Barbie Perkins-Cooper, Author

A Writer and Photojournalist's Blog

Dearest Readers:

Yes. I understand. I’ve been silent for much too long. When I started my blog, I posted regularly. Thrilled to finally be writing again

Unfortunately, since at least 2015 my life has been unpredictable, stressed, and I lost my confidence in my abilities as a writer. Every time I attempted to write, life would interrupt me. Again. And again…!

Now, my goal for 2020 is to keep this blog busy. Last year, I had the same goal, but life knocked on my door endlessly. In late August, Phil and I decided to possibly place our home in Mount Pleasant on the market. After all, many in our neighborhood were doing it. They said the time is right. The market. You should consider doing the same.

My home is old. Built in 1954. We’ve done many renovations to it, but the bathrooms are still too small. We don’t have the popular “open concept” and I don’t want strangers coming into my home touring.

Long story short – we met a realtor who became a great friend we could trust. We staged what we could. Packed items – actually, pre-packing to move and started looking for a home. In the country. Away from the suburbs. Away from noise. Away from neighbors and congested traffic!

We found one such home in Hollywood, SC. Unfortunately, it sold before we could complete pre-packing. Our realtor assured us we would find another home. “A better home to meet your needs. I believe in making clients dreams come true.”

I suppose you could say I didn’t believe him. Immediately I responded — “I told you. No B-S with me!” I felt like Scrooge!

Five days passed. I searched on and I found an interesting property. Complete with five acres and a pond. A nice yellow farm house. I clicked on to the site, only to have my computer bomb. I was so disappointed. Rebooting the computer, I researched and again only to realize I could not locate them. Later in the day, I received an email from another realtor. Deciding to click on the link of current homes for sale, I found the yellow house.

The doorbell rang. Our realtor was here to discuss more homes and opportunities. I rushed him over to see the yellow house.

He knew about the house but thought it was out of our price range.

“We’ve got an approved loan for the full amount,” I said. “Of course it’s contingent upon selling this house, so you’ve got homework to do!”

On Wednesday of that week we drove to see our yellow farm house. I remember as a child I said I would one day have a home on waterfront property! This beautiful home was that opportunity of a lifetime. Never did I believe my dream would come true. Why? Life! Disappointments and lack of confidence!

Now, readers, perhaps you can understand what has been happening within our former home and our new home. Now, we have waterfront property. A pond filled with big fish, including catfish, bream and big mouth bass. Yesterday I counted 10 large turtles in the pond too. Some were sun bathing. Others were swimming in my direction, only to bop their little heads under water!

Finally, one of my dreams has come true! Now, I must pursue another dream – the completion of CHATTAHOOCHEE CHILD!

Will I complete that story? You betcha! And now, I’m off to feed my fish and watch them jump in the water to eat their dinner while Phil and I eat my famous homemade chili.

Introducing – My Golden Pond. Yes, Virginia, some dreams do come true!

Dearest Readers:

Yes, I know. I haven’t written or posted anything in months. I plan to share that story later — perhaps titled ‘MOVING — A COMEDY OF ERRORS!’

I promise. That story will be shared; however, today, I have a strange piece of humor to share. You might laugh until you ache!

Last night – in the early morning hours just before dawn, I awaken hearing a boom, crashing sound by the new house. I sit up curious as to what was going on outside.

I rush to the ladies room, deciding to go outside to see what happened. Still half asleep, I open the back door. I do not check to see if it is still locked. After all, I left the door open! Gusting winds are creating a graceful ballet of swaying trees dancing all around me. Tall pine trees. Oaks. Magnolias. Sycamore. All are dancing such a beautiful ballet.

From the porch I admire this beautiful dance of nature. Suddenly, I hear SLAM! The back door closed. Uh. Oh!

I’m locked out of my house and it is still dark outside. What? Do? I? Do?

I jiggle the door handle. LOCKED!

Deciding to knock on the door, I realize Phil is sound asleep. He will not awaken.

I make fists of my hands, knocking on the door. Of course, no one responds, and so I decide to knock with a rhythmic method of percussion.

