March 31, 2010

Walking- a better thing

My own treasured friends,

Some Marthas say, "It's a good thing." Our Martha Bear™, stuffed spokesbear for and, and star of her own online teddy bear short stories, says, "It's a better thing!" Martha is always looking out for all of the humans and critters who live with her at Stately Martha Manor. She considers walking to be one of those better things. To that end, she asked me to write a little something to encourage us all to get up and move.

The easiest form of exercise for most is walking. Whether a steady pace or speed walking, to save time and work more muscles, any walking is a healthy plus. It not only promotes circulation, it’s free! Get that blood pumping every chance you can. You’ll feel great mentally and physically, plus burn off calories to boot. If you don’t walk far enough to actually lose weight, just moving may help neutralize that last dessert.

Wear a pedometer to track your miles and encourage you. Most of these little machines will total your walking in steps or miles. Some insurance companies will include the cost of a pedometer as part of a wellness benefit. Available at local discount stores, make sure you get one with a string and clip to secure it to your pocket or waistband so you won’t lose it if and when it falls off. (Voice of experience- I lost one in a parking lot and two were victim to a potty!)

Of course, always check with your doctor as to what physical activity is best for you. Here are some ideas to increase your steps each day:

Make several trips either up and down the stairs or back and forth though the house taking one item at a time instead of carrying everything at once.

Carry the groceries into your residence, one bag at a time.

Next time you’re at the mall, park at one end and walk the length, making a full circle or two.

Park your car at the far end of all parking lots.

Go to a resort park, like Disney or Universal or the zoo. You’ll walk miles.

Go on a cruise and walk the decks repeatedly.

Go on a road trip to a new town and explore.

Go on a cemetery crawl, look for old dates on the tomb stones and learn some history in the process.

Don’t take a cart when you golf. Walk.

Visit a large store and count how many different departments it has.

Count the number of racks in a clothing store.

Walk up and down every aisle of a convenience store, not stopping to buy junk food. Tell the clerk you’re exercising so he won’t think you’re stalking the place. Eventually, he’ll recognize you for the nut you aren’t.

Visit your child’s school or university. Don’t just go straight to his/her classroom, dorm or game. Get permission where necessary for him/her to show you all the hallways and the campus.

Always take the stairs where you can.

Watch TV from a moving treadmill you’re using.

Plan family walks on a regular basis.

Walk to your house of worship if possible. If not, park several blocks away, allowing ample time to get there before the service begins.

Take a hike through the woods, greenway or beach and enjoy nature, identifying flora and fauna along the way.

Take a walking tour of an historic district in an old city or town anywhere in the world.

Attend a craft, art, or antique show, and pass every booth.

Count the number of cracks in the sidewalk with your child or grandchild.

Push a baby stroller with a baby or pet inside.

Start or join a walking club or group to encourage friends and meet new people.

Take up a hobby like photography or bird watching that requires walking.

Participate in the Cancer Foundation Relay for Life or other charity walk-a-thons.

Take a romantic walk in the rain when there is no lighting.

Don’t be deterred if it’s raining. Repeatedly walk a pattern around your house or apartment to the beat of your favorite up-tempo music. Hey, be wild and crazy and listen to new music with a peppy beat!

The point is to walk every chance you can. Viva la footsies!


Jane Marie

March 23, 2010

You Want Me to Follow?

My own treasured friends,

Have I mentioned I don't do cars? That means I don't pay attention to what kind of car anyone has. I can usually tell you if you drive a truck or a van or a convertible or a regular car. I also might remember what color car you drive. BUT when it comes to the make, model, engine type, year, etc., all that technical stuff, I haven't a clue. I don't know why. I just have never paid attention to such things. And so my story begins.

There I was, driving my daughter's gray car for whatever reason. Why is it always me? Anyway, my assignment was to follow my son-in-law in a strange town to an unknown place. And we were off. Not knowing where I was going added to the task of not losing him in the heavy traffic, plus maneuvering an unfamiliar vehicle, well, you can understand the pressure I was under. Thoughtless young man that he is, he went through a yellow light and left me behind to stop on the red light. Did I mention traffic was flying in front of me, right to left, left to right?

My eyes never left his car for fear of losing him. Well, I did have to change the CD in the car from Celtic hymns to Bing Crosby singing Irish ditties. I'm half Irish so I've challenged myself to learn as many Irish lyrics as I can. That way, I can sing them to my granddaughter lest the tradition of such falls away from future generations.

