WordPress Photo Challenge: Letters

The Pennsylvania Railroad Museum didn’t bother to post their rules in any language but English.  That may have been their downfall.

Manny can't read

Sometimes the letters aren’t right when you take a picture, and you have to make some changes.

Fugitive Manny2

For more stories and pictures about letters click on the WP image.


Manny’s Writing Challenge

Hi everyone! As though I didn’t already have enough to do, Manny has come up with this idea of a writing challenge.  Actually, it was Vince’s idea first.  He’s the marketing guy of the family.  Manny needs your help getting the to kids that might want to write a story.  To view Manny’s site click here.

Justin Beaver (JB) and I are friends.   I live in California, and JB lives in Australia.  We write blogs and talk to each other almost every day.  We decided to write stories about our travels, but there are so many ways to write a story.  We got confused.  Would you help us write a story?

SFW Manny in Frankfurt105

Story requirements:

  • 500 words or less
  • use at least one picture
  • Title:   Manny’s Writing Challenge:  Friends in Frankfurt
  • Topic:  Stuffed animals, Manny and Justin Beaver travel to Frankfurt, Germany.
  • Plot:  Manny and Justin have a whole city to explore and don’t know where to go.
  • Genre:  You might write a fractured fairy tale, poetry, story of noises, naughty behavior, or even non-fiction, or something else if you like
  • Your story should have a theme.
    • Is this a story about character traits, like honesty or manners?
    • Are Justin and I developing self-esteem and growing up as they travel?
    • Did we have an argument?
    • Did something scary happen and we act bravely?

Please use these pictures taken by Justin’s mom, Mrs. Eternal Traveler.  If you want to add more pictures you can.  Make sure you give credit for them.

Publish your story on your blog, or send it to my mom, tchistorygal@gmail.com., or post it in the comment section, if you want.

Please link back to my blog so that other people can read your story.  I can’t wait to read YOUR stories about ME!

You can use my widget.  I made them in several sizes, and you can post them on your website. Be sure to link back to my website in the URL of the picture so that others can join the writing challenge.


Manny's Writing Challenge

Manny's Writing Challenge-med

Manny's Writing Challenge Widget

I will try to create a new challenge for you each week on Sunday.

Book Review: Off the Leash by Rupert Fawcett

Hi everyone,

Manny here, again.  Mom’s still busy.

Manny at home

Mom asked me to write a book report for you today on the book Off the Leash:  The Secret Life of Dogs by Rupert Fawcett.  First of all I have to say thanks to Ute because she sent us this book for Christmas.   I have never seen Mom and Dad laugh so hard in my life.  Here is why they were laughing.  It’s a comic book.  Yeah, my parents read comic books.

Manny reads to friends

My favorite page is p. 26.  This page is so Kalev.  I watch her do this every day.   She lies on the couch on her blue blanket where she is supposed to be.  Then she nuzzles her nose under whatever Mom or Dad is holding.  The next thing you know she is sitting on their lap.

My friends and I loved this book because it was so funny, and it was about dogs.  I love dogs, even Kalev.  She thought Roo was a toy when we were sitting on the floor.  Mom had to take Roo away from her and put all of us up here on the mantle.  This is where we live.  When Mom took Roo away, Kalev actually came after me, and messed up my Hawaiian necklace.  I was scared for just a minute, but Kalev knows better than to mess with me.  I won’t tell you what I did.

Anyway, this is an awesome book.  It makes a great gift for a friend like Mom and Dad and me, and it would probably make a great gift for your friends who like dogs.  Click here to see other books by Rupert Fawcett.

Please respond to my survey below.

One more thing I have to ask you.  I’ve been thinking about doing a blog just like Justin Beaver does.  You are all grown ups, and Mom is a grown up (most of the time).  Would you read my blog?  Would you follow it?  I’ll put another survey up.

Manny relaxing at home

Thanks everyone.

Here is the link to my new blog.  Invite your kids to read and comment on it, too!  🙂

Manny Here

Dear Friends,

I am writing for Mom this morning cause she has her nose in her book all the time.

TC at work2

I’ve been making some resolutions as I sit here on my travel blanket and have all my gear around me.

Manny studies his options

  1. I want to go somewhere else.  Mom wants me to write my own blog, but that’s her resolution.  Do your parents make resolutions for you?
  2. I am going to resolve not to get so mad at her for making resolutions for me.  After all she did send me all over the world with her friends.  I can’t complain or you will all revolt instead of resolve.
  3. I’m going to have more fun in 2014 without landing on my face doing it!

M & J in Frankfurt

What are your resolutions for 2014?

M & J landed

P.S. This was Justin and I in Frankfurt.  It was a blast!  I love Mom for letting me go.  Thanks Carol and Glenn, and of course, my friend, Justin.  🙂

Poppe, the Hypnotic Clown of Bruges

by Manny Ingrao

I am NOT afraid of clowns, but look into his eyes.  Scary, huh?

Manny and Clown

I was really brave when this clown asked for volunteers.  Justin didn’t want to come up with me, but I told him it would look silly on his website if he didn’t.  So he came up, too.  Justin is pretty cool.