Bang Bang. Knock Knock. Bang de Bang. Bang de Bang.Bang de Bang. Bang de Bang.

Stopping because my fingers ache, I glance outside. The motion lights are on and it is still so dark. What do I do now?

Of course, my cell phone is inside the house, charging. I continue banging.

The only thing I know to do now, is either continue banging, hoping Phil just might hear something, or I can go outside into the gusting winds and rain and get on the front porch and ring the doorbell. HUMPH! I doubt he’ll hear the doorbell, so I continue my rhythmic drumming until my fingers are throbbing.

Stepping onto the porch steps, I shake my hands so they’ll stop hurting from the drumming.

Something tells me not to step into the dark of night. Again, I drum the sound of percussion from my fingertips and hands.

Maybe I should pray!

I flex my fingertips. Dear God, please let Phil hear me. Maybe he’ll come check on me to see if I’m ok. He knows I sleep on the sofa now since I can’t get comfortable in bed due to this aching back. My back brace is inside. My back will start hurting if I continue standing here. Please, dear God, let him hear me.

I’m still standing on the porch, dressed in leggings and shorty PJ’s and socks. If I step outside to walk around to the front of the house I’ll be soaked. Just what do I do now? My back hurts.

Please dear God, awaken Phil.

As I turn away to step outside, I drum on the glass once more. The hall light comes on! God is helping me!

I see Phil standing by the sofa. I knock on the glass again, beating a rhythm of HELP! help. HELP!

Phil opens the back door. I practically jump into his arms. Thank you! Thank you. You heard me!

He yawns. “What are you doing out here?”

I heard a noise so I wanted to check. The gusting winds shut the back door, locking me out.

I walked to the sofa, rubbing my aching back. Phil tucks me in. It is 5:15 am. Still so dark!

Phil decides since he is awake, he might as well go to work, provided I’m OK. He touches me. I moan, anxious to fall back to sleep.

I kissed him, touching his face. Thank you for rescuing me, again!

Dearest Readers:

As I strive to push some energy into my body on the first day of packing to move, I must acknowledge The Perkins Twins. Yesterday was the 105th birthday of Walter W. and Lewis Eugene Perkins, aka “The Perkins Twins.” I thought of their birthday all day, never finding a free moment to share with my readers. Now, as I await the moving truck, I want to wish my beloved father and his identical twin brother a belated birthday in Heaven.

I lost my father on July 6, 1999. Twenty years ago. He lost his identical twin brother at the young age of 26. I wasn’t born then. Not even a thought or wish of my father, at the time of Uncle Lewis’s death.

While I do not wish to focus on the dreadful family life our family lived when my mother and father were married, I do want to contemplate The Perkins Twins on their birthday.

My father taught me not to focus on the negative hatred our family lived in. He always said, and I quote: “Don’t look back on life. Move forward. Be thankful for who you are, and what you achieve in life.”

Our family kept secrets inside the walls of the many houses we lived in. We had a history of moving about every three months. Never able to place roots anywhere. Today, our roots will change. We are moving to Ravenel, SC. A place with a pond and five acres. I’ll find peace. Quiet. I’ll see wildlife and nature. Stay tuned later after I’m able to move everything in and make it presentable for many pictures of our new home.

Yes, we’re leaving the only home where I was able to establish HOME, roots and life, after living within this home I am moving from today.

I’m apprehensive, but hopeful our new home will bring us much happiness. Today I step into a new adventure. Moving.

We will spend our first night in our new home on December 23, 2019. Merry Christmas everyone. Please remember the reason for the season. The birth of Christ. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Dearest Readers:

Today is Tuesday, December 16, 2019. Christmas is only nine days away. For our home this year, there isn’t the traditional Christmas tree decorated. All I have is a Norfolk Island Pine my husband surprised me with about a week ago when I mentioned I missed our traditional Christmas tree.

This year, everything is different. Why don’t I have Christmas spirit you ask? I do. Always! I believe in the spirit of Christmas, not Christmas magic. I believe in miracles at Christmas, especially this year while praying God would help us to sell this home and find another. Happy to report, God, along with an amazing realtor, are the reasons we are moving on! The reason things are different this year at Christmas time is we are selling our home where we’ve lived for over 42 years and we are moving to a new home in Ravenel, SC.