So when I look up, I see the light has turned green. The honking car behind me also alerted me to the same fact. I caught sight of said son-in-law readying for a left turn up ahead. (Left turns are on my top ten list of things I try to avoid. That story is in an earlier Blog Blog Blog of mine.) I turn on my signal and got in the left lane, as I finally catch up to him, right behind him in fact. We're waiting for the green arrow to grant permission to make our dreaded left turn when, out of the corner of my right eye, I see a hairy arm with a gold wristwatch flailing out the driver's side window of a car three lanes over and four cars ahead. Curiosity overwhelms me and I lean to the right to try and determine what the heck this hand is waving at. Then I see it. Or rather who. It's my son-in-law. He somehow has gotten ahead of me and away from me. I look at the car now turning left and realize it's the very same color vehicle as that of my son-in-law. They are both black. Now how was I to know the difference? Remember my earlier reference to never taking note of makes and models of cars?

Is this another Lucy moment in my life or--toe cramp, Toe Cramp, ouch, OUCH, ouch, easing, easing more, almost gone, gone, all better now-- or what? Oh go ahead. Add it to my list if you want. However, little did you know my diabolical scheme to rid myself of ever having to follow anyone driving anything is falling into place... Pretty clever, huh? Life is better when you rely on a little spit and the random ricochets off the backsplash of your mind as I do.

March 22, 2010

A Spring Sighting ...

My father used to always say:

Spring has sprung.
The grass has riz.
I wonder where the birdies is.

(I get my love of poetry from Daddy.)

So, inspired by the rhyming word, I ventured out into our courtyard garden to do a little first of the season weeding. It was then I saw it - a snake skin. I guess the slithering creatures somehow or other shed their skins like we ladies peel off our panty hose.

Since I'm not a big fan of these critters, I ran into the house to fetch my husband, Bruce. He was balancing the checkbook. He's not a fan of that, so willingly set it aside to assist his semi-distraught wife. Out we go, me following closely behind in the event I need to climb his body like a ladder and balance on his shoulders, should we see the owner of said skin pass by.

Bruce gets close, too close for my taste. He looks, he sees, he starts laughing. When a woman sees the man she loves guffawing in the face of venomous death, well, she just puffs up with pride at his pure and massive bravery. I am about to praise my personal hero when he says, "Oh darling," quite casual-like. Despite his giggles, his voice is not trembling with fear in any fashion.

"Yes, my conqueror of the universe."

"That's no snake skin. That's the sheathing off the old bungee cord you used last year to secure the trellis to the fence."

I stand firm. "Is too!"

"Look here," he defends. "Look at the rusty S-hook where you connected both ends."

Rats! He's right. BUT, since I thought this "skin" was the real deal, I give myself mucho points toward my reptile aversion therapy. Bruce, negative 3 in the hero department.

March 21, 2010

Wise Words ...

My own treasured friends,

I feel the urge to share more wise words with you. Why? Why not? They are as follows:

Remember this and don't forget, if your pig is green, don't take that bet.

You are most welcome,

Jane Marie

March 16, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Want to serve easy green food for St. Patrick's Day?  Try adding blue food coloring to yellow mac and cheese!


Jane Marie

March 13, 2010

No Left Turns, Please

←  People often laugh at me. I don't mind at all because I crack myself up, too. While I don't find this next characteristic particularly funny, I do concede it may sound strange to most folks out there. I don't like left hand turns while driving. I avoid them as much as possible. What could I have against going left? Am I against everything left? I am left handed, after all. 3/4 of the siblings in my family are lefties. Our mother was. Our grandchild is as well. I brush my teeth with my left hand, and paint with my left hand. I prefer door knobs on the left and put my left shoe on first. I read from left to right. I ... Okay, enough of that. I just don't like to go left because I don't like to turn in front of on coming traffic. Maybe it's because my husband says I have no sense of closing speed and I think cars are coming toward me faster than they really are. Whatever, Bruce. I don't like to go left. To that end, I naturally turn right. While it takes me longer to get to my destination, I feel safer.

Then we have the situation where when I look in the rear view mirror at the turn signal of the car behind me- I'm never quite sure if he/she is turning right or left. To be on the safe, I might glace over my shoulder to verify which side of their car is flashing.

Don't forget we have the issue of the part of the car I'm driving that follows me, that's behind me. My Gracious Mobile has a long wheel base, so sayeth my hubby (him and all his technical car talk.) If I thought about all that metal body extending from the back seat to the back bumper and how I am responsible for keeping it undented, it might make me anxious. Therefore, I just assume the back part of the vehicle will naturally follow the front part so I put it out of my mind. Now, that's logical.

Say, is anyone up for a road trip? Since we can only take right hand turns, it may be a bit tricky to get where we all want to go, but we'll have quite the debate trying to get there. Who wants to fold the map?

