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Daddy's Girl

In hopes of writing a fitting, memorable, and at the same time, entertaining tribute to my Dad for Fathers’ Day, I have been scanning my brain and struggling to come up with heartwarming quips and sweet references.   While performing those brain scans, I found myself laughing out loud at some of the memories of my life and relationship with my Dad.   I’m a Daddy’s Girl to be sure, and so is my sister.  My Dad is my hero.  How does one write about her hero?   To me, he was always bigger than life, and that’s not an easy task for which to provide words and imagery with due respect.  But, with much love, devotion and determination, I will attempt just that, a tribute to my Dad.

I may or may not remember my Dad taking me to the movies when I was three years old, and I wouldn’t sit down because I had a sore bump on my butt.  I was embarrassed to tell my Dad, so I just stood there in front of my seat, while Dad patiently and sweetly begged me to please sit down.  I finally screamed something out to the effect of, “I can’t sit down cause I have a big bump on my tooty fruity!”   I don’t know if I really remember it, or if I’ve just heard the story from my Dad for so many years, it seems like I remember it.  Maybe it’s a little of both.  But screaming anything about a tooty fruity in a crowd would make most stepdads run for the hills.   But my sweet Dad hung in there and persevered, through that and many more taxing situations with me.

You see, Dad is not my biological father, and our relationship began when I was three and he married my Mom.  He became ‘Dad’ instantly because he was everything that such a title entailed, and then some.  When I was four years old and my sister was born, lots of attention was paid to her, but Dad managed to make time for me as well.   As we grew up, he never made a difference in us, as my Mom had.  We were both his daughters, not one a daughter and the other a step-daughter.  He was, and still is the kind of Stepfather any child would be lucky to have.

There are memories so particularly “my Dad specific”, meaning I know of no other Dad who has managed such acts of kindness.  I’m sure there are others, but none come to mind.   In my childhood, the memories are spotted with happy family, living in several places, and a home of modest means at best.  We lived in Kansas City for three or so years when I was a kid, and one year there was a blizzard while I was at school.  Dad picked me up, but not in a car.  I can’t remember why, but we had to walk home in the blizzard.  Dad carried me part of the way.  When we got home, Mom had to warm Dad’s hands and feet, and she kept saying something about frostbite.  That’s all I remember about it, but he was my hero that day, and many thereafter.

As I revealed earlier, we didn’t have much money when I was a kid.  My eighth birthday came around and my Dad presented me with the most beautiful purple bicycle.  He had made it himself.  Not bought and put together….but collected parts from various places, including the dump, and refurbished them into the most wonderful bike an eight year old could hope to have.  I was quite the envy of my friends.   Oh, and I didn’t know how to ride a two-wheeler at that point, so Dad had to teach me.  I caught on fast and practically lived on that bike.

Over the years, he continued to be the best Dad, and my hero.  When I was thirteen and going to my first formal dance, he drove me and my date to the dance, and the whole way, warning my date of the dire consequences of him being anything other than a gentleman.    My date was kind of pale by the time we got there, and didn’t lay a hand on me the whole night.  I was a little peeved at my Dad for scaring the poor guy, but I got over it.

There were many more dances, many more pretty dresses and dates, and Dad took pictures and gave warnings with every one, up to and including my first marriage.   He did the same for my sister and we’ll both have him forever in our hearts for caring so much.   When I hear young people complaining how strict their Dads are, I wonder if they have a Dad like mine who loves them so much he can’t bear to see them hurt in any way… he’s a little tough, and a bit strict.  It didn’t kill us and it won’t kill them.

I grew up ok.  Mom had a problem with alcohol and drank most of her life away, and if it hadn’t been for my Dad, I don’t know where me and my sister would be today.  He held us together, kept us from dangers we weren’t even aware of, I’m sure, and told us he loved us every day.

Today when we talk on the phone, that same love comes through.  He’s a southern gentleman, and he calls us ‘Baby’…..still.

