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Archive for the ‘driving’ Category

It’s been a busy week and I’ve been lax in getting my blog ready to post. I’ve been steadily forging through a jungle of edits on my manuscript and am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

jungle

So, in lieu of actually writing something witty and clever this week, I’ve decided to take the easy way out.

For those of you thinking of visiting the Baer House, I hope this virtual tour sways you to actually book a room. For those of you who can’t visit for awhile, enjoy this virtual tour for now, to whet your appetite for good things to come later.

For those of you who never plan on coming to Vicksburg ever, here’s what you’re missing.

Enjoy!

Shop Main Street video

I’m curious to know where you all spent your spring break, Easter, etc. Leave me a comment so I can be jealous.

Until next week, stay safe and be happy.

Word of the day: Facies

Fun fact about me: I have never ever used my words of the day in a sentence.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, March 2016. Video by LLC ShopMainStreets.com/MainStreetTrail.com

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raining on porch

Does anybody remember that Eddie Rabbitt song? As I compose this post I’m listening to the pitter patter of raindrops on my front porch. Well, actually, it’s more like a torrential downpour, but pitter patter of raindrops is so much more poetic.

I’m usually not a fan of rain, but I realize that it’s a necessary part of life. I’m especially fond of rain when it blows in in the dead of night and by morning has moved on. The world is sparkling with raindrops and everything is fresh and new under the sun’s warmth. That’s when I really like rain.

But days like today don’t bother me so much. Yeah, it’s raining, but I’m inside where it’s dry and warm so let it rain.

lightning

However, I am not a fan of thunder and lightning – by day or by night. I see a lot of cool pictures of lighting doing its thing in a cloud-drenched sky and I think, “wow.” But to witness it first-hand, noooottt so much. Especially if I’m driving. I have a tendency to close my eyes when lightning flashes. Not good if you’re behind the wheel.

And my poor dog shivers something awful when thunder shakes the house. Yeah, he’s a wimp. I feel bad for him when he cowers at my feet shivering like a dead leaf on a tree branch. He won’t even be coaxed into having a treat during those times of terror. Poor, poor, dog. (What can I say? He’s my fur baby and I love him.)

dog under covers

How about your readers? Do you love a rainy night? Do you like thunder storms? Do you have a fraidy-cat pet? Inquiring minds want to know.

Word of the Day: Abaca

Fun fact about me: Unless I’m swimming or showering, I don’t like to be wet.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, February 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images.

 

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Photo courtesy of Google Images

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Last week I posted about some fabulous new furniture we’ve acquired here at the Baer House Inn. Well folks, all of this buying and selling does not happen with the help of magic fairies who come in and transform your house overnight. Oh, how I wish it did.

Everything we’ve acquire recently is old and therefore heavy. Not just heavy, but unusually heavy. A dining room table that weighs about 800 pounds. A huntboard that disassembles into 4 pieces, each pedestal weighing about 200 pounds; the top, one solid piece of finely crafted hardwood, weighing about 400 pounds and the fence about 200 pounds.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

This is the good stuff people, the solid, built to last, good stuff.

So, we bought this amazing 450 year old table and chairs at an on-line auction. No problem. Yay us. But wait – we have to pick the stuff up. An 800 pound table with 8 leaves and 14 solidly build, solid walnut chairs.

We have a 2013 Subaru Impreza sedan. How’s this going to work? Lots of trips? Hardly. Meridian is two and a half hours from Vicksburg on a good day with no traffic. Hmmmm.

And did I mention we purchased this out-of-this-world huntboard that came off of a ship – an honest-to-goodness sailing ship on the high seas? It was built in the 1750’s. From solid hard wood. With pegs and carved out tongue and groove construction. And heavy sold metal hinges. (It’s a wonder those ships didn’t sink.)

Did I mention that we have a 2013 Subaru Impreza sedan? How’s this going to work? Luggage rack? I don’t think so.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

You see – it’s a trucking problem. We don’t have a truck. We used to have a truck, but we sold it because gasoline in California was over $5.00 a gallon at one point and we drove that truck alot. It was over $100 to fill that beast up and we filled up at least once a week or more. We couldn’t afford the truck. Well guess what? Now we need that truck. And, even more ironically, gasoline here is under $2.00 a gallon. And, to add insult to injury, everything we need to haul is relatively close to our house so we’d probably only need to fill up once a month if that.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Oh Mr. Murphy – damn you and your stupid “laws.” Guess we’ll be getting a truck soon. Subaru, it’s been nice knowing you.

What ironies have befallen you lately dear readers? Do you find yourself needing something you’ve gotten rid of? How often do you use a truck?

