Welcome to my world and its sometimes twisted imagination 



                                         Good morning blog world!


              By way of introduction to anyone who is checking me out for the first time, (now that has a stalker-like ring to it, doesn’t it?) I want to start out with a welcome greeting. To my faithful followers, who have already read my day-to-day stream of consciousness posts, bear with me. It was suggested by some of my readers that I reverse the order of my posts so that the current day is first. That way they don’t have to scroll all the way through the previous ones. 

                Duh, why didn’t I think of this? Why? Because I truly have no experience in this world of blogging and don’t have a clue. This is completely un-chartered waters and the mechanics of it, to be honest, baffle me. 

                So I’m going to re-post Sept. 20, Day 1, which explains why I’m here in the first place. And just to confuse you further, it will also be Tuesday, Oct. 10, Day 22. From here on in, this will be the opening greeting, (along with Day 1) so newcomers will hopefully understand what the heck I’m doing, (despite the fact that I don’t.) So now are we all on the same page? Doesn’t all of this just compel you to come back every day?

                                                         Yes? Awesome! 

                                                  No? I don’t blame you. 

                                   There are days I don’t want to either, lol

                                                Sept. 20 - Day 1

Okay, so bear with me. This is my first time out into the world of a million and one blogs and I openly and honestly have no idea what I'm doing. So why then am I doing this? Because someone (who will remain nameless,) suggested it. Not that I always listen to or follow suggestions. Actually, the reality is that I rarely listen because I have a somewhat rebellious and suspicious nature and have to test the waters for myself.

So the first and foremost question I asked myself is...what on earth do I have to say that anyone in their right mind would want to hear? Even my blessed husband of 49 years who listens to everything I have to say, because he knows what's good for him, asked me "What's a blog? Why do you need one? And what the heck would you talk about? And who on earth would read it?" Now there's a vote of confidence and a shot in the arm, don't you think?

Why am I taking the plunge? Well, one of my favorite movies, the one I've watched so many times I can voice the dialogue right along with them, is Julie and Julia. If you haven't seen it, without going into the details of why, Julie starts a blog, and her initial reaction is that no-one is ever going to read it, so it really doesn't matter what she writes. So I'm taking my hat off to Julie for the notion that no-one will ever read this. Q.E.D. I can blog my little heart out because there isn't anybody out there reading this anyway.

So greetings to all of you, or more likely none of you. This is the first of either many posts or the last of them. Tune in tomorrow for something I might just have to say...or nothing at all.

So how did I do blogworld? Actually? I don't think I want to know.


Unfortunately, you can not post comments on this site. If you have any feedback or comments you wish to post, you can do so on my FB page @authorjudithsessler or use the contact form on this site.

Sunday, Feb. 18 - Day 152

My mind doesn’t think well when it’s tired, and the more I try to coax it into making sense, the less sense I make.

So having said that, I am TIRED, more mentally than physically, from three days caring for and entertaining the grandkids. So I will not subject you good people to a chain of trivial, incoherent thoughts just for the sake of it. 

I will spare you from that and just leave you with this…the children are alive and well…

...and so am I.

Today’s inspiration

“Tired minds don't plan well. Sleep first, plan later.”

                                          Walter Reisch

Saturday, Feb. 17, Day 151

Today was the Pinewood Derby day in our town. 

For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s a yearly car race for kids all around the country. 

Kids are give a small block of wood to carve and create a car to race in the Derby. Once they carve it and sand it down, they paint and decorate it however they want. 

Every one is a unique masterpiece.

On Derby Day, hoards kids gather in excitement to race their cars against each other, four at a time, over and over with the times recorded in 100ths of seconds. Nascar in miniature. At the end, the numbers are tallied and trophies awarded.

Let me assure you, it is a VERY long morning and the fever-pitched excitement is exhausting to us older folks.

We were tempted to sneak out before the trophies were awarded because none of our grandkids or great-grandson had won, but they wanted to stay. So stay we stayed. 

And lo and behold, our little 5-yr-old great-grandson won second place for best car design! His little face could have lit up a dark auditorium. 

As a grandparent, there is no greater joy than to see the excitement in the innocent eyes of a child.

As we left, he looked up at me, smiling ear to ear, and said, “Nana, can we find a special place at home so everyone can see my trophy?”

I smiled proudly and said, “oh, you bet’cha Darren.”

Today’s Inspiration

“Being a mother and grandmother is the best of the best in my life. My grandchildren multiply the joy my daughters bring me.”

                                            Alexandra Stoddard

“At the end of the day, if I can say I had fun, it was a good day.”

                              Simone Biles

Friday, Feb. 16, Day - 150

Like the rest of the country, I am still brokenhearted about the Parkland shooting and an advertisement I saw today makes it even more real.

A company called Guard Dog Security has produced a bulletproof backpack to be used should a school shooting arise. The student takes it off their back (or out from under their desk - because this is something you wouldn’t want hanging in their locker - you’d want it right by their side at all times) and kneel down behind it to protect them during a shooting.

In my mind's eye, I envisioned the horrific scene of hundreds of children kneeling behind their backpack to protect themselves from flying bullets.

I went onto their website to find all the details and the $189 bulletproof shield is sold out. And why wouldn’t it be? What parent wouldn’t want to protect their child as best they could?

And the company has pledged 50% of the profits to the victims and families of the Parkland shooting.

What a frightening and terrifying scenario it is that occurs here with sickening frequency that spawns such a product.

I know that my name will be on the list when it becomes available again.

Today’s inspiration

“Can I see another's woe, and not be in sorrow too? Can I see another's grief, and not seek for kind relief?”

                                                         William Blake

Thursday, Feb. 15 - Day 149

Yesterday was a day the world celebrated love, but at the same time, it  experienced an episode of horrific hate.

Concerning the tragedy of yesterday’s school shooting, a nation’s prayers are sent out to a heartbroken and grieving world.

“There's a difference between violence and senseless violence.”


Wednesday, Feb. 14 - Day 148


Celebrities are notorious for going over the top when it comes to birthdays, the holidays, Valentine’s Day, or really any special occasion that involves giving and receiving presents. But even in the world of the rich and famous, there are some people that take it to the next level.

In 2006, Jerry O’Connell bought Rebecca Romijn grapevines worth US$52,000 and had them planted all around their home.

Romijn admitted that the gesture was “the most romantic gift” she’s ever received and revealed that the vineyard has now become the couple’s most favourite spot.

Jay-Z allegedly bought Beyoncé an entire island with reports at the time claiming the rapper spent $20 million on the 12.5-acre piece of land off the coast of Florida.

As expensive as the gift was, it wasn’t exactly a difficult purchase, as a quick Google search shows that several websites offer islands all over the world — albeit for a hefty price. So, if you’ve ever dreamed of owning a floating piece of land, you’re only a few mouse clicks away.

In 2006, David Beckham bought Victoria Beckham a US$8 million Bulgari necklace, covered in diamonds and rubies.

But extravagance doesn’t necessarily guarantee success.

Back when Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez were still a thing, there were reports that the “Baby” singer wanted to fill Gomez’s house up with flowers. The florist he ended up hiring for this extravagant display of affection allegedly had to use every single flower in the shop to complete the order, delivering the flowers in multiple trucks.

So not only did Bieber buy every last flower in the shop, he had them delivered by the truckload — that’s a power Valentine’s Day move if there ever was one. Of course, the It-couple ended up breaking up later on, so we’re not quite sure how effective the gesture ultimately was.

Kylie Jenner bought her then-boyfriend Tyga a Bentley after his Ferrari was allegedly repossessed. Jenner was out at the dealership when the pesky paparazzi photographed her, most likely in a bid to spoil the surprise. The reality TV star then had to lie to Tyga about her whereabouts to avoid ruining the gift. Judging by how happy and surprised he seems in the video above, it looks like her plan worked.

If getting a brand new luxury car right after you lose your other one for missing payments doesn’t scream extravagance, we don’t know what does.

Before their split in 2010, Courtney Cox bought David Arquette an antique carousel horse, which was estimated to cost anywhere between US$3,500 to US$45,000.

Before their split in December 2011, Katy Perry surprised Russell Brand with a lilac Bentley Brooksland car for Valentine’s Day in 2010. The extravagant gift was worth at least US$500,000.

The car is described as “elegant and formidably muscular.”

In 2011, Angelina Jolie bought Brad Pitt a 200-year-old olive tree to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The estimated value of the gift is US$18,500.

The olive tree, which represents peace and goodwill, is said to be planted at their $60 million estate in the south of France.

In this case, the olive tree didn’t seem to work too well.

Today’s inspiration

“The course of true love never did run smooth.”

                                               William Shakespeare

“True love stories never have endings.”

                                Richard Bach

“True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.”

                             Erich Segal

Tues. Feb.13 - Day 147

Here are some last minute ideas for Valentine’s Day tomorrow. One for the lovers, two for those who have had a recent bout with the more unsuccessful side of romance.

From a company called A Little Piece of You —

Nothing says I love you quite as much as giving your sweetheart a ring made from one of your own teeth. Though a necklace made from your hair might be nearly as nice. Australian designer and jeweler Polly van der Glas makes such romantic gestures possible with her line of jewelry and miniature sculptures made from human hair and teeth housed in beautiful, cast-metal settings.

Van der Glas is always seeking donations of discarded bodily materials from residents of her hometown of Melbourne. But if you choose to use your own teeth as part of a custom piece of jewelry, you’ll receive 10 percent off the purchase price of your item. It’s a deal you can really sink your teeth into.

And a company called Dirty Rotten Flowers offers an array of damaged bouquets for delivery to your erstwhile partner. Whether it’s a bunch of stinking, old carnations or an arrangement of decapitated roses, these gifts have the right stuff to get your twisted point across this Valentine’s Day. 

And last but not least, from

Do you have someone on your nasty list this Valentine’s Day? If so, consider putting a virtual voodoo curse on your enemy. This free site, the brainchild of two bored Web designers, allows users to send anonymous, passive-aggressive messages to those who have wronged them. The victim of your hex will receive a link directing them to the site, where they will see a personalized effigy of themselves impaled with pins.

So, if you’re all out of cash and warm, fuzzy feelings this Feb. 14, don’t get mad. Get even.

Today's inspiration

“Revenge is sweet and not fattening.”

                                           Alfred Hitchcock

“I have always been a romantic, one of those people who believes that a woman in pink circus tights contains all the secrets of the universe.”

                                  Tom Robbins

Monday, Feb. 12 - Day 146

Two day’s left till ‘the day’ and here’s a few more gifts to consider.

This Valentine’s Day gift is as romantic as it is hilarious. A roll of real toilet paper is printed with the words “I Love you from Top to Bottom” in red, with heart decorations to match. This gift is sure to be a big hit with your valentine.


Is she stuck without a date this Valentine’s Day? Swoop in to save the day at the last minute with the Perfect Date Package: John is the strong-or, more accurately, inflatable-silent type who arrives with gifts and accessories for his date. What’s not to love?


If you know someone who’s still looking for her Prince Charming, give her a gift that’s a reminder that he’s still out there. All she needs to do is add water to the Magic Frog to Prince kit, and soon the frog will turn into a prince!


Today’s inspiration

“I'd kiss a frog even if there was no promise of a Prince Charming popping out of it. I love frogs.”

                                          Cameron Diaz

“As a kid, I thought John Denver was the perfect Prince Charming.”

                                     Sandra Lee

“I'm not a happy-ending person. I want to know what happens once Cinderella rides off with Prince Charming.”

                                                 Melissa Joan Hart

Sunday, Feb. 11 - Day 145


The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.


While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.


Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

Today's inspiration

Approximately 150 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.

Now, why didn't I ever think of investing in Hallmark?

Saturday, Feb. 10 - Day 144

Five more days to Valentine’s Day and as promised, I have searched high and wide for some terrific, unique gifts. And they just keep getting better and better.


A Gift to Remember from the Bronx Zoo

This Valentine's Day, give the one gift sure to take their breath away. Name a roach for your special someone.

Cockroaches are some of the most adaptable creatures alive, which means they’ll probably outlast us all. So what better way to declare your eternal love than to give the gift of officially naming one of these everlasting insects?

Words won't do them justice, so name a roach after your Valentine. 

Send a digital certificate to that special someone.


Roach Pin

A unique pin to wear your heart, in this case roach, on your sleeve. Print certificate included.


Chocolate Box

These chocolates look real, but cockroaches are not included. Print certificate included.


Roach Socks

The perfect gift to make your Valentine's toes curl. Print certificate included.


Honey, if you’re reading this, I’ll opt for the $3000 burger.

Today’s inspiration

“I'm convinced my cockroaches have military training, I set off a roach bomb - they diffused it.”

                                              Jay London

Friday, Feb. 9 - Day 143

Okay, so in the car this morning, I heard something that sparked an idea for my posts for the next 6 days. You know how yesterday I gave all you guys a great idea for Valentine’s Day? Well, after hearing something so unique today, I decided that perhaps I should stay on this topic until the actual day arrives. I mean, I’m sure you fellas truly appreciate new and innovative ways to say I love you.

It may take some real fancy footwork to beat today’s idea.

As I was listening to the radio personality who is sometimes known as a jokester, I thought he must certainly be kidding. But when I arrived at my destination, I decided to do my research…and lo and behold, he wasn’t kidding.

Now I know that it takes a lot to keep certain businesses up and running and profitable. This is particularly true in the restaurant business. Competition is fierce, and Valentine’s Day is a big money-maker. I mean who DOESN’T take their sweetheart out for a romantic dinner? And it’s many a romantic fella who pops the question on that special night.

So with all that being said, a restaurateur in Boston has come up with a great idea.

On Valentine’s Day you will see a $3000 burger on the menu. 

Yes, you read it right….$3000!

Now I’m sure this beef must be absolutely the most tender, flavorful, and juicy meat you have ever tasted, or who would pay $3000 for it? And of course, you’re thinking, no-one in their right MIND would pay that for any meal, much less a lowly hamburger, no matter HOW good it tasted.

But remember, it’s Valentine’s Day. The most magical, romantic night of the year.

So what’s the deal?

The deal is, that for $3000, the burger comes with a diamond engagement ring in it to surprise your honey with a proposal of marriage.


There were so many thoughts running through my head at this moment…

do you have to supply your own ring, and the $3000 price tag is just for the unique experience? 

Can you order the burger well-done and would that damage the ring? 

Does it cost extra for bacon and cheese?

Is there a standby dentist on-site to fix her broken tooth?

The answers are…the ring is supplied by the restaurant - a 7/8 carat princess-cut diamond set in14k gold, and not to be negative, but I’m thinking that it may not be the best quality diamond for that price, plus you have to factor in the price of the burger meat.

And no dentist would be needed, because I mistakenly envisioned the burger incorrectly. The ring isn’t inside the BURGER, it is placed in the top of the bun with only the diamond showing. Now that makes much more sense, doesn’t it?

Sure it does.

There it is in a nutshell- a once in a lifetime experience you will remember forever - something for you to reminisce about on every anniversary.

But for you guys who don’t live in the Boston area, I think I have the solution;

bring a red tablecloth and a candle - order a Bic Mac for $3.25…and you’ll probably have enough leftover for some fries.

Today’s inspiration

“Too often, we have tended to fall into a trap of creating plain hamburgers.”

                                                         Tadashi Yanai

“Today is Valentine’s Day – or, as men like to call it, Extortion Day!”

                                                  Jay Leno

“It is believed that the shine and glitter of a fiancée’s engagement ring should equal the amount of love her fiancé has for her. So you better not cut corners this time, cheapskate.”


So I guess McDonald’s is out.

Thursday, Feb. 8 -Day 142

Okay, fellas, it’s only a week to Valentine’s Day, and I’m sure you’re planning your big, romantic evening and wondering what special gift you can give your honey. 

Well, I did the legwork for you and here it is. You’re welcome.

I don’t know if you remember my post about a company called VeryFirstTo, that, as its name implies, brings to you, exclusively, items that no-one else offers. They might be a little pricey, but you can be the first one on your block to own one…whatever that one may be. They advertise everything from shirts and ties, to yachts and vacations to your own private island.

So here it is for you, for your own special valentine.

“VeryFirstTo exclusively introduces Stick It - brand new and beautifully crafted stickers, These stickers are ready to ‘Stick It’ to anything. Create a homemade Valentine’s Day card, customize your loved ones denim jacket, bespoke a lusted after handbag, sticker a bottle of bubbly, give flowers in a customized vase, or simply say 'I love you' with a Stick It,

 in an exclusive collection of three Valentine's designs for your Valentine, consisting of Red Lips, Crystal Cherry's and a Winged Heart.

and you get all three in the collection -

the Red Lips: Iconic velvet lips hand-stitched on a black velvet base and trimmed with gold work.

Dimensions: W: 11cm H: 6.2cm

the Crystal Cherry's: Classic double cherries in red leatherette with crystal stem and gold embroidery. A perfect bespoke addition to customize your look with.

Dimensions: W: 8cm H: 8cm

the Winged Heart: Beautiful silver leatherette winged heart with intricate silver hand stitched embroidery. Use this sticker on your favourite garment or accessory to create a bespoke look.

Dimensions: W: 12cm H: 8cm


Exquisitely handmade using cut iridescent crystals and thread work, Stick Its are fashionable, visually iconic and fun.”

Yes, these stickers (stickers - you know, the things you can go to the Dollar Store for and get a sheet of 100 for $1.00)

look like a great little add-on to whatever big gift you’re going to get your honey for Valentine’s Day.

and you can get these three little gems to adorn a little card, or vase, or

bottle of bubbly, for the low, low price of $94.

$94…what a deal.

Today’s inspiration

“Don't spend money on extravagant things like cars and big vacations. Spend it on things that are really fun.”

                                                    Justin Flom

Like stickers…seriously?

Wednesday, Feb. 7 - Day 141

You know how I feel it is my duty to bring you the new and latest trending products and inventions to enrich your life, or at least to make you laugh. Well, here’s another new one.

It is called the Upright and it sells for a mere $129.

And here is a review of the innovative new product by Simon Hill from Digital Trends.

"Are you slouching? Right now, as you read this, does your spine form the letter C? You’re not alone.

We all slump from time to time, but bad posture can lead to strains and backache. We all know we’re not supposed to slouch, but most of us are stuck sitting at a desk for eight hours every day, and it’s easy to slip into bad habits.

Enter Upright, a wearable device that’s designed to retrain you. This digital nag has good intentions, but we soon found out that the pursuit of good posture is no fun at all.

Upright comes packaged in a neat box with a cute wireless charging cradle, a stack of adhesive pads, and some alcohol wipes. It’s a small, white plastic device that’s about five inches tall and a couple of inches wide. Before you can use it, you have to download the Android or iOS app onto your phone or tablet and connect it to your Upright via Bluetooth.

It’s easy to set up, and the app is very well designed, giving you clear, simple, step-by-step instructions to follow. The app prompts you to feel for the gap on your back between the bottom of your rib cage and the top of your pelvis; that’s the sweet spot for Upright. Flip it over and attach an adhesive pad to the Velcro strip, then peel off the paper and stick it directly onto your back (60 of these adhesive pads come in the box). You can use an alcohol wipe first if you need to.

Once it’s attached you’ll have to calibrate it. The app prompts you to sit up straight and then to slouch, so sensors inside the Upright can record your posture positions; a smart learning algorithm adjusts to your specific back. Unfortunately, you have to perform this calibration step every time you use Upright, because you might not put it on exactly the same spot. It’s a bit of a chore, and on a couple of occasions it failed to detect my slouched position for no apparent reason. I turned it off and on again to reset things.

The Upright app generates a training schedule for you. Over 24 days, you’ll be asked to gradually increase the time you use Upright each day from five minutes up to an hour, though you can put in some overtime if you choose to.

So here’s the heart of it all: Every time you slouch, the Upright vibrates. If you look at the app you’ll also see your training period counting down and you get a happy green face for good posture, which changes to orange for a slight slouch, and then an unhappy red face when you let go into full-on slump.

Sure, you can easily forget you’re wearing Upright once it’s attached, but you’ll soon be reminded when it vibrates. It’s a bit like having a small robot with a cattle prod sitting behind you, watching for the slightest slump so it can jolt you back to the land of good posture. There’s a whiff of joyless future about it, where our every move is observed and corrected by our robotic overlords. It also gives you a fright when you’re focused on a piece of work and your back suddenly buzzes.

In short, it’s not pleasant."

So there you have it. Another leap into something you never knew you needed, much less wanted. Please drop me a note if you decide to invest in one.

I’m afraid I can’t, because I have cardiac condition and chances are the damn thing would shock me into a fatal arrhythmia.

I wonder if that’s covered under the one year warranty?

Today’s inspiration

“I love technology. Matches, to light a fire, is really high tech. The wheel is really one of the great inventions of all time. Other than that, I am an ignoramus about technology.”

William Shatner

"To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”

Thomas Edison

“Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”

Dean Kamen

“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road.”

Stewart Brand

Tuesday, Feb. 6 - Day 140

Well, today’s the day we take the big bird home, back to our real life, back to our everyday routine, back to reality.

We’re leaving behind, the fantasy of romantic Disney, and the precious, time with our family. But we take with us, the memories of the moonlit Florida sun, and the excitement, fun and love from North Carolina.

Leaving our loved ones is sad, but we have a whole big bunch of family waiting for us back home.

And as an extra added bonus, we will be greeted by a big ‘ole snow storm tomorrow.

New England. Priceless.

Today’s inspiration

“Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming!”

                                           Joseph B. Wirthlin

Monday, Feb. 5 - Day 139

I have to admit that I was glued to last night’s game and despite the disappointment of the Patriot’s loss, it was a great game.

But as always, we all watched and were entertained by the commercials. It was very encouraging that there were so many socially-conscious ones that showcased the triumph of the human spirit, overcoming obstacles, and challenges, and reaching out to lift others up in times of trouble and great distress.

And then there were the ones to make you laugh.

By far, the funniest one for us, that had us rolling on the floor, was watching Eli Manning and Odell Beckham doing their rendition of dirty dancing. Priceless. If you didn’t catch it because you were taking a snack or potty break, do yourself a favor and you-tube it.

As the MasterCard commercial says, it’s priceless.

Today’s inspiration

“I think people really appreciate clever commercials, as do I. I think they're very entertaining. You just have to wade through all the garbage. That's one of the reasons people watch the Super Bowl. A lot of them watch it to see the commercials and not the actual game.”

                                                Kevin Nealon

Sunday, Feb. 4 - Day 138

Yes, football (and non-football) fans alike, today’s the day — the day when buffalos and chickens run in panic, trying to hide their wings — when grocery shelves are stripped of every conceivable flavor of Nachos, and beer becomes the national beverage of the day.


Now I have to confess, I’m not particularly a fan of watching football (or baseball or soccer) on TV. I am a doer, not a watcher. In my younger (much younger) days, I loved playing sports - softball, field hockey, lacrosse, volleyball… So when life transitioned from my athletic teen years to my non-athletic adult years, I left sports behind. One would think that having been so involved in sports, I would join the rest of the world of sports enthusiasts. But I just never got into it. I could never get into the fan-frenzy excitement of watching someone ELSE play a game. I mean as far as I’m concerned, watching a golf tournament is exciting as watching paint dry. 

But, I try, for my husband’s sake, to feign some enthusiasm during those times when the rest of the country is wrapped in the feverish delirium of the ‘championships’…the World Series, the Stanley Cup, and the Super Bowl, etc.

That being said, today is a little different. 

Coming from Massachusetts, I am, by default, a Patriots ‘fan.’ Like it or not, today I am drafted to be one of millions who will be glued to the tube at 6:30 p.m. But today, I have the exciting benefit of watching it with my transplanted, patriot- loving, NC family (my son, Darren, daughter-in-law, Trina, and grandkids Aidan, Laura, Melanie and Leighanne). They may live here now, but once you’re from Patriot nation, you’re always from Patriot nation. I was instructed by my son, to bring all the Patriot gear we owned.

So, I will don my Patriot’s shirt and Patriot’s hat, and Patriot’s socks, and hunker down with the chips and wings to partake in the family frenzy of my loved ones.

But no matter what, for me, win or lose, I’m already a winner.

Today’s inspiration

“The truth is the Super Bowl long ago became more than just a football game. It's part of our culture like turkey at Thanksgiving and lights at Christmas, and like those holidays beyond their meaning, a factor in our economy.”

Bob Schieffer

“If you win a Super Bowl before you're fired, you're a genius, and everyone listens to you. But a coach is just a guy whose best class in grammar school was recess and whose b est class in high school was P.E. I never thought I was anything but a guy whose best class was P.E.”

John Madden

“I believe that a bad Super Bowl halftime show is still better than a soccer game.”

Ron White

“I predict one of these two teams (Patriots and Eagles) will win the Super Bowl.” Gilbert Gottfried

Saturday, Feb. 3 - Day 137

Pardon the cop-out post, but I’m knee-deep in grandkids I haven’t seen for two years and I don’t want to waste a moment with them. 

So all you get is one inspiration for the day and here it is.

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”

                                                       Earl Nightingale

Friday, Feb. 2 - Day 136

Well, today’s the day we’ve been anxiously awaiting, holding our breath for, placing wagers on. Today’s the long-awaited day to find out what lays ahead, snow or sunshine, arctic chill or crocuses for the next 6 weeks.

Historically it is said that the Germans believed if a badger came out of hibernation in foul weather, spring was on its way, and if it were sunny, he'd scurry back to his burrow, because winter wasn't done.

When German colonists arrived in America, there were no badgers in the East, so they drafted the groundhog to do the prognosticating.

In the 1880s a western Pennsylvania newspaper editor hatched the Groundhog day idea, sold town fathers on it, and the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club — and the holiday — were born.

And they certainly got more than their 15 minutes of fame, didn’t they.

Today’s inspiration

   “It's a freakin' holiday entirely based on the power of a psychic rodent. If that isn't the epitome of awesome, I don't know what is.”

~Flying LlamaFish

And straight from Punxsutawney Phil’s mouth, he says, 

“dammit, Jim. I’m a rodent, NOT a meteorologist.”

Thursday, Feb. 1 - Day 135

Well, we could look at today with sadness - the end of our anniversary trip; the romance, the magnificent food, the moonlit walks, the fabulous food, watching spectacular fireworks, the amazingly decadent food…see a pattern here?

But seriously, the focus wasn’t really on our culinary excursion (although it may seem like that). 

It was the reminiscing of 49 years of tragedies and triumph, ups, downs and all arounds, 49 years of love and survival, the triumph of two human spirits blended into one. It’s remembering the details of raising a family and recalling the successes and mistakes, joys and sorrows and learning from it all. It’s looking back and knowing that we created a family, a family that exists only because of us, a family that will live on long after we are gone, hopefully taking a little bit of each of us along with them.

Today, we are not sad about leaving, because the far more important part of the trip is ahead. We are on our way to visit our son, his wife and four children whom we haven’t seen in over two years. In a few hours we will have our arms wrapped around those precious things called grandkids. We will be with...

...that priceless thing called…family.

Today’s inspiration

“Family is not an important thing. It's everything.”

Michael J. Fox

“You go through life wondering what is it all about but at the end of the day it's all about family.”

Rod Stewart

Wednesday, Jan. 31 - Day 134

Here it is, the crack of nothing and I am watching the sun rise, slowly and majestically, above the lagoon, the early morning sunshine dancing and glimmering on the quiet calm of the blue water.

Lovely imagery, yes? It’s a beautiful site I will treasure in my heart as I head north again tomorrow.

Did I mention I am sitting outside on the veranda (fancy name for balcony, so they can charge a little extra for the room) typing away so I don’t disappoint you (in case you’re sitting on the edge of your seat, wondering if, because of my romantic vacation, I’ll miss a blog day)?

Now there’s one heck of a long, relatively grammatically correct, sentence.

Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

It is a balmy 45 degrees as I sit writing this, and you might be thing, 45 degrees and she’s sitting outside? Is she nuts?

Well, not really. 45 degrees in the Florida sunshine feels like 65 back home and since I know it’s 35 back home right now, that would make it 55…oh, never mind. The point is that it feels refreshingly bright and sunny and if I detect a very, almost imperceptible, nip in the air it is well worth soaking it in to take the memory home with me.

Is it cheating that I’m wearing a sweater, sweatshirt and jacket?

Well, maybe just a little.

Today’s inspiration

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.”

Steve Martin

Tuesday, Jan. 30 - Day 133

Well, it looks like Sunday night’s ‘bug’ was either a 24 hour one or just a little too much chocolate dessert the night before, (probably the latter rather than the former) because the elaborate chef-designed confection was the most elaborate, artistic creation I have ever seen. 

The plate was a massive 12-14 inch oval decorated in the most complex array of different chocolate designs - chocolate ganache flowers, chocolate-dusted raspberries, a ribbon of chocolate-laced caramel leading up to the main event, a 10 inch (yes TEN inch) high 12 layer chocolate mousse and ganaches layer cake with edible gold swirls. And the piece de resistance, was a paper-thin, delicate gold and chocolate arch from the plate to the top of the cake. 

Seriously? Seriously. 

It was the most elaborate, elegant, chocolate delicacy I have ever seen. And I didn’t know how to approach it. Should I take a chocolate-dusted raspberry and dip it in a flower of chocolate ganache? Should I carefully detach the paper-thin chocolate arch? And how on earth could I tackle the gravity defying 12 layer cake that precariously stood up-ended on the plate?

I was stumped. And I’m not exaggerating. 

All four of the people at the next table, with mouths gaping as the waiter placed the enormous dish in front of me, stated the obvious…omg, how are you going to eat that?

Enviously, my husband looked at his paltry, albeit elegantly plated carrot cheesecake, and then at mine, and shook his head in amazement. He, too, was at a loss for suggestions as to how to attack my dessert.

After a moment or two, I decided the arch was the likeliest target. Ever so gently, I detached it and took a bite. I could not imagine how it was made. It was tissue- paper thin and it just disintegrated on my tongue. Then I dipped a raspberry in one of the thick, velvety ganache flowers. Omg. Unbelievable. Then, lastly, I took two forks, because it was so tall, and laid the cake down. By this time, my mouth was in a state of chocolate ecstasy, and I couldn’t wait for a taste of the cake with the gold shavings. One bite - it melted in my mouth and I thought, “I could die right now, because I have been to chocolate heaven and never again would I experience such gastronomic decadence.

Now, you good people know that chocolate is a great weakness of mine and over the years I have indulged in some pretty elaborate chocolate confections. And I have never failed to polish off every bite.

But this? I’m ashamed to say, I could barely make a dent in this decadence.

With head in hand, I asked for a box to take the rest with me back to the room.

So here is the point of the story.

 Later that night around midnight, I did it. In the dark, (because I didn’t want to wake my husband - in case he wanted to partake - I stealthily finished off the rest.

Two hours later…the ‘stomach bug’ hit.

But in reality, if truth be told, I truly believe it was the ‘chocolate bug’.

Too much of a good thing?

Perhaps. Was it worth it? Knowing the consequence, would I do it again?

Absolutely…in a New York minute.

Today's inspiration

"You know an odd feeling? Sitting on the toilet eating a chocolate candy bar." George Carlin

"I'm grateful for every day I'm still alive. Everything is still working. I attribute it to eating a lot of processed foods. I think it's the preservatives that keep me going. That, and I eat as much chocolate as I can get my hands on."

 Joan Rivers

"When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile."

 Regina Brett

"Once we hit forty, women only have about four taste buds left: one for vodka, one for wine, one for cheese, and one for chocolate."

 Gina Barreca

Monday, Jan. 29. - Day 132

You know how it is when you plan and plan, and then look forward to a special event, such as our 49th anniversary trip for a romantic, resort vacation? You know how you anticipate it for months in advance, envisioning just how marvelous it will be; strolling hand in hand under the moonlit sky, watching the fireworks over the lagoon, making your own fireworks? (oh, sorry - that’s way too much information.)

Well, all was going beautifully after we arrived yesterday. A lovely lunch. A walk in the sunshine. A romantic dinner followed by fireworks (and I’ll say no more about that). Falling asleep, anticipating another four days of magic.

Well, so much for the fantasy. The reality?

A stomach bug hit me, and hit me hard, at one in the morning and it lingers still. 

So, gone is the lunch at Chef de France. Gone is the dinner at Narcoosee’s. Gone are the moonlit strolls.

And gone are the fireworks.

Today’s inspiration

“I’m just one stomach bug away from my goal weight.”

from the “Devil Wears Prada.”

Sunday, Jan. 28 - Day 131

“Airports drive me mad. I don't mind the flying; it's all the hassle before you get on the plane and afterwards, including walking five miles through corridors to the point where you queue for ages to check passports and hope your luggage has arrived safely.”

                                                          June Whitfield

Well, the day has finally arrived. It’s 5a.m., sitting in the airport, trying to write a coherent blog. The shuttle picked us up at the crack of nothing and as the quote above, so succinctly says, I hate the whole airport process. 

With bounding pulse and dry mouth we approached security. We were greeted by the friendly TSA guards and told that our boarding pass says we were cleared for pre-check security and didn’t have to take out my laptop, take off our jackets, shoes and belts and sailed through an almost non-existent line. 



Normally, pre-check-in is a service you can apply for six months in advance and pay $85 for. We did NOT apply for, nor pay for, such service. So why, I questioned, did we get pre-check?

I don’t know and I don’t care.

My only thought is that they randomly take pity on the elderly.
So I guess advancing age has more perks than a free coffee at McDonalds and 10% discount at DD.

God bless America.

Today's inspiration

“A witticism in an airport security line is like a Swiss tap - turn it on, and you instantly find yourself in hot water.”

                                          Shashi Tharoor

“Whenever we safely land in a plane, we promise God a little something.”

                                                      Mignon McLaughlin

"My fear of flying starts as soon as I buckle myself in and then the guy up front mumbles a few unintelligible words then before I know it I'm thrust into the back of my seat by acceleration that seems way too fast and the rest of the trip is an endless nightmare of turbulence, of near misses. And then the cabbie drops me off at the airport."

                                        Dennis Miller

Saturday, Jan. 27 - Day 130

“I love everything about motels. I can't help myself. I still get excited every time I slip a key into a motel room door and fling it open.”

                                                  Bill Bryson (whoever he is)

I can honestly say that is not the case with me. It’s not that I’m paranoid, well maybe I am. I prefer to consider myself realistic, and my realism comes from reliable sources. Well, almost reliable.

I see something on the news…and I google it. I see something of interest on a documentary…and I google it. Facebook…I google it. Twitter…I google it.

You get the picture. I’m all about the research.

So back to the motel. Years ago, I saw a documentary on a very unsavory subject — bedbugs - the tiny creepy, crawlies that, like roaches, will survive a major nuclear attack.

It was truly a horrifying program about bedbug infestations. It followed three families who were affected. It showed the nightmare they were living through because it's nearly impossible to eradicate an infestation completely. The psychological effects on these families was devastating. 

The odious little creatures hide in any tiny crevice they can find - inside electrical sockets, inside furniture, inside book bindings, inside picture frames, and a million other places you can’t see. They can live there for almost a year without feeding and then just when you think you’re safe…they are back for a midnight snack.

Here’s a little Wikipaeida info on the nasty little buggers:

Common bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on human blood;

their preferred habitat is warm houses and especially near or inside beds and bedding or other sleep areas. Bed bugs are mainly active at night, and usually feed on their hosts without being noticed.

Bed bugs have been known as human parasites for thousands of years. At a point in the early 1940s, they were mostly eradicated in the developed world, but have increased in prevalence since 1995, likely due to pesticide resistance, governmental bans on effective pesticides, and international travel.

Bed bugs are extremely difficult to get rid of. This frequently requires a combination of nonpesticide approaches and the use of insecticides.

Mechanical approaches, such as vacuuming up the insects and heat-treating or wrapping mattresses, and maintaining temperatures in the dwelling of above 120 degrees F for 6 to 8 hours (but the downside is that it has the potential for starting fires.)

No truly effective insecticides are available. Resistance to pesticides has increased significantly over time, and harm to health from their use is of concern.The carbamate insecticide propoxur is highly toxic to bed bugs, but it has potential toxicity to children exposed to it.

So there you have it. Bed bugs; something you never want to acquire in your lifetime. 

And I know you’re wondering, “why the hell is she ranting on about this?”

Well, one of the prime places you can pick up these tiny vultures is in a hotel. Prime place, because of the travelers that come and go, completely unaware that they have hitchhikers riding in the seams of their luggage or the zippers of their laptop bag.

Am I paranoid? You’re damn right I am.

Again, my husband just shakes his head and chuckles when I strip the hotel bed and take my flashlight to examine every stitch and seam of the mattress and upholstered chairs for any sign of the beasts.

I know he thinks I’m crazy.

But he never watched the documentary. 

You've heard the phrase 'buyer beware'

My advise -- 'travelers beware'

There, I've done my duty -- consider yourself warned.

Today's inspiration

"It's not a bargain if it has bedbugs."

                                      Lara Spencer

"Strangers make restless bedfellows, especially when bedbugs are your only acquaintances."


Friday, Jan. 26 - Day 129

I’m quite excited today as we prepare for our 49th anniversary trip to the sunny shores of Florida.

I have been packed and ready to go for weeks. And I mean completely ready.

Because I am what you may call a vacation minimalist.

My feeling is that if it’s not absolutely essential, it doesn’t get to go…including a check-in suitcase. So what that means is that whatever can fit into two carry-on bags is all that’s going.

A challenge for most, but not for me. Call me a pragmatist. I don’t need 7 completely different outfits with matching shoes for 7 days. I wear my jeans, with a short-sleeve shirt, sweater and light jacket on the plane so I can strip off (and I don’t use the term literally) layer by layer as we get closer to the equator. So by the time we land I’m weather appropriate and ready to go. We take our two small carry-ons (and I mean small) and my laptop bag, because you know I don’t go anywhere without it, and we debark (did you even know that was a word?)

After 49 years, my husband just goes with the flow. He puts his underwear and socks on the bed, with some shirts and leaves the rest to me.

Years ago, I learned the trick of vacuum-sealing our clothes in bags meant just for the occasion. Each bag gets the air sucked out and flattened into one inch thick packets that neatly stack in the bag. This amazing technology and ingenious idea is what allows me to pack 7 days of vacation wear into two small bags.

And being the frugal woman that I am, this year I decided that I might find a less expensive way than shelling out for the commercial clothes bags. And my idea worked perfectly. Gallon size, zip-lock food storage bags worked like a charm. Put the clothes in and roll up while squeezing out the air. 

Voila! You would be surprised just how much you can stuff into one of those small bags.

My husband just shakes his head and chuckles at my latest innovative way to save money.

Years ago, he knick-named me ‘Princess makes-me-laugh-a lot.’

And I never let him down.

Today's inspiration 

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.


"Simplicity makes me happy."

 Alicia Keys

"When you remove layers, simplicity and speed happen."

 Ginni Rometty

"Minimalism is not defined by what is not there but by the rightness of what is

and the richness with which this is experienced."

John Pawson

Thursday, Jan. 25 -Day 128

On yesterday morning’s news, I saw one of those interesting little tidbits that I found, well, to be honest, I found it laughable, innovative, crazy, and perhaps a little bit disturbing, and it sparked the recollection of similar feelings I had 20 years ago when an equally laughable, innovative, crazy, a little disturbing occurrence cropped up, the subject of yesterday’s blog — the oxygen bar. 

So, today I’ll get back on track and share the latest entry into the realm of leisure and recreation — the axe bar. 

What, you ask, is an axe bar?

Well, it’s basically exactly what it sounds like. A bar where there are axes. 


It’s the latest trend in the bar industry — where customers can throw axes, (just like real lumberjacks) at targets - while drinking alcohol.

And these axe-throwing bars are cropping up all over the country. And why not?

 I mean, who WOULDN’T want to be downing pints of beer and flinging an axe at the wall. Think of it like darts on crack.

My first feeling when I saw it on TV was to laugh. I mean it really was funny watching this 20-something woman wielding a big, heavy axe throw it at the target. She was pretty good at it, too. Impressive.

As a new recreational sport, it’s not a bad idea. 

