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Archive for July, 2014

The lonely life of a Verbal Bully

Angela 005

This is the face of a bully.

Sometimes things happen that make you take a hard look back and wonder where, when and why it all got started.

The best I can remember, it started with the little girl in that picture, in the fall of 1965, standing in the yard outside Fairhope Elementary School.

She has a somewhat shy smile, and doesn’t look mean, with that big bottom lip and chipped front tooth, right?  Let’s take a closer look at the little girl in that photo.  Her mother pin-curled her hair the night before picture day, but it was fine and the curls didn’t hold.  The dress is out of style.  The  little girl is big for her age and on the chubby side.  Already, they are starting to use hand-me-downs from her older sister and cousins across the bay.

This little girl has an older sister who is nearly 10 and a brother who will be 4 in February.  There is no public kindergarten in Alabama, so her mother has done her best to teach the child her ABCs, to spell her name and count her numbers all the way up to 25.  When school starts, she is proud to learn she is not behind her classmates.

The family moved back to Fairhope a few years earlier, and she plays often with another girl who lives four doors down the street.  When school starts, she’s looking forward to seeing her friend.

Here’s what happens the first days of school.  She learns what it means to be:

  • an outsider, who didn’t go to kindergarten with the other children;
  • not one of the rich kids with all new clothes or whose fathers are store owners, doctors, car dealers or lawyers;
  • fat;
  • funny-looking (the boys tease her about the fat bottom lip and broken tooth);
  • taller than the other girls.

She doesn’t fit in with the other girls and her friend down the street has a new group of friends that does not include our little girl.  She is hurt and confused.  By the second grade, there are only 2 or 3 children who will play with her at recess and she eventually loses all interest in outdoor play.  After all, the other children make fun of her attempts to play because she is clumsy, fat, slow and wears funny, ugly corrective shoes that keep her from being able to run.  She becomes a loner and a book worm.

What happens when you subject a shy, intelligent, sensitive child to ridicule, ostracization and teasing?

They resort to some form of bullying.

In my case, yes of course it’s me…I became sarcastic at the ripe old age of six.  I built a defensive shield and struck back with words.  I’ve continued to do so, sharpening my wits all my life.  It has not served me well.

My career has suffered.  I have few friends.  I eat alone every workday.  I have no social life.  My family, other than my sister, have essentially turned against me.   All because I say things that hurt their feelings.  

Mind you, I don’t intend to do so.  I’m acting defensively and often in jest, but it’s hurtful and once the words are said there is nothing to mend the hurt.

Have I tried to change?  Hell yes.  I’ve been to DOZENS of seminars, read lots of books, seen counselors, taken drugs (prescription).  Once formed, a person’s fundamental personality is–what it is.  Now that my parents are dead, I have to accept that there exists only one person who loves me unconditionally, my darling husband.

So it’s too late for me.  Parents, please teach your little ones not to tease.  Teach them to reach out to the lonely ones.  Love the fat kids, the geeky kids, the ones with blemished skin and shabby clothes.  Leave no child outside the circle.

 The bully they know is the the one they create.

Building a Green Log Cabin with a Blue Roof


Kickstarter officially approved our campaign…

to finance the research and design of a modern log home with as many green/energy and environmentally sensible technologies as we can make feasible and still make it an attractive, comfortable, desirable and resellable home.

 If you contribute, we have some decent swag for donors, including cool photos and weekends in our Little Cabin in the Woods.

Why Kickstarter?

  1. Green energy technologies are EXPENSIVE.
  2. WV is  black hole for new technogies, and that’s where this cabin will be built.  Currently, there are no providers for solar energy collectors, geothermal heat pumps or other such technologies, so we need money to entice them to participate.
  3. Consultants cost money.  We have an expert, Dr. Charles Pickering, right in our WV back door, who has designed and built the first LEEDS * certified home in WV.  He’d like to be paid to participate in this project.  After all, this is his source of income. 
  4. Try going to a bank for this kind of funding.  In West Virginia.  In RURAL West Virginia.  Seriously.*Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification



Click this link to download a BRIEF slide slow about the technologies we hope to consider.  littlecabin

Little Cabin in the Woods

show model 10x24When I was a Girl Scout we sang a song that involved pantomime and subtracting successive verses, replacing them with clucking noises until all that was left was a bunch of silly girls making hand motions and clucking in rhythm.

Little cabin in the woods,
Little man by the window stood,
Saw a rabbit hopping by,
Knocking on his door.

“Help me, help me, help me, he said!
Or the hunter will shoot me dead.”

“Little Rabbit, come inside”
Safely, you’ll abide.”

I keep thinking about that song lately.  A month ago Chad and I drove up to Columbia, Ohio, to Waysinside panoramaide Lawn Structures.  We needed to lay hands on, walk inside and get a feel for their prebuilt log cabins.  Several companies represent “Amish” prebuilt log cabins, but Wayside was the only one that we knew for certain would deliver a cabin that included wiring and plumbing.

After a few hours of looking, feeling and smelling (not kidding), and peppering the manager Mark Myer with what seemed too many questions, we put down our money and ordered a cabin.

I am astounded that we can have, for less than the price of a full sized sedan, a fully-finished cabin.  It will come complete with cabinets, built-in queen-over-queen bunks and drawers beneath and bathroom with shower, sink and toilet.  The plumbing and electrical wiring is installed.  We have to make the terminations and hookups.  It will rest on a gravel foundation we have installed.  The cabin price, delivered to our property in Romney, WV, is about $30,000.  It will cost us about $10,000 in foundation and hookups.  NOT BAD.  This is a Real Log Cabin, constructed of tongue in groove D-profile logs with cedar interior trim.bedbath

We priced out park model RVs, and considering the same expenses for foundation and hookups, the $45 to $50K price tags made this little cabin much more attractive.


When our main house is built in a year to 18 months after deliver of the cabin, we can leave it in place as a guest house, move it to another location on our property as a rental unit, sell it, or buy more land and use it for income.  It’s completely portable, given the plethora of rent-to-own storage building vendors in the area.

Stay tuned over the fall.  I’ll post updates when the cabin arrives, and as we get it hooked up.  We’re still looking for a name.  Any suggestions?


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