Musings and Amusings


Oh c’mon. You didn’t really think I was done with the potty talk, did you? If you didn’t want to hear more you shouldn’t have shared so many light-hearted latrine stories!


If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m sprinkling this post with scrumptious photos from ‘Sweet Times in the Rockies; Colorado’s Premier Sugar Art Show’, a February contest we stumbled upon in a long hallway of Denver’s Convention Center .


While distracting you with cake, I’d ask,

What about that AWFUL toilet paper we find in public restrooms? Does it even qualify as toilet paper? Is anyone proud of working on the manufacturing line that makes that shit?”

  • Barely one-ply
  • Scratchy as sand paper
  • Impossible to scrunch into a useful wad
  • Not at all absorbent

Nine words, folks – “Baby Wipes; they’re not just for diaper butts anymore.”


And speaking of laxatives …

Last week I visited my doctor because the good news is my switch to the combo fibromyalgia/antidepressant medication has not only relieved much of my constant body pain, but eliminated the ever-present ringing in my ears (side effect of my previous antidepressant)! For the first time in 15 years, I have blissful quiet in my ears.

The bad news is the side effect of my new medication (tradeoffs always). Before, I could drink my morning coffee and ‘be good to go’, if you get my drift. Now, it’s like a slow boat to China in the ‘elimination’ department.

I wanted to check with my doc to make sure taking Miralax on a long-term basis is ok.

When I asked her, Doc suddenly rose from her chair, “Not only is it ok, but have I got something for you!”

 She rushed from the room and came back with a HUGE box, saying, “I got this sample a few weeks ago and had no idea how to get rid of it. It’s all yours!”


50-day Sample Packets

 She was so excited you’d have thought she was giving me first prize!

Uh, thanks. Really. But do you have a paper bag I can hide it in to walk through the lobby and down the sidewalk to my car?”

 We had a good laugh and I walked out holding the box in plain sight and thinking about the good old days with Kotex hidden under our arms (Maggie!).


You are right. I wouldn’t have brought that up if we were having real coffee..


Instead I would tell you that 2/3 of the way through this year I’ve evaluated my 2015 Envisions and made a modification.

  •  Music and Keyboard
  • Mapping and Footsteps
  • Urban Sketching and Watercolors
  • Word Origins (self study course)
  • Writing Craft and Practice


I am nixing Urban Sketching which I never launched. First, I’d rather be immersed in nature than urban settings. Second, if I am sitting on an urban bench somewhere, I want to be wholly observing. For me, the sketching feels like an interruption to what I’m seeing, hearing and smelling. I love the Urban Sketch blogs I follow and will leave the artistry to them.

Likewise, I’m dialing down my commitment to play with watercolors in 2015. I knew when I made my list that I couldn’t give full attention to every project, so I’m happy to cull a few things, making way for unexpected diversions.

One of those unexpected diversions has been photography. As a blogging neophyte, I didn’t realize how vital visual images are to the blogging community nor how much I would enjoy taking photos for my posts. I’ve become frustrated with my point and shoot camera because I can’t see the LCD in the sunlight, and many of the topics I want to write about this fall/winter require local photos. I get more satisfaction from posting my own than borrowing from online image sites.


Consequently I rewarded my 2015 creative endeavors by purchasing a still-beginner-but-upgraded camera that features a viewfinder and more manual options than my old camera. I have numerous draft posts that will include pictures from my old camera, and am curious if I will notice a (quality) difference once I start posting pics from my new camera!

Please don’t anyone admonish me when I end up using the ‘auto’ feature because I’m so negligent about reading manuals, watching how-to videos or going to camera class. You can teach this old dog SOME new tricks, but not all.

My remaining Envisions remain realistic (one seasonal; one yet to be started).

If anything, I’m more motivated than ever by the creative satisfaction I’ve felt in 2015 and by the new and curious directions I’ve taken my reading and research. I don’t know how or when my current projects will fit into blogging, but ultimately we create for ourselves, and I’m being fulfilled on a level I never anticipated.

