Just Dance for Xbox – Great Fun – Great Workout

Are you familiar with Just Dance?

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Just Dance

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Just Dance

I love to dance and I need a fun workout. This looks like the perfect game for everyone who feels the same.

“Born This Way” is one of the songs on the 2016 Xbox edition. It’s rated okay for everyone.

It has a Karaoke mode and Sweat Mode and more, but I didn’t get to see how these features work.

You need Kinect to hook it up even though the description states you can use a phone app to control it.

There’s also Just Dance 2017, Just Dance 2018, Just Dance Disney Party.

Available on various platforms:

  • Xbox One
  • Xbox 360
  • Nintendo Wii
  • PlayStation4
  • NintendoWiiU
  • PlayStation 3
  • Nintendo Switch Digital Code
  • Nintendo Switch

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Just Dance

It’s available on Amazon. Here are some links for the Xbox One 2018 and 2016 versions. If you click on them to purchase  it, I will receive a small percentage as an Amazon Affiliate, at no extra cost to you. 🙂

Can you believe we’re into June? Some people are already starting their Christmas shopping, so I think I’ll add Just Dance to my wish list. I won’t learn the moves as fast as my grandkids, but that’s okay. Just moving and getting some cardio exercise is the main thing, not to mention getting my groove on. 🙂

What are your thoughts? Have you heard of Just Dance? Do you think Santa will bring me one this year? 🙂 Do you have Xbox, Nintendo, PlayStation, or Wii? What are your favorite games? I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Toys, YouTube Video | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Parenting Plights and Delights – Should You Wear Underwear for School Pajama Party?

Today’s post is retrospective. It’s from my archives and is one of my favorite Parenting Plights & Delights stories:

When my nephew Brent was in kindergarten, his class had a Pajama Party on the last day of school. Pancakes would be served. The family was leaving for summer vacation that day, but Brent had been so excited about the party the whole month prior to it that my sister Cindy didn’t want to deprive him of the fun he’d been looking forward to. She decided they’d get a late start on their trip.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Pajama Party

Five-year-old Brent (right) with his brother Kyle and sister Brooke

That morning, Brent bounded into the kitchen in his favorite cartoon jamies. “Got your shoes and socks on? Cindy asked.

“Yep,” he answered.

“Did you brush your teeth?”

“Yes,” he replied, flashing a smile.

“Got your underwear on?” she asked.

“NO! You don’t wear underwear with pajamas.”

“Well, you do if you’re wearing them to school.”

“I’m not going if I have to wear underwear,” Brent insisted, folding his arms as he took a stance. After awhile, he asked, “Do you think the other kids are wearing underwear?”

“I’m sure they will be,” Cindy said. “Do you want me to go around and check each kid?”

“Yes,” he answered, thinking his mother was serious.

Cindy told him to march back into his room and get his underwear on.

“No way,” Brent said. “Mrs. Keimlick said we’re not to wear underwear.”

Cindy could hardly contain her laughter. She knew the teacher would get a kick out of that. “Do you want me to call the other kids’ parents to see if they’re sending their children to school with underwear?”

“Yeah,” he said.

Cindy was going to pretend to call, but then decided to call one mother who was a good friend, just to give her a good chuckle.

“Wendy, this is Cindy. Is Grant wearing underwear under his pajamas today?”

“We’re arguing about that right now,” Wendy said.

Cindy couldn’t believe it. As it turned out, Grant did wear his underwear to school that day, but Brent chose to miss out on a great party rather than wear underwear under his pajamas. So, the family got an early start on their vacation!

What are your thoughts? 

Do you have a parenting or grandparenting memory
or another story you’d like to share? 

If you’re not a parent, aunts and uncles have lots of anecdotes, and memories from your own childhood count, too!


Posted in Funny, Grammy Gets It, Kids, Lynn Kelley, Parenting Plights and Delights | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Feeling Groovy – Hippies – Photo Challenge

Do you know any hippies?