Our Christmas gift to each other is a new home! A home built on five acres of land and a pond. I’ve always said I wanted to live on waterfront property. I definitely consider this pond waterfront. As we walked around the property last week we noticed the marsh lands too. So, I am excited.

Do I have reservations about moving from the only home I’ve ever built roots on? Of course I do. Our son was only six years old when we moved here. I watched him play T-ball and baseball in our neighborhood. We walked to school together. When I raked the yard, he and his neighborhood friends jumped into the pile, making leaf angels. Laughing so hard I decided kids playing in the stack of leaves was funnier than my challenge to rake and clean the lawn. I took photographs of the children while they played. Last week, I found some of those photographs while packing.

Memories. I have footprints, hand prints and memories here in this house. Just how many times have we remodeled? Let’s just say, I’ve lost count! At least three times for the kitchen. Now, it shines with granite counter tops and custom built cabinets from the ceiling to the floor. My husband designed the tile floor in a diamond shape. Yes, I’ll miss my kitchen; however, the new home has a nice kitchen I’m certain I will enjoy. The only caution I have is cooking on a gas stove.

Looking around the house now while typing, I see boxes. Small. Medium. Wardrobe. Boxes. BOXES. BOXES – EVERYWHERE.

i’ve given several black construction bags filled with clothing I either forgot I had or no longer wanted to several charities. I hope the women who get them will appreciate them. Some of them still have price tags on them.

Here it is Christmas, 2019 and I keep thinking about packing stuff. How much stuff? LOTS! I’ve discarded old finger nail polish I forgot I had. Magazines. Books. Women reading this can only imagine how much STUFF I’ve trashed and donated.

I suppose I should get another cup of coffee and get this day started. After all, like Santa Claus and his elves, I have too much to do. I must pack. Sort. Discard. Donate. Tis the season, only this season I’m donating home items, clothing, children’s toys I found tucked away in a closet, and much more.

This morning is a gray day. No wind blowing. Just quiet until now. In the distance, along the Charleston Harbor, I hear fog horns. Oh. How. I. Will. Miss. The. Relaxing hummmmmm-mm of fog horns. Then, I remember, I’ll be able to sit on a porch with a fresh pot of coffee while watching birds, deer and other wildlife. I’ll be able to fish in my pond. I confess, I’ll use a cane pole!

My precious dogs are sleeping while I look at things I still need to pack. Next year at Christmas we plan to get a tall tree since we have cathedral ceilings in the new home. While I don’t want to wish the years away, I’m looking forward to Christmas at our new home. Boxes will be everywhere this year. Furniture will probably be moved lots. While imagining all I will need to do to decorate the new home I feel a bit overwhelmed. Pinching myself I say This too shall pass!

I’m moving to a new home. A new journey. A new adventure. I’m so ready for the adventures of wildlife and serenity!

Merry Christmas!

Totally forgot to take a photograph of Better Than Sex Cake. Chocolate is just so tempting!

Dearest Readers:

To those of you who do not know, Weight Watchers is now called “WW.” If you are a regular reader of my blog, you must know, I am a Weight Watcher, or “WW.” I’m proud to say that!

Today was my weekly weigh-in. Like everyone, I dreaded it. I knew it was time to face the music…to be accountable…responsible, …and so on!

My goal for this meeting was to lose one more pound. Yes. One. More. Pound. If I accomplished that, I would be able to say “I’ve lost forty pounds.” Ten pounds of sugar, since sugar comes in four-pound bags now, not five! Or, I could say, I’ve lost forty sticks of butter. Eight five-pound bags of potatoes!

Perhaps you get the picture now. Last night was another lack of sleep night for me. Awakening at 10 pm… Midnight 2 am. 4 am. 6 am. Ah to heck with it. I’m getting up I can’t sleep – AGAIN! I’ve watched so many Hallmark Christmas movies; lately I think I’m running out of the good ones!