As a new alcohol venue for friends to gather, maybe NOT such a good idea.

But then again, there are safety measures in place.

There are axe-throwing coaches keeping a close eye on customers' behavior.

Okay, so that should reassure you that a night of alcohol and axes would make a great date night.

Call me a skeptic, but does anyone else see a potential problem here?

The scenario? Husband and wife out for date night — the kids home with the babysitter — first time out in a couple of months. What could possibly go wrong?

Have a couple of beers and throw a couple of axes. Have another couple of beers, throw a couple of axes.

Take a break to sit and talk and enjoy each others company.

“Little Jimmy got a B on his math test.”

“Little Susie has to make a volcano for her science project.”

Break over. A couple of more beers a couple of more axes.

Another break.

“What do you mean you can’t help Susie?”

“I have to work late.”

“Again? You have to work late, again?”

“Sorry, hon, can’t help it.”

“Sure you can. After all you’re the boss. I can’t do everything.”

“It’s not my fault you keep running up the charge cards. How am I supposed to pay the bills?”

A couple of more beers, a couple of more axes.

You see where I’m going here?

I’m not sure that an adrenaline-pumped man or woman finding out their spouse is cheating, or gambling away their retirement, could be stopped by the axe coaches who’s job it is to teach the sport and maintain safety.

I mean, seriously, put an axe into the hands of a scorned, premenopausal woman?

Need I say more? I think not.

Today's inspiration

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."

Abraham Lincoln

"One must never set up a murder. They must happen unexpectedly, as in life."

Alfred Hitchcock

"Murder is always a mistake. One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner."

Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, Jan. 24 - Day 127


Juice bars. Wine bars. Coffee bars. And now ... oxygen bars?

I'll bet you didn't know that oxygen bars have been in existence in Japan for almost 60 years, and that the first one to appear on the American scene was in Seattle in 2001.

When they popped up here, I remember seeing it on the news, people sitting at a bar with nasal cannula tubing in their noses happily inhaling their “fix” of oxygen.

In the hospital, oxygen, or O2 as it is commonly called, is considered a drug with risks involved and therefore require a doctor’s prescription.

As a nurse, I know the pathophysiology of the body’s use and need for oxygen, something you can get for free just by breathing.

So I scoffed, I laughed, and thought, “how gullible can the American public be?”

Surely, intelligent people will see through holes in this theory. It’s a no- brainer, isn’t it? Purely a passing fad, I thought, but no, they are still in existence.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept, here’s an excerpt from wikipaedia:

...An oxygen bar is an establishment, or part of one, that sells oxygen for recreational use. Individual flavored scents may be added to enhance the experience. The flavors in an oxygen bar come from bubbling oxygen through bottles containing aromatic solutions before it reaches the nostrils: most bars use food-grade particles to produce the scent, but some bars use aroma oils.[1][2]

Oxygen bar guests pay about one U.S. dollar per minute to inhale a percentage of oxygen greater than the normal atmospheric content of 20.9% oxygen. This oxygen is produced from the ambient air by an industrial (non-medical) oxygen concentrator and inhaled through a nasal cannula for up to about 20 minutes.[5]

Health benefit claims[edit]

It has been claimed by alternative medicine that the human body is oxygen-deprived, and that oxygen will remove "toxins" and even cure cancer.[7] Proponents claim this practice is not only safe, but enhances health and well-being, including strengthening the immune system, enhancing concentration, reducing stress, increasing energy and alertness, lessening the effects of hangovers, headaches, and sinus problems, and generally relaxing the body.[5] However, no long-term, well-controlled scientific studies have confirmed any of the proponents' claims.[5] The medical profession warns that individuals with respiratory diseases such as asthma and emphysema should not inhale too much oxygen.[5The FDA warns that in some situations, droplets of flavoring oil can be inhaled, which may contribute to an inflammation of the lungs. Some oxygen bar companies offer safe water-based aromas for flavoring in order to maintain compliance and stay within FDA guidelines.[5]

Another concern is the improper maintenance of oxygen equipment. Some oxygen concentrators use clay filters which cause micro-organisms to grow creating an additional danger that can cause lung infections.[13]

Also, concentrated oxygen is a flame accelerant which should be kept away from cigarettes and other sources of ignition...

I had totally forgotten about the existence of oxygen bars since I haven’t heard them mentioned in years.

But this morning, my memory was sparked when I saw another new ‘bar’ concept on TV.

It seems equally as crazy to me, but maybe I just have too much common-sense, or I’m an old fuddy-duddy.

Tune in tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about this new and exciting place to go for fun and relaxation.

Is it crazy? I’ll let you judge for yourself.

Today’s inspiration

"Be open minded, but not so open minded that your brains fall out."

                                              Groucho Marx

Jan. 23, Day - 126

Potholes, the bane of winter weather. 

They seem to pop up overnight. 

What was a passable asphalt road the day before, becomes an exercise in dodging flat tires, broken rims and axels, not to mention the four-letters words I’m much too ladylike to use in public, (so it’s a good thing no-one was in the car with me with me today).

I was truly surprised when I saw the quote below from Rachel Nichols (whoever she might be). 

I naively thought that New England was the pothole center of the universe.

And the theory is supported by the fact that Friendlys Ice Cream, the quintessential ice cream maker established in 1935 in New England has created the only flavor in the world that supports my theory --

Friendlys limited edition “NOR’EASTER POTHOLE ice cream.” 

On the carton it touts chocolate ice cream with black tar fudge, crushed chocolate cookie gravel and asphalt chocolate chips.

Now if only the potholes would disappear as quickly as the ice cream does.

Today’s inspiration

“Um... Bulgaria is an interesting country. The people are lovely. There are potholes the size of small planets.”

                                                Rachel Nichols

Jan. 22 - Day 125

I was half asleep this morning when a little blurb popped up on the news and at first I thought I hadn’t heard right. So I did what I do best and googled it.

And lo and behold, there it was - an NBC news article that at first made me chuckle, and then a chill ran up my spine.

So here it is -

NBC news - Jan. 22, 2018

Retail powerhouse Amazon is disrupting retail yet again, with the opening of its checkout-free Amazon Go grocery store in Seattle.

It looks and feels like a regular grocery store, but with one major difference: There's no checkout — and no checkout lines. Upon entering, shoppers scan a special smartphone app that registers them into the store. After grabbing their items, customers are free to walk right out.

"The just-walk-out technology is tracking that these items are leaving the shelf, and it's putting them in my virtual cart," Amazon Go Vice-President Gianna Puerini told NBC News during an exclusive look at the new store. "And if I put them back on the shelf, they come out of my virtual cart."

When customers leave the store, their account is automatically charged, which means no more waiting in long checkout lines. Overhead through-out the store, hundreds of cameras read labels through machine learning and sense the shopper's body type. These cameras work in tandem with sensors embedded in the store's shelves, all collecting data about your preferences.

"Those cameras are primarily looking at all of these products and figuring out what has left the shelf and what is going back to the shelf." Puerini says. "The system is highly accurate. On the rare occasion, if you were to find an error, we make it super easy to do a self-service return."

The new retail plan by Amazon has an increased focus on pricing, and Amazon says they won't mark up prices to compensate for the convenience of just walking out.

Amazing. Convenient. Innovative. The first of its kind, with more to come, I’m sure - bound to catch on with other companies. 

Maybe even the government; no lines at the Social Security office or DMV.

No, it’s not 1984 George Orwell. It’s 2018.

So be afraid. Be very afraid.

Because Big Brother is watching you.

Today’s inspiration

“Science fiction encourages us to explore... all the futures, good and bad, that the human mind can envision.”

                                                Marion Zimmer Bradley

“Science fiction is not quirky anymore; we live in a futuristic world now.” 

                                  Bonnie Hammer

Sunday, Jan. 21 - Day 124

Great recipe passed on by a friend.




baking powder


Preheat oven to 350 deg. 

Remove toys from the counter top. 

Measure 2 cups of flour. 

Get the baking powder. 

Remove kids hands from the flour. 

Put flour, baking powder and salt in sifter. 

Vacuum mixture the kids spilled on the floor. 

Get an egg. 

Answer the phone. 

Separate the egg. 

Warm baby’s bottle. 

Help daughter do math problem. 

Grease pan and answer the doorbell. 

Take 1/2 inch salt out of greased pan. 

Look for the kids. 

Put mess in wastebasket and dishes into the dishwasher. 

Call the bakery, order a cake, 


and take an aspirin.

Today’s inspiration

"Cleaning while they are in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating an Oreo." --

Shannon B.

“When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.” –

Erma Bombeck

“Having a 2-year-old is like owning a blender that you don’t have a top for.”

Jerry Seinfeld

Even when freshly washed and relieved of all obvious confections, children tend to be sticky.

Fran Lebowitz

“Raising kids is part joy and part guerilla warfare.”

Ed Asner

Saturday. Jan. 20 - Day 123

“A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.”

William Shakespeare from Romeo and Juliet.

What’s the meaning of the phrase 'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet'?. What matters is what something is, not what it is called.

That being said, yesterday in my blog about celebrities and the fascination with their daily minutiae, I joking used ‘Handkerchief' as a name one of them might name a child.

Then this morning, popping up on the news, Facebook and every other media source, was the announcement of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s new baby’s name.

Chicago. Chicago West - nickname Chi, pronounced “shy”

Their first daughter is North. North West.

Now generally I stick to the tenet ‘live and let live’. If I have an opinion, I keep it to myself, because as I said in a recent post, everyone has the right to their own beliefs.

But this morning, I just can’t contain myself. Perhaps it’s because I was teased incessantly by classmates regarding my name - Judy. Judy, Judy, Howdy Doody - and quite a few others. So perhaps it’s my sensitivity to the taunting that even such an innocuous name as Judy could evoke.

As cute and clever as it may seem, I can’t imagine the teasing that North West and Chicago West might encounter.

Someday, when they are grown and have children of their own, will they continue the tradition or rebel against the cuteness and go the other way? Will it be Bertha or Norway? Ethel or Frisco? Myrtle or Cancun.

One can only wait and see.

Today's inspiration

“I'm thinking about naming my first son Emmy so I can say I've got one. I want Emmy, Oscar and Tony - and my daughter Grammy.”

                                             Noah Wyle

“Naming me 'Twinkle' was a foolproof way of making sure that I would get teased throughout my life, have immigration officers at various airports stare at my passport and shake with hysterical laughter, and strangers stalk me with WhatsApp messages like, 'Twinkle, Twinkle, little star, I hope you get hit by a car!’”

                                                  Twinkle Khanna

Jan. 19 - Day 122

My modus operandi of blogging tends to go off on a tangent sometimes, as it did yesterday. After my haircut, there was a totally different subject on my mind so I will attempt to try it again today.

As I said yesterday, men go to the barber, women to the salon. I suspect that there are similarities of what to do while you are waiting your turn, but there aren’t many options. Basically, you can doze off, or read a magazine.

In the salon, just like a doctor’s office, there are stacks of back issues of magazines, usually dating back at least a year or two. And they tend to be office specific. What I mean by that is that there are parenting magazines at the pediatrician’s and OB’s office, there are healthy lifestyle magazines at the cardiologist, and physical fitness magazines at the orthopedist. 

So, naturally, at the salon there are piles of hairstyle magazines. But unless you are coming in for a whole new look, why would you thumb through pages of beautiful models with perfect hairstyles that you would never work on you. 

The other option is generally celebrity magazines. You know, the ones that tell you everything you never wanted to know about a celebrity: like what designer sweatshirt they wear when they go to the park with their new baby named Hankerchief, what they look like in a $700 bikini on a weekend in St. Thomas, or rumors about seeing a baby bump and are they pregnant or just getting fat?

So where am I heading with this? Well, the first 15 pages were devoted to women celebrities at some function wearing formal gowns for the occasion. And apparently the fashion color of the month is black. Long, designer gowns of satin, lace and velvet, all in the price range that would feed a family of four for a year.

Okay, back to the real point here. As I thumbed through page after page after page, I realized that I did not know one single celebrity, male or female. Were they actors, musicians, models, reality show stars? 

I had absolutely no clue. 

It wasn’t until I was well into the magazine that I reached a picture of Meryl Steep. Finally, someone I knew. 

As I folded the magazine when my name was called, I felt old. Really old. I’m so far out of the loop that there’s no coming back. I simply don’t want to watch or read or hear anything to find out who these young celebrities are.

I found I felt envious of the men at the barber shop, because I suspect they have nothing more socially challenging than Popular Mechanics or Sports Illustrated.

Unless it’s the swimsuit issue.

Today’s inspiration

"We're in a celebrity culture, and when I turn on the news today I hear about Lindsay Lohan, Tiger Woods and Paris Hilton and the Kardashian sisters and 'Dancing with the Stars,' one thing after another, Kate Gosselin's new body."

                                                     Philip Yancey

"The whole celebrity culture thing - I'm fascinated by, and repelled by, and yet I end up knowing about it."

                                                            Anderson Cooper

Jan. 18 - Day 121

Just returned from having my haircut. Men go to the barber, women to the salon. And it’s one of the things that is at the top of my least favorite things to do and it always has been.

I’m just not a small-talker, meaning, if I don’t have something important or informational to talk about, I’d just rather not talk at all. I’m not anti-social, I just don’t like to make small talk.

It’s very hard for me to strike up or join in a trivial conversation about the weather, etc., to talk, just for the sake of talking. When I sit in the hairdresser’s chair, I feel pressured to say something... anything when she starts talking and asking me questions, when all I want to do is close my eyes and pretend I’m somewhere else. Maybe I am anti-social, after all.

I make it a strict policy NEVER to discuss with anyone, the two big controversial subjects; politics and religion.

My personal feeling is that a person’s beliefs are just that — what they believe, and it is pointless and downright inflammatory at times to discuss the opposite point of view. 

I mean what is the end goal? To win them over to your side? To convince them that what they believe is wrong and what you believe is right?

From my experience, no-one I’ve met has ever changed their mind about their own convictions simply by listening to, or arguing with, the opposing view.

My  "belief"  is that it’s an exercise in futility and since that’s my belief, you can’t convince me otherwise.

There. I think I’ve made my point.

Today’s inspiration

“Knowledge of other people's beliefs and ways of thinking must be used to build bridges, not to create conflicts.”

                                                  K. Bondevik

Jan. 17 - Day 120

Saw this on Facebook this morning and it made me laugh, so I thought I would pass it on.

My goal for 2017 was to lose 10 pounds. Only 15 to go.

Ate salad for dinner! Mostly croutons and tomatoes. Really just one big, round crouton covered with tomato sauce. And cheese. Fine, it was a pizza. I ate a pizza.

How to prepare tofu. A - throw it in the trash. B - grill some meat.

I just did a week’s worth of cardio…after walking into a spider web.

I don’t mean to brag, but I just finished my 14-day diet in 3 hours and 20 minutes.

A recent study has found that women who catty a little extra weight live longer that the men who mention it.

Kids today don’t know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

I may not be that funny or athletic or good-looking or smart or talented…I forgot where I was going with this.

I love being over 50. I learn something new every day…and forget 5 others.

I think I’ll just put an “out of order” sticker on my forehead and call it a day.

Today’s inspiration

It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes. 

                                               Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday, Jan. 16 - Day 119

Today Bill and I are celebrating 49 years of walking through life together - laughing together, crying together, growing up together, seeing the best in each other,seeing the worst, traveling to the top of the mountain, helping each other up when we fall. Love is not a feeling- it is a lifetime commitment, sometimes hard, sometimes easy, but always,ALWAYS worth the dance. 

Happy anniversary to my best friend and soulmate

Today’s inspiration

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. 

                                                         Mignon McLaughlin

There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved. 

George Sand

Marriage is not just spiritual communion, it is also remembering to take out the trash. 

                                            Joyce Brothers

To keep your marriage brimming, With love in the loving cup, Whenever you're wrong, admit it; Whenever you're right, shut up. 

                                      Ogden Nash

Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb. It isn't something you get. It's something you do. It's the way you love your partner every day. 

                                                   Barbara De Angelis

Sensual pleasures have the fleeting brilliance of a comet; a happy marriage has the tranquillity of a lovely sunset. 

                                          Ann Landers

Monday, Jan. 15 - Day 118

Getting prepared to head south in a few weeks to the hopefully sunny skies of Florida. And even if they are experiencing the arctic chill down there, too, a ‘chilly’ 45 degrees is far cry from our cold up here. But ENOUGH ABOUT THE WEATHER. I HAVE BELABORED THE SUBJECT TO DEATH!

Anyway…I am not crazy about flying, but it’s not the flight that bothers me. It’s the dreaded process of checking in with airport security. 

I’ve done it enough times that I shouldn’t get nervous, but I do. It’s the, hurry up and get your shoes and jacket off and stuff them in the bins. It’s making sure you have all your little liquid and gel bottles in the ziplock bag - then taking out the laptop, another bin - all with people right behind you, breathing down your neck and security pushing you along as fast as is humanly possible. I always hope there’s a little old lady in front of me to just to slow the line down and give me a little break.

Even though I know the TSA rules by now, I continually question what is okay, what’s not okay in your carry-on bags.

And I’m always second guessing myself.

Do my pills have to be in their original bottles or can I put them in the day-of-the-week organizers?

Do I have to take them out of my bag and put them in a bin?

Can I take 20 of my little vials of liquid eye meds?

Can you only have one quart size bag of liquids or can you have 2, or 3?

Are lipsticks and chapstick considered gels?

Can I take my knitting needles?

Can I take disposable razors and shaving cream?

Does my cell phone go in the bin? Can it go in the same bin as my laptop?

Do I take off my necklace and rings or not?

And how about the change in my purse?

As you can see, I work myself up into a mini-frenzy before I ever make it to the airport.

So, yesterday I went on to the TSA website to get some concrete answers and I found it extremely interesting. I’m going to share some of the info I found, in case you are ever in a position to question if these items are allowed on your carry-on baggage.

Some of these you would think are no-brainers, but then again…

Ammunition - NO

Antlers (huh?) -YES

Artificial skeleton bones (??) - YES

Axes and hatchets - NO

Body armor - YES

Bowling ball and bowling pins - YES (good to know in case you get bored on the flight and want to strike up a game.

Bows and arrows - NO

Boxing gloves - YES

Cast iron cookware - NO

Ready for this one? Cattle prods - NO

Christmas lights (seriously?) - YES

Cremated remains - YES (hope I’m not sitting next to that guy)

Dynamite - NO (good to know)

This one is for my friend Jo, because she will know what these are- English Christmas crackers (not to eat) - NO

Fertilizer -NO

Fidget spinners - YES (I hope I not sitting next to some nervous kids)

Foam toy sword - NO, but a Harry Potter wand? - YES

Light saber - YES (but not a foam toy sword?)

Ice cream - NO (because when it melts you can make a bomb?)

Okay, now I’m truly amazed that anyone would even try and bring these in their carry-on bags, not to mention how they would fit…but these are all a YES ;

Microwave oven

Espresso maker

Bread machine

Desk top computer and printer

Sewing machine

Stereo speakers


So now that’s all that cleared up, just in case I want to bring artificial skeleton bones, antlers and my Aunt Hattie’s ashes with me.

I wasn’t thinking of bringing my bread maker, but maybe I’ll rethink it - you never know when it might come in handy.

Today’s inspiration

“A witticism in an airport security line is like a Swiss tap - turn it on, and you instantly find yourself in hot water.”

                                         Shashi Tharoor

Sunday, Jan. 14 - Day 117

Lazy day Sunday. 

And that’s all there is.

Today’s inspiration

“Sundays in France have a different atmosphere to other days, with fewer phone calls, no postman, no delivery men and no one banging on the door.”

                                                    Peter Mayle

“Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.” 

                                                      Jules Renard

“Periods of wholesome laziness, after days of energetic effort, will wonderfully tone up the mind and body.”

                                                              Grenville Kleiser

Saturday, Jan. 13 - Day 116

So I was the first one through the door at Starbucks this morning and was hit squarely in the face (figuratively speaking) with a six foot sign hanging eye-level on a pole. It was a strikingly attractive poster with a background of bright yellow and an enticing picture of a cup of coffee.

And what, pray tell, is this poster advertising? 

It’s a brand new, exciting coffee product.

If you are a Starbucks aficionado as I am, you are aware that they are continually adding new coffee concoctions to their menu as well as new exotic beans from around the world.

You know I am a coffee purist, in that nothing but pure, black, dark roast coffee ever passes my lips, and my quad espresso, (sans the frills of flavor shots and froth) is my mainstay.

The pure taste of liquid black with a caffeine jolt is my best friend.

That being said, as a point of info, espresso beans actually have less caffeine than its cousin the standard roast because the beans are not roasted as long so as to bring out its dark flavor. So four shots of espresso has just a bit more caffeine than a regular cup, but it tastes dark, bitter and acidic, just the way espresso drinkers like it.

Okay, enough of the background lesson. Back to the poster and the new product.

Ready for it?

It is blonde espresso. Yes, you heard me right...blonde.

 No, the barista isn’t blonde. The coffee is. 

Starbucks has always offered a light roast coffee (called blonde). Okay, I get it. Not everyone wants the heavier caffeine jolt or bitter, acidic, dark roast taste. So for those lightweights, the very lightly roasted blonde is offered. 

That sounds far more provocative than it is.

Okay, so if you can follow where I’m going with this, you can see that a light roast coffee steamed briefly through an espresso press to make a dark roast espresso doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense. 

I mean what is the point? If you want an espresso, you want an espresso, not a watered down version.

It says on the poster: “who says espresso has to be intense?”

I do, 

and so does every other espresso drinker, otherwise what’s the point? 

It’s the dark flavor we crave.

They say: “It’s subtly sweet without the roasty edge.”

Again, what’s the point?

They say: “It’s a whole new choice.”

Yes, yes it is. One that makes no sense at all.

I will grant you that it does have one attractive feature. It can be crafted into the signature cappuccinos and lattes so one can feel like they're drinking with the big boys.

Yes, it is whole new choice:

Starbucks, blonde espresso — but isn’t it an oxymoron?

…emphasis on the moron.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Today's inspiration

“I love Starbucks. Maybe that's a bit sad. But I definitely need my caffeine. It's what gets me out of bed in the morning.”

Nikki Sixx

“Widespread caffeine use explains a lot about the twentieth century.”

Greg Egan

“Coffee is a language in itself.”

Jackie Chan


Friday, Jan.12 - Day 115

I know Mother Nature has a sense of humor, but at times it’s a truly sick one — or at least a twisted one.

Last week, I shared that our hot water pipes were frozen and the temp was 20 degrees below zero for what seemed like forever. We had to wait three days until it warmed up enough for the pipes to thaw and five days for the shower drain. 

But now all is well and the temps have moderated to above freezing for almost a  whole week. 

So last week it was frigid temps, frostbite, and frozen pipes. And today? it’s 58 degrees with heavy rain so there is a flood watch in place. Seriously? Yes seriously. Boots for the 12 inches of snow last week. Boots to wade through the 12 inch puddles of rain today.

 And the forecast for tomorrow?…high 40s in the morning with rapidly dropping temps to 6 degrees in the afternoon with flash-freezing rain and ice.

Yes, it’s New England and they say…don’t like the weather?…well, just wait a minute.

But seriously? Seriously. 

It's Mother Nature’s wacky whirlwind of weather that has me dizzy every time I check the forecast. And I find myself checking it every fifteen minutes, just in case there’s another drastic change that might catch me off-guard.

Well, perhaps every fifteen minutes is a bit of an exaggeration.

Then again, maybe not.

Today’s inspiration

“Weather forecast for tonight: dark.”

                                                   George Carlin

“The Bermuda Triangle got tired of warm weather. It moved to Alaska. Now Santa Claus is missing.”

                                                    Steven Wright

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”

                                               John Ruskin

“There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.”

                                                   Bill Bowerman

Thursday, Jan. 11, Day 114

I had a completely different subject in mind for today, but unexpectedly switching gears when I sit down to write, is not an uncommon occurrence for me. So here it is.

Like most mothers, I would lay down my life for my children, no matter what their age. As mothers, we never stop worrying about them, even when they are grown adults approaching middle age. That makes me sound ancient, but I was married at the ripe old age of 17 and had my first child when I was 18.

 And I love them deeply.

My daughter knows I would do anything to help her when she needs it, even if it borders slightly on being co-dependant at times. Even when I’m running on empty, if it’s important, I’m there. And vice-versa. 

But the real subject here is that I consider myself an exceptional mother in that I never (well, almost never) interfere in their lives. I don’t give advice unless I am asked for it. No matter how much I’d like to jump in and give them the wisdom I’ve gained over the years from surviving the school of hard knocks, no matter how much I hurt for them when they are struggling, no matter how frustrating it is to know I have the answers that could help, no matter what, I keep my mouth shut, unless they ask for my advice. I have bitten my tongue so hard and so often, that I have permanent scars.

And it is even harder when I watch my grandkids growing up, sometimes making the same mistakes I made and knowing that it’s my job to just sit by and let make them learn from those mistakes just as I did. 

My job is to love them no matter what. They know I have an unconditional love for them and no matter what  they do, no matter what path they choose to take, no matter how far they fall, I will always love them unconditionally. I will be there to hug them when they cry, listen when they are heartbroken (my heart breaking right along with them) and be there for them when they need me.

They know that no matter what, no questions will be asked, no opinions offered, no advice given, unless they ask for it. They know Nana will be there with love and empathy - hugs and kisses for the young ones, a hug and taken out to lunch for the older ones.

As I said, this bears no resemblance to what I was going to talk about today.

So if you want, come back tomorrow. Same bat time, same bat channel, as Batman would say.

Today’s inspiration

“Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It's not 'I love you' for this or that reason, not 'I love you if you love me.' It's love for no reason, love without an object.”

Ram Dass

“I think in a lot of ways unconditional love is a myth. My mom's the only reason I know it's a real thing.”

                                                    Conor Oberst

“You don't know what unconditional love is. You may say you do, but if you don't have a child, you don't know what that is. But when you experience it, it is the most fulfilling ever.”

                                               Regina King

“I know what it is like to be brought up with unconditional love. In my life that came from my grandmother.”

                                                          Andre Leon Talley 

Wednesday, Jan. 10 - Day 113

For those of you who are too young, or too out of the loop, to know who Andy Rooney was, I will tell you.

He was a radio and television writer, but he is best known for his segment “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” on the CBS News program ’60 Minutes.’ His segment aired from 1978 until his death at age 92 in 2011.

Andy had a unique perspective on life and the gift of saying so much with so few words.

Today I came across his words of wisdom “Things I’ve Learned” that I’d like to pass on to you.

And there is such wisdom in his words that the entire thing is today’s inspiration.

‘I’ve Learned,’ by Andy Rooney

I’ve learned:

That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

That when you’re in love it shows.

That just one person saying to me, “You’ve made my day!” makes my day.

That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

That being kind is more important than being right.

That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.

That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

That we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

That money doesn’t buy class.

That it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

That the Lord didn’t do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?

That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

That when you plan to get even someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

That there’s nothing sweeter than sleeping with your babies and feeling their breath on your cheeks.

That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

That life is tough, but I’m tougher.

That opportunities are never lost; someone else will take the ones you miss.

That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

That I wish I could have told my Dad that I love him one more time before he passed away.

That one should keep his words soft and tender, because tomorrow he might have to eat them.

That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

That I can’t choose how I feel, but I can choose what to do about it.

That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you’re hooked for life.

That everyone wants to live on the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

That it is best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested and when it is a life threatening situation.

That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done. 

Tuesday, Jan. 9 - Day 112

It’s a bloomin’ heat wave out there! The sun in all its glory and the thermometer is approaching 36 degrees. The crocuses must be breaking ground, even though you can’t see them beneath the two feet of snow.

So pull out the shorts and t-shirts people, pack up the winter gloves and ear muffs, and put away the sand and de-icer.

And the forecast for the week, 48- 52 degrees!

Spring is sprung!

Well, maybe not. The temps will be back down into the teens and twenties next week.

So I guess it’s mother nature’s cruel teaser to raise our hopes that Punxsutawney Phil won’t see his shadow and this winter will end sooner rather than later with Spring hot on its heels.

“Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.”

Mark Twain

Today’s inspiration

“If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”

Percy Bysshe Shelley

“It's not denial. I'm just selective about the reality I accept.”

Bill Watterson

“Denial has been a way of life for me for many years. I actually believe in denial.”

Nora Ephron

“As Daddy said, life is 95 percent anticipation.”

Gloria Swanson

Monday, Jan. 8 - Day 111

Today has just been one of those days. You know, the kind of day when you start off with a leftover problem from yesterday and before your feet hit the floor, you’re trying to solve it and you know darn well that you don’t have the answer, and you're not likely to.

And then the problems keep cropping up. From all different directions they come, like the baseballs that come out of that pitching machine at batting practice. 

Swing and a miss. Swing and a miss.


I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere with anything. 

But then in the middle of the day I received some good news that helped to balance things out. And that’s just what I needed to help me catch my breath, re-evaluate, and put things in perspective.

I’m not often unbalanced, although those closest to me might disagree, and I don’t like the feeling of not having all my ducks in a row.

So as I sit and write this, Mother Duck is happy to say, everything is as under control as it can be, for now.

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. 

On second thought, yes I can. 

Today’s inspiration

“Life's a rollercoaster. You're up one minute; you're down one minute. But who doesn't like rollercoasters?”

Conor McGregor

Sunday, Jan. 7 - Day 110

So how old am I feeling today? Oooooold!

This morning, I watched a video clip in commemoration of the fact that the TV show Howdy Doody premiered on this day seventy years ago. SEVENTY! 

I was two at the time and I can’t really remember it at that age, but I certainly can remember being 5 or 6 and sitting in front of the small, black-and-white tv screen watching Howdy, Buffalo Bob and the rest of the characters.

And it seems like just yesterday.

Howdy Doody himself was a freckle-faced boy marionette with 48 freckles, one for each state of the union at the time of his creation.

He sat on Buffalo Bill's lap and entertained a generation of little kids for 13 years and I think I was enamored with Howdy because I had freckles just like he did.

Then there was Flub-a-Dub - A combination of eight animals. He had a duck's bill, a cat's whiskers, a spaniel's ears, a giraffe's neck, a dachshund's body, a seal's flippers, a pig's tail, and an elephant's memory.

But my favorite was the mute Clarabell the Clown who communicated in mime, by honking horns on his belt, and by squirting seltzer. Originally played by Bob Keeshan who went on to create the children's TV character "Captain Kangaroo."

The term ‘howdy’do’ was a western greeting and became Howdy Doody.

But the most distinctive feature of the show was the Peanut Gallery, onstage bleachers seating about 40 children. Each show began with Buffalo Bob asking, "Say kids, what time is it?" and the kids yelling in unison, "It's Howdy Doody Time!" Then the kids sang the show's theme song (set to the tune of "Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay"):

It’s Howdy Doody time,

It’s Howdy Doody time,

Bob Smith and Howdy, too,

Say “Howdy do” to you.

Let’s give a rousing cheer

’Cause Howdy Doody’s here.

It’s time to start the show

So kids, let’s go!

As I watched the peanut gallery singing this morning, all the bright, shiny little faces, it brought me back...way back, to a time of wonder and innocence, an innocence that I think is sorely lacking in the world today. 

I think we could all use a little Howdy in our world today. 

Today’s inspiration

I bet this was Buffalo Bob and Claribell’s motto

“Turns out you have a really fun time if you go to work every day and focus on being silly and funny and happy!”

Hannah Murray

Saturday, Jan. 6, - Day 109

You know how every day FB teases you with a memory from the past so you can see just where you were in your life a year or two (or 3 or4) ago? 

I’m always curious to know what my state of mind was then. 

Was I thoughtful, passing on other’s words of wisdom? 

Was I prolific, passing on my own deep, insightful thoughts of the moment?

 Was I amused and amusing, passing on humorous memes and videos?


Was I sad?



A little pissed off?

Whatever the mood, my FB memories allow me to have a snapshot of the day. 

 Of course it’s doubtful I would ever remember what was actually going on that day from years ago, but still, it’s encouraging to know I have a cyber-journal of sorts, just in case dementia kicks in and I forget the past.

So when today’s memory popped up, I was amused in a perverse way, because exactly three years ago today, I posted a weather map showing dangerously low wind chill temperatures in the MINUS 20 degree range. And guess what? Today’s weather is a mirror image. 

Comforting to know that as time marches on, like it or not, it drags the good, bad and ugly right along with it.

So stay warm my friends and try not to curse your friends who are hanging out on the beach in Florida today (Tina)

Today’s inspiration

You know it’s a cold day when your teeth start chattering and they’re still on the nightstand.

I’m not going outside until the temperature is above my age.

Does shivering count as exercise?

Today’s forecast…holy crap I can’t feel my face.

It’s so damn cold outside I just farted snowflakes.

Friday, Jan.5 - Day 108

It was a very, long protracted storm watch over the last few days and I’m very tired of sitting on the edge of my seat to see if we were going to get  3,6,8,12,18 inches of snow - power outages, no power outages, 15, 25, 40, 50, 60mph wind.

I decided I wanted to lighten the mood a little today so I am posting some words of levity to help lighten the mood.

I hope it brightens your day.

Today's inspiration

“Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.”

George Carlin

“My wife can't cook at all. She made chocolate mousse. An antler got stuck in my throat.”

                                                    Rodney Dangerfield

“The four most beautiful words in our common language: 
I told you so.”

                                Gore Vidal

“I bought one of those tapes to teach you Spanish in your sleep. During the night, the tape skipped. Now I can only stutter in Spanish.”

                                        Steven Wright

"If people say they just love the smell of books, I always want to pull them aside and ask, To be clear, do you know how reading works?"

Bridger Winegar

"A Canadian psychologist is 
selling a video that teaches you how to test your dog’s IQ. Here’s how it works: If you spend $12.99 for the video, your dog 
is smarter than you."

                             Jay Leno

"General Mills 
is coming out with an organic Twinkie. Isn’t that called a sponge?"

                             Jay Leno

"What are they planting to grow the seedless watermelon?"

                                       Jerry Seinfeld

Thursday, Jan. 4 - Day 107

Today’s inspiration

“I was born in a blizzard, a special out-of-season blizzard, the worst blizzard Oslo ever suffered. Family, home, circumstances, the country I lived in and the weather I was born in all conspired to make a skater of me.”

Sonja Henie

Today in New England, we are braced for some nasty weather - blizzard-like conditions for the next 18 hours. 

Yay! Actually, NOT yay! I haven't met ANYONE who's happy about it. Not even the snowplow drivers who will be working overtime 'round the clock to keep ahead of this storm. 

The weathermen are bandying the term of bombogenesis around, and I must admit the word scares the beejeebers out of me.

Anyway, with potential power outages in the wind (pardon the pun) I am rushing to get today's blog out there. I googled quotes related to blizzards and this one popped up and I jumped on it.

 I remember Sonja Henie fondly, because as a child and teenager I loved to ice skate and she was my idol when I was growing up. So I decided to use wikipedia's info to learn things I never knew about her and share them with any of you who are old enough to know who she was, and in light of the upcoming Winter Olympics, I thought it might be apropos.

Henie was born in 1912 in Kristiania (now Oslo) Norway; she was the only daughter of Wilhelm Henie (1872–1937), a prosperous Norwegian furrier, and his wife Selma Lochmann-Nielsen (1888–1961).

Once Henie began serious training as a figure skater, her formal schooling ended. She was educated by tutors, and her father hired the best experts in the world, including the famous Russian ballerina Tamara Karsavina, to transform his daughter into a sporting celebrity.[2]

Henie won her first major competition, the senior Norwegian championships, at the age of 10. She then placed eighth in a field of eight at the 1924 Winter Olympics, at the age of eleven.[3] During the 1924 program, she skated over to the side of the rink several times to ask her coach for directions, but by the next Olympiad, she needed no such assistance.

Henie won the first of an unprecedented ten consecutive World Figure Skating Championships in 1927 at the age of fourteen.

Henie went on to win first of her three Olympic gold medals the following year. She defended her Olympic titles in 1932 and in 1936, and her world titles annually until 1936.[3] She also won six consecutive European championships from 1931 to 1936. Henie's unprecedented three Olympic gold medals haven't been matched by any ladies' single skater since; neither are her achievements as ten-time consecutive World Champion.

After the 1936 World Figure Skating Championships, Henie gave up her amateur status and took up a career as a professional performer in acting and live shows.[3] While still a girl, Henie had decided that she wanted to move to California and become a movie star when her competitive days were over, without considering that her thick accent might hinder her acting ambitions.

In 1936, following a successful ice show in Los Angeles orchestrated by her father to launch her film career, Hollywood studio chief Darryl Zanuck signed her to a long term contract at Twentieth Century Fox, which made her one of the highest-paid actresses of the time.

At the height of her fame, Henie brought as much as $2 million per year from her shows and touring activities. She also had numerous lucrative endorsement contracts, and deals to market skates, clothing, jewelry, dolls, and other merchandise branded with her name. These activities made her one of the wealthiest women in the world in her time.

In 1938, she published her autobiography Mitt livs eventyr, which was translated and released as Wings on My Feet in 1940, which was republished in a revised edition in 1954. At the time of her death, Henie was planning a comeback for a television special that would have aired in January 1970. She was to have danced to "Lara's Theme" from Doctor Zhivago.

Henie was diagnosed with leukemia in the mid-1960s. She died of the disease at age 57 in 1969 during a flight from Paris to Oslo.[3][8] Generally regarded as one of the greatest figure skaters in history, she is buried with Onstad in Oslo on the hilltop overlooking the Henie-Onstad Art Centre.

She was an impressive women of her time.

Now, while we still have power, I'm going to put on a few of Sonja's movies, reminisce about my childhood, and sadly concede that my ice-skating days are LONG gone.

Stay warm and safe my friends

Wednesday, January 3 - Day 106

Now we all know how important proper nutrition is, you know, we ‘are what we eat’. We all know it, but sometimes there are obstacles that may be in the path of achieving and maintaining an ultimately healthy, well-nourished body.

First, sometimes we just don’t like organic kale, spinach, salmon, lentils, chia seeds and quinioa.

Second, the preparation is way too complicated, labor-intensive, and time-consuming - peeling, chopping, dicing, blending…

Third, we don’t own a Vita-Mix and can’t afford to buy one.

Fourth, we don’t want to get a second job just to shop at Whole Foods.

Okay, so there are some of the obstacles. Not insurmountable, if you are truly motivated to nourish every cell of your body, coaxing it into maximum nutritional health.

For me, and my busy, on-the-go schedule, my primary obstacle to conjuring up the ultimate morning nutrition is time.

So when I saw an advertisement for ‘organic, highly nutritional, frozen ‘fast food’ meals’ I was intrigued and my curiosity piqued.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Serena Williams and Bobby Flay are a few of this meal-making company’s backers, so you know that with all this celebrity endorsement it MUST be good.

Now I have to admit, the idea of flash-frozen (to preserve all the essential nutritional elements) smoothies, breakfast cups and soups that are auto-delivered to your door on whatever schedule you choose, is appealing. They come in pre-portioned frozen cups, so all you do is add an appropriate liquid, heat, or pop them into your blender and voila.

Without any shopping, peeling, cutting, chopping, the incredibly nutritious ingredients are ready in a minute or two. 

Truly ‘fast food’.

For those who would love to make a morning smoothie but just don’t have the time or energy, this is for you.

I mean right out of the freezer, into the blender with some almond milk, press the button and pour it right back into the cup in came in. Nothing could be easier.

I’ve read the reviews and most of them say they are truly delicious, nutritious and  most importantly, convenient.

So I decided I would check it out because it would be like having a personal chef at my beck and call whenever I wanted to power up with a healthy soup or smoothie.

My first clue that it wasn’t going to be for me was that you can’t get any info or even onto the main menu unless you put in your zip code (to see if you are in their delivery area - although I suspect that unless you live in Bora Bora, they’d find a way to deliver it) and your e-mail address. Aha, so now they had you - an email address so they could send you endless offers and enticements.

So only after I put in my address could I see what products they offer and what the cost is.