I can see many of you nodding because you know exactly what creative fulfillment feels like. That only increases my pleasure!


Comments on: "Lattes, Lizards and Laxatives" (60)

  1. So glad to hear the change in medication is (mostly) improving things for you.

    I’ll be interested to see how you get on with your new camera – what one did you get? Don’t worry about sticking to the auto features if that’s what you want to do – so long as you are happy with the results, that’s all that matters.

    The sugar icing on those cakes is amazing. I’m in awe of the skill that went into them – I’ve tried a couple of times, but failed miserably!!

    • Thanks, Eileen. I am so happy to feel better; it’s been a great summer because of that. I took the camera consultant’s advice (because I got too overwhelmed by choices and reading reviews) and bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50. I will start with ‘auto’ and gradually learn its other.

      We had so much fun examining the decorated cakes. Such whimsy and craft in their creations. We were wandering the Convention Center after a concert and the ‘cake hall’ was deserted! I was glad I could record those beauties.

  2. What a treat to read this today. Delighted to catch up with you and your carry-out packages!
    Interesting to learn that anti-depressants cause tinnitus… which I have, but not the side-effect kind. I wonder if there is some sort of dietary change that might reduce my symptoms… my instincts tell me blood sugar….
    As for using the “auto” setting… if it ain’t broke, don’t sweat it! I use auto all the time.

    • I do too! Though I keep on telling myself I should try the manual settings, but when I do the results are terrible, so I revert back to auto. As you say, if it works…

      • Are you kidding, Jude?!? The whole time I was researching and being overwhelmed by camera choices, I kept thinking Jude is going to laugh (scoff) when I tell her I bought a ‘gadget’ camera but won’t be able to figure anyting out except auto 😀 i’m still keeping you in my pedastel as my photographer extraordinaire 💞

      • Ah, thank you Sammy 🙂 I think it is more a case of how you take photographs and what you take rather than the camera settings and if auto works then use it. I like to get a feel for a camera before I go off piste. To be honest cameras are so good now that unless you want to be a professional photographer or win competitions you don’t need much more than a good point and shoot on auto 😀

      • Now THAT’S encouraging. I don’t have to download the 220 page manual 😀

      • They don’t make manuals like they used to – or at least I cannot make head nor tail of them!

      • So true. And now ours (if manufacturer provides a printed one) is twice as thick because everything is repeated in Spanish!!! That politically correct regulation doomed a few more trees, made everyone’s costs go up and raises my blood pressure (as if an English manual isn’t enough of a burden)!

    • Thanks, Maggie 😀 ‘carry out packages’ LOL
      Sorry about your tinnitus – so many have it. I don’t know about any food connections; it’d be a relief if you could discover a link and cure! I always suspected some of my jaw and neck tension came from that drug, too. Medicine is a mixed bag, for sure!

      Hope you’re in good spirits. Sending hugs 💖

  3. A very entertaining post! I’m with you on the RX struggles. As annoying as the drug tinkering games may be, it’s all worth it when something works. Good for you! Great photos! Keep snapping!

    • Thank you, Amanda! I’m sure you’ve experienced a few drug dilemmas yourself, and I hope your benefits outweigh the negatives.

      Writing this one was a stream of consciousness with my evening spent thinking “TMI, Sammy. TMI”.

      Thanks for camera encouragement!

  4. Well with a title like that who wouldn’t want to read this? LOVE the cakes – aren’t some people talented? (Including you…) So happy that your medication is improving the quality of your life, I always think what is the point of living longer if it is miserable, though you have never struck me as the sort of person not to enjoy and live every minute of your life, pain or no pain. Obviously much more enjoyable to be pain-free even with the added problem. I always find bananas helpful in that department. And talking of Kotex [swings head around to make sure no-one is listening] my mother used to send me to Boots (chemist) for a box of Kotex and the chemist would put the box in a brown bag. I never knew what they were for. I never asked. She never told me. Not until the day I came home from school and told her that my period had started and she directed me to the brown paper bag on top of her wardrobe did I discover what Kotex actually was. I was fourteen years old.

