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Sunday, July 24, 2016


Hot weather used to never bother me ever but it most certainly is now and with a furor. Yes, I’m blessed with having A/C and several box fans to move the air around but the air inside seems to hang like a huge blanket that someone has decided to put up for enclosure. It’s stifling.

Opening the door to go outside is not a favorite task at this point for once the hot humid air hits me, it makes me gasp for breath and yet I have to go outside to water what flowers and herbs that are left out there. Yesterday, early in the morning, I did just that and to tell you how horribly hot it is here, when I watered them, steam came off of each potted flower or herb. Now that’s just not a good sign ever.

And I had to fill up the birdbaths for not only birds but squirrels, deer and other animals for they depend upon water just as we humans do. By late afternoon, all of the water I had put out was gone –it was either drunk by them or evaporated. And so there I was again with the garden hose filling up the birdbaths as quickly as I could so that I could run back inside.

If you are experiencing unusual high temperatures or if it’s the norm for you, you know how listless it makes you feel—you feel like doing absolutely nothing but exist. If I were near a water source, I’d be there and two rivers are quite close to me but it wasn’t worth the effort to get into a steaming hot car and be out in the heat. It was worth it when I was a lot younger for I loved hot weather, loved swimming in a pool or sitting out in the sun. Eight years ago was a huge turning point for me for one hot summer morning, I decided to go outside and trim back shrubbery with electric hedge trimmers—not realizing how blasted hot it already was or how high the humidity was until sweat started running into my eyes and that sweat stung.

Grabbing the hedge trimmers, I rushed inside to a cool house but cool I could not get. Felt dizzy. Felt faint. And I couldn’t get cool no matter what I did and that was drinking cold water, sitting in cold water and using rubbing alcohol on my arms and legs—the latter helped briefly—and it took three days to feel cool again. Googled my symptoms and yes, I’d had a mini heatstroke but I didn’t need Google to tell me that. I knew it. It just confirmed it.

And so after that incident, whenever the weather reaches scorching temperatures, I cannot take it. It means being stuck inside which can be good or bad depending upon how you look at it. There are so many events going on right now but sadly most are all outside and there is no way I’m going to any of them.

Glad groceries had been bought last week, glad that food can be ordered and delivered and ever so glad for my A/C and those box fans. My pets are glad as well for my dog sits in front of the fan whereas my cat heads for the bathtub—she’s not dumb in knowing that it’s cooler in there. Would my dog do it? No. He thinks that it is bath time and he runs down the hall as if he has wings on his feet.

Today is it supposed to reach 98 degrees with high humidity and today will be another day spent inside with the exception of putting water outside for plants, herbs, flowers and birds, etc. Maybe you don’t agree with me or maybe you do but at least when it’s cold, you can get warm with layers and layers of clothing but when it’s scorching hot, there are very little options. And very little gets done.

And in reality, who would feel like doing much anyway with it being so hot? I’m thankful that my job as a teacher kept me inside most of the time for I could have had a job that required working outside day in and day out. And if you have a job such as that, I hope you do everything you can to stay cool and hydrated. Hot weather gets to me more than it should but there’s nothing to do but deal with it in any way possible.

Take care of you, watch for warning signs health-wise and stay cool. As for me, I’ll just vegetate inside doing as little as possible until the weather changes in several days hopefully. At least there is social media right? And for that we should be grateful as well as being able to watch television and/or movies to pass the time. Meanwhile, hot weather gets to me.

Sherry Hill

Copyright © 2016
Sherry Hill

All Rights Reserved

*Photo from Microsoft Word

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Truly I wasn’t aware of “cubbyholing people” but saw it in the first grade at age five when my teacher put “smarter kids” she thought into a reading group with some dumb name like “The Bluebird Group.” Sat in my seat feeling so left out and wondering why I wasn’t in that group: I could read just as well as they could. That stigma existed all throughout my school years even though the group names went by the wayside.

It was in high school that I realized that what one teacher saw as “smarter kids” was not what I saw at all. Again, it was putting people in those cubbyholes and why for what one teacher saw was not what others saw at all. Did those that were in a cubbyhole feel different than others? Of course they did. They felt smarter even if they weren’t. And on the other hand, many teachers would cubbyhole students into a low group and I thought “Well how special is that? Everyone in that group will not only feel low but act low.”  And they did and their learning seemed to go nowhere for how could they compete with each other without looking weird?

I felt sorry for those that were labeled “low or slow” when I knew darned good and well that too many were not. It was all in perception of how teachers saw their students. Perception is everything and a lot of it is so twisted and wrong when some of it was downright good. No one sees a thing the same way.