Yikes. Well, I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t $7.99 for one frozen smoothie cup. You have to set up an auto-delivery schedule for a minimum of 6 cups each week, but they say you can cancel at anytime. Sometimes that's easier said than done, as I've discussed before.

I know, I know, look at the convenience (delivered to your house), look at the nutritional value (chock full of fruit, veggies and chia seeds), and look at the labor-saving convenience of not having to spend an hour every morning preparing all the ingredients.

Yes, I would simply love to partake, but at $7.99 each, I don’t think so. I could prepare an entire dinner for 2 or maybe even 4 for that price.

So I guess it’s smoothies all around for the rich and famous, and us average folks will just have to settle for a cup of joe and an apple.

Today's inspiration

“Primates need good nutrition, to begin with. Not only fruits and plants, but insects as well.”

                                                    Richard Leakey

“Nutrition makes me puke.”

                                                Jimmy Piersall

Tuesday, January 2, Day 105

The past few days have been an exercise in frustration, patience, frustration, tolerance, did I mention…frustration?

Frustration # 1 - Saturday night I came home to 2 inches of water over half my kitchen floor. At first I thought it was just a little puddle that my husband might have spilled filling the coffeepot or something. Then when I turned on the light I saw that it was a little mini-flood coming from somewhere. I started to investigate and found that our kitchen faucet had a small leak that must have been there for quite some time. But now it seemed to have reached maximum overload and had reached under the dishwasher, stove and under the kitchen cabinets. My husband was not at home at the time so I started the clean-up project. After two hours it appeared everything was dry and I wrapped towels around the faucet and under the leak.

Then I went to the phone to call a plumber.

Whatever was I thinking? It was 6pm on the New Years Eve weekend, so I left a message. This is where the patience and tolerance kicked in. It was a small leak that once I cleaned up the deluge, could be nicely contained for a few days until after the holiday.

Frustration # 2 - Came home New Year’s Eve around 4p.m. to discover that our hot water pipes were frozen.

As I discussed in a post earlier this week, the arctic chill that has plagued the country has been particularly brutal this past week with sub-zero wind chill temperatures.

We always let our taps drip water whenever the temps are this cold, but somehow the hot water tap in the kitchen was turned off. So…frozen pipes.

More patience - I decided not to try and call a plumber until the next day. It was New Year’s Eve and I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s celebration and figured it could wait until the morning. So I turned up the heat to 80 thinking maybe that would warm up the pipes. I tried a hair dyer and portable heater, but no go. Still frozen.

The next day, New Year’s Day, I really didn’t think anyone would call back, but wonder of wonders, a very experienced, kind plumber took mercy on us and headed over.

Yay! The pipes were going to fixed, hopefully before they burst.

Frustration #3 - the pipes couldn’t be fixed. 

One of the drainage pipes was frozen solid and was in a place that was unreachable. He was very apologetic and said there wasn’t anything he could do and we just had to wait until it warmed up a little. 

Like March or April??

No, just until it warmed up to the 20s-30s. He said to keep the heat turned up and the space heaters running and hopefully it would thaw, sooner than later. And he said to feel free to call him day or night if a pipe burst. What a nice man.

Patience and tolerance - I spent hours moving the heater to different spots, trying the hair dryer on different pipes with no luck. It was the drain pipe under the shower that was frozen solid, so all my efforts were a waste of time, but it made me feel better to think I was doing something.

And then the miracle occurred today. After 3 days, we heard the hot water running from the tap in the kitchen!!


I really thought that we were going to have to wait for the spring thaw, but patience and tolerance paid off and we again have water.

So frustration, patience and tolerance got us through, and brought us to the other side, to gratitude and hope. 

Gratitude for the resolution of the potentially miserable and very costly situation of burst pipes in the middle of a frigid winter. And hope that I NEVER have to go through this again.

Today’s inspiration

“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”

                                                    Brian Tracy

January 1st, 2018, Day 104


Well, it is a New Year. An end to 2017, and a new beginning in 2018. 

Whatever transpired this past year, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, is gone and we start anew.


Making New Year’s resolutions is not something I have ever participated in. My feeling is that a decision to make a life change or commitment is best done after a period of serious thought and not one made because it’s the traditional thing to do on a specific day of the year. 

New Year's resolutions tend to be made with all intentions of keeping them and then when the novelty or momentum wears off, they’re abandoned.

It is not by accident that gym memberships and commercial diet plans skyrocket and bakery sales drop significantly for the first two weeks of the new year. 

And then, as most statistics will show, the number of people who are actually, still working out daily at the gym drops off to dramatically a month or two later.

It isn’t that people aren’t serious about resolving to give up smoking, or drinking or lose 20 lbs and get healthy, it’s just that the motivation dims as time wears on.

 It’s like knowing that you have a class reunion in 2 weeks and you resolve to lose that pesky 10 lbs that’s been hanging around since your last child was born - 20 years ago. It’s a resolution that isn’t a life-long goal, but a short-sighted one, doomed to fail.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m sure that there are many people who woke up this morning, resolutions firmly grasped with both hands, ready to hit the gym, throw their cigarettes in the trash, empty their last beer bottle down the drain, or go to the grocery store to stock up on spinach and avocados. I give you all credit for an ambitious start and I wish you well. 

Unfortunately, the statistics show that a month or two down the road, those resolutions will have worn a little thin.

So for me, a commitment to do something…whatever it is…must be a well-thought out plan to accomplish whatever goal I set out to do. 

And I know that if I write down on a piece of paper at midnight on New Year’s Eve that I will never again eat my favorite Ben & Jerry’s chunky monkey ice cream, just because I’m supposed to make a resolution to change in the new year, I’m just setting my self up for failure.

So why do it? It’s simply an exercise in masochistic futility.

Well, I hope I haven’t discouraged any of you from keeping those resolutions you’ve made. I really do wish you the best of luck.

I’ll check back with you next month to see how you’re doing.

After I finish a bowl of chunky monkey.

Today’s inspiration

“Dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.”

                                                          Helen Fielding

“I don't do resolutions, as I am a rebel without a cause in that respect - I always break them by the second of Jan.!”

                                                            Katherine Kelly

“Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle.”

                                                  Eric Zorn

“I don't believe in New Year's resolutions. I think if you want to change something, change it today and don't wait until the New Year.”

                                                                      Georgina Bloomberg

Sunday, Dec. 31 - Day 103

It’s New Year’s Eve (day) and preparations are being made all around the world to usher in a whole new year - 2018. Hard to believe that we are 18 years in to a whole new century. Time flies, as the saying goes, but the older you get, it doesn’t fly like a bird, it jettisons out of a rocket.

Tonight, the hours, then minutes, will tick down until midnight in Times Square, the quintessential place to celebrate, as the huge sparkly ball drops down during the countdown…10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…midnight! 2018 will be ushered in by frenetic crowd of hundreds of thousands.

Here are a few of the statistics regarding the Times Square celebration.

3,000 pounds. The amount of confetti blasted over the crowd once the ball completes its drop. This equates to about 30,000,000 pieces of the colored paper. It takes more than 100 people to complete the task, and the confetti is dropped from the tops of 7 buildings surrounding Times Square.

1 degree. The coldest ball drop ever recorded was in 1917. The wind chill at the time was -18 degrees. And it's predicted that tonight might just break that record.

6 pm. The hour the ball is raised to the top of its 77-foot flagpole.

60. The number of seconds it takes to descend down the flagpole to signal the start of the new year.

500,000. The number of spectators who descended upon Times Square to see the ball drop in 1998.

1,000,000+. The estimated number of people expected to pack the streets of Times Square on New Year’s Eve this year.

48 tons. The amount of trash that was cleaned up by NYC sanitation workers after the festivities ringing in 2015. Refuse ranged from confetti to balloons to party hats, pizza boxes, and empty bottles.

7 hours. The amount of time it took the city to reopen the streets to traffic in 2016.

 It took 178 sanitation workers using 26 mechanical sweepers, 25 collection trucks, 38 blows and 40 hand brooms to tidy up Times Square.

“Priceless.” The cost of the ball according to organizers, who account for both the materials and labor required for its creation. Though they say if they have to put a number value on it, it’s over $1 million.

1,000,000,000. The number of people who will watch the ball drop from their screens at home across the globe. At least 100 million of these viewers will be in the U.S.

22 percent. The number of Americans who fall asleep before midnight.

And try as we might, at our age I'm afraid my husband and I will be among that 22 percent. And the older we get, the earlier we fall asleep. 

Sad but true, but by next year, we might have to struggle to make it until 6p.m, after we come home from having an Early Bird dinner at Applebee's.

Today’s inspiration

“Don’t let aging get you down. It’s too hard to get back up.”

                                                 John Wagner

“As you get older, three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can’t remember the other two.


Saturday, Dec. 30, Day 102

Okay, so yesterday I talked about the potential downfall of Facebook Sponsored sites touting the indispensability of their products or services. 

So perhaps you might be leery about today’s post, because I am about to tell you about a product that popped up today, and I am going to buy as soon as I can save up the $150.

I know, I know, My brain can spout a dichotomy of different ideas and today I am reversing yesterday’s warnings. Well, not really, because I thoroughly investigated the product and have deemed it reputable and reliable.


What is it?

It is the HOVR.

And what exactly is that?

It is Leg Swing - an Active-Sitting exercise device.


I truly wish I could include a picture and video so you could see for yourself what a nifty little thing it is, because I KNOW you’d want one for yourself.

I mean after all, who wouldn’t want to burn calories while sitting at your desk at work or home?

Who wouldn’t mindlessly want to exercise with a fidget spinner designed for your legs?

So now let me explain since you can’t see it for yourself.

The HOVR attaches and hangs beneath your desk.

While you are sitting and working, you put your feet on two pedals suspended on a chain that free-floats in any direction as you swing your lower legs around in circular motions or back and forth (or any combination of movement) in any direction. The only thing that is moving is your feet and lower legs.

Movement of any kind burns calories so swinging your legs for eight hours must burn a heck of a lot of those calories.

While you are just sitting there at your desk, working away, you’re killing two birds with one stone.

The proven benefits of the HOVR are, increasing circulation and helping prevent blood clots from not moving your legs for prolonged periods, increasing metabolism, and increasing blood flow to the brain which increases mental energy (I know I could certainly benefit from that feature). 

Now I’m not so sure about the claim that it dramatically increases focus and productivity, helping with hyperactivity, and ADHD because of the mindless motion, but I’m willing to open-minded about that one.

The HOVR was developed over the course of 5 years by a 20+ year physical medicine and rehab M.D. and 15+ year personal trainer to help people live healthier lives.

So as I suggested to all of you, I’ve done the research and it seems like this is the real deal.

There are stellar reviews and absolutely no complaints on any front.

I anxiously wait, as I save up for it. I can’t wait to just sit and mindlessly swing my legs while working I’m working away, exercising my brain and body at the same time.

And who knows, I might burn enough calories to have pizza for dinner.

Today’s inspiration

“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.”

                                                                 Wilhelm von Humboldt

“The lesson I learned is that sometimes the task you have at hand needs all of your concentration and focus.”

                                             Damian Lewis

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”


Friday, Dec. 29 - Day 101

I often get my blog ideas from some of the things posted on Facebook. It is a wealth of wild, weird, and sometimes wacky snippets of human behavior, informational tidbits, and sponsored posts trying to sell you something. 

You are inundated with sites for self-improvement, psychological motivation, or just the latest travel jacket that boasts 14 pockets equipped with a usb port, umbrella and drinking cup. I must admit that some of the products that show up look incredibly terrific. 

I’m not an impulse buyer, and I’m a very savvy shopper. I research before I buy... reviews, complaints and especially customer service.

So perhaps you’re tempted to purchase the hair care products guaranteed to grow your hair back to its thick, lush, pre-menopausal state, or supercharged testosterone-enhanced vitamins for ‘increased stamina.’ 

My advice, buyer beware! 

When you give your credit card number for the low, low price of $39.95 (free shipping included), you’re under the impression you can return it for full refund, (free shipping no longer included) and you can easily cancel the monthly order at any time.

Read the customer reviews, not the ones on the company website, but the sites that investigate scams.

From my experience, I’ve found a plethora of nightmare complaints.

Such as ; 

you call customer service called to cancel the monthly subscription (whose price has doubled after the first month’s ‘introductory offer’ and encounter a rude, sometimes downright nasty, high-pressure rep who puts you on hold and then hangs up; 

you call customer service and no-one picks up the line, EVER; 

you cancel your subscription online, but your credit card continues to charged FOREVER. 

And then there are the reviews of the products themselves. Cheap quality, fell apart after one use, hair fell out in clumps, etc. etc.

So as tempted as I am sometimes to purchase a product that looks like something I’d love to have (like a travel purse with 20 pockets, a usb port, RFID blocker slots, and the absolutely irreplaceable umbrella and drinking cup) I do my homework, and more often than not, I save my money.

The biggest red flag that actually makes me laugh, is when they tell you you need to order in the next 5 minutes because ‘quantities are limited.’ Yeah right. Like they’ve only produced 100 of something when there are 2000 gullible customers just chomping at the bit to get to the phone before it’s too late.

And it's too bad, too, because most of the things that come from sponsored sites look too good to be true.

And that’s because they are.

Today's inspiration

“We live in such a gullible world. Anything that's written, anything that's posted, anything picture that is interpreted one way is taken as truth.”

                                                  Keri Hilson

“There's a gullible side to the American people. They can be easily misled.”

                                                          Michael Moore

“We want to believe that we're invulnerable, and that people who get tricked deserve it. Well, they don't. And someday the arrogant types who mock the gullible are likely to get their turn to wear the dunce cap.”

                                                    Walter Kirn

Thursday, Dec. 28 - Day 100

“Now is the winter of our discontent” from Shakespeare’s Richard III, was the thought that came to mind first thing this morning when the temperature registered 5 degrees, with a wind chill of MINUS 14 degrees. 

That was at 6 a.m. But I knew it was bound to warm up later in the day. Well, not so much. It’s now 4 p.m. and it’s 7 degrees with the wind chill of —10. I’m indoors and my fingers are still frigid as I type away.

As much of the country is, we are trapped in this arctic chill pattern for a little while. The forecast for the next ten days is single digits to the teens during the day, and sub-zero temps at night. 

Now it’s not that I’m complaining…oh, who am I kidding…I HATE THE COLD! And this isn’t just cold, this is face-numbing, frostbite-producing frigid! 

I know, I know, it’s winter and I should expect it, but it’s not even January and we’re locked in a freezer.

I decided to check the weather around different parts of the country to see just see how they’re doing. 

First I checked Anchorage, Alaska where my friend lives, because I know they have to be way colder than we are. Not so. Their mean daytime temps are in the 20s and 30s with the same at night. Seriously? We’re talking Alaska. I mean, polar bears and arctic ice caps. What’s up with that? 

So then I decided to check around the country where you’d expect it to be warmer. 

San Francisco - 40s and 50s; 

Raleigh, N.C. - teens and 30s; 

San Antonio, TX, - 20s and 30s. 

No shorts and t-shirts for them.

I had to go all the way to Acapulco to find temps in the 70s and 80s.

The only saving grace is that we’ve only had one significant snow storm, Christmas Eve, with only 6 inches and nothing forecasted in the immediate future.

I just don’t think I could handle snow on top of the cold today, not until I ease myself into the

‘there’s nothing I can do about it - suck it up, and stop complaining, mentality.’

 I’m a great proponent of the ‘it could always be worse’ mantra, but this is really pushing it.

But then I heard that Erie, PA got 58 inches of snow in 36 hours.

Okay, you got me there. They win.

And I'm sure they'll agree, if global warming is on the horizon, bring it on.

Today’s inspiration

“Winter is nature's way of saying, 'Up yours.’”

                                             Robert Byrne

“During the wintertime in cold cities, you sometimes need a party to break through the melancholy.”

                                           Josh Gordon

“The problem with winter sports is that - follow me closely here - they generally take place in winter."

                                      Dave Barry

Wednesday, Dec. 27 - Day 99

Okay folks, bear with me today. This is an after-Christmas, Christmas post. I know you must be sick of me discussing the subject (I know I am), but this is really the absolutely, 100% guaranteed, final, LAST Christmas post. I PROMISE!

This is actually going to be an interactive post, because I’m curious what other people do and would love to hear. About what? you ask. Well, about the tree, of course.

To begin with, did you make a trek to the snowy mountains with axe in hand and chop down the ‘perfect’ tree right after Thanksgiving? Or did you wait until Christmas Eve and bring home a fresh-smelling pine from the tree lot and put it up after the kids went to bed? Did you shop at Home Depot and pick out a big, pre-strung artificial tree and a pine-scented candle to make it smell ‘real’?

Well, no matter, because it doesn’t matter what or how you procured your tree.

My post-Christmas question is…what do you do now?

What is your holiday tradition regarding taking down the tree - the tree that so majestically heralded in the season and under which lay all the presents that were so anxiously anticipated and ripped open in seconds.

Do you take it down Christmas night since ‘it’s over’ and you can now reclaim that half of your living room that it occupied? 

Do you wait until January, 1st so you can twinkle in the New Year? 

Do you wait until the needles get clogged in your vacuum cleaner? 

Do you leave it up all year ‘round, like they do in Christmas, Florida, (and the North Pole, too, I imagine)? 

Do you leave it up until February 15th and decorate the tree with red hearts and roses?

Personally, we leave it up through the bleak winter month of January. At night, when we’re huddled together under a warm blanket watching tv, its pretty, twinkling lights and shiny ornaments brighten the mood.

It’s sub-zero outside, knee-deep with snow, and icicles precariously hanging right outside the door and there’s something about the magic of twinkle lights that makes everything seem less bleak.

I probably don’t need to tell you that we have an artificial tree. Otherwise we’d be staring at a six foot bare-branched set of twigs.

There is a story I like to tell about WHY we have an artificial tree.

It was Christmas of 1971. Up until that time, we alway had a fragrant, small to moderate-sized pine tree. That year, we moved into a new house that was the style at the time (and has since gone by the wayside.) It was a California-style home with beamed-cathedral ceilings, and an open slat stairway up to a landing overlooking the living room. We had two little kids at the time and thought, wouldn’t a huge silver-tipped pine tree look beautiful on the landing.

Of course it would.

So we went to a tree lot to pick out one of the biggest trees they had. They roped it up and we were on our way.

It was a bit of a struggle to get it up the stairs even though it was tightly roped together.

But eventually we won, put it in the stand and cut the ties.


We were almost knocked down the stairs by the branches. In our excitement of how wonderful it would look, we failed to take any measurements. It filled the entire landing with branches sticking through the wrought-iron railing.

Well, so be it. It really WAS beautiful, Unfortunately, the kids couldn’t help decorate because there was barely enough room any of us.

So hubby and did the decorating, complete with tons of tinsel and it truly was magnificent.

I watered the tree every day and by Christmas it was still pine-scented, fresh and alive.

We decided that we would take it down a few days after Christmas so it wouldn’t be a fire hazard. We boxed up the decorations, unstrung the lights and prepared to take the tree down.

It didn’t occur to us that the tree that was so tightly tied up when we took it UP the stairs, wouldn’t be tied up going back DOWN.

And somehow, overnight, the needles had been sucked dry and the tree was dead. Any touch of the branches and the needles fell like raindrops.

Now you remember me telling you that this landing was 20 feet up and there were open-slat stairs. So as we tried to maneuver the tree down the stairs, every single pine needle fell through the slats into the orange and brown shag carpet (it was the 70’s remember?) and by the time it made it to the front door, it was naked as a jaybird.

It took nine months to finally vacuum up the last of the needles, or almost all. Every now and then you’d get jabbed in the foot by a stray dagger.

It really WAS a wonderful, beautiful tree, the likes of which we had never seen before (or after) because that was the absolute LAST real tree we had.

After that year, the artificial tree became our friend. We unbox it, plug it in, and voila. It may not be as realistic, and it may not smell like the forest, but when its time comes, it fits very neatly back in its box till next year.

And my vacuum has never been happier.

Today’s inspiration

"After church on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, my family would go chop down our Christmas tree. Once it was home and placed in its stand, Mom and I would painstakingly decorate our tree. It took hours to place the tinsel, string the lights, find the perfect spot for my favorite macaroni and felt ornaments from kindergarten."

                                                            Molly O'Keefe

"On the morning, Daddy and I get up at six o'clock because Christmas trees must be bought in the dark. We walk to the other end of town, as the big harbour is just the right setting for buying a Christmas tree. We spend hours choosing, looking at every branch suspiciously. It's always cold."

                                                         Tove Jansson

"The smell of pine needles, spruce and the smell of a Christmas tree - those to me, are the scents of the holidays."

                                                         Blake Lively

"I like messy. What fun is tidy?"

                                                                Dasha Zhukova

Tuesday, Dec. 26 - Day 98

The day after Christmas - all the food has been eaten, the presents wrapped and unwrapped, the guests have come and gone, and everything returns to the norm - whatever the norm is for you.

For us, yesterday was a wonderful day that was filled with all our traditional festivities of singing Christmas carols, watching ‘Scrooge’ and ‘White Christmas’ for the umpteenth time and never tiring of it. 

And then there’s our favorite - watching ‘A Christmas Story’ and still laughing every time Ralphie almost shoots his eye out, and the quintessential movie moment when his father receives the ‘fragileee’ crate with the ‘leg lamp.’

Several years ago I had the opportunity to see ‘A Christmas Story’ on Broadway and it was a great show, but what struck me the most was the lobby. 

First up, was the life-size cutout of Ralphie’s pink pajama bunny suit. Yes, I stood behind it and stuck my head through the hole for a picture to be recorded for all posterity. 

But then, when you turned the corner, there it was - an entire lobby gift shop filled, floor to ceiling, with souvenirs of Marilyn Monroe’s leg lamp - and it was like a feeding frenzy. Legs of all sizes flew off the shelves and they could barely keep the shelves stocked.

It truly was quite the sight to see.

So now, every time I watch the movie, that memory of crazed ‘leg lamp addicts’ pushing and shoving to make sure Marilyn went home with them, springs to mind.


I was perfectly content to come home with the picture of me as the life-size pink bunny - a picture that is locked away in my safety deposit boxed only to be revealed after my death, ‘cause I always wanted to leave ‘em laughing.

Today’s inspiration

“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”

Audrey Hepburn

“You don't stop laughing because you grow older. You grow older because you stop laughing.”

Maurice Chevalier

“A sense of humor is good for you. Have you ever heard of a laughing hyena with heart burn?”

Bob Hope


I wish everyone a blessed, happy and safe Christmas

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas." 

                                                                 Calvin Coolidge


Did you know...

Irving Berlin said that “White Christmas" was the best song that he ever wrote, and the best song that anyone ever wrote.

He hated Elvis Presley’s cover of “White Christmas” so much that he tried to prevent radio stations from playing it.

Irving Berlin was Jewish and even though he wrote the most classic song, he didn’t celebrate Christmas.

In Britain, the Day after Christmas is Boxing Day, which was created so that the servants who had to work during the holidays could have a day off.

Just like on Downton Abbey.

In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas arrives to deliver his toys by steamboat, not a sleigh.

There are twelve courses in the Ukrainian Christmas Eve supper, each dedicated to one of the apostles.

Going to have to loosen your belt for that one.

Today’s inspiration

“Come Christmas Eve, we usually go to my mom and dad's. Everybody brings one gift and then we play that game when we all steal it from each other. Some are really cool, others are useful and some are a bit out there.” 

                                                 Amy Grant

“When I was a kid, we would get McDonalds on Christmas Eve, and that was a big deal because the closest one to the south side of Chicago was a 35 minute drive away. I remember opening the bag and smelling those fries, and even now when I smell them, it reminds me of Christmas Eve.” 

                                                 Jane Lynch

“The sharpest memory of our old-fashioned Christmas eve is my mother's hand making sure I was settled in bed.”

                                                 Paul Engle

Saturday, Dec. 23 - Day 95

Did you know...

Barnum’s animal crackers in the circus-themed boxes were designed with a string handle so they could hang on a Christmas tree.

Never knew that, but what a great idea.

Each Rockette dancer has only 78 seconds to change her costumes during ‘The Radio City Christmas Spectacular.’

I can't do it in five minutes, if I'm trying to wriggle into a pair of jeans fresh out of the dryer.

The US Postal Service delivers around 20 billion letters, packages, and cards between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

My husband was a 'communications engineer' (a mailman) for 30 years. No wonder he was exhausted by the time Christmas was over.

Today's inspiration

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."

                                                   Norman Vincent Peale

Friday Dec. 22 - Day 94

Did you know...

In Sweden, people traditionally watch Donald Duck cartoons on Christmas Eve.

Male reindeers shed their antlers around Christmas time, so Rudolph is really Rudolphina??

So should it be Rudolphina, the pink-nosed reindeer?

SantaCon is an annual event that started in San Francisco in 1994, in which a mob of Santas run amok through the city.

Keep the kiddies inside for that one or they'll be in therapy for the rest of their life.

One of the first commercially sold artificial Christmas trees was made from toilet brushes.

What a great way to recycle! I sure hope they used clean ones.

The movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” was once mentioned in an FBI report. An analyst was concerned the film was a Communist attempt to discredit bankers.

Because it is the season of joy, I will refrain from any political statement on that one.

Today’s inspiration

“All cartoon characters and fables must be exaggeration, caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable.”

                                             Walt Disney

Thursday Dec.21 - Day 93

Did you know...

The classic Christmas gift, Barbie, was inspired by a German doll named Lilli.

Barbie was named after Mattel’s owners daughter.

Barbie’s measurements on a human scale come to 39-18-33.

Now, there's realism at its best. I’m guessing it was a man who thought that one up.

Today's inspiration

"I think there's so much emphasis on body image and results and outcome, but really what you should be after is to be healthy and to feel good about yourself."            Abby Wambach

"Body image - what we're supposed to look like - is made so unattainable that all girls are put in this position of feeling inferior. That's a horrible thing."

 Amy Heckerling

No matter what a woman looks like, if she's confident, she's sexy.

Paris Hilton

Wednesday Dec. 20 - Day 92

Did you know...

The Hess Toy Truck was created in 1964 so that families could buy an affordable holiday toy. It sold for just $1.29!

You can now buy that same 1964 truck for a mere $2,500. Somebody was thinking ahead.

In ‘Frosty the Snowman, a train ticket to get Frosty to the North Pole cost $3000.04 plus tax.

Hope he had a Mastercard in his pocket. Oh, wait a second. I don't think he had pockets.

And if you’re interested, you can buy an antique German Dresden cardboard Lizard ornament for $599.

Did I mention CARDBOARD. Better keep the puppy away from that one.

Today’s inspiration

“Christmas always rustled. It rustled every time, mysteriously, with silver and gold paper, tissue paper and a rich abundance of shiny paper, decorating and hiding everything and giving a feeling of reckless extravagance.”

                                                                 Tove Jansson

Tuesday, Dec.19 - Day 91

Did you know…

Coca-Cola received letters asking about Mrs. Claus after one of the company’s ads depicted Santa without a wedding ring.

Uh- oh, I hope you’re not being naughty, Santa. I mean who’s watching you?

In Estonia, families hit the sauna together on Christmas Eve.

Now that’s what I call a close family.

Since, it’s summer in Brazil on Dec.25, Christmas trees are decorated with cotton to resemble snow.

Today’s inspiration

"Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more."

 H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Monday, Dec. 18 - Day 90

Did you know…

In Italy, instead of writing letters to Santa, kids address their letters to their parents to tell them how much they love them.

Sadly, I don’t think that would fly in America.

People in Caracas, Venezuela, head to Christmas Mass on roller skates.

I wonder if the priest does too. Now that would be a sight to see.

In Hungary, the Christmas Eve meal can’t be served until a tinkling star is seen in the sky.

So if it’s a cloudy night, I guess they’ll all be Hungary.

Sorry, just couldn't help it.

Today’s inspiration

"As we give presents at Christmas, we need to recognize that sharing our time and ourselves is such an important part of giving."

                                                         Gordon B. Hinckley

Sunday, Dec. 17 - Day 89

Did you know…

In Anglo-Saxon, Mistletoe translates to ‘dung on a twig’ because it very often grew where birds left their droppings.

Remember that next time you want a romantic kiss from your sweetheart.

There’s no cleaning on Christmas Eve in Norway. They hide all the brooms in case they’re stolen by witches.

Sounds like a great reason for not cleaning to me.

“When I was a child in England before the war, Christmas pudding always contained at least one shiny new sixpence, and it was considered a sign of great good luck for the new year to find one in your helping of the pudding.

        Michael Korda - British author

My Grandma's tradition was to wrap sixpences in parchment paper and hide them in our Christmas Pudding. She always made sure that her Grandchildren managed to get one in their slice of pudding. We were always in awe that she seemed to know which slice. (after-all the pudding was round).

                                                   Josephine -  a cherished longtime friend from England

Today’s inspiration

“Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values.”

                                                     Thomas S. Monson

Saturday, Dec 16. - Day 88

Christmas is just over a week away, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who will be uber-busy with Christmas preps and dash-out-the-door, last minute shopping.

So in light of all that, I've decided that my blog this week will concentrate on some interesting, little known facts about the Christmas season and its traditions...

tidbits of trivia you can impress your friends and family with on Christmas Eve or around the dinner table.

Did you know that...

The tradition of tinsel is based on a legend about spiders whose webs turned into silver when they were spun in a Christmas tree.

‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ has been televised every year since 1965.

Church leaders in Boston tried to have the song “I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” banned when it was released.

Today’s inspiration

“I learned from my grandmother, who grew up in devastating war times, how important it is to keep with tradition and celebrate the holidays during tough times.”

                                                           Marcus Samuelsson

Friday, Dec. 15 - Day 87

Today marks two VERY important days on the calendar.

The first, my grandaughter informed me is World Otaku Day. If like me, you are totally clueless about what an otaku is, I will expound on the subject at a later date. 

And I know you don’t want to miss THAT one, because it’s…well, I don’t know WHAT the heck it is.

Second, and FAR more important to most people, is today’s premiere of STAR WARS - THE LAST JEDI.

Star Wars devoteés have been worked up into a fevered frenzy since the announcement that the new movie was in the works.

I’m not a big fan of sci-fi, although a few of my short stories in my book SAINTS AND SINNERS are in a rather bizarre fantasy realm. But even I get excited when a new Star Wars movie is released.

However, I don’t dress up like Yoda or a wookie, order tickets months in advance, or stand on a mile-long line to be the first at the midnight show, a. because I don’t like crowds, b. because I’m in bed by 9, and c. because I’m paranoid about ordering anything on-line. 

When we go to the movies, it’s the first matinee of the day when there’s pretty much only a few other blue-hairs in the theater, and we sit as far away from other people as we can. I’m not particularly anti-social, but I get thoroughly annoyed when people text on their cell phones, talk during the movie or when a six foot man sits directly in front of me, oblivious to the fact that I’m 5’1’ and can’t see a blessed thing. I have resorted to sitting in the very last row of the theater so I can stand up to see the movie if I need to. 

Hard on the body, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

So God Bless all you wookies who are out there getting your ‘fix’ today. I understand and applaud your dedication. And I feel your pain if you stood on line for four hours only to find out that the midnight show was sold out.

Better luck next time, and may The Force be with you.

Today’s inspiration

“I'm a huge Star Wars fan. I lost my Darth Vader watch.”

                                               Rhona Mitra

“I saw 'Star Wars' when I was seven years old, and it changed my life.” 

                                                     James Altucher

“I grew up with the religion of 'Star Wars,' frankly. That's when I realized there is something bigger out there... and it's called The Force.”

                                                Trey Parker

Thursday, Dec.14 - Day 86

I thought that my search for the most expensive gingerbread house ended yesterday, but I was wrong.

The $15,000 price tag for the gourmet, edible, life-size playhouse was just a drop in the proverbial bucket.

In my naivety, I thought there could be nothing that could top that. But I was oh, so wrong.

I mean what could possibly be more elaborate or more expensive?

Okay, hold onto your hat folks.

There is a British, online luxury retailer ‘VeryFirstTo’ and its name says it all. It offers luxury items from all the high-end companies such as Prada and Porsche and offers items that aren’t even within the realm of middle-class imagination, such as

… the ‘Secret Shoe” ‘for your feet only’: each unassumingly elegant bespoke shoe, could easily have been created by Q for 007; can contain up to 6 gizmos (3 in each shoe) from a list of 12 including: the world’s smallest phone; a tiny video/still camera; a mini Swiss Army knife; a tracking device; a minute aftershave atomiser with Oliver Sweeney fragrance; and a currency capsule to contain $50) for the meager price of $2700.

…from Lisa Carrier Designs' - a naturally shed antelope skull is hand-painted with silver leaf and intricately embellished with genuine Swarovski crystals. Made in the U.S. and signed, this striking piece embodies the artist's Gothic aesthetic for $1500.

…and for those who want to be the first in line, you can put your name on the waiting list for the yet-to-be-built, underwater glass roofed tennis court complex which lay just beneath a coral reef located just offshore in the Persian Gulf. 

There’s no price tag at the moment, but I’m sure an hour’s court time couldn’t run any more than 5 or 10 thousand. 

And maybe there will be a groupon available.

Okay, so now that I’ve set the stage for the gingerbread house…

The world’s most expensive gingerbread house, adorned with 150 AAAA grade South Sea Pearls and a 5 carat unheated Mozambique Ruby set within the icing. The house, perfect for Christmas, will be totally bespoke and created in the likeness of your own home.  

The exceptional house is crafted using the finest ingredients including organic ginger, Ceylon Cinnamon, Duchy organic eggs and Suma raw cane sugar.

The delectable dwelling will be created by Cordon Bleu trained Georgia Green the owner of Georgia’s Cakes. Her exceptional culinary creations frequently attract attention. She first enjoyed global exposure for  her stunning cake in the shape of a jacket commissioned to celebrate the launch of Cara Delevingne’s collection for DKNY.

And it can be yours, to ‘wow’ your holiday guests for a measly …$78,000!

So if you want to get a jump on next year and start saving your pennies, remember…it EXCLUDES delivery.

Today’s inspiration

“Decadence is wonderful.”

                                    Jack L. Chalker

I looked up Jack Chalker and he was a popular science fiction author of over 60 books - so I suppose he could afford to be.

Wednesday, Dec.13 - Day 85

Yesterday, I talked about the trials and tribulations of buying and assembling a gingerbread house with the kids. 

Those kits I’ve purchased in the past have run less than $20 and as the say, buyer beware & you get what you pay for.

But today, I think it's only fair to tell you that there’s another option.

If you're willing to spend just a little bit more, you can buy one that is already fully assembled.

This gingerbread house appeared in the Neiman Marcus catalogue in 2015.

It’s a little bit more elaborate than the one I made with my grandkids.

They are so precious to me, maybe I should have shelled out for this one.

It is a completely edible, life-size gingerbread playhouse.


It is 381 pounds of gourmet gingerbread, 517 pounds of icing, with thousands of candy decorations, including a completely candy-encrusted roof.

Can’t you just imagine the look on their faces when it’s delivered to the front door? 

But now there's a thought. How on earth could they deliver such a gargantuan confection? A flatbed truck I suppose. And how many musclebound men would it take to lift it. And can you just imagine if they dropped it?

But if it did arrive safe and sound, wouldn't the kiddies just ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ in ecstatic glee!

They could have fun playing in it all Christmas season, all the while nibbling away at the thousand pounds of a confection. 

So, as you envision this magnificent, life-size gingerbread house, and thinking you might want to indulge your kids, you’d probably like to know what it would set you back.

Well, if you want to splurge a little on the kids, it will cost you a mere… $15,000.

Yes, that’s FIFTEEN THOUSAND dollars! A drop in the bucket for Bill Gates, but a little above my budget. 

Yes, it would be something they'd remember forever, along with the 200 post-Christmas trips to the dentist.

Well, it’s lovely thought, but I think my kids will just have to settle for the little house by the tree.

Sorry, Dr. Johnson. You’re just going to have to find somebody else's teeth to drill.

Today’s inspiration

“Now, most dentist's chairs go up and down, don't they? The one I was in went back and forwards. I thought 'This is unusual'. And the dentist said to me 'Mr Vine, get out of the filing cabinet.”

                                                                  Tim Vine

“I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. he told me to wear a brown tie.”

                                                                                      Rodney Dangerfield

Tuesday, Dec. 12 - Day 84

Gingerbread houses - a lovely Christmas tradition. Don't most people have a beautiful gingerbread house decorated with bright, colorful candies nestled near the Christmas tree?

But have you ever bought a gingerbread kit, to assemble and decorate from scratch? They come with pre-made, pre-cut, hard gingerbread for the house, little bags of candy for the decorations, and icing to put it all together.   

And it’s a tradition I do at Christmastime with my grandchildren.

In the past, we’ve made the traditional gumdrop, candy cane versions stuck together with the white icing included in the box - the one with the picture on the box that looks so perfectly put together.

But every year when I buy the kit, I seem to forget that when it’s time to assemble the confection, it’s a disaster.

The hard, precut cookie walls and roof never seem line up properly which means they tend to collapse when the icing doesn’t hold them in place and usually, some of the candies slide off when the icing starts to dry.

All in all it’s a lesson in frustration and futility.

The end product may be something the kids take great pride in, but it looks nothing like the one on the box - the one that is so obviously created by a professional pastry chef and photoshopped to perfection.

Anyway, despite the fiascos, it’s still a tradition the kids look forward to. 

Except times have changed.

Today, there are options. There are still the standard gumdrop, candy cane versions, but then there are more modern ones.

Last year, I found the quintessential coffee-lovers kit - a Starbucks gingerbread house. I know, I know, you’re thinking, why would the kids get excited about one from Starbucks. Because they know full-well my addiction to coffee, they love me and they thought it was funny.

So, we diligently put it together, complete with a red-and-white-striped drive-thru awning and tiny coffee cups. We worked for hours and it actually stayed together, with only a few decorations falling off.

Awesome. Success. Except in the end, it looked like it was put together by a monkey on crack.

So this year, the kids were so excited when I found a minion-themed kit, because the kids, young and old, LOVE the minions.

So with anxious anticipation we set it all out on the table, ready to assemble.

We began with the standard piping of the icing in the grooves of the included plastic base.

So far so good.

Then the side walls went up - the corners not quite matching up, but staying together well enough.

Then the roof.


Every time we tried to stick it on with the icing, it would slide off or collapse one of the walls. After an hour of frustration, the kids got bored and wandered off. But not to be defeated, I elicited my daughter’s help and she came up with a great solution. It too quite a few attempts, but EVENTUALLY, we won out. Or should I say Elmer’s glue did.

Yup, with layer after layer of glue, that sucker was stuck like…well, glue.

We let it sit over night and by morning it was rock solid and ready to be decorated.

The kids were excited as they stuck the little, round candies and yellow minion bananas in the icing. Then they stuck the two gummy minion figures by the front door. We sat with anticipation as we watched the icing dry, and not a single can fell off.

But we had the Elmer’s glue on standby anyway.

So after years of failure, we figured out the secret of gingerbread house success.

We learned the most valuable lesson.

We will never fail to invite Elmer to the party.

Today’s inspiration

“The most interesting thing about a postage stamp is the persistence with which it sticks to its job.”

                                                        Napoleon Hill

“Those who have succeeded at anything and don't mention luck are kidding themselves.”

                                                 Larry King

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”

                                                        Napoleon Hill

“Persistence pays off.”

                                                                      Jeffrey Dean Morgan

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

                                                                 Winston Churchill

Monday, Dec. 11 - Day 83

I’m sure most of you know what a groupon is. If not, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of them.

And if not, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s like a digital coupon for goods and services of all kinds and you can get some pretty goods deals.

Like today.

In my e-mail, there was an intriguing groupon offer.

Exotic Auto Driving.

Heavens. What on earth could that be?

I have a vivid imagination and all sorts of visions came to mind,

so I just HAD to open the groupon to see what it deal is.

Driving school with the instructor in a grass skirt?

Driving school with an overhead sun lamp, the sounds of dolphins in the ocean, streaming through the radio?

Driving school for new drivers with a stop at a topless club with exotic dancers?

Nope. Here’s the deal - and what a deal it is!

Are you ready?