    Have a great weekend Sammy, thanks for the coffee and I have helped myself to a slice of cake… 😀

    • You are too kind😀 it’s amazing what powerful punches such tiny round pills can pack. I’m so thankul for their tiny miracles despite some side effects!

      Too funny about your store trips. There is such a vast difference between the children-are-seen-not-heard way we were raised and the exposure to everything and early negotiating tactics kids acquire today. I ‘might’ have peeked in that bag but I sure wouldn’t have let my mother know!!

      Walked a new trail yesterday and thought, “would Jude like this hike?” Anticipation … 😎

  5. Very creative and funny. Nicely done.😊

  6. Plans should never bind you (sorry, pun intended but you had it coming for dragging me through the lobby with stuff under your arms), they should always be flexible. I follow some urban sketchers and it looks like it would be great fun if I could take a pill and learn to draw well by 8:00 am. I’ll stick with photography for now, and I make pretty good use of Auto (although I do go into manual territory now and then).

    The pictures in this post are great. I can’t believe people make those things. As for Envisions, I’m impressed that you’ve managed to only nix one and that you did that in favor of something new. There’s a lot going on on that list, you’re doing a good job. As for the other stuff you have going on, well, you and Maggie can work that out amongst yourselves.

    • I am selling those pills very soon!

    • LOL i’m trying to think of a pithy comeback but nothing is coming down the pipe. 😊 When Raqi was in her poop fascination stage (“look what I made”) one day she studied her output for a moment, turned to walk away and said “It looks like a whale.” We start our lives focused on poop and end ’em the same way. Might as well make it artistic 😁

      I love my Envisions list because on a daily basis I get all whacked out about not blogging enough or having too many ideas or not knowing how to organize, but when I revisit that list, i’m reminded that I’m doing this for my pleasure so an obligation to blog is secondary. And I see how broad these concepts are and that it’s ok – even desireable – to be pulled in many alluring directions. This has been such a rewarding year for me. Having all of you along for the ride is both inspiring and supportive. I am so grateful for each of you.

  7. 1) Cake. It speaks for itself … and very well, I might add.

    2) Yay! for getting rid of the ringing in your ears. Blissful sleep can never be overrated.

    3) Black licorice. Powerfully effective for me. On the other hand, I have to admit that licorice solves just about any problem … well, except for weight loss, and yes, I’ve tried. Maybe I’m not eating enough of it … but then I wouldn’t be able to venture too far away from a washroom 😉

    4) I too discovered the joys of photography as a side effect of blogging. I too ended up buying a new camera … 2 of them actually. I too think the *auto* setting was created by a Superior Intelligence and who am I to think otherwise? 🙂

    5) great post. Loved the title!

    • LOL LOL to everything you said !! I’ve never heard anyone tout black licorice to ‘do the job’ but between that and Jude’s bananas I should be ‘good to go’. Our natural grocer has some good kinds of licorice, and I like it, I just don’t eat it. Now I will. Thanks for the advice and chuckles, Joanne.

  8. Only you could fuse cake, Miralax, and photography in one post. Love it! And good riddance to the tinnitus!

  9. This post cracked me up. Nice to be (finally) getting to read them again, caught up and all, sorta kinda. Having recently had to use the damn things (laxatives) I hope never to have to again. Always too much or too little, if you now what I mean!

    Not to dissuade you from giving up on “urban” sketching, when they started it they called it that but there are many “urban” sketchers who do this in the wilds — and they have all realized not everyone lived in NYC. So if you ever change you mind (and I honestly swear I am not trying to change your mind) know that you can do this on yoru walks if you like. Or sitting by a brook. In fact, one of the best and founding mother’s of urban sketching is a naturalist!

