criticism, it can’t be said her books weren’t successful. I’m sure she laughs all the way to the bank and back.

Fifty Shades is erotica with a love story in the background. If you only read the first book, you do not get the love story. It takes all three books to get the romance. I believe it could have been done in one book.

The basics are Anastasia and Christian begin a relationship based on lust. By the end of book three, the story of Christian’s abusive childhood and Anastasia’s aim to please personality are merged into a love story.

Christian is a Dominant, a man with the innate desire to control a woman through the punishment/reward system using sexual pleasure and pain to do so. Anastasia is a young virgin who has no idea what she is getting into. She knows only that she wants this man and is willing to do whatever it takes to get him. It takes a Submissive to get Christian, a woman willing to be controlled by a man.

Now, we come to the movie of the first book. Dakota Johnson is perfect for the role of Ana. She was able to carry all the emotions – lust, fear, frustration, pain and love equally well.

Jamie Dornan is a handsome man with a great body but, in my opinion, he is not Christian Grey. The Christian Grey of the novel is masculine, hard-nosed, virile, demanding and to be feared above all else. I expected him to be bigger than life in the movie. He wasn’t. A good dominatrix could have rung Christian’s chimes in under a minute.

The movie was all about erotic sex, but the sex was always the same. How many times can one watch Ana be tied up and not get bored? For me, it only took a couple of times. She was stripped by Christian over and over, then writhed around showing her fantastic body – all of it, over and over. I doubt I will ever forget what her nipples look like. They were all over the movie. Of course, I have to admit to body envy. I think I still have a ribcage under my fluffiness. I just can’t see it anymore.

Two hours of Ana’s nipples and Christian’s butt was a bit much. After the first half hour, I was ready for more of the story. The Red Room or playroom was okay but too dark and had too many close-ups to get a realistic feel of the room. In the real world of B&D and/or S&M, this room would be called a dungeon and would have some scary looking equipment beyond the floggers and cuffs. Oh, I forgot the ropes. If I had a dollar for every time he tied a knot in the red ropes, I’d go out to dinner tonight.

I kept waiting for more, more story, more depth, more types of Red Room activities. It didn’t happen.

The end left us wondering what’s next for Christian and Ana? With two more movies in the works, obviously they will get back together. It is just a shame they couldn’t do it in one movie.

Castles and Cobblestones – My Journey to Europe, Part Eight

Europe092014 090Windsor Castle is the largest continuously occupied castle in the world, having been occupied over the last 1000 years. Currently, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip spend most weekends here. The castle compound sits at the edge of the town of Windsor, which houses most of the castle’s employees. The grounds and buildings are huge with a central round tower high above the Thames.

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The grounds are gorgeous with rich, full plantings around the tower and moat gardens like the one below. (Picture from tripadvisor.uk.)


September was a good time to visit. The gardens were still lovely, the grass green, and the temperature warm. There is a lot to see and do at Windsor. Besides the round tower, which is also called The Keep, tourists are able to see the State Apartments. The Royal Family uses the State Apartments to entertain.


St. George’s Hall is full of history. In 1992, a fire, believed to have started in nearby St. George’s Chapel, destroyed the Hall and over 100 other rooms. Within five years, the damaged areas were rebuilt and reopened to the public. I cannot describe the magnificence of this place. I spent the day completely overwhelmed by the art, the furnishings, the fabrics, etc. I was a long way from Illinois.



St. George’s chapel was a holy experience for me. Inside, it was cool and quiet. The chapel is still used for worship today. Along the outer walls lie the sarcophagi of various Royals. This is a picture of the Dean of Wellesley’s from the St. George Archives.One can’t help but have a sense of reverence while walking around this chapel next to these ancestors.


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Another special exhibit and much less depressing was the Queen’s Dollhouse. I love dollhouses and have one myself – unfinished at the moment, of course. The Queen’s Dollhouse was a gift to Queen Mary in the early 1920s and is three stories tall, furnished in minute detail as an exact replica of an aristocratic Edwardian home down to real miniature toilet paper. I attempted pictures, but they all had a glare.I need a photography course in the worst way.

A day at Windsor wouldn’t be complete without stopping by the gift shop. I found just the right thing, a silver crown charm for my bracelet. I may not be royalty, but I’ve often been called “the queen.” I’ll take what I can get. 😉

Windsor is only 30 miles from London. Promise me you will take a day to visit the castle when you get to England.

Castles and Cobblestones – My Journey to Europe – Part Seven

Europe092014 033Sometimes, you just have to move on. The pic attached here is the wrong date. I’m very technically challenged and, after way too long a time spent trying to fix it, I left it alone. Suffice it to say a table, a menu and me is enough of a visual for a post about eating. After spending the afternoon at the Tower of London, dinner was a welcome event.

Our tour package included several meals which is a big help when in unfamiliar cities. Dinner this particular evening was a choice of four places/styles.  We could have Asian, Italian, Lebanese or an English Pub. Our small group chose the Princess Victoria Bar and Kitchen (the pub). Princess Victoria B&K is a place for locals to go after work or just out for an evening cocktail or coffee.

We were given a menu specifically for Collette Vacations groups. They offered three courses and I’ve listed them below. Quick Travel Tip: In the UK and Europe, the gratuity is often included in the price, so there is no need to leave more on the table.


Scottish Smokehouse Salmon with rocket salad horseradish olive oil dressing

Soup of the day with toasted granary bread

Duck & Pork Pate with Orange liqueur and Cognac Red Onion Marmalade, Cornish Sea Salt, Bread


Pork and Old Mount Cider Pot Pie with Apple and Dijon Mustard Mash Potato

Classic Caesar Salad with Parmesan Cheese and Croutons

Beer Battered Atlantic Cod Fish & Chips with Mushy Peas and Tartar Sauce


Cambridge Burnt Cream Dessert with Strawberry Coulis

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Cheese Board with Selection of Finest British Cheese and Water Biscuits

If you look at this menu, it really is comparable to the food you would find at a nice place in the United States. Because I was in England, I really did try to experience different foods throughout the trip. For my starter, I went with the duck pate – bad choice, folks, very bad choice. I wanted to like pate – really, I did. It always sounds so fancy-schmancy to have pate. I can’t do it. One taste and I knew. This little girl from the Midwestern village of Panama is never going to develop a taste for duck, especially duck pate. It just makes me want to gag.  Blech. The bread was good. 🙂

A pilsner of ale and I was ready for the main course. All three sounded good, but since I hadn’t eaten in about seven hours and the pate turned my stomach, I played it safe and went with the fish and chips. No mushy peas for me, though. I knew enough to ask for my peas to remain whole. More bread, a starving girl’s best dinner companion.

Then came dessert. How does one choose between the three listed? The words toffee and caramel are like laser beams to my brain – cannot resist either. Dear God, they did not disappoint. It was like a spongy pudding with sauce. To.Die.For.

By the end of dessert, I was stuffed with food and ale and ready to walk off that full feeling. The walk back to the hotel was balmy and filled with little shops along the way. We wandered in and out, perusing the card shops and what we call a drugstore here. These drugstores are noticeable by the green neon cross on the sign above the stores. They have pretty much anything one would need from OTC meds to food, batteries, books and beyond.

One last nightcap in the bar at our hotel and I was more than ready for a bath and my nice cool bed. Only one more full day in England. Next, we’ll go to Windsor Castle.