For $199 you get a discount of the original $475 exotic driving experience.

And I know you’re asking yourself, just as I did…so what the heck is that? 

Well, for $199, the experience takes place alongside a professional instructor

where you get to drive a seven lap, auto-cross adventure in the supercar car of your choice.

Your choice? a Ferrari 458 Italia, a Lamborghini Gallardo LP-570, or several other ‘exotic’ cars.

Exotic? I’m not sure I would describe it that way.

Crazy, indulgent, or just plain nuts, would be my assessment.

But then again I am not, nor have I ever been a race car enthusiast. I’ve never  seen the point of driving around in circles at 180 mph.

But I know there are a bazillion people who are. And they are not just men. I once worked with a woman who took her vacation every year to go to the Indy 500.

Me? Any sandy beach with an umbrella and beach chair would do.

I might mention, my husband has always admired sports cars and longed for his dream car - a shiny, candy-apple red corvette. Longed for, but the reality is, it's never going to be anything but a Honda Civic.

So what an opportunity this could be!

For the modest sum of $199 he could drive seven laps around the course in a corvette supercar at 180 mph with a professional driver at his side.

And I'm wondering if it’s the driver who is exotic?

Either way, it ain’t happening. Maybe for his 75th birthday.

And then again, maybe not.

Today’s inspiration

"I love speed. I love racing cars, whether it's on the streets or wherever. Don't tell the St. Louis police, though."


Sunday, Dec.10 - Day 82


The original forecast:

Starting 4am Saturday until 7am this morning, 5 to 8 inches of heavy, wet snow with possibly more in our area.

Nice, heavy wet snow - nice, heavy wet snow, perfect for making snowballs and snowmen…miserable for shoveling.

Post-storm update:

The snow started at 11am and ended at 8pm, for a total of 2 inches of fluffy white, non-snowball, non-snowman making snow.

Still pretty, still lovely, still a winter wonderland.

Enough snow for the kids to roll around in and throw up in the air.

And not too miserable for the adults.

So all in all, it wasn’t a total dud of a storm.

Good news-bad news…

I checked the forecast and there’s still plenty more where this came from.

Fun for the kids.

Misery for the adults.

Today’s inspiration

“As Daddy said, life is 95 percent anticipation.”

                                                   Gloria Swanson

“Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery.”

                                                  Bill Watterson

Saturday, Dec. 9 - Day 81

So we’re on snow watch here and my two little guys keep asking, “where’s the snow…where’s the snow???”

Every ten minutes for the past two hours, they’ve bounced back and forth, back and forth, between the window and the radar screen, in anxious anticipation of the white stuff. The radar screen is showing a slow-moving, light blue band of snow, covering the little flashing-blue dot of our location. 

I tried explaining that it really IS snowing but it’s just not reaching us yet. I tried to explain how precipitation in the atmosphere works, but it’s not really a concept a 5 yr-old can easily grasp.

The wonderment of a child’s excitement is contagious and it makes me laugh. It brings back my own memories of looking out the window in anxious anticipation of the winter wonderland that’s coming.

Okay, now the first flakes of snow are drifting down, and the screeching has begun. My little guys are jumping around in rising, frenetic excitement, and I do mean jumping.


 My jumping days are lone gone. I’m perfectly happy to sit on the couch and watch them - hoping they’ll eventually wind down before they completely  exhaust me. But from grandmotherly experience, I know that might not happen until bedtime

...and maybe not even then.

Today’s inspiration

“One of the very best reasons for having children is to be reminded of the incomparable joys of a snow day.”

                                                   Susan Orlean

“A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder.”

                                                 Susan Orlean

“To be more childlike, you don't have to give up being an adult. The fully integrated person is capable of being both an adult and a child simultaneously. Recapture the childlike feelings of wide-eyed excitement, spontaneous appreciation, cutting loose, and being full of awe and wonder at this magnificent universe.”

                                                    Wayne Dyer

Friday, Dec. 8 - Day 80

As promised, I have to share my Starbucks’ experience from yesterday.

I was out and about running errands and I popped into a Starbucks in another town (one where I was not a familiar customer) to get my 4 shots of espresso.

I placed my order and then walked to the other end of the counter to wait for it. I was the only one there at the time, so when the barista took my little paper cup to the machine to pull my shots, I smiled at him and he said, 

“you’re not what I was expecting.”

I laughed and asked "what do you mean?"

He said he was expecting a wild woman with hair ‘out to here’ as he waved his hands in the air.

“Like him,” he said as he pointed to another barista with a somewhat wild hairstyle.

I was a little confused and I asked him why he expected me to be like that?

He was quite convinced that anyone who drinks four shots of espresso must be wired for sound…and look the part.

Apparently, my sweet, little old lady appearance didn’t jibe with his expectation of a hard-drinking, caffeine-buzzed, wired, wild woman.

All I could do was laugh, because this dialogue went back and forth for several minutes - long enough for us to introduce ourselves.

His name was Colin, with one L.

As I left, I looked back, and I think he was still trying to reconcile my quiet, old lady appearance with the wild-woman image he had in mind.

Just goes to prove, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Now, how profound a statement is that from an author?

By the way Colin, you do pull a mean shot of espresso.

Today's inspiration

“Caffeine. The gateway drug.”

                                   Eddie Vedder

“I love Starbucks. Maybe that's a bit sad. But I definitely need my caffeine. It's what gets me out of bed in the morning.”

                             Nikki Sixx

“Never trust anyone who doesn't drink coffee.”

                    AJ Lee

Thursday, Dec. 7 - Day 79

(This is an aside meant just for Colin. I haven’t forgotten to mention you in this post, but I’m going off on another tangent and I promise to include you tomorrow.)

First off, I can’t believe that any of you out in cyber-land didn’t call me out on yesterday’s faux pas.

Perhaps it slipped by you, too.

I didn’t notice until I sat down to write today’s blog, that I dated yesterday as November 6th, not December.

For some reason, I seem to be vacillating between November and December -Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Christmas is just around the corner, but somehow I don’t seem to have fully grasped that fact. I guess it’s just that time is moving so quickly that before you know it, it will be time to pull out the shorts and tank tops.

Not that that’s an entirely bad thought since that will mentally whisk me past the dreaded New England winter-blizzard season. And I do mean dreaded.

When I was a kid, I loved the snow. I loved the brisk cold air against my face and the fluffy white snow beneath my feet as I would venture out to enjoy the crisp winter wonderland.

That was then, and this is now.

Now, as the cold wind blows and the heavy white stuff comes blanketing down, all I know is that my car will buried, I will be unable to open my front door, and unless I shovel out a path, Princess will be lost in a sea of white.

Back then, I loved to don a ski jacket - not that I ever ski’d - and venture out to make snow angels and throw snowballs, build igloos and sled down the snow-packed hills.

Now, I love to watch the grandkids go out to make snow angels, throw snowballs and make igloos in the backyard.

I’m happy to stay in the warm house, drink my coffee, and heat up the soup and hot chocolate they’ll need when they come in, lips blue and shivering from the cold.

I’m happy to pull off their snow-packed boots, gloves and jackets and rub their cold, frozen little hands between my nice, warm ones.

I try to remember back to when I was as happy and undaunted as they are, to spend hours outside, playing until I couldn’t feel my lips and toes. But it’s a distant memory for me, one I’m happy to forget, and I’ll leave the memory making to the little ones.

But I am getting ahead of myself, because it’s early December, and thankfully, we haven’t had any snow as of yet.

And as far as I’m concerned, I selfishly hope it stays that way. 

Selfish, because I don’t want to rob the little kiddies of snowballs and igloos.

Ah, yes. Sacrifice is the name of the game when you’re a good grandma.

And a what a good grandma I am.

Today’s inspiration

“Winter is nature's way of saying, 'Up yours.’”

                                                  Robert Byrne

Wednesday, Dec. 6 - Day 78

Okay, so I’m back on track, and I think I have considerable more coherence and clarity than I did last night since it isn’t 4pm yet. It’s 3:30 so if I think fast, write fast, you won’t be subjected to last night’s muddled and nebulous thinking.

I was out shopping for some last minute Christmas gifts (even there are around 28,800 minutes until Christmas) - impressed aren't you? Calculators are my best friend.

Any way, every store I went to had a similar display near the from entrance. Colorful racks of sparkly, shiny, ugly sweaters. Not ugly sweaters... ‘ugly sweaters.’

It has been the ‘in thing’ for several years now, and Madison Ave. saw the handwriting on the wall, jumped on the bandwagon and has done everything in it’s power to encourage the rage.

And there aren’t just ‘ugly sweaters’ know, the kind you actually wear - the ugly sweater craze has blossomed into all sorts of peripheral areas.

There are ‘ugly sweater’ Christmas ornaments. ‘Ugly sweater’ cookies.’ ‘Ugly sweater’ gingerbread houses, and such.

And then there is the inevitable social component. There are ‘ugly sweater’ parties and ‘ugly sweater’ contests to see who has the ‘ugliest’. I think you’d be hard pressed to pick the winner.

So I guess I don’t quite grasp the concept, because many years ago, I was the butt of many jokes and much ribbing when I wore my husband’s yearly, traditional Christmas gift. You guessed it. The ‘ugly sweater.’

Every Christmas he would take such pride in shopping for what he thought was the perfect holiday sweater. There wasn’t nearly as much of a selection back then because most people wouldn’t be caught dead in one. There was a limited array of the knitted red sweaters with the green Christmas trees and gold ball ornaments strategically place across your chest. Or the green ones with a jolly Santa Claus trimmed in white fur. Or the Rudolf ones with a fuzzy red nose and felt antlers.

No there wasn’t much of a selection, but every year he managed to hunt one down and give it to me Christmas Eve so I could wear it proudly on Christmas Day.

The only good thing I could say about it was that Christmas was only one day a year, so it was self-limited embarrassment.

After seven or eight years of my increasingly, less enthusiastic, lack of fervor over the gift he took such pride in, I think he got the hint and the sweaters finally stopped. 

What relief!

Now here it is twenty years later, and these sweaters have resurfaced as the latest craze that has taken hold of young and old, and threatens to last forever.

As I pass rack after rack of these sweaters, I can only say that they are as tacky as the ones I had to sneak into the Goodwill bag years ago.

All I can say is that those discarded ‘ugly sweaters’ of mine would probably make a pretty penny on the black market. I could have been rich.

Who knew?

Today’s inspiration

“It's nice if people can finally loosen up a little bit and just go out laugh at silliness. I mean, people take themselves way too seriously sometimes.” 

                                               Larry the Cable Guy

“Fashions have done more harm than revolutions.”

                              Victor Hugo

Tuesday, Nov. 5 - Day 77

I would apologize for such a late entry, but I know that you good people are not sitting on the edge of your seat every day waiting for my posts. I suspect that you can start your day very nicely without any of my words of wit and wisdom to get you going.

I harbor no illusions that I am anything but a little cyber-blip on anyone’s screen, so I shouldn’t feel any pressure.

But of course I do, and because this whole thing started as a self-imposed exercise in insanity, I sometimes kick myself in the pants.

I am an early morning riser, an early morning thinker. I don’t function very well after about four in the afternoon. The brain cells stop firing round about then and I struggle to put together any coherent thoughts. My family is fully aware of this, so they know that if they need to talk to me about anything important, they have to get it in under the wire, or it will just have to wait until tomorrow.

So with all that being said, my day was unexpectedly busy and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to sit and write.

It’s ten o’clock and I’ve been sitting here for an hour, typing, deleting, typing, deleting, typing, and deleting and going nowhere.

So I’m afraid this is as good as it’s going to get.

And it ain't good.

And hopefully I’ll be able to get blogging first thing in the morning when my brain will be firing on all least most of them.

Today’s inspiration

(and this is the best I could do under the circumstances.)

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”

                                                     Henry Ford

Monday, Dec. 4 - Day 76

For those of you who want to know a little more before you shell out your hard earned $0.99 for the Kindle edition this week here is a sneak peak.


The first few pages of  Chapter One                                  

           Dublin was a bustling seaport in 1879, the year Sheila O’Reilly was born. She was the first girl for Mick and Mary O’Reilly. Prior to her, there were six boys who would give her no end of grief as her protective, older brothers. They carried her home from church when she was just a tot and fought her battles as she got older. No matter how hard she tried to stand up for herself, one of the O’Reilly boys always stepped in to do battle for her. Being raised with no women around except her poor, exhausted mother, Sheila grew up more of a tomboy than not, so there were always battles to be fought.

          Ah, but she was a pretty little thing with long, fire-red curls winding down her back. Her mother had a devil of a time containing them in any respectable manner. And try as she might, she could never keep the dirt off her face or the scabs off her knees.

         What ever was to be done with her little Sheila? her mother often thought. There’ll never be a decent suitor coming to call, no matter how angelic a face she had. Sheila would more likely wrestle him to the ground if he dared bring flowers around to court her.

          No one could have been more surprised when Ian McManus came to call. Mary O’Reilly opened the door and there he stood, all six feet two inches of him. Towering over Mary and Mick as well, he ducked his head down so as not to hit it on the door jamb. Only one of Sheila’s brothers were as tall, but not nearly as broad in the shoulders or as pleasing to the eyes.

          “May I speak to you sir?” Ian said to Mick.

          “Sit yourself down, laddie,” Mick said to the very nervous young man.

          Squirming in his seat, Ian asked if he might be coming to court Mick’s only daughter. Knowing how protective the O’Reilly boys were, he looked around the small, well-worn parlor to see them lining the walls with their arms crossed and jaws set. He knew they could pummel him, just for the very thought of it. But alas, he was smitten with the pretty, little Sheila and it was no use trying to forget her.

The first he had seen of her was at the harvest festival. Her clear, deep-blue eyes shone like the sapphires in a king’s crown. Her hair was like the sunlit, summer wheat, wildly blowing in the wind. He could only imagine running his hands through the wild, red tangles, taming it into submission.

           As the pipes started to play and he asked her to dance, he found himself

surrounded by eight strapping, young men.

           “And just what are yer intentions, me good man?” asked one of the formidable group, in his thick Irish brogue.

          “Patrick O’Reilly, you get away from this poor lad. You’re enough to scare the bark off a tree,” Sheila said as she shoved past Patrick to take hold of Ian’s moist hand.

          Ian could only marvel at the spunk of her. She was such a tiny thing to have all that fire within her — little did he know just how much fire.

         As they danced the eve into darkness, he could feel eight pairs of eyes boring into his back. He knew he best not be taking any liberties with the fair Miss O’Reilly, if he valued his life. Only a fool would risk a peck on the cheek of this beauty.

         Now here he was, sitting in the parlour with those same eight pairs of eyes fixed only on him. Mick O’Reilly had no cause to worry about his Sheila’s heart, because there was a fearsome sentry guarding it.

         Just then, Sheila blew into the room like a windstorm. All heads turned to look in her direction. She was wearing a plain, yellow cotton dress that would make most young lasses fade from view, but Sheila would be radiant in rags.

         Ian rose from his seat and in doing so, knocked over his chair. Sheila burst into an enchanted laugh as the color in Ian’s face turned crimson.

        “Excuse me, sir,” Ian mumbled to Mick as he turned the chair upright.

        “Well, now, this is a fine thing,” Sheila started. “Just what shenanigans are going on here?”

        “Says he wants to court you, Sheila Eileen O’Reilly,” said Michael, Jr., the oldest O’Reilly brother.

        “Is that right, now?” she said.

        Ian felt his whole body moist with the heat of a thousand faerie fires. His knees trembled and his voice had all but disappeared.

        “Yes, me darlin.’ He’s here to ask and it’s me to decide,” Mick said.

        “You to decide?” she shrieked.

        “Well, I am the father, you know, me fine girl.”

        “Yes, and I’m the one he’s askin,’ so I’m thinkin’ it’s me who’ll decide!”

        “Well, there you have it, Ian. No use askin’ me to begin with. Our girl knows her own mind and sets about getting it her way. You might as well know that right from the start,” Mick said as he shook his head.

        And her way it was.

        After the banns and the courting, they were married in the little, stone church, filled to capacity, with the entire O’Reilly and McManus clan in attendance.

        Mary O’Reilly had given Sheila the Irish lace wedding gown that she herself had been married in. Ian could barely move as he saw his dear Sheila walk down the aisle looking like an angel from above. She took the breath right out of him.

The celebration was high-spirited and lively with boisterous singing and dancing at Murphy’s pub afterwards. The drinks were on the house, so there were many, regrettable hangovers in the morning. But it was, after all, a great day for the O’Reillys and McManuses.

        Ian and Sheila snuck out early, although no one would have noticed they were gone, to do their own celebrating at the little cottage Ian inherited from his Da when he took sick and died the year before.

       He carried her across the threshold as his beloved wife, and beloved she would be, until his very last day, on this God’s green earth.

       Ian’s Ma had passed away many years before when he was just a young boy, and it was his Da who raised him. Ian knew his Da would have been happy with his choice for a bride and pleased they would be living in the cottage he raised his son in.

      And now it was Ian’s turn to raise a family of his own with his pretty new wife, Sheila McManus.

                           That's all you get folks. And no spoiler alert for the rest.

                                                        Today's inspiration

"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." 

                                                 Ray Bradbury

"I have never known any distress that an hour's reading did not relieve."

                                                                     Charles de Montesquieu

"Read to your children every day and you give them the gift of yourself, imagination, and the love of reading, a gift that lasts a lifetime."

                                                            Judith Sessler  (me)

Sunday, Dec. 3 - Day 75

House clean. Tree assembled and ready to be attacked by the kids. Christmas carols playing. Yule-log screensaver crackling on the TV. Pine-scented candles burning.

And most importantly, the Chinese takeout menus placed decoratively on the table.

Let the festivities begin.

Today’s inspiration

“'Grandmother' doesn't mean that you have gray hair and you retire and stay home cooking cakes for your grandchildren.”

                                                                   Carine Roitfeld

“You'll see a movie about someone you hate or someone you love. Will you see a movie about grandma making apple pies? No, you won't. Only if grandma has poisoned the neighbor or is suspected of poisoning the neighbor through her apple pies.”

                                                              John McAfee

“There's milk-and-cookies Grandma, and there's Colt 45 and Atlantic City Grandma. She was the latter.”

                                                                   Jessica Williams

“Grandma played a taste test game with my sister and me when I was 3 years old. She would blindfold us and have us guess what was on the spoon: the first flavors I got were strawberry - then coffee!”

                                                            Sherry Yard

“I go out to the kitchen to feed the dog, but that's about as much cooking as I do.”

                                                              Betty White

“When it comes to Chinese food I have always operated under the policy that the less known about the preparation the better. A wise diner who is invited to visit the kitchen replies by saying, as politely as possible, that he has a pressing engagement elsewhere.”

                                                               Calvin Trillin

“I was eating in a Chinese restaurant downtown. There was a dish called Mother and Child Reunion. It's chicken and eggs. And I said, I gotta use that one.”

                                                            Paul Simon

“Family is not an important thing. It's everything.”

                                                                 Michael J. Fox

Saturday, Dec. 2 - Day 74

Every year, we spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at our daughter’s home with all the kids, grandkids and great-grandkids and a wonderful time is had by all. Lots of holly-jolly family, festive decorations, and a spectacular array of holiday goodies, compliments of my daughter who is a phenomenal cook and a professional baker extraordinaire.

But tomorrow is the big day for me and my hubby at our little place.

The family will be arriving in the afternoon to help us decorate our little Christmas tree.

We have long-since abandoned the fragrance and majesty of a real pine tree and settled for a relatively spindly artificial one that we drag out year after year, losing a few more little branches along the way.

But it has twinkle lights (providing they all still work) and we have a bazillion ornaments we’ve collected over 49 years, so by the time it is all dressed and decorated, it doesn’t look nearly as pathetic as it is.

And we will have Christmas music playing, the fake fireplace burning, and the smell of General Tsao’s Chicken wafting through the air.

I’m sure you remember my Thanksgiving post that referenced my lack of cooking skills.

So it’s well-known by the family that if it’s a gathering at Nana’s, it’s either pizza or Chinese take-out. And since it’s such a festive occasion, Chinese just seems to fit the bill.

Because of some family allergies, this is the first time in quite a few years that everyone is gathering here tomorrow. So I really felt the urge to go all out.

I’ve spent the past few days playing Christmas music 24/7 to maintain the holiday spirit.

I went shopping to buy some festive paraphernalia for the table and even bought some Christmas crackers…not the crackers you eat. You know, the ones you’ve seen in all the English Christmas movies where they pull on the ends, they pop open to reveal a little paper hat to wear and a cheesy little trinket.

I thought what a great idea. We could start a new tradition and pretend we are Downton Abbey’s poor cousins across the sea.

And I really want to make memories the kids will remember forever.

And what better memory than making a gingerbread house with Nana. Yes, that would be a wonderful thing to remember once I’m gone.

Well, we know that's not going to happen, but I can fake it with the best of them.

So I perused the supermarket and discovered the best thing ever…

a gingerbread house kit…complete with all the pre-made gingerbread pieces, candy decorations and icing to assemble it. And something extra-special something so they will never forget it…minions!

I mean how much more traditional can you get?

Well I know I can't wait for the fun to begin and the making of memories that will last a lifetime. 

I mean, after all, what could possibly be better that a minion gingerbread house and pork-fried rice at Nana’s?

Today’s inspiration

“Nothing says holidays, like a cheese log.”

                                               Ellen DeGeneres

Friday, Dec. 1 - Day 73

So when I read my blog to my husband last night, he couldn’t stop shaking his head and rattling on about the insanity of the coffee cup I wrote about yesterday. I decided to go on their website to find out a little bit more about the company, which is quite impressive.

As it turns out, the $79 mug isn’t the only product they sell.

Curious, I clicked on the others.

I discovered they also sell a travel mug with the same basic features as the mug - temperature-controlled (from 120 - 145 degrees)  regulated from the app on your phone.

So I thought, well if you wanted the mug, you might also want the travel mug as well.

I clicked on it, and it’s not $79…it’s $149!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And guess what? You can buy accessories.

There is something called a halo. It’s one of those screw on rings to drink from.

Most mugs come with them and I suppose this one does too, but this is a very special one.

Ready for it??

It’s 24 carat gold for the rock-bottom price of…wait for it…$99!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, so for $250 you get the temperature-controlled, phone-app activated travel mug with 24 carat gold lip.

I am truly speechless.

And then I had another thought that I wanted to check out this morning.

Standing on line again, I picked up the mug box, and turned it over.

And yes, it had those all familiar words we’ve come to know and love.

Made in China.

Today’s inspiration

“Poverty wants some things, Luxury many things, Avarice all things

Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, Nov. 30 - Day 72

Still achy and sore, and my sadistic arthritis is being especially vicious this morning. Oh, if only there was a super-hero to zap it into oblivion. Synovial- Boy? Rheumo-Girl? Motrin-Man? Ah, well - could be worse. It can ALWAYS be worse. There are people out there in the world who suffer far more than I EVER will, and knowing that always keeps my complaints in check.

I digress.

I’m back on schedule and back at Starbucks for my morning routine.

I had a completely different idea for today’s post, but as I stood on line for my coffee, something stopped me in my tracks.

It’s holiday time, and as all retailers do, there are shelves upon shelves of pretty Christmas gift ideas beautifully displayed to entice you.

What coffee drinker wouldn’t want a new, shiny and stylish travel mug or a fresh bag of Christmas blend espresso beans in a shiny, silver bag?

Everywhere you go, no matter what store, you are surrounded with festive displays that scream…”buy me! no, buy ME!!

To be fair, sometimes, it’s extremely helpful when you come across a unique item that would make the perfect gift for someone on your list.

Okay, so back to me standing on a VERY long line.

As I passed all the gift ideas, my eyes zeroed in on a new addition to their shelves.

It’s called Ember. Simple name, simple white ceramic coffee mug.

Simple...with a twist.

Haven’t we all seen the little, plastic hot-plates to set your mug on to keep your coffee hot?

Ten dollars and it will keep your coffee hot. Great idea.

But the Ember takes it one step further.

The very stylish, white ceramic mug sits on a very stylish, little white ceramic plate. But this one is unique in that you can actually control the temperature to your exact liking, for whatever time period you would like.

Okay, so I’m thinking…hmm, well that’s an interesting and innovative twist.

But what really stopped me in my tracks is that you control your desired temperature…with an app from your phone!

That’s right folks. Pour your coffee in the pretty little mug, place it on the warmer, go to your phone, open the app, and presto…you have the perfect cup of coffee.

Now I admit, I’m a little high maintenance when it comes to my coffee and I have my standards, but do I REALLY need to have the temperature 5 degrees hotter or cooler?

I think not.

But is would definitely be a unique gift for someone on my list.

I looked at the price on the little display…$19.95. Not bad, I say to myself. And I know whoever I gave it to would think it amusing and I could cross that person off my list. Done.

Then as the line moved a little, I was eye-to-eye with the mug. I picked it up…pretty, good quality ceramic, nice weight. The ceramic plate had little silver contact points to do its job.

So I picked up a box to take to the register when I looked more closely at the price.

It was not $19.95…it was $79.95!!!!!!!!

I was so stunned that I almost dropped the box.

$79.95? $79.95?????

I mean how frivolous and extravagant can you get?

Think of the people you could feed if you donated $79.95 to a local food pantry.

Needless to say there isn’t ANYONE on my list that is getting this phone- controlled, temperature-regulated coffee mug.

And I chuckled as I thought, it’s all well and good, but what on EARTH would you do if your phone went on the fritz.

Cold coffee in a $79 mug.


Well, at least it would look pretty.

Today’s inspiration

“An extravagance is something that your spirit thinks is a necessity.” 

Bernard Williams

“We believe that the defects of so many perverse and so many frivolous people, who make up society, are organic, and society is a hospital of incurables”

 Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” 

Lin Yutang

Wednesday, Nov. 29 - Day 71

Okay, so I have to admit it. My great weekend getaway did me in.

This morning, I couldn’t drag my body out of bed until 11am, 6 hours later than usual, and the first thing I did was wash down 2 ibuprofen with a cup of strong coffee.

I’m not complaining, because we had a wonderful, memorable time, but my body was screaming at me…saying, “what did you think you were doing?”

I think I should explain a little.

When we checked in, the desk clerk gave us our key to our third floor room, I must have groaned a little, because I knew there was NO ELEVATOR!

She apologized profusely but explained it was the last room they had.

Taking it like a man, I said, “no problem. I’ll be fine.”

Shouldn’t be a major problem, right? After all, it’s only 2 flights of stairs. I do it all the time.

Wrong.These were not your usual stairs. They were the steepest steps I’ve ever seen.

The Inn is very old and apparently, the occupants must have had very long legs, or the third floor was the one that housed the servants, and we know from Downton Abbey that servants were on the bottom rung of the ladder. Or in this case, at the top.

Okay, so up I go.

I was slightly breathless as I reached the top of the first flight. I rested for a moment and then went on to tackle the second flight. I made it up the first few steps and then got slower…and slower…and s..l..o..w..e..r… until I had to stop and sit down halfway up.

My poor hubby, carrying the suitcases, and in better shape than me, was concerned he was going to have to do cpr.

He kept asking…are you alright? are you alright??

I was too breathless to answer.

After a minute or two of sounding like a stalker on a prank phone call, I gathered myself together and made it the rest of the way up, still breathless.

Good news is that our room was right at the top of the stairs.

I promptly collapsed on the bed.

I did not want to leave the room again, ever, but of course I did. And of course going down the stairs was no problem.

But that first trek up the stairs seemed to have given my heart a little cardio boost, and each subsequent trip seemed a little easier and easier. I could actually make it up the second flight without sitting down. I may have slowed a little mid-stream,( and my husband may have given me a little support from behind - and I do mean behind), but by the fourth day, I felt like I’d been going to the gym for months.

My fitbit clocked me doing 12 flights up and down on our third day, and wasn’t I so proud. From death’s door to marathoner in three short days.

Okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration on both ends.

Anyway…several lessons learned.

#1 - time to started getting back into shape.

#2 - always check to make sure there is an elevator.

#3 - and never, never…never stay there if there isn’t.

Today’s inspiration

“The first time I see a jogger smiling, I'll consider it.”

                                         Joan Rivers

Tuesday, Nov. 28 - Day 70

I know I’ve shared with you before that both my husband and I have a little bit of a memory problem and quickly forget what we’ve watched on tv, so we can watch the reruns over and over because we never remember the endings. I never really though about it, but the shows we rewatch are usually long-run series with many episodes. So we’ve always thought our memory issue isn’t really THAT bad, because after all, who can remember all 90 episodes.

Well, I have to tell you that we may have to reconsider, and do what my daughter has been suggesting we do for several months…check it out with our doctor.

Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, and yesterday, both of us got such a good laugh, but then looked the thing square in the eye and uttered…uh-oh…both at the same time.

We decided that we would take in a movie before we head home today. It’s not something we do very often, for several reasons. #1 - both of us tend to fall asleep at some point in the movie, which isn’t THAT much of a problem except if it’s towards the end and we both took a little power nap at the same time, neither of us would know how it ended. Quite embarrassing to have to google the ending when we get home. #2 - we both remember when you could see a double-feature for $0.50 and have a hard time paying $11 for a matinee (matinee, because there’s no way we could stay awake for any of it after 4pm). #3 - there is very little in the way of Hollywood entertainment that piques our interest, except that the occasional super-hero type movie that my husband goes to see with his brother. We both agree, chic-flicks are for me, super-heroes for him. The one exception is Star Wars and I’m sure that needs no explanation.

So yesterday, we fell upon an unexpected treasure - a movie theater with $5 tickets for seniors (gotta love those senior discounts), and a movie that was just up our alley. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

One of the series we have watched over and over is POIROT, Agatha Christie’s quirky, mustached detective. We LOVE Poirot and have watched the ORIENT express episode at least five times.

So even though we’ve seen it and should be able to recite the dialogue from memory (there’s that pesky word again) we wanted to see Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer and Johnny Depp on the big screen with the magnificent cinematography of the treacherous snow-covered trek through the mountains.

It was an excellent movie, despite the lukewarm reviews. The train scenes were exotically beautiful and the acting, compelling.

So except to tout the movie’s excellence, why am I bringing this up?

Because when it got to the ending, both my husband and I were like…WOW, I didn’t see that coming!

Didn’t see it coming? Didn’t see it coming???? We’ve seen it at least five times, and I had even read the BOOK!!! (albeit ten years ago).

On the trip back, we laughed so hard that tears were running down my face. 

And then we both got very quiet.

Perhaps a visit to the doctor wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.

Today’s inspiration

“As you get older three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can't remember the other two.”

                                                     Norman Wisdom

Monday, Nov. 27 - Day 69

One last day here in paradise before we set out home tomorrow. It has been lovely, restful, and romantic. Yes, you young-uns, old fogies still love romance, and in some cases can still do something about it. I know, I know, TMI!

It will be back to reality tomorrow, but still we have one more day of tranquil, away-from-reality, peace.

So I was trying to think of something for this morning’s musings that would fit the mood, but nothing specific came to mind.

Instead, an incident from yesterday was forefront in my memory bank…perhaps because it only happened yesterday, and I figured I should share it before it disappears forever by this afternoon.

When we were out yesterday, I needed to stop at a store for a few incidentals that in my haste to make a quick get-away, I forgot to pack.

I was in the store perusing the aisles for the items I needed, when the call of nature called (as you know, it so frequently does for me).

So I scoured the four corners of the store for the facilities, unsuccessfully, and had to resort to ask the cashier for its location.

By this time, the urge was beginning to overtake me - sorry, I know you don’t necessarily want to hear that - and there were several people ahead of me in line.

The cashier was a young girl of maybe 16 or 17 and she was quiet adept at her cashiering skills. She cashed out the first customer with stealth speed, bagged the order and with a polite smile, said “have a nice day…next.”

Next customer up…a very good-looking young man, and I thought, uh-oh, this might slow up the line. But no. In her professional manner, she handed him his change and sent him on his way.

“Next, please.”

Okay, only one more customer before I could get the information I so desperately needed at this point, before she would have to call for “clean-up on aisle 4.”

Only one small glitch. The little, old lady in front of me (and the reference to old lady is used fondly since she was about my own age) was what you would call a ‘chatty Cathy’ and began to engage in a monologue about what a wonderful Thanksgiving she had, complete with details…her son had flown in from Florida for the occasion, along with his daughter who is a senior at Duke and will be graduating in the spring and then going on for her Master’s degree, and her daughter and new husband who is a surgeon flew in from California…

The sweet, little cashier, in her most polite manner was trying to move the little lady along by gently pushing the bag with her purchase towards her and a little to the right to make room for me to slide in, but chatty Cathy was having none of. She wasn’t finished with her story and she wasn’t about to leave until she did.

The cashier looked at me with this “I‘m really sorry” face.

By this time, I was doing the pee-pee dance, and by the look on my face, I think she knew I was getting desperate.

Quite imperceptably, so as not to be rude to Cathy, she tilted her head in the direction on the photo department and with one finger pointed up.

So off I went as quickly as I could under the circumstances.

Three aisles over and…up the stairs, egads.

But up I went, dribbling all the while, to find relief.

I know, you’re thinking…this is way more than I need to know, and is there really any point to sharing this with us?

Well, yes and no. 

You didn’t really need to know all the details, but it's the backstory to this unsavory incident that is the real purpose of this post… most embarrassing moment in life.

It was many years ago when I was working the night shift. I needed to stop at the store before I went home, and unlike today when you can find stores open 24 hours, I had to wait several hours before it opened. For any of you who have worked nights, you know that you can fall asleep at the drop of a hat…anytime…anywhere.

So I leaned my head against the window, and promptly fell asleep.

I woke several hours later when I heard a car pull up and park next to me. I was startled out of my sleep and quite groggy, but the good news…the store was open.

So in my hazy fog, I wandered into the store and headed towards the bathroom before I went to shop.

Only semi-awake, I wandered in and went into the stall. I figured that after that, a good splash of cold water would wake me up.

But as I opened the stall door, I was horrified!

There at the sink was a pervert standing washing his hands!

I stared at him in total shock, fear, and disgust, and he stared back in equal horror.

You see, he wasn’t washing his hands…and it wasn’t a sink!!

I was in the men’s room.

I gasped and ran out of the ‘HIS’ bathroom and made a bee-line for the farthest corner of the store.

I was so completely embarrassed, I stayed there for an entire hour, praying that it wouldn’t take him any longer to shop and leave the store.

Sheepishly, I crept back out, not bothering to buy what I needed, but shot out the door, ran to my car, and headed home.

And I never went back to that particular store again.

Today’s inspiration

“The embarrassment of a situation can, once you are over it, be the funniest time in your life.”

                                                       Miranda Hart

“My day goes from one embarrassing moment to the next.”

                                                      Ted Danson

“I got over being embarrassed.”

                                                        Mike Shinoda


Sunday, Nov. 26 - Day 68

We are still on our Princess-less retreat and last night we were surprised by a special treat.

We always stick pretty much to home on the crazy, traffic-filled, shopping-frenzied Thanksgiving weekend, but as you know we braved the insanity to get-away for our quiet retreat.

While we were dining Friday night, we overhead someone talking about the Christmas celebration in town the next night. It piqued our interest so we asked what it was all about.

What I discovered excited me beyond measure. It was a complete holiday extravaganza, resplendent with street musicians, stage plays, train rides and trolleys, gingerbread displays, pony rides, street vendors, gymnastics, and of course, photos with Santa.

It had been a long time since we had attended such an event.

Main St. was to be closed to traffic to make way for the hoards of families to enjoy the festivities. And festivities there were.

Two of which were very notable in my book.

The first was an impressive ski/snowboard jump for willing participants (all of whom were daring adolescents, I assure you).

We had witnessed small mounds of snow being trucked in earlier in the day and wondered what the heck? We were about to find out.

When the festivities began, we started our walk downtown and heard whooping and hollering all the way down the street. As we drew closer, we saw what the commotion was all about. They had constructed an actual ski jump, (albeit a small one) right in the center of town. And there they were, these brave (crazy) kids, with their skis and snow boards in tow, whooshing down the snow-covered ski jump. I must admit, it was pretty impressive and innovative to see excited kids pretending they were at the Olympics.

Now for the second and far more exciting event for me was…wait for it…the carillon (bell ringing) concert at one of the churches on the green.

I know, you’re wondering, bell ringing? Really? Is that anything to get that excited about?

For me, absolutely!

I have been waiting for over forty years to hear one.

With my love of music in all forms, I consider the ringing of the bells to be a lovely, ethereal contribution to an otherwise sometimes harsh world. God, that sounds a little overly dramatic, to say the least, doesn’t it?

But I have always been drawn to the magnificent sound of bells and church chanting in classical music. There’s just something about it that fills me with an indescribable feeling of majesty.

But my husband is not quite as enchanted with the experience, and over the years, every time I wanted to go sit on a church lawn with a picnic basket and hear the bells ring out, he would roll his eyes and asks, “you don’t really want to do that, do you?”

Yes, I do! but I can tell it’s so far down on his bucket list that it isn’t there at all.

So I’ve acquiesced, and for forty-nine years I have not subjected him to the coveted, glorious ringing of the bells.

So when I discovered that there would be a carillon concert ringing out during the festivities, I was ecstatic! At last, my soul could be touched by the bells, and he was just going to have to come along for the ride.

It was as resplendent as I expected, and since it was just one of the many joyous Christmas activities filling the streets, he didn’t seem to mind.

For a few hours we wandered through the streets, caught up in the holiday gaiety and the found a seat to watch what we were told was Christmas fire truck parade.

We’re from NYC and to be honest, after you’ve seen the Macy’s Day Parade, any parade tends to disappoint.

But we thought, let’s end the evening watching a few decorated fire trucks pass by.

Well, what an unexpected treat. We watched them go by one by one, each truck more decked out than the last, covered from front to back in colorful, twinkling Christmas lights. With Christmas music playing, they passed by, one after another, after another, after another. There must have been almost thirty of them and it was an impressive display. Little kids were cheering as firefighters with flashing Christmas lights on their helmets walked alongside their trucks, tossing candy canes into the crowd.

As the last truck passed by, the one with the reindeer led by Rudolph, and Santa waving from his sleigh, we thought, wow, what a wonderful way to end a holiday weekend.

And as we watched the crowds dissipate and started back to the Inn, we heard a commotion.

Lo and behold…fireworks! 

And not just some piddly, small town display. It was a full-fledged, Fourth of July-worthy event. We watched in awe, as the evenings festivities came to a close and we walked back, hand in hand, to have some hot chocolate by a roaring fire.

It was one of those magical occasions when something surprises you out of the blue, and you tuck it away in your memory bank for future remembrance.

So all in all, it was a night to remember, and my wish to hear the bells has finally been fulfilled.

So maybe the next time there’s a concert in town, my husband will willingly tag along with the picnic basket after all.

Then again…maybe not.

Today’s inspiration

“Wishful thinking is one thing, and reality another.”

                                                     Jalal Talabani

“A heart without dreams is like a bird without feathers.”

                                                     Suzy Kassem

Saturday, Nov. 25 - Day 67

So you’ll be happy to know that I think I’ve finally exhausted the subject of Black Friday, except to say I’ve received 76 e-mails this morning from various and sundry stores with ‘extended’ Black Friday and ‘last chance’ deals. I expect they’ll keep coming until way past Christmas.

Okay, enough of that!

So I am thoroughly enjoying our ‘escape into the country’ sitting in front of a roaring fire, drinking a cappuccino, and listening to Mozart playing in the ‘parlor’ of our favorite Inn.

When I say we’ve escaped to the country, I’m sure you’re envisioning a three or four hour drive through the bucolic snow-covered mountains to a log cabin in the woods.

Well, I wouldn’t want you to be misled, and because of my ‘honesty is the best policy’ and my transparent nature, I’ll share that our escape has taken us all of twenty miles down the state highway, three towns away.

I know, silly, huh?

Why? you ask, do you need to drive three towns down the road to ‘get away’?