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Hippies

In July 2012 our daughter Amy and her husband threw a hippie-themed party for George’s 60th birthday. These are some of the photos I took, but the best pics were taken by Paparazzi Paul, which you can see in the original post about the party.

This photo of Mike and Barbara is one of my favorites. I love their tie-dye clothes, their headbands, and Barbara’s candy cigarette. They look like real hippies, but they’re regular fun-lovin’ folks.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Hippies

Welcome, Jim and Linda! They went to an upscale thrift store the day of the party and found these cool threads.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Hippies

Paper lanterns hanging from the old plum tree added more color.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Hippies

Friends and relatives of all ages came from near and far to celebrate.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Hippies

Good times! We partied into the night.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Hippies

George’s old-time friends.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Hippies

Peace out, man!

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Hippies

For more far out hippie photos, check out the original post, Trippy Hippie Party – Photo Essay.

This post is part of The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. After seven years of photo challenges, this is the last installment. The theme is All-Time Favorites.

I hope you enjoyed my psychedelic favorites.

When George turned 40 in 1992, I threw the first hippie-themed party, and we got some great video clips of it. For more hippie fun (and ideas to throw your own hippie party), here you go:

What are your thoughts? Do these photos make you dizzy? Do you like parties with themes that make them livelier? Have you ever known a real hippy? I’d love to hear from you! 

Posted in Grammy Gets It, Lynn Kelley, Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest – Part 2 – Learn the Rules

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

International Speech Toastmaster Alifah Ahmad acknowledges speakers with certificates of participation and “Job well Done.” International Speech Contestants: Lisa Wright, Caroline Manning, Richard Snyder, Jacinta Mpalyenkana, and Lynn Kelley – Photo by Ray Robles

In Part 1, I shared the final version of my speech, “Reduce Your Risk of Dementia,” which I delivered at the Toastmasters District 12 contest in Temecula, California on May 12, 2018. Wow, I’ve learned a lot on this journey.

When I participated in the first contest at the club level in February, I had no idea what the entire process involved or what I was getting myself into.

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

Image by Geralt – Pixabay

I now know Toastmasters Speech Contests have various levels, but I didn’t know what they were when I won the Division Competition in April. Here they are:

  • Club
  • Area
  • Division
  • District
  • Quarterfinals (International Speech only)
  • Semifinals (International Speech only)
  • Finals (World Championship of Public Speaking)

Here are the various contests held by Toastmasters:

  • Table Topics – Speaking-off-the-cuff for one to two minutes.
  • Evaluation – Contestants have from two to three minutes to evaluate a test speaker’s speech.
  • Humorous – An original five-to seven-minute speech.
  • Tall Tales – An original three-to five-minute speech.
  • International – An original speech from five to seven minutes on any topic.
Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

Image: Rawpixel – Pixabay

Toastmasters International’s website states, “The International Speech Contest is the only contest that proceeds beyond the district level to Region Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and the World Championship of Public Speaking.

I didn’t discover that information until a good while after I placed 1st in the division level. I was excited I’d get to compete in the District 12 competition at the Spring Conference, but I had no idea what to expect because I hadn’t attended any Toastmaster conferences up to that point.

My mind raced with questions. During a break at a Toastmaster club meeting, I asked, “What’s after District?”

“Region,” one of my club members said. “Some regions cover more than one state. Maybe even Hawaii.”

Another state? Hawaii?  This could get expensive.

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

Photo credit: Stux – Pixabay

So region was above district. I didn’t see this mentioned in the levels, however, so I have left it out in the above list. What region was I in? I searched the Toastmasters International website for information about the regional contest, but I had no luck and remained clueless about where it would be held.

Looking back, I should have asked more questions, but I didn’t want to seem presumptuous about winning, plus I didn’t want to jinx myself. 🙂

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

Image: Geralt – Pixabay

Avoid making the mistake I made. Ask all the questions you want answers to. If you’re not comfortable asking an experienced Toastmaster, you can go to the Toastmasters International website contact us page. For inquiries about speech contests, send an email to speechcontests@toastmasters dot org.