March 8, 2010

Hollywood Hearts - Marilyn ... Forever Blonde, a review

  My sweet husband, Bruce, was my date for the one-woman show, MarilynForever Blonde. I didn’t know what to expect other than one woman playing Marilyn Monroe. I’m sharp like that. Let me tell you, it was simply wonderful. Set in 1962 near the end of her life, the entertainment ran a solid 90 minutes. No forgotten lines, no stumbles, no missed cues. We were seated three rows from the iconic star herself. Singer, dancer and actress Sunny Thompson had morphed into Miss Monroe. She had the overall look, complete with the short white wild wonderful hair, the figure (her dresses were skintight), the blue eyes (white shadow with black liquid liner), red lips and that breathy speaking and singing voice.
     As the show began, the small hall of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, Florida, turned pitch black. Then came the sound of the shutter on a camera as photography lights flashed once - and there SHE was, a split second of Marilyn posing on a bed covered in a white satin sheet.
Like the black page of a picture album, a quick splash of light would reveal Marilyn in another and then another pose.
     The staging was simple and effective. When the lights came on we saw the all white 1960s living room set to the right of the centered bed, which was on a raised platform. The hi-fi was playing Frank Sinatra. To the left of the bed were her makeup vanity and a changing screen. Revealing gowns, high heels and a bathrobe or two made up her wardrobe, punctuated with plenty of diamond jewelry when the song, Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, called for them. This Marilyn’s dozen or so songs from her movies were mostly sung a capella and her pitch, to this handbell ringer’s ear, was on the mark.
     Greg Thompson, producer of the show as well as Sunny’s husband, culled written and recorded interviews to create this play from Marilyn’s very own words. Marilyn spoke of her childhood, her name change from Norma Jean, her intimate climb up the studio ladder by way of the older executives who had brains and money. She spoke of her marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller. The former did not want other men ogling his wife and the latter, Marilyn thought, was too smart for her. No children, no true love and no real friends, she tries to forget her sad sufferings with a half magnum of Dom Perion (ginger ale, I suspect) on stage.
     I think the audience could have spent another couple of hours listening to that voice and those funny and heart-warming and sentimental words, but I also think the length of the play was just right, leaving the audience wanting more. It was a grand experience and congratulations to Sunny Thompson. She fulfilled Marilyn’s wish. “I just want to be wonderful.”
     If you want to see Sunny Thompson online, go to There are videos and stills and more info.

March 6, 2010

Gracious Jane Marie Is Back!

My own treasured friends,

I've missed you! My last official newsletter, The Never Ending Video at on, our 800-plus page website I share with my sister, Nancy Kamp, was dated March 2008. I just reread it and laughed out loud. (As my niece Caryn of says, "I'm the funniest person I know. She must get it from me because I am, too.) The reason it's been such a long while since you've heard from me in the form of the newsletter is that birth, death, life and politics got in the way. As for the politics part, my husband, Bruce Malcolm, was elected mayor of Fernandina Beach, on Amelia Island, Florida. It was a fun ride for sure. Now that adventure is behind us and I'm back to devoting much more time to my basic love- creative writing.

Lest you think I have done no writing these past two years, I am proud to tell you my second historic novel, Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow in The Goodbye Lie series at has recently been released. It's another Fernandina Fancy, as I like to call my stories, set in our late 1880s Southern island town on the Atlantic Ocean. I am as proud of it as I am the first book, The Goodbye Lie. Both novels stand alone as they chronicle the lives, adventures, and loves of Michael Dunnigan and his beloved wife, Miss Ella. Each focuses on the escapades of one of their adult children, Breelan, Carolena, Jack Patrick or Marie.

I have to share the best compliment I've ever received from a woman passing by my table at a book signing. All she said was, "Your stories are where Gone With The Wind meets Little House on the Prairie ..." I'll take it! That really does sum up the basics. I centered them on wholesome family tradition and honor doing fierce battle with treachery and deceptive liaisons then peppered each with bickering humor between Peeper, the adopted grandmother, and nasty Aunt Noreen. Toss in a Christmas ball at Fort Clinch, a little mass murder, twisting plots, mystery, and the horrific Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood- Well, we're talking major sagas.

So, be it a silly blog full of my personal Lucy moments, family teddy bear stories, or sweeping historic novels, you're stuck with me here at Blogger,, and Facebook under Jane Marie, author at

Now go out and spread the word to all who treasure the same wonderful things we do, family, gracious living, roses, recipes, and tasteful romance, that Gracious Jane Marie is back!

More soon ...


Jane Marie