First of all, I know you’re thinking…get away from what? You’re thinking, the two of you live alone in a little cottage in the woods. You’re thinking, you already have the peace and tranquility of living in a community where the average age is eighty-five and most of them are in bed by 6pm. You’re thinking, you already have a fireplace (albeit a fake one), an espresso machine and the means to play Mozart in your own ‘parlor’. You’re thinking, why drive, pretty much right down the street, and pay good money to sleep in someone else’s bed?

All good questions, I assure you.

I could very well have created the same Inn atmosphere at home, and with the money we would save, we could dine out every night in some very nice, romantic restaurants. I could have recreated the Inn’s extensive continental breakfast that they serve every morning. I could have filled a bowl with fresh fruit, and laid out bottles of imported sparkling water. Yes, I could have done all of that for far less than what it cost to drive twenty miles away.

So what is the answer to you’re very reasonable inquiries?

Very simply…Princess.

Yes, our sweet little, white puffball, has driven us from our home.

I know, I know, I’ve written about our beloved little dog who is ‘our baby,’ who cuddles and snuggles with us, and whom we couldn’t live without.

So why would our precious Princess chase us away from home?

Because she harasses my husband unmercifully.

First, I'll give you a little backstory. 

When we brought home our tiny 3 lb. little puppy nine years ago, I promptly set out to train her to be a perfectly obedient dog. I spent hours every day working with her, and within a span of two months she had become a model student that any dog whisperer would be proud of. She immediately learned the most important lesson, to ‘potty’ outside and nowhere else, but she also learned to sit, stay, lay down, and give me her paw. She was one smart little cookie who wanted to please…and pleased I was. I had learned to be a dog trainer extraordinaire. I learned that dogs respond best when they know what is expected of them. It is their nature to want to please.

She listens to my voice and she knows just what to do, and she does it, every time.

Sit, stay, lay down, give me your paw.

Perfection, right from the get-go.

Yes, she listens to my voice. MY voice. Not my husband’s.

You see, I am the consistent one, the one who doesn’t budge from what I expect of her. She knows it, and she obeys…every time.

I don’t fall for her cute, little antics and adorable, little pleadings to relax the rules and give her treats whenever she wants them, which is constantly.

But my husband? That’s a horse of a different color. And she knows it.

He’s the softie. He can’t stand it when she jumps in his lap, licks his face, cocks her head, and looks at him with those expressive, black as midnight eyes, and ‘says’ Daddy, please?

And he gives in every time.

I spent two months training her to be a worthy entry in the Westminster National Dog show, and in a matter of days, he practically undid it all.

I say practically, because she has never wavered in her obedience to me, but he truly broke her as far as he is concerned.

She is 9 now and she has him completely trained. When she wants a treat, she gets a treat. When she wants to go out to 'potty', he takes her out (because he gives her a treat every time.)

She only needs to go out three or four times a day, and when I’m home, she doesn’t ‘ask’ to go out any more than that. She knows better.

But when he’s home, she will run around in circles and harasses him, unmercifully, to be taken out…every hour!

And he falls for it every time.

He knows she doesn’t really need to go, but she pesters him until she wins.

He used to think that every time she squatted, she peed, until I told him that I’ve watched her ‘pretend’ pee, just to trick him. She squats and then runs back inside for a treat.

Yes, she has him very nicely trained.

So let’s get back to our get-away.

You see, if we stay home, it’s not just the two of us. It’s the three of us and my poor hubby (who has done this to himself) gets no rest. No quiet time in front of the fake fire, no sipping cappuccinos, and no uninterrupted listening to Mozart.

So off to her ‘doggie sleep-away camp’ for a few days of vacation for her, and down the road for a little vacation for us.

Now if I could only untrain the hubby while we’re away.

No, I guess I'd better not.

Princess would never forgive me.

Today’s inspiration

“No dog is too much for me to handle. I rehabilitate dogs, I train people. I am the dog whisperer.”

                                                             Cesar Millan

“Many dogs grow up without rules or boundaries. They need exercise, discipline and affection in that order.”

                                                            Cesar Millan

“You call to a dog and a dog will break its neck to get to you. Dogs just want to please. Call to a cat and its attitude is, 'What's in it for me?’" Lewis Grizzard

“People say I train dogs, but in many ways I train people.”

                                                           Cesar Millan

Friday, Nov. 24 - Day 66

Happy day after Thanksgiving, more affectionately known as Black Friday. 

I know I wrote about it last week, but considering the intense insanity of the day, I’m going to repost it. I hope you’ll forgive me, but my husband and I have just run away from home and are spending a quiet weekend as far away from any stores as we can.

The original Black Friday started out as one crazy day, the day after Thanksgiving when stores opened early at 6am with ridiculously enticing deals to bring hoards of people trampling through the doors. They pushed and shoved and trampled over bodies left and right, after having stood out in the cold since three am to make sure they were one of the first 50 people to grab a color tv for $50.

It was such a huge success for the retailers that they realized that perhaps they should open a little earlier. Maybe 5am, maybe 4am. Awesome. People started camping out at midnight. Not so much a problem if you lived in Florida and could lie in a lounge chair with a glass of lemonade, but a bit more challenging if you lived in Maine wearing triple thermals wrapped in a down comforter, sipping hot soup from a Thermos.

But the success continued and the retailers thought…maybe we should open at the stroke of midnight? Think how much more money we could make? And so they did. So technically it was Friday, but what about all the employees who wanted to celebrate a nice Thanksgiving who enjoyed the holiday and then had to come out of their turkey coma and get to work by midnight?

And still, more success. So if the stroke of midnight on Black Friday is good, wouldn’t 4pm on Thanksgiving be even better? Let’s get a real jump on it, and to hell with Thanksgiving.

But it gets even better. For people who are not crazy enough to brave the elements, the lack of sleep, the pushing, shoving and actual violence to get that last Darth Vader on the shelves, they created Cyber Monday. Yes, so you can get some of the same deals without even leaving the comfort of your own home. It’s kind of a no-brainer, don’t you think?

Couldn’t get much better. right?

Well, never underestimate the ingenuity of Madison Avenue.

If one Black Friday is good, then two…three…ten, a hundred is a lot better.

Aren’t we all inundated, day after day, with catalogues in the mail touting this weeks Black Friday deals? And some of them are Black Friday sales that start on Tuesday, or Wednesday or Thursday and last until Saturday.

Does anyone else see the folly of this. Am I the only one who sees the sneaky, tricky advertising practice going on here?

It’s a retail advertising frenzy out there and if you’re a shrewd enough shopper, you can use it to your advantage. But what they’re counting on is the consumer being gullible enough so they don’t realize the bait and switch items or the two-for-one deals that they mark up in price before the sale and drop them back down after the sale.

So buyer beware and have a sparkling day.

And on a serious note, I think Bill Gates is the wisest of all.

Today’s inspiration

“You may have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There's another day you might want to know about: Giving Tuesday. The idea is pretty straightforward. On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, shoppers take a break from their gift-buying and donate what they can to charity.”

                                                       Bill Gates

Thanksgiving 2017 - Day 65

Today is a day about giving thanks, and it’s easy to be thankful for the obvious things - 

a roof over my head to protect me from the storms; heat to protect me from inclement weather; food to protect me from being hungry; hats and mittens to protect me from frostbite; and especially, faithful friends and a loving family to protect me from being lonely, alone and unloved.

But in a world of turbulent emotions and agendas, I am even more thankful for those who offer themselves up every day to protect all of us from harm -

 the law enforcement men and women who risk their lives every day for me; 

the men and women who run into burning buildings without regard to their own safety; the nurses, doctors, EMTs and every other member of the medical staff who work to save lives; and especially, the men and women who are absent from their own families’ table today to protect their country at home and on foreign soil.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that my world is much larger than all I can reach out and touch, and give thanks for all that is outside my own reach.

So today as we sit around our tables, I ask you to give thanks and pray for the selfless men and women who are not able to be at their own tables so we can be safe at ours.

Today’s Inspiration

“It's wonderful to be grateful. To have that gratitude well out from deep within you and pour out in waves. Once you truly experience this, you will never want to give it up.”

                                            Srikumar Rao

“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.” 

                                              Oprah Winfrey

Wednesday, Nov. 22 - Day 64

Tomorrow our family will gather at my daughter’s house, where she will graciously and expertly host a sumptuous, pants-popping Thanksgiving dinner. I’d like to say that we gather there because her house is centrally located, or it’s big enough to accommodate the whole crew.

But the stark reality is that NO-ONE wants to trek to my house for the holiday.

No-one wants to go “over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go,”

Whenever I hear that song, I envision snow-covered hills and horse-drawn sleighs, jingling through the woods - sleighs filled with excited children who can’t wait to get to the little cottage where the smell of pumpkin pie is wafting through the air.

Well, there’s no wafting of anything that comes from my little cottage in the woods…and odds are, there never will be.

As I’ve shared with you before, cooking’s not my thing, and that’s really an understatement.

But once upon a time, about twenty years ago, a very strange phenomenon came upon me. An unexplained aberration that continues to baffle me still.

I woke up one morning and was compelled to turn on the Cooking Channel - the aberration? I didn’t even know there WAS a cooking channel, a whole channel devoted to a host of different celebrity chefs. Not only THAT, but I discovered that there was actually an entire NETWORK devoted to cooking? 

Wow. Who knew?

I mean, I guess if you LIKED to cook it might be of some interest, but for me??

So WHY did I turn it on, and WHY was I glued to everything they were saying and doing?

And WHY, from that moment on and for the next six months, did I spend hours and hours preparing elaborate gourmet meals?

And WHY did I obsess after every meal, about what epicurean delight I would create next?

My family was ready to have me committed.

I went from someone who had no problem tossing a frozen something into the microwave, to an obsessive Cordon Bleu wanna-be.

I subscribed to Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines. I scoured the pages for the most exotic and complicated recipes I could find.

I was obsessed. It was all I could think about, day and night.

After a few weeks of honing skills I never knew existed, I was ready…and my husband never saw it coming.

After a hard day’s work, he came home expecting the ‘usual’ Hamburger Helper dinner only to find the table set with a crisp white tablecloth, shiny silverware and a vase of flowers.

I could see the terrified look on his face and responded, “no, honey, it’s not our anniversary.”

He breathed a sigh of relief and sat down to eat.

His eyes widened as I set before him the first course of grilled radicchio with candied apple and chestnut chutney.

He looked at me with a blank stare. Fork tentatively in hand, he took the first bite. Then the second and polished the rest off in another two bites.

A four bite salad.

Second course - a delicate bowl of carrot-coconut soup with roasted pumpkin seeds and a dollop of creme fraiche.

Five spoonfuls.

Next up was braised osso bucco with parsnip pureé on a bed of wilted, red malabar spinach, drizzled with black truffle oil and topped with a sprig of fried sage.

Now, he really WAS getting nervous. What Stepford wife had kidnapped his beloved microwave mama?

I watched as he gobbled down each forkful. One bite. Two bites. Four. Eight bites and done.

The thing about truly fine-dining is that there just isn’t that much of it. That’s why you need five courses just to make a meal that would satisfy a six year-old.

Okay, so we’re up to course number four - six poached pear slivers with a dime-sized dollop of Roquefort cheese.

And then for the grand finale - a paper-thin slice of a dark chocolate - hazelnut torte on an artistic swirl of raspberry coulis drizzled with lavender- infused chocolate ganache.


As I am reading this, I’m thinking, did this really happen? Did I really spend five hours creating this masterpiece? Did I dream it, or was I taken over by gastronomic aliens?

Surely you must be wondering. I know my husband was.

After that first night, he came home every day to the culinary delights made by a woman he didn’t recognized.

He just kept waiting for his REAL wife to reappear and crack open a can of Dinty Moore beef stew.

And after six months, his wait was over.

I woke up, grabbed a granola bar and never looked back. It was over.

There were no thoughts of sugar-plums, or plums of any kind for that matter, dancing in my head. There was no desire, absolutely none, to turn on the Food Network, look for a new special recipe, or troll the internet for a rare bottle of white truffle oil.

Nope. Poof. Gone.

But why? Why did it happen? And why did it disappear as quickly as it came?

Well the good news is, it wasn’t aliens.

It turns out there is something called Gourmand Syndrome.

It is a rare, benign neurological condition that sometimes occurs after an injury to the right frontal lobe. People who are affected develop a new, post-injury passion for gourmet food. It is characterized by an obsessive focus on eating, thinking, talking, and writing about fine foods.

Seriously. I’m not making this up.

So I guess somewhere along the way I must have bumped my head or fallen out of bed. At least that’s what I’m hoping for.

Otherwise…I guess it might have been aliens, after all.

Today's inspiration

"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch."

                                          James Beard

"EVOO is extra-virgin olive oil. I first coined 'EVOO' on my cooking show because saying 'extra virgin olive oil' over and over was wordy, and I'm an impatient girl - that's why I make 30-minute meals!"

                                       Rachael Ray

Tuesday, Nov. 21 - Day 63

As the holidays quickly approach, I start to anticipate receiving the most wonderful holiday gift known to man.

Each year, I wait with bated breath as the postman delivers holiday packages to my door, hoping for that most wonderful gift - the gift that fills me with exhilarating excitement.

So now you know exactly what it is, right?

Because there is only one universally-acknowledged gift that fills the heart of every recipient with the same feeling.


So now I know you’ve guessed it.

It’s fruitcake. You know, the thick, dense, candied fruit-filled delight that comes in a festive, holiday tin to make sure it arrives fresh and yummy.

You know, the “cake” that has everyone’s mouth watering, clamoring for more.

Okay, so now let’s get real.

Fruitcake…dreaded fruitcake. That god-awful, sticky-sweet confection filled with dried red cherries, dried mango, dried cranberries, dried currants, candied citron, (which is a semitropical fruit similar to a lemon but with thicker skin, just in case you wanted to know).

And then there's those green things. You know, those chewy, sickly-sweet, unnaturally green things. Apparently, they are a green version of the candied red cherries, which are equally as ‘healthy’ - cherries cooked in a heavy, sugar syrup and then ‘dyed’ red and green to make a festive treat.


I have yet to meet anyone who looks upon fruitcake as a treasured treat - something they truly love to eat - someone who doesn’t gag just at the thought of it.

But the one redeeming quality that it has is that it lasts forever! Locked in its holiday tin and hermetically sealed in heavy plastic wrap, it just goes on…and on…and on. 

Which makes it the perfect re-gifting gift.

And don’t say you’ve never done it, because you know you have. 

You get one for Christmas, smile, say an excited, ‘thank you’ and tuck it away to pass on to another unsuspecting person on your list. 

And on…and on…and on.

Until it ends up back on your doorstep a year later, next Christmas. And on...and on…and on.

And you know that if you ever actually unwrapped it, it would taste exactly as it would have two years earlier.


I hope I’m not offending anyone, because there must be someone out there who actually likes it. And to you I say…have at it.

The reason I was spurred on to write about it today is because I came across an interesting fact about the origin of fruitcakes.

In ancient Egypt, the coveted, preserved and candied treasure, was entombed with the pharaohs at their death, to sustain them in the after-life.

Now doesn’t that just say it all.

Perhaps we should continue the tradition. We could bury those re-gifted fruitcakes with our loved ones so when they pass on to the other side, they have something to last time.

Today’s inspiration

“Primates need good nutrition, to begin with. Not only fruits and plants, but insects as well.”

                                                        Richard Leakey

“The more colorful the food, the better. I try to add color to my diet, which means vegetables and fruits.”

                                                              Misty May-Treanor

“Avoid fruits and nuts. You are what you eat.”

                                            Jim Davis

“Your descendants shall gather your fruits.”


“Let the fresh fruits and vegetables be your guide, and make something that will keep for the whole week.”

                                                                    Marcus Samuelsson

Monday, Nov. 20 - Day 62

Not everyday is a good day.

Live anyway.

Not all you love will love you back.

Love anyway.

Not everyone will tell you the truth.

Be honest anyway.

Not all deals are fair.

Play fair anyway.

                                                     (from the Power of Positivity)

This popped up on my Facebook memories from last year and it touched me again, because sometimes life is so painful you feel you can’t take another breath. Loss is too much bear, so hang on to this and just breathe one breath at a time.

Today's inspiration

"The stars are scattered all over the sky like shimmering tears, there must be great pain in the eye from which they trickled." 

                                                        Georg Buchner

Sunday, Nov. 19 - Day 61

This morning I was standing in front of the refrigerator, door wide open, perusing the contents, trying to decide the perfect breakfast choice. My usual fried egg sandwich didn’t seem to be screaming out to me, mostly because it would require the monumental task of actually cooking.

So the next likely choice, because it required nothing more than opening the container and scooping some out into a bowl, was some greek yogurt.

And so that’s where today’s post is going to go.

You’re probably asking yourself, what on earth is there to be said about the subject…yogurt.

Well, as I sat eating my plain, non-fat greek yogurt onto which I have sprinkled a liberal amount of Madagascar cinnamon, I thought back to the very first time I was introduced to yogurt.

It was in the mid 1950s when I was only six or seven and I watched my mom eat it everyday for lunch.

One of the flavors and the one my mother ate on a regular basis was…wait for it…prune-whip. Oh yum. For some reason, my mother had somewhat of a love affair with the dried-up plum fruit known as a prune. Every morning, she served us a little bowl of stewed prunes with our oatmeal.

I suspect that it had to do with the touted nutritional benefit of keeping our little family ‘regular.’ I do not feel the need to expound on this subject any further and I’m sure you appreciate it.

Because I really don’t wan’t anyone to be fully uninformed, I’ll give you a brief history of yogurt in America.

It was introduced in this country in the early 1940s by a company that is very familiar to us all. Dannon.

When it was first introduced here, the tart, unfamiliar, custard-like product wasn’t a big hit. But then Dannon introduced a new version that included fruit on the bottom to make it sweeter and more appealing. Well, that did the trick and before long, it became a popular food item.

There was a very limited number of flavors, one of them being prune-whip.

So, now back to breakfast.

When I was growing up, yogurt was yogurt and Dannon was it. End of subject.

Not so anymore.

Today, the yogurt situation is one of gargantuan proportions, and I don’t think I am exaggerating (at least not by much).

In most supermarkets, the selection of yogurt takes up almost and entire wall of the dairy section, and a walk down the aisle could send a rational, sane person into a catatonic fit.

Dannon is still there, but now it’s one of hundreds of other brands. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration, but not too much of one. 

Aside from the many, many different brands, there are hundreds of different flavors and gourmet options. 

You can have exotic flavors such as mango, key lime and chocolate-coconut. You can have the fruit mixed in, on the bottom, on the top, on the side. 

You can have it with nuts, granola, dried fruit and even candy. You can have it nonfat, 1%, 2%, whole milk, Greek-style, Icelandic-style, from a cow, from a goat, and even from a soybean. 

You can have it smooth and creamy, rich and thick, or whipped and fluffy. You can have it in the original, boring containers, or skinny, conical ones, or short flat ones with a sidecar of nuts. You can have it in little tiny cups that come in a six-pack or skinny, squeeze tubes, and even little bottles of the liquid for an on-the-run nutrition boost.

I think you see my point.

What used to be a simple run to the dairy aisle to grab a strawberry yogurt, now has become a day-long excursion.

Last week, as I stood in front of the vast selection, an older gentleman walked up beside me and stood shaking his head. He seemed completely overwhelmed.

“Used to be easy,” he said as he picked up an old standby, Dannon blueberry.

As I watched him walk away, I thought, yes, you are so right.

As I there stood pondering my own choice, I suddenly I found myself with an overwhelming yearning for prunes.

Today’s inspiration

“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

Christopher Reeve

Saturday, Nov. 18 - Day 60

Wow, I’ve even amazed myself - 60 days - 2 months of worthless trivia to share with you good people. Now there’s only three hundred and five days left to go…EGADS.

On my ten minute drive to my caffeinated destination, (and we all know where that is) there wasn’t much coming to mind. But when I was handed my red and green ‘happy holiday’ coffee cup, it woke up a few brain cells and spurred on a few thoughts.

If you haven’t noticed, the Christmas season seems to be upon us. And it has been for many, many, many months.

Christmas decorations started popping up in the stores long before halloween.

Everyone complains that it seems to get earlier and earlier every year, with the retail stores getting in full swing, long before Thanksgiving.

This year I actually heard them playing Christmas carols several weeks ago. It seemed to be disturbing some people and others took it in stride. They actually did a poll on one of the national morning talk shows for people to weigh-in on the subject. Yay or nay to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. The results are in and it seems split down the middle. Half said, yes, ring out the bells, the other half said, pleasenot yet!

Personally, I think they could just cut to the chase and start with Christmas in July so you’d have a full six months of holiday cheer and retail madness.

The concept of Christmas in July actually originated a long time ago and

here’s a snippet of its background taken from wikipedia.

“The earliest known occasion to make the phrase Christmas in July literal was in July 1933 at Keystone Camp, a girl's summer camp in North Carolina, which celebrated with a Christmas tree, gifts, and a visit by Santa Claus.[ In 1935, the National Recreation Association's journal Recreation described what a Christmas in July was like at a girl's camp, writing that "all mystery and wonder surround this annual event."

The term, if not the exact concept, was given national attention with the release of the Hollywood movie comedy Christmas in July in 1940.”

So why don’t we just go for it and start the Christmas preparations in July and give the retailers a full six months to gift us with a Black Friday.

The original Black Friday started out as one crazy day... the day after Thanksgiving, when stores opened early at 6am with ridiculously enticing deals to bring hoards of people rushing through the doors. They pushed and shoved and trampled over bodies left and right, after having stood out in the cold since three am to make sure they were one of the first 50 people to grab a color tv for $50.

It was such a huge success for the retailers that they realized, perhaps they should open a little earlier. Maybe 5am, maybe 4am. 


People started camping out at midnight. Not so much a problem if you lived in Florida and could lie in a lounge chair with a glass of lemonade, but a bit more challenging if you lived in Maine wearing triple thermals wrapped in a down- comforter, sipping hot soup from a Thermos.

But the success continued and the retailers thought…maybe we should open at the stroke of midnight? Think how much more money we could make? And so they did. Technically it was still Friday, but what about all the employees who wanted to celebrate a nice Thanksgiving, who enjoyed the holiday and then had to come out of their turkey-coma and get to work by midnight?

And still, more success. So if the stroke of midnight on Black Friday is good, wouldn’t 4pm on Thanksgiving be even better? Let’s get a real jump on it, and to hell with Thanksgiving, altogether.

But it gets even better. For people who are not crazy enough to brave the elements, the lack of sleep, the pushing, shoving and actual violence, to get that last Darth Vader on the shelves, they created Cyber Monday. Yes, so you can get some of the same deals without even leaving the comfort of your own home. 

It’s kind of a no-brainer, don’t you think?

Couldn’t get much better. right?

Well, never underestimate the ingenuity of Madison Avenue.

If one Black Friday is good, then two…three…ten, a hundred is a lot better.

Aren’t we all inundated, day after day, with catalogues in the mail touting this weeks Black Friday deals? And some of them are Black Friday sales that start on Tuesday, or Wednesday or Thursday and last through Sunday.

Does anyone else see the folly of this? Am I the only one who sees the sneaky, tricky, advertising practice going on here?

It’s a retail advertising frenzy out there and if you’re a shrewd enough shopper, you can use it to your advantage. But what they’re counting on is the consumer being gullible enough not to realize the bait and switch items, or the two-for-one deals that they mark up in price before the sale and drop them back down after the sale.

So, buyer beware.

So, to all you shoppers, Thanksgiving is only five days away, with Black Friday hot on its heels. So put on your running shoes, get out your lounge chairs, down- comforters, and ear muffs and hunker down for a long, cold night.

Or do yourself a favor, and head out today for the “Saturday before Thanksgiving, Black Friday sale.”

Or better yet, stay in your pj’s, have a cup a coffee, sit at your computer and have it all delivered tomorrow without ever leaving home, like I do.

Today’s inspiration

“Being a traditionalist, I'm a rabid sucker for Christmas. In July, I'm already worried that there are only 146 shopping days left.”

                                                           John Waters

“When people come to my act any time after Thanksgiving, I usually say, You shouldn't be here. You should be shopping. Our economy depends on you! You should be out there buying stuff.”

                                                      Lewis Black

“Recreational shopping is the shortest distance between two points: you and broke.”

                                                            Victoria Moran

“There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed.”

                                                                 Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, Nov. 17 - Day 59

It’s been a long day with some big ups and downs and I admit I don’t have many brain cells left firing. The day has left me with some big disappointments, but I’m resilient and have already bounced back. 

It takes more energy for me to dwell on the negative than it does to refocus on the positive.

And that’s really all I have to say today.

Today’s inspiration

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.”

Elbert Hubbard

“Disappointments are to the soul what a thunderstorm is to the air.”

Friedrich Schiller

(I can honestly say, I have no idea what that means, but it sounds very profound, doesn't it?)

Thursday, Nov. 16 - Day 58

The only way I can describe today is one of rising to the mountaintop, only to be flung into deep despair.

Okay, that’s not even close to what really happened, but I thought a little dramatic flair might pique your interest. By the way, I always thought it was peak, and only recently discovered it is piqued.

Anyway, to bring it all back into the realm of reality.

I have been homebound for several days (no Starbucks, boo-hoo), so I sat in front of my fake fire, with my fake Starbucks and took the opportunity to catch up on a British series that I recorded over the summer and was waiting for an appropriate time to binge-watch. And today was the day.

Now I’ve shared with you before that almost all of the tv series we watch are of British origin. It started back in 2010 with the discovery of Downton Abbey. I had heard the hype from friends and family and everyone couldn’t stop talking about it. It didn’t really pique my interest, there’s that word again, but eventually I succumbed to the pressure and started watching. Luckily, it was still within the first season so it was on demand. After we watched episode one, we, too, were hooked. We watched an episode a night and were mightily disappointed when we discovered that there were only seven episodes. Seven. What were they thinking? Some American television series run as many as 20, 22, 24 episodes.

So seven? Here we are, totally engrossed, and left with a cliffhanger for…a year!

Inexcusable, but we had to hang on with all the other D.A. groupies and wait. 

And wait we did. For one long year.

Then it came. Season two. Eight episodes and done.

Wait. Another year. Season three. Eight episodes and done.

Wait. Season four.

Wait. Season five.

Wait. Season six…the final season. And what a season it was. It brought everything to a completely exhilarating  conclusion.

It was an agonizing six years, long and drawn-out, but well worth it.

And since we are binge-watchers of reruns, because we can’t remember from one season to the next what happened, we invested in, and bought the whole set.

To date I have watched all 52 episodes…eight, yes, count ’em…eight times.

So what does any of this have to do with today?

Well, last year a new British series called Home Fires was broadcast and we watched it week after week for six weeks. Yes, this one only had six episodes.

So, when the second season was broadcast earlier this year, I decided to record all of it and then save it to binge-watch all at one time. I hate suspense and am the queen of instant gratification. So today, I settled in, to spend six glorious hours to watch the second and final season.

It is the story of a small rural, English village in 1940. You immediately begin to feel as if the characters are part of your family, and since two of the main characters acted in Downton Abbey as well, it felt like family indeed. Basically, it’s the story of the villagers left to keep the ‘home fires’ burning until the war is over.

Luckily, they gave a synopsis of the first season before the episode one and it sparked enough of my memory to jump right in.

So for six hours, except for several bathroom breaks, I sat glued to every episode. It became more and more involved and I was fully invested in every character. I almost couldn’t wait for the last episode to find out how it was all going to end.

And then the unthinkable happened. I was in shock. I was practically in tears. 

As a British fighter plane crashed and burned into the house where the doctor who was dying of cancer was delivering a baby, I realized that this wasn’t the end. Cliffhangers on every front, every family, every character…season two couldn't be the last. 

I was going to be strung along again for a whole other year!! 

Nooo! This can’t be. I can’t take it. I need to know what happens now!!

 Does the doctor die? Does the baby live? Does the abused wife catch up with her Polish lover before he’s shipped out? What does the wealthy widow do, now that she’s found out her husband had a ten year affair... resulting in a child that she’s now caring for... because his mother was killed in a car crash... with his father - you know, the widow’s husband - Are you getting all this?

So you can see my problem? Can you understand the monumental frustration that all these unanswered questions.... will have to wait another year!!

And here’s where I was flung into total despair.

 I googled when season three was going to air, and I discovered

there... is... no season three!  It was cancelled. 

Despite the popularity of the series…it was not renewed.

I am not prone to swearing, but all I can say

Seriously, there was not one single resolution at the end because the writer and producers didn’t know it was going to be end. Therefore, they didn't write one.


I wan’t to get a lawyer and sue.


As a writer, I would never do such a despicable thing to my readers - leave them hanging, guessing the outcome of the characters they became so invested in.

 Despicable, despicable, despicable!

I was not the only one enraged. Everyone who had become hooked on the story felt the same. So at the end of the article, it said that the writer, Simon Block, was going to write a four book series to give us the answers.


 Just published this year are the four books I now need to buy and then find the time to read.

I’m sorry for the ranting and raving, but I’m not one who does well being left hanging on a cliff. A little dramatic I know, but after all, I did invest six hours of my day.

And I don’t know when I’ll have another downtime to binge-read four books.

But I tell you this, I’m so traumatized, I may have to give up watching tv for good.

Well, at least until tomorrow.

Today’s inspiration

“I’m having as much fun as a colorblind person playing twister.”


Wednesday, Nov. 15 - Day 57

 I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a flood of comments about my stimulating subject yesterday, but I’m sure it was info you’ve tucked away for your next game of trivia. Or maybe not.

I had to think long and hard for another subject that could be as equally stimulating.

So as I was checking my Facebook feed, my Twitter, my LinkedIn and Instagram accounts, it came to me. I realized that I’m hooked…and I’m assuming that most of you are, too. Otherwise, how would you even know that I existed and enticed to ‘read me’ everyday?

When FB appeared on the scene, I swore I would never participate. I prided myself in being a ‘real live’ person and not just a social media groupie.

I was remembering back to before FB, and what it was like to actually talk to people I knew. I certainly didn’t have 950 ‘friends’. I was lucky to have 2 or 3. 

We’d meet for coffee or lunch and share what was going on in our lives at the time. We didn’t tell each other what we made for dinner the night before, complete with cell phone pictures of the plated entree, and the twenty pictures of the entire process from grocery store to finished product. We didn’t huddle together and take a distorted picture of us smiling, to show family and friends what a good time we were having. We talked, we laughed, we cried, and we hugged before we left. We actually hugged in real-time, no little hug emojis or smiley faces.

Now, I can ‘hug’ or ‘like’ or ‘love’ 950 nameless, faceless people who will like me back and share some intimate details of their lives. I know what their political persuasions are, where they went on vacation (complete with 50 or more cell phone pictures), what their dog looks like when he gets out of the bathtub, what their newest dress looks like (from 50 or more different angles,) or what stupid thing their husband did while trying to ride their kid’s bicycle in the rain. 

I will read their jokes, their funny anecdotes, and their thought-provoking wisdom from one of their 950 friends. 

And I admit it…I will ‘like’ it, ‘love it’, or ‘hate it’ and then do the ultimate…share it. I confess I carry on the cycle and contribute to the endless expanding social media community.

There are still my 2 or 3 friend I have coffee with, laugh with, cry with, share with and I cherish the time together.

But most of all, I cherish the emoji-less hugs.

Today’s inspiration

“I have no idea how to get in touch with anyone anymore. Everyone, it seems, has a home phone, a cell phone, a regular e-mail account, a Facebook account, a Twitter account, and a Web site. Some of them also have a Google Voice number. There are the sentimental few who still have fax machines.”

                                                      Susan Orlean

Tuesday, Nov. 14 - Day 56

Today’s subject is far less serious than yesterday’s and perhaps a little whimsical.

The subject is…toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper.

I know, I know, why on earth would I find one-ply, two-ply or three-ply paper whose primary purpose is, well, best not to be described in detail, a fitting topic of discussion? It was spurred on by a commercial I heard on the radio yesterday.

But first, I feel it only fair to give you a brief history of the subject, because I wouldn’t want anyone to be uninformed with incorrect toilet paper facts.

Don’t laugh.

I mean, what if you ended up as a contestant on Jeopardy and the category of Double Jeopardy is…toilet paper? These insights into its historical background might just result in a $100,000 windfall. You wouldn’t be laughing at me then, would you?

So, let’s begin.

One would think, as I did before my extensive research on the subject, that the origin of using paper for, well, you know what, is a 20th century invention.

But, surprisingly, not so.

The history is extremely extensive and I don’t think any of you want me to expound on pages and pages of info. So I will give you just a brief history and if you are clamoring for more, which I am sure many of you are, you can look it up for yourself.

The first toilet paper dates back to the 6th century AD, in early medieval China and in the year 851 AD, it was known that the Chinese

did not wash themselves with water when they were done their necessities; but wiped themselves with paper.

paraphrased from Joseph Needham’s, Science and Civilization in China (1986)

Who knew that it was the subject of such extensive study.

So now on to the modern version of toilet paper.

Joseph Gayetty's commercially produced paper was first introduced in 1857, and the original advertisements for the product used the tagline "The greatest necessity of the age!”

Now ain’t that  the truth!

After that, there was many refinements to the product including one that proclaimed it was splinter-free.

And thank God for that!

Manufactured toilet paper sheets started out larger than today and over the years became smaller with varying sizes, weight, softness,quality, absorption.. and the most important…'finger-breakthrough' resistance.

Now there’s a visual for you.

Now here’s something that is near and dear to most if us, and the source of contention in many households - the  two choices of orientation. Should the toilet paper hang over or under the roll? The choice is largely a matter of personal preference, dictated by habit. In surveys of American consumers and of bath and kitchen specialists, 60-70% of respondents prefer over.

And for those who have two differing orientations in the same household, I personally think the only solution is to not to put it on the holder at all.

I could go on and on in more detail with the other uses of the product such as decoration and recreational use, but I’ll leave that to your own imagination.

So back to my original reason for the topic…the commercial I heard yesterday. 

There is now a new and improved TP product. It is advertised as an “ultra, super-mega” roll (because ultra, or mega, or ultra-mega aren’t big enough). Apparently, it is equal to six, yes, six, rolls of a regular toilet paper. SIX!

I just can’t fathom what a roll six times bigger would look like. And who except for a family of forty, would even need so much on one roll? Have we become so lazy that we can't replace a roll every two or three days of normal use?

All I could think of is, there is no way it would fit onto any toilet paper holder known to man. So where could you possibly put it? On the towel holder? On the windowsill?

Logistically, I can’t really think of an answer , but I think it would definitely solve the 'under, over' problem. Because I think it would be more likely that the mega-giant would end up rolling across the bathroom floor, leaving you bare-butted, chasing after it.

With that visual, I think I’ll stick to my triple-ply, quilted, super-soft, luxury, single roll and just leave it at that.

Today's inspiration

“Don't let yourself fall into 'empty.' Keep cash in the house. Keep gas in your tank. Keep an extra roll of toilet paper squirreled away. Keep your phone charged.”

                                                 Gretchen Rubin

“Don't keep excessive amounts of anything. Those glass vases that come from florists. Those ketchup packets that come with take-out food. A house with two adults probably doesn't need fifteen mismatched souvenir coffee cups.”

                                              Gretchen Rubin

Monday, Nov. 13 - Day 55

Okay, so my day of rest is over. Let the work week begin.

But, I must explain that my “work” week has really nothing to do with the conventional definition of work. Today my “work” revolves around the busy, sometimes frenetic, activity of my family, and my payment comes in the form of handmade construction-paper cards, clay paperweights, and most importantly, hugs and kisses. There may be days when I’d like to curl up and read a book, but the call of duty remains - whether it’s babysitting, running errands, chauffeuring, doctors’ visits, or just plain spending time together, it’s something I wouldn’t trade for anything. Not for a life spent on a tennis court in Fort Lauderdale or golf on a course at Myrtle Beach. Not that tennis, golf, or anything more strenuous than knitting is anywhere in my repertoire, because I’m hoping to keep a broken hip at bay for as long as I possibly can.

It’s been nine years since I’ve retired from the ‘real’ world of my profession as a NICU nurse and at times I miss it terribly. I miss the privilege of having a sick newborn baby entrusted to my care. I miss the closeness and trust that develops between the parents and a nurse who cares for a baby whose life often hangs in the balance. I have retired from that world, but the feelings attached to it live on and have been played out in my own family.

Over the years we have had more than our share of illness, particularly among my grandchildren. There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching a child suffer when there is nothing more you can do but offer comfort and love. 

But that is where my training can come in. Sometimes I’m able to help navigate through what seems to be unsurmountable challenges in the health care world, But sometimes I’m not. 

There are times I can do nothing more than hold one of them in my arms when they are scared or in pain. It’s something I’ve done hundreds of times for someone else child, and empathized with their pain. But I must admit how much harder it is when it’s your own grandchild looking up with tears in their eyes looking for comfort.

I hadn’t planned on sharing anything more personal than my own crazy thoughts and stuff,  but our family is facing some particularly difficult times and I guess I needed to get it off my chest.

We all have our own personal struggles, some more difficult than others, some truly grave and tragic, and I pray that there is someone, or many someones, to hold your hand and walk through the darkness with you.

If you need someone who will just listen and let you pour your heart out, unburden your soul to, I am only an e-mail away.

Today’s inspiration

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” 

                                                    Desmond Tutu

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

                                     Lao Tzu

“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.” 

                                                          Barbara Kingsolver

Sunday, Nov. 12 - Day 54

It’s almost 5:30 (pm) and I’m staring at this screen, my fingers not motivated to dance across the keyboard with their usual wit and rapidity.

It’s been a day of rest, as Sundays are supposed to be, but never seem to be.

 Sundays are usually a day for me to catch up on all the things that have slipped by me during the busy week. The things I mean to do when I get home everyday, but inevitably put off until tomorrow…and tomorrow…and tomorrow.

Until Sunday, when I awaken with good intentions of accomplishing all I have postponed during the week.

Good intentions and all, this morning I compiled a long list of everything I intended to do by the end of the day. One look at the list and I was already exhausted. 

I started a dialogue with myself, since I was the only one home at the time. I’m quite a good conversationalist, you know, so me, myself and I had quite an edgy conversation about the philosophical necessity to do anything at all. I mean, how important is it really…any of it? 

If the world blows up tomorrow, would it really matter if my towels are folded and stacked neatly according to color? Would it matter if my cleaning products under the sink are methodically aligned according to size and purpose? Would it really matter if the stacks of junk mail on the dining room table are sorted through, opened and put in its proper receptacles?

So the three of us discussed it, and with rational arguments and a renewed perspective, decided that it could all wait one more day. Or week, as the case may be.

After all, Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. Amen.

Today’s inspiration

“I had a monumental idea this morning, but I didn't like it.”

                                      Samuel Goldwyn

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action.”

                                  Mother Teresa

“Sunday, for me, is all about being home with the family with no plans.”

                                John Lasseter

Saturday, Nov. 11 - Day 53

In light of yesterday being the Marine Corps birthday and today being Veteran’s Day, I want to take a few minutes to talk about something that weighs heavy on my heart.

Unless you’ve been directly affected by a family member in the military, either now, or in the past, it will be impossible for you to understand what true, selfless sacrifice means. Unless you’ve watched a loved one fly off to foreign soil to protect our country, perhaps never to return, you’ll never know the level of commitment it takes for a young man or woman to risk their lives for others…for many nameless, faceless others who take for granted the freedoms they fight and sometimes die for.

I believe that the majority of Americans go about their daily lives, without a thought to how different their lives would be without the sacrifices of the soldiers who fought and sometimes died on the front lines of a distant war.

We go to the drive-thru every morning for a fancy coffee and breakfast sandwich. We go to the mall and shop for an abundance of things we don’t need. We sit and play our video war-games ‘pretending’ to be soldiers, but not risking more than the loss of a few leisure hours. We live lives that people in some other countries can’t even imagine.

So today is a holiday designated to celebrate the service of those brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for us to live as we do. They are acknowledged by pages and pages of patriotic posts on Facebook and free meals and coffee at local restaurants.

It’s a day, a single day, devoted to thank them all.

Somehow, it just doesn’t seem enough. Tomorrow, all will be forgotten and we will go on as usual.