Manny Justin and clown

I did not do stupid stuff, no matter what Justin or anyone else in Bruges says. I don’t think so.  I have a good memory.  I would remember something stupid.  All I remember is that Poppe’s act was boring, and I got sleepy.  I think the clown has chicken feet. It looks like they are going to fall off.

Manny_Justin_clown show

All of the sudden I want some French fries.

Manny wants fries2

Manny’s a Whale Watcher

Here comes one now.

SFW 2013 Oahu Pearl Harbor199

“They’re right here, Mom.  See them swimming.  And here we are.”

SFW 2013 Oahu Pearl Harbor198

“Unfortunately, Manny you’re just looking at the sign.  You have to look at the ocean to see them.”

SFW 2013 Oahu Pearl Harbor202

“Mom, do you think I need glasses?  I can’t see the ocean.”

Do you ever feel like Manny feels.  The answer must be somewhere nearby, but you just can’t see it?  Tell him about it.  It will make him feel better.


Manny’s Hooked on Travel

“Manny, are you ready to stay home for a while?”

“No!!!  I have an idea of where I want to go to next.”

That was a dumb question.  As Carol wrote, “He’s had more excitement in the last six months than most people have in a lifetime.”

“I want to go whale watching, Mom.  I didn’t see any whales in Europe or Australia.  I didn’t even see one on the plane back to the United States.  I’ve been a lot of places, Mom, and guess what?

“What, Manny?

“No whales, that’s what.”

“That’s all you have to say about all your wonderful travels, and about the amazing people you met and things you saw?”

“Oh, Mom.  I love Carol and Glenn, AND MELISSA,  and Ute and Ralph, and I had a great time, but did you know that Justin Beaver has his own website?”

“I think you mentioned it at least one hundred times before you left.  You saw how much work he does to make that website didn’t you?  Are you sure you want to do that?  Did you tell all those people thank you for the wonderful time you had? I even saw you on Justin’s website eating chocolate, and having fun.”

“When I get all my pictures in order, I’m going to have a website and talk about all my travels. And I’m going to write books, and make a movie, and be famous like the Eternal Traveler and Justin Beaver.”

“Uh huh.  Did you say thank you to Carol and Glenn for taking you all over Europe, New Zealand, and Australia?  Did you thank Melissa for bringing you home?”

“Yeah, Mom.  I love those people.  I kissed Melissa, even.  I didn’t kiss Justin, but I shook his hand.  I gave Carol and Glenn a big hug.  But I didn’t see any whales yet.  Let’s go to Hawaii.”


Now dear bloggers, what do you think?  Is Manny spoiled?


What about now?






Manny’s Metropolitan Marathon: London, England

Dear Mom,

I learned a lot at Ute’s school.  Did you know that for nearly 100 years London was the biggest city.  In the whole world! Mom, and I went all over London.  Can you believe that? You can see how much I’m growing.  Here I am in the Tube.

tube resize

Oh, I forgot, you don’t know what the Tube is.  It’s not like the tube at Ralph’s where I went into the vacuum cleaner.  Ute and Danny had to almost carry me onto the Tube.  I was afraid it would suck me on, but those Tube people are pretty careful.  This voice keeps saying, “Mind the gap.”  The voice didn’t want me to get sucked into the gap.

underground resiz

The Tube took us to Whitehall.  That’s like a street with lots of buildings where the Queen does Queen stuff.  They call the Queen, Her Majesty.  I could be His Majesty, Manny.  What do you think, Mom?  Would you come see me if they let me be a Majesty and ride the horsey?  I wonder if the Queen gets to ride the horsey whenever she wants to.

horseguards resiz In Trafalgar Square we had fun.  It’s a big place where lots of people just hang around the fountains.  Ute said sometimes there are political demonstrations.  I’m not sure what they are demonstrating.  The day we visited there were kids demonstrating how to play in the fountains.  Really they mostly thrown stuff in the fountains like pennies and stuff to get good luck.  I wanted to throw in some money, but Ute said I might need it when I went with Carol.

Trafalgar sq National Gallery resiz

Did you know I’m not coming home, Mom?  I kind of miss you, but I’m having so much fun.  I was a little worried about that lion, though.  That lady was brave, but he’s BIG!

trafalgar sqare lion resiz

This is a really famous war place, Mom.  There was a Battle of Trafalgar, and in the old days England and France used to fight a lot, and England won, so the King built this square place so that people would remember about the war.  I thought that must be Mr. Trafalgar at the top of that pole, but Ute said it was Mr. Admiral Nelson, and he died in the battle.  I felt sad about that, so now he has to sit on this column all the time.

