Not the A to Z Blog

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If you followed my avatar here looking for my April A to Z Challenge, then I have led you astray. This year, I’m featuring my mother’s memory blog for the challenge. You can see that at Discovering My Mom: Gail Martin, Gone But Not Forgotten.

Discovering Mom   Gail Lee Martin… gone but not forgotten.png

The blog that you’ve landed on here is my general purpose blog where I write about my writing, my photography, my politics and whatever else comes to mind. You are welcome to explore here, but don’t forget to go onward to see the A to Z blog posts about my mother.

a to z challenge

A is for Vintage AUTOS

B is for Brown Sugar Syrup

C is for Cedar Chests

D is for Dandelion Wine

pixabay computer write

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

E is for Eastern Phoebe

F is for Favorite Foods of the 1950s

G is for Gail’s Bookshelf – Slacks and Calluses

H is for Hamilton (where Mom went to high school)

I Remember Our 1940s Homes

J is for Journaling

K is for Keeping an Old Car Running (Gail’s advice)

L is for Liking the Book

M is for Memories of the Flood of 1951

N is for No-Bake Cookies (a family favorite)

O is for Obituary (my mother’s)

P is for Pancakes Made from Scratch

Q is for Quilts in the Family

R is for Ruth’s Sympathy Cards

S is for Someone Has to be the Family Historian

T is for Tornado Memories

U is for Undaunted by the Microphone (Gail’s speaking engagements)

V is for Vases from Old Bottles

W is for Washday Blues

X is for eXplorer

Y is for Yarn and Rags Crafts

My Blogs

I probably diversify too much and end up not giving any of my blogs proper attention. The one you’re viewing now is my catch-all. I might promote one of my niche topics from Hubpages or write about a trip I took.

Here are my other blogs:

Discovering Mom is my blog about facets of my mother’s life. She died in 2013 and I’m working my way through the loss.

Discovering Mom Gail Lee Martin… gone but not forgotten

Finding My Civil War Ancestor follows the searching I’m doing on my great-great grandfather’s life. Hopefully, my search methods will help others in their family history project.

Summer in New Hampshire extolls the joys of summer at the lake and in the woods in that beautiful state.

Then and Now shares the family history of the Martin, Joy, Vining, McGhee family lines. My distant cousin and my sister are helping me with it.

I’ve recently started a photo blog on Tumblr called My Solivita. It gives me a place to share my Florida photos and to tell about the lovely retirement community we live in.

In December 2014, I created my first stand-alone website. The topic is Florida Decorating Ideas. I hope you’ll check it out too.

Another site where I journal is called Niume. It gets all the bits and pieces that are too short, too personal or somehow don’t fit elsewhere.

The Perfect Christmas Card for My Brother

In browsing around on the Zazzle web site, I found a great card for my brother. He’s been a car fancier all his life and gets together with his hot rod friends weekly.

I didn’t want just any old snow scene or Santa to send to him. It seemed like the card should have a car, some humor and some Christmas elements to it to fit his personality and interests.

Here’s what I found. Don’t you think it’s perfect!

I featured this card on a Squidoo web page last year and someone bought 200 of them. Guess there are others who thought it was the perfect card for anyone who loves street rods.

Does Your Whole Family Write?

I have a web page called A Family of Writers: Handing Down a Writing Tradition. It celebrates all the writers in my family. Five generations so far.

My family is filled with writers, going back to my grandmother in 1924. Actually I have a great-great grandfather who kept a diary during the civil war, so maybe it goes back even further.

Vintage Typewriter mousepad
Vintage Typewriter by JuJuGarden

It would be great to pass along the tradition of writing in your family. I’m fortunate that almost everyone in my family writes so it was a natural activity for me to pursue. I’ve included in this lens some books to foster writing in the family. Maybe you can start a writing tradition in your family. Start them off right by encouraging your children to write.

If you write, it’s a good idea to have a writer’s business card to hand out. Mine includes the web page addresses for the online sites where I post my writing.

Anniversary of a Loss

It’s coming up… the third anniversary of the day my younger sister died. It’s easy to remember since it falls so close to my birthday. I find the day a bit daunting.

I feel sadness welling up in me as I think of her life cut short and so suddenly. The quandary is how to get through that day and how it affects others. Should I make a special call to my other sisters and my parents? We could talk about Shannon’s life or not, maybe just reassure ourselves that the others are OK. Maybe if I don’t call, they will be busy with their lives and not pause to remember and be overwhelmed by the sadness. Perhaps it’s better not to bring it up. Maybe they won’t even notice the date until it’s past, and won’t have to work their way through all those emotions again.

If I don’t call, will they think I don’t care and don’t remember? Will they feel all alone in their loss and pain? In previous years, I posted a memory piece about my sister on the Our Echo webpage. Our family regularly posts family stories there, so that seemed a natural way to share. Many of us are writers so writing about Shannon was a natural outlet for our feelings. Click on this link to read more family memories of Shannon Martin Hyle. Her maiden name was Shannon Marie Martin.

Shannon Marie Martin
I like this photo of Shannon getting her face washed by her daughter Diana

Finding Old Photos

My mom is on a treasure hunt for old family photos. I’m looking for ones to add into her books of family memories that we’re collaborating on. She has lots of memory essays and I’ve created some books to show them off. It surprises me that she keeps turning up more and more vintage photos.

Now I have to find the right places to insert these into her books. Here’s a sample of what she found today while rummaging around:Vining vamily photo - probably in Arkansas


It would be great to have a little more glamorous family, but I feel lucky to have this glimpse into the past.

Hire a Grandfather for Yourself

Many of us no longer have a grandfather in our lives. We miss that special wisdom that a grandfather brings. Here’s how to find a replacement to spend some time with you or with you and your family.

Decide what qualities you crave in a grandfather figure. Would you like someone to come around to tell stories about their life experience, teach you about their hobbies and fix things? Do you have children and want them to have the experience of being around a grandpa?

Decide how much you can afford to pay for such a service. The person might be willing to work for a token payment of $5 or $10 an hour. At $10 an hour, you could have them come over for five hours a week at a cost of $50. Remember that this is not a handyman job, though he might be handy. This is a companion for you or for your whole family.

You can put a note on the bulletin board of the nearest senior center or put a notice in the church bulletin. These are places where seniors would see it and respond to you.

Meet in person anyone that applies for the position. Go with your gut feeling on which one matches your needs. There’s no standard for grandfatherliness, so only you can know what you are looking for. Perhaps you want someone who is witty and energetic and who reminds you of your grandfather. Maybe you never knew your grandparents and just want one who has general grandfather qualities.

Once you hire the person, be ready for them to be an individual. Like a real grandparent, they may surprise you with hidden facets of their personality. That’s part of the deal. Be clear about your expectations. Make sure the person realizes you want companionship and other grandfatherly activities. You aren’t hiring a handyman or baby sitter. Start out with a short-term arrangement, then it is easier to end the deal if the personalities don’t work out.


missforty said

 Wow, I love this idea! It is a win-win for both people!

gailM said

 Older folks need to feel useful and your idea is a great one to make older men feel worth while once again.