But perhaps we can stretch it out to an everyday appreciation and keep it in our hearts enough to say, “thank you for your service,” every time a soldier, or veteran crosses our path.

It’s such a small thing to do for someone who has given us his all...someone who has given us everything

Today's inspiration

"We owe our World War II veterans - and all our veterans - a debt we can never fully repay." 

                                   Doc Hastings

"But this Veterans Day, I believe we should do more than sing the praises of the bravery and patriotism that our veterans have embodied in the past. We should take this opportunity to re-evaluate how we are treating our veterans in the present."

                                    Nick Lampson

Friday, Nov. 10 - Day 52

I believe I’ve mentioned it before, that twenty years ago I was diagnosed with ‘abnormal sleep architecture.’ To refresh your memory, that means that I very rarely drift into or stay in stage N3 and REM sleep, the alternating cycles of restorative sleep and deep dream states.

The upshot of that is that every morning I awaken groggy and tired, feeling as if I haven’t slept at all.

Now this is not a complaint to gain anyone’s sympathy . It just is what it is, and I’ve learned to live with it for 20 years.

The only reason I bring it up here is that for some unknown, but incredibly wonderful reason, I slept like a normal human being last night - like a rock, as I’ve heard it described, but never been able to identify with.

I awoke with a sensation I haven’t felt for 40 years - completely rested and energized, feeling like I could conquer the world.

I awoke with razor-sharp clarity. My brain was alert and fully engaged. My vision was clear and focused. I was energized.

Instead of my usually dulled senses and sluggish movements, I jumped out of bed, (okay so jumped might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the general idea.) Then I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth, fluff up my hair, and smooth moisturizer on my face to give it ‘the appearance of diminished fine lines’ as all the commercials for youth-altering facial creams declare.

It appears that winter temperatures are here to stay, so I pulled on my jeans, long-sleeve t-shirt, sweatshirt and color-coordinated scarf - you know, the scarf that women wear, to attempt to disguise an aging turkey-neck.

So now I’m pretty much ready to head out to Starbucks to begin my writing for the day. All I need to do is to grab my glasses.

And I can’t find them. My glasses. I can not function without them, because everything is blurry. I can manage to do my early morning routine because it is just that, a routine, and I can do it in my sleep (which is pretty much how I do it every morning anyway.)

I search everywhere. Nightstand, bathroom counter, the floor by the bed in case I accidentally knocked them off during the night. Nowhere. I fish around my purse, knowing that I never put them there, but I’m desperate. I really can’t see without them. Besides not being able to read, I can’t even drive because everything is so blurry.

So now I’m in a complete state of shear panic. What am I going to do? It’s so blurry, I can’t even find my spare pair because I can’t see in the junk drawer where I might have put them.

Hell’s bells.

Here I was having such a fantastically alert morning, one that promised to be a great day. I was beginning to feel the energy drain out of me as the discouragement set in. All this energy and clarity going to waste.

All that razor-sharp clarity going to waste.

I reached up to brush the hair out of my eyes and there they were. My glasses. I was wearing them.


Feeling ridiculously foolish, I realized I had been wearing them all along. Not only that, apparently I had fallen asleep with them on.

I was crushed.

Perhaps that razor-sharp clarity I awoke with had nothing to do with a good nights sleep, after all.


And not to forget to is the Marine Corp birthday. Semper Fi

Today's inspiration

“My poor vision gives me a soft-focus morning. For the first half hour, I kind of wander through my house, and everything is a blur. I put my contacts in when I'm ready to deal with the world.”

Carrie Ann Inaba

“Early morning cheerfulness can be extremely obnoxious.”

William Feather

“The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.”

Robert Frost

Thursday, Nov. 9 - Day 51

Well, it’s a freezing, cold day up here in the Northeast - 26 degrees! And as we say, “there’s frost on the pumpkins.” And on everything else as well.

If you remember, a few days ago I went through my closets and stripped them bare of all the clothes that were just itching for new owners.

Well since I was on such a roll, I was motivated to organize and minimize the clutter that has accumulated over time in my office. I call it my office, but in reality, it’s a combination, spare bedroom/man-cave/art studio and repository for all my book paraphernalia for my author events.

But really, it is my room. My husband has pretty much been inched out of his man-cave until his possessions now reside in a small corner of our bedroom. This may sound a bit inconsiderate or selfish, but in reality he had barely anything that warranted an entire room. I, on the other hand, am overflowing with the need for more and more space. And on the rare occasion when someone sleeps over, I have an inflatable bed that I can squeeze into the room. Needless to say, no-one’s knocking down our door to sleepover except for our grandchildren, and they come fully equipped with their own super-hero or princess sleeping bags.

I was going to go in a different direction today, but the discussion about my husband’s man-cave brought back some memories I would like to share. I can talk about today’s planned subject tomorrow.

My husband is a collector. He always has been. The most cherished of his possessions is his miniature soldier collection that he started before we were married.

He has a wide variety of war figures that range from the French Revolution, to the Civil War to WWI and WWII.

They are not the inexpensive plastic toy soldiers, but realistic intricately made lead soldiers. They are not the ones that come 200 in a bag for $0.99.

They are quite pricey and it has taken a long time for him to grow his collection. I have to admit that I’ve never had any interest in anything historically military, but even I am impressed with the artistry and realism of his collection.

Oh, that’s right, man-cave. Well, in addition to his impressive miniature soldiers, he collects other things, like pads of paper, bookmarks, and stickers - the kind that come free in the envelopes asking for financial support for a variety of different charities. Because we donate to the charities, they continue to come, every month or two, without fail. So he has stacks and stacks of them taking up valuable space on the desk that could put to far better use - my use.

The other thing in his cave was a television…a television he never watched, because we have two others and there are only two of us who live there! Do the math.

So I found a lovely, little cabinet to house his soldiers in our room, tossed out all the paper and bookmarks that he’s never used (the ones that will continue to come with annoying frequency) and took possession of the room.

One of the reasons we’ve been married for 49 years, is that he has learned to bend with wind and flow with the current tide.

His mantra…and it has served him well is...

"yes, dear."

Today’s inspiration

“Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him.”           Groucho Marx

“Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.”

Jim Carrey

Wednesday, Nov. 8 - Day 50

As I have mentioned before, I’m an old-movie buff, the older the better. And if it’s not in black and white, then it’s just not in my repertoire.

But every now and then, there’s a movie that touches me, even it’s as ‘new’ as the 70s or 80s.

So at 3am this morning when I couldn’t sleep, I was about to turn on Mrs. Miniver for the hundredth time, when such a movie popped up.

The movie was The Whales of August from 1987 with Bette Davis and Lillian Gish. Both of them were iconic actresses and Lillian Gish was 93 and Bette Davis was 78 at the time.

It’s a beautiful, touching story of two elderly sisters spending what will probably be their last summer together at their summer home in Maine. Davis plays Libby, the sour, cranky, blind sister who has suffered a stroke and Gish plays Sarah, the kind, gentle sister who cares for.

They are both very fragile and frail and their relationship isn’t easy to navigate, particularly for Sarah, who deserves a medal or sainthood, for putting up with Libby’s coldness and bitterness. There are flashbacks from their childhood when they were both happy and vibrant and it sets the stage for the closeness they still have despite the strain in their current relationship.

I’m not going to give any more information about the movie because I don’t want to spoil it in case you ever have a chance to see it.

The reason the movie touches me so, besides the privilege of watching two such incredible actresses at the end of their careers, is that it is such a realistic portrayal of the physical and emotional struggles at the end of life.

I’ve always hoped I would be able to grow old gracefully, as these two sisters have tried to do, but the movie gives a glimpse of what happens to relationships when the end of life is harsh and strained despite the beauty of their life-long love for each other.

Having been a hospice nurse at one time, I’ve had the privilege to be present at the end of many lives and this movie tugged at my heart to remind me how precious life is at every stage, and how the most important thing at the end are the relationships of those we love.

Today's inspiration

"The harvest of old age is the recollection and abundance of blessing previously secured."

                                                      Marcus Tullius Cicero

Tuesday, Nov. 7 - Day 49

I really have only one thing to say today. Please vote in your local elections. If you don't make a choice and vote, then you can't complain about the outcome.


Today's inspiration

"Leadership is not about the next election, it's about the next generation." 

                          Simon Sinek

Monday, Nov. 6 - Day 48

After yesterday’s mini-marathon, I’m soooo glad the weekend is over. Even though I’m thoroughly exhausted, it’s Monday, and Monday is the beginning of my serious writing work-week and I have a lot on my plate.

I’ve had to focus my daily writing on this blogging-challenge adventure that I, perhaps foolishly, began 48 days ago. But 48 days down, and I think I finally have the hang of it.

But in the meantime, I have totally neglected finishing my two current projects - THE ESCAPADES OF THE SASSY SENIORS SOCIAL CLUB ( poor Jeanita has been left stranded on a caribbean island with no-one to save her until I send someone to rescue her) and the fourth Travel Kids book ( leaving poor Eva lost and wandering around the frozen tundra). How very irresponsible of me, leaving my family in such precarious situations.

I call them family because that’s how I regard all my characters. I can’t help but have love for each of them because they have been created from somewhere deep down in my psyche and therefore they are a part of me.

Of course, that’s a scary thought because that means the dark and twisted villains in my stories live down there too. But even they have a tender place in my heart because they are mine, all mine.

My husband…because he is an avid reader…and because I’ve given him no other choice…has been assigned to be my beta reader, which for those of you outside the writer’s realm, is someone who scours the rough drafts to see the story from a different perspective and give constructive criticism. So basically, he’s my first test dummy. Then it’s passed on to another beta reader - one of my writer friends,  because I know my husband tip-toes through his criticism, because at the end of the day…he has to live with me.

But the thing that amuses me most, is when he’s finished one of my villainous or supernatural stories, he has a blank look on his face. He often asks me where these dark characters come from, because they truly can be pretty twisted. It’s a side of me that I think scares him just a little bit. After reading the very first one I had written, he admitted he was a little afraid to go to sleep next to me that night, just in case I dreamt up a hit-man or murderous malcontent in the middle of the night. I used to sleepwalk, and I think he was concerned I might wander into the kitchen for a carving knife. I assured him that my characters were safely contained on the pages of my stories and wouldn’t get out.

So there you have it. I’m pretty confident that I have this blog thing down well enough to go back to my projects.

Eva is waiting anxiously for me to bring her back home to a nice warm place. And poor Jeanita…well, sorry Jeanita, I’m not sure if you’re going to get out of there alive.

You just never know, who’s lurking in the shadows of my mind. And frankly, I don’t either.

Today’s inspiration

Dedicated to my courageous husband who has conquered his fear of sleeping with me.

"There is no such thing as paranoia. Your worst fears can come true at any moment."

                                                Hunter S. Thompson

"Never trust anyone who doesn't drink coffee." 

                    AJ Lee

Sunday, Nov. 5 - Day 47

Happy Sunday to y’all.

It’s been a very busy day and I’m not finished yet. But I decided if I don’t sit down to do this now, I’ll be far too exhausted later.

So what have I been so busy doing?

Well, I don’t know about any of you, but every now and then I get a surge of energy and inspiration. These episodes are far and few between so I know that if I don’t jump right in, both the energy and the inspiration will be gone in a flash.

The focus of my inspiration was related to the fact that the temperatures are dipping into the 30s at night and 50s during the day. So I knew I should be pulling out the winter clothes and putting away the summer stuff. 

I am the absolute queen of efficiency, so I have everything neatly packed away in big plastic containers. One for me and one for my husband. So I pulled mine out, put it on the bed and began. 

Being the obsessive-compulsive organizer that I am, I neatly took out the winter shirts and pants and put them on one side of the bed and then started to neatly pile the summer tops and shorts on the other. Everything was going so well and it shouldn’t have taken any more than a half hour or so. The operative word is shouldn't.

But as I started to examine each piece, I decided I should really get rid of some of the things that had never seen the light of day…which amounted to more than half of everything. You know, those tan shorts you thought would go great with the green and tan t-shirt. Or the turquoise button-down that would look so cute with the white shorts.

Okay, I’ll stop right there, because I know you are scratching your head and saying, “what the heck is she talking about? She only wears black.”


After all this time, you know me, oh so well. You know that I only wear my black workout capris and black t-shirts…except for the ‘dressy occasions’ where I change into a ‘dressy’ black t-shirt.

But every spring, I make the dreaded trip (because you know how much I hate shopping) to my go-to store (Walmart) to buy my summer wardrobe. And as I’m tossing some black t-shirts into the cart, something might catch my eye and in a delusional state I think, I can wear that to a bbq or picnic or out to lunch with the hubby.

Delusional to say the least. It sits in my closet, and every now and then I glance at it and think, hmm, maybe today. But today has come and gone…many, many times.

So back into the summer wardrobe container it goes, only to be brought out again next year to take its place with any new acquisitions that I might purchase.

I really do have full intentions of wearing them at some point, or I wouldn’t have bought them in the first place.

Delusional, delusional…delusional!

So back to the bed.

As I pulled each thing out to pack away, I made the monumental mistake of trying everything on to see if it should go in the donation bag.

But you see, our family has had an extremely difficult and painful year, and as I’ve talked about earlier, my drug of choice is food, and during the worst and most stressful of times, I resorted to what I knew would get me through, at least temporarily…my best friend, chocolate.

The reason I bring this up is two reasons. #1 - you know by now that transparency is my middle name, and #2 - it explains the extra 15 pounds I’m packing.

Ok, so back to the donation bag. As I said, I tried on everything to make sure I didn’t want to hang on to it, (just in case) until next summer when it would again gather dust in the closet.

There is nothing so devastating as trying on something that fit well one year only to make you look like a beached whale the next. D.E.V.A.S.T.A.T.I.N.G….

You see, black on black disguises almost everything and deludes you into thinking…it’s not that bad. But white shorts and a turquoise blouse?


So I spent the next three hours trying every piece of clothing. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. and by the time I was finished, I had four big trash bags full of things I was never going to wear. I gained great comfort in knowing they would all go to happy homes and some very grateful recipients.

So now, my half empty plastic bin was ready to be put away, and my half empty closet was neatly arranged.

As I slipped the bin into its place, I looked at my husband’s container which I was going to tackle next, shook my head, and mumbled to myself…

Oh, honey... you’re on your own.

Today's inspiration

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' " 

                                              Eleanor Roosevelt

Saturday, Nov. 4 - Day 46

I’ve discussed it here before about my lack of trendy fashion-sense and my monotone, everything-the-same wardrobe.

So last Christmas, my husband gave me a gift card to an upscale, expensive clothing store - think there was a hidden message there?

Anyway...I tucked it away because #1 - I hate clothes shopping (or shopping of any kind) #2 - I already have my one pair of dress-up jeans and my two dressy tops (one black of course, and one pretty, print flowy thing) so as far as I’m concerned there wasn’t anything else I needed, and #3 - the store he chose was one of the ones where you could easily blow the whole thing on two or three items - items that I would never buy in the first place.

But a few months ago, I had a book signing coming up and I thought, “what the heck, I’ll go check it out and see if there’s anything I like.”

So gift card in hand, off I went. I knew that the only thing I wanted was either a black flowy thing, or maybe another print flowy thing, similar to the one I had at home.

I spent one and a half hours walking around and around and around the store, going through every rack with absolutely no luck. I knew exactly what I wanted and it just wasn’t there. Frustrated beyond belief (because by now, I was on a mission to find something) I started mumbling to myself.

“Seriously? Not one single top? How can they not carry the style I see everyone else wearing?”

I must have been mumbling out loud because I was getting some very funny looks.

And then…eureka! There it was. The only one on the rack, jammed between two very dissimilar tops. I hit pay dirt. Perfect style, perfect blend of colors with just a tiny touch of bling, perfect fit. AND it was on sale! I felt like I hit the lottery.

I was so proud of myself that I had persevered, and I knew that my husband would be very pleased that I finally used his gift.

When I got home, I rushed in, pulled out my treasure, put it on, and came out to show him.

“Voila!” I exclaimed proudly, twirling around.

He cocked his head to one side, and with a puzzled look on his face, he said, “don’t you already have that one?”

Silly man. But then again he’s a man, so how observant is he really.

“No,” I laughed.

I went to my closet to show him that the other top I had was nothing like it.

And guess what? (if you haven’t already).

I stood there in exasperated belief, shaking my head. I had spent nearly two hours combing through the racks to find the perfect top, only to come home with exactly the same one.

Well, it just goes to prove one thing.

I know what I like.

Today's inspiration

"A woman should be like a single flower, not a whole bouquet."

                 Anne Heid

Friday, Nov. 3 - Day 45

So excited. It’s my first day in almost a week that I was able to get up at my usual time and drive to you-know-where. And I must say, I felt like a celebrity. As I walked through the door I heard, “Sandy!!!!! Where have you been???”

 I don't think I've ever mentioned it, but my knickname is Sandy. Judith is my legal name and the name I write under (for no other reason than it’s just easier to navigate legally).

The story behind the knick-name ‘Sandy’ is too long to tell here, so I’ll save it for a later date.

Most of us, at some point in our lives, end up with a knickname or two. Some are endearing, some are cute, some are funny, some not so funny, and some can be downright cruel.

My very first one was an endearment my dad tagged me with when I was very little. I was a cute, tiny tot with curly hair and a smattering of freckles across my little upturned nose. My mother dressed me in little frilly, dresses most of the time except when I was out playing in the dirt, which admittedly was pretty often. But most of the time, I loved playing ‘mommy’ to my Tiny Tears baby doll. Her name was Tina and she cried real tears when you laid her down. She was my very own real baby. My parents let me use my baby pram (if you aren’t old enough to know what that is - look it up) which was a bit cumbersome for a little six yr-old, but I managed to push Tina around the neighborhood every day. I dressed her in her pretty, little white dress and covered her with a soft, pink blanket that was once my own. No doubt about it. I was her mommy, and that was what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I was pretty much your average little girl growing up in the fifties with pretty, pink dresses and ribbons in her hair.

So where was I going with this train of thought? I wanted to give you a mental picture of me before I shared my father’s pet name for me.

It wasn't Sweetie. It wasn’t baby. It wasn’t Pumpkin. It wasn’t Peanut. It wasn’t Princess. It wasn’t kitten.

It was…Butch. Yes, Butch.

I had two older brothers, so it wasn’t like he had been denied the opportunity to have a rough-and-tumble boy child.

But for whatever reason, I was Butch.

Luckily, he was the only one who called me Butch, and no-one outside my family had gotten wind of it. I was grateful for that, because kids can be cruel and I was already a set-up to be taunted because of my freckles. “Judy didn’t wash her face today. Look, Judy fell in the mud, Judy fell in the mud.”

Rotten kids - picking on a cute, little kid like me. Imagine.

So fast forward.

When I was 12 my mother bought me a sweatshirt with a picture of Cleopatra and a gold snake on it (I really wish she was still around so I could ask her why she would do such a thing). But it was actually somewhat fashionable at the time, and I loved it, and it gave me the idea to give myself a knickname that maybe Dad would like better. So at first, I was Cleo, but that didn’t seem to go over well. So then I tried Charlie, because my middle-name was Charlotte. But that didn’t seem to work for him either.

So Butch it was, and Butch it would remain, until I grew up, got married and had kids of my own. Then, for whatever reason, he started calling me babe. Finally, for him, I had outgrown it!

My dad has been gone for many years now, but every now and then when I think of him, I remember him tousling my hair and calling me Butch.

 I remember being at his bedside at the last, and him saying, “I love you, babe.”

But when I think of it now…I wished he had called me Butch.

Thursday, Nov. 2 - Day 44

So today I am finally feeling well enough to get up and make my usual breakfast - an egg sandwich: one egg on toasted Ezeziel bread with one slice of turkey bacon. I’ve never quite been able to envision how a thanksgiving-worthy bird can be transformed into a piece of sizzling bacon, but there you have it. Modern science at work.

Anyway, as I am happily watching my egg turn crispy-brown around the edges (just the way I like it), the smoke alarm starts blaring. You know, that ear-shattering, heart-stopping sound that sends your heart into your throat and your dog quivering under the bed? In my weakened condition, I forgot about the alarm. 

 You see, I've had a running, longstanding battle with the thing.

At this point, I feel I should give you a little background information so you’re not thinking I’m a little irrational having a grudge against the battery-driven device that is supposed to prevent me from ending up like a piece of turkey bacon.

The battle goes way back to when we moved here. The house was equipped with a wired-in, battery backup smoke detector and every night when I went to bed, I felt safe knowing that I was being protected in case of a fire.

Until…until the night when the blaring shrill of the alarm cut through me, my heart pounding as my husband and I jumped out of bed and ran to the front door. In grogginess, I realized that Princess, (you remember her, don’t you?) wasn’t with us. She is always at our side and I panicked. Where is she? Taking our life in our hands, we ran back into the bedroom and we could hear her whimpering under the bed. We knew we had only minutes, maybe only seconds to rescue her, but to our horror, we found out that she was cowering in the dead center of our king-size, low-to-the-ground bed and there was no way we could reach her. And again, to our horror, she wasn’t about to budge. What the hell were we going to do? As we were both on our hands and knees trying desperately to coax our petrified little baby out from under what would for sure be her deathtrap, we heard a quiet, sultry voice say, “there’s a fire...there’s a fire.” It stopped us long enough to gather our wits about us and decided to check for the fire. Ours is a very small place and took less than 30 seconds to check the rooms to discover…there was no fire.

So we hit the reset button on the alarm. Once we were finally somewhat calmed down, we had to address the terrified little fluff-ball under the bed. It took hours of coaxing, but eventually she came out, jumped on the bed, and fell promptly to sleep, and all was well with the world.

Until a week later. “There’s a fire...there’s a fire,” the sultry voice quietly proclaimed through the blaring alarm.

Not again! This time, even though our hearts were racing, we knew enough to check before panicking, and low and behold…no fire.

My husband pushed the reset button and again, Lola, as I affectionately started to call her, shut up.

But, unfortunately, by this time poor Princess was suffering from ptsd and no amount of coaxing would bring her out. We decided to let her recuperate under the bed and went back to sleep.

Two hours later…"there’s a fire…there’s a fire."

Really?? Lola…SHUT UP!

Another trip to the reset button, but alas…no luck. It wouldn’t stop. The alarm is blaring away, Lola is seductively trying to warn us, and Princess, well, she’s never going to be the same.

Finally, my husband did the only rational thing he could do and ripped the damn thing out of the wall. With wires hanging and the alarm in his hand, Lola was still talking. Of course! The battery. He pulled it out and there was finally silence.

By this time, dawn was breaking and we were both too riled up to go back to sleep.

So now what? Replace the battery, replug the wires and hang it back on the wall, of course.

Easier said than done. Battery no problem. Wires no problem. Getting it to reattach to the wall…problem. Try as we might, we just couldn’t get it to snap back in place. So we did the next best thing. We let it become a 3-D sculpture hanging from the wall.

So we felt very proud of ourselves. We fixed the problem, and despite the minor wall attachment issue, we now has a properly function alarm.

Two days later…”there’s a fire…there’s a fire…”

You have GOT to be kidding me!

This time, my husband ripped the thing, wires and all, out of the wall, pulled out the battery and flung the thing in the trash.

Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.

So now what?

Buy a new alarm, of course.

Do you have any idea of how many different choices there are?

As I stood at Home Depot in front of all the rows of choices, a very nice gentleman came up and asked what I needed. I told him that I needed a battery smoke detector (since our wires were rendered temporarily unavailable by an unnamed source - namely, my husband).

He handed me one that looked to fit the bill, until I read that it included a voice alert feature…Lola! 

No way, Jose. She belongs in a strip club.

So I chose your average, run-of-the-mill, plain-old ordinary, no frills alarm.

And it works like a charm. Except for one teensy-weensy little problem.

It goes off every time I boil water for tea, or cook, which admittedly isn’t that often. But still…every time! Apparently, it is so sensitive, that it goes off to even the slightest increase in temperature.

The only solution is to put on the oven fan and open the window every time before I turn on the stove.

Well, the good news is that Princess seems to have recovered from her initial alarm trauma and doesn’t go running under the bed any more.

But I think she misses Lola.

Wednesday, Nov. 1 - Day 43

In my mind, I feel 40, maybe even 30. But today, my body feels like 80. Not that I know what 80 feels like.  I'm only 68 and most of the time, I don't feel like a day over 67. I told you that I've been sick for the past several days, but good grief, it's only a cold! 

So, it occurred to me today, as I remain on the couch for the third day, that the

reason I feel like death warmed over, is my age. At 50, 60, even 67, I could take it like a man, get up and function.  

So is this it? Is 68 the tipping point, the age where the downhill slide is greased and at a 90 degree angleIs this the end of my run as the tough, old matriarch who would get up off her deathbed and carry matter what?

I certainly hope not.

So here are a few witty remarks that made me chuckle.

I don’t plan to grow old gracefully. I plan to have face-lifts until my ears meet. 

                                                       Rita Rudner

We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress. 

                                                    Will Rogers

The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again. 

                                                            Erma Bombeck

Regular naps prevent old age, especially if you take them while driving. 

                                                                 Author Unknown

An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her. 

                                                            Agatha Christie

My grandmother was a very tough woman. She buried three husbands and two of them were just napping. 

                                                     Rita Rudner

Old age is when you resent the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated because there are fewer articles to read.

                                                        George Burns

A stockbroker urged me to buy a stock that would triple its value every year. I told him, ‘“At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas.” 

                                                          Claude Pepper

I’ve learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes. 

                                                            Andy Rooney

I’m at an age when my back goes out more than I do. 

                                                            Phyllis Diller

There is only one cure for gray hair. It was invented by a Frenchman. It is called the guillotine. 

                                                                  P.G. Wodehouse

I’m at the age where food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact, I’ve just had a mirror put over my kitchen table. 

                                                                         Rodney Dangerfield

You know you’re getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.

                                                     Bob Hope

He’s so old that when he orders a three-minute egg, they ask for the money up front. 

                                                            George Burns

Whatever you may look like, marry a man your own age — as your beauty fades, so will his eyesight. 

                                                            Phyllis Diller

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country. 

                                                                 Kurt Vonnegut 

You know you’re getting old when you get that one candle on the cake. It’s like, “See if you can blow this out.”

                                                              Jerry Seinfeld

The first sign of maturity is the discovery that the volume knob also turns to the left. 

                                                                Jerry M. Wright

People ask me what I’d most appreciate getting for my 87th birthday. I tell them, a paternity suit. 

                                                             George Burns

It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.       Woody Allen

Tuesday, Oct. 31 - Day 42

My apologies, again. I became ill last night and still wobbly this morning. The best I can do for today is a few more bits of wit. Here’s hoping I’ll be back on my feet tomorrow.

Teacher: "Kids, what does the chicken give you?"

Student: "Meat!"

Teacher: "Very good! Now what does the pig give you?"

Student: "Bacon!"

Teacher: "Great! And what does the fat cow give you?"

Student: “Homework!"

Boy: *calls 911* Hello? I need your help!

911: Alright, What is it?

Boy: Two girls are fighting over me!

911: So what's your emergency?

Boy: The ugly one is winning.

Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes. Jim Carrey

My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them. Mitch Hedberg

I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific. 

                                                   Lily Tomlin

I haven't spoken to my wife in years. I didn't want to interrupt her. 

                                                                  Rodney Dangerfield

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is. 

                                                            Ellen DeGeneres

Monday, Oct. 30 - Day 41

 I  always have all my electronics fully charged, in case of emergencies, but for some reason I failed to charge my computer last night and unfortunately, I have almost no juice left.  Due to high winds and heavy rain, we keep losing power. And since I can't fail to meet my daily commitment to post something, I figured I would just copy and paste a family-friendly joke from a humor site, before my screen goes black.

I hope you're all safe and sound out there, and hopefully, power will be restored later today so I can get back on my blogtrack for tomorrow.

Have a sparkling day.

There was an elderly couple who in their old age noticed that they were getting a lot more forgetful, so they decided to go to the doctor. The doctor told them that they should start writing things down so they don't forget. They went home and the old lady told her husband to get her a bowl of ice cream. "You might want to write it down," she said. The husband said, "No, I can remember that you want a bowl of ice cream." She then told her husband she wanted a bowl of ice cream with whipped cream. "Write it down," she told him, and again he said, "No, no, I can remember: you want a bowl of ice cream with whipped cream." Then the old lady said she wants a bowl of ice cream with whipped cream and a cherry on top. "Write it down," she told her husband and again he said, "No, I got it. You want a bowl of ice cream with whipped cream and a cherry on top." So he goes to get the ice cream and spends an unusually long time in the kitchen, over 30 minutes. He comes out to his wife and hands her a plate of eggs and bacon. The old wife stares at the plate for a moment, then looks at her husband and asks, "Where's the toast?"

Sunday, Oct. 29 - Day 40

Okay, so apparently I hit a nerve yesterday because I received a lot of feedback from people who could either identify, or they knew someone else who could.

And that’s the key to the entire thing. I am not alone. You are not alone.

No-one in this world is terminally unique.

By design, we are all born perfect, but we don’t live in a bubble. It’s impossible to grow up and not to be affected by the world around us or in us. At some point in time, whether it’s early on or later in life, we get broken.

Sometimes a little broken, sometimes, very broken - and like it or not, we all suffer, in some shape or form, with some kind of soul sickness.

Back in the olden days, being broken wasn’t something anyone understood. If you were having a hard time, you were told to knock it off, grow up, or ‘I’ll give you something to cry about.’ It wasn’t that there was no compassion. It’s that it simply wasn’t in the mindset of society to understand that people had a soft inner-core that was easily bruised and if bruised enough, could be broken.

So  for what it’s worth, (which isn't much, I know) that is my commentary on the social ills of the world. I fully realize that it is purely my own  view on things and has absolutely no validity other than my own personal experience.

Wow. I had no idea that any of that was going to spill out. But then again, I never have an idea of what’s going to spill out, until it does.

So let me get back to where I thought I was going to go regarding yesterday’s post 

I left off with the 'confessions of a chocoholic’s addiction.' 

I’ve heard it said, you’re as sick as your secrets, and from experience I know that to be true. My secret life of food addiction led me down a slippery slope of guilt, humiliation, anxiety, depression, despair, and, eventually, even hopelessness. This may sound very dramatic, but again, if you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about. If not, it’s okay. I have no problem with you thinking that I’m rowing with only one oar in the water.

So, how have I survived and come out the other side, relatively sane? Is there any hope? Absolutely. 

Yes, I suffered from a soul sickness. My glass wasn’t just half-filled. It was empty. I was spiritually dehydrated and the only answer was to reach out for help to fill that empty cup, that black hole, within me.

Misery loves company and my healing came from finding others who suffered as I did. Together, we could share those secret hurts, those grievous wounds and begin to heal. For me, it meant finding a spiritual connection to a power greater than myself. I knew I certainly couldn’t heal myself and admitting it was my first step to healing.

Anyone who suffers with fear, anxiety, depression, addiction - (which can be anything from substance abuse, to the less, seemingly innocuous, obsessive - compulsive behaviors such as shopping, dieting, exercise, and such) must find their own path out of the darkness, and I encourage them to do so.

That path can take many forms. There is no right one, no wrong one. But there is a path.

I was not alone, and neither are you.

Today’s inspiration

“What do we live for if not to make the world a less difficult place for each other.”

                                            George Eliot

“If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life.”


Saturday, Oct. 28 - Day 39

As you might have surmised by now, I’m a relatively transparent person. My life, for better or worse, is pretty much an open book. And I welcome any questions you might have - about anything. Well, about almost anything.

So today I want to talk about a very personal struggle I’ve dealt with almost my entire life.

One of my earliest childhood memories is having my very first banana. I was only three years old, but I remember very clearly the sweet taste of the creamy, velvety fruit in the bright yellow jacket. It was so delicious I asked my mother for another. When she said no, I took it upon myself to take the matter into my own hands. 

When she left the kitchen, I discreetly pushed one of the kitchen chairs over to the counter, which was no small feat since I was a tiny, little thing. Then I climbed up on the counter and sat very quietly, while I peeled and ate every one of the bananas in the bunch. I can’t remember how many there were, but there were enough to make me sick to my stomach. My mother came in, yelled at me and lifted me down from the counter. With tears in my eyes from being ‘found out’ and yelled at, I promptly bent over and threw up all over her. I vaguely remember her putting me in the bath, putting on my pjs, and putting me to bed.

 I don’t remember anything after that, and I’m only guessing, but I must have felt humiliated, (not that a three old would feel humiliation). But looking back at it, that’s how I would feel now, because it’s a situation that has repeated itself over and over, ever since then.

Only three years old and I was hooked.

And there began my lifelong love-hate affair with food.

What that experience taught me was that #1 - food was delicious, #2 - I would always want more, #3 - I could eat until it made me sick, #4 - I would need to eat in secret…and most importantly, #5 - I would feel humiliated.

Yes, I became a food addict. It is my drug of choice.

And of course, like any true food addict, I never sought after lettuce, green beans, or broccoli.

I craved the gooey, cheesy, greasy things, the crispy, crunchy, salty things, and most of all, the sweet, creamy chocolate things.

I had a friend in high school with a similar bent, and every Saturday, I would ride my bike into the center of town to meet her at the pizza parlor to start our quest. Every week, it was the same thing. We’d start with a slice of cheese pizza, then bike over to the candy store where I would buy a 1/4 pound of milk chocolate, almond bark, and then over to Baskin-Robbins for a two scoop cone of pistachio, and jamoca almond fudge.

We didn’t even have to ask. They would see us coming and scoop it up as we walked through the door.

Sad. Tragic, really. That at the ripe old age 14, I was already recognized as a food addict - although back then that label didn’t exist. They just said you had a ‘sweet tooth.’

Every day, my mother would give me money to buy a hot lunch at school. She never found out that every day I bought one vanilla-chocolate ice cream cup, (you know, the kind that comes with the little wooden spoon), and I would pocket the change for my after-school treat.

On my way home, I would stop at the local soda fountain, which is what they were called back then, and order a large, chocolate malted.

Then each night, I would sit on the couch with my parents to watch TV, and we would each have a bowl of ice cream and a bowl of potato chips.

It amazes me, that with all the calcium I fed my body, I’ve ended up on the cusp of osteoporosis.

So basically, my nutritionist food came from a breakfast of oatmeal and fruit, and a dinner of whatever meat my mother prepared, potatoes or rice, and canned peas, carrots, green beans, or for variety, mixed peas and carrots.

To this day I can not stand the taste of canned vegetables.

Sunday dinners were my favorite meal, because we would have slices of rare roast beef, which I loved then and still do to this day, baked potatoes, the dreaded canned peas, and thick slices of soft, rye bread that still had that fresh-baked bakery smell.

It was that bread that made its way onto the list of must-have foods.

And so it went. Year after year, until I became an adult, and had the freedom to buy and eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Now I don’t want you to think that I passed this lack of nutrition on to my family. I gave them their cereal and o.j. for breakfast, made them pbj sandwiches for lunch, and made relatively healthy dinners (with fresh or frozen vegetables - NEVER canned).

I didn’t want to set a bad example, so being the good mother, I did what any self-respecting food addict would do - I hid my booty. I had stashes of chocolate in the trunk of my car, on the top shelf of my closet behind winter scarves and gloves, behind the cleaning products and laundry detergent because I knew no-one would ever look there.

Chocolate - hidden. Stashed away like any good alcoholic would do with their liquor bottles.

And if anyone was home when I needed my fix, I would take it to the bathroom, run the water so they wouldn’t here the wrappers open, and eat…and eat. Until I felt sick.

The only thing I was grateful for, was that I never resorted to throwing up.

And then if I was caught in the act, which wasn’t very often since I was very careful and the queen of stealth, the humiliation would set in. And I would take a silent oath that it would never happen again. But I could never keep that oath.

Because I was an addict, an addict with an addiction as strong as any nicotine, alcohol or heroin addict.

I know that sounds dramatic, but if you can relate in any way, shape of form, you will understand.

But, if you’ve never had the misfortune to have unquenchable cravings, you will be shaking your head saying, how ridiculous, just don’t do it. Just stop.

But an addict can’t just stop. Not without help.

Okay, so I’m going to stop here and pick it up again tomorrow, because there’s a lot more to say and I'm tired of hearing myself talk, (type).

Today’s inspiration

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

                                    Thomas Jefferson

Friday, Oct. 27 - Day 38

It's a well-known fact among my friends and family that I am not a snappy dresser. Never have been. Never will be. 

I just don’t have that inborn, innate sense of fashion like my granddaughters do. They have closets full of stylish clothes, and without any effort, and in a heartbeat, they can pull together a fashionable, magazine-worthy outfit. They follow all the current fashion trends of what’s ‘in’ and what’s not ‘in.’

And without doubt, nothing I wear is ‘in.’

And quite frankly, at this stage of the game, I really don’t care. I mean I’m almost 69, and who the hell cares what an elderly, old woman looks like?

Reading that back, I think I need to clarify, because despite the advanced years, I don’t by any means consider myself elderly - except for those days when I feel like life has beaten the crap out of me.

I’m a relatively energetic, full-of-life, kind of a gal with the mindset of a 40 yr-old. I’m frequently told that I don’t look nearly my own age. When I’m out with my daughter, I’m often mistaken for her sister. That works for me, but not so much for her. She thinks, ‘does that mean I look closer to my 60s like my mother?’

No, she’s not happy about that, at all. But then again, people mistake her for her own daughters’ ages who are in their 20s.

Okay, so where was I going with that?

I think I forgot.

Oh, that’s right - my fashion-sense, or lack thereof, and my ‘I really don’t care, attitude.’

But even though I don’t care…the female members of my family do.

“Nana, you’re not going to wear that are you? Nana, you’re not going to go out like that, are you?”

Oh, yes I am, because it’s not that bad, really. It’s just that comfort is priority #1 with me, and, pardon the slang, but

…if it don’t feel like pjs, it just ain’t gonna get worn…

So in the warm weather, my daily attire is black workout capris with a short sleeve black t-shirt that covers my ample butt, and in the winter, it’s ankle-length, black workout pants and a black, long sleeve t-shirt (that again covers my butt). 

See a pattern here? Comfort, yes. Black, yes. Butt covering…definitely.

You see, I subscribe to the popular theory that black is slimming, so if it ain’t black, it’s not in my closet - except for the very few pretty, print shirts I’ve bought over the years, with every intention of wearing them someday - but never do.

So back to the female members of my family, young and old, regarding my style. I seem to be a great source of amusement for them.

You see, I have a specific mindset. If one is good, six is better.

Be patient. I know, you have no idea what I am talking about.

On those very rare occasions when I go clothes shopping, if I find a t-shirt or blouse that meets my requirements, (comfortable, black, and covers my butt) I buy it…but not just it. I buy six, because if looks remotely flattering, I will want to wear it every day. And obviously you couldn’t wear the same shirt every day. That would be just gross. So I buy almost a weeks worth. This cracks my family up. Six black shirts exactly the same. They know this is my modus operandi and tease me incessantly about it.

“Are you wearing the same shirt, again, Nana? Again, Nana? Again?”

But that’s okay, because they know how quirky I am, and love me anyway.

And besides, they have long-since accepted I’m not a snappy dresser.

And never will be.

Today’s inspiration

“I’m not into fashion, but I like design. I wear the same shoes every day.”

                                             Tyler, The Creator

Thursday, Oct. 26 - Day 37

It’s a cold, wet, autumn day here, the kind of day where you want to stay bundled in a cozy blanket, sipping tea by a roaring fire, and Mozart playing in the background. But with great resolve, I have braved the damp chill and made my way to Starbucks. So instead, I sit drinking my dark roast, no fire, (actually, for a reason unbeknownst to me, the air conditioning is on) and Justin Beiber playing in the background.

And I did it just for you, my faithful friends, lol.

In a previous post, I shared that this is the only place I can write, so here I am.

Yet just the other day, I explained what CAPD is and how it affects me. So how can I tolerate this noisy, sometimes frenetic, environment?

For some reason, despite the comings and goings of the mini-hoard of people and the pop music playing, it is just like white noise to me.

Strange, I know, considering that the clinking of a dish in a sink two rooms away is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, but the cacophony of noise in Starbucks soothes me.

