My Tiny Family

My dad took this picture a long time ago.  You can tell that I have a tiny family.  My parents separated when I was 15, and by separated I mean that Mom, my brother and I moved from Indianapolis, Indiana to Portland, Oregon the summer before my junior year of high school.  They divorced a year later, and I can count the number of times I went back to Indiana on one hand.

I’m sure life wasn’t easy raising two teens in a strange town by herself, with no friends or family nearby.  She started working, which was hard with no work experience since she married.  My brother and I didn’t make life extremely easy for her, but according to her college friends, it was a “most exciting life”.

My brother and I  made friends quickly at school and even more at the skating rink, where we spent every available evening with Mom in tow.  I loved my mom for her stability and respectability in the midst of a chaotic times.  Mom would sometimes let us take our friends to dinner.  Some of our newly chosen friends were downright characters, and had the mouths of sailors, which my younger brother and I found hilarious.   So Mom made “restaurant rules”.  The only two I still remember was no talking about sex and bloody operations at the table.  We all thought that was hilarious, so we loved baiting her.  Poor Mama.  But she made it and lived to be 80 years old, and much beloved by both children.

Although neither of my parents ever remarried, my brother and I had grandparents and great grandparents.  My parents were both only children.  So that eliminated aunts, uncles and cousins, except for “gray aunts”, as I dubbed my grandfather’s sisters when I was about 2.  Even my mother’s mother was an only child.  My mother had one cousin a year older than she, whom I met for the FIRST time LAST YEAR!  There were some “gray aunts” on my father’s side as well, and some of them married and had children whom I knew slightly when I was a child.  I think he had two cousins on his mom’s side, and one or two on his dad’s side.

My brother and I both married, but had no children.  That eliminated nieces, nephews, children, grandchildren, etc.  I’ve had two husbands, the first one passed away of a genetic disorder when he was 47, and I remarried.  I have one step-son by my second marriage, but no grandchildren.  My second husband also has a brother and sister, and his brother has two children, but no grandchildren.  His sister never married.

They say you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.  Well that’s certainly been helpful for me.  I have wonderful friends who have become my family.  Now I write this blog, which started out as an experiment in blogging.  It has become more than that.  Each day I write to leave a record of who I am and have been to pass on to someone who might be interested enough to read this.  My friends, yes, but more than that.

You can’t choose your family.  That means something totally different as I sit here and write this.  I destroyed 20 years of journals so that no one would find them and discover the real me – you know the mean, selfish, sinful person  I am inside, the stuff YOU tell YOUR SISTER –  I write out to get rid of all that poison.  Yeah, those journals are gone forever – along with all the good stuff I wrote – book reviews, poems, lesson plans, etc.  I couldn’t choose who would see those when I was gone, and it was sad to think of someone else just tossing them, or worse – READING them, so I shredded them.

So back to the family thing.  When I started blogging, I discovered that some things that I write people actually read, and respond back to me.  Paula says she reads every day.  Others say they read on a regular basis.   My husband has even started reading my blog. Do you know how wonderful that makes me feel???  It’s amazing.

Can I choose my family?  Even my “pretend” or adopted family?  I can’t even choose them.  How would I ever know who will care enough to read the record of my life?  Some of YOU will read and respond.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me.  I’ve always been a talker, but writing is different.  I toil over my words when I write, and I put my heart into them.  When you read my writing, you know my heart and my soul – sour and sore as it may be from time to time.  When you choose to read my writing, you chose to become my family, in a remote sort of way.

So thanks for reading and caring.  Now that I’ve confided in you the real reason I’m writing this journal, it’s only fair for you to tell me.  For whom do you write your blog and why?

84 thoughts on “My Tiny Family”

  1. I write my blog for you! And everyone like you. Glad we’ve met through blogging. Am looking forward to reading your posts. Many thanks for the award. I’m a bit confused by how to celebrate these awards while keeping my blog on the lots of restful white space side. I don’t like to look at clutter and we all have too much to process and look at, so I like to be a place of rest. I will certainly post it on my FB page where clutter is all the rage. All the best!!

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    1. My mom was a dear. We were more like sisters at times because she was an only child, and my grandmother raised us both simultaneously. (Well she had a 25 year head start on me!!) My grandmother always called me by Mom’s name, Peggy. 🙂

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  2. Marsha
    I never has a sister just three brothers and what I can tell you today is I thought I had the perfect life but as we grew and made our own way in life it was just the parents in our family home we were ever really close to. I loved my brothers and we all have issues but I swear I never knew we would become the strangers we have and mostly after Dad passed away.