If you’d rather call and speak to someone in person, here’s the number: +1 720-439-5050.

Or, if you prefer snail mail, here’s the address: Toastmasters International, 9127 South Jamaica Street, Suite 400, Englewood, CO 80112

Although I couldn’t find information about the region competition, I stumbled across a list of some of the rules.

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

Image: Mohamed Hassan – Pixabay

I was floored when I came across this one:

“Twenty-five percent or less of the speech may be devoted to quoting, paraphrasing, or referencing another person’s content. Any quoted, paraphrased, or referenced content must be so identified during the speech presentation.”

Are you kidding? My speech was based on tons of research about Alzheimer’s and dementia for blog posts I had written. Some of the content is common knowledge in my field as a Master Certified Health Coach, but still . . .

I spent two days revising it.  Despite the overhaul, I knew my speech would be questioned since breaking it down to what percentage of the content was from other sources would be difficult.

Okay, so the likelihood of winning was slim, but I felt sharing the important message contained in my speech with about 200 people was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Plus, the experience would prepare me for future competitions.

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

Now that I know the rules, I’ll take care to write contest speeches that are in line with the requirements. My mistake cost me countless hours revising and re-learning the material, which could have easily been avoided if I’d only seen a copy of the rulebook.

Clearly, I have a lot to learn about public speaking and competing in Toastmasters contests. I’m going to cover some of those points in a future post, Part 3, so if you’re new at this, too, perhaps what I learned (and am still learning) will be helpful to you.

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

Image: Geralt – Pixabay

Also, while browsing the Toastmasters.org website, I found information about the International Conference, which will be held in Chicago, Illinois in 2018 from August 22 to the 25th. There was mention of Semifinals, so I surmised there were no regional contests, but the winners of the District level contests continue on to compete in the Semifinals at the 2018 Conference.

What if? What if? What if I did win? How could I afford the expenses of traveling to Chicago and staying at a nice hotel for four or five days?

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

Image: Kalhh – Pixabay

Aha! The rulebook addresses that, too. The travel expenses are paid by Toastmasters International for semifinalists to attend the International Conference. Awesome!

Toastmasters International has more than 352,000 memberships, 16,400 clubs in 141 countries. The International Speech Contest starts out with about 30,000 contestants worldwide, until it’s whittled down to all the district winners.

According to David Carpenter, newly elected District 12 Program Quality Director, “Each district sends a winner. As of right now Toastmasters has 106 districts. Those 106 will be split up into 10 semifinals and each winner will compete in the top 10.”

One of those 10 will be crowned the World Champion of Public Speaking at the end of the conference.

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

Image: Geralt – Pixabay

There are some major changes in the works for the 2019 competition.

Distinguished Toast Master (DTM) and 2017-2018 District 12 Director Karen De Vries stated, “Beginning next year, districts will be required to video the winner. The video will be sent to a judging panel as a quarter-final round. Those selected will move on to the semifinals at the International Convention. There still are a number of unanswered questions related to how this new process will work. Likely more information will be discussed at the Convention in August.”

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

Evaluation Contest 1st Place winner, Cindy Carpenter, and International Speech Contest 1st Place winner, Lisa Wright. Photo by Ray Robles

1st Place International Speech Contest winner Lisa Wright will represent District 12  in Chicago, Illinois in August. We’ll be cheering her on.

There are a lot winning Toastmasters speeches on YouTube. Very impressive! In one video, something was mentioned about International Speech Contest finalists needing a different speech other than the one they gave in the semifinals. Say what? *Gulp*

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

They have to come up with a whole new speech? Talk about P-R-E-S-S-U-R-E! One contestant interviewed in the video said he was so busy working on his semifinal speech, he hadn’t had time to finish his second speech. He had until the next day to practice and polish it.

The Speech Contest Rulebook for July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019 has the answers to pretty much any questions you might have. And questions you never thought to ask. Well, questions I never thought to ask. You may be more perceptive than I am.