Word of the Day: Filial

Fun fact about me: I actually like driving trucks, although parking can be a challenge.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, September 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

 

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So I’m adapting to southern life relatively well. I now have my Mississippi driver’s license and license plate for the car, so I guess it’s official, I am a resident of Mississippi, Warren County to be exact.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

But, what I’m still not used to, are certain words associated with things here in Vicksburg. Stuff ain’t called the right stuff here. For instance, in California I used to go to the grocery store; here, everyone goes to the market. Okay, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to still call it the grocery store.

And then when I get to the grocery store market, I pick up one of those things to put my stuff in, you know, a grocery/shopping cart? Not here in Mississippi. Here you pick up a buggy. I know. What? Buggy? While I was checking out and unloading my – cart – the young man bagging stuff at the other end of the conveyor belt asked me for my buggy. I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. After I figured out what he wanted, I corrected him – politely – advising that from now on he should call it a cart, otherwise I’d have no idea what he was referring to. I’m sure he’ll listen to my prudent advice.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

And here, no matter what kind of soda, or pop as they say in the mid-west, you order, it’s called coke. So if you want a Sprite, or a 7-Up, you order a 7-Up flavored Coke. You order a Coke and then let the wait person ask you what kind of Coke you want. How strange is that? I ordered a Coke with my lunch one day and she asked me what kind of Coke I wanted. Really? What kind of Coke? “I’ll have the coke flavored Coke please.” Weird.

Maybe calling all soda Coke is required here since Vicksburg is the very first place to bottle the fizzy beverage. Who knows. Just be careful what you order when you come visit.

All in all, Mississippi is treating me well. I’m loving it here and meeting some awesome people. Everyone wants to be my friend, everyone wants to take me to lunch, everyone wants to offer assistance. It’s so not like California in that regard. No egos here. No heads in cell phones. Just friendly smiles, waves, and people who truly want to be nice to me. What a refreshing change.

I say, come on out for a visit. I’m ready and waiting to feed you well and tell you some pretty cool stories about this old house and the crazy lady who owned it. Leona Baer – what a woman!

What strange words or phrases have you come across in your travels outside your hometown? Anything I need to know about the south before I fall into another faux paus? (Buggy. Whatever.) Please help a girl out here.

Word of the Day: Zoic

Fun fact about me: I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say “ya’ll.” It just ain’t right ya’ll.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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Tom Bodett may not have left the light on for us, but we sure did spend a lot of nights at Motel 6’s. Well, not a lot really, 5 to be exact. And I can vouch that they are truly no frills all the way. Not a single picture adorns any wall. No cupboards, no closets, no clocks.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

However, they are almost everywhere, especially along the interstates and they are cheap. And, most importantly for us, as we traveled across country, they allow pets to stay for free.

You’d think with a chain of cheap hotels, you’d pretty much get the same thing at every location. Not so my friends. Not so. Some are nicer than others, some have 2 beds, some 1, some have 2 sinks, some 1, some have a tub/shower combo some just have the shower. But one thing is consistent, you always get exactly 2 slivers of thinly wrapped white soap and 2 white bath towels. If you’re lucky, you’ll get hand towels and on a rare occasion, maybe a wash cloth. In most instances you’ll get a very small ice bucket and 2 plastic cups. Why in God’s name they give you an ice bucket is beyond me, especially one the size of a thimble, because you’ll never be able to find an ice machine.

Air conditioning is usually advertised and there are noisy contraptions in the rooms that spit out luke warm air, but I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call them air cooling systems. I guess that’s how they cut down on the cost of bed linens; keep the room so hot nobody will want to cover up.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Some of these establishments have what appeared to be swimming pools, but even Louisiana bayou gators would have shyed away from a couple of the ones where we stayed. (See me shiver.)

And here’s something else I can almost guarantee, if you stay at a Motel 6, you will be within walking distance of a Denny’s restaurant.

All in all, we had clean rooms that served their purpose, with super easy on/off interstate access. And each morning we had a clever wake-up call from Tom Bodett himself. No other chain hotel can lay claim to that sweet perk.

And, so, after 5 long days on the road, and 5 weird nights at Motel 6’s, we arrived at our destination. Hot, tired, grouchy and willing to practically cut off an arm to get out of the car.

Photo courtesy P. Rickrode

Photo courtesy P. Rickrode

What’s your favorite chain hotel? Ever stay at a Motel 6? Have a great hotel/motel story? I’d love to hear it.

Word of the day: Waggery

Fun fact about me: I like to drive. (But, I won’t be taking any long distance trips any time soon.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2015. Photos courtesy P. Rickrode and Google Images.