    • Yeah I figured you had your bout with your butt when you were on your opioids. Not fun at all!!

      Thanks for nature encouragement – i fear sketching would be even more distracting there although I just saw a class on sketching insects for journaling that looked interesting (will be gone so maybe next term). What I’m realizing, now that I’m able to hike again, is I need to decide my purpose ahead of the hike – am I going to ‘receive nature’ which means no distractions or am I going for gathering, photography or sketching. Different intentions but if I clarify it might work (altho it’s hard to get past ‘receiving nature’).

  10. Glad to hear you’re able to “keep the exits clear.” 🙂

    I’m with you on the photography…my son got me a nice DSLR camera for Christmas a couple of years ago. It makes a huge difference in quality when compared to what I shoot on my phone camera, though I understand they’re upgrading those now. Besides, using the “big” camera makes me feel more like an “artist.”

    And can I just say, I wish I was as organized as you when it comes to planning ahead/envisions…I’m hopelessly adrift and usually in the weeds.

    • You do some mighty fine writing adrift in the weeds, Mr.

      I like the ‘serious’ look of a real camera, too. I might make myself a laminated photojournalist card so I can get over my fear of walking down the street snapping photos or *quiver* knock on a door to ask permission. If I could cloak in invisibility, all the better.

  11. Glad to hear you are feeling better, I get ocassional ringing in my ears (all tied in with the vertigo and inbalanced fluidy whatsits!) I can imagine how beautiful it is to have the the ringing gone!

    I can appreciate why you knocked the sketching on the head – I stop and start with it. It’s all part of the creative process…

    I did love this post Sammy. You can entertain, make us laugh and inspire all in one go 😉
    Have a wonderful weekend x

    • Thank you, Lainey. Sorry about your occasional bouts with vertigo. Those must be a real challenge, and that ringing is low level torture!

      You’re so sweet to show such enthusiasm for my musings 💐

  12. I spotted a Minion! (now I actually know what one is- though I don’t know really know because I never saw the series/read the book/where have I been? (not stuck in the loo, I assure you 🙂 ) But my favourite is the bird’s nest cake 🙂
    Happy weekend, Sammy!

    • LOL I don’t know the minion background either but they are irresistable.

      I did love the little nest with birdlings on top of that cake. The hall was deserted when I took the photos. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a picture of the sugar artists and try to match their faces to the cake they decorated?

      You have a great weekend too, Jo!

  13. I sure didn’t see this post coming! It started out in the potty and ended up with your creative fulfillment. It sounds like you are having a great time… and isn’t that the point?

    My main creative focus is on photography too. I’m working my way out of the auto mode and hope to become fully manual one of these days. The beauty of digital is that you can practice, practice, practice and not have to spend a lot of money developing a bunch of bad images.

    • So true about not having the film expense! My blogging photo experts ( who I imagined being manual wizards) are telling me they use ‘auto’ most of the time. I had no idea!! But I will be curious to see some posts from you that show results of different manual adjustments (hint, hint).

      I know – sometimes I have such trouble getting a post started because I don’t have it all figured out. After I procrastinate for the whole week, I usually end up with the “aw, f$/k it” attitude, start typing and somehow it works itself out. (I hope!) This one felt like a real stream of consciousness.

      Thanks for reading, Janis ! Enjoy this weekend.

  14. The cakes make me hunger for cake, but that is okay, as I am preheating the oven now for a lemon-olive oil cake 🙂 I rarely dabble in fondant, although I learned one should never attempt fondant during a southern summer. And I certainly can’t make amazing stuff like the ones you displayed! Gorgeous!
    I’m so glad you got rid of tinnitus! I had no idea that some anti-depressants cause tinnitus, and am going to share this with a friend of mine. I’m sorry about your new side effect, but glad there’s help 😉
    My parents (all 3) are excellent photographers who understand gobbledy gook about cameras. I click and point. No one’s buying, but people like my photos all the same. I think taking photos should be pleasurable! All the best photos are in my head, anyway, hm? I won’t mind seeing more of your auto pics!