So, this morning I’ve decided I needed to get to the meeting. No, I did not anticipate a loss. Not. After. Thanksgiving!

On that holiday, I cooked dinner for my husband, Phil. The pups got to eat a bit of turkey. As for me. Yes. I. Ate. TOO MUCH. That is – I ate too much chocolate!

I’m convinced – chocolate IS an aphrodisiac! This Thanksgiving, I served my infamous Better Than Sex Cake. A thin layer of crust. A layer of cream cheese mixed with Cool Whip Light. A beautiful, plump layer of sugar-free chocolate pudding, topped with a thick layer of Cool Whip Light. I will share my recipe below!

On Friday, my husband returned to work. I stayed home with the dogs. Since we are moving soon, I chose not to fight the Black Friday sales. I brewed a fresh pot of coffee, opened the fridge to get my Coffeemate French Vanilla creamer, only to cast my eyes at a dish covered with aluminum foil.

Better Than Sex Cake. Oops. Look Away! Close the fridge. Ah. Go. Ahead. Just one piece won’t kill you or make you gain weight.

I grabbed a bowl and a spoon. Quickly, I scooped up a BIG piece of this delicate. Delicious. Aphrodisiac. To say it was delicious is an understatement, especially for me. I LOVE chocolate!

Throughout the day, that dessert called for me. Each time, I listened and weakened. Before the evening was over, I ate almost all of it while wondering why am I doing this? I’m sabotaging Weight Watchers and my goal to lose one more pound.

Just before bedtime, I finished off the dessert. The next morning, angry with myself for not tracking and eating only what I should, I chewed myself out.

I started tracking again while imagining that dessert one more time. Sure wish I had one more piece of Better than Sex Cake. No…Nothing is better than ___!

This morning, I got on my scales at home, anticipating a significant weight gain.

Dressing to go to Weight Watchers, I decided to weigh all of my clothing. The black tights. My short gray skirt. My black turtleneck and my Christmas vest of high heels, and my black knee boots! I wanted to feel good about myself, even IF I gained a pound or two.

Yes, I LOVE HIGH HEELS. Anyone who knows me recognizes my walk. How I swag. One foot in front of the other. My heels were clicking against the pavement, as if to say, “Barbie’s here!”

Arriving at WW, there was a long line. Slowly we moved, and when I counted only three ladies ahead of me, I started to remove a bit of clothing and boots.

Unzipping the boots, I kicked them off, placing them near my handbag. I removed the Christmas vest, still anticipating a weight gain – all to the credit of my weakness for delectable aphrodisiacs of chocolate dancing in my brain. Still furious with myself while recognizing I had no one else to blame, I was convinced I had gained.

Moving slowly on the scales, I stretched over to see if I could read a loss. Since WW has “confidential weigh-ins,” I could not. Mindi calculated my weight.

Did I lose anything?

“You’ve lost 40.6 pounds now!”

I squealed. All the ladies at our Thursday morning meetings know I’m not shy. They heard me say: “I did it? I LOST 40 POUNDS?!”

So, for me, today was a celebration! When I joined Weight Watchers, I told only myself I wanted to lose 40 pounds. Now accomplishing that goal, I’ve decided to make another goal – lose another five pounds. And another. And another! This I can do for me. Only for me! After all, I am woman. I can eat something delectable and still convince myself I can lose. After all, This I Do For Me!

Here’s the recipe!

Bon Apetit!


2 cups flour

2 sticks of margarine (room temp)

½ cup chopped pecans

8 ounces of whipped cream cheese (fat free) (room temp)

whipped topping (Cool Whip Lite)

2 large boxes of Sugar Free Instant Chocolate Pudding (Jello Sugar Free works well)

4 cups milk

Hershey Bar (rarely do I use this)

Chopped pecans for garnish

Make a crust from flour, butter and the chopped pecans. Mix well and press into a 9 x 12 inch pan or a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow this to cool.

Mix cream cheese, 1 cup of the whipped topping.

When crust is cool to touch, spread the creamed cheese mixture lightly on the crust.