In college I saw it as well but not quite as bad as it was prior and yet it still existed—no names of groups but the stigma was there.
Forward in time to when I first started teaching and lo and behold, there was that “Let’s cubbyhole students.” I heard from another teacher “Oh you don’t want him as a student: He has bad behavior.” Didn’t say much at all for first of all, I was the youngest of the staff and second of all, I wondered about this teacher’s perception. Well I got that boy as a student and yes at first he did have bad behavior but it wasn’t till I saw him struggling to write on paper that I asked him to stay after school and talk to me.

“Is there a problem with how you’re writing?” I asked him. There was a long pause before he answered me and what he said floored me. “I’m left-handed but my parents made me use my right hand: I can’t do it.” Right there and then I knew why he had bad behavior for first of all, why would any parent make a child switch a dominant hand? And I knew that from what I learned in college, that a dominant hand indicates the dominant side of the brain. “You’re confused aren’t you?” I asked him. “You have no idea.” “Can I ask your parents to come and talk to me?” I asked him. I could see a twinge in him as he stared at me and thought maybe he’s afraid for me to do that. “Guess so” he replied.

Called his parents, they came for a meeting with me after school about a week later and although they were nice, they were on the defense. Trying my best to explain how a dominant hand is also a dominant part of the brain helped a lot. “Well I guess you can let him try” said his father. His mother was not so reluctant but finally agreed to let me help her son use his right hand.

It was a struggle for him as well as for me but lo and behold, once he started using his right hand for everything, not only did his behavior improve one hundred percent but so did his grades and most of all—his self-esteem.

From that year on, I never wanted to hear another teacher cubbyhole a child. I had to listen for how could I not? But to believe one without much documentation was doubtful.

Not teaching anymore but see this act of putting students in cubbyholes is absurd and rampant. What one perceives in a person is not what others may see at all. People are put in cubbyholes by those who perceive them in their way and to that I say “Don’t.”

Sherry Hill
Copyright © 2016
Sherry Hill
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, July 17, 2016


All right I’ll admit it: I love going through other people’s stuff whether it’s an estate sale, a garage sale or a pile of stuff on the sidewalk. It’s the thrill of the hunt. Always has been; always will be. You have no idea of the incredible things I have found or maybe you do if you’ve seen my house—or if you are a “picker” as well, I’m sure you are overcrowded with found treasures.

My habit started at age three and I remember it well: I was in my grandparent’s dining room pilfering through the drawers in the huge buffet that almost took up an entire wall. Who knows what I was looking for but I kept pilfering until I heard my grandmother say “Don’t plunder in those drawers.” “Plunder” was a word I didn’t know but I knew the tone of her voice—the not good one that any kid recognizes. Instantly I stopped and resumed doing something else but from that day forward, I was the forever seeker of hidden treasures.

By age eight, I had a collection of rocks underneath my bed much to my mom’s disdain. They were ones I had found and to me, each one was simply beautiful. Kept those rocks forever until too many moves by my parents and me and who knows what happened to them for they were never seen again. The answer to my problem was simply to collect more rocks—and of those, I still have some plus many more.

My impulse to be a picker never did quit: I went from rocks, to handkerchiefs, to boxes, to old buttons and to whatever I spied that was either free or sold at a cheap price.  When I got married the first time, I had some collections or “dust catchers” as my mom called them but not much. It was on a trip that my then-husband and I took a trip to Tennessee to stay with a college friend of mine and her husband that I caught the “picker fever” big time. My friend Carrie had a house full of things that I simply lusted after and she knew it. We went to several auctions but I bought nothing for my then-husband would not pay the shipping fee on big furniture. So much for that but when we returned home, I was on the search for what my friend had and I found it all right—I found an overload.

I will never forget an antique dealer friend of mine saying upon surveying my house “You need a box room.” Ah, she knew me too well for boxes of any kind have always been my weakness. Can I explain it? Of course I can’t: I just liked boxes. My box fetish went on to much bigger ones—the wardrobe type. At one point, I had fifteen that I had picked, refinished and sold most but five are still here.

Many male friends of mine have bought things from me and with each thing gone, I felt regret but the money I made went to buying something else for the house, for my sons or for another treasure. Years ago now, I found that thrift shops were a great place to pick for I would know the layout and seek what interested me but the problem is I still have so much of that and yet it’s hard to let go of so much of it. Do I need a lot of it? No. Do I like a lot of it? Of course I do—why would I find or buy something I didn’t like?