“Hi Dad.  Just calling to say hello and I love you.”

“Hi Baby!   How’s my girl doing?  I sure do miss you!  You know your old Dad loves you, don’t you?”

I sure do know Dad.   No doubt in my mind.

My Dad.

My Hero.

Happy Father’s Day my sweet Dad.

You are in my heart.


Dad at Thanksgiving 2010

They used to call me Airman. And sometimes Gomer.

I was looking at old pictures, which is not something I do often. But when I do, it always turns into a sappy blog post.   So get ready, because here we go again.   Did you ever wonder why there’s such a strict age limit on entering the military?    No, it’s not because old folks can’t do combat!  That’s just silly.   Obviously, you haven’t seen Grandpa chasing rabbits with old Duke and his sawed-off  shot-gun.  And, obviously, you haven’t seen Grandma jet-setting all over Europe with her old sorority sisters in their big Red Hats.   Seventy is the new forty, you know!   Or so I’ve been told.   I’m not seventy, quite yet.

So back to my old pictures.

I found one of me in my uniform and sat there admiring my legs.  Gosh I had nice legs.  They’re all lumpy and stubby now.  And my boobs?  They were amazing.  Now?   Lumpy and stubby, and annoying.   Seriously….I hate the extra time it takes to corral them into my bra and make sure they’re both pointing front and center.  It’s not easy.  I get one positioned just right and the other disappears somewhere under my arm pit.  It’s enough to wear me out, and usually does.   I really think we should start out life as an old woman or man, and get younger.  I would appreciate my youth a lot more now than I ever did when I actually had it.

Oh yea, the pictures. 

So I was looking through the pictures and thought it might be fun to share with you what Basic Training in the Air Force at Lackland AFB, Texas was like way back in 1971.   And I will warn you, it is exhausting, so you might want to sit down…..and have a drink.  Stay hydrated.  It’s good for you.

Just another perk of reading my blog…..the healthy advice you get!

On October 22, 1971, I entered the Air Force, was sent to Lackland AFB, Texas, and was the youngest woman in my flight.  I was also the fastest runner in my flight, which really proved nothing because there were no races.  It was all about the marching.   I was also the only Southerner in my flight.  Everyone else was from New York City.  True Story.  My fellow Airmen (yes we were called Airmen) called me “Gomer”.  (Gomer Pyle, get it?  Southern accent?  Gomer had one. God I’m old).

For those of you non-Air Force types who are wondering what a flight is….it is like a platoon.  And for you non-Army types who don’t know what a platoon is…it’s like a group of 70 or so people, in this case all women, all marching together, showering together, exercising together, eating together, cleaning together, sleeping together (and not in a fun way) for 6 weeks of Basic Training hell.

We got up at 5 am, learned how to get showered and dressed in 20 minutes and in-formation outside by 5:30 am.    Then we’d march to the chow hall for breakfast.   Then we’d march back to the barracks and change into our PT clothes and get back into formation.  Then we would march to the workout field where we would do lots of working out, followed by lots of running laps.  After that… guessed it….we’d get back in formation and march somewhere else.  Usually it would be to the academic building for military studies classes, but sometimes we’d have to march to the clinic for shots.   And then there were the times we would march just to practice marching.

Lunch time came, and of course, we marched back to the chow hall for lunch.   After lunch, we might have training or cleaning detail back at the barracks.  And how’d we get there?  Anyone?  Anyone?    Yes We Marched!   In the course of six weeks, I managed to wear out my tennis shoes and a hole in the side of my low-quarters leather (frumpy black clodhopper) shoes.   I marched my butt off.  We even had to march to church on Sunday.  First of all, I didn’t want to go to church on Sunday because I wanted to sleep in.  My cranky old Sergeant would have none of that, though.  We marched our butts to church.