Go figure.

Anyway, back to braving the weather.

I have a friend from high school who lives in Alaska with her husband. Yes, Alaska.

I am in complete awe, that anyone in their right mind would choose to live in that frozen tundra of an environment.

Yes, I have seen pictures, and it is beautiful. A majestic sight to see - the blinding, white, snow glistening, and crystalline icicles hanging from the towering evergreens - truly a magic, winter wonderland.

Magnificent place to live - if you ignore the fact that in June, the sun rises at 3am and sets at midnight - twenty hours of daylight. And in January, the sun rises at 10am and sets at 3pm - five hours of daylight.

So for me, the nineteen hours of night would be heaven. But to a person who’s unable to sleep in the daytime, I’m sure that I would be checked into the nearest mental hospital for the criminally insane, because after a week or two of total sleep deprivation, I’d be likely to kill someone.

And let’s not forget the temperature. In January, the average high is 1 degree Fahrenheit. Yes…I said the high is 1 degree. And the low? A balmy 16 degrees below zero.

No thank you.

I have the greatest of admiration for my friend Barbara, who not only withstands the harshness of the environment, she actually loves it and wouldn’t live anywhere else. God bless her.

“You’re a greater man than I am, Gunga Din!”

But I must admit, the frozen wonderland of Fairbanks, Alaska does have one redeeming quality for me.

There is a Starbucks.

Today's inspiration

"Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That's what little girls are made of."

                                                 Bethany Hamilton

 Wednesday, Oct. 25 - Day 36

I’m feeling a little nostalgic today and remembrances of my childhood are drifting in and out of my thoughts. Perhaps it’s because my 50th (yes, I said 50th!) high school reunion is this weekend. I live only three hours away so there’s no logistical reason not to go. My reasons for choosing not to go are emotionally motivated, reasons I need not go into today.

Growing up, we lived in a huge apartment complex with hundreds of garden-style apartments. There were twenty-four apartments in each brick building, divided in each half, twelve on each side - three floors, four apartments in each. Under the staircase of each floor was a recessed area where kids could meet to play board games, or use as a hide-out where they could pretend to be pirates or bandits. It was a secret little hideaway where imaginations spirited them away to distant lands and faraway adventures.

Each building was far apart from the next, with sprawling grass and park benches. There were playgrounds strategically located between clusters of buildings, and needless to say, there were hundreds of kids.

For most of them, it was a great place to grow up.

Not so for me.

I wasn’t a particularly outgoing child. I was quiet and shy and just didn’t seem to fit in. I had only two friends and very few acquaintances. 

I spent most of my time in my room listening to my classical music collection that my older brother bought me for my tenth birthday. He was nine years older than me and he was my idol. He took me to the ballet and opera when I was no more than six or seven and from that exposure, I developed a lifelong love affair with music and art.

I would sit at the desk my father fashioned from a plank of wood balanced on two sawhorses. I would listen to Beethoven or Bach while I sat and sketched horses and flowers, or wrote little poems and stories. It was my own little private world where I needn’t pretend to fit in.

When I was a young teen, I had a friend named Ann. When we were together, we would spend most of our time at her apartment because my mother was very ill and she eventually passed away just after my 16th birthday.

Going to Ann’s home was like entering a magic world to me. In her living room, there was an entire wall, floor to ceiling, of exquisite fish tanks. Each was aglow with brightly-colored lights which illuminated the water and the breathtaking salt-water fish. I had never seen anything like it. Sure, I had a goldfish in a bowl at my bedside, but this…this was magic.

I could sit for endless moments being mesmerized by the exotic fish swimming in and out of the sea grass and the enchanted stone castles in the tank.

This was her father’s pride and joy, and he loved that I was so entranced by it.

And then there was Ann’s mother. She was an artist and Ann was embarrassed by her eccentricity. She just didn’t understand. I thought she was the most wonderful woman I had ever seen.

Every day, all day, she stayed holed up in her bedroom, dressed in a brightly flowered kimono-like robe…and painted.

She was like someone you would see in a movie about Monet, or Degas. With her dark, raven hair with a streak of white that framed her face, she would stand at her easel, palette in hand, and create beautiful paintings, paintings that no one would ever see.

You see, her mother suffered from depression, a deep-rooted depression that tends to plague the creative - the artists, the musicians, the writers of the spoken word. I remember watching the movie Lust For Life about the tortured life of Vincent Van Gogh and thinking, I know how he feels. I know what it is like to paint or write from your soul and never feel it is of any value, that you can never capture what is deep within the depths of your soul. And I truly believe that’s what Ann’s beautiful, talented mother felt like, secluded away from the world standing day after day, dressed in her silk robe at her easel, creating the beauty that was within.

I heard that she had died years later, and it is gut-wrenching to me that the world never had the opportunity to know this truly magnificent woman.

But she is a woman I will never forget.

Today’s inspiration

“People are like stained-glass. They sparkle when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

                         Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Tuesday, Oct. 24 - Day 35

I apologize if yesterday’s information regarding CAPD was a little confusing. After I posted and reread it, I was a little confused myself. My train of thought seemed a little disjointed, even to me.

First, if you will bear with me, I want to explain a little further about the CAPD, then go on to something else.

As I said yesterday, before CC, watching TV was just an exercise in futility. The best I could do was infer what the storyline was.

The reason I bring this up again is because it explains to my kids and grandkids, (and even to me), why and how I can watch the same old black-and-white movies over and over and over, again. I have all my favorite 20 or 30 movies on DVR, and with no exaggeration, I have watched each of them hundreds of times.

Besides the fact that I love old movies for their quality acting and lack of violence, I know now, that each time I watched them, I managed to pick up and understand a little more. So by the time I’d watched, Now, Voyager with Bette Davis, or Mrs. Miniver with Greer Garson, a hundred or more times, I finally figured out the dialogue that went along with the story. It was so much more enjoyable.

What a concept.

Okay, so now that’s the end of that, and onto my life after the discovery of CC.

My husband and I are addicted to British television. We love the actors, most of whom are classically trained on the stage. We find that the acting and storylines  have more substance. It’s not all flash. It's not all sex and violence.

I know, I know, we sound like old fogies, and I suppose we are.

Night after night we sit watching reruns of Poirot, Midsomer Murders, Father Brown and the likes. We particularly like the whodunnits because we like to try and figure out who did do it.

Once we’ve watched one of these series, we go on to the next. And then when we’ve finished them all, we go back and watch them again.

Now here comes the part that I find amusing, (or perhaps just a little sad).

The reason we can watch them again, is because from then until now, we can’t remember ‘who-dunnit’. So we have the enjoyment of trying to figure it out, all over again. And usually, we get it wrong.

Yeah, I guess it’s more sad than amusing, depending on your perspective.

The good news is…at this rate, we will never run out of shows to watch.

Today’s inspiration

“Laugh and the world laughs with you. Snore and you sleep alone.”

                                             Anthony Burgess

Monday, Oct. 23 - Day 34

Welcome back to those of you who weren’t scared away by yesterday’s mini pity-party Mac and I are back on the right track and ready to roll.

So the other day before I got completely off on a tangent, I said I would talk about CAPD. But first before I disclose its meaning, I need to tell the story of how I found out about it and discovered that I have it.

For years and years my family has complained, because when I watch TV, I have the sound turned way up. They thought it was because I couldn’t hear it. And so did I. Turned out that wasn’t the case, at all.

One day I was babysitting my granddaughter’s children, ages 2 and 4. I was sitting next to them while they watched Jake the Pirate, a show I had watched with them many, many times. They always sat, quietly mesmerized, even though they might have seen that episode a dozen or more times. I, too, had seen it just as many times and sat just as mesmerized. I would never subject their tender little ears to loud volume, so I would just watch the cartoon without hearing any of the dialogue.

Well one day when I was watching something miraculous occurred. I actually knew what was happening on the show. Somehow, I knew what they were saying.

I couldn’t understand it. The volume hadn’t been turned up, so that couldn’t be the reason. I just didn’t get it. And then all of sudden I realized that we were watching it in closed caption. I didn’t realize that I had been reading the words at the bottom of the screen and for the first time, I actually understood what was being said.

What a revelation! When I got home, I turned on the closed caption feature on my TV and it was as if the world suddenly came alive to me. I know that I tend to lean towards the dramatic, but I’m serious. It literally changed my life. It was as if I had been blind and now could see.

So let me now explain CAPD to you. It stands for central auditory processing disorder.

I had never heard of it. But after some research, it turns out that I have suffered, and I mean suffered, with it since I was a child.

Normally, when sound reaches the eardrum it then travels to the brain to be processed. With CAPD, there is a delay in that processing. So as you are speaking to me, my brain is trying to play catch-up, and failing miserably. I have a great example which explains it perfectly.

I tried to go to secretarial school when I was younger to become a stenographer. I was in my shorthand class and the teacher was dictating the lesson for us to transcribe. While my classmates were busily scribing away and finishing their first page, I was still on my first sentence. The teacher knew right from the get-go that I obviously didn’t have the ability to succeed and let me know it in front of the entire class. I was asked to leave and not come back. Embarrassed and ashamed, I skulked out of class never to return.

I couldn’t understand it. I was an excellent student and test taker, but for the life of me I couldn’t keep up with the class.

You see, when he was dictating the fourth, fifth and sixth words, my brain was still trying to process the first one. I had heard it right, but by the time my brain processed it, he was pages ahead.

I suffered from other hallmarks of the disorder, but didn’t find out about them until I was diagnosed with it when I was in my 60s. But it explains so many thing that have frustrated me all my life (and driven my family nuts).

I read lips. I always have. It is the only way I know what you’re saying. Now I know its because when you speak, I can hear your words, but not understand you. I’ve always been self-conscious about the fact that I never look anyone in the eye when they’re talking. I’m watching their lips. And if I look up for just a moment, I get totally lost in the conversation. So I’m not hiding a secret or trying to be shifty when I don’t look you in the eye. Honest. But until I discovered I had CAPD, I just didn’t know why.

I know it irritates the heck out of my grandkids when I tell them that if they want me to hear what they’re saying, they have to be standing right in front of me. They just think I’m trying to teach them a lesson about not being rude, (which wouldn’t be a bad thing) but it’s really that I just can’t understand a word they are saying.

The other thing that is very difficult (and annoys others) is that I can not filter out background sounds during conversation. Even the slightest noise from another room sets my teeth on edge. If I’m reading your lips and there’s someone putting dishes in the sink or closing a door in another room, or kids playing outside, it drives me up a wall. It’s like fingernails scraping on a chalkboard. To me, everything sounds louder than it is and try as I might I can’t filter it out and I can’t concentrate on anything. Music in a restaurant completely distracts me. The smallest of noises that other people don’t hear or take notice of, set me completely on edge. So I’m really no fun at a party.

I’ve always hated talking on the phone and have avoided it at all costs. Everything sounded garbled to me and I thought it was just a bad connection. But, no. It was CAPD. When texting became an option, I thought I died and went to heaven.

So there you have it. That’s pretty much it, except to say that that day watching TV with my great-grandkids opened up a whole new world to me and changed my life.

Thank you, Jake the Pirate!

Today’s inspiration

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

                                             Robert Frost

Sunday, Oct. 22 - Day 33

It’s day 33 and for the first time since starting this adventure, my creative juices are not flowing - they're not even trickling. For the moment, I’m afraid they’ve dried up.

And in all my years of writing, this has never happened. Just the opposite. I’ve never been able to stop them flowing and at times I’ve almost drowned in them. 

Writer’s block has never been a problem, so at first I was stumped. Has the dreaded brick wall presented itself and am I to abandoned what seemed like such an inspired idea, my daily challenge? Am I to give up, give in, and admit that I am defeated? Am I to hang my head in shame that I’m staring into the abyss?

Hell, no.

All day I’ve been holed up on my couch, wrapped in my cozy comforter just staring at my laptop, telepathically trying to will it to spring to life. 

Come on, Mac. Speak to me. 

I call him Mac. I know, it’s not a particularly innovative name - I mean an Apple by any other name…but Mac is my constant companion and I am never without him. He is never more than a few feet away, because I might need him at a moments notice when the mood strikes and the words need to flow.

If Mac is not open right in front of me, he is safely housed not more than a few feet away in his very spacious, waterproof bag with its padded shoulder strap. The bag has enough compartments for the essentials, that if got stranded on a desert island, Mac and I could survive nicely until all my extra battery packs ran dry. And I mean the essentials. Aside from all the chargers, flash drives, etc, you would find a few other necessities - a small packet of almonds, a bag of freeze-dried cheddar cheese (you know, the kind astronauts take into outer-space), a small can of tunafish and plastic spoon (because I never know when I might need some brain food when I’m on the road) and a spare pair of underwear. I’ll spare you the details.

Most women carry a purse. I carry Mac. He is never out of my sight. I lug him in and out of the grocery store, the mall, the doctors, everywhere, because what if an inspiration struck and I had left him home all alone? 


Okay, so I guess there was a little trickle after all. It’s a little scattered, but it was all that spilled out, take it or leave it.

And if you’re wondering about the promised CAPD subject matter for today, I promise, come hell or high water, I will discuss it tomorrow.

Today’s inspiration

"Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough."

                                         Og Mandino

Saturday, Oct. 21 - Day 32

Yesterday’s post was devoted to texting acronyms which are used as shorthand for kids to communicate with each other.

Many of them were innocuous, others not so much. It was eye-opening for me, to say the least. Hopefully, it was information you might be able to use to spy on your sneaky little devils.

Just as a refresher from high school, acronyms are a set of letters using the first letter of each world as an abbreviation and the world would be chaotic without them.

Can you imagine having to say, “I’m a card carrying member of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations” every time you were referring to the AFL-CIO?

Or telling someone they need to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation instead of CPR. Those extra few seconds could be the difference between life and death.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit overly-dramatic, but you get the idea.

Our fast-paced world needs to expedite everything, from fast food to drive-thru funeral parlors. Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus, and a drive-thru funeral parlor. But I mean just think about it. You wouldn’t have to find a parking space in a crowded lot and then stand on a line that extends out the door and around the corner. Far better to sit in your car, sipping a latte and listening to Mozart, don’t you think?

So back to the acronyms. They are so commonplace that sometimes we think that they are actually the word they stand for.

Example. I always thought that scuba diving was just scuba diving. But no, S.C.U.B.A. stands for, self-contained, underwater, breathing apparatus. I mean really. Can you imagine having to say that every time you wanted to book a vacation?

So in case you've never thought about it, and because I'm sure there’s nothing else you’d rather do on a sunny, Saturday afternoon, here's a lesson in some common acronyms.

NATO - Nat’l North Atlantic Treaty Organization

DOA - dead on arrival

COPD - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

DNA - deoxyribonucleic acid. Now that just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

IBM - international business machines

FBI - federal bureau of investigations

You get the idea. We’re so used to them that we don’t always know what they really mean.

And then there are those that can stand for more than one thing.

So a friend suggests you go to D.C. Does that mean you need to go check out the Washington Monument or go have your spine adjusted? (District of Columbia or Doctor of Chiropractic.)

Now, this one could be really interesting if misinterpreted -

A.I. Amnesty International, Artificial Insemination, Artificial Intelligence. Don’t get those mixed up.

And then there are several that I’ve never heard of, but I can’t help but include them.

FEMALE -  formerly employed mothers at loose ends.

BOHICA - bend over, here it comes again.

I couldn’t find them in Webster’s dictionary, but I think they should be.

And I’ll leave you with this.


Feel free to try and find it on a list somewhere, because it will be the subject of tomorrows post.

Having a sparkling day, my friends.

Today’s inspiration

"We are all born ignorant, but we must work hard to remain stupid."

                                                   Benjamin Franklin

Friday, Oct. 20 - Day 31

Okay, so back to the generation gap and how hard I try to stay abreast of what’s current - what’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’.

I watch in amazement when I see kids texting a thousand words a minute on their phones, their fingers flying at light speed without a pause. While I’m on my third word, they are on their twentieth. I don’t know if it’s the arthritis in my fingers or my inability to think coherently at a hundred words a minute, but it’s not in my skill set, and I suspect it never will be.

So I asked my granddaughter Bella, who is 12 going on 30, to explain the meaning of the acronyms they are texting. I know I’m way behind the times and the only ones I know are lol and omg.

But in my defense, there’s no reason for me to know them. Most of the time, when I want to converse with a friend, I do something practically unheard of these days…I call them on the phone and actually talk to them. What a concept.

So here is a list of some acronyms that kids (and by that I means anyone under the age of 30) use. Forgive me if I include some that are slightly offensive even to me.

4YEOFYEO - for your eyes only

AAMOF - as a matter of fact

BTW - by the way

HF - have fun

noob n00b - (now this one cracks me up because it’s shorter just to type the word) newbie

NOYB - none of your business

ROTFL - rolling on the floor laughing

LMAO - laughing my a** off

TTYL - talk to you later

WTH - what the heck/hell

WTF - what the f***

WFM - works for me

2nte - tonight

B3 - blah, blah, blah

CUS - see you soon

CYT - see you tomorrow

IDC - I don’t care

J/K - just kidding

KMN - kill me now

TMI - too much information

Okay, so those are relatively harmless.

But there are some that disturb me and I suspect they would, and should disturb parents.

KPC - keeping parents clueless

p911 - parent alert

PAL - parents are listening

PAW - parents are watching

PIR - parents in room

POS - parents over shoulder

ASL - age/sex/location?

MoF - male or female?

In today’s world, where there are many deviants and stalkers, these texts to keep conversations ‘secret’ from their parents, are terrifying and I included them in the hopes it will alert parents to be watchful and mindful, for their kids sake.

So until tomorrow,  FWIW - HTH -CYT.



“My mother protected me from the world and my father threatened me with it.”

                                                           Quentin Crisp

Thursday, Oct.19 - Day 30

I can hardly believe it. I managed to come up with 30 days worth of nonsense to post. One month down, only eleven to go. Eleven months of more nonsense to come up with. Well, anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m so filled with nonsense that I could probably go on for years.

Well, have no fear. I won’t subject all of you to that. I’ll reserve that for my friends and family, because they know how to tune me out and ignore my rantings.

No, when this year is up, I will sigh a big sigh of relief and be done with it.

At least when Julie Powell finished the year, she had learned how to cook (ala Julia Childs), wrote a book about it, and that book was turned into a movie.

I somehow feel that my blog will not be book-worthy, and certainly not movie material. Hmm, movie…I wonder who would play me? Glenn Close? Diane Keaton? Meryl Streep? Jane Fonda? Yeah, probably not. Maybe, Peter Fonda.

No, I think I’ll stick to writing kids books, sci-fi, historical romance, short stories that run the gamut, from tender-hearted to dark and twisted, and funky mainstream fiction. That appears to be my niche and more up my alley.

You see, I’m a watcher. A watcher, not a stalker. 

I am addicted to watching people in their natural habitat. Like monkeys in the zoo, (sorry if that simile is offensive) watching people interact, captivates me. The intricate workings of the human brain in relationship to other people is fascinating. I just sit quietly and listen, well, eavesdrop actually. Whether they are close friends, business associates, secret lovers, college students cramming for an exam, every one of them has a different story - a different set of values - different perspectives - different agendas - different backgrounds - different emotional temperaments. And every single one of them gives me fodder for a new storyline.


Let me reassure any of you who will now be conscious of someone sitting quietly near you with their head cocked in your direction, that they are probably just  a watcher like me.

But then again...who knows?

Today's inspiration

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening"

                                                         Ernest Hemingway

"If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk."

                                                            Robert Baden-Powell


Wednesday, Oct.18 - Day 29

For those who don’t know what it means to be old-school, it refers to something from a previous era. So admittedly, I am old-school.

But let me preface this by saying I’m not totally loopless (out of the loop). I pride myself on being tech-savvy - I’m packing an iPhone and make no mistake, I know how to use it. I text, I e-mail, and use it as my mobile computer wherever I go. I write on a macbook, use a G-Drive to back it up and I can google with the best of them. I Facebook, I Tweet, and I Instagram.

But that’s pretty much as far as it goes in relation to the ‘younger generation’. God, that makes me sound absolutely ancient, doesn’t it? It sounds like something my parents would say - the ‘younger generation’. It conjures up memories of them shaking their heads at the ‘younger generation’ (my generation), and our music - The Who, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones: the ‘younger generation’ and our fashion - mini-skirts, go-go boots and disco dresses: the ‘younger generation’ and our counter-culture life-style: bra burning, Woodstock, and flower-power.

And as always, I digress.

My grandkids think I’m cool, (all though they tell me the word ‘cool’ just isn’t ‘in’ anymore).

In my 50s, I became a black belt in tae-kwon-do, a certified personal trainer, and competed in an international, body-building, transformation contest, receiving an honorable mention certificate - (that, and $2.50, might get you a cup of coffee). Cool, huh? I won’t expound on why I did all those things because that’s a story for another day.

So, I’m cool. I don’t cringe when they tell me they are going to get another tattoo, or body art as it is called today. I don’t cringe when they get another piercing, in a place where, in my humble opinion, no needle or bejeweling should go.

So, I’m cool. I don’t voice my opinions unless I’m asked, and they don’t ask because they already know that I probably won’t approve.

So, I’m cool, because unless it’s illegal, I don’t criticize their life-styles, political persuasions, or personal relationships.

And I’m really cool, because they all know that I believe it’s none of my business.

When I became an adult, I made my own choices and reaped both the rewards and consequences of my decisions, and I firmly believe that they have the right to do the same.

But I’m cool, because they know that they always have somewhere to go and cry if things go awry, because there will never be any judgement, just empathy and love.

Okay, so this train of thought took so many twists and turns that it made me dizzy. It never ended up where it was supposed to go.

So I guess I’ll just have to start again tomorrow and see if I can stay on track long enough to get there.

Todays inspiration

“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”

                                                          John W. Gardner

“The only source of knowledge is experience.”

                                                      Albert Einstein

Tuesday, Oct.17 - Day 28

As many of you do also, we have a dog. She is a neurotic little, bichon that we named Princess, because that’s the position in life that has been assigned to her…by her.

Princess came to us nine years ago after we lost our beloved, twelve yr-old golden retriever, Max.

So we went from a 120 lb. big, teddy-bear of a retriever to a 5 lb. little white, fluff-ball. There was no adjustment for me, because Max was really my husband’s dog. He was a man’s dog - one my husband took for walks, with his heavy, brown leather leash and sherpa dog-jacket to protect him from the snow and rain.

Then along comes Princess. She wasn’t his choice, she was mine, because it was time I had a cute, little puppy to snuggle with. Needless to say, it took my husband a little time to adjust. He was completely de-masculinized to go from walking his big, hulk of a retriever to an itsy-bitsy, pink-leashed, little dog named…Princess.

“Come, Princess.” Pee, Princess.” “Do your business, Princess.” My hubby felt completely demoralized walking her in her pink, velour jacket with fur trim.

I knew that she would eventually win his heart, but it took far less time than I expected.

Every night, she’d curl up next to him in bed and lick the bald spot on his head until she fell asleep. Don’t ask me why, but that was how she endeared herself to him.

Now all of this was just a preface to today’s subject…dogs. But not just dogs in general. One dog. One very special, heroic and inspirational dog named Hogan.

On Saturday at the book fair, I was fortunate enough to be seated next to Connie Bombaci, and her beautiful service-dog, a dalmatian named Judea.

Connie is the author of HOGAN’S HOPE, the true story of dalmatian who was born deaf and doomed to be destroyed because deaf dogs were considered worthless. In 1992 Connie and her husband rescued Hogan as a malnourished 4 month old puppy whose early abuse made him wary of new situations and locked him in a world of silence. Gradually he learned to trust them as they painstakingly taught him sign language so they could communicate with him.

Deaf dogs are often destroyed, mistreated or abandoned and Hogan became a legendary, deaf canine hero who overcame many challenges and prejudices to bring awareness to a world that so easily discards the imperfect and broken.

Hogan was the spotlight of many public appearances, TV interviews and news stories, to bring the plight of deaf dogs to light.

“Through his lifetime of determination, Hogan’s journey offers the promise that we are all capable of achieving an amazingly “ordinary” life and a life away from isolation. His tale of valor reveals that dreams come true…” Connie Bombaci.

Sadly, Hogan passed away in 2008, but he lived a full life and left a legacy that lives on still. Connie’s book HOGAN’S HOPE is a tender tale of unconditional love that brings inspirational hope to a world that so desperately needs it.

It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s an unforgettable story that will touch you deeply and leave you filled with hope.

Today’s inspiration

“There are none so deaf than those who refuse to listen.”

Mathew Henry

                                                Monday, Oct.16 - Day 27

This morning, upon reflection, I realized I had a few more things to share with you about Saturday’s book fair.

Being an author can be a lonely thing. You think alone. You dream alone. You create alone. And you write alone. Your writing is a deeply personal, private thing that is yours, and yours alone - until you put it down on paper for someone else to read.

And at that moment, you know that the secret place within your soul, the place where the magic of your creativity lives, will soon be laid bare for all to see.

Many of my fellow writers live with the intense doubts and fear of discovery - discovery that they are not really a writer at all. At least not a writer of any merit. We are deeply critical of our talent, even to deny that we have any talent at all. We cringe when someone says, “I’ve just read your book,” thinking that they’ve discovered our secret. The secret that we are a fraud.

We know what they are thinking…

…you call yourself a writer? Who are you kidding?…

…my eight year-old can write better than this…

…my, God…this is awful! Who ever told you that you could write?…

…you don’t think that anyone is going to read this crap, do you?…

And of course, those are the very same things you say to yourself every time you finish writing your next story.

Because you know you are a fraud.

Then the miracle happens. Someone tells you what a wonderful book it was, how much the enjoyed it and can’t wait to read your next one.

But then again, we know in our heart that they don’t really mean it. They are only saying it because they don’t want to hurt our feelings or crush our spirit. We know that they’re shaking their heads in private, thinking…poor soul, she should really find another hobby.

Hobby? Oh, if only that were true. If only it was just a hobby - something that you could put away in a box and store it in the basement, never to be opened again.

But, no. It isn’t a hobby. It’s the equivalent of a soul sickness that has invaded the innermost recesses of our heart and brain. It is a thing that can’t be denied. If we try to ignore it, it will rise up in our unconscious thought and nag at us. Words will course through our minds relentlessly, and haunt us until we have no choice but to release them and set them free.

I think of writing as both a blessing and a curse. I consider it a blessing, that I can create something that has never existed before, and deny it or not, something that can bring enjoyment to someone who reads it. Even with all the doubts and self-criticism, there is a part of me that believes someone can be touched, in some small way, by my words.

I said I also consider it a curse… a curse because it never stops. Story ideas stream through my head day and night with no reprieve. There’s a voice in my head that never stops talking (and no, I don’t need medication for it). It’s just alway watching, observing, listening to the world and coming up with new ideas for another story, another book, and I couldn’t possibly live long enough to write them all.

I said I had a few things to share about Saturday, but I think this is enough for today.

Tomorrow, I will share what I really wanted to talk about today before I got off on this tangent. It’s an inspirational story of hope and heroism that I was privileged to hear about. I touched me deeply, as I know it will touch you, too.

                                                 Today’s inspiration

If there is a special Hell for writers, it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works.

                                                                  John Dos Passos

                                                Sunday, Oct.15 - Day 26

I had the most wonderful day yesterday and like it or not, you get to hear about it.

It was PUMKIN FEST in our town, the first one ever, and it was a huge success. Hundreds of kids came out to “pick” free pumpkins from the pumpkin patch on the Green and helped to carve and decorate them. All the jack o’lanterns were arranged on the Green, and then at dusk, with musicians playing in the background, all the kid’s pumpkins were lit up and on display. It was magical.

Throughout the beautiful, sunny day, the Green was filled with crafts and music and vendors and fun. The streets were lined with decorations and scarecrows to round out the festive mood. It truly was a fun, Fall fest.

Now with that as the backdrop, I will share why it was a wonderful day for me.

As part of the festivities, there was a building set up for the local artists and authors (of which I am one). Beautiful artwork hung on the walls and each of us authors had our books on display. Because it was a kid’s event, donning a huge pink sequined cowboy hat, I made a fool of myself, as usual, and dressed up as a cowgirl to showcase my TRAVEL KIDS series. I was so pleased that my books were a hit, because the main reason I write them is to get kids to read.

I am sad to say, that kids just don’t read the way they used to when I was young. Back in the ‘olden days’ - there were no video games, no Iphones, no tablets, no nintendo’s. Our entertainment came from non-tech activities that are foreign to many kids today.

We rode our bikes from dusk to dawn, played on the swings until dinner time, played for hours in the snow until we were frozen and wet-through.

At night, we sat together and watched wholesome, family-friendly television shows. Then off to bed by 8 or 9 o’clock.

But the thing I remember doing the most, was reading. Every week, I scoured the local library to find a new treasure.

Back then, large-chain bookstores didn’t exist and even if they did, buying books wasn’t an option in my house. We simply didn’t have any extra, disposable income. If I wanted something special, I had to work to pay for it. So when I was twelve, I started to babysit every weekend to fund anything I might want outside the staples my parents provided.

So, yet again, I digress. Back to the books.

I loved to read. I loved getting lost in the world of make-believe. I could be transported into someone else’s imagination and their words were like a panacea of magic.

I read two, three, even four books a week. My favorites were mysteries like Nancy Drew, and The Hardy Boys. I loved to solve puzzles and it left its mark on me. Many of my own stories have a hint of the mysterious. Although sometimes dark and twisted - in my adult books, not my kids books - I usually leave you hanging until the end, and then hit you sideways, leaving you with…what the hell just happened?

Sorry, got off topic, again…the lost art of reading.

I don’t know if it’s genetic or not, but all of my grandchildren love to read. It’s why I started writing juvenile fiction, writing books for them to read.

Actually, I started out to write just one book - BOTHERSOME BOBBY AND THE TRAVEL KIDS. And that’s what I did. I wrote one book. For my grandkids. I repeat…one book.

But when my 11 yr-old granddaughter, Isabella, read it last year, she said… “Nana, you have to write a TRAVEL KIDS series.”

And I said, “no, Isabella. It’s just this one. I don’t want to write a series.”

I was in the middle of writing an adult novel at the time and writing more kids books wasn’t anywhere on my agenda.

And she said, “but Nana, you have to write a series!”

“No, Bella.”

“NANA, you have to write a series!!!!!”

And as you can see on my home page, she won, (because you just can’t say no to Isbella). At least I can’t.

So book #2 and #3 were born, with book #4 in the works, to be released in the Spring.

But the outcome of Isabella’s persistence, is that there are kids, lots of them, who are reading them. Reading! And it thrills me to death.

So that’s what I’m going to do. Write for kids until the day I die.

Selfishly, I’m hoping I’ll be able to write at least 20 or 30 more books.

Being as wordy and prolific as I am, that should keep alive for at least another few years.

Well, here’s hoping, anyway.

                                                Today’s inspiration

Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those to dare to make dreams into reality.

                                                                               Jonas Salk

                                        Saturday, Oct.14 - Day 25

Every morning, I crank up the radio and listen to my “oldies” from the 60s and 70s. It’s the music that I came of age to, and wherever I am, my body can’t help but move. And I mean move - much to the embarrassment of any friends or family who might be in close proximity.

So this morning in the car, it was Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf, and my apologies to any drivers who passed me, thinking I was having a seizure.

In 1968, Born To Be Wild was on the top 10 hit list, and as I listened, my mind wandered back to the 60s which was one crazy time in history, but that’s a story for another day.

So I thought, what a great idea to take a walk down memory lane and see what was happening at the time in 1968.

I’ll start with all the “firsts” that happened that year.

Dr. Christian Barnard performed the first heart transplant.

Air bags were invented.

The first ATM (which stood for automated teller machine, in case you ever wondered) was installed.

The first Boeing 747 took flight.

The Big Mac was created by McDonald’s and cost $.49 cents

The emergency #911 for round the clock emergencies was created.

Now, for economy of the day

Average income — $7,850 per year

Average home — $14,950

Minimum wage — $1.60

Rent — $130/month

Car — $2,822

Movie tickets — $1.50

Gas — $.34 cent per gallon

Eggs - — $.53 cents a dozen

Stamps — $.05 cents

Milk — $1.07 per gallon

Current events

President Nixon was elected

Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis

Martin Luther King was assassinated

Robert Kennedy was assassinated

Yale University admits women for the first time

John Lennon and Yoko Ono arrested in London for possession of marijuana

The Honk Kong flu raged

Pop Culture

Top TV series — Mission Impossible

Get Smart


Beverly Hillbillies

Green Acres

Top Movies — Planet of the Apes

The Graduate

Bonnie and Clyde

Popular songs — Hey Jude, by the Beatles

Tip Toe Through The Tulips by Tiny Tim

Popular toys — Talking Barbie


Mattel’s Talking Phone (rotary, not cell phone)



 Super Bowl: Green Bay Packers

World Series: St. Louis Cardinals

Well there’s a look back 50 years ago and I hope you enjoyed the walk down memory lane.

This was so much fun, I've decided to  write down what’s happening in the world today and put it in a time capsule for you teens and young adults to look back at 50 years from now when you’re old and grey. I bet it will be quite interesting for you.

All I can say is, I’ll be way past my expiration date by then so I won’t be around to see it.

                                                    Today’s inspiration

                          History repeats itself. So you may wanna pay attention.


                                                   Friday, Oct. 13 - 24

And a good (chilly) morning to everyone.

It’s a balmy 35 degrees here in the Northeast, and as the saying goes, “there’s frost on the pumpkins” - and also in my house.

There is a rule in my house - and since I am the almighty keeper of the budget; that rule is mine. No heat until November. No matter what.

Our New England winters can be brutal…and long. And heating costs being what they are, and being as frugal as I am, (although my husband has another word for it), the heat doesn’t get turned on until November and it’s turned off in March…no matter what.

I’m not really heartless, really I’m not. But the budget stretches only so far and I figure the one area I have a little wiggle room is with the heat. And sometimes you have to wiggle to stay warm.

It’s not really that much of a problem. At least for me. You see, if you remember, I have my own built-in furnace. I create my own heat, which is brutal in the summer, but comes in mighty handy in the winter. The problem arises because my husband has no such furnace. But he’s a former marine ( I say former, because there no such thing as an ex-marine…semper fi) so I figure he’s survived far worse temperatures in the jungle. Of course there it was brutally hot, not brutally cold, and that was almost fifty years ago when he was young, and marine corp tough.

So, knowing that the temperature was going to drop into the 30s last night, I took pity on my poor hubby and slept on the couch in the living room. It’s cold enough in our bedroom as it is, (because if you remember, we live out in the woods and the sun doesn’t shine on our house for more than a few hours) without turning on the overhead fan and air conditioner. Yes, I said air conditioner.

My family thinks my hubby deserves a medal because he’s subjected to sleeping in the tundra every night, in the summer and especially in the winter. But again, I say I am not heartless. My side of the bed has only a nice, cool cotton sheet and his half of the bed is covered with a flannel sheet, heated blanket and two down comforters. I mean what more could he ask for? He also knows to dress the part - thermal tops bottoms, sweatpants and a heavy sweatshirt.

But I decided to take pity on him last night. I felt it only fair to ease him in to the winter chill, so I took my sheet, turned on the air conditioner and took up residence on the couch. What a good wife. Yes?

So this morning at 5:30 when he came in from taking the dog out, I asked him, “so is it cold out?” (knowing it was in the thirties.) He just shook his head, kept his jacket on, sighed and said, “not as cold as in here.”

So being the loving, understanding wife that I am, I turned off the air conditioner, made him a cup of hot coffee and told him…

                                      “Honey, there’s only 18 days to go.”

His answer… “honey, you know I love you, but can you sleep on the couch until then?”

                                                        What a wimp.

                                                     Today’s inspiration -

He is a wise man who does not grieve for things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.




                                       Thursday, Oct.12 - Day 23

Since this blog seems to be evolving from the pre-school, entry-level “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing,” to the kindergarten-level “Can I ask you a question teacher?” to the realization “I actually have followers, so maybe this isn’t that bad, after all.”

So with shaky confidence in hand, I carry on towards the goal.

This morning it came to me, (and I don’t know if this applies to anyone else) in order to start my day off on the right foot, I will need a little help - somedays, a lot of help - a little inspiration - inspiration to be a nice person.

I need a little inspiration to be a nice person - a person who smiles and nods patiently, as the little old lady at the grocery store tells the cashier, in great detail, all about her cat’s mischievous ways and unusual bathroom habits.

I need a little inspiration to be a nice person. You know, a nice person - a nice person who doesn’t give an angry, impatient driver an unladylike hand gesture when he rudely cuts me off to get ahead and then slams on his brakes at the stoplight. You know, the one who has to get somewhere fast, but still ends up no farther than I do. Idiot!


I need a little inspiration to be a nice person - a nice person who doesn’t scream the appropriate profanity out the window at the raving lunatic who speeds past me in a school zone, thinking the 15mph speed limit is just a suggestion. Idiot!!!

I need a little inspiration to be a nice person when the guy in front of me starts heatedly raising his voice at the poor, young thing who got his drink order wrong because he changed his mind three times when he ordered it.

I’m basically a nice person. But sometimes the world can really tick me off with its unkindness and stupidity and suck the niceness right out of me.

So all of this leads up to my original thought I need a reminder. Before my feet hit the ground running, I need a little reminder and inspiration to help me remain a nice person throughout the day when the unkindness and stupidity of the world raises its ugly head and hits me smack dab in the face.

And perhaps you do too.

So, here’s a potential solution. I’ve decided to post an inspirational or humorous quote every day, to start the day off on the right foot - so I have a shot at checking off the niceness box at the end of the day.

I know that on most days, I will need all the help I can get.

                                                     Today’s inspiration -

            Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known -                                        

                                                                                  Sharon Begley


                                     Wednesday, Oct.11, Day 22

              I thought long and hard about today’s subject. Well, in actuality, it was only fifteen minutes in the car ride “out of town.” As you know, I have taken up residence at my local Starbucks just about every day for the past years to write my books, arriving at the crack of nothing when they open and not leaving until my brain says…stop!…four, five, or even six hours later.

                So today, it felt like a complete betrayal as I got in my car and drove away. But as betrayed as my barista family will feel, they will gain comfort in knowing that I am still at a Starbucks, just two towns away.

               I don’t know why, but I have always suffered from wanderlust…definition - a strong yearning to wander. And the older I get the stronger the pull is, to just get in my car and drive away.

          I am drawn to the serene beauty of nature, whether it be crystal clear, mountain streams of rushing water; misty, purple hills that arise in the distance; or mile-long stretches of pure, white sand on a deserted beach.

Yes, there is an overwhelming longing in my soul to be transposed from here to there…alone.

              I know it may sound selfish, but the fact is that I’m a loner. I am completely at ease being in my own company. I don’t get lonely. I don’t get bored. I don’t get annoyed. I can laugh or cry or or do anything else I please. I am perfect company for myself. Occasionally, there may be some heated arguments, but by default, I always win.

            But the reality is, I have a life - a full life - a full life that is overflowing with family. And as much as my soul may yearn for solitude, I wouldn’t trade one minute of the busy, hectic, sometimes frenetic life, with a family that I love beyond measure and who loves me back.

            So, every now and again, when the wanderlust is too much to bear, I get in my car and drive away, to a faraway place, peaceful and serene.


                                          …a Starbucks, two towns away.

                                        Monday, Oct.9 - Day 20

        My husband and I have been together for almost 50 years. We’ve grown up together, been through tough times together, weathered some mighty rough storms together - we’ve spent a lifetime together.

         You become rather introspective when the years ahead are far fewer than the ones behind. You look back on all that has transpired and realize that what you once thought were insurmountable barriers, were just blips on the radar screen. The things that seemed so important at the time, were things that, 30, 40, or 50 years later, weren’t very important at all, and they are long since forgotten. It’s only in hindsight,(particularly when that sight is 50 years in the making) that you realize the toughest things you’ve been through together - the things you thought would have torn you to pieces - are the things that created the glue that held you together.