My grown sons seem to have no desire to take half of what is in my house even though much of it is things that have been passed down through my family. To me, I know the story behind each piece but to them, they don’t. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you are facing the same dilemma—of what to do with treasured things. I have sold a lot in the past when life was normal such as being able to put an ad in the paper and have semi-honest and sincere people stopped by but as for now? It’s an entirely different world in which it’s hard to trust strangers for too many reasons.

In the last seven weeks, I haven’t bought one treasure and maybe it’s the knowing that there simply is nowhere to put it but last week while driving around, I spied a chair on the sidewalk underneath a piece of rotted trellis. Parked my car, got out and pulled back that trellis to see a metal chair with a padded seat and back rest: The material on the seat had a big gash in it and I stood there hesitating for two reasons: I couldn’t fix that gash and I had no place for another chair either inside or outside of my house. But sometimes common sense goes out the window when a treasure is seen that can be redeemed.

Yanking back the trellis, I lifted that chair into the backseat of my car and it had to be the heaviest straight back metal chair I ever lifted. Got in my car and as I headed off, I knew I’d made a huge mistake and so I drove by a friend’s house thinking that she and her husband would like it but they weren’t home. The only decision I had was to bring that chair home, which I did, and set it on my sidewalk. It took about five minutes of looking to know good and well I didn’t need it or want it. Again, I lifted that heavy chair into my backseat and went back to the very place where I had gotten it. Stopped my car in the middle of the street, attempted to drag out the chair when a woman in front of me came to my rescue by saying “Want me to lift that out for you?”

I was never so grateful in my life as I watched her drag that heavy chair to the exact place it had been as I held back the rotted trellis. Thanked her and headed home.
The very minute I got out of my car, I felt something in my hair: It was dusk and there was no way I could see what it was and so I used my right hand and flicked it off of me. Instantly my right ring finger was on fire—it felt like a thousand fire crackers were going off in it. Never had I ever felt pain like that and had no idea how to stop it and so I asked people. Finally someone said “Maybe a hornet or wasp was in your hair:” “One of those?” I asked. “It felt papery” was all I could say about it. “Then it was a hornet in your hair” said a friend of mine who had been a science teacher.

All because of a worn out chair I got stung by a hornet: Go figure. I had no baking soda but remembered that using toothpaste can do the very same thing for a wasp, bee or hornet sting and so I ran to the bathroom, opened the toothpaste with my left hand and smeared my right ring finger with it. After one hour, the pain decreased and I sat here thinking how totally stupid the whole thing was. One friend said “You should have just kept the blasted chair.” “Don’t I know it” was my reply.

Two days later while driving around, I spied the trellis but guess what? Someone had taken the chair again and it was not trash pickup day either. Maybe that person also got stung by a hornet for the chair could have held a nest inside—but I will never know. I don’t want to know.

But aside from that totally stupid episode, I will still be a picker—a gatherer of this and that and one that seeks treasures for it is innate and who knows what treasure is lurking around the corner? I just hope that whatever it is, it is devoid of hornets. Rest my case.

Sherry Hill

Copyright © 2016
Sherry Hill

All Rights Reserved

Monday, July 11, 2016


My whole life I wanted freckles. Did I have them? That would be a no. Do I now? Another no. I remember when I was about ten, I got my mom’s eyebrow pencil and made brown dots on my face—thought it looked cool and that people would think I had freckles.

Suppose some people did but relatives and friends who knew me, knew that I had “faked” those freckles. And I had to wash them off before my parents got home from work.
Kept hoping that freckles would appear on my face but alas and alack, they never did.

Funny thing is that I know some people who have had them all of their lives and hate them.
Neither of my sons have them nor do my grandchildren but I was hoping. Maybe they are glad that they don’t: I never quizzed them on this mundane fact. And I never told them about my secret desire to have freckles and would they want to know? Doubtful.  Absurd at this point.

Now I am getting brown spots on my face but trust me, they are not freckles! They are age spots and why couldn’t they be tiny tiny tiny? Doesn’t work that way in life does it? But there is no way I will take my eyebrow pencil and make little brown dots on my face—that would only make things worse. And who wants worse?

If you have freckles, I wish I had them.  We are never happy with what we have are we? And so my olive skin will just remain that along with those “spots:” At least they blend in sort of. But they aren’t freckles!
Sherry Hill

Copyright © 2016
Sherry Hill
All Rights Reserved


Monday, July 4, 2016


A week and a half ago, my state West Virginia, had so many counties that were flooded: The torrential rain was relentless and it fell and fell. Imagine over fourteen straight hours of rain—it’s unimaginalbe to grasp that much. Along with the rain were severe thunderstorms. I watched the rain pour as I looked out my kitchen window off and on; my front yard looked like a small lake. Guess I should say that where I live is on top of a giant mountain and that in itself is a good thing as far as flooding if it were to happen. But there are numerous places here in my city that have high mountains where people live and too many times, nearby creeks have overflowed and flooded too many areas.

By late afternoon, the weather channel had warnings for flooding as well as for posible tornadoes. Thankfully no tornadoes spawned here but by time for the local evening news, everyone could see imminent devastation just waiting. People were frantic about whether or not their loved ones were affected and yet in too many cases, they could not be reached for power was out in so many areas that reaching anyone by a landline phone or a cell phone was impossible.

At 11:00 that night, everyone [that had power] could see the flooding on TV in too many areas here. Some areas were not known about for cameramen or women could not get to those places. And the wait began—it went on all night long.

I couldn’t sleep for fear of what was happening for although I live high up, far down below is the main river that flows through my area. Its tributary was no doubt at flood stage and yet it would take until daylight to see that the tributary river had overflowed its banks while the main river reached an all-time high.

When dawn came that morning, what I witnessed on TV was mindblowing—the devastation in cities nearby me and those far away were in too many cases, under water. In one city that is about two hundred miles from me, the main street looked like a river for water was gushing down the street so fast it looked surreal.  There was no way I could get to any of those areas for too many were flooded. By mid-afternoon, so many counties here were completely devastated.

By evening, I watched the local news channel and there was more bad news: Many lives had been lost as they had been swept away in torrential water and/or drowned. And like others here, I learned that this flooding hadn’t happened, such as it did, in one hundred years. And then came photos of flooded areas that were unreal to witness on TV—houses gone, businesses torn apart and flooded, one city completely submerged under water and worst of all, was seeing people so distraught that they were utterly dumbstruck. Watching it, I was as well. No one could imagine such horror here and yet it happened.

Today is the 4th of July and more relentless rain is on the way. No one can deal with it. No one wants it. Everyone fears another flood.  As of yesterday, the death count was twenty three—twenty three too many. One that died was a four year old boy who got swept away from his grandfather; another was an eight year old boy who got caught up in the rushing waters. At this point in time, a family is still hoping that their fourteen year old daughter is alive but three of her family members were flood victims. Hope is what so many are holding onto.

We have been blessed with an outpouring of help in the form of volunteers from non-flooded areas as well as out of state volunteers—all helping the flood victims out in any way, shape or form. So many businesses chimed in with TV stations and started a drive for non-perishable foods, bottled water and cleaning supplies. As of now, the donations are still coming in and are greatly needed.

Thoughout this time frame, like others, I have been on edge worrying about relatives that got stranded or friends who hadn’t reported to anyone. Luckily,  I found out that they were safe or at a shelter but so many here are still not sure if their loved ones or friends are all right.

I wish I could show you the devastation but I can’t; however, you can google what has happened here in West Virginia and see the horror of it all. Perhaps you live in a state or country that has a lot of floods and if you should,  you have my prayers for living with that is beyond the realm of thinking. But it does happen and when it does, there’s no stopping it. Water is the source of life; it’s inside of us, we need it to survive and yet water can be a dangerous thing—dangerous when it rains relentlessy causing creeks, streams or rivers to overflow and touch anything in its way. It is the strongest force in the world when it becomes such as that.

And yes, it is something that in too many cases, people have had to deal with, live with or be affected by it. Any force of nature can be bad—even here we had a horrendous tornado in 1991 [which had never happened prior,] another one not quite as bad three years later and then a horrid storm that took out trees, houses and did incredible damage. But this flooding here has been so massive that in some places, it will take years to repair, rebuild or to completely redo streets, highways, electrical systems and most of all, infrastructures.

I felt compelled to write this for you to read; you may already know all of this information and if so, feel free to dismiss it. Healing will happen but it sure won’t happen overnight for those that lost every single thing that they ever had—and worse feeling the pain of losing loved ones will take a long time to recover if it happens.

One thing that has been and still is that West Virginians are strong: They have always helped their neighbors out in dire circumstances and they still do. I know that all too well for I am one: I was raised that way to help others. From one generation to another, this looking out for each other has been passed down and it’s a strong trait here. But I want to say a huge “Thank you” to anyone and everyone that has come here to help for you are so appreciated for all that you have been doing. May you be blessed ten-fold.

Sherry Hill

Copyright © 2016
Sherry Hill

All Rights Reserved