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

Image – Geralt – Pixabay

For instance, the night before the district contest, I was still making changes to my speech after visiting another club to practice one more time and get their suggestions for improvement.  One member suggested I start off with a dance move.

I decided it was a good idea, and maybe clicking my fingers would be a good way to lead into the dance, but if I began the speech by clicking my fingers, would the timer start at that point or would it start when I spoke my first words? Here’s what the rulebook states:

“Timing will begin with the contestant’s first definite verbal or nonverbal communication with the audience.” 

That’s another valuable piece of info.

I left out the finger clicking since it wasn’t worth risking going over the allotted time limit and being disqualified.

Also found in the rulebook pertaining to Humorous Speeches, it states, “The speech must be thematic in nature (opening, body, and close), not a monologue (series of one-liners).”

Aha! The only other speech contest I had participated in was the Area Humorous Contest in 2015, and I placed 2nd. My speech “Funny Things Are Everywhere” had some one-liners and a lot of short anecdotes about friends, family members, and myself. If I understand the rules correctly, the 25%-or-less rule applies to the humorous speeches, too.

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Humorous Speech Contest, despite the nervous jitters that go along with it. Even though I didn’t win 1st Place, it felt great to step out of my comfort zone to share amusing anecdotes and entertain the audience.

In this 2015 video, I’m practicing at my club meeting, preparing for the competition:

I’m still processing all the information I’ve taken in while competing at the various levels of the International competition.

Watching YouTube videos is helpful in becoming familiar with what the finalists go through. I love this one:

Part 2 is worth a watch, too.

Does this clip inspire you? Can’t help but smile while watching it because I can feel the finalists’ anxiety, anticipation, and excitement. It makes me appreciate all the hard work they put into the speeches that got them that far.

For now, my best piece of advice for participating in a Toastmasters Speech Contest is: Learn the Rules.

In Part 3, I’ll cover helpful tips I learned through this process. For instance, handling feedback from other people, how to prepare to compete in the next level, and more.

Lynn Kelley, What to Expect When Competing in a Toastmasters Speech Contest

Image: Marcoreyesgt – Pixabay

What are your thoughts? Are you familiar with Toastmasters? Do you like to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone? Do you enjoy speaking in front of people? I’d love to hear from you!


Posted in Grammy Gets It, Lynn Kelley, Toastmasters | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Twisted Tree Roots Would Make a Nice Shelter – Daily Post Photo Challenge

I love this week’s Daily Post photo challenge: Twisted.

Aren’t these twisted tree roots cool? This is by Devil’s Postpile in the High Sierras near Mammoth, California.

While my son Mike and daughter Amy hiked up the trail to check out the top of the Devil’s Postpile, George and I sat on a fallen log near the trail and enjoyed the chipmunks and peaceful calm of the forest.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Twisted Photo Challenge

These tree roots caught my eye. I like survival shows like Naked and Afraid, so when I’m in a wilderness environment, I always wonder if I could survive if I was stuck there for a while.

My imagination had a field day planning how to build a shelter by covering the tree roots with branches and leaves. The closer to the ground, the better, to keep warm and snug. This huge trunk would make me feel safe and secure if I huddled up in its nook. I even figured it offered enough space for a few people to join me.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Twisted Photo Challenge

This was a beautiful spot to meditate on the wonders of nature and ponder my survival skills!

What are your thoughts? Do you like survival shows? Do you like to hike on wilderness paths? Do you appreciate nature’s artwork? I’d love to hear from you!

Related posts:

Devil’s Post Pile – Out of this World – Photo Challenge


Posted in Grammy Gets It, Lynn Kelley, Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

District 12 International Speech Contest – Part 1 – What a Grandastic Adventure!

Grand and fantastic is how I describe my experience as a competitor in the Toastmasters District 12 International Speech Contest in Temecula on May 12, 2018.

Lynn Kelley, District 12 Speech Contest

Photo by Ray Robles

No, I didn’t win. Didn’t even place, but I did my best. I didn’t forget my speech, didn’t trip walking across the stage, didn’t fall off the platform, and didn’t have lettuce from the delicious lunch in my teeth. Overall, I pulled it off and feel good about it.