We did manage to turn it into a “flirting” opportunity, however, as the men also had to march to church.  So we primped extra nicely before leaving the barracks.  There was some mega bra-stuffing and skirt-hiking, as I recall, but the Sergeant was one step ahead of us and confiscated all contraband prior to entering the Lord’s house.  We were a bunch of heathens for sure.   Well, they were.  I already had big boobs and really couldn’t leave them behind.

And so life went on at Basic Training for six long weeks.  Upon graduation day, we had to march (of course!)  in a big parade and salute the General.   The only difference was we had our Dress Blues uniforms on and we were strutting our stuff.   It was a proud day.  I don’t think anyone who has ever been through Basic Training would disagree that the last day was filled with Pride.


In a small way, this was my little tribute to our men and women serving their country and keeping us safe.   Sherri’s son just finished Marine Boot Camp and Mama is so proud!  I don’t blame her.  That’s her boy.  I get it.  Amanda’s brother, served in Afghanistan and now in California, is dealing with medical issues, and consequently, so is his family.   Keep these people in your thoughts, along with all of our service men and women, as they serve their country.    Our country.  

Sometimes it's the little things

I saw a tiny kitten today, cowering up against the wall behind the bike rack at the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.   She was frightened and shivering, although the temperature was well over 90 degrees.  At first, I walked on past her, as did everyone else, to get on with my shopping.  But as I started to grab a cart, a little boy around 4 or 5 years old darted in front of me and made a beeline for the kitten.  It was love at first sight, for the little boy.  The kitten, not so much.

Of course, I had to watch the exchange of the child’s bliss and the kitten’s pure terror as the boy picked up the kitten and babbled on and on to it as if he knew kitten language.  The kitten was hissing and ended up scratching the boy, rather severely I believe, as he dropped the kitten and began crying.  The boy’s Mom was nearby and immediately consoled him and checked his scratches.  The boy was sobbing and had no more interest in the kitten.

As they walked off towards the entry door, I looked down at the poor little kitten that was again shaking and scared.   I couldn’t take her home for several reasons, but I almost did.  I had her in my arms and was trying to think of what to do, when the kitten stopped shaking and lay peacefully in my arms.  It touched my heart so much; I can’t even find the words.  I don’t know why my heart ached for this little kitten, but it did and I couldn’t just leave her there.

The little kitten, to me, represented a life.   A life full of need.   She didn’t ask to be born and most certainly didn’t ask to be abandoned outside a store.  I was not going to feed into that crime by leaving her to burn up in the unrelenting Nevada sun.

As I was trying to figure out what to do, the Mom and little boy exited the store.  The little boy had obviously completely forgotten his scratches and ran over to me with a special excitement that only shines in small children.  The wonder and the innocence of the little boy and the little kitten moved me, and I felt warmth I haven’t felt in a very long time.

The Mom said if I didn’t want the kitten, they would take her and give her a home.  There it was!  That human spirit!  The kindness that is present in so many of us.   The kindness you don’t hear about on the news because they don’t have time left after reporting all the bad happenings in the world today.    But there is goodness in the world and I saw it in that Mom, that beautiful little boy, and most of all, in that frightened little kitten.

I handed over the kitten and went about my shopping….with a peacefulness coming from deep inside my core.  What a beautiful day!   No meditation, yoga or massage required.

RePost of Remembering

Today I am very busy working on my Final Exam for school, but wanted to RePost some fiction I wrote back in January.   It is one of my favorite pieces, and not everyone has seen it yet.  I hope you enjoy!


Stacy sat on the edge of the dock looking down into the water and wondered what was on the bottom of the lake under all that water?   She’d never thought about that before, but there must be something down there.  Did they bury anybody down there?  She knew it was supposed to be dirt at the very bottom so maybe somebody was buried there.  Her grandmother was buried in the dirt.  She’d saw them put her there.  A bunch of men all lowered her into the ground after the preacher and other people left.  That was this morning.  Stacy was sad, and she remembered her Mom crying and crying.  She wanted to help her Mom feel better, but no matter what she said her Mom just kept crying.