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

So we’re getting ready to hit the road; going to caravan about 2,100 miles with a 26′ U-Haul truck, towing a car, following another car, with a 75-year-old man who loves to nap and a 70 pound, 11-year-old Labrador Retriever, across the Mojave Desert, Arizona and Northern Texas during July. What could possibly go wrong?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, moving is a hassle. And I’m not just talking about the packing part, I’m talking about every single thing you have to remember to do. Like turning off all utilities, forwarding mail, remembering what gets auto deposited or debited into or out of a bank account that you’ve now closed. Stuff like that. Pain in the ass.

But with moving, comes excitement and anticipation of starting out new and fresh somewhere else. Finding new homes for your things, learning new routines, exploring new places. Fun, fun, fun.

Sad to leave friends I’ve had for 45 years and the town I grew up in and know like the back of my hand, but happy to discover new friends and new places.

Here’s a list I’ve compiled (in no particular order) of things that I am in NO way going to miss:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

1 – the 45-minute commute to work;

2 – the 45-minute drive home from work;

3 – wearing business professional clothes, heels and up-do’s every single day;

4 – being someone else’s employee;

5 – rationing water;

6 – the fear of a forest fire burning down my house;

7 – exorbitant taxes;

8 – extremist political leaders;

9 – everyone thinking you live in Hollywood or near the beach just because you live in California;

10 – everyone thinking you’re wealthy just because you live in California.

11 – not having to bring my own grocery bags to the store;

12 – the penchant to litigate everything.

Things I’m definitely GOING TO miss:

1 – Too many friends to mention by name;

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

2 – Disneyland;

3 – the weather;

4 – my local chapter of Romance Writers of America;

5 – my nieces and nephews;

6 – the ocean;

7 – Lake Tahoe;

8 – knowing all of the short-cuts and secret passages around town;

9 – being just 45 minutes from awesome snow skiing;

10 – some of the best wine in the entire world;

11 – The Olde Town Grill;

12 – my zumba class.

Tell me loyal subjects – uh, I mean followers, what would you miss most about your home town? What special “secret” things do you cherish about where you live? Would you travel across the desert in the heart of summer?

Word of the Day: Uncinate

Fun fact about me: I’m a planner; down to the smallest details. Yet, I love being spontaneous. Go figure.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, July 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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M, dotted letter, crooked letter, crooked letter, dotted letter, crooked letter, crooked letter, dotted letter, hump back, hump back, dotted letter.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned in my blog that I’d hidden a clue in the post regarding my new home. The clue was this picture:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

The Magnolia State, home of the Rebels and the Bulldogs, birthplace of Elvis Aaron Presley (Tupelo, January 8, 1935), famous for the Natchez Trace and the Great River Road (Blues Highway), former home of Jefferson Davis, first and only president of the Southern Confederate States during the War Between the States (who, incidentally, despised war).

Photo courtesy Google Images

Beauvoir – Jefferson Davis’s home. Photo courtesy Google Images

 

 

Why Mississippi you ask? Because my friends, after we decided that owing a bed & breakfast held a certain appeal to us, we started researching and Mississippi proved to be the state that afforded us the most bang for our buck. We visited, explored, researched some more, and voila, we found the perfect place. Contracts were signed, paperwork flew across the internet, deals were made, and now it’s about to happen. Just a couple more weeks and it’ll be official – I’ll be a resident of Mississippi!

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

In the meantime, while you’re all planning your trips to visit me (you are right?), here are 10 lesser known yet fun facts about Mississippi:

1 – It is approximately 725 miles from Disney World;

2 – It is approximately 1,780 miles from Disneyland;

3 – Shoes were first offered in boxed pairs (1 left, 1 right) around 1884 at Phil Gilbert’s Shoe Parlor on Washington Street in Vicksburg;

4 – It is the home of the International Hall of Checkers and the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum;

5 – The Vicksburg National Cemetery is the second largest in the country, the first being Arlington;

6 – The world’s largest pecan nursery is located in Mississippi;

7 – Vicksburg is home to the world’s largest hydraulic research laboratory and is operated by the US Army Corp of Engineers;

8 – John B. Stetson, honed the craft of hat-making at Dunn’s Falls, near Meridian, after the Civil War, forever changing the look of western headgear.

9 – S.B. Sam Vick, of Batesville, was the only man to ever pinch hit for Babe Ruth. He played for both the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

10 – Most importantly, it is where you’ll find the Baer House Inn, circa 1870, my new home! (Almost.)

Photo courtesy Baer House Inn

Photo courtesy Baer House Inn

I hope you’ll all come and visit (but not all at the same time because I don’t have that much room) and enjoy some Southern hospitality and home cooked vittles.