    • Your cake sounds delicious!! I hope we see a photo 😀 i like lemony everything except I don’t like restaurants to put a slice of lemon in my water or ice tea, and invariably I forget to tell them.

      It was my orthodontist when I had all those jaw problems who told me to research my antidepressant (it was generic zoloft) because he said some cause jaw clenching and neck problems. Now I know that not only was it one of the contributing factors to my TMJ, but it was the source of my tinnitus. But each drug is different as is each patient taking the meds. It’s why it’s become difficult to pinpoint problems for individuals.

      I’ll see you at the Point ‘n Shoot ( sounds like we’re going to a rodeo)

  15. Carol Ferenc said:

    Love your Envisions list, Sammy. I also use this kind of list. New Year’s resolutions never work out but a simple list helps me focus on what I really want to accomplish. Of course, it’s important that it is open to revision.Thanks for including the photos – those cakes are awesome!

    • Thanks, Carol. I never even knew ‘sugar art’ was an artform! So much in the art world yet to discover.

      I’ve always shunned resolutions, and this is the first year I tried Envisions after beginning my blog last year. Blogging has opened up so many avenues for exploration and creating, I needed a way to put some structure to it. As you noted, its a more supportive way of having some accountability without the guilt of broken resolutions.

      Thanks so much for your support!

  16. No that title leaps off the page doesn’t it? 🙂 Firstly so glad to hear the new medication has been such an improvement in most ways, Hopefully the ‘smuggled out’ package brings relief to the slow moving side effects. Good luck with the new camera. We got a new camera this year as I felt that our point and shoot just did so poorly in low light. I’m firmly planted on auto myself. 🙂

  17. I’m glad to see that word origins survived in your list.

    Last year we visited Monahans Sand Dunes in west Texas and were dismayed to find that all the hotels in the area are way overpriced because of the oil boom. We spent $150 for one night, so I felt justified in complaining to the manager about the skimpy one-ply toilet paper.

    • Good for you!! I always wonder if the managers who purchase supplies carry their own roll of ‘real’ toilet paper to the bathroom!!

      My Word Origins is a self-study from Great Courses – I’ve been enjoying it sporadically but this ‘cold season’ will do some mapping irganization to write a few posts on what I’m learning. Fascinating historically and culturally!

  18. Oh my where to start first. LOL Glad your ears are quiet, nice you got free samples for the side effects, and I’m guessing you never bought RV TT because that’s what you find – single ply with all its limitations. As for the cake decorating, I drooled over them all. I took lessons a while back and loved it but how many decorated cakes does one need to make in a year. Skills – those folks have skills. And, now I’m off to check out that new camera of yours, and if they didn’t want us to use Auto why put it on there. 🙂

    • 😀. You are right, Judy. I never bought the RV variety. Maybe there’s an eco advantage in the wilds to that TP, and I’m ok with it in trail/camping locales. But highway and urban businesses could certainly upgrade (first world problem!)

      That sugar art takes a steady hand for sure. I think that about many crafts/art – “how many do I need” or “now what do I do with it?”. I try very hard not to ‘gift’ my creations unless asked directly because … Well, you know!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  19. It’s great to hear that the new medication combo is helping so much in the pain department. I envy you your blissfully silent ears. I’ve had ringing in my ears for years, and I can hear my heartbeat pulsing in them, too. The ENT people I’ve been to have no idea why.
    Those cakes are absolutely amazing! Such creative artistry. I don’t know how they do it. The only problem with cakes like those is that they are too beautiful to eat.
    Have fun with your new camera!! Don’t forget to show us the photos. 🙂

    • Sorry about your ears, Lori. It can be a real irritant sometimes. That’s curious about your heartbeat, too!

      Those cakes were such fun to look at. Just like photo blogs with a colorful array of topics!

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