However, I was running out of time. The red light flashes at the seven-minute mark, and then we have 30 seconds to wrap it up. If we go over 7 minutes 30 seconds, we’re disqualified. So, I omitted three lines toward the end of the speech. Those lines are in bold print in the body of the speech below.

The audio for the first 40 seconds of the video is too soft. I think my husband, George, might have had his finger over the tiny microphone. This was the first time he used the iPad Mini to record something. I, too, have a knack for covering the mic with my finger. It’s located right where we hold the edge of the iPad.

He could have used a cell phone, but if anyone calls, it stops the recording, and we didn’t know how to prevent that from happening.

I was fortunate to get a recording even if the quality is poor. George was in the very back of the room, so my face isn’t visible, but viewing this video will help me improve on future speeches.

Here’s the recording. Just call me “the faceless speech contestant!”

If you’re unable to watch the video, here’s the speech:

“Thank you, Madame Chair. Fellow Toastmasters and welcome guests,

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Toastmasters Speech Contest

“I’m so happy to be here, I feel like dancing. But first things first. I have good news and bad news. We’ll start with the bad news: Alzheimer’s Disease may soon outpace heart disease. Currently, there’s no known cure.

“There’s a good chance everyone here knows of someone who’s affected by this condition of the brain wasting away.

“This is personal for me. My father has Alzheimer’s. Dad is a thin, short man whose comical antics are a big hit on the dance floor at wedding receptions. My once-brilliant father is declining into a state of constant confusion. I wouldn’t wish such a fate on anyone.

“Now for the good news: I’m going to share fun ways we can reduce our risk of getting this dreadful disease.

“A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported there are leisure activities that can help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“To name a few: reading, playing board games, and dancing.

“There’s more good news:

“An article in Getting Healthier titled ‘How Dancing Can Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease’ addresses how creative thinking helps improve memory and brain function.

“The article lists activities that apply creative thinking. Raise your hand if one of these activities appeals to you even if you don’t know how to do it yet:

  • Ballroom dancing

  • Crossword puzzles

  • Sudoku

  • Reading

  • Learning a foreign language

  • Cooking classes

  • Drumming

  • Learning a new skill

“If you’re not sure which new skill to learn, I highly recommend juggling. According to Nature Magazine, juggling increases gray matter.

“I’m still learning. My left hand is a loose cannon. The tosses are wild. Get ready to duck!

“There are so many variations to juggling, you’ll never run out of new skills to learn. Try standing on one foot. (Oops – Drops one bean bag.) I told you I’m still learning!

“Two bean bags with one hand. (Oops! Drops both bean bags and laughs.) I’m still building gray matter!

“Juggling and those other activities involve creative thinking and reduce our risk of dementia.

“Say what? You mean we can ward off the heart breaking, brain-erasing disease by participating in fun, stress-relieving activities? Yep!

“Doesn’t that make you want to get up and do a happy dance? (Dances the Charleston.)

“Here’s a breakdown on the study:

“Sports activities such as swimming and bicycling reduced the risk of dementia by zero percent. That may surprise you. However, keep in mind this particular study focused only on the brain and not on the benefits of cardio workouts.

“Reading reduced the risk of dementia by 35%.

“Doing crossword puzzles 4 days a week reduced the risk by 47%.

“Dancing frequently reduced the risk by 76%, specifically ballroom dancing such as the Foxtrot, swing, waltz, Tango, and Latin.

“Ballroom dancing applies various brain functions working together in sync. For instance:

  • Music

  • Thought

  • Emotions

  • Movement

  • Physical touching of your dance partner

“Ballroom dancing applies all of those brain functions and calls for rapid-fire responses, which create new neural pathways. It’s as if the brain is performing mental gymnastics.

“I have more good news. There’s no talent required. Regardless of having two left feet, no sense of rhythm, and no experience dancing, our brains still improve. We reap the benefits while learning new skills.