Prepare sugar free, instant pudding with 4 cups of milk, as directed on carton of box. Layer this on the dessert. Top with more whipped topping and decorate with chocolate curls from the candy bar (if used). I prefer to garnish with chopped pecans. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.

Submitted by: Barbie Perkins-Cooper

Dearest Readers:

Today is a day of remembrance and heartache for me. On Wednesday, November 21, 2018, we had to say goodbye to our precious little mini-schnauzer, Mr. Hanks.

Prior to us rescuing him and welcoming him into our family, he was an angry little boy who loved to bite — MEN! When we fostered him, I was told his story which I shall share below:

“Hank” as he was called by everyone who cared for him was basically abandoned after his master passed away. No one in the family wanted him so they took him to a kill shelter. Fortunately, the kill shelter contacted Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas. He was fostered by a woman in Myrtle Beach but she couldn’t devote the time needed since her pup was in hospice. Anita of Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas asked me if I would consider fostering him. Of course, I said yes, drove to Myrtle Beach to get him, and Hank and I bonded immediately.

That evening Hank bit my husband for the first time. While he lived in our home, he would nip at my husband’s feet, legs and hands, sometimes managing to leave marks and blood. A few weeks later Hank was adopted.

After his adoption, I had dreams about him. In one dream, he ran away and came to our front door. Quite a journey for him, but it was only a dream. I awoke to imagining Hank was at the front door barking.

In another dream, Hank ran away again, managing to end up on I-26. In this dream I realized Hank was doing his amazing animal communication skills to share something with me. A few weeks later, I heard from his adoptive family. “Hank wasn’t working out.”

I contacted Anita and that weekend I rescued him again, this time we adopted him. Over the years, Hank’s anger seemed to ease. When he wanted attention, he groaned. When at my desk writing, Hank joined me, curling his small body around my feet. When I walked on the treadmill, he joined me again, barking at me, letting me know he wanted to walk on the treadmill. Never have I had a dog who loved the treadmill like Hank did. When I get on my treadmill now, I miss him. Many times I’ve actually cried. Because of his athletic ability I started calling him Mr. Hanks, the Tank! He loved that name!

Last year, just before Thanksgiving, Mr. Hanks became sick. He would not eat or drink water. He refused to move around and he would not go outside.

Arriving at the vet’s office, he was examined. My vet said he was shutting down. After talking with Mr. Hanks, the Tank, I hugged and kissed him. He understood what I was saying and he kissed me on the nose. Hank wasn’t a kisser! No doubt this was his way of saying goodbye.

Today, I’d like to honor and remember my little Hanks the Tank. He found love and acceptance with us. As the tears fall down my face, I still remember him. Miss him, and love him.

Mr. Hanks the Tank, one day we will see one another again. I know you rode the treadmill to Heaven and I will remember you and love you, ALWAYS.

Mr. Hanks, the Tank

Dearest Readers:

Today is Veterans Day in the USA. A day to give thanks to those who served. Those who gave all. And those who served, fought and came home to America.

My husband is a Veteran of the Vietnam conflict. Notice, I said Conflict, not war. Durng that time, the legislators referred Vietnam as a conflict, not a war. Yes, a play on words. Believe me, Vietnam was a war.

I refuse to get political about a play on words because Vietnam taught America a lot about what a war is and how our Veterans should be respected.

A few weeks ago, I answered the phone, only to discover another robocall; however, this time, it was a robocall about the benefits of veterans. I almost hung up. Much to my surprise, the voice on the end spoke to me, thanking me for my sacrifice as the Wife of a Veteran.

I was shocked. No one has ever said thank you to me for my sacrifice and many times when we get those types of calls, the party on the other line only wants to speak to the Veteran.

So for today, I would like to say thank you to all Veterans, but most especially, to the Veterans of Vietnam. I am so blessed and proud to know many of these Veterans.

May your day as a Veteran be blessed. May your family share their pride and love for all of you. Happy Veterans Day!