    I am so glad I met you here in BLOG WORLD and welcome you into my family

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    1. AWWWWWW, that’s the nicest thing anyone has said to me today! I have to tell you then, that you have another sister named Eternal Traveler AKA Carol in Australia. We became sisters about a week or two ago!!! And we have a niece! Then there’s my “daughter” Paula right here i Tulare County who used to be my secretary. OH so many wonderful relatives!!! I’m so happy to be part of your family, too!!!! What a great year we have to look forward to. (pardon the preposition at the end.) Lots of love, Sis. 🙂 Marsha 🙂

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  3. Good to hear about you and your family, I always thought mine is tiny. I have one sister, the best in the world, my old parents in a home, and one real anuty and 2 cousins. There are mor old distant cousins or aunties but I never got to know them and my mum is only in contact with 2.
    My sister has no children so the name “Maier” is dying out…. haha not really so many Maiers in the world. Funny think is my boys are more British than German, so my “family” will continue in Britain…. if I ever get grandchildren that is…no rush!
    Thank you for being in my family, I count my wonderful friends and my church friends also to my family!

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    1. Awesome, Ute. I already considered you like a sister. Now it’s official. Just seconds ago we also became related to Eunice, and a couple of weeks ago, Carol. So we’ll have to get together for a family reunion!! We can do it when you and Ralph are here!!! Lots of love, Sis, Marsha Lee 🙂

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  4. Hi Ms. Marsha.!!
    Thanks for the invitation to write here in your blogspace. So the question was, “…for whom do you write your blog, and why?” I will admit to being a little selfish about it. I write the blog for me. As a retired military man and former college administrator and teacher, I thought I had a lot to say. The truth is, I just enjoy writing. I have had other blogs, but this is the first one I have kept active for more than a few weeks. I don’t do it for the recognition. I don’t write what I think folks want to read. I don’t intentionally try to stir things up. And I am not trying to sell anything. I write because I enjoy it and find it liberating to be able to expose your thoughts without worry of recrimination. No subject is taboo and I willingly cross pencils with anyone who wants to do so and can manage reasoned discourse.
    Sorry Marsha, I guess I can’t be one of your sisters…huh??
    Love your blog.!!
    Be well,
    Howard
    BTW, I was born in California and lived most of my younger life there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I met you on Ralph’s site, then again on Sharechair’s I think, anyway, I thought I should head over and see what you had to say for yourself. What a fun blog. I hope you keep it going for a long time. No, we can’t be sisters. i’m sorry. I have positions open for brothers. Will that do? 🙂 Where in CA?

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      1. Wow! Sure, I could be your brother! I never thought of that! 🙂
        CA is a big state. Born in Santa Cruz….lived all over the southern part of the state from beach towns to Palm Springs and places in between (moved a lot when I was young..). All this before moving northward to what the locals like to call Superior California. Lived in the gold country for some years–Grass Valley/Nevada City area….I have a lot of history in California!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow, you really did travel all over. My first husband had an uncle in Grass Valley. We live new the Sequoia National Park, and I’ve been here a while!!! I look forward to getting better acquainted this year. 🙂

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    1. I am so sorry! My mom was a doll. Dad, not so much, but even he had his good points. I wasn’t the best daughter sometimes! Since I had no children of my own, I’m up for adoption. So if you need a pretend mom, just call on me!!! 🙂 Marsha Lee 🙂

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      1. aww, thanks. You are really to kind! Thank you for your kind words. I know I wasn’t the best daughter most of the time. I didn’t realize how much I loved & cared about him til I was older. And now he is getting sick. But, the Lord watches over him. And he knows what is best:) Sorry for all the yapping 🙂

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      2. The sad thing is that we are all human. We often don’t do things right. We do the best we can, and trust God to fill in the blanks where we totally mess up. And we do what we can to fix and apologize to others for the mistakes (and/or sins). Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Then we have to trust God to work the miracles. 🙂 God bless both you and your dad. 🙂

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      3. We all need it, don’t we. Mom used to say, “Marsha, if you were perfect, everyone would hate you because they’re not!!!” Yes, my mom was a gem. 🙂 I still always wanted to be perfect, though! So far I’ve been a miserable failure at it, and I’ve been trying for 61 years. 🙂 The good news is that many people love me anyway!! hahaha 🙂