        I must tell you, I did not sit down to write a serious, nostalgic, life and love introspective as the subject of today’s post. It was to be a light-hearted peek into what 50 years together looks like - the light side of it. But there is a great distance from the thoughts in my head to the fingertips at the keyboard.

         What started out as an amusing snippet of our time together last night, morphed into something very different, but in my opinion, far more important. It’s the stuff that hopes and dreams are made of, hopes and dreams that life can beat out of you if you let them, hopes and dreams that are sometimes abandoned along the way, but hopes and dreams that can be rekindled and recaptured, if you put on your seatbelt, hang on tight enough, and above all else, don’t give up.

       So, there - I have given you the wisdom of the ages (my ages, all 68 years of them) and it is a far cry from what I meant to write about today.

Well, come back tomorrow... if you dare, because, as Forrest Gump said…life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.


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                                                   Sunday, Oct.8 - Day 19


        I hadn't planned on writing an ongoing grandma saga, but when I get up in the morning and sit down at my computer, my fingers take on a life of their own. I'm still getting comments from grandparents who can relate to what I've posted so far about the joys of grandparenthood. So I guess I'll drag it out one more day.

Yesterday I shared that I'm blessed with 14 grandkids (ranging in age from 27 to 5) and 4 great-grandkids (from 7 to 4.) Every one of them is special in their own unique ways.

         There's not a throw away in the bunch.

        I don't like to brag about how cute and smart they are, (although, I know every grandparent is prone to think the same,) but this morning I want to share a story about my grandson, Charlie who's seven. Remember, yesterday my post was about the monkeys on steroids? Well, that's Charlie. Perpetual motion. If he isn't air playing with his empty paper towel roll as a Jedi sword, for an hour or two, (fully equipped with battle sounds,) he's practicing his tae kwon do sparring moves. The boy doesn't stop moving...all day. It's exhausting just watching him. Occasionally, when I want to deny that I've grown too old for it, I'll join him. Bad move. My hips just don't move like a seven year old's - or thirty year-old's...forty...fifty...or even a sixty year-old. I used to be limber, even in my fifties. But long gone are those days. Now, getting up from my recliner can be a challenge. But I still want to be a cool Nana and despite the consequences, once in a while I'm motivated to give it a shot.

         But yet again, I digress.

         In addition to being an overly-active child (to put it mildly,) he's a riot, (to put that mildly, too,). The boy just cracks me up.

       As a preface, two things he loves are pizza and The Minions. If you've never seen the Minion movie, the little critters sound like The Chipmunks (Theodore, Simon, and Alvin) on fast forward. Last week, when I was baby-sitting, he put on Minion music. Not the music from the movie, but from their album. Yes, they have a music album. When I walked in, the song YMCA was playing and I was laughing so hard I almost wet my pants, (which is not an unusual occurrence for a woman my age with a weak bladder- I know, tmi.)

         So a few days later, Charlie tells me he's made two decisions about the future.

Number one - he's going to open a pizza shop when he turns eighteen and he's going to have a special pizza just for me, with mariNANA sauce.

And number two - he's going to play Minion my funeral. Did I mention, he's a long range thinker?

       I laugh every time I think about it. Leaky bladder, and all.

                                                                         JUST A REMINDER

Unfortunately, you can not post comments on this site. If you have any feedback or comments you wish to post, you can do so on my FB page @authorjudithsessler or use the contact form on this site


Saturday, Oct.7 - Day 18


                So I received quite a few comments from yesterday’s post regarding being a grandparent and it warmed my heart. The statement that grandmas are just moms with frosting seemed to hit a chord. The immediate love you feel when you become one, strikes right to the heart.

         However, with that being said, there is a slight caveat. Yes, the joys of snuggling and loving the little ones is beyond compare. But there is also another side to that coin.

             I am blessed to be the grandmother to fourteen and great-grandmother to four - and yes, I was only 12 when I got married, (just kidding.)

               I am truly blessed to have the privilege of babysitting, frequently, and having sleepovers with my precious little ones when they were little. And even when they got older, amazingly, they still wanted to hang out with their “cool” Nana.

I have enjoyed every moment of my time with them, and yes, I was, and am the frosting.

             But as any grandparent who spends time with their beloved grandkids knows, it sometimes comes with its challenges. Especially, the older you get.

I thought it only fair to share some other quotes that explore all sides of the subject.

                            So, here you go - from those with experience.

I always give my grandkids a couple of quarters when they go home. It’s a bargain.- Gene Perret

My grandkids believe I’m the oldest thing in the world. After two or three hours with them I believe it, too. - Gene Perret

An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again. Anything longer than that, and you start to age quickly - Gene Perret

I don’t intentionally spoil my grandkids. It’s just that correcting them often takes more energy than I have left. - Gene Perret

I wish I had the energy my grandchildren have - if only for self-defense. - Gene Perret

(I don’t know who Gene Perret is, but he gets it.)

I have a warm feeling after playing with my grandchildren. It’s the liniment working. - Author unknown

The best baby-sitters, of course, are the baby’s grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your baby to them for long periods, which is why most grandparents flee to Florida. - Dave Barry

               So, yes, being a grandparent is the best thing in the entire world. It will fill you with indescribable love that makes your heart sing.

                But all grandkids are not created equal. There are those sweet, little things who are content to sit on your lap and snuggle, or sit quietly on the floor, self-entertaining themselves with their toys. The most strenuous things you’ll need to do is feed them lunch or tuck them into bed.

             But then there are those sweet, little things who will have you spinning in circles and crying out for mercy at the end of the day. You know, the ones who want you to be a jedi in battle, until the battle is won - two or three hours later - the ones who won’t let you catch your breath before they’re on to bigger and better things - like playing king of the hill on the playscape at the park, climbing and jumping like a monkey on steroids. You have been entrusted with their safety, so it’s your job to chase after them and keep them from ending in the emergency room. But by the end of the day, it’s you who needs the ER.

          Yes, your heart will be singing with love, but your body will screaming…UNCLE.  I just can’t do this again!          

                                        …Until the next time…

Friday, Oct.6 - Day 17


                   You might have heard the saying, - if I’d known how great it was to have grandchildren, I’d have had them first. ( Lois Wyse - paraphrase.)

                     And if you are a grandparent, you know it’s absolutely true.

              As much as you love your children, you were responsible for clothing, feeding, nursing, disciplining, and most importantly, you were charged with molding and shaping them into responsible human beings. Human beings with a sterling character and unquestionable morality, ones who would, one day, make valuable contributions to society…and make you proud.

            It was a daunting task, to say the least, watching their every move, disciplining them for their own good, molding them into something other than little juvenile delinquents. You’d sit up nights, worrying they were getting into the trouble, ( the trouble you knew they might be, because you’d done it all yourself when you were their age.)

                 You had to be the bad guy, for their own good, and you were on pins and needles until they became adults…and moved the hell out!

                  Now, they have kids of their own and what a gift they’ve given you. You’ve never known what complete unconditional love was until a newborn grandchild was placed in your arms. Yes, you loved your children, but you have to admit, it wasn’t always completely unconditional. Don't you have just few conditions? like — "don’t throw a screaming, kicking tantrum at the mall when you have only an hour to hunt down and buy the perfect dress for a function that night"; "don’t get expelled from school for using the “potty” words you never heard at home"; "don’t decide to play hide-and-seek in the grocery store when you had a cart full of melting ice cream in the wagon"; "don’t announce to a roomful of friends and relatives that “mommy threw a big plate at daddy last night,” or “mommy and daddy go in their room to talk about Christmas and tell us not to open the door or we won’t get any presents,” — you know, those times when you would love to strangle your beloved, little monsters and put them up for adoption.

                 But grandkids…ah, they can do know wrong. They are perfect. And if they misbehave, you think it’s adorable. When you hear the stories of the mischief they’ve gotten into, you just smile and nod knowingly.

                  Been there done that, my darling child…and now it’s your turn.

                As a grandparent, you get to give those sweet, little cherubs who could do no wrong, cookies before dinner, let them jump on the beds, and play in mud puddles up to their eyeballs. You get to love and spoil them with complete abandon.

                 And then you get to go home.

                        Remember, grandmas are just moms with frosting.

Thursday, Oct.5 - Day 16

          I’m a researcher. I always have been -not the kind that gets paid beaucoup bucks to research scientific data for the aeronautics industry, or altruistically collect social information for the betterment of mankind. No, my research is purely motivated by an inquiring mind for the truth. The truth. You know, the word that is opposite to fake. The word that gets such a bad rap.

        They may say it (you know - the elusive, unseen “they”) but in reality, I don’t know many people who really want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The phrase ‘brutally honest’ comes to mind when someone asks my opinion and says ‘be honest.’ What they really mean is, please tell me something nice. Tell me what I want to hear.

         I was raised with the old-fashioned mantra, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. If that were the case today, I think society in general, and the world as a whole, wouldn’t have very much to say at all.

This is by no means meant to be a social commentary, because one of the things I avoid like the plague, is to openly voice an opinion in a forum where I could be torn to pieces by a pack of wild dogs. You know - the rabid stalkers of social media that pounce with savage intent when some poor unsuspecting soul posts something as innocuous as “I saw the most beautiful sunrise this morning.”

                                  Let the social media attacks commence.

“Are you kidding? How could you even see through the pollution that is choking us to death?”

“Don’t you know how global warming is destroying us?”

“Don’t you know there is no such thing as global warming?”

“Of course, there is. How can any sane person deny it?”

“How could any sane person believe it.”

“There are thousands of studies. Just read for yourself, dummy.”

“It’s people like you who will believe anything, moron.”

                                          And on and on and on.

        Their rants will be joined by droves of social media stalkers whose verbal attacks become a frenzy of heated remarks against people they have never seen, scattered around the world, fueling the seeds of anger.

          All because someone looked out their window, saw something beautiful and wanted to share it so they could brighten someone else’s day.

           It is so sad, but true, that this is the state of the world today. 


                                 But remember, you didn’t hear it here.

                                   Wednesday, Oct.4 - Day 15

                 Good morning to my cyber-space friends. I hope you awoke to the greeting of a beautiful sunrise, birds singing, and a gentle breeze rustling the curtains to awaken you in perfect peace.

              But like the majority of us, probably not. You most likely were awoken by your unmercifully obnoxious alarm clock, kids fighting in the background - “get out of the bathroom,” it’s my turn,” “I’m gonna tell Mom,” “where’s my blue sweatshirt?” TAKE IT OFF!” “I’m gonna tell Mom!!” ….all the while, mentally trying to organize the million-and- one things that are on your to-do list.

               Don’t you just love the mattress commercials, where a beautiful woman with long, blonde, unruffled hair, leisurely yawns and stretches in her sleek, sparkling white bedroom, wrapped in her crisp, white cotton sheets? Without a care in the world, she smiles as she runs her hand over the bed, as if thanking it for her glorious night’s sleep and blessed awakening.

           There used to be a mattress commercial where the woman stood up and jumped joyfully on the bed as if on a trampoline. I won’t share the expletives I mumbled, hoping she’s fall off and break her neck.

               I mean really, have you ever bounced on your bed with delight because you had a good night’s sleep?

             But sorry, as is my custom, I digress. The subject - sleep - is still the focus, but I somehow got off on a bit of a tangent.

          I believe that in an earlier post, I alluded to the fact that I have difficulty sleeping. It wasn’t always that way. Once upon a time, I slept like a rock. Then, in my early thirties, I went back to school to become an RN. With three kids, a husband and part-time job, it was pure hell - for all of us. But that’s a story for another day.

           Back to the beginning of my sleep aberration. As is the case with all new nursing grads, being at the bottom of the totem pole, you begin your career working the dreaded night shift. And dreaded it is. You have to learn to stay awake and work through the night, while everyone else in the world is cozily, curled up in bed. Most of my classmates had no problem adjusting to their schedule, because they were mostly young girls (not even old enough to be called women,) who went to nursing school right out of high school. They were, by virtue of being young and having a social life, used to staying up all night. I, on the other hand, was not.

           So it was a great shock to my system and I did not adjust well. It was actually downright ugly. Sleep became the most precious commodity to me and I have to admit I became quite irrational. This was before the advent of black-out shades. I made my husband duct-tape black, plastic trash bags on the bedroom windows. I wore earplugs, but to no avail. I could hear every sound. I could hear the quiet closure of the downstairs bathroom door. I could hear a kitchen cabinet door open and close. I could hear coffee being poured. I could hear people breathing.

         My body clock just couldn’t adjust. It was daytime, for god-sake, and it knew that I was supposed to be awake. So when I stumbled through the door at 8am, after having driven home, not remembering a single mile of the trip, I collapsed into bed knowing I could sleep forever. Not so. By noon, my eyes would pop open and that was that. Four hours…not eight, and I was in a panic. If I had to work that night and didn’t get back to sleep, or at least get an afternoon nap - not trying to be dramatic - I was simply going to die. At least I felt like I would.

          So in the late afternoon, I would get into bed with irrational hopes of drifting off. Knowing that I more than likely wouldn’t sleep anyway, I would have the kids come in, sit on the floor in the almost pitch-black room to watch tv. Family bonding at its best.

They were actually very good about not making any noise, and the tv acted like white noise. They would, however…move occasionally. If they were sitting close to the bed, I could feel the almost imperceptible movement and it would almost bring me to tears. Please, please, I would pray to the elusive sleep gods, let…me…fall…asleep! Unless you are naturally a morning person and been forced to work nights, you won’t be able to understand. You might sympathize, or empathize, but you will never truly understand that you would trade every prized possession you own (including your husband and kids) for just a few more hours.

         Not a pretty picture, at all. It was, as I said earlier…really ugly. I’m sure that some of the childhood scars my children bear are a direct result of something that seems innocuous enough. A chronic lack of sleep.

            I apologize if I have ranted on and not made much sense.

            My only excuse is…boo hoo…I haven’t slept.

                                        Tuesday, Oct.3 - Day 14

           Tuesday at my house is trash day, and today being Tuesday, I feel compelled to tell the tale of the kale chronicles.

           On Wednesdays when I go shopping, the sight of those tender, green leaves of baby kale hold such promise for me. I pick out the freshest, largest container because I know I will need every last leaf. It is the come-hither look of those little green powerhouses of nutrition that call out to me. Just looking at them, I can feel the vitamin A and C coursing through my body, nourishing and healing all that ails me.

You see I’m a health food nut, emphasis on the nut. I celebrate the incredible power that the rainbow of fruits and vegetables can have on the body. I’m a firm believer that you are what you eat. I’m a firm believer that when I put carrots, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, avocado, and almond milk into my blender, I am making a miraculous concoction with supernatural healing powers. The satisfaction I feel watching the ingredients pulsing and whirring away, fills me with the anticipation of the end result. A thick, green smoothie that every cell of my body will welcome, and cry out…thank you. Thank you for caring so much for us that you will go to all this trouble, and expense, (for you see, if you want to get healthy and stay healthy you will have to take out a second mortgage on your house.)

             So why this elaborate, expository prose about kale?

       Well, it’s because it’s Tuesday, and every Tuesday morning, I go to my refrigerator, take out the unopened container of rotting kale and dispose of it in the big, black trash bag that contains the equally as rotten spinach and Swiss chard.

           Yes, every week when I buy my greens, I have the very best of intentions and swear I will make and drink the vile, green slush every single morning for the sake of my health, and every single morning, something far more appetizing wins out. Green slush…or blueberry muffin… I mean, really? It is only on Tuesday mornings as I discard the once cherished kale that I remember my decision to take better care of myself. And on Wednesday mornings, there I am again, in the vegetable section, making the same promise and picking out the freshest container. Because I’m a health nut, you see - emphasis on the nut once again.

                                      If only kale came in chocolate.

                                       Monday, Oct.2 - Day 13

             Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, no-one escapes this life unscathed. At some point, somewhere down the line, “it” is going to smack you squarely between the eyes and knock the stuffing out of you (whatever “it” might be.) Or in some cases…many “its.” Something, or someone, is going to break your heart.        And more than likely, it won’t be just a one-time experience.

           Last week, on day 10, I wrote a sensitive, insightful, up-lifting and encouraging post that shared how I’ve of walked through the darkest times and come out the other side - how I persevered, hung on, didn’t give up no matter how much I wanted to. I even included some words of wisdom from Churchill, FDR, and Emily Dickinson. I shared some of my deepest, innermost, feelings and was told by my readers that it was inspiring. Then next day when I went to share my daily thoughts, I accidentally erased and deleted my “inspiring” post. Gone like the wind, sucked up into cyber-space as the cyber-gods chuckled, it was gone forever and there’s no way I would be able to recreate it.

                    So with all that being said, this morning I decided to share my —


                                         #1 - chocolate

                                         #2 - chocolate

                                         #3 - chocolate

                                         #4 - chocolate

                                         #5 - chocolate

                                         #6 - chocolate

                                         #7 - chocolate

                                         #8 - chocolate

                                         #9 - chocolate

                                        and finally - #10


              and if that doesn't work....repeat steps 1 through 10…until it does

                                      Sunday, Oct.1 - Day 12

             Happy October to you all. Another beautiful day to wake up to. And as the saying goes..."any day above ground is a good day." And amen to that!

               So an idea came to me during the night, and as I drifted in and out of sleep, I knew it would make a great subject for today's post. With prolific, poetic prose, I composed practically the entire thing - and if I do say so myself, it was quite an entertaining one that I couldn't wait to share with you.

   's the rub. I can't remember one blessed word of it. Not even what the idea was about in the first place. As I slipped from dream world to stark consciousness, I felt the words melt away into the rabbit hole and disappear like Alice and the Mad Hatter. Damn.

             This isn't the first time it's happened. Actually, it happens quite frequently. I've written at least five books, including the great American novel, all while I sleep. And I'm sure at least one of them would have been a bestseller...if I could only remember it.

         Whenever I awaken from one of these nocturnal writing marathons, I curse myself for not having a pen and pad of paper at my bedside to at least write a word or two down that would rekindle the general idea when I woke up. But, no - I tell myself, this won't happen again. Next time, I'm sure I'll remember. Idiotic denial at its finest.

For me, being a writer is both a blessing and a curse. I consider it an extreme blessing to be able to create something that may bring a measure of enjoyment to someone when they read it. It especially brings me pleasure when that someone is a child. I was an avid reader when I was growing up and the stories I read, took me on many wonderful journeys that I remember still. A book was always a doorway to a magical world of the imagination for me, and I feel it is a privilege to create a doorway for another child to open and explore.

           That is the blessing part. The curse is that my writer's brain never shuts down. And I mean never. Characters and scenarios to write about seem to appear from nowhere, wherever I look - in the frozen-food section of the grocery store, on a jogging path at the park (not that it is me doing the jogging), at a stoplight, an ATM, a get the idea. I'm looking at you...and you have become a hero or heroine, or an evil enemy of the state, or kidnapped princess in distress, or one of a hundred other things in my, sometimes twisted, imagination. So if something seems a little too familiar to you when you're reading my stories, maybe Big Sister was watching you.

                                     12 days down -- 353 to go!


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                                     Saturday, Sept. 30 - Day 11

                                         Good morning to all.

            It is a crisp, autumn-like day here, probably because it is autumn - my favorite time of year. Hard to believe summer is over and fall is here. Halloween just around the corner, Thanksgiving in sight, and Christmas will be here before you know it.

           For those of you unfortunate enough to have never experienced all that a New England autumn has to offer, you have my deepest sympathies. It is an experience like no other. Leaves turning vibrant shades of red, orange, yellow-gold - the crisp, fresh air with the smell of seasoned wood burning in brick fireplaces - walking through apple orchards - trees heavy-ladened with luscious, ripe apples ready for the picking, leisurely drives through the mountains to maple-syrup country - stopping for thick stacks of pancakes at a roadside shack that looks like it would collapse under the foreseeable winter snow, but has been there forever and withstood decades of winter assaults.

       If I close my eyes, I can conjure up the mouth-watering aroma of blueberry pancakes and hot apple cider mulling away. I can envision the thick, freshly-tapped maple syrup slowly flowing like lava, covering the pancakes and dripping down the sides, leaving them in a sticky puddle of liquid gold that you want to dip you finger in and lick it off.

       Then back to my breakfast reality. I open my eyes to the sound of the toaster popping up a pitifully, flat, frozen excuse of a pancake with artificially-flavored blueberries and the aroma of...nothing. The syrup that awaits bears little resemblance, actually, no resemblance, to the real thing and pours out like water from the tap.

       Yes, I know. I could have taken out the fixings to make my own thick pancakes, but you don't know me. I'm a grab and go kind of girl - I have neither the time nor the inclination to prepare anything more elaborate than a piece of toast or bagel in my hand on the way out the door.

       But this morning, I wanted to herald in the arrival of fall. So I made the supreme pancake effort. And although it bears absolutely no resemblance to a mountain sugar shack, my pitiful pancake breakfast (and I use the term very loosely) is as good as it's going to get.

                              Maybe tomorrow, I'll try waffles.

                                     Friday, Sept. 29 - Day 10

           My deepest apologies, but my post from this day has accidentally been deleted (by me)!

                And it was the first serious, thought-provoking one I've done. Perhaps that's a message from the almighty blog gods.

             If anyone was so inclined to have saved it, I'd be eternally grateful and will give you my first-born child, no questions asked.

                                        Thursday, Sept. 28 - Day 9

                                Part 2 of the espresso run from hell --

                Like many cities and towns at this time of year, road construction is an all too familiar and dreaded state of affairs. In my town, it seems that at every turn you are confronted by orange cones, detour signs, one lane markers, 12 inch-deep ruts, and traffic jams where you are at a stand still surrounded by choking clouds of sand.

             I am not privy to the inner workings of the departments responsible for making our town a better place to live, but I have to question the logic (although I use the term loosely) of doing major construction on all four roadways into town at the same time. There are basically four roads in and the same four roads out. And it's not like I live in a quiet, sleepy little town that has a population of 50 where this wouldn't be an issue. There are over 40,000 residents that must daily traverse in, out, and around town. So being blocked at every turn is not just an inconvenience, it is a disaster. Being the ridiculously patient person I am (largely due to the fact I am retired and not on the clock,) it is not a disaster for me, but my deepest sympathies go out to all those who are on a time schedule and are at the mercy of the DOT gods. So what does any of this have to do with what I started telling you about yesterday? If you remember, I was on my way to my 2 minute ride to pick up my coffee. As I turned the corner to the main road, I remembered that my Starbucks was right smack dab in the center of that construction. No way way out. The parking lot was totally blocked and the detour was ridiculously out of the way. And I chose today of all days to pre-order. Still, being patient person that I am, I had a dialogue with's only a coffee...not a big deal...all these other poor people are trying to get home for dinner, or get to work, or a soccer game, or the doctors...In the scheme of things, mine? Totally unimportant. I can wait the extra 3 or 4 minutes. Well, all well and good, until the reality of logistics came into play.

      I was at the stoplight intersection that was being regulated by traffic police, so I knew it wouldn't be long before they signaled me across the dusty, rut-filled road to accomplish my mission and get my cold coffee. But for some unknown reason, they only let traffic going east to west go, and the north/south (where I was) was stopped for 17 minutes. 17!! I was third in line, and waited patiently...3 minutes, 4 minutes, 5 minutes, checking my watch with each passing minute. By the time it got to 6, then 7, my patience began to wear thin. What the heck were they doing? I could see that there was no reason not to let us go. 10 minutes, 11 minutes...this was getting ridiculous. I could see the gentleman in the car in front of me tapping his fingers impatiently on the roof of his car. 12 minutes 13...14...Okay, as Moses said...let these people go! 15...16... The man in front of me had enough. He started wildly waving his arms and shouting words I couldn't hear, but suspected they were ones that might be offensive to some. At that point the police officer looked over and with a shrug of the shoulders stopped the traffic to let us go. I must admit, at this point my patience had long since disappeared and by the time I walked into Starbucks I was a ranting and raving - well, lunatic might be too strong a word, but you get the idea. Danielle, one of my favorite baristas, took one look at me as I picked up my little paper cup of ice-cold espresso, turned and quietly made me a hot one. I know it seems a little thing, but at that moment of turmoil where I uncharacteristically lost my cool, her act of kindness shot straight to my heart. It put it all into perspective, and it wasn't the new cup she handed me that was the gift. It was the sympathetic look in her eyes and gentle, understanding smile of someone who knew me well. I'm sure she has no idea that I really do consider her (and the others who see me there every day) as my extended family. I might just have to adopt her. So the culmination of all this...simple lesson learned...don't ever pre-order. So goodbye for today and I wish you all a sparkling, construction-free day.


                                       Wednesday, Sept. 27 - Day 8

           I need to make an exception to my statement yesterday that said my brain shuts down at 2pm, because I actually wrote this at 4 - and to my surprise, I believe it’s relatively coherent.

          On my way home yesterday, I decided I needed a little boost and I knew a double shot of espresso would do the trick. After my many mugs of fully-caffeinated, dark roast at my “office” (by now, you know where I mean) every morning while I’m writing away, I often drive-thru later in the day to get a quick, double shot (or doppio, if you want to impress someone.). It’s just the boost I need to keep me going a few more hours. The irony is, is that it’s decaf. Yes, decaf. Now you may be asking yourself, how could two swallows of a non-caffeinated, albeit strong, coffee have that effect? Don’t ask me. Purely psychological, I’m sure. It does seems to be an oxymoron - decaf espresso, but it works for me.

         Now, nothing of what I just said has anything to do with the rant I wrote yesterday at 4pm while I sat and chugged it down. Let me get back to that now.

Many coffeehouses now have a mobile app to order your beverages on your phone and have them waiting for you when you arrive. Personally, I’ve never really understood why you would pre-order a drink that you would have to get out of your car to get anyway, and would likely be cold by the time you get there. But then again, I don’t ever order the complicated - grande, venti, half-caff, full-caff, one pump, two pump, mocha, pumpkin, full whip, no whip….Mine is just 2 pitiful shots of liquid, black gold.

           So, I don’t know whatever possessed me to do it yesterday. Why would I not just go through the drive-thru where, as soon as they hear my voice, they “pull the shots” in espresso lingo. It took me 8 minutes just to figure out how to place my order. By that time I could have already been there and downed it. But no. Stubborn to the end and determined not to be defeated by the process, I finally managed to place my order. Yay, for me. I knew that in just a few minutes (because I was only about a 2 minute drive away - which in itself makes the whole thing ridiculous) I would park, get out of my car, and walk in and find my tiny cup awaiting me.

        But as we all know, things don’t often go as planned. So fast forward 2 minutes…I couldn't believe it….are you kidding me?

           You know, it just occurred to me that this prequel to the end of the story has been rather lengthy and I shouldn’t take up any more of your valuable time if you’re getting ready for work, or school, or anything more exciting. So, I’ll end it here, which means if you want to hear the rest of the rant and end of my story, you’ll have to come back tomorrow. I know, crummy thing to do.

           And to Danielle, I'm sorry. They'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what an angel you are. It will be our secret until then.

                                         Tuesday, Sept. 26 - Day 7

                Good afternoon to my loyal followers. Apologies that I'm posting so late in the day. Perhaps not late in the day for some of you, the ones who don't go to bed until 11 or midnight. But to this early riser whose eyes can't stay open past 8:30 and whose brain shuts down from any intelligent thought process by 2pm, it is truly late in the day. Well now there's a long, run-on sentence which only proves my point.

               And since it's almost 3pm, I am tempted to just use that excuse to let this be the entire post for day #7.

             But being a people-pleasing, over-achiever, the guilt would simply overtake me and send me running to the nearest store for a box of chocolate chip cookies and a pint of Ben and Jerry's chubby hubby ice cream (the flavor choice is no reflection on my husband.) Well it would be a good excuse anyway.

              So what to do? There is simply nothing formulating in my mind - but perhaps that is because I'm sitting next to my grandson who is repeatedly bopping his R2-D2 action figure in the head who is making screeching, whistling R2-D2 sounds over, and, over, and over...and over again. If you don't have any idea what I'm talking about, consider yourself supremely lucky. I wish there was audio so I could give you just a little taste. I love this little boy to death, but at the moment....

        Well, that's really all I have to say and you have my apologies. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully there won't be anything that prevents me from composing and posting in the early morning when I should be able to be far more coherent. One can only hope.

                                      Monday, Sept. 25 - Day 6

                Good morning to you all, and for my friends down South - y'all.

             I already had a subject in mind for this morning's post, and there was going to be a slightly derogatory mention of the aforementioned squirrels from above, but on my way here another thought popped into this sometimes scattered brain.

              Last night, my husband and I watched the new 'Mummy' movie on tv. He had rented it the night before and said it was great, even better than the last one, and even better than the original Boris Karloff one from 1932, (no, we are not that old, but we watched it on tv as kids, and it scared the bejeebers out of us.

I am not a fan of bloody, gory, action films, at all, and he is fully aware of it. So, when he suggested I watch it with him (because it was so good he wanted watch it again) I asked him if there was any knife-slashing, blood-spurting, bone-crushing or facsimile of the same, and he said, no - it just had a very good plot line and great acting, and he knew I would enjoy it.

           So, why would I not believe him. After 49 years, I knew I could trust his judgement.

                Wrong, wrong...wrong!

                Yes, it did have a great plot and great acting. He did not fib about that.

               If you have not seen it and don't want to read a very slight spoiler, skip this and tune back in tomorrow.

           Somehow, my husband didn't think that the mummy slashing her father's throat and black blood came spurting out, or violently driving a sword-like knife into the chest of her beloved, was gory. I suppose he thought that because the blood was black it wouldn't gross me out.

                  Wrong, wrong, and yet again, wrong!

                 I will not reveal any other movie details so as not to ruin it for you, except to say that it was only mildly scary, but exceedingly stomach-churning.

               I will say, that if you took out all the disgusting parts, it was a very good movie and the ending was a great cliff-hanger. If these kinds of movies are your right up your alley, you will love it.

               But leave me to the old black and white tear-jerkers and modern chick flicks, and I'll be a happy woman.

          If you're wondering if I made my husband sleep on the couch...keep wondering.

                                       Sunday, Sept. 24 - Day 5

          I awoke to the gentle sounds of nature and lazily arose from the luxuriant tranquility of my bed. Leisurely prepared myself for the day ahead, the day fraught with the promise of new and exciting things to come. Drove down the beautifully bucolic tree-lined street, looking at the majestic, orange and purple-streaked sky in the distance.

             Lovely sight, lovely thoughts. Are visions of lush, green foliage turning vibrant shades of red and yellow in the autumnal light dancing in your head? Can you hear the cheerful sound of chirping robins? Are the tranquil environs filling you with serenity and hope?

            Well, back to reality then.

5:26a.m. - awoke to the god-awful, scratching sound of the family of squirrels that have taken up residence in the attic.

5:35a.m. - struggled to extricate myself from the damp, tangled mess of bedsheets, the sheets winning the fight.

5:40a.m. - finally free - dragged myself to the bathroom. Looked in the mirror. Ugh. What did I expect? No magical, mystical transformation has occurred. Same old, same old. Brushed the teeth, washed the face, plumped up the hair and ready to go.

5:56a.m. - carefully removed the downed, dead tree limb from the roof of my car that fell from one of the hundreds of scraggly, scrub pine trees that surround us. Watched as the chipmunks and squirrels scurried out from beneath my car, praying none of them were holed up in one of the wheel wells.

5:58a.m. - drove down the street trying to avoid hitting any of the aforementioned vermin (secretly harboring the thought that ridding the world of one or two of them might be heralded as heroic by anyone else at the mercy of the screechy, little critters.)

5:59a.m. - nearly hit a stop sign as the unmerciful orange glare of the sunrise shone directly in to my eyes, blinding me completely.

6:20a.m. - finally arrived safely at my 'office' and sitting with my mug of dark-roast, laptop in front of me, typing away.

         And you, my faithful friends and followers, are the lucky (or unlucky, depending on your perspective) recipients of my squirrely (pardon the pun) thoughts.

                                      Saturday, Sept. 23 - Day 4

           Woke up this morning to find that 21 people have been curious enough to check out this blog. What a great way to start the day. To those 21 people, you have my deepest gratitude and if there's anything I can ever do for you...mow your lawn...shovel your driveway...give you my first-born child (although she's 50)...message me and I'll see what I can do.

             So, if you're on this site and clicked on the HOME page, you'll know that I'm an author of fiction books for kids and adults -- no, not that kind of "adult" books. Although the title of my book FIFTY SHADES OF GREEN OR COFFEEHOUSE CONFESSIONS OF THE UNCOMMON JOE, might be a little misleading, so perhaps I should clarify it.

            All of my writing is done at Starbucks every day. I don't know why it has to be that way, but it does. I simply can not write anywhere else. Even on vacation, I have to seek out the local Starbucks to write. I am standing at their door every morning before they open, laptop bag slung over my shoulder, anxiously awaiting one of my favorite early morning baristas to unlock the door. Then I plop my portable office down in the corner that has a big, comfy leather chair and wander to the counter where my mug of dark roast is already waiting for me. They are my 'barista family' and it seemed only right to write about them. So that inspired the FIFTY SHADES book.

         As I sat there every day, busily typing away on my second book SAINTS AND SINNERS, I stealthily (if that's a word) watched and listened to the conversations of the customers sitting around me, and the busy baristas as the prepared latte after latte (decaf, hal-calf, full-fat, non-fat, one pump, two pump, no whip, and so on and so forth) I got the idea to write about it. I had to assure them that the stories were purely fictitious and bore no resemblance to them, because some of the stories were just a little dark and twisted.

         It truly warmed my heart that when I had my book release for the book at a local bookstore, all my green-aproned 'family' were there and it was a great hit. So much so, that a sequel was requested and therefore FIFTY-ONE SHADES OF GREEN - THE EMERALD INN or BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was born.

       So here I am this morning at 5:30, sipping my coffee, typing away, sharing the experience with you.

                                     4 days down, 361 days to go.

                                   Have a sparkling day, my friends.  

                                         Friday, Sept. 22 - Day 3

               So, I am not unaware that I start many thoughts using the word “so” which is not particularly ideal in a writers world. There are ‘do’s and don’ts’ and too many literary faux pas to list, but there are also certain words that don’t convey the message as well, so, pardon moi. When I rattle on with the nebulous thoughts in my head, words just spill out and have a life of their own.

              So, that being said, it’s day 3 and I just couldn’t seem to settle my brain down enough to get a good nights sleep last night. Not that that is an unusual occurrence. Since the dreaded “M” at the age of 56, sleep has become an elusive thing of the past. Oh, how I long for the days (nights, actually) of climbing into a nice warm bed, with crisp white sheets, pulling the covers up and drifting into a lusciously peaceful sleep that wasn’t disturbed until that unmerciful cricket chirping of the alarm. But at least that was the only complaint I had — crickets from the nightstand. Oh what I wouldn’t give for them to return. Now, it’s tangled, damp sheets and matted hair from tossing and turning in an internal oven. My poor husband is used to the dilemma and has adapted himself accordingly. Wisely, ten years ago, after hearing the horror stories from his friends about the “change” in their wives, he foresaw the future and persuaded me to purchase a king-size bed. No more snuggling, no more spooning (not that there had been all that much of that after 40 years of marriage). But still, I always felt safe and secure when I could reach over and know he was next to me. From the moment we started sharing a bed all those many years ago, I had a habit (comforting to me, not so much to him) of grabbing hold of the waist of his PJ bottoms until I fell asleep. He is an incredibly patient man and he knew that he was stuck in one position until I fell asleep. But back in those days that meant a matter of minutes. Now it was hours.

                  So,now, back to the current bed status and nightly ritual

               First, I put my white, cotton comforter on top of the sheets and comforter that are already there. I accidentally stumbled upon a cotton fabric that stays blissfully cool during the night as long as it doesn’t touch my body. Then, I pull it out and fold it over to the cool other side. Bliss. It’s kind of like turning a rotisserie chicken on a spit. Then, no matter what season it is, I turn on the window air conditioner. My husband has long-since given up the question of why I need it on in winter when the room temperature is already 65 degrees (since our bedroom doesn’t heat very efficiently.) I can’t really explain it either. I often wonder myself why 65 degrees in the summer feels lovely, but just the opposite in winter. Makes no sense to me at all. But there you have it. He goes to bed in thermal pajamas and sleeps under two blankets and a comforter, while I slip into nothing more than cotton panties (sorry for the distasteful visual) and sleep on top of my best friend (the aforementioned comforter, in case your mind conjured up anything more disturbing.) Then I surround myself with five pillows. Two king-size ones to separate me from him because the heat from his frozen body radiates

                 “So,” there you have it. I know I am far from the only woman in this position and their husbands far from the only recipients of nightly distress and what possessed me to write this in the first place?

               Oh, yes — last night. I have much more to say on the subject, but that is best left for another day, another blogpost. I guess it turns out that I have more to say than I originally thought.

                  If anyone is out there, I’m signing off until tomorrow.

                                       Thursday, Sept. 21 - Day 2

            Okay, so I'm back, day two. Surprise, surprise. Maybe not to you (the 13 wonderful people who read yesterday's post), but certainly to me.

As I referenced yesterday, in the movie Julie and Julia, Julie started a blog to chronicle her way through 365 days of learning to cook every recipe in Julia Child's cookbook. She set herself a goal of one year because she never finished anything she started.

             So in thinking about it, except for writing all my books, I have a tendency to give up relatively easily, and the thought of a year-long commitment seems like an insane idea. Who in their right mind would want to tie themselves down for 365 days. I mean after all, who can predict what twists and turns life will take in one day, one week, or one month for that matter, much less an entire year.

               That being said, a little voice whispered, "what the heck, go for it."

               "Go for what?" I whispered back.

               "C'mon. Go for it!"

            Seriously? 365 days, blogging every day? No way. I might make it 3 or 4 days, maybe even a week, but sorry to say, my track record doesn't bode well for anything much more than that.


               That did it. Goading is one thing, insults are another matter altogether.

               So what's a girl (a very old girl) to do?

           Take on the challenge, of course, knowing full well that I'm never going to make it. I simply don't don't have enough to say (although friends and family seem to think I have more than enough to say. Usually more than they want to hear.)

I figure I need as much motivation as I can muster up, so I decided that if I do make it, I deserve one heck of a gift. So I throw it out there -- any suggestions? - to prop me up during those days I'm on my deathbed during flu season, or in the middle of a book deadline, or just feel like pulling the covers up over my head because things aren't going my way, or it's raining, or it's snowing...or because I just don't feel like.

So come on people, help me out -- think of something that at the end of a year would make me sing -- something that will keep me going, today, tomorrow, and every day after that until Sept. 20, 2018.

         If you're up to the challenge, I'd appreciate it if you would please post your ideas on my FB author [email protected] authorjudithsessler.

      Of course, if no one reads this, then I suppose I'm off the hook anyway, because you'll never know the difference, lol

                                      Wednesday, Sept. 20 - Day 1

                  Okay, so bear with me. This is my first time out​ into the world of a million and one blogs and I openly and honestly have no idea what I'm doing. So why then am I doing this? Because someone (who will remain nameless,) suggested it. Not that I always listen to or follow suggestions. Actually, the reality is that I rarely listen because I have a somewhat rebellious and suspicious nature and have to test the waters for myself.

                So the first and foremost question I asked myself is...what on earth do I have to say that anyone in their right mind would want to hear? Even my blessed husband of 49 years who listens to everything I have to say, because he knows what's good for him, asked me "What's a blog? Why do you need one? And what the heck would you talk about? And who on earth would read it?" Now there's a vote of confidence and a shot in the arm, don't you think?

                 Why am I taking the plunge? Well, one of my favorite movies, the one I've watched so many times I can voice the dialogue right along with them, is Julie and Julia. If you haven't seen it, without going into the details of why, Julie starts a blog, and her initial reaction is that no-one is ever going to read it, so it really doesn't matter what she writes. So I'm taking my hat off to Julie for the notion that no-one will ever read this. Q.E.D. I can blog my little heart out because there isn't anybody out there reading this anyway.

               So greetings to all of you, or more likely none of you. This is the first of either many posts or the last of them. Tune in tomorrow for something I might just have to say...or nothing at all.

                  So how did I do blogworld? Actually, I don't think I want to know.


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