From a Facebook of yesterday. You’ve asked: “What’s on my mind???” Here goes: Earlier this week, I made an appointment at JC Penney Hair Salon to have my hair trimmed and shaped at 2pm today, Saturday, November 2, 2019. Fighting traffic on I-26, traffic headed west came to a stop. I fought it all the way to Northwoods Mall. Still don’t know why a police officer with blue lights flashing stopped the traffic. Finally arriving at Penney’s I tell the receptionists (seems there were three on duty at the front desk) I had an appointment with Patty. They gave me a perplexing look. “Patty isn’t here today.”

Years ago – when customer service was good – I would get the decency of a phone call. NOT TODAY!

“Then why couldn’t ONE OF YOU have the decency to call her customers to let them know???”

No one answered me. Their body language said it all!

Think I’m done with getting haircuts at J C Penney Hair Salon. Never will I be treated like that again.

Now, to find a stylist who listens and will only TRIM AND SHAPE my hair along with someone who believes in customer service. Understand. I’m not holding the blame on Patty. The receptionist is to blame. On the phone, when I made the appointment, something told me she lacked customer service skills! Was I EVER RIGHT! I suppose I should mention, I’ve been a customer at that hair salon for over 20 years — BUT — NO MORE!

Oh well. Goodbye, JC Penney Hair Salon!

So much for customer service!

Roughly, 30 minutes ago, we decided to stop at Blaze Pizza. Normally, when we’ve decided to patronize them, the customer service is good. Not the case – today!

What an experience. We walked inside. Only one customer was there. A guy, all alone, eating his pizza. We walked to the area where you order. No one was inside the kitchen area. I glanced around. One employee was sitting at a table, near the door, playing with her phone. A guy with dreadlocks came inside, only for a moment. He looked our way. Never acknowledged us, then he walked outside. About three employees were outside. Sitting on a car hood. One was playing with a puppy. The other employees of Blaze Pizza – you guessed it! Playing with their phones and chatting. It must be nice to get paid just to goof around at work??? Let’s pray those employees playing with the puppy and their phones will wash their hands when they come inside — that is — IF they come inside.

We stood around, waiting for someone to acknowledge us. Finally – about five minutes had passed — and someone greeted us. How I wanted to say, “Gee, I thought we were invisible, or something,” but I decided it wasn’t the time.

I suspect the Blaze Pizza in Mt. Pleasant will not last. Their customer service doesn’t exist. When we were finally able to order our pizzas, the taste was good. The quality of service – PATHETIC!

Dearest Readers:

While I only have a few minutes to write something, I thought it was past the time to explain why I haven’t been online, or writing.

Let’s see. Just where do I begin? In mid August, my husband and I met with a Realtor to discuss placing our home on the market. I listened to him. I was definitely negative about selling our home; however, after researching the area where I live, I realized I would be a fool not to list it. After all, I do not want certain people to have their hands out when the time comes that I leave this earth. Those guilty know who they are, and all I’ll say is – there’s a big surprise coming!

Yes. We are selling our home. We’ve placed a contract on another home, contingent upon our home selling quickly. Please, God. Let this house sell quickly. Let an investor discover it would be a great home to flip – identical to all of the new, white mansions built around this community.

Meanwhile, while our home is on the market, actually before it went on the market, we decided to move a few pieces of furniture, to open the area. This led to ‘pre-packing’ and trashing lots of stuff. I’ve packed so many boxes, brutalizing my once well-manicured nails. I’ve donated to Goodwill. Now they have lots of recipe books and fiction in their stores. I’ve filled up two garbage containers (three times) with stuff I decided it was time to simply trash. Someone said I should have a yard or an estate sale. Heck, planning those takes time, and I’m in a rush to get my life back again.

We’ve lived in this home for 42 years. It is time to open a new chapter…to start a new journey…and to build a new life. Please, readers, pray that our home sells quickly. I do not wish to unpack all that I’ve packed for a new home until we get moved.

I have a free entertainment center to give away. I will not post it on CraigsList, or Facebook. I simply want this monster gone!

Moving requires work, and I am just a bit exhausted.

So now readers, you know why I haven’t posted anything lately. I don’t recall sending emails either. Text. I’m getting fairly smart about texting now. And now, I must go back to packing and sorting more books for Goodwill.

More later, readers.

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