“Stimulating the brain while learning new skills is key, especially skills which call for split-second decisions.

“There’s even more good news. In case you’re unable to dance, other experts are studying the benefits of singing to fight dementia.

“What a nice variety of activities to choose from to reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. You’ll never get bored if you mix it up.

“Remember, talent is not a prerequisite to learning new skills and you don’t have to master your new skills to improve your brain.

“A new skill can be a new sport, a new hobby, a new game, anything you haven’t learned yet, or variations of the skills you already know.

“Let’s practice our new skills as often as possible.

“I’m going to dance with my father every chance I can get.

“What do you say we get out there and dance our hearts out, learn some new skills, and keep our brains young?”

Speech contestants:
Lisa Wright (1st), Jacinta Mpalyenkana (2nd), Richard Snyder (3rd),
Carolyn Manning, Lynn Kelley

Photo by Ray Robles

The photo was taken prior to the awards announcement.
The three winners just happened to be standing in the order they placed. It was a pleasure to meet these amazing people.

I only wish I’d been able to hear each of their speeches, but I was off to the side in a hallway and only caught bits and pieces while focusing on calming my nerves.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Speech Contest

The Wonder Woman power pose helped me calm my nerves prior to giving my speech.

 Lisa Wright, 1st place winner, will go on to compete in the semifinals at the 2018 International Conference in Chicago, Illinois, August 22 to 25. Good luck, Lisa!

I learned a lot about Toastmasters speech contests these past few months. There’s always room for improvement. In Part 2 I’ll cover mistakes I made so you won’t have to learn the hard way. First and foremost, we’ll cover the importance of learning the contest rules.

Related Posts:

Becoming a Public Speaker – Say What?

What are your thoughts? Is competing in a speech contest something you’d want to do if you have an important message you want to share? Do you learn from your mistakes? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Posted in Grammy Gets It, Health and Wellness, Lynn Kelley, Toastmasters, YouTube Video | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Celebrating Mom’s Memories on Mother’s Day – Parenting Plights & Delights

Lynn Kelley, Parenting Plights & Delights, Mom's Memories

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and especially to my mom, Marilyn!

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Mom's Memories

Mom – age 14

Last August I interviewed my mom, two months before she turned 82. This is Part 2.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Mom's Memories

Mom with Emily and Irene, her two older sisters – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

In Part 1 (not available to the public), Mom talks about her family. Mom was 13, the third oldest child, when her mother died after giving birth to my Aunt Clare. It was my grandpap’s birthday. He became a widower with seven daughters to care for.

Mom met my father when she was 14, and her father remarried when Mom was around 15. The evil step-mother badmouthed my dead grandmother, got rid of her things, criticized the clothes the girls wore, and made Cinderella’s step-mom look like a gem.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Mom's Memories

Mom and her best friend, Sis

Mom got a job as a file clerk when she was 16. She went through an employment agency. When her first paycheck was issued, the step-mother demanded Mom hand over the money, but she didn’t receive anything because the employment agency took their cut. Evil stepmother slapped Mom across the face.

That was the last straw. Mom decided to elope and get away from the evil step-mother. In July 1952, Mom and Dad married. She lied and said she was 21. Actually, she was three months shy of turning 17. Dad was 19. His mother signed for him to get married.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Mom's Memories

Mom and Dad – Newlyweds – 1952

Grandpap ended up divorcing Mom’s step-mother not too long after Mom eloped because he’d had enough of that woman’s evil ways. He never remarried after that.

In Part 1, Mom also shares interesting family history. Her mother was the oldest of four children, and their mother (my great-grandmother) died in 1918 from the Spanish influenza, which claimed the lives of many healthy people in their 20s and 30s. Pittsburgh got hit extra hard.

Mom’s grandfather had to put the four children in an orphanage while he moved into a boarding home. He met a woman named Katy, another boarder. They fell in love and married. She helped raise the four children, and because she was unable to have children of her own, they adopted a baby girl.