Question: What is your favorite Southern dish? Ever been to Mississippi? Got a cool Mississippi fun fact? If you stay overnight, what would you like to eat for breakfast?

Word of the Day:  Taboret

Fun Fact About Me: I’ve only been to Mississippi twice. And no, that awesome car does not come with the house. (Dang it!)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, June 2015. Photos courtesy Baer House Inn and Google Images

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

The road less traveled. The high road. The long and winding road. There are all kinds of roads that we must all travel in our lives. Sometimes we cruise on along, smooth sailing with nary a bump or a curve. Other times we chug up steep hills, or brake down endlessly long inclines, or creep around hairpin turns. No matter the situation, we keep moving. Sometimes we charge ahead full speed, other times we slow down and enjoy the drive. But we always keep moving.

As children we move along these roads hitched to our parents or care-givers, following where they go. As we get older, we are allowed to drive ourselves and make our own decisions with regard to where we will go, which roads we take, and how quickly we move along. But move along we do. Always moving.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Along the highways of life are forks, splits, junctions, places where we must make decisions about our destinations and destiny. Exhilaration courses through us as we weigh the pros and cons of which path to continue down. Sometimes the choice seems easy, especially if we’re not inclined to exert the energy necessary to climb, then we descend.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Sometimes the choice is made for us and we must deal with whatever awaits around the bend. Sometimes pleasant surprises await us, other times, perhaps not. It makes no difference what we encounter so long as we keep moving. We can go around the obstacle, we can climb over the obstacle, we can try to move the obstacle, but we keep doing something to get us farther down the path. Every destination, the end of every path, has a new opportunity waiting.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Not too long ago I came to a fork in my road. I weighed my options and made my decision. I would take the high road, the steep narrow one that would ultimately test my endurance, but certainly offered an abundance of rewards at the end. I prepared for my journey and planned my course, determined to set out fully prepared to conquer whatever awaited me along the path. But then I hit a roadblock. A big one. One that seems insurmountable at times. I’m spinning my wheels. Should I turn around and try the other road? That seems silly since I’ve come so far down this one already and I’m super excited about where I’ll end up. But maybe there are no obstacles on the other road. Both roads lead somewhere. Both roads offer unexplored opportunities waiting to be discovered.

So here I sit, not moving. Not going forward or backward, just staring at the obstacle in the road. I’m stumped. I’ve tried various ways to triumph over the roadblock, but I have been unsuccessful.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I’m not one to give up, but when is it time to concede and either forge a new path or turn around and try another way? I don’t know. I’m still sitting here pondering.

Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

What do you do readers when things don’t go quite as planned? When you made a decision only to find it may not have been the best decision? How do you get around roadblocks?

Word of the Day:  Quassia

Fun Fact About Me:  I play a mean tambourine.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, June 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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The menopause saga continues folks and let me tell you, it gets weirder and weirder. I have to laugh, because my only other choice is to cry myself into a padded room. And let me start by saying that men definitely got off easier (again) on the whole aging thing. I mean, at mid-life they just buy an expensive sports car and – bam – they’re over it and move on into their golden years.

Women however, we experience mid-life differently. Most get the “usual” physical symptoms, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, bulging bellies. But not me my friends. No sirree, not me, although my belly does bulge a little. I have all of the “other” symptoms. I ones you never hear about.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Let me explain. For awhile now I’ve been experiencing some strange little things in my body. Things like a sore thumb one day, a sore wrist the next three, creaking knees the following week. No injury, no apparent reason for the pain. And, sometimes while I’m driving, my fingers go numb; my feet often “go to sleep” when I’m watching TV. I’ve also been having extreme vision issues, issues not correctable (or explainable) by my eye doctor. I wear a different bi-focal contact lens in each eye and I still have to wear glasses sometimes. And then there’s days when I just can’t seem to see at all, my vision is so blurry. And my eyes hurt. They feel dry and gritty and they twitch. A lot. But then at night, when I lay down to try to sleep, they water like crazy, soaking my pillow on both sides of my head. What the heck? What is this madness?

Where am I going with this? I’ll tell you. I did some research on WebMD.com for dry eyes and joint pain. Both list possible causes for the ailment and potential remedies. But way down on the list for each problem I found that these conditions may be the result of menopause. Say what? Dry eyes and joint pain are menopause symptoms?

Apparently so. And this created a burning need to research menopause a little deeper, leading me to a long list of “unusual” symptoms of menopause. Holy cow! I have more than half of those “unusual” symptoms. And what’s even funnier are the suggested homeopathic treatments for the symptoms.

Here’s an abbreviated list of lesser known menopause symptoms: loss of bladder control, extreme fatigue, inability to concentrate, tingling extremities, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, weight gain, hair loss, brittle nails, and bloating.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Here’s a partial list of cures: drink lots of water, exercise, get lots of rest.

Okie dokie. Let’s just back the apple cart up a little bit here shall we?

My symptom is loss of bladder control and you tell me to “drink lots of water?” Really? How is this helpful? I cannot sleep more than two hours at night and you’re telling me that the cure is to “get lots of rest?” Well duh. And wouldn’t that be nice? And you say that more exercise will cure the weight retention and bloating issues? Yeah, maybe under normal conditions, but, I am so freaking tired there is no way in hell I’m going to exercise more.  I can barely get through one 1-hour zumba class a week. Most of my exercise these days consists of getting up from my two-hour nap each night.

And I might experience anxiety. You think? I’m pretty sure that getting only two hours of sleep each night might make me a little — how shall I say this — tense. Not to mention my hair is thinning at an alarming rate. And my heartbeat is so irregular I think I’m having a heart attack and in fact, consider waking my husband up to have him drive me to the emergency room. I’m pretty sure, this symptom would make anyone anxious.

This article is really funny.

I little farther down on this ever-so-helpful site I read that menopause can last anywhere from twelve months to twelve years. ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME? Twelve freaking years?!? Nothing anxious about that. Can’t I just buy a Corvette and be rid of it?

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

But here is the kicker my friends; the suggestion that makes me laugh the hardest and longest. The article recommends avoiding alcohol. Seriously? I have 52 things wrong with me and if I drink enough water and get enough exercise and rest in twelve years they MAY go away. But, in those twelve years I’m not to have a drink? Like that’s really going to happen. If there is one thing I really, truly NEED at this very moment in my life, it is alcohol. Please dear God, let me never be out of alcohol. (Unless you bring me a Corvette, then I might reconsider.)

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

So, I know it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but seriously, if you read about your symptoms on the web, you may be enlightened. Or mislead. Or entertained. I was definitely entertained at the end of my on-line research. However, I am a little less worried about all of the little crazy symptoms I’m having. There’s light at the end of the twelve-year tunnel that they may go away. Seems I’m not having a heart attack, I’m simply anxious. And I’m definitely going to try staying up all night exercising and drinking water since, Lord knows, I certainly won’t be sleeping.

So (everybody raise your glass), here’s to aging, hair loss, peeing your pants, being awake all night, slightly overweight, anxious and blurry-eyed. I thank the good Lord every single day that I am generally healthy, happy, mobile, employed, and do not have some horrible debilitating disease, or chronic condition impacting my life in ways too unspeakable to mention here. If getting old means having a few aches and pains and anxiety along the way, so be it. I’ll take every day I am blessed to live. Even without a Corvette.

How about you readers: have you ever experienced any unusual or unexplainable condition that worried you? Do you try to self-diagnose? Do you rely on information you read on the web? Ever find a silly suggestion to fix a problem?

And, if I haven’t told you lately, I am blessed to call you all friends and thankful for your support.

Word of the Day: Nide

Fun fact about me: If it were practical and affordable I would drive an expensive sports car every single day. (And that’s not just the menopause talking.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, May 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

I drive a lot. Every day I have a 45 minute commute to work and every day I have a 45 minute, or longer, commute back home. It feels like I’m on the road all the time. I try different routes to prevent boredom and I make up songs and silly games while I’m driving to keep myself entertained. One of my favorite ways to liven up the drive is to think up clever stories for items I see abandoned along the road.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Here in California, litter is quite prevalent and if something falls off the turnip truck, the turnip truck driver just keeps driving as though he meant for the item to slide off his vehicle and crash into the road. Other crazy screw balls deliberately stop along the side of lesser used roads to dispose of unwanted items. I see a wide variety of things along just about every road I traverse to and from work. Everything from throw pillows to refrigerators, ladders, mattresses, and so on.

But, the one item that always puzzles me is that one shoe. You never see a pair of shoes, just one all by its lonesome. Why only one? I have multiple theories, but this week, I’m curious to hear your thoughts about the lone shoe lying along the side (or in the middle) of the road. Tell me readers, how do you think that shoe got there?

I’m going to award a prize to the person with the most creative and/or humorous one shoe story. So put those creative thinking caps on and leave me your one shoe theory in a comment below. I’ll choose my favorite and announce it at the end of the week.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Have fun. I’m looking forward to your ideas!

Word of the Day:  Hustings

Fun Fact About Me: One of my favorite college classes was a mining history class where we got to go exploring in old mines.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, April 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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