Trafalgar square resiz This was the biggest house I ever saw.  Ute said it’s the Parliament’s house.  They must have the biggest family in the world!  I would really like it if Mr. and Mrs. Parliament wanted me to come visit, but Ute said it didn’t work like that.  I wanted to write them on the computer, but Ute didn’t have their email address on her phone.

houses of parliament resize2

The golden Victoria Memorial is in front of Buckingham Palace.  Isn’t she beautiful, Mom?  I wanted to meet her, but Ute said I couldn’t because she was a memorial and she wasn’t there anymore.  But I saw here there.  Can’t you see her?  I guess the Queen lives there too.

victoria Memorial resiz

I got a little confused because I think the Queen has so many houses. I liked this house, don’t you?

front of buck palace resiz

See how big her house is?  All the houses are so huge compared to ours.  (Don’t tell Dad!)  Well, maybe except for Ute’s house.  Hers is more like our house and Ralph’s apartment, except she has more bears than anybody.

buck palace resiz Next we walked to 10 Downing Street is where the Prime Minister lives.  See the black house in the back through the gates?  Mom, why would a minister have to live behind all those gates and have guards?  Don’t ministers live in churches?  They do in our country, don’t they, Mom?  (Sometimes I wonder where he gets his information.  Yikes!)

10 downing street resiz

I was hungry after that, and we went into this place called “Fortnum and Mason”, Ute called it a posh shop.  I asked Danny what a posh was, but he said he didn’t know.  I think it meant teddies like us only made of chocolate.  Who would eat chocolate teddies?   Would you eat a chocolate Mom?  I tried to make the teddies feel better, and Ute took a picture for the London Times.  Danny said she was kidding, but would you check and see if my picture was there.  I just wanted people not to buy the teddies to eat them.  I was getting tired, too.

in fortnum and mason resiz

Next we went to meet Big Ben.  We have Paul Bunyan who is a giant in our country, but Big Ben is a clock.  That was kind of weird, but I didn’t say anything to Ute about it.

Big Ben resiz

By this time I had seen enough buildings.  (But I didn’t tell that to Ute, either.)  I wanted to have some fun.  Then Ute took Danny and me to the London Eye and the River Thames.  At first I didn’t think that an eye sounded like much fun, but it was a gigantic Ferris Wheel.  It was so high, and I wanted to jump in the River Thames when I got to the top, but the man who took the tickets strapped me in, and Ute wouldn’t let me undo my strap.  We looked at the river, though, and it was pretty brown.  I probably would have gotten muddy, and then Ute would have given me a bath.  How embarrassing!

London eye resiz

I started getting thirsty from all the walking.  Danny and I begged Ute to go in here to Lord Moon’s place.  It’s called a pub in England.  She said I was too young to go in for a drink.

at a pub resiz

I told her everybody gets thirsty, and I was really thirsty.  Even babies get thirsty, and they get to drink.  I was polite, though.  I didn’t beg.  I didn’t whine either.  I smiled, and asked Danny to ask Ute to get us a drink.

tea resiz

Ute must have listened to Danny because then we went to this pretty place that had fancy cups.  Ute called them china, but I know where China is, and we weren’t even CLOSE to there.  I used to think Ute was the smartest person in the world – well besides you, mom, but she thinks China is in London.  Don’t tell her I said that, though.  She works in a school.  I know she will find out soon.  Anyway, we finally got some lovely tea to drink.  That’s what they say here.  Everything is lovely.  Lovely tea.  Lovely trip.  Lovely teddies.  Lovely crumpets to go with the lovely tea.  I think crumpets are lovely, too.

proper english tea resiz When we got all done seeing all of London, Ute took me to this apartment and kissed me goodbye.  Danny gave me a big boy hug.  Then they left me.

good bye resiz

I was so sad that the woman at the apartment desk picked me up and kissed me, and told me that Carol and Glenn would be home soon.  She let me use her computer, and helped me put my pictures in my letter.  It took so long for Carol and Glenn to get here, that my letter turned out really long!  I am really excited, Mom.  Do you know that Carol knows Justin Beaver? I still love Ute the best, though, but Mom, I’m going to get to go with JUSTIN BEAVER.  I can’t wait!!!!  I hope they get here pretty soon.  Have you seen JUSTIN BEAVER, Mom?  He has his OWN website.

Well, gotta go, now, I think I see them.  Bye, Mom.

Love, Manny

Dear Ute (and Ralph) (and Carol and Glenn),

These pictures are all so LOVELY.  Vince and Manny and I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful tours of England and Spain.  As I look through all these pictures that I am accumulating of Manny, I am overwhelmed with both of your generosity to take the time to cart around our little bear and show all of us your lives.  Thank you both so much.  And thank you to Carol and Glenn who now have Manny and have journeyed on to other parts of Europe, and then will take him back to Australia.  Can you believe the luck of that bear?

Love, Vince and Marsha 🙂  xox






Abandoning Sordid Pasts and Moving On

If you live as long as I have, there might be something SORDID in your past if folks cared enough  excavate the artifacts to uncover it!  Personally I want my sordid history scattered so deeply into ancient history that it would take a toothpick to carefully clean the shredded evidence of my past.  Few people have that kind of patience or interest in examining the mundane lives of mundane people from the past.  If they did, the world’s libraries would be littered with unreadable and boring trash!

Ralph and Manny

Ralph suggested that I write my memoirs.  I tried that, and it got downright scary.  No more sweet, nice Marsha.  The thin skin I have covering my delicate inner self peeled away revealing…. You know I’m not going to tell you!  It’s just downright embarrassing!  Since I’m not famous, and didn’t write it all down for my posterity, of which I have none, it’s doubtful that anyone will ever find out about my notoriety, and the heinous crimes of my sordid past.


SFW San Diego History Girls 1-13235
Ewwww, gross!

I say all that to announce that the topic of my Friday posts is just not working for me, so I’m moving on.  In fact, I have to confess that scheduled posts, are tying down my normally random nature.  I tried a schedule on my other site, and now I can’t even bear to open up the site and post anything any more.  One of my spammers on this site told me I need lessons on writing titles, that they are “too vanilla.”  YIKES, and I love vanilla!  Another commenter told me I need to avoid serious stuff, or no one will read my blog. (Was that a threat?)  He may have a point.  One of my best posts  (in MY opinion) has only one comment and 11 likes, and the comment is mine!

Got any Vanilla Wafers over there?  Just put them on the bench!
Got any Vanilla Wafers over there? Just put them on the bench!

I created this site to be random.  Unfortunately this stream of chatter runs directly into my LinkedIn account, and I’ve spent the last month connecting with superintendents of schools for the past month as the President of California Council for the Social Studies this year.  My hope is that I increase awareness of promote advocacy for the need for continuing to specifically teach social studies in public education system K-12.  My dilemma is that I’m afraid that my educational credibility is shot with my silly posts.  And, if my blogging spammers advisors are correct, my “fun” blogging personality apparently is sullied by  Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personality) –  the multiple hats that I wear.  🙂  hehehe (which is more sinister than hahaha, I think!)

Save me


When I am acting CCSS President, I’m sorry bloggers, but I have to put on my education hat, and reveal that I am indeed a knowledgeable person with some intelligent ideas about the future of education.  I actually love wearing that hat.  I love rubbing shoulders with some of the best thinkers on our planet, and learning and listening, and once in a while throwing out a cogent thought onto the discussion floor.  On the other hand, I just can’t resist being a frustrated comic, and trying to make you, my friends, laugh, so the rest of the time I’m trying hard to be funny.  I’m sixty-one going on two still trying to figure out how to merge the two diverse aspects of my personality!

I had the privilege of honoring Tulare County Superintendent of Schools, Jim Vidak, as Administrator of the Year.
I had the privilege of honoring Tulare County Superintendent of Schools, Jim Vidak, as Administrator of the Year.

What I’m trying to say through this not-so-sordid post, is that I’m giving up scheduled posts in favor of streaming thoughts as they float by.  I will still stream you book reviews done as often as I run across good books, and I will usually comment on the Common Core Standards because I do care about education, and I can’t control my passion! Manny will continue to crop up, of course.  He’s having too much fun going to such distant places not to tell you about his antics.  Mostly he is meeting interesting people, and getting to dive into THEIR lifestyles.  How often do we see life as it is in REAL time, not just a tourist view?

He's on his way to Malaga, Spain to the airport.
He’s on his way to Malaga, Spain to the airport.

So I am going to do a couple of things.  First I am going to turn off my instant connection to LinkedIn, and notify them only my academic posts.  There go my following stats! Sorry ego!   Secondly I’m ending my schedule and going back to the diversity that is my life.  If you hate one side or the other of my personality, you can click on past the stuff you don’t want to read.  I won’t be hurt if you don’t press like or leave a comment.

Kaweah River streaming into Bravo Lake
Kaweah River streaming into Bravo Lake

This blog started as an experiment, became a new way to get friends, and continues into maturity with the boulders of my exposed life settled securely at the bottom of the stream bed, and the pebbles of daily activities, thoughts and conversations with you, my dear friends, still churning as they chortle along their path to the river of life and eventually merge into the salty sea that was and is the eternal me and you blended together as we meet, comment, laugh, cry and love each other.

Back to daily life, what’s going on in your life today?

Manny’s In Heaven

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the “life” Manny has been leading this past month.  I just got word today that he has gone to teddy bear heaven.

Manny in heaven

I’m sure we will all miss him greatly, but he has definitely moved to a better place.

Manny's heaven#2

Of course, if you have been reading Manny’s emails, then you know that Ute took him from Ralph’s house in Spain home to England with her.  If you look out the window, you can see he no longer can see the mountains of southern Spain.


Now his life is totally different.  He is no longer the spoiled nearly-only bear.  Cowboy Manny is trying to ride a herd of lemurs.

Manny rides herd

During the day he goes to school.  Life is busy in heaven.

Manny's seat at school

Manny, you love to color.  I’m sure you stayed quietly coloring all morning long.  Can you find all the places you’ve been in the Atlas?

in school (3)

I can see that you are much the same in heaven as you are at home on earth.  Do you pray in heaven as you do on earth?