With the sun setting behind the big trees and the air becoming noticeably chilly, Stacy remained on the dock. Twirling the ends of her hair with one hand and throwing tiny leaves into the water with the other,  her thoughts drifted to the first day of school when Grandma walked her to the corner to catch the school bus.   Stacy and Grandma had always looked for pretty leaves and tucked them away in their pockets any time they found a unique one.   They had some really cool leaves gathered up by the time the bus came.  She thought Grandma had always been fun and even when she got too sick to go outside with Stacy, she still played Go Fish and games on the computer with her.  Grandma liked playing with Stacy’s Nintendo DS.  She always said, “Mario is not going to get the best of this old woman!”   Grandma was so funny.   Stacy wiped tears from her face and wondered why she couldn’t seem to stop crying, either.

Stacy made her way back up to the main house, where there were still lots of people and several cars in the driveway.  She was hungry but didn’t want all those people hugging her and pinching her cheeks and telling her how pretty she was.  Usually she liked that kind of stuff, but not today.  She didn’t want to share the day with others.  She wanted to think about Grandma as hard as she could because she was so afraid she was going to forget her.  She had overheard her Dad telling her Mom that the sad memories would fade with time and everyone would be ok.  Stacy didn’t really know what her Dad meant by that but she knew she didn’t want to forget Grandma, ever.

She walked around the side of the house and then entered through the back door into the kitchen.  Her Aunt Elaine was busy preparing snacks and drinks for the guests, but managed a smile for Stacy when she came in.  Elaine poured Stacy a glass of milk and laid out some cookies for her on the counter, and said, “Sit down here.  Let’s talk.”   Stacy sat down and enjoyed her cookie, thinking about how she and Grandma had shared cookies and milk at this very counter just days before.  She liked Aunt Elaine, too.  Elaine pulled her chair in close to Stacy, stroked her hair and talked to her gently, as if she knew the sadness in Stacy’s heart had spread to her stomach and all over.  Stacy’s tears came again and she began sobbing without any control.  She had tried to be a big girl, because she’d promised Mom, but she was only ten years old, and just couldn’t be big all the time.  Aunt Elaine’s arms opened and took her in for a big hug, and Stacy felt safe and just wanted to stay right there.   After a little while, Stacy fell asleep in Elaine’s arms, and Elaine carried her to her room and put her to bed.  The child had a very hard day, Elaine thought, a day no one should have to shoulder at such a young age.

Stacy dreamed of her Grandmother that night.  She was helping her hang sheets on the clothes line in the back yard.  Grandma always said the sheets smelled so much fresher when hung to dry outside in the breeze.

The End


Shirt Lifter

This, my first week at my new job, has been a whirlwind of emotion, insomnia and the realization that 5 am really does exist (and it really should not!...exist….really).   Twenty One months is a long time to have one’s alarm clock in the ‘off’ position.  I have, in fact, also been stuck in the ‘off’ position, and have become quite comfortable with that status. Until now.  In just one short week, I’ve managed to get up, shower, wash and style my hair, apply makeup, dress and accessorize  (SO very important!), have breakfast, pack my lunch and get out that door by 6:25 am.   People, this is a monumental accomplishment for someone who previously didn’t open her eyes before 7 am, and then only if necessary.

And so, in order to paint a clearer picture of this phenomenon, compare my tired old body to that of an old classic car  (The Model T Ford will do)  thrown right smack in the middle of a Nascar race.  Yea, the old girl is tired, but she keeps on that gas pedal and makes those hairpin turns with an ease and class that can only come from a respected, well-oiled and solidly built machine.   And she may not win the race, but what the hell, she was there for the ride……and it felt good.

Yes, going back to work did feel good, even though I’m the oldest person in my training class by at least 10 years, and I won’t be boss like I’m used to being, and I seriously do hate rising at 5 am.  What felt good was being among people again, and realizing that I can hold my own with the young folks and some of them seem to like me quite a lot.  I’m a cut-up just like online, but only when it’s appropriate.