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      4. You’ve met different people than I have, I guess. Thanks for the compliment. Just remember that you don’t have to visit their blogs if they are weird. And if they write something on your blog you don’t like, you have the power to delete the comment. People on the internet can be very real and part of your life, but they certainly don’t have to be. They’re easy to avoid. Here’s my email if you ever want to talk. tchistorygal@gmail.com. 🙂

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  5. Hi Marsha,
    I’m so glad you visited my blog. Your comment about my mom really touched me. Thank you. Ute and I connected not long ago and we’ve forged a great connection with each other. She’s become quite dear to me in the short period of time we’ve been in touch. I agree that friends are our chosen family.We are blessed by our friends… I’ll enjoy following you and reading what you write.

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  6. Again, I love the journal destroying bond we share ~ just had to state it again for the record. There’s no doubt in my mind that you pour your heart into your words, it’s apparent in every sentence you provide. I feel a connection to your writing because of this.
    I write my blog mainly for myself and partly to fill gaps of information in that I wish I could find on the internet. If I search something, and I’m unable to find it, it inspires me to figure it out and put the information out there for others.
    Most of the time I write because I just love the action of writing. There’s something soothing about it. So, I do it mainly for myself and if others read it or get something out of it, that makes me very happy. 🙂
    I have never considered it to be an online journal, but after reading this, I really feel that’s what it is. What a beautiful way to think about it.

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    1. Hi again, Andrea,

      JT Weaver has written his to his children so they will understand him if he gets Alzheimer’s like his father did. I don’t have children, so I’m assuming that nobody around would be that interested in what happened to me as a child. They aren’t related, so they don’t wonder where this or that trait comes from. They weren’t with me when I was young, so I don’t have issues with anyone that I know about regarding why I did such and such. So the internet gives me that intimate family. People only read because they want to. If someone WANTS to know about your life, they are really special to you. Am I right about that??? 🙂 Marsha 🙂

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      1. Yes, you are so right. I love that outlook, so beautifully said. It’s interesting, because we are not having children, and I’ve never really thought about who I’m writing for until coming to your blog.
        It’s kind of just freeing to just write. I agree, it’s truly wonderful to have people who actually WANT to read you stuff, do so.
        I’ve found more kindred spirits through this blog than I have found in my day to day. It’s interesting because maybe it all boils down to what you just said, people who actually WANT to be here will be here.
        I love this, you’ve provided me with some excellent things to think about. I really appreciate that, Marsha! I’m also really happy that we connected. 😀
        ❤ ~ Andrea

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      2. Me too, Andrea. Feel free to email me as well at tchistorygal@gmail if you don’t want your remarks to be public. I did teach a bilingual class for 5 years, so have done a lot of ESL teaching. 🙂 Marsha 🙂

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      3. Don’t be surprised if you get an email from me! I’ve added your email to my hotmail already. I really appreciate the offer, Marsha!
        That’s amazing that you have so much experience in ESL teaching as well.
        You’re wonderful! Thank you for being so open and willing to share, I find it so inspiring!
        ~ Andrea ❤

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      4. I never thought I was that unusual, but I ‘ve always wanted to know about other people’s lives – and always wondered why so many folks were so reticent about sharing them. I have always believed that the reason few people take the time to read about people’s lives depended more on lack of time than lack of interest.
        xx,
        mgh
        (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
        ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
        “It takes a village to transform a world!”

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      5. True, if we keep learning and don’t practice wrong habits. I know how to play one song on the piano! 🙂 My mom was a teacher. Now, that’s sad! 🙂

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      6. Ooooo. Or move on to something different, like blogging. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful weekend, my new friend, Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC. So where are you from, anywhere close to CA, so I know where I can go for pumpkin soup! 🙂

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      7. Cincinnati, currently – but I hope to relocate and am investigating online.

        South Florida (to live with a friend, even tho’ the climate would be brutal for me) or North Carolina (because I love their educational philosophy as well as their countryside) are the American front-runners – so far. East Tennessee got bumped when I read about the state’s untenable health policies.

        If I had the funds, though, I’d expatriate, given what’s going on politically. Would have been gone the night after the election, could I have managed it.
        xx,
        mgh

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      8. I was gone in January! Amazing that I got back! It’s crazy, isn’t it? I grew up in Indiana, and my dad travelled to Cincinnati often to test furnaces & air conditioners he designed for Bryant Mfg. S. FL sounds pretty muggy! Truth is there is no perfect place. Just finished reading China Mirage. Every read it? The author outlines the mistaken policies that guided foreign policy in Asia from the Roosevelts through to today. Very enlightening. Might get your mind off today’s problems, as great as they loom ahead of us. Unfortunately, the President has a lot of power, and it has increased appreciably over the years since Roosevelt.

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      9. So you KNOW! I’ve been told I might like San Diego – but the ocean’s on the wrong side. (East Coast is where *most* of my friends are).

        Have not read China Mirage, but do follow the site of an Aussie now living in China. Their political approach sure sounds a lot more level-headed and likely to succeed on almost every level than ours here in the used-to-be-good-ole USA (at least through her eyes).

        Isolationism in this day and age is t-totally NUTS, in any case. But then . . . we expected different?
        xx,
        mgh

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      10. One thing they do that makes the most sense is that everybody has to vote or pay a fine. AND they all vote on the same day. I hate our primaries. How dumb is that? We had no choice of candidates on either side in CA because everyone had dropped out except the two front runners. Grrr

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      11. I’ve always been a fan of Jesse Jackson’s greatest meme:
        “Universal, on-site, same-day voter registration!”

        I don’t sign on to “vote or be fined,” however, any more than I like “insure or be fined.” I’m big on choice, but hate that red tape etc. doesn’t make it easy for folks to “do the right thing.”
        xx,
        mgh

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      12. You know, I think doing the right thing is always a difficult thing, not being political here at all. Politics add another layer of difficulty because all sides of policy makers THINK their ideas are the “right” thing. They have different perspectives, some of which are irreconcilable. A study of history shows how policy makers have dealt with irreconcilable differences in the past. 🙂

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      13. If they actually THINK at all – you might be giving them too much credit! 🙂 Man is a selfish animal.

        We have a few statesmen in our history – the framers of our Constitution, thank God – but not a great many since, it seems to me. And it does seem to be getting worse not better. 😦
        xx,
        mgh

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      14. Amen sista! We are a selfish breed. It is a constant battle. I know I haven’t won the battle against it yet. The sad thing is that people at the top have so much power. The good thing is that there are ways of evasion. In the China Mirage the author talked about the Chinese going into well equipped bomb shelters, waiting out the heavy bombing and coming out to defeat their enemies the same way our forefathers beat the English. Humans also have a strong sense of survival. We have come so close to wiping out so many entire groups of people, yet one brave leader can prevent annihilation by saving a remnant. Selfishly, I always hope that I am not part of the slaughtered. But I also pray that I am not part of the annihilators either. One of our major problems is that we have to live in the present, and the way is not clear. It’s so much easier to see things in hindsight! 🙂 Love your thinking! BTW, here I am at 2:22 am. Do you have a solution for that??????

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      15. Thanks for this thoughtful response, Marsha. Many days since November, except for worrying about the care of my puppy, I wonder if becoming “part of the slaughtered” would be best for me overall. I certainly could NEVER become “part of the annihilators.”
        lol re: 2:22. If you don’t have a chrono-rhythm disorder (like Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, for example), there actually ARE solutions for that, but if you do, the only solution is to set up your life to support your body’s dictates. But, as you so wisely say, “the way is not clear.”
        btw- I have an entire sleep series on my blog – and perhaps it’s time for me to consider adding a few posts on nights when I am awake until dawn myself. 🙂
        xx,
        mgh


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      16. I read some of them – one night when I was up all night. I have lived with it all my life. Sometimes I crash, but most of the time I can deal with it on very little sleep. The fact is that I’m not overly physically active. When I do too much, I get VERY grumpy. I can’t cope. But to sit and write or go to meetings, which is what I do most of the time, I’m fine. A walk a day, light workout, I’m fine. Clean my house, I’m fine. So basically I support what my body dictates. 🙂 Love your conversations! 🙂

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      17. Yes, it’s nice to be retired. I have two 6:30 Kiwanis meetings this week, and I leave for SF at 8:00 another day, and will work three very long days. But then there is today when I can relax and write, go shopping if I want, take a nap if I need to. My husband does his thing and is very understanding. 🙂

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      18. “Retired?” – lol I guess I’ll still be working as they cart me away to the funeral parlor too. 🙂

        6:30 *A*M? OMG if so! I have always despised “breakfast meetings” – the fav of Morning Nazis everywhere – hoping the rest of us will be too fuzzy to care what they decide to do, I’m fairly certain. ::evil grin::

        BUT, if I had to stay up all night to make sure I could attend (which is what it would take), earlier would actually be better. Less disruptive to chronos, actually, so faster recovery (which generally takes 2-3 weeks to restabilize, btw – every single time).