Mom’s father spent most of his childhood in an orphanage. At age 13 he was out on his own and became an apprentice printer.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Mom's Memories

Mom’s father and mother.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Mom's Memories

All seven sisters: Emily, Mom (Marilyn), Sam, Clare, Dorothy, Roseann, and Irene.

In Part 2 of the interview, Mom talks about what it was like to have babies back in the 1950s. She was given a saddle block, which numbed her from the waist down. Dad had been drafted into the army during the Korean war and was stationed overseas in Austria when my brother was born in 1954. Back then, women were kept in the hospital for five days after giving birth.

Mom had an easy time carrying and delivering her babies. She was in labor five hours with her first baby and only two hours with her fifth and last baby.

Married for 65 years last July, Mom and Dad have five children, 16 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and two more on the way. Here’s a post from their 60th Anniversary.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Mom's Memories

Powell family in 1974 – Back row: Gordy, Pam, Dad – Middle row: Jeff, Mom – Front row: Lynn, Cindy, Grandma

I would also like to remember George’s mother. I never had the pleasure of knowing her because she passed away when he was 15. She had rheumatic fever as a child and it left her with a weak heart.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Mom's Memories

George’s mother – Helen Kelley

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Mom's Memories

Kelley family just prior to Helen’s passing. Back row: Jim, George, Gil – Front row: Betty, Helen, Buster

Helen would have turned 100 years old on May 2nd, so we went to the cemetery and put flowers on her grave and on George’s father’s grave, too. Our daughter, Amy, was born on Helen’s birthday. Amy took the photo.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Mom's Memories

Linda (my sister-in-law), my hubby George, Jim (brother-in-law), Lynn, and Chatty Girl

As you can see, family is important to us. Reminds me of a favorite quote: “Families are a lot like fudge – very sweet with a few nuts.” ~ Anonymous

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Mother’s Day.

What are your thoughts? Are you interested in your family’s history? Have you written all the important info down? What are you doing for Mother’s Day? I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in family, Grammy Gets It, Holidays, Lynn Kelley, Nostalgia, YouTube Video | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Laughter – I Live to Laugh

I live to laugh. Do you? Laughter seems to be one of my basic needs.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Laughter, I Live to Laugh

Good thing humor is all around us. I’m one of those people who view our world through a comic lens, for the most part. I suspect it’s one of my coping mechanisms. I’d rather laugh than cry. Laughing so hard that I cry, oh man, those are the best of times!

The sound of other people’s laughter is music to me, and I find the many ways people laugh entertaining and amusing.

The other day I watched a great video on Facebook. It was of a bride and groom. The groom messed up his wedding vows, and the bride kept busting out in screaming laughter. She couldn’t contain herself.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been guilty of screaming laughter.

How about the silent, animated type? You know, when you can’t catch your breath. That’s hard core laughter, in my book.

Do you hold your belly and slap your knee?

I find it extremely embarrassing when I’m hooting and a snort escapes. Are any of you snorters, too?

Do we have any bounce-in-the-chair-and-bang-your-head-on-the-table types?

How about when you’re standing up and chuckle so hard you have to jump up and down like a goofball?

Ever cracked up so bad you fell on the floor and rolled around, roaring with hysterics?

I’m guilty of all the above. Although I try to control myself out in public, sometimes it’s hard.

Baby laughter is, by far, the sweetest laughter in the world.  Here’s a clip of my grandson:

What type of laugher are you?

This post was written in response to The Daily Post’s one-word prompt of the day,

Related posts:

Friday Funnies From a Funny Family

What are your thoughts? Do you think laughter is one of our basic needs? What makes you laugh? I’d love to hear from you!




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Becoming a Public Speaker – Say What?

Public speaking? Me? Are you kidding?

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Becoming a Public Speaker

Almost four years ago I joined Toastmasters International to get over my fear of public speaking. Here’s a post about my first prepared speech: Stepping Out of the Zone – My Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech!