Give us today1

Give us today day our daily bread,

our daily bread1

On earth as it is in heaven.

lead us not into temptation1

And lead us not into temptation,

Manny, Mommy's name is Marsha.  Are you trying to tell Mommy something?
Manny, Mommy’s name is Marsha. Are you trying to tell Mommy something? You look a little wistful.

But deliver us from evil.

figuring out heavenly school

So have you got everything all figured out up there in heaven, Manny?  Is heavenly life starting to fall into a pattern?

Manny & Danny & special friend

Have you made any special friends in heaven?  WAIT A MINUTE, young man.  I thought I hadn’t received an email because you were in heaven, but there’s Danny.  hmmmm  I think you’d better get typing, Manny T. Bear.


“Dear Mom,  I still love Ute, but she is making me work really hard.  And she took the donuts away from me before I could even eat a bite.  Ralph let me have donuts every day.  Ralph gave me wine, and had parties every day.  I have to go to school in England.  Gotta go, Mom.  Teddy McFluff wants me to do something with him.  Bye!  Love, Manny”

What have your teddy bears been up to these days?

The Adventures of Manny

Hi Mom,

I’ve had a great time with Ute and Ralph.  This is where we are staying.

Map of SpainIt is hot here, and we lay out on the patio every day.

13b Ralph's Apartment

Today I got kind of mad at Ralph because he made us pose with our blankets.  Mom, it was HOT!  I felt like I was sick or something.  All those pillows.  Danny is really nice, and he wanted to kick the blanket out the window.   I threw a pillow on the floor.

1a Fanny, Manny, Danny and new baby bear with Marsha's quilts

Fanny liked it because she had a new baby bear, I call him Lanny.  Lanny liked cuddling under the blanket.  Fanny kept KISSING him on the ears.  Blaaaah

Ute, Ralph & Bears

Ute is cute.  I still love Ute best.  I think Danny should stay with Ralph, and I’ll go home with Ute.  See how nice she holds me so I won’t fall.  I LOVE Ute, Mom.  She was tickling me under the chin.  I didn’t even kick her.

Bye, Mom.  I love you.


Dear Manny,

You haven’t told me anything about the trips you are taking.  That is a lovely picture of you and Danny with Ute and Ralph.  But, where were you?  It is so beautiful!

Manny Goes To Spain

Remember when you were making those blankets?  You were so sleepy you could hardly sew the line straight.

Manny Goes to Spain031

You stayed up almost all night.  Mama is glad that Ralph took a picture of you three with your blankets.  I hope you picked up the pillow.  Those are Ralph’s new pillows.

Have you been to Ronda?  Everyone talks about how beautiful and historic it is.  You know how much Mom loves history.


Kalev misses you and wishes she had come along with you.  Chloe says hi, too.

Write soon,  Love Mom

Dear Mom and Dad,

OK I’m going to send you some pictures, and you have to guess where they are.

Manny & Danny  traveling

I was a little scared here because it was a long way down to the bottom of this wall, and Danny sometimes likes to wrestle and pulls me backwards.  We were both on our good behavior.

Manny & Danny traveling 2

We wanted our picture taken with this arch.  It’s really old.  Like maybe Roman times!  I bet Roman soldiers built it!  Do you think they did, Mom?  Ralph let us sit on the table so we could look at it better.

8 Ralph in BP

Ralph had to wear sunglasses here because the buildings are so sparkly.  Do you love them, Mom?  Did you guess yet?  Go ask Dad.  He doesn’t get lost like you do.

I gotta go.  We’re busy, Mom.  Sorry!

Love, Manny

Ralph’s Latest News About Manny

Manny told me this morning that he wanted a Californian breakfast just like his Mom makes for him every morning. Donuts and strong coffee. He said that his Mom ALWAYS gives him 10 donuts to start his day and he was fed up with the local Spanish breakfast of sliced cheese, sliced smoked ham and sliced bread. So I made him breakfast just like his Mom does as a treat for him.   (I’m not sure what Ralph has been eating for breakfast – something gullible, I’m sure!)  🙂

Manny looks pretty calm, so Ralph? Are you just about to press delete? Or could it be that you would like to press the send or return button?

 I only had 8 donuts in the cupboard, which upset him, as his Mom gives him 10 every day. Oh he really does go on sometimes. He ate and ate and ate while drinking his strong hot coffee. His stomach grew larger and larger.


He ate 9 donuts and fell asleep. (Hmmm where did Ralph get the 9th donut? – the garbage can across the street, maybe?)  He’s still asleep now.

3And Ralph believed him when he said his mom gave him 10 EVERY day! Manny will sleep for a week after THAT breakfast!  🙂


I hope he doesn’t want Eskimo food tomorrow !! (I think all Ralph has is gato food.)   A whale perhaps !!  (I don’t think cats eat whales, do they?) 


Ralph, in a week when Manny wakes up – Don’t be fooled by his open eyes.  He always sleeps with his eyes open. – like I was saying, when he wakes up, you can fool Manny about the whale, and when he’s not looking open a can of tuna.  Don’t let him talk you into mixing up a gallon of “whale”  He will only eat a little can full.  You might even get by with canned cat food if you have that.  You just have to eat it too, so he thinks it’s people food.  🙂


Poor Ralph, now he’s got a heavy teddy bear snoring on his table for a week.  When he wakes up, he will be extremely grumpy, and worse, will have to go to the bathroom.  He’s not litter box trained.  I’m not sure how that will work with the balcony and everything.  Here in California we live out in the country, and there are lots of trees.  I have to admit that I never considered all these personal problems when we agreed to let Manny visit Ralph.  

Do you all think Ralph is going to survive until Ute arrives?

Thursday: News From Manny

According to Ralph, Manny is learning new customs and ways of life in Spain.  I’m not sure the man next to Manny knew about those customs.  He seemed quite interested at what Manny was learning.  I am not sure that Ralph’s female friend here was quite expecting Manny’s finesse, either, but when in Spain…


Manny would not tell me about the vacuum cleaner incident, so I asked Ralph. According to Manny the incident went something like this.

Dear Mom,

Can’t we talk about something else?  I’m having fun with Fanny today.  Here, you talk to Ralph.

Love, Manny


I’ll write captions as you look at the pictures.  Will that do?  I’m still busy getting my house ready for Ute to come visit.  As you know, I ordered a vacuum cleaner.  I had no idea how much more inquisitive boy teddies are than girl teddies.  Fanny played in her room with the cats, but NOT Manny!  Maybe he thought it would be another teddy bear.  After all, that’s how he came to Spain.  Anyway Manny’s words are in blue.

“What’s in here? Let’s open it”

1“Lots of paper !! I’m having fun with this.”


“Ooooh more boxes !! Can I open them?  Home kit, will that take me back to California, Ralph.  I hope not.  I’m having fun here.”  

Sorry, Marsha, you know how kids are when they are having fun.  It’s always too soon to go home!


“Lots of tubes. Just like home when I help Daddy.  He lets me get in the tubes.  Look Ralph, my hand fits.  I wonder if I could get my head inside. …”

I really thought he would talk when you sent him this picture.  He LOVED the tubes.  Does he play with snakes at home or something?  Does he help Vince with the sprinkler system.  He even tried to stick his head in the tubes!  I had to stop taking pictures, and hand the camera to Fanny when she came out to see what all the racket was, so that I could pull his head out of the tube.


“Here, Ralph let me help you.  Dad doesn’t use these dumb books.  I’ll show you how to put the Dyson cleaner together. You just start sticking stuff together, and it’s like magic.  Watch me.”


BTW, nice knees, Ralph.  Are you wearing pants?  Is that one of the customs in Spain?  hmmm  Maybe I’d better warn Ute!  – M 🙂


“See, I told you it was easy.  Now plug it in, Ralph!!”

I plugged it in and the Dyson began to make it’s noise.  It sounded just right.


“What’s this bit for?  It looks like Mom’s roller skates.  Can I put them on and ride around?”

Vacuum hose w bear

I turned around away from the vacuum for just a second to make sure Fanny and the cats were out of the way.  Then I heard this awful sound.  Slurp !! “OOOOH !!  AAAARGH !!”  From INSIDE the tube came this muffled voice!  “Help !!”



I turned around quickly, but I was a little late!


He’s already gone for a spin!  He does look a little dizzy in the picture that Fanny caught from her floor side perspective.  “Get me out of here!!  RALPH!  OUT OF HERE!!!!!  FANNY HELP!!!  R  – – A – – A – – – L – – PH”


I suddenly realised what happened to Manny.  I was more worried that you would kill me than I was about Manny at this point.  He looked a little sick, but he was still breathing.  I checked for broken skin and pouching out stuffing, but he was fine!

Well trained with getting boo boos, I guess, Manny said weakly, “I need a cuddle Ralph.”


“And Mom always gives me a big kiss.”

Geez, kiss a teddy bear.  What have you done to this bear, Marsha?


Before I could even give him a kiss, he backed away, and started wiggling in my arms asking, “Can I do it again pleeeeeease !!”

What could I do, but give him a tap on his little back tag, and say sternly, “No, Manny!  You and Fanny go play in her room with the kitties.  I have to vacuum now!”  I had to hide my smile.

So now you know the whole sordid tale.  Hope you’re not mad at me.

Ralph xox

How could anyone be mad at either Ralph or Manny.  I had to hide a smile, too.  I have a feeling Manny is going to need another bath when he gets home!  🙂

Manny, “Can You Hear Me Now?”

Manny has never been away from home without us, and it feels so weird to think of him being in someone else’s house – without us!  He’s never gone anywhere without us.  I got a short email from Ralph telling us what’s going on over there in Spain.

Dad, what's in this box.  It smells good!  Can I open it?
Dad, what’s in this box. It smells good! Can I open it?

Hi Marsha,

Manny arrived safely here in Spain. I think Fanny smelled the honey in Manny’s suitcase right away.  This is sort of how the conversation went when I brought in Manny’s box.  She wanted to open the box herself, and you can imagine how that went.

“Fanny, I think this box is for you!”

Manny's Trip to Spain

“Really Dad!  Really, REALLY!  REALLY!  I’m so excited!  I can’t get this tape off!  Ooooh, it’s getting stuck in my fur.  Help, por favor.  Don’t cut my fur, Dad!  I want to look pretty!”  Fanny is picking up a few Spanish words.  Don’t be surprised if Manny comes home speaking Spanish.

“Ouch, Fanny.  That IS sticky stuff.  Hold on.  I’ll try not to mess your fur, Fanny.  Ok, let me cut the tape, and open the box for you.”

Manny's Trip to Spain

“Oh boy!  Is this a toy, Dad?  Look how cute he is.  How silly, too.  It wasn’t sunny in there.  He’s got on his glasses!  Is he dead?”

Manny's Trip to Spain

“I am NOT silly.  AND I AM CERTAINLY NOT DEAD!  It was sunny when I left California.  Where am I?  Can you help me get out of here?  I feel stiff.  Thanks, By the way, I’m Manny.”

Manny's Trip to Spain

“Hi, I’m Fanny, and this is my Dad, Ralph.”

“Hi Fanny!  You’re soft.  Can I sit on your lap?  You look pretty, and you smell good, too! Hi Ralph, You look just like the Ralph that didn’t want me playing teddy bear music at Renee’s birthday party.  Fanny, do you want to see my teddy bear video?  Ralph, do you have a computer?  Mommy lets me use her computer A LOT!”

“Sure Manny, right here.  This is my new office.  How do you like it.”

Ralph's remodel003

“It’s beary nice, Ralph.  Can you help me reach the computer.  Mom lets me sit on the keys.”

Manny's Trip to Spain

“Wait a minute!  There’s my mom.  Mom!  What are you doing here in Spain?  I thought you were in California!  Talk to me Mommy!  MOMMY!  I see you Mommy!  Can you hear me?  Can you hear me, Mommy?  Turn this volume up, Ralph.  I don’t think Mommy can hear me.  Can you hear me now?”

Manny's Trip to Spain

“Manny, Manny!”

“Fanny don’t tease Manny.  He misses his mommy.  Go get your teddy bear video.  I’ll put it in for Manny.”


Oh no, what have I gotten myself into?  Maaaaaaarrrshaaaaaaa…!!!

Lots of love,

Ralph xox

So now what’s in store for Manny next?  Ralph sounded a little franticized.  Did Fanny like her present that Manny worked so hard to make?  Has Manny met any Spanish people yet?  Has he really been a good boy?  Will he get in trouble at Ralph’s house?  hmmm?  What do you think?  I guess we will know more next week!

Manny’s text just said,

“Hi Mom,  LOL havng fun.  Fany is cut.  Ralf is nise to.  Luv Manny”

Manny Is Enroute to Spain

Happy July Fourth!  I hope everyone is celebrating our freedom with family and friends.  Manny is one his way out of the country to visit Ralph and Ute, two of my favorite blogging friends.  He is carrying his American flag with him to remember and celebrate the holiday with his British friends.  haha

Don't wake me until I get there.  Whew!  It's hot under these covers!  :)
Don’t wake me until I get there. Whew! It’s hot under these covers! 🙂

It’s 106 and he’s bundled for his flight!  He knows it gets cold in the baggage department!  🙂

Happy Fourth of July!  Bye bye, Mom and Dad.
Happy Fourth of July! Bye bye, Mom and Dad.

From our house to yours, we wish you the best Fourth ever.

Manny Goes to Spain – An Interview with Manny

Many of our readers know Manny as my lovable little bear who travels wherever I go.  Manny has been begging to go see Ute and her teddy bears in England for six months.   Vince and I both agree that Manny is old enough now to travel on his own.  Let’s see how he’s doing.

Mom:  Manny, you are getting to be such a big boy now, we’re going to do an interview for all the readers about your trip.   How are you feeling about flying out on your own to go see Ralph’s bear, Fanny, and Ute’s bear, Danny?

Manny:  Mom, you know I’m sooooooo excited.  I can’t EVEN sleep at night.

Mom:  What have you done to get ready?

Many goes shoppint
Many goes shopping.

Manny:   I had to get my Pawsport, and a suitcase at the Build-A-Bear Store.

Everything is so big
Everything is so big.

Mom:  Is that all you got there?  What was it like at the store?

Manny:  Oh, Mom, I just LOVED the Build-A Bear store!  It was soooooo big!  I got some cool sun glasses.  I’m ready to go to the beach.  Tell Ralph I want to go to the beach in Spain.  I have a new beach ball and a beach bag, too.  Mom, there were so many clothes in the store.  How come I don’t have clothes?

Many picks out a suitcase.
Many picks out a suitcase.

Mom:  They didn’t have any your size, Manny.  Those clothes are for big bears.  Don’t forget your sunscreen!

Manny uses Mom's American Express card for the first time.  Yikes!
Manny uses Mom’s American Express card for the first time. Yikes!

Manny:  Oh yeah, I got some of that, too.  I love my red suitcase, Mom.  And I love my sunglasses.  Have you seen what’s in my suitcase?

Mom:  Tell me.

Manny:  I got a BIG jar of honey!  I have my travel guide, and my Spanish English dictionary.  And dad got me aspirin.  What’s that for, Mom?

Mom:  You may get a little nervous on the plane, so if you do, just ask the flight attendant for some water, and take one aspirin.  I notice you packed your favorite doggie blanket.   Sometimes it gets cold on the plane even though where you are going is nice and warm.  Be careful not to lose it, though, Manny.

Manny:  I’ll be careful with it.  I’ll take it to the beach to sit on.

Mom:  Hmmmm  Hope Ralph has a big washing machine.  What about presents for Fanny and Danny?

Manny:  Silly Mom.  You know I got them presents.  You helped me make them presents.  They are going to love them.

Mom:  Are you going to tell everybody what you made?

Manny:  Nope.  They’ll just have to wait till I show them to Fanny and Danny!

Mom:  Ok then, Manny.  It’s time to get you to bed, so you’ll be ready to go.  Tell everybody good-bye.

Manny:  Bye everyone.  See you in Spain.

All packed ready to go.
All packed ready to go.

Manny and Marsha at the Botanical Gardens in Kauai, HI

The air dripped that day, but not with rain.  The sun burned it into sweat, dripping into my pores.  Manny seemed cool as a cucumber and was his rambunctious fuzzy self.

"Mom, why are you sweating so much?  It's cloudy!  Come on take me out in the garden to play!"
“Mom, why are you sweating so much? It’s cloudy! Come on take me out in the garden to play!”

The palm frond tickled as he slid down its ridged surface.

"Mom, there's sticky stuff on my ...whoaaaaa"
“Mom, there’s sticky stuff on my …whoaaaaa”  You can see in this picture that Manny has had a body lightening treatment at Spa Photoshop.

He couldn’t even look up, he slid so fast.  Must  have been the G force!  🙂

"Wheeeeeeee!  Catch me , Mom"  Too late!
“Wheeeeeeee! Catch me , Mom” Too late!

No sooner had he slid to the ground, than he found a rock to climb.  I was afraid he might get dirty since the palm did have sap on it. As it turned out, I was the only one that got sapped.  It took all my energy to play that day!  🙂  Mostly I just watched at he frolicked.

Ugh!  Help me up, Mom."
Ugh! Help me up, Mom.”  I lightened Manny in Photoshop so that he would stand out, and darkened the rock.   Do you like it?

He was tired by the time he made it to the top.  (Thank goodness!)

"Mom, could I just go back to the car now?"
“Mom, could I just go back to the car now?”

He posed with the women who sold us our $35 walking tour tickets.  Then he told me he wanted to go back to the car and sleep.  That sticky stuff must have been honey, and he ate TOO much!

OK, I'll get down now, please!"
OK, I’ll get down now, please!”

The two ladies weren’t too sure about getting their pictures taken with Manny, but I convinced them it was a good thing.  Manny wasn’t so sure it was.

"Say cheese!  Manny you lok tuckered out."
“Say cheese! Manny you look tuckered out.”  “I am Mom!  I’m sitting up nicely, aren’t I?  I’m sooooo sleepy!”

I walked him back to the car, and by the time I got back it was time to get on the air-conditioned bus for the mile drive down to the garden floor.   Air-conditioning never felt so good.  The trade winds have changed directions, according to the news, and left Kauai in a world of muggy air, bugs, and less rain.

Like a rain forest.  Where's the Bird of Paradise?
Like a rain forest. Where’s the Bird of Paradise?

Manny had a nice rest in the car.  Cindy, Vince, and I enjoyed Driver Bob’s narration for one mile, then we were off to see the garden.

Driver Bob narrated the entire 1 mile drive.  We busily memorized plant names.
Driver Bob narrated the entire 1 mile drive. We busily memorized plant names gazed glassy-eyed out the windows.

We watched the building dedication ceremony, walked back, and made it back in an hour – just in time to get picked up to catch the bus back up the hill.

Two girls read while they waited for the bus.  Everybody's energy was sapped!
Two girls read while they waited for the bus. Everybody’s energy was sapped!

Hope you enjoyed Manny’s and my adventures.  He will be back next Thursday!  🙂

Manny the Sailor

In January Manny went to San Diego with the History Girls from all over California.  Rumor has it that he got himself into some kind of trouble at the San Salvador.  There were all kinds of displays there and the History Girls had a great time trying them out.  But something happened, and Manny found himself ar the end of his rope.

Manny the Sailor BearJust to prove it really happened, here’s the photo – unaltered by human Photoshop.

Manny's in trouble1Oh no!!!

What did I do wrongWhat do you think Manny could have done to deserve THIS???

You haven’t EVER wanted to do that to your little sailor have you?  Even if they asked for it??  What did your sailor do to almost get this same fate???

BTW Manny survived. ( I don’t want Bear Protective Services coming after me!)