        More and more, Marsha – I am coming to be certain I was meant to be born on an entirely different planet. There is so MUCH on this one that doesn’t work with my brain – and less and less I discover I have in common with earthlings generally (especially in America!) 🙂

        xx,
        mgh

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      19. I do a bit. I sleep pretty lightly. I never used to EVER need an alarm. Now I set one in case I sleep. It’s gone off three times now, and it’s a board meeting, so I have 7 min to throw on clothes and makeup. Bye for now.

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      20. LOL! I’m not sure, but I think I’m doing more rather than fewer board meetings now that I’m retired! Been taking the camel we designed yo each meeting! 😀😀😀😂😂😂

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  7. Memory is usually coloured rosy after a while. I wanted to write things as I remembered them particularly things about my grandchildren. Being an opinionated type my blog morphed into articles on a variety of opinions and issues. I’m thinking that I need to change my blog title now. 🙂

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  8. Family is a given and it’s up to us to love or hate them, accept or reject them, the same thing with “adopted”families. One thing, without the family, we won’t be here in this world, won’t we? Yup, write, write, write all the poison away and eventually the good stuff do come out. When you do revisit the ‘bad’ stuff it will no longer hurt but becomes the most wonderful life’s lesson not just to you as well as the reader. Surely, you can write it with such eloquence.

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      1. Not “too negative” for me, Marsha. It is refreshing to see something that is not what I have begun to consider “positivity pablum” – which I believe is actually disrespectful to the many who have problems that “just think yourself happy” won’t change in the slightest.

        There are psychological reasons there are “stages” to grief – and pushing them down or glossing over them only delays the inevitable crash. The fastest way through is STRAIGHT through. Reading that others struggle to leaves ME feeling more positive than the la-la writers — whom I always feel have been incredibly fortunate so can’t understand the meaning of “struggle” or are living in denial and want me to join them there. 🙂
        xx,
        mgh

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      2. I agree with that 100 percent. As you age you realize that no one sails through life, but as a young person you can’t see it at all. I have a couple of friends who are just naturally fabulous and gracefully thoughtful. One of them lost her husband in October of a horrible cancer on his face. She cared for him until the last second. She is mourning, but so, so beautiful that you just want to be with her. She never has a bad thing to say about her husband even though we all saw his faults. I think she truly did not. She laughed about a few tendencies, but it was a laugh, not a gripe. She makes me wish I could be that positive type of person, but wishing does not make it so. 🙂

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      3. God bless her. I truly empathize and admire. I care-partnered my best friend with kaposi’s sarcoma – which presented first on his face, but eventually took over his entire, ultimately emaciated body. I spent the night with him only 3 days prior to his death. Part of me still struggles to believe he is gone.

        When I was younger I was always the “how can I come out of this smelling like a rose?” girl – and I tried my best to avoid inflicting my positivity on others who were struggling.

        I do much better at that now that life has beaten me up a bit more and I am no longer quite so positive. I guess the gods decided I needed the empathy refresher. 🙂
        xx,
        mgh

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      4. Thank you. People do comment that I write like I talk (which is to say, a lot, lol)

        A real-time chat would be wonderful – audio only. I refuse to spackle to speak to someone from the confines of my apartment! (I usually do try to change out of my jammies and drag a brush through my hair before I leave it) ::chuckle::
        xx,
        mgh

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      5. Me too – which is most days, actually!

        I have comfy “house pajamas” with pockets, that I can wear outside to walk my dog without causing too much alarm among the neighbors – so that’s usually what I wear. I swap the matching robe I wear for warmth in the winter for a jacket – sometimes with a long wool sweater on top of whatever I have been wearing on top – and swap back on return.

        My secret. After all, I don’t want the neighbor-kids to think I’m crazy! 🙂
        xx,
        mgh

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      6. Too funny! I do get dressed to walk the dog. I actually get tired of PJ’s after a while. Even sweats. They can be depressing if I wear them all day long. But when I get into writing, I hardly notice the time passing. 🙂

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