What I have missed terribly, is writing.   I miss the blog posts and reading your posts.  Oh I get to some, but not nearly as many as before.  I realize my schedule has to change somewhat, but I don’t want to lose the friendships I’ve made by writing my blog.   So that’s why I’m sitting here writing instead of studying or getting to bed.  I just needed to connect with you all again.  I feel good here.  I feel secure and welcome and if it hadn’t been for this blog and my readers/bloggy friends, the past year would have been very tough.   So thank you for continuing to visit.

So what did I learn today?   Well, you didn’t ask, but you should have because you wouldn’t believe what I actually learned.   During our down-time, I learned that my prison bitch name is “Shirt Lifter”.   I couldn’t very well disagree, I suppose, as that sounds like me.  Yep, that’s what we did today, checked out the Prison Bitch Name Generator Website.   It’s a little naughty, but really made for some fun laughs in class.  Check it out and let me know what Your prison bitch name is.  I’m waiting…….

So tomorrow is Friday.  I can say TGIF and actually mean it for a change.  I hope your Friday is Freaking Fantastic.    Hugs all around from Terri Shirt Lifter Sonoda.


Guest Karla Telega Funny's Up My Blog

I enjoyed having a guest blogger so much last week, I decided to have another one.  So much easier than writing the stuff myself!  Seriously, you know I love you all but it’s my first week back to work, so my bloggy friends are helping me out.

The lovely and talented Karla Telega, a writer/humorist that has one of the funniest blogs around, is my Guest Blogger, and I hope she knows how much I appreciate her taking time to help a working girl out.

 I know you will enjoy Karla’s brand of fun and frolicking.    If you haven’t already visited her blog, Telega Tales and Tart Cookies, please do.   You’ll go back again and again. 

 Here’s  Karla!!!!


I'm Only Human

There’s a children’s book called Everyone Poops. We had no such book when I was a child. We had code names for bodily functions, like number one and number two. This was so that the commies (during the cold war) wouldn’t know whether we were tinkling or pooping. Mom thought that if you used the words piss, crap, or fart, civilization as we know it would come to an end.

 It was very rare back then for people to have more than one bathroom, so timing was everything. If I said “gotta go” it didn’t mean “Look at the time. I really should be heading home now.” It meant that there would be dire consequences if I didn’t get to the bathroom in the next nano-second.

 Passing gas on a road trip was an occasion for silently rolling down the window. Not anymore. Now we talk freely about making wind. True, we blame it on the dog, but we don’t just pretend not to notice. I once went with my son to look for a compressor. I defiled the most hallowed department of Sears, and he moaned that he would never be able to show his face in the hardware section again. Now when I want to push his buttons, I just suggest that we go shop for a hammer.

 I’m at the age where my doctor wants me to get regular colonoscopies. First, the stuff they give you to clean you out is an adventure in itself. But when the doctor asked if I wanted to see the pictures, I told him, “No, thanks. I’ll wait for the 3D version.” And you know there’s some idiot out there who will post his colonoscopy on You Tube.

 I’m actually glad that society is becoming more enlightened about bodily functions. As my GI tract gets older, bodily functions are becoming increasingly inevitable. Every time a man buys tampons for his sweetie, I want to give him an attaboy. When a woman gives a very unladylike belch, I know that etiquette is evolving nicely. Okay, emissions in elevators are still a taboo, but I have hope for the future.

 It will be a sad day for humorists when there is no longer anything remotely funny about potty humor, but I can live with that. Besides, the dog is getting tired of taking the heat.

(The picture is from Amazon.)


Writer's Etiquette by Alexander

Alexander M Zoltai  from Notes From an Alien has graciously consented to sharing his writerly wisdom as my guest blogger.   Please make him welcome by leaving some comments and make sure to check out his Blog which is informative, thought-provoking and always interesting. 

I think you will enjoy his uniquely well-read perspective as I have and will want to return again and again.  Welcome to Terri's Little Corner, Alex, and thank you so much for being my guest!

You can also download a free copy of his new book, Notes From an Alien.   Such a deal!  Without further ado, I give you Alexander:


When Terri asked me to Guest Post, she offered me a choice of topics and I chose "Writer's Etiquette" because I'd never purposefully thought about it.

 So, let's explore the concept...

 Since etiquette means, "Rules governing socially acceptable behavior", we'd first have to decide what constitutes the social part of a writer's life.

 Most writers spend vast amounts of time alone out of necessity. Many have social lives that let them relax from the demands of writing. So, what activity would qualify as a writer's earnest social time?

 I hope you'll put your ideas in the comments; but, one I can offer is the time writers spend getting to know people in their attempt to build what is usually called an audience or platform.

 The reigning rational model for promotion is "Relationship Marketing". And, relationship marketing that's done dishonestly, by faking the relationship part, can be smelled miles away...

 So, we've got at least one social milieu for a writer where some form of etiquette may be appropriate. Yet, "etiquette" implies socially "acceptable" behavior.

 What's acceptable?

 I think it depends on the type of audience or platform the writer is developing. If they're writing vampire novels, acceptable behavior could be distinctly different from the behavior necessary for a science fiction writer.

 In fact, I think most of the etiquette that could be acceptable in various writing arenas depends on at least three factors: the writer themselves, the genre or theme of the writing, and the potential readership.

 Matter of fact, if you put writer's + etiquette into Google, you won't find much appropriate material dealing with the etiquette of relationship marketing.

 What you will find is a lot of information on what publishers and agents consider acceptable behavior. Thing is though, I can't really feel like I'm being "social" when dealing with agents and publishers...

 OK, that's my first ever attempt at writing about writer's etiquette. How did I do??



Freaking Out Friday

When I woke up this morning, I did my usual Friday morning things.  Bathroom, coffee, computer, kissed honey goodbye, AND THEN I FREAKED OUT.   I realized this is my last Friday of freedom.  Beginning Monday, June 6th, I will again be a part of the work-force.  Fridays will have a new meaning to me after some 21 months of unemployment.  “TGIF” will be significant for me, once again.   So now the question is…should I be celebrating or mourning?

I should celebrate (along with my creditors) because, financially, things will be easier.  However, I mourn because 40 hours of my personal freedom per week will no longer exist.   Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited to have a job, finally, after all those job applications, interviews, letters and emails of rejection and dry cleaning bills.   I have a job!   It doesn’t pay a whole lot, certainly nothing near what I was accustomed to, but it pays ok and has benefits and actually sounds interesting.    And, I will be among people, not just four walls.   I guess I’ll have to keep certain noises at bay now, such as talking to myself, singing out loud, and those unmentionable bodily noises that I won’t mention…..hence the unmentionable reference.   But I digress.   (Don’t you hate it when people write that?  I do.  And then I write it anyway.  Don’t judge.)

So my next question is, WHAT am I going to wear?   I’ll be in training at first, and the dress code is ‘business casual’.  Only problem for me is, I have ‘business wear’  (not casual)  and I have ‘Casual”  (definitely not business).  Quandary.  I can’t even mix and match because, quite frankly,  I wasn’t privy to the fashionista gene, thus I have no idea what works.   Mostly, I go for what fits.   I’ll figure it out, though. And even if I don’t look stellar on my first day, everyone (and I mean Everyone)  will LOVE my purse.  I know my handbags.  As you probably know if you’ve read me for long, I would trample a room full of 90 year olds to get to that one special handbag in Kohl’s.  I just roll that way.

So what do you think about Dockers khaki slacks, my Denver Broncos John Elway signature jersey, my black penny loafers and my Vera Wang sexy purple bag?    Steaming HOT, huh?

Hells yeah, bring on the water cooler and the donuts…..hide your staplers and your cute secretaries.


Terri’s heading back to work!


(Images from Google Images)