I still struggle with speaking-off-the-cuff, which happens during Table Topics when we’re asked a question about the theme of the meeting and given one to two minutes to speak. On lucky days, I’m asked a question that I connect with, something that has meaning to me, and that’s when I’ve been able to speak naturally and actually won best Table Topics a couple times. For the most part, though, I’m tongue tied.

Joining Toastmasters is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The members are friendly and welcoming. They make me feel comfortable, so I’m not afraid to take risks and step out of my comfort zone. When I make a mistake, I know it’s okay because we all do and it’s just part of learning and improving our skills.

I missed most of the meetings my third year in because George was battling cancer, fighting for his life. I’m happy to report he’s still in remission. To read about the beginning of that crazy journey, start here: Down the Rabbit Hole Part 1 – The Spot Found in a Random X-ray. (I still need to finish writing about it. Bit by bit.)

As it turns out, I won the International category speech contest on April 14 for Division A, District 12. Check out the cute dress I wore and new heels in this post: When Your Shoe Breaks in Public or You Tear a Hole in Your Fishmets.

Lynn Kelley, Grammy Gets It, Becoming a Public Speaker

Since February I’ve been working on my speech, “Reduce Your Risk of Dementia,” and I’ve revised it so many times, you’d think I’d be sick of it by now, but I’m not. I love my speech because it has an extremely important message.

Members of my Toastmasters club and a couple other clubs have given me feedback, so I’ve listened closely and made appropriate changes. This latest revision was the hardest. People wanted a description of my father other than just stating he has Alzheimer’s, so here’s what I added over the weekend:

“Dad is a thin, short man whose comical antics are a big hit on the dance floor at wedding receptions. My once-brilliant father is declining into a state of constant confusion. I wouldn’t wish such a fate on anyone.”

Now I know why I resisted adding something like that. It’s so emotional, I hope I can hold myself together during the competition. As hard as it will be to deliver this speech, I’m on a mission to share the message with as many people as possible so they can reduce their risk of dementia.

Here’s an earlier version of the speech.

Fun Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Dementia – Speech for Contest

Not a good delivery, but that’s what practice is for, right?

Finally, here’s a clip of Dad teaching me how to slow dance. I’m the one who’s slow at learning to slow dance, but that’s okay. Learning new skills is what matters. Just going through the process improves our brains!

I’m going to crank up some good music, dance like there’s no one watching, and hopefully calm my nerves. Competing in a speech contest is exciting and scary at the same time. Wish me luck!

What are your thoughts? Are you afraid of public speaking? Have you ever heard of Toastmasters? Do you like to dance? I’d love to hear from you!

Contest Photo credit: Taylor D. Fennell, Esq.




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Disposal Edge – A Poem About Old Silverware

Do you have old, messed up silverware? Do your spoons have disposal edge?

Lynn Kelley

Here’s one last poem for National Poetry Month. April sure whizzed by, didn’t it?

Once again, I have a video from 1999, practicing for a poetry reading. The poem “Disposal Edge” starts at the 1:58 mark.

Disposal Edge

Sometimes little things grind on my nerves,
like most of our spoons have disposal edge.
“Check the disposal before turning it on,”
I tell my girls.
“We do,” they say, but the spoons speak
for themselves.
I worry that my youngest will cut her mouth.

For years we had a crooked fork,
its tines bent and distorted.
If the kids set it at my place,
I would flip.
My husband chuckled and set me up
again and again
until the day I threw that forsaken fork away.

My friend’s husband died yesterday,
her pain so sharp, it cuts through her very core.
She’s left with a houseful of kids
and a heart full of sorrow.
Sort of puts bent forks and disposal edge spoons
into perspective
~Lynn Kelley

To read more poems from recent blog posts:


The Taste of Poverty

What are your thoughts? Do you ever forget to check the garbage disposal for silverware or other objects before turning it on? Does it make you cringe? Do minor things like bent forks ever bug you? I’d love to hear from you!

Image: Courtesy of Mark Martins – Pixabay

Posted in Grammy Gets It, Lynn Kelley, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments