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.

Friday, Sept 21 - DAY 365!!!

Yup, it’s here. 

The official ending day of this crazy blog challenge. 

It’s hard to believe. 

It seems like I’ve been doing it forever.

I can barely remember the when, where and why of its beginning.

I’ve thought long and hard about what I would write about on the very last day, and there were many ideas that floated through this scattered brain of mine.

I could totally cop out and write about this being not only the last blog day, but also the last day of summer. I could take the lazy way out and copy and paste the astrological and meteorological information about the change of seasons, but  you people have been so faithful and loyal that I think I owe you more than that.

So I’ve decided this will be a potpourri of thoughts from my jumbled mind

and I’ll talk about things I’ve learned during this year.

I’ve learned that one should never take on a challenge on a whim without THOROUGHLY investigating the in-and-outs of the idea - 

and how it can impact your life (both for the good AND the bad). 

Goodness, doesn’t that sound dramatic?

I’ve learned that the best intentions don’t always end up with the best results.

I’ve learned that persistence and dogged determination go a long way in accomplishing a goal - even when that persistence and determination waxes and wanes with the tides.

I’ve learned that I have many sides to my personality and that I can’t necessarily predict which one will show its face on any given day.

I’ve learned that I have a somewhat twisted sense of irony and humor. 

I’ve also learned that many of my followers do too.

I’ve learned that you can make it through anything 

if you just hang in there and take it one day at a time.

I’ve learned that wisdom has many faces, as does ignorance and indifference.

I’ve learned that the meek truly SHALL inherit the earth, 

IF they wait long enough.

I’ve learned that life can throw you some pretty frightening, scary, exciting, funny, and heartwarming curveballs - 

and that you need to keep your catcher’s mitt handy.

I’ve learned that the world is a very large AND a very small place - that we are all so very different and yet, we are all so very much alike.

Well folks, I guess that’s about it. 

I know there’s lot more, 

but I think I’ll get out while the going is good.

I want to thank all of my followers for their interest, their faithfulness, their suggestions and comments, their encouragement, and most of all, for just being friends out there in cyber-space. You have all enriched my life.

(p.s. -I am going to continue to occasionally post on my blog when I find something interesting, thought-provoking or funny that might interest you.) 

So have no fear, I’ll still be here, in the shadows.

Today’s Inspiration

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you DIDN’T do than by the ones you did, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, and catch the trade winds in your sails.” 

                                        Mark Twain

…not sure where I’ll be 20 years from now, but this is great wisdom…

Thursday, Sept 20 - Day 364…one more day to go!

Well, this is almost it - almost over. 

It’s been just about a year and you might not remember what brought this whole year long blog challenge about. It was the movie Julia & Julie. 

It’s a true story about the parallel lives of Julia Childs and her story of becoming a famous cook and cookbook author in the 1950s, and of Julie Powell a modern writer who took on the challenge of cooking through every recipe (524) in Julia’s cookbook in one year and blogging about it. 

Great movie. 

One of the funniest parts is when Julie has to make Julia’s Lobster Thermidor and has to kill the lobsters. It’s done to the song “Psycho Killer” with the words changed to Lobster Killer because she can’t bring herself to plunge them into boiling water or ram a knife into their brains. 

In the end her husband has to step in and rescue the day.

So with all this background, I’m sure you’re wondering why I am bringing this up on my second to last blog day. 

Here’s why.

I came across this article this morning from CBS News - and how apropos it is.

Maine restaurant sedating lobsters with marijuana to ease the pain of cooking

A restaurant in Seawall, Maine, is known for cooking up "legendary" lobsters, but doesn't want the crustaceans to leave this world in pain. So, Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound says it's getting some lobsters high before they meet their maker. The restaurant's owner, Charlotte Gill, spoke to The Mount Desert Islander about why she chose to "hot box" lobsters. 

"I feel bad that when lobsters come here there is no exit strategy," Gill said. 

She first tried the technique on a lobster named Roscoe. 

Roscoe was placed in a box with about two inches of water. Marijuana smoke was blown into the water through a hole in the bottom, and Roscoe got "baked." Marijuana is legal in Maine and Roscoe seemed to enjoy his first time getting high — he was much calmer when he was put back in the tank with other lobsters. As a reward for his participation in the experiment, the lobster was returned back into the ocean, Gill told the Mount Desert Islander. 

The experiment was a success and lobsters at the restaurant can now be sedated at the customer's request. "If we're going to take a life we have a responsibility to do it as humanely as possible," Gill, an animal rights supporter, said. 

The restaurateur holds a medical marijuana caregiver license and grows her own marijuana plants. She also has a license that allows her to pick and sell the cooked lobster meat, she told the Mount Desert Islander. Both the cannabis and lobster will be sourced by Gill, ensuring their quality.

Finding ways to reduce lobsters' pain is not a new concept. Earlier this year, Switzerland banned the common cooking method of tossing a live lobster into a big pot of boiling water, deeming it cruel since lobsters can sense pain, KHOU reported.

Gill argues that the kinder killing method will make the animal happier — and happier lobsters mean better tasting meat. "The difference it makes within the meat itself is unbelievable," she said. "Everything you put into your body is energy."

The restaurant owner hopes that by next year, all lobsters will be sedated before being steamed. She insists eating the sedated lobster will not make you high, but says customers will still be able to have their lobster cooked the traditional way. 

I know it’s not like me, but have no words, lol. 

I may never look at lobster the same way again.

Today’s Inspiration

“I can't even kill a lobster without saying a Hail Mary for it.” 

        Johnny Iuzzini

“Hey, we all have our fear. Mine is bugs and lobsters!” 

    Brooke Burke

“At the end of the day, the quality of life is all we have, and it's just as important to that lobster, the quality of life that it lives - even if it's not as long - as your life.”             John Mackey

Wednesday, Sept 19 - Day 363 - 2 days to go!

A little more farewell humor

I have my own alarm clock. 

It’s called a bladder and it does not have a snooze button.

Go braless…it will pull the wrinkles out of your face.

If you wait long enough to make dinner, everyone will just eat cereal. 

It’s science.

My ability to remember song lyrics from the 80s far exceeds my ability to remember why I walked into the kitchen.

The man who created autocorrect has died. 

Restaurant in peace.

Today’s Inspiration

“An onion can make people cry 

but there's never been a vegetable that can make people laugh.” 

                                     Will Rogers

I don’t know…fiddleheads have always made me giggle.

Tuesday, Sept 18 - Day 362 - 3 days to go!

I think a little farewell humor is in order

I don’t run, so if you ever see me running, you better run too, 

because there’s something coming.

If you had to choose between eating tacos everyday or being skinny, 

would you choose hard tacos or soft tacos?

Yesterday I wore something from 5 years ago and it still fit. 

I’m so proud of myself. 

It was a scarf. But still. 

Let’s be positive here.

Today’s Inspiration

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”

                                    Anthony Burgess

Monday, Sept 17 - Day 361 - 4 days to go!

You’ll be happy (I hope) to know that my melancholy has lifted and that I think I figured out the cause of my blue mood and I hope you will not laugh. 

I have discussed it a few times over the past year my love (okay, call it addiction) of old black and white movies from the 1930s and 40s. 

If you remember, Greer Garson, Ronald Coleman, Cary Grant…et al…were my faithful companions during many a sleepless night.

I know, you think “she’s going off on another tangent,” 

but hang in there, I’m really not.

As of midnight last night, we no longer subscribe to cable TV. So what does that mean? It means that all 50 of my old movies that were recorded on the cable box were…gone. Yes, gone. Gone was Greer. Gone was Ronald. Gone was Cary. They were all gone. I feel like I’ve lost my best friends, the ones who kept me company in the middle of the night when I was sleepless and lonely.

It was a huge decision to let my friends go, 

but taking finances into consideration, 

there really was no other choice.

So as I tossed and turned all last night knowing that I couldn’t just reach for the remote and click on “Brief Encounter” or “Suspicion" or "Rebecca.”

The best I could do was run through the dialogue from the movies in my head while envisioning the actors on screen. You see I have watched all those movies so many times that I can recite the dialogue almost word for word for every one of my treasured movies. I’m not sure what that says about me, except that perhaps now you can understand that yesterday’s melancholy mood was a harbinger of the grief I would feel starting at midnight. I just didn't realize it.

Today’s Inspiration

“Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. 

Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love.”

                            Russell M. Nelson

Sunday, Sept 16 - Day 360 - 5 days to go!

It’s later in the day and I’m feeling a little melancholy. 

It’s just one of those days where for no particular reason, I’m feeling a little nostalgic and sad. Could it possibly be because this year long challenge is coming to a close? I seriously doubt it. As much ‘fun’ as I’ve had, I admit I will be relieved to not have to be ‘on’ every day, rain or shine, without fail. 

But then again... 

what next? 

What will be around the next corner? 

Another type of challenge? 

Another nebulous, unnamed goal?

So perhaps my dampened feeling is related to the completion of this quest. Perhaps I feel a little bit on the edge of a unknown precipice.

My goodness, that does sound a little bit dark, doesn’t it?

Ah well, as in the past year, you guys have to take what you get from me, and since I never know what that will be, neither would you.

 So, thanks for hanging in there. 

It’s almost over, for us both.

Today’s Inspiration

“It's sad to know I'm done. But looking back, I've got a lot of great memories.”                  Bonnie Blair

Well, not quite done. Not yet.

Saturday, Sept 15 - Day 359 - 6 days to go!

As I sat pondering what to write about these last few days, many different things sprang to mind. I perused back through some of the past months to see what I actually did write to get some ideas, and I realized I need to give you guys a LOT of credit for sticking it out with me. I realized that if I decided to put this year in book form, I could have a bestseller…I could call it “A Year In The Life Of a Very Disturbed Mind.” Whatever was I thinking with some of these posts? 

I know you don’t know and I certainly don’t know either.

Anyway, I did come across a recent post and realized I never followed up with an update. So you don’t have to scroll back and read it, it was the one about the unreturnable easel debacle. Briefly, the store would not let me return a brand new (expensive) easel that I slid out and then right back into the box unopened. If you feel the need for more details, scroll back to Sat. Aug. 4th). I agonized over the insanity of the situation and the frustration dealing with salesman on the phone. I then went through several channels to contact and hopefully resolve the situation to my satisfaction (get my money back), but to no avail.

Well, I am happy to report that before I went on vacation, I was contacted by the store owner who apologized profusely. He said that there was confused misinformation that he received from the man I originally spoke to and it was straightened out, and of course I could return it. Yay! 

Justice was served and I was vindicated. 

I returned it and went on a happy little shopping spree in the store buying all sorts of art supplies that I would never have bought, but I had cash in hand 

(lots of it) and it was like Christmas.

All was well with the world, well, my world anyway.

Today’s Inspiration

“Justice is truth in action.” Benjamin Disraeli

“Fairness is what justice really is.” Potter Stewart

Friday, Sept 14 - Day 358

Well, I can hardly believe it. 

Today marks the beginning of the last week of this blog challenge. 

358 days down, 7 days to go. 

I can’t even remember how I felt when I began this year long journey. I’m not even sure I remember WHY I did it. At the time, it was one of those spur of the moment ideas that alighted just a little too long in my thoughts.

I can honestly say it has been much more than just a blog challenge - it has been fun, thought-provoking, humor-provoking, difficult, overwhelming, creatively challenging, exhausting, but here nearing the end, I must say that has been a satisfying, fulfilling experience. 

So the 7 day countdown begins - 

the end is in sight and I will do my best to end on a good note.

Today’s Inspiration

“Believe in yourself, take on your challenges, 

dig deep within yourself to conquer fears. 

Never let anyone bring you down. You got to keep going.” 

                                  Chantal Sutherland

“Every project is an opportunity to learn, 

to figure out problems and challenges, to invent and reinvent.” 

                         David Rockwell

“Success is due to our stretching to the challenges of life. 

Failure comes when we shrink from them.” 

                          John C. Maxwell

Thursday, Sept 13 - Day 357

…some humor to take the edge off those who will be affected by Hurricane Florence…(especially you, Jo)

The oldest computer can be traced back to Adam and Eve.

It was an Apple, 

but with extremely limited memory…

it only had one byte.

Then everything crashed.

It’s almost that time of year when other women look cute in their flannel shirts, and I just look like I’ve misplaced my axe.

Wife: I have a bag full of used clothing to donate.

Husband: Isn’t it just easier to throw it in the trash?

Wife: But there are poor, starving people who can really use them.

Husband: Honey, anyone who fits into your clothes is not starving.

Husband is now recovering from head injury.

Today’s Inspiration

Your stripper name is the color of your underwear and the last thing you ate.


Polka dot Shrimp

Feel free to tell me yours.

Wednesday, Sept. 12 - Day 356

Here is what comedian Jeff Foxworthy has to say about New Englanders...

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you live in New England. 

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you live in New England.

If Vacation means going anywhere south of New York City for the weekend, you live in New England . 

If you measure distance in hours, you live in New England . 

If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you live in New England .

If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' in the same day and back again, you live in New England . 

If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in New England . 

If you install security lights on your house and garage but leave both unlocked, you live in New England.

If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you live in New England . 

If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you live in New England .

If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph you're going 80 and everybody is passing you, you live in New England . 

If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you live in New England .

If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you live in New England . 

If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you live in New England . 

If you find 10 degrees 'a little chilly', you live in New England .

If there's a Dunkin Donuts on every corner, you live in New England . 

If you think everyone else has a funny accent, you live in New England .

If you actually understand these jokes, and forward them to all your New England friends, you live or have lived in New England.

You forgot about marshmallow Fluff, Jeff. 

Only New Englanders know about Fluff.

Today’s Inspiration

“I was raised to believe that New England is the best place on the planet.” 

Abigail Johnson

“The most serious charge which can be brought against New England 

is not Puritanism but February.”

Joseph Wood Krutch

“The New England conscience does not stop you from doing what you shouldn't-it just stops you from enjoying it.”

Cleveland Amory

Tuesday, Sept 11 - Day 355

Sept 11, 2001

17 years since the horrific tragedy that shook our nation. 

17 years since heroes were born and died. 

17 years since a nation began to mourn.

17 years and yet it is just like yesterday. 

If you ask someone where they were when they heard the news, they remember. 

I remember. 

You remember. 

We all remember…because it’s burned in our brains and ripped into our souls.

We will alway remember

Today’s Inspiration

2,977 people perished that day - 

412 were emergency workers of which

343 firefighters

To the fallen heroes, and those who lost their lives…we will never forget

Monday, Sept 10 - Day 354

A little late afternoon laughter

…sold the house and bought an RV

…kids can’t come back home if they can’t find it…

Not only did I fall off the diet wagon, 

I dragged it into the woods, 

set it on fire... 

and then used the insurance money to buy cupcakes.

…Sweetheart, do you have anything to say before football season starts?

Today’s Inspiration

“Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.”

                                 Norman Cousins

Sunday, Sept 9 - Day 353

A little more post-vacation humor as I recuperate from vacation

I sat quietly with my own thoughts today. Remind me never to that again.

I never understood why my parents kept the good snacks in their bedroom

...until I became a parent.

Remember, if you lose a sock in the dryer, 

it comes back as a Tupperware lid that doesn't fit any of your containers.

Today's Inspiration

"When humor goes...

 there goes civilization."

                           Erma Bombeck

Saturday, Sept 8 - Day 352

Just a little post-vacation humor borrowed from Facebook

How can a man who can hit a deer at 250 yards keep missing the toilet?

I have the right to remain silent…I just don’t have the ability.

Have ye ever listened to some folks for a minute and thought…

 “their cornbread ain’t done in the middle”

Today’s Inspiration

“Laughter is an instant vacation.”

                               Milton Berle

…and it helps ease the pain of coming back from one…

Friday, Sept 7 - Day 351

Well, it's our last day of vacation before we head home tomorrow. 

It’s been a wonderful trip, as all our vacations have been. 

But then again, that’s what a vacation is, isn’t it? 

At least it always has been for us. 

The military calls it R & R — rest and recuperation (or relaxation, or recreation). 

My husband and I were reminiscing about vacations over our 50 years and it started out 95% recreation, 5% rest, but as the years wore on and we started to wear down, we figure the tables have turned and it’s 5% recreation (and even that is a low-key walk on the beach) and 95% rest.

But no matter how you look at it, a nap on the beach is better than a nap at home.

Isn't it?

Today’s Inspiration

“What would be really difficult is to be sitting on a beach. 

There's vacations, and there's vegetations. I don't do well vegetating.”

                                    Kim Cattrall

Oh, don't know what you're missing. 

Wait and see how you feel when you're 70.

Thursday, Sept 6 - Day 350

I just had a memory-pricking, nostalgic moment while enjoying the last few days of vacation. 

My daughter took the kids shopping at one of those little beach shops that carry everything from flip flops, to shell bracelets, to shot glasses saying Cape Cod. 

But then there’s the kid section that has the souvenir frisbees and yo-yos. 

This particular shop, as many trendy shops do, too, had some, what are considered “old-fashioned” toys — jump ropes (with wooden, not plastic handles), old-fashioned wooden dominos, jacks (again made from metal, not plastic), tiddly winks, marbles and other games that are foreign to most tech-obsessed kids today. 

Simple games from a simpler time.

So, my 12-yr-old granddaughter brought home a game she was excited to learn because she had seen it in an old movie. 

The game? 

Cat’s Cradle. 

You know (well if you are from my generation) that it’s a 2 person game played wrapping a string loop around your fingers in various formations and the other person pinching and pulling it to make different formations. I know that isn’t a very accurate description but it’s the best I can do. If you’ve played it, even if it was 50 years ago, you know what I’m talking about and even today you could do it with your eyes closed (actually that might be difficult).

Anyway, my granddaughter said that none of her friends or anyone else she knows has even heard of Cat’s Cradle.


My friends and I would while away the hours playing with a simple string.

She opened the package and handed me the pink polyester loop that bore no resemblance to the plain white string we used, but no matter.

She was very impressed when I took the pink loop and deftly wrapped it around my hands and fingers and began to teach her how to play. 

It took awhile but she got the hang of it and before long I was immersed in my childhood playground memories.

Simpler times, simpler games.

A simpler world.

Today’s Inspiration

“I'm very nostalgic - and I don't care.”

                               Francois Nars, too...

Wednesday, Sept.5 - Day 349

Vacation Inspiration for the day

“May you always have a shell in your pocket

 and sand in your shoes.”

…and money in the wallet doesn’t hurt either…

Tuesday, Sept 4 - Day 348

Okay, I’m taking this very narrow window of time to post…something…anything. My computer is working…at this very minute. But I can’t guarantee that it will be still working 5 minutes from now.

As a died in the wool thalassophile (see yesterday’s post) I’ve been heading to the beach every morning at…5 a.m. Yes, FIVE a.m. I know, here I am on vacation and I’m driving, in the dark, at the crack of nothing, to watch the sun rise over the ocean. There is no greater pleasure for me than to sit on a bench by the water (because I don’t like sand), in the cool of the early dawn (because I don’t like heat - or bugs) and watch the magical transformation of dark to light. Every sunrise is a rainbow explosion of pink, salmon, magenta, crimson, lavender, periwinkle, indigo and as an artist I am in awe.

I’m also in awe that, as I sit quietly soaking in the splendor, a group of women arrived, mats in hand, to do sunrise yoga. I watched as they stretched and contorted their bodies in the sand. Now, yoga isn’t my cup of tea, never has been. It sounds good, looks good, and I truly wish I had the physical stamina and ability to engage in such a beneficial endeavor. The reality is that I don’t, but I can truly enjoy watching them as the sun peeked above the horizon…and they fell over in the sand.

Today’s inspiration

“I wish I did something like yoga or Pilates. All the people I know who do it tell me it's incredible.”

                  Jai Courtney

Monday, Sept 3 -Day 347

It’s happened again and my laptop is kaput. So I’m typing and posting this VERY short post because my phone keyboard is too small and my fingers are too big. 

Today’s Inspiration


(n.) a lover of the sea and ocean 

and that’s exactly what I am this week on vacation


Sunday, Sept 2 - Day 346

So I’m going to exercise a little latitude and keep my posts brief this week while I’m on vacation. But then again, you know me, and I can get prolific and go off on a tangent at a moments notice. So there, you have been warned.

Today’s Inspiration

“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking.” 

                            Earl Wilson

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.”

                                Robert Orben

“Isn't it amazing how much stuff we get done the day before vacation?”

                      Zig Ziglar

how true, how true…I walked 8000 steps just packing

Saturday, Sept 1 - Day 345

Today, just sharing a little wisdom,

 as I get myself ready to go on vacation tomorrow.

Today’s Inspiration

“Never regret a day in your life:

Good days give happiness, 

bad days give experience, 

worst days give lessons, 

and best days give memories.”

                      Zig Zigler

It’s all in your perspective and attitude. 

I choose to cherish every day…no matter what.

Friday, Aug 31 - Day 344

…and just a little more…

Before you do anything stupid this weekend, 

just remember the judge won’t be in until Tuesday

…just saying…

I was visiting my daughter last night when I asked if I could borrow a newspaper.

“Mom, this is the 21st century. We don’t waste money on newspapers. Here, use my IPad.”

I can tell you this…that fly never knew what hit him.

I don’t understand why people say hurtful things like

…”wan’t to go for a run?” or “try this kale.”

Today’s Inspiration

“Laughter is the closest distance between two people.”

Victor Borge

Thursday, Aug 30 - Day 343

…and a little more humor…

one day I intend to be a little old lady in a nursing home who leads the rebellion and puts vodka in all the IV bags.

I was mugged by a thief on my way home last night.

Pointing a knife at me, he said “your money or your life!”

I told him I’m married so I have no money and no life.

We hugged and cried together.

It was a beautiful moment.

If you’re sitting somewhere in public and a stranger sits down next to you, just stare straight ahead and whisper,

 “did you bring the money?”

Today’s inspiration

“Everything is funny, as long as it's happening to somebody else.”

Will Rogers

Wednesday, Aug 29 - Day 342

Just a little humor today.

The fact that jellyfish have survived for 650 million years without brains gives hope to so many people.

Warning: When you drink vodka over ice, it can give you kidney failure. When you drink Rum over ice, it can give you liver failure. When you drink Whiskey over ice, it can give you heart problems. When you drink Gin over ice, it can give you brain problems.

Apparantly, ice is REALLY bad for you. …warn all your friends…

I’m a wooden spoon…lead paint…no car seat…no bike helmet…garden hose drinking…stay out all day until dark, survivor.

Today’’s Inspiration

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

Charlie Chaplin

Tuesday, Aug 28 - Day 341

Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson

This incredible woman celebrated her 100th birthday 2 days ago. I’m posting wikipedia’s article in its entirety because I am in complete awe of this woman’s tenacity, courage, intelligence and of what she has contributed to the world.

It’s long, but well worth the read if you want to be inspired.

Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson (born August 26, 1918) is a mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. manned spaceflights. During her 35-year career at NASA and its predecessor, she earned a reputation for mastering complex manual calculations and helped the space agency pioneer the use of computers to perform the tasks. Her work included calculating trajectories, launch windows and emergency return paths for Project Mercury spaceflights, including those of astronauts Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and John Glenn, the first American in orbit, and rendezevous paths for the Apollo lunar lander and command module on flights to the Moon. Her calculations were also essential to the beginning of the Space Shuttle program, and she worked on plans for a mission to Mars. Her career as an African-American woman is also noted as trailblazing in the U.S. In 2015, President Barack Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Johnson was born Katherine Coleman in 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, Greenbrier County, West Virginia, the daughter of Joylette and Joshua Coleman. She was the youngest of four children. Her mother was a teacher and her father was a lumberman, farmer, and handyman and worked at the Greenbrier Hotel. Johnson showed a talent for math from an early age. Because Greenbrier County did not offer public schooling for African-American students past the eighth grade, the Colemans arranged for their children to attend high school at Institute, West Virginia. This school was on the campus of West Virginia State College (WVSC, now West Virginia State University). Johnson was admitted when she was only 10 years old.The family split their time between Institute during the school year and White Sulphur Springs in the summer. Johnson graduated from high school at 14 and entered West Virginia State, a historically black college. As a student, she took every math course offered by the college. Multiple professors mentored her, including chemist and mathematician Angie Turner King, who had also mentored the girl throughout high school, and W.W. Schiefflin Claytor, the third African American to receive a PhD in math. Claytor added new math courses just for Katherine. She graduated summa cum laude in 1937, with degrees in Mathematics and French, at age 18. She took on a teaching job at a black public school in Marion, Virginia.

In 1939, after marrying her first husband, James Goble, Johnson left her teaching job and enrolled in a graduate math program. She quit after one year, after becoming pregnant and choosing to focus on her family. At the time of her entry, she was the first African-American woman to attend graduate school at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. Through WVSC's president, Dr. John W. Davis, she became one of three African-American students, and the only female, selected to integrate the graduate school after the United States Supreme Court ruling Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938). The court had ruled that states that provided public higher education to white students also had to provide it to black students, to be satisfied either by establishing black colleges and universities or by admitting black students to previously white-only universities.

Johnson decided on a career as a research mathematician, although this was a difficult field for African Americans and women to enter. The first jobs she found were in teaching. At a family gathering in 1952 a relative mentioned that the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was hiring mathematicians.(It was superseded by the agency NASA in 1958.) At the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, based in Hampton, Virginia, near Langley Field, NACA hired African-American mathematicians as well as whites for their Guidance and Navigation Department. Johnson was offered a job in 1953. She accepted and became part of the early NASA team.

According to an oral history archived by the National Visionary Leadership Project:

At first she [Johnson] worked in a pool of women performing math calculations. Katherine has referred to the women in the pool as virtual "computers who wore skirts". Their main job was to read the data from the black boxes of planes and carry out other precise mathematical tasks. Then one day, Katherine (and a colleague) were temporarily assigned to help the all-male flight research team. Katherine's knowledge of analytic geometry helped make quick allies of male bosses and colleagues to the extent that, "they forgot to return me to the pool". While the racial and gender barriers were always there, Katherine says she ignored them. Katherine was assertive, asking to be included in editorial meetings (where no women had gone before). She simply told people she had done the work and that she belonged.

From 1953 to 1958, Johnson worked as a "computer", analyzing topics such as gust alleviation for aircraft. Originally assigned to the West Area Computers section supervised by mathematician Dorothy Vaughan, Johnson was reassigned to the Guidance and Control Division of Langley's Flight Research Division. It was staffed by white male engineers. In keeping with state racial segregation laws, and federal workplace segregation introduced under President Woodrow Wilson in the early 20th century, Johnson and the other African-American women in the computing pool were required to work, eat, and use restrooms that were separate from those of their white peers. Their office was labeled as "Colored Computers". In an interview with WHRO-TV, Johnson stated that she "didn't feel the segregation at NASA, because everybody there was doing research. You had a mission and you worked on it, and it was important to you to do your job ... and play bridge at lunch." She added: "I didn't feel any segregation. I knew it was there, but I didn't feel it."

NACA disbanded the colored computing pool in 1958 when it was superseded by NASA, which adopted digital computers. The installation was desegregated. Society's discrimination against women had not yet ended, however. Johnson recalled that era:

We needed to be assertive as women in those days – assertive and aggressive – and the degree to which we had to be that way depended on where you were. I had to be. In the early days of NASA women were not allowed to put their names on the reports – no woman in my division had had her name on a report. I was working with Ted Skopinski and he wanted to leave and go to Houston ... but Henry Pearson, our supervisor – he was not a fan of women – kept pushing him to finish the report we were working on. Finally, Ted told him, "Katherine should finish the report, she's done most of the work anyway." So Ted left Pearson with no choice; I finished the report and my name went on it, and that was the first time a woman in our division had her name on something. From 1958 until her retirement in 1986, Johnson worked as an aerospace technologist, moving during her career to the Spacecraft Controls Branch. She calculated the trajectory for the May 5, 1961 space flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space. She also calculated the launch window for his 1961 Mercury mission. She plotted backup navigation charts for astronauts in case of electronic failures. When NASA used electronic computers for the first time to calculate John Glenn's orbit around Earth, officials called on Johnson to verify the computer's numbers; Glenn had asked for her specifically and had refused to fly unless Johnson verified the calculations. states these were "far more difficult calculations, to account for the gravitational pulls of celestial bodies". Author Margot Lee Shetterly stated, "So the astronaut who became a hero, looked to this black woman in the still-segregated South at the time as one of the key parts of making sure his mission would be a success." She added that, in a time where computing was "women's work" and engineering was left to men, "it really does have to do with us over the course of time sort of not valuing that work that was done by women, however necessary, as much as we might. And it has taken history to get a perspective on that."

Johnson later worked directly with digital computers. Her ability and reputation for accuracy helped to establish confidence in the new technology. In 1961, her work helped to ensure that Alan Shepard's Freedom 7 Mercury capsule would be quickly found after landing, using the accurate trajectory that had been established. She also helped to calculate the trajectory for the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon. During the moon landing, Johnson was at a meeting in the Pocono Mountains. She and a few others crowded around a small television screen watching the first steps on the moon. In 1970, Johnson worked on the Apollo 13 moon mission. When the mission was aborted, her work on backup procedures and charts helped set a safe path for the crew's return to Earth, creating a one-star observation system that would allow astronauts to determine their location with accuracy. In a 2010 interview, Johnson recalled, 

"Everybody was concerned about them getting there. We were concerned about them getting back." Later in her career, Johnson worked on the Space Shuttle program, the Earth Resources Satellite, and on plans for a mission to Mars.

Personal life

In 1939, Katherine (then Coleman) married James Francis Goble. They had three daughters: Constance, Joylette, and Katherine. In 1953, she and James moved their family to Newport News to pursue a new job opportunity. In 1956, James Goble died due to an inoperable brain tumor. Katherine Goble remarried in 1959 to James A. Johnson, who had been a Second Lieutenant in the Army and was a veteran of the Korean War. Katherine Johnson continued her career at NASA. She sang in the choir of Carver Presbyterian Church for 50 years. She has been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha since college, the first sorority established by and for African-American women. Johnson and her husband, who have six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, live in Hampton, Virginia. 

She continues to encourage her grandchildren and students to pursue careers in science and technology.

Today’s Inspiration

…the incredible life of Katherine Johnson…

Monday, Aug 27- Day 340

Today is a happy/sad day. 

Happy, because I have really returned from the world of the living zombies. My brain is clear, (well, as clear as it ever gets) my insides aren't quivering and my rash is finally on the wane. 

Life is good.

Now, for the sad.

Due to what appears to be a permanent dietary change (as per my drs - plural), I am gifting my coffee bar to someone who I know will cherish it as much as I do…did.

I know it was WAY back in the beginning of my blog that I expounded on my love affair with coffee and described with great joy when I set up my coffee bar. Much of it was a gift from my husband and the rest was from my own acquisitions.

It included a Mr. Coffee espresso machine (with the optimum 15 millibar pressure), a Mr. Coffee burr grinder, an electric frother, and of course, a glass canister with my precious Starbucks Italian roast beans. And behind those beans were the same but in decaf. 

Every morning it was my treasured time to grind the beans, fill the machine and brew that perfect espresso, and then a decaf cappuccino at night. Unfortunately, decaf is also now forbidden. So it’s time to pack it all up... 

and pass the torch to another coffee addict to enjoy.

Ah, well, life goes on…

it’s just going to have to go on a little less wired.

Today’s Inspiration

“Caffeine is a good thing.”

                      Manoj Bhargava

…just not for me…

Sunday, Aug 26 - Day 339

Today is National Dog Day. 

I must admit I didn’t know it until I read it on FB an hour ago. I had to apologize to Princess because I didn’t buy her any special treat or toy to commemorate the occasion. But then again, as far as Princess is concerned, every day is National Dog Day and she makes sure we know it. Yeah, she’s on her throne every day and my husband caters to her every whim. 

So guess who’s her favorite?

So to all you dog lovers out there... 

celebrate with your furry friend.

Today’s Inspiration

1. "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." — Josh Billings

2. "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." — Roger Caras

3. "The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog." — M.K. Clinton

4. "Happiness is a warm puppy." — Charles M. Schulz

5. "The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs." — Charles de Gaulle

6. "Dogs don’t rationalize. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human." — Cesar Millan

7. "The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants." — Johnny Depp

8. "Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness?" — Jonathan Safran Foer

9. "I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive." — Gilda Radner

10. "A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad." — Robert Wagner

11. "When an 85 pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, it’s hard to feel sad." — Kristan Higgins

12. "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished." — Dean Koontz

13. "If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience." — Woodrow Wilson

Saturday, Aug. 25 - Day 338

Good morning world. And yes, it IS a good morning. 

The decrease is steroids is finally starting to take effect and I’m beginning to return to the world of the living. My hands are barely shaking and my insides don’t feel electrically charged. 

But far more importantly... 

the brain cells are beginning to wake up again.

I won’t lie, the whole thing has been a rotten experience that I wouldn’t wish on anybody. But I know there are many people afflicted with far worse than this little medical blip that hit me. I know you good people have let me off the hook for posting from the twilight zone, but I think almost back to full form. 

Well, that’s how I feel today. 

Tomorrow? Who knows?

So today’s inspiration is just a little levity - especially for us seniors.


Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room on each side.With a 5-lb potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.Each day you’ll find you can hold this position a little longer.

After a few weeks, move up to a 10-lb bag, then try a 20-lb bag and slowly, eventually work up to a 50-lb bag and hold your arms straight for one full minute.

After you feel confident at this level…put a potato in each bag

Have a sparkling day folks

Friday, Aug. 24 - Day 337

Good morning to all. Happy to say that I decreased my prednisone again this morning and the good news, it’s been 4 hours and I feel a little less shaky than yesterday. And even a little less is an improvement. Unfortunately, the insomnia that also goes along with this was particularly brutal last night and I only slept from midnight until 1:15. So yet again, I apologize for just bringing you a little tidbit…this one I saw pop up on my music channel at 2am. I’m glad I wasn’t to groggy to jot it down (as best I could, in the dark)

Today’s Inspiration

“What a wonderful life I’ve had. If only I had realized it sooner.”

                                  Sidonie Colette

Thursday, Aug. 23 - Day 336

Very quick post I'm rushing to get in because my internet keeps crashing.

Today's Inspiration

Common sense is not a gift, it is a punishment...because you have to deal with everyone who doesn't have it.

Wednesday, Aug. 22 - Day 335!!

As shaky as my hands are and with my insides still quivering from the meds, I can still feel the excitement that today is day #335 of this crazy blog challenge. 

And what exactly does that mean? 

It means we’re down to the last 30 days. 

One month, 30 days…an end is in sight. 

I can see the finish line. 

It’s within reach and one day at a time, 

I will succeed in this self-imposed challenge. 

Now don’t get me wrong, this has been a great experience. 

I’m still not thinking clearly so I can’t really pontificate on WHY it’s been a great experience. But the fact that I can even conjure up the word pontificate means there’s hope I will be able to go into the details within the next 30 days.

Today’s Inspiration

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

                                      Winston Churchill

Tuesday, Aug. 21 - Day 334

I had such high hopes for today. I was off the Benadryl and it’s the first day beginning to wean off the high dose prednisone. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with steroids, 

all I can say is that ‘roid rage' is real. 

You know all those stories of steroid-pumping athletes who pummel little people into the ground, 

I now understand.

Apparently, the high dose I’ve been taking for 4 days has morphed me into an electrified, blithering idiot…with a short fuse. I thought I felt well enough to venture to the store for a few items. I thought wrong. I was more than just impatient at the car in front of me who had plenty of time to turn at the light, but decided to take his sweet old time. 

#%[email protected] 


#%[email protected] I explicated. 

Not my usual self, at all.

Then in the store, a woman asked me a question, I have no idea what it was, but I proceeded to tell her all about…something…I have no idea what it was. I had an out-of-body experience because I could see myself and hear myself talking a mile a minute and not understanding a word I was saying. She looked at me with a knowing look and walked away. “She’s nuts,” she was saying to herself. Then on my way home, one of my doctors called with some lab results. I asked her if she could please record the on the patient portal so I could check them when I got home. She kept saying “what? what?” Bad connection on her end. No, bad connection on MY end. I was telling her to put them in the POTTHOLE, not portal. Eventually, she figured it out. At that point I decided I was not fit for any further contact with humans and came home.

So I sit here, so disappointed that I am not back to my somewhat coherent normal self and will try again tomorrow. Thanks, my friends, for your patience. You have more than I do.

Today’s Inspiration

“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”

                                    Charles Spurgeon

I’m trying, Charles. I’m trying.

Monday, Aug. 20 - Day 333

Good news. 

The rash has stopped spreading and I’ve stopped the Benadryl. 

That means that I am beginning to return to the world of the living, although not all my thought are coherent. So this will be the last one-liner days.

It used to be ‘Rock around the clock’ - now it’s ‘Limp around the block.’

Sunday, Aug 19 - Day 332

Just a one liner - the post-fever rash is still spreading so it’s still Benadryl ‘round the clock. So my brain is on the back burner and thinking and typing are a little too much.

Today’s Inspiration

“Heat makes things expand. 

So I don’t have a weight problem. 

I’m just hot.”


Saturday, Aug 18 - Day 331

I'm sorry I have to keep make these short posts, but home from the hospital but on round the clock benadryl so I'm zonked.

Today's Inspiration

Eyes are useless when the mind is blind

Friday, Aug 17 - Day 330

Was in the hospital yesterday for severe allergic reaction to a knee injection. Turned out it wasn't a stomach bug after all. I really did post about it yesterday but I had to do it on my phone and apparently it didn't transfer to the actual site. Just wanted to let you know I didn't fall down on the job.

Thursday, Aug 16 - Day 329

Good news, bad news.

The good computer miraculously healed itself !!!

The bad news...I'm on day #3 of the stomach bug.

I'm still in a pretty weakened condition, but my husband brightened my spirits. ...he told a joke...

...something he hasn't done in all the years we've been married...

And I decided I would use it as today's inspiration...

He said  "the virus left my computer and invaded me."

I'm in just a weakened enough condition that I thought it was really clever.

Wednesday, Aug 15 - Day 328

Short one today. I spiked a 102 degree fever velas night for no particular reason that I could see. No other symptoms. Tylenol has brought it down to 100.8. Sorry if I’m ranting. I don’t do well with fever. I get a little delicious.  So that all for today. 

 Tuesday, Aug 14 - Day 327

So I know it's not my fault but I want to apologize for any glitches or craziness that might appear on my posts from here until the unforseen future. My computer has crashed and I will have to use my phone to post anything. Needless to say, I won't be posting much except an obligatory quote or joke to finish this crazy challenge. There's good news and bad. I didn't think I was going to be able to get it repaired because it just isn't in the budget at the moment, but It turns out that It is still under warranty!!! That's the good. The bad? Last time it was in for repair it took over 3weeks.. so bear with me folks, there won't be any lengthy posts or prolific stories due to the limitations of typing on my phone. Which means I won't be posting a daily inspiration on a regular basis. My texting skills are VERY inadequate, as my granddaughter always tells me. This little post has taken me over an hour, lol.

So this is going to be it for today, sorry.

Monday.Aug 13 Day 326

Today is International Lefthanders Day 

Here are some interesting facts 

 1. It is estimated that 5-10 percent of the world population is left-handed

2. The word ‘left’ dates back to Anglo-Saxon era and it derives from the word ‘lyft”, which means weak or broken

3. Left-handers use the right part of their brain

4. Left-handed people are great in many sports, particularly tennis, baseball, boxing, and swimming

5. More than 40 percent of the most famous tennis players are left-handed

6. Left-handers are better in seeing clearly underwater compared to right-handed individuals

7. There is a strong link between alcohol intake and “left handedness”. In fact, left-handers are at 3 percent higher link of being addicted to it.

8. It has been scientifically shown that left-handed college graduates eventually become richer by 26 percent more than right-handed ones.

9. Left-handers are late-bloomers, which means that they reach puberty five months later than right-handers.

10. Animals can also be left-handed ( left-pawed).

11. In the U.S, four out of seven states are left-handed

12. Some of the longest words can be written with the left-hand include sweater, dresses, and tesserae decades.

13. In the past, left-handedness has been associated with criminal, homosexuality, and neurosis. Interestingly enough, it has been linked to musicality and creativity, too.

14. Left-handers are more prone to insomnia compared to right-handers. 15. Currently, there are more than 30 million left-handers in the U.S.

16. Statistics show that women who give birth in their 40s are at 128 percent higher chance of giving birth to a left-handed child.

17. Left-handers have their special day! August 13th is the International Left-Hander`s Day.

18. Due to their ability to process information more rapidly, left-handers experience emotions differently than right-handers.

19. Left-handed individuals are great in mathematics, spatial awareness, and architecture.

20. Medical experts claim that when a left-handed individual injures their dominant hand, they learn to use the right one very fast. This is much more difficult for right-handers.

21. Left-handers are more prone to allergies and asthma compared to right-handers.

22. As already discussed earlier, left-handedness is a characteristic which runs in the family. For instance, Prince William, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Mother, and Prince Charles are/were left- handed.

23. Out of the four Apollo astronauts, one of them was left-handed.

24. One of the most notorious killers in human history were left-handers. For instance, Jack the Ripper, Osama bin Laden, and Boston Stranglers were all left-handed

And YES I am a lefty 

Today’s Inspiration 

“Every day above ground is a good day “

Sunday, Aug 12 - Day 325

NASA ScienceCasts

ScienceCasts are short videos about fun, interesting, and unusual science topics encountered by NASA's science missions.

Today's NASA ScienceCast: Nature’s Fireworks Show in August -

And tonight's the night for a spectacular show. 

Watch the video for what it will look like tonight. 

"The Perseid Meteor Shower peaks on the night of August 12 into the morning of August 13. With a clear sky, observers will be able to see up to...60 meteors per hour at its peak."

Well, I guess that lets us New Englanders out. 

Clear skies?

Not this summer.

But there's always the video.

Today's Inspiration

"My dad took me out to see a meteor shower when I was a little kid, and it was scary for me because he woke me up in the middle of the night. My heart was beating; I didn't know what he wanted to do. He wouldn't tell me, and he put me in the car and we went off, and I saw all these people lying on blankets, looking up at the sky."

                                      Steven Spielberg

"My mother was always in those films where it's the end of the world and a meteor's about to hit London; there's only six people left, and one of them's in purple underwear. That was always my mother, running from this meteor in purple underwear and spraining her ankle."

 Paula Yates there's a movie that sounds worth watching...

Saturday, Aug 11 - Day 324

I never knew...

When Frances Perkins was a little girl, she asked her parents why nice people could be poor. Her father told her not to worry about those things, and that poor people were poor because they were lazy and drank. Eventually, she went to Mount Holyoke College, and majored in physics. In her final semester, she took a class in American economic history and toured the mills along the Connecticut River to see working conditions. She was horrified. Eventually, instead of teaching until she married, she earned a masters degree in sociology from Columbia University. In 1910, Perkins became Executive Secretary of the New York City Consumers League. She campaigned for sanitary regulations for bakeries, fire protection for factories, and legislation to limit the working hours for women and children in factories to 54 hours per week. She worked mainly in New York State’s capital, Albany. Here, she made friends with politicians, and learned how to lobby.
On March 25th, 1911, Frances was having tea with friends when they heard fire engines. They ran to see what was happening, and witnessed one of the worst workplace disasters in US history. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire was devastating, killing 146 people, mostly young women and girls. Frances watched as fire escapes collapsed and fireman ladders couldn’t reach the women trapped by the flames. She watched 47 workers leap to their deaths from the 8th and 9th floors. 
Poignantly, just a year before these same women and girls had fought for and won the 54 hour work week and other benefits that Frances had championed. These women weren’t just tragic victims, they were heroes of the labor force. Frances at that moment resolved to make sure their deaths meant something. 
A committee to study reforms in safety in factories was formed, and Perkins became the secretary. The group took on not only fire safety, but all other health issues they could think of. Perkins, by that time a respected expert witness, helped draft the most comprehensive set of laws regarding workplace health and safety in the country. Other states started copying New York’s new laws to protect workers.
Perkins continued to work in New York for decades, until she was asked by President Elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 to serve as Secretary of Labor. She told him only if he agreed with her goals: 40-hour work week, minimum wage, unemployment and worker’s compensation, abolition of child labor, federal aid to the states for unemployment, Social Security, a revitalized federal employment service, and universal health insurance. He agreed. Similar to what she had worked for in New York, her successes became the New Deal, changed the country and its workers forever.

So while you may not know her name, you certainly know her legacy.

Awe inspiring

Today’s Inspiration

“Never respect men merely for their riches, but rather for their philanthropy; 

we do not value the sun for its height, but for its use.” 

                                               Gamaliel Bailey

Friday, Aug 10- Day 323

So the sun has risen and so have I. 


 Well perhaps that’s not the right word. 

I’ve dragged. 

Dragged, and you know why. 

There’s no incentive.

There’s no coffee waiting for me. 

My kitchen coffee counter is bare. 

It’s screaming at me…”I’m naked. How could you do this to me?”

I hang my head in sorrow and shame.

“I’m sorry. Really. it wasn’t my idea. I’ll make it up to you.”

As I feel the dull ache forming at my temples, I remember that the dreaded caffeine-withdrawal headache will be upon me soon. 


In my shocked state yesterday, I had forgotten that not only would I be denied the pleasures and benefits of my daily ‘fix’, I would also be gifted with the physical withdrawal as an extra added treat.

I looked around for something I could put on my bare counter so it wouldn’t be mad at me anymore. I settled on a cobalt blue glass bowl and set it down.

“You don’t think that’s really going to fly, do you?” the counter whispers.

“Why not? It’s a pretty blue. And I’ll fill it with something.”

“With coffee beans, maybe?”

“Oh, that’s not nice. That’s just mean,” I say.

I rummaged through the fridge and found some nice, bright red apples that would look stunning in the bowl.

“Stunning? Did you say stunning?”

I think I’m losing it. 

I’m talking to the counter and it’s not only talking back…it’s harassing me.

Is that another withdrawal symptom…hallucinations?

At this point, head pounding, hands and the counter scowling at me, I decide that if I’m ever to get my blog done today, it had better be right here and now.

So here it is, right here and now and I think the best thing I can do for you, me and the counter is…go back to bed and try again tomorrow.

Today’s Inspiration

“A hallucination is a fact, not an error; 

what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it.”

                                 Bertrand Russell

“I can't wake up at all without caffeine.”

                                Andrew Rannells

And that’s why I’m going back to bed.

Thursday, Aug 9 - Day 322

Riding on the back of yesterday’s post about Death Wish coffee, 

I have some devastating news (for myself, not you). Apparently, the Death Wish coffee post was a premonition or harbinger of bad things to come.

The bad news?

I must give up drinking all coffee - including decaf!!!



Me, the Starbucks, espresso-addicted (both regular and decaf) me?

And not just temporarily.



It can’t be true. 

Say it isn’t so.

But the sad, sad, SAD news is that it is true.

I won’t go into the boring details, but it’s a medical necessity for several reasons and they’re not the kind you can ignore. 

It would truly be a ‘death wish’ if I continue.


To say the least. 

And if you were going to say switch to tea, I’d say 

#1 - yuk, #2 can’t have it either, regular or decaf.

I can have herbal tea, 

but as far as I’m concerned that’s like drinking dirty dishwater.

I’m not complaining really. 

Many people have much worse. 

I don’t have cancer or need a transplant.

 I’m very fortunate.

 My medical problems are treatable - difficult, but treatable 

and I am one tough cookie.

But taking away the one thing that has been my most enjoyable pleasure 

(well one of them), the thing I look forward to first thing every morning when I open my eyes, it’s just cruel.

And as one of my granddaughters used to say when she was little

…’but you don’t understand!’

No one can. 

As I take apart my espresso machine, burr mill grinder, cappuccino frother and store them away, forever, my heart is heavy.

Gone are the days of opening a fresh bag of oily dark roast beans, sniffing the aroma as I pour them into their special canister.

I can’t even make myself one last going away espresso to console myself.

All I have to say is…nothing, I'm truly speechless.

Today’s Inspiration

“Life is a song - sing it. Life is a game - play it. Life is a challenge - meet it. Life is a dream - realize it. Life is a sacrifice - offer it. Life is love - enjoy it.” 

                                           Sai Baba

...even if it’s without coffee...

“Sad things happen. They do. But we don't need to live sad forever.” 

                                                         Mattie Stepanek

Mattie, did you write that over your morning coffee, I wonder?

Wednesday, Aug 8 - Day 321

I think I found a new coffee that might just topple Starbucks off its pedestal.

Death Wish Coffee 

Death Wish is a coffee brand that bills itself as "The World's Strongest Coffee" There is an average of 728 milligrams of caffeine per 12 oz serving!!!

from their website -


In 2012, Death Wish Coffee Co. started in a small coffee shop in Saratoga Springs, NY. Founder Mike Brown saw a need for coffee that was both strong and delicious to serve his groggy morning customers. After creating the perfect blend of beans and combining it with his unique roasting technique, 

the 'World's Strongest Coffee' was born. 

Today, thousands of people trust Death Wish Coffee to wake them up and keep them going every day.

Strongest coffee in the world. 


We have created a seriously strong coffee due to the combination of beans we use, paired with our incredibly unique roasting process

Strong, intense flavor. Never bitter.

We carefully select the finest beans from the most nutrient-rich soils around the world to produce the most delicious, strong coffee possible

Fair trade, organic, all natural.

Never any additives, chemicals, or artificial flavors.

Boost your energy levels fast.

Works faster than any energy drink, 

without the added sugar or unhealthy side effects.

Increase performance.

Any time of the day, with just one cup

Revive and enhance your body and mind.

Be the best you with coffee twice as strong

But our efforts go beyond providing the world's strongest coffee. One June 29, 2018, we sent an instant, freeze-dried blend of Death Wish to the International Space Station to fuel the crew of NASA Expedition 56 — turning the world's strongest coffee into the strongest coffee in the galaxy.

Do you think they make the world’s strongest decaf, too?

Sorry, no.

Today’s inspiration

Water is the most essential element of life, because without it, 

you can’t make coffee.

Tuesday, Aug 7 - Day 320

So it’s the end of week one of August and if you have been shopping at the Mall or Walmart or Target,you can’t help but notice that it’s almost ‘back to school’. School supplies are overflowing the aisles and the sales are impressive. 

So are the checkout lines, but that’s a story for another day.

There used to be a Staples commercial that in my opinion was the best commercial made


It makes me laugh just to think of it.

It was a man propelling himself with glee on a shopping cart down the school supply aisles to the tune of ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year.’

 Hysterical, and true. 

For parents anyway.

Not so much for kids, and maybe not so much for teachers, I suspect.

Teachers have my utmost respect for their dedication and commitment.

I ran across this list for teachers on FB today and thought I’d share it.


1. You will not marry during the term of your contract.

2. You are not to keep company with men.

3. You must be home between the hours of 8PM and 6AM unless at a school function.

4. You may not loiter downtown.

5. You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you have permission of the chairman of the school board.

6. You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man except your father or brother.

7. You may not smoke cigarettes.

8. You may not dress in bright colors.

9. You may not dye your hair.

10. You must wear at least 2 petticoats.

11. Your dresses may not be any shorter than 2 inches above your ankles.

12. To keep the classroom neat and clean, you must sweep the floor once a day, scrub the floor once a week, clean the blackboards once a day, and start the fire at 7AM to have the school warm for the students at 8AM.

Nice to know we’ve lightened up a bit 100 years later.

Today’s Inspiration

“In 50 years, I don't think you're gonna look back at 2006 and say, 

'The good old days.’”

                                               Brandon Flowers

Ain't that the truth

Monday, Aug 6 - Day 319

Another busy hectic day, doctors, shopping, errands, more errands…

so there’s only this…

Today’s Inspiration

“With our hectic lives, a dose of comedy is a must.”

                                  Anita Hassanandani Reddy

Why don’t blind people skydive?

Because it scares the crap out of their dogs.

I went in to a pet shop. I said, “Can I buy a goldfish?” The guy said, “Do you want an aquarium?”

I said, “I don’t care what star sign it is.”

What do you get when you cross a dyslexic, an insomniac, and an agnostic?

Someone who lays awake at night wondering if there is a dog.

What did the Buddhist ask the hot dog vendor?

“Make me one with everything.”

What is red and smells like blue paint?

Red paint.

A dyslexic man walks into a bra.

That’s all for today folks

Sunday, Aug 5 - Day 318

Sorry for the late day post. 

I had a very busy day and it’s way past the time when my brain cells have anything of great value to share so here’s just a little thought...

Today’s Inspiration

"Be good to people. 

You will be remembered more for your kindness 

than any level of success you could possibly attain."

                                     Mandy Hale

Saturday, Aug. 4 - Day 317

Okay, so I’ve had a good night sleep, 

my quad espresso and I’m ready to finish this story.

I left off having bought the open box Jullian Paris french easel. 

I brought it home and was very excited when I slid it out of the box and discovered it came with a very thin fabric backpack carrying case! 

It qualified as a ‘backpack’ only in the aspect it had two straps to slide your arms into to house it on your back. But no matter. It was great because it was light enough that I would be able to carry it to location.

Now I need to be very clear as to what and how I ‘unboxed’ the easel. I didn’t open any part of the easel. I simply slid it out of the 2 large styrofoam packing pieces directly into the backpack. 

The tags and directions were still neatly intact inside the easel.

Okay, can you visualize all of this? I think I’ve described it so you can.

Soooo, a few days ago, I was online checking for a few other items I might need on location and up pops my easel as a ‘related’ item for me to check out. But I already had my prize possession so I moved on. But it would reappear with each of my searches and under one of them I saw it. I saw it and my heart sank. 

There under the picture of my treasure was two red stars.

Two star rating…how could this be? 


Must be a fluke by someone clearly mistaken.

So I clicked on the reviews and I was deflated.

They were terrible and went into great detail about the shoddy workmanship, poor quality, and the fact that the Jullian Paris french easel is no longer made in France. It’s made in…you guessed it…China!

I was devastated. 

I relied on my prior knowledge of a product that apparently no longer bore any resemblance to the original product.

Well, at least I have several months before I need the easel to find one better quality. I just need to return the one I have, get my money back and move on. Easy peasy, right?


Here is what transpired on Thursday.

Me - called the store to tell them I’ll be returning the easel. I told them I couldn’t find my receipt (something I’m notorious for because I always assume what I buy, will be kept) but I am a store member and my transaction will be in the computer. Perfect.

George: (as I will name him because I wasn’t told his name) Why are you returning it?

Me: because I read the reviews and I need a better quality easel.

(I was being kind. I didn’t want to tell him what a piece of crap the easel was described as).

George: Is it still in the box?

Me: No, I slid it out and into the backpack.

George: I can’t take back an easel if the box has been opened.

Me: I haven’t opened the easel. It is still completely intact. I just slid it out and can slide it right back in.

George: But you ‘opened’ the box.

At this point I was beginning to get frustrated. 

He kept repeating the same thing over and over. I thought I was being very clear.

Then I told him that the box was already ‘open’ when I bought it. No matter.

George: It’s store policy. I can’t resell it if it came out of the box.


Now I was beginning to get a little annoyed. Well, actually a little more than annoyed. Here I have a $239 poorly reviewed product that I can’t use, and I can’t return. $239 out the window? AND I still need to purchase a useable easel!

We went round and round with no resolution...I was going to be stuck with it.

My last comments were to tell him (in a relatively nice manner) that I was a good store customer and that I would no longer be a customer.

He was unmoved. No apology. No nothing.

Okay, NOW I’m seething.

If there is a store policy that they don’t accept unboxed easels, why wasn’t I told when I checked out and handed them three $100 bills? Common sense would say, of course they would mention that it’s not returnable, right?

Perhaps there was one of those tiny little printed statements at the bottom of the receipt that I couldn’t find.

Still, this is ridiculous. I re-boxed the easel and there was no way you could tell it had ever been un-boxed, except for the opened stapled flaps that were already opened. Had I known this policy, I wouldn’t have called but done the re-boxing and brought it back.But apparently, the fact that it was ‘opened’ they wouldn’t have taken it back anyway.

My blood pressure was rising quickly. 

I am in no position to throw away $239. 

And what was I going to do about another easel. 

I couldn’t spend MORE money for another one.

I wanted to contact the store manager, but I suspected that it was a manager I spoke to because I was handed off to him when I first called.

I went to the store website and found the customer service link.

I figured it was worth a shot.

Here is a copy of what I sent

“Today I spoke to a gentleman at the store with very upsetting results. Last week I purchased “on sale” for $239 a Jullian Paris half size easel. I am familiar with Jullian easels from the past and even though I could have bought it much cheaper from the website, I decided to keep my business local and purchase it. The model was set up in the store and I checked it over to make sure it would do. There was one boxed available sitting beneath it in. The top of the box was open, meaning the large staples were already pulled back so the top of the box could be open to see the contents. I purchased the easel and when I got home, I slid it out of the box, without opening it at all, and slid it into the enclosed backpack. Then today, when I was looking for pastel carrying boxes I came across reviews for this easel and I was very upset. First, I didn’t read the bottom of the box where it said made in China. From past experiences, Jullians were made in France, hence the name, Jullian Paris. And then the reviews stated what poor quality it is including hardware, stability etc.

I need a sturdy easel for a plain air trip I am taking in October and this will not fly. So I called the store and was told that I could not return it because it was ‘out of the box’. I explained that nothing has been opened. Everything completely intact including instruction book and hand rag. I told him that when I purchased it, the box top was already open but he said it was still not returnable because he couldn’t resell it.

Needless to say I am very upset. #1 I was NOT told the policy that it couldn’t be returned. I spend close to $400 that day and if that was the policy I should have been verbally told at checkout. #2, why was  the top of the box was completely open unless someone else may have opened and inspected it.

I have taken picture of the completely intact easel and packaging. If I slip it back into the box it will be just as I received it, open box and all. I’m afraid my computer will not let me upload those photos, but I have them for reference.

When I don’t shop Jerry’s Artarama online, I shop at the store. When I told the gentleman I spoke to that due to this issue of basically wasting $230 (which I cannot afford) I will not shop there again. He seemed completely unfazed. There was no apology, no nothing. As a loyal Jerry’s customer I expected better.”

Am I expecting a reply? 

An apology? 



So there you have it. 



I think so.

Today’s Inspiration

“Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you're doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. 

You can choose to not let little things upset you.”

                                 Joel Osteen

Sorry, Joel. Maybe you can afford to lose $239. I can’t.

And it’s more the principle of the thing that angers me.

“When angry count to ten before you speak. 

If very angry, count to one hundred.”

                                            Thomas Jefferson

and if infuriated…write an email

Friday, Aug. 3 - Day 316

Okay, I really hope none of you lost any sleep after I left you hanging yesterday. 

If you did, then you are way too invested in my life, lol.

After my husband took me out for a bite to eat, (because I was still sputtering by the time he got home and couldn’t focus on making dinner - not that I ever can) and unleashed my exuberant anger at dinner, I was able to sleep, too.

First, I need to express my main philosophy in life. 

I believe in righteous anger. If something is WRONG, I believe you have a RIGHT to be angry. This, however, is not necessarily a healthy philosophy. So in general, I can contain my anger and find a healthy way to dispel it.

But yesterday…no way.

Here’s the deal.

I purchased an expensive Jullian Paris french sketchbook easel from an art store that is affiliated with the online warehouse I usually buy my supplies from. It would have been cheaper to have purchased from the warehouse and that was what I planned to do, but I wanted to see all the options available in person.

So I drove the hour to the store and went to the easel section. There was the display of outdoor field easels.As I said, they are pricey. They have some low-end ones in the $100 range, but as my husband always says, you get what you pay for.

I moved on to the Jullian Paris easels. 

These are the quintessential travel easel. 

They were made during the second world war when Roger Jullian, then a french prisoner of war, imagined a field easel combined with a paint box : 

the Jullian French easel was born…

It has been the name that artists rely on for superior, dependable quality.

Now, as any good retail store does, they put the ‘list’ price on the sale sign with their actual ‘sale’ price. Any savvy buyer knows you NEVER pay list price because it’s just an inflated price to make you feel like you’re getting a really good bargain.

So the list price on the sign was…$499. 

Yeah, right. 

The ‘sale’ price was $239 (which is still $30 - $40 more expensive than online). 

I examined the two different options (full-size, half-size) and decided the half size was a better option for me because it weighed less and had a backpack carrier included. They had one boxed easel underneath the floor model so I could pick it up (the box) to see how heavy it was. The top of the box was open. The two large staples that kept the flaps shut were already pulled away from the cardboard so I was able to peak in the box. I didn’t care that the box wasn’t sealed. 

It didn’t matter to me.

So after seeing, touching and feeling the easel (fondling might be a better word) I decided to purchase it right there rather that going home and doing it online.

That was my first big mistake.

Okay, you can get righteously angry with me now, because there’s so much more to the story and I’m feeling my blood pressure rise, so I’m going to string you along a little longer and finish this story tomorrow.


Today’s Inspiration

“People must have righteous principals in the first, 

and then they will not fail to perform virtuous actions.”

                                        Martin Luther

But then again, there are us righteous sinners. Nobody’s perfect

Thursday, Aug. 2 - Day 315

I am generally an even-keeled woman. 

I have lived long enough that not too much ruffles my feathers. 

I’ve seen a lot and done a lot so there isn’t much that surprises me.

I know, you want to know where I’m going with this, so I’ll tell you.

Last week I purchased an early 70th birthday gift from my husband.

(Very early - it isn't until May) 

Being my 70th birthday I figured it was okay to ask for a somewhat pricey gift. 



A cruise? 


The gift? A travel easel.

I’ve have done artistic work most of my life. I paint mostly with watercolors, but I paint in my house when no one is around. I’m a little shy that way.

But I’ve decided to step outside my comfort zone…WAY outside…and participate in a plein air (meaning painting on location) painting event. This event is at a seaside town frequented by many famous artists. This is VERY intimidating to me since I am not in the same class. But with all that being said, I decided that if I’m ever going to do it, I should do it while I’m still able to physically do it.

Okay, so now I’ve set the stage for this post.

I am infuriated. 

Not a word I’m used to saying. 

Not a feeling I’m used to having.

I’m actually SO infuriated that I just can’t type anymore. 

I need to go make a cup of tea, 

put on some mood music and calm down.

So I apologize. 

This means that I’m going to have to finish this tomorrow when I have hopefully returned to my normally, rational unruffled self.

Today’s Inspiration

“For every minute you remain angry, 

you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”

                                                 Ralph Waldo Emerson

That’s why I’m going to my happy place right now, Ralph

“I don't usually lose my temper, but if I get angry, it's true - I'm scary.”

                           Eva Mendes

Oh, me, too, Eva. Me, too.

Wednesday, Aug 1st - Day 314

Just a quick post because we keep losing power

Today’s Inspiration

Never be afraid to try something new. 

Remember, amateurs built the ark…

professionals built the Titanic 

Tuesday, July 31 - Day 313

I think I may have posted this before. 

I honestly can’t remember.

But it’s too good not to repost.









Today’s Inspiration

“Do you want to live life, or do you want to escape life?”


Hmmm, I want to do both

Monday, July 30 - Day 312

This may be one of the best new ideas yet - 

at least that’s what the five star reviews are saying. 

Judge for yourself.

iPad Mount Clear Shower Curtain Liner Tablet or Phone Holder

Price: $27.99 & FREE Shipping

• 17 pockets ensure your device will fit at your eye level. Extra Thick, Heavy Duty 8G thickness. Strong re-enforced hem. Rust Free metal grommets. Does not need magnets, Hefty liners resist billowing or any draft suction or sticking to you. 72X72 inch.

• Watch, play with or listen to your phone or tablet in the shower. 100% waterproof. Even use your camera. Features multiple phone and tablet sized pockets on outside to hold your device. Different height levels for everyone from tall adults to children. Touch interaction from the inside of the shower or bath, change songs, play games, scroll through the news.

• Can be used on the inside of all curtains. Use with your favorite decorative fabric or cloth shower curtain, simply reach between to slip your device into a pocket. Can be used with or without a bluetooth speaker. Blue Tooth audio not required. Modern devices sound great.

• Highest Quality EVA material. Better than PEVA. Non toxic, Antimicrobial, Odorless, Eco Friendly and Mildew and Mold Resistance. Safe alternative to PVC. Will hold iphone and Android cell phones as well as apple and android tablets.

• You will wonder what you did before you had this. Watch Netflix or Youtube in the shower. Built in vertical and horizontal device holder pockets. Be more productive, learn new skills or have more fun! Makes a great gift or try it yourself!

So here’s some of the more amusing 5 star reviews

It's exactly what's described in the description and it works great. Although one thing that you could add is a few more slots lower cuz when taking a bath the lowest slot you have is still to high to be able to watch my Netflix comfortably . But other than that it's exactly what I ordered and came quick and packaged fine. Would recommend to friends! Thanks :)

This is the coolest shower curtain ever. I have used a clear shower curtain for some time and I stumbled across this one on Buzzfeed. I think it was posted as a joke as an item that most people wouldn’t normally purchase but I love it! It’s so easy to just drop my phone in one of the outside pockets while I take my shower. Because the pockets are on the dry side of the curtain, you never have to worry about them dropping into the shower when attempting to change the song. And, quite by accident, I figured out that it still responds to your touch through the curtain while my iPhone is in the outside pocket. BONUS!! If you don’t mind the idea of a clear shower curtain (or your paranoid of someone sneaking up and pulling a Jamie Lee Curtis on you while you are showering) I highly recommend that you pick one of these up. I think my dog probably knows far more about me than he should not but unless he learns to talk, I feel pretty comfortable that I’m safe.

Works Great. Now all I need is to find a way to use my devices in my sleep.

Cleanliness is important but my book and reading addiction made my personal habits iffy until this little joy came into my life, I can shower and read at the same time. I thank you and so does everyone around me.

When you absolutely need to watch Netflix, HBO or YouTube, this curtain is great! Oh, and it works well as a shower curtain, too.

WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE, I'm mad I didn't find out about this til now lol. I just moved to a new place and needed new shower curtain liners, and this listing came up and I was immediately intrigued. Why? Because I'm addicted to my phone and iPad. I need at least one of them playing a video in the background at all times - when I'm cooking, cleaning, painting, and yes, even showering (I know, I'm sad). When I shower, I usually have my iPad propped up on the sink but I can't watch the videos, I just hear the audio of the video playing on the sink. But now I just stick my phone or ipad into one of the many pockets on this curtain liner, adjust the volume before climbing into the tub, and bam I can watch AND listen to videos while showering. The pockets are on the outside of the liner so water does not go into the pockets at all. Sound and screen resolution are great, just make sure to put the volume up a little higher than normal BEFORE you start the shower. The touchscreen works perfectly too, from inside the shower (I have an iPhone 7+). I've used this every day for a week and I LOVE IT.

(saying this person is addicted, is a major understatement)

The ultimate in hands-free shower porn. Never drop your phone again!

(Well, I guess there’s one in every crowd.)

Today’s Inspiration

"If I could read while I was driving, showering, socializing or sleeping, 

I would do it."

                                Elizabeth Gilbert

well, now you can at least do one of those things, Elizabeth

Sunday, July 29 - Day 311

Okay, so I’m honoring my promise. 

No more expensive food posts…for the time being.

As I sat trying to think of something of interest, I came across something

that touched something hidden away in me from long ago.

When I was a youngster of 4 or 5, we lived in a house with a large pussy willow tree. I’ll never forget that first spring when the furry little buds appeared on the twiggy branches. Technically, the furry buds are called catkins which seems the perfect name because they are grey and soft and furry like a little kitten. I remember picking one, just one, and holding it, stroking it, and making a little bed out of a little box lined with soft tissue. I gave it a name, but it was so very long ago I don’t remember what it was. But I treasured my little pet until the day it was accidentally thrown away. I was devastated, but was consoled by the hundreds of other kitties on the tree. And every spring they came back, and every spring I would nestle some kitties in my hand and brush it across my cheek, until a few years later we moved away. Life went on and honestly, 

I forgot all about pussy willows.

And then I came across this, and the memories returned.

…the legend of pussy willows…

According to an old Polish legend, a mother cat was crying at the bank of the river in which her kittens were drowning. The willows at the river’s edge longed to help her, so they swept their long, graceful branches into the water to rescue the tiny kittens who had fallen in while chasing butterflies. The kittens gripped tightly to their branches and were brought safely to shore. Every springtime since, goes the legend, the willow branches sprout tiny fur-like buds at their tips where the tiny kittens once clung.

And there you have it. A lovely legend…and I believe every word of it.

Today’s Inspiration

“When you look into the eyes of an animal you've rescued, 

you can't help but fall in love.”

                                     Paul Shaffer

…and that’s just what the willow did…

Saturday, July 28 - Day 310

Maybe because it’s almost lunch time and I’m hungry, 

I decided to do one last day of pricey eats. 

I promise, last day.

So from People Magazine, May 2018

Cha-Ching! See the World's Most Outrageously Expensive Foods

Taco $25,000

Why order Taco Bell when you can indulge in the world’s most expensive taco? New to the Grand Velas Los Cabos Resort, this dish features Kobe beef, Almas Beluga caviar and black truffle brie cheese. Oh, and it is served on a gold flake-infused corn tortilla. If you’re looking to spend big money, for just another $150,000, you can complement your taco with a glass of Ley.925 Pasión Azteca Ultra Premium Añejo (tequila).

Popcorn $250 

Made with salt from the island of Laeso, caramel and covered in 23-Karat edible gold flake, Berco’s popcorn touts itself as the “Billion Dollar Popcorn.” Rapper 2 Chainz tried the sweet and salty snack during a segment of GQ’s “Most Expensivest S—” video series. “It leaves gold on your fingers,” he said, while munching on a few kernels. “I think it makes my skin shine and glisten.” The golden treat is $250 for a 1 gallon tin, $500 for 2 gallons and $2,500 for a 6 1/2 gallon tin. And if you were wondering what a single kernel runs for? It’s $5 a pop. Hey, at least it doesn’t actually cost a billion dollars.

Cupcake $1007

Called the “Golden Phoenix,” this cupcake from Bloomsbury – a boutique in the Dubai Mall – is made using 23-carat gold sheets, Ugandan vanilla beans, Italian chocolate, and gold-dipped strawberries, reports Food Beast. And no spur of the moment purchases here: The bakery requires a 48-hour notice to create the cupcake.

Kit Kat $88

Nestle Australia is celebrating the Chinese New Year with 24K gold-covered Kit Kats. The exclusive candy bar will be made with Phoenix Oolong tea leaves, lychee, rose petals and covered in edible gold leaf, whole rose buds and rose jelly. The catch? Only 88 bars will be made available at the Kit Kat concept store in Melbourne, Australia starting Jan. 28.

Twinkie $125

In honor of the 125th Orange County Fair kicking off July 17, the “Deep Fry King of California” Chicken Charlie created a Twinkie topped with “the finest caviar.

But here’s my favorite, folks…

Diamond Christmas Cake $1.72 MILLION!

Carat cake, anyone? 

This two-layer hexagonal fruit cake from Tokyo’s Takashimaya Department Store is so decadent, it’s decorated with 223 diamonds totaling 173 carats.

I want to be invited to THAT Christmas party!

Today’s Inspiration

“It's so comforting to have a small piece of cake. Just one slice.”

                                        Mary Berry

With a scoop of diamonds, instead of ice cream, on the side.

Friday, July 27 - Day 309

After yesterday’s hot dog post, I felt guilty that the hamburger might feel slighted.


So reprinted from Money Magazine, I’m giving the burger its fair share of the limelight.

By BRAD TUTTLE May 27, 2016

To celebrate National Hamburger Day—Saturday, May 28—we’ve gathered an assemblage of some of the wildest, glitziest, most over-the-top burger creations in history. Rather than your typical humble blue-collar hamburger, these burgers might be topped in caviar and foie gras, be large enough to feed hundreds of people, or cost about as much as a decent used car. But hey, as far as we know, at least none of them charge extra for adding cheese.

$777 Burger at Paris Las Vegas

If ever there was a destination where crazy expensive burgers are par for the course, it’s glittery, indulgent Las Vegas. Le Burger Brasserie inside the Paris Las Vegas Casino doesn’t disappoint with the 777 Burger: Kobe beef and Maine lobster, served with imported brie cheese, carmelized onions, crispy pancetta, and a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne on the side. 

The price, naturally, is $777.

$1,770 Glamburger at Honky Tonk

The original Glamburger at the American-themed Honky Tonk in London was released in 2014 and priced at an astounding £1,110 (around $1,770 back then). Nowadays the closest customers can get is the Mini Glam Burger, consisting of a half-pound patty served with brie, truffle oil, half a golden egg, and a golden-leaf sprinkled bun, which is priced at the relative bargain rate of £24.95 (about $37).

Though it’s not priced in the same stratosphere as the other over-the-top burgers on our list, a pair of very special burgers from Wendy’s stand out because they were available from a true fast-food chain–and they weren’t released as a publicity stunt (not totally, anyway). Wendy’s locations in Japan took a turn upscale a few years ago with the addition of deluxe burgers topped in a choice of lobster and caviar or foie gras and truffle sauce. Each sold for the equivalent of around $16—which would get you 16 items in Wendy’s 4 for $4 deal available now in the U.S.

$666 "Douche Burger"

All of the burgers presented here are pretty much obnoxious and absurd, but at least the Douche Burger from the 666 Burger food truck in New York City was self-aware. In 2012, the truck (which is no longer in business) added a new item to its normal menu of $6.66 burgers billed as “so delicious they’re evil.” Described colorfully as “a f***ing burger filled and topped with rich people s***” by the 666 Burger truck’s owner, the Douche Burger consisted of caviar, lobster, foie gras, and Himalayan rock salt piled on top of a Kobe beef patty—all wrapped in three greasy $100 bills.

$139 "Bling Burger" at Burger King

The “Bling Burger,” as it was nicknamed, was introduced by Burger King in the UK in the summer 2008. Priced at £95 (about $139 today), the creation formally known as simply The Burger was prepared in Cristal champagne, served with white truffles, and was ahead of the curve in terms of beating other restaurants to the gimmicky, glitzy burger market. Alas, though, the timing wasn’t altogether great, as it was released on the cusp of the Great Recession.

$5,000 FleurBurger at Fleur in Las Vegas

It’s back to Sin City for the FleurBurger 5000, introduced in 2011 at the Hubert Keller-run restaurant Fleur, inside Mandalay Bay Casino. In addition to the usual—Kobe beef, foie gras, lots of truffles—this burger came with a rare bottle of Petrus and diners got to keep the fancy Ichendorf Brunello glasses it was poured in. The $5,000 FleurBurger price tag would tie it with the Guinness World Record for most expensive hamburger, a title held by Juicys in Corvallis, Oregon. 

The main difference between the two is that the Juicys burger doesn’t come with a beverage—and at a whopping 777 pounds, it’ll feed quite a few more people than the FleurBurger.

Yet again, I am speechless. 

Hungry, but speechless.

Today’s Inspiration

“You know most of the food that Americans hold so dear - 

things like hamburgers and hot dogs - were road food, 

but even before they were road food, they were peasant food.”

                                   Alton Brown

Sorry, Alton. There’s not a peasant in sight.

Thursday, July 26 - Day 308

Yesterday, I brought you the $100 edible gold donut. 

Today, I bring you this, reprinted from the Today website, July 25, 2012.

...the $2300 hot dog...

Just when you thought the world of hot dogs couldn’t get any crazier, New York City rooftop lounge 230 FIFTH ups the stakes, creating a hot dog priced at $2,300.

230 FIFTH has had a short but meaningful history with hot dogs. Last Fourth of July, they invited competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi to challenge Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest participants on a live broadcast. They then installed a hot dog stand on the rooftop lounge, which has been popular with customers, and on July 30 the restaurant will release its world-record $2,300 footlong hot dog.

It seems unruly to charge more than two grand for a meager 12-inch hot dog, but note the elaborate additions and you’ll understand.

To start, the hot dog meat is made of marbled Wagyu beef, dry-aged for 60 days and enriched with black truffle. A dry-aged seven rib roast of this type goes for $1,225 a pop. The hot dog meat sits between a toasted brioche bun, brushed with white truffle butter and slathered with organic, saffron-infused W Ketchup that goes for $9 a bottle and $35 mustard imported from France.

The hot dog is then topped with caramelized onions that have been cooked in Dom Perignon Champagne and $389 100-year-old balsamic vinegar. The next topping, the homemade sauerkraut, is braised with champagne worth several hundred dollars and mixed with the finest caviar legally available in the U.S. 

This elaborate hot dog is finally topped off with relish made from $10 pickles

 ...and a shimmering gold leaf.

Luckily, 230 FIFTH is not being as gluttonous as eaters in charging so much money for a hot dog; proceeds from the elaborate treats go to City Harvest, a charity organization dedicated to feeding underprivileged men, women, and children in the New York City area. To put this charity event into perspective, just one hot dog sold will help feed a whopping 9,200 people.

So who will be willing for fork up the cash for this experience? According to a 230 FIFTH public relations representative, they anticipate two likely audiences: those who want to break the world record and have a hot dog experience to remember, and those who are avid supporters of City Harvest.

230 FIFTH is confident they’ll be able to sell at least five, maybe 10 of these exclusive hot dogs, and if the event is received well, we can expect to see some variation of the event next year, perhaps with a slightly higher price point. But really, how much more expensive can a hot dog get?

Well  I hate to disappoint you my friends. 

Apparently, it was a one-time charity event. 

I checked the current restaurant menu and there isn’t a hot dog to be found. 

Not at ANY price.


I really had my heart set on one.

Today’s Inspiration

“Some people wanted champagne and caviar 

when they should have had beer and hot dogs.”

                                              Dwight D. Eisenhower

Or in this case, they could have had both.

Wednesday, July 25 - Day 307

Last week, my husband told me about a program he had watched on CNBC’s “Secret Lives of the Super Rich,” about the world’s most expensive donut. 

So, of course, I had to research it so I could bring it to you. Because, well, just because it always fills me with delight to bring you bits of trivia to enrich your lives. And this one will enRICH  it, for sure.

from CNBC…

The priciest doughnut on the planet is filled with champagne

 ...and topped with 24-karat gold.

It's called the Golden Cristal Ube,

 and a dozen will set you back $1,200.

Bjorn DelaCruz, chef of the Manila Social Club in Miami, is the culinary master behind the posh pastries, (and creator of the world's most expensive pastry).

The doughnut is made with ube, a "naturally purple sweet yam found in the Philippines," according to the Manila Social Club's website.

Both the dough and the icing have a generous dose of Cristal champagne, which retails for around $200 per bottle.The doughnuts are also airbrushed with a gleaming coat of 24-karat gold and topped off with meticulously placed gold leaf, in a process that takes DelaCruz nearly two hours to execute.

Once complete, the costly confections require special transportation. 

Instead of delivery trucks, the doughnuts are driven via Rolls-Royce.

"A lot of people, when they eat this doughnut, say 'Oh, that's rich,'" Delacruz tells "Secret Lives of the Super Rich." "Usually I tell them, 'No, it's wealthy.’”

I tried to come up with a cute quip in response to this info

but seriously…I’m speechless.

Today’s Inspiration

“I eat like no other; it drives everyone crazy. I eat donuts three times a day, and I probably go through four Mountain Dews a day. I'm on, like, a sugar high at all times, pretty much.”

                                             Britt Robertson

I don’t know who you are Britt, but I sure hope you have a million dollar limit on your Gold Visa card.

Tuesday, July 24 - Day 306

‘Dementia Village’ in the Netherlands…BRILLIANT

Reprinted from Business Insider

Residents of Hogeweyk, a village located in Weesp, Netherlands, lead a normal life. They go to the grocery store, complain about the weather, and enjoy a weekly game of bingo.

But there's one thing that sets the residents apart from the general public: Everyone has an advanced form of dementia.

Hogeweyk is a nursing home disguised to look like the outside world. It helps people with mild to severe dementia suffer a little bit less in their remaining years.

According to the inspiring video I watched this morning, the residents are able to wander around without ever getting lost.

“The village is comprised of 23 houses, each with six to seven residents and a caregiver who cooks, takes people to social events, helps them go grocery shopping at the village market, and watches over them to ensure their safety.”

There is a grocery store, restaurant, and theater. And because handling money can be tricky for people with dementia, residents never need to bring cash because everything is included in the living cost, but they are given ‘currency’ to pay just as if it were real money. The goal is to re-create a normal life and keep the residents active…and safe, which is possible because there are 250 staff members to monitor them as they wander around the village, go where they want and do what they want.

Caring for people with dementia is EXTREMELY expensive. So the best part of Hogeway Village? It is government funded.

"All the residents living here need medical treatment, yes. They all have medication. They all have [an] advanced stage of dementia," van Hal said. "But they are first a person. That's why there are people living here with dementia, and not demented people.”

Residents at Hogewey can stroll through the open courtyard or help caregivers tend to one of the many gardens. Even just sitting on a bench in the outdoors can help improve their mood and overall well-being, research has found.

The efforts may only yield benefits for a few years. But van Hal said the small details can mean the most, even if it's just pouring a resident the perfect cup of coffee.

"If we know that you have sugar in your coffee, we will still ask you every day, 'Do you want sugar in your coffee?' so you can make that choice every day," van Hal said. "That you can still decide what you put in your coffee is important.”

As I said…brilliant. Dementia with dignity

I want to move to the Netherlands before dementia creeps in.

Today’s Inspiration

"At 93, so deep in dementia that she didn't remember any details of her life, my mother somehow still knew songs." 

Floyd Skloot

"Dementia is such a terrifying thing for all of us, and we are particularly bad at coping with old people in this country. 

Olivia Colman

My mother watched her loving husband look at her with blankness or contempt and sometimes hatred. And yet dementia is classed as a social condition, so that the state is not required to pay for long-term residential care. Calling it what it is - brain damage - is too expensive. 

Rose George

The most luxurious possession, the richest treasure anybody has, is his personal dignity. 

Jackie Robinson

Monday, July 23 - Day 305

Today’s inspirational thought is just too good not to share -


A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. 

The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. 

"That laundry is not very clean; she doesn't know how to wash correctly. 

Perhaps she needs better laundry soap." 

Her husband looks on, remaining silent. 

Every time her neighbor hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same comments. A month later, the woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband: "Look, she's finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this? 

" The husband replies, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows." And so it is with life... What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.

Sunday, July 22 - Day 304

What is a Freeosk?

That is the question.

I saw it pop-up on Facebook earlier this week, but didn’t check it out because it seemed like just another sponsored advertisement to entice you to buy something you don’t need.

But then this morning, it was getting some buzz from my community so I took the bait and checked it out.

It is actually a pretty nifty thing.

A Freeosk is an automated vending machine, currently located at Sam’s Clubs and Walmarts across the nation, that dispenses free samples of a variety of items. Yes, free.

You download the app, locate the Freeosk at your store, scan the barcode,


free stuff.

I haven’t actually made the trip to my local Freeosk, 

but it’s on my list for tomorrow.

I wonder what the freebie will be?

Who knows, but I don’t care. 

I have to admit, I’m just a sucker for anything free.

Today’s Inspiration

“I'll do anything for free stuff.”

                               Sandra Bullock

Atta girl, Sandra. A girl after my own heart.

Saturday, July 21 - Day 303

When does 60 + 10 NOT equal 70?

No, this not a Common Core math riddle.

A local department store has gone bankrupt and a liquidation company has taken over to get rid of as much merchandise as possible, floor to ceiling, so everything including light fixtures to display cases are up for grabs.

So you would think that prices would be slashed to rockbottom.

Well, not quite yet.

It started months ago with everything reduced 40 - 50 %. 

Sounds good, except that this a high-end store (which basically means that is overpriced, HIGHLY overpriced, to start with).

So 50% off an $80 blouse is still $40.

As the weeks have turned into months, the ‘sale’ has continued and the prices have slowly dropped - 

40 - 50%…40 - 60%…50 - 70% and now they are down to 60 - 80%.

So my curiosity was peaked and I wandered in to see if I could score a bargain.

As I walked the aisles, strewn with tables overflowing with shoe boxes, t-shirts and sweaters, racks stuffed with pants and dresses, I read the bold orange signs with their black marker indications that prices were indeed dropping.

Merchandise that started at 40%, slashed to 50%, slashed to 60% (still WAY too pricey) now had signs stating ‘take additional 10% off’ off the lowest sale price.

So now it’s 70% off most items, many of which have already been reduced. 

Okay, now you’re talking.

I perused the racks and tables, not really finding many treasures except one pair of dress pants in a petite length (which in and of itself is a treasure since I am slightly vertically challenged at 5ft 1in). They were a very well-made pair or pants originally $48 (way above my budget), but they were 60% off and then another 10% making it 70%.

So here you go, the point of my post.

$48 x 70% off = $14.40 - great.

But apparently that’s not how liquidation sales work.

They take the 10% off the $48 - $43.20.

THEN they take the 60% off which then equals $17.28 - $2.88 more.

I know that may not sound like a lot, and in the scheme of things it really isn’t, but it’s the sneaky deception that gets me. 

And most people are clueless.

Next week they are adding an additional 20% off to the 60% - so here’s that math.

$48 x 80% = $9.60

$48 x 20% = $38.40 - then $38.40 x 60% = $15.36 ($5.76 more than if it was truly 80%, and only $1.92 less than the 70% price.


If they keep this up, and advertise 90% off with an additional 10%…basically 100% (technically free)…

$48 x 10% = $43.20

$43.20 x 90% = $4.32

Not free at all, is it?

American capitalism…gotta love it.

Today’s Inspiration

“As I've said before, free money scams are a problem.” 

                                         Matthew Lesko

Not sure who said it, but if it sounds too good to be true…it is.

Friday, July 20 - Day 302

I have have an unexpected change of plans today so I'm just going to leave you with a passing thought.

Today's Inspiration

"Those who dance are considered quite insane by those who cannot hear the music."

                                     Angela Monet 

Thursday, July 19 - Day 301

Today's inspiration from The Minds Journal

"You might think you don't matter in this world, but because of you, someone has a favorite mug to drink their tea out of each morning that you bought them. 

Someone hears a song on the radio and it reminds them of you. 

Someone has read a book you recommended and gotten lost in the pages.


Someone's remembered a joke you told them and smiled to themselves on the bus. 

Someone's tried on a top and felt beautiful because you complimented them on it. 

Someone has a memory that involves you and it makes them grin. 

Someone now likes themselves a little bit more because you made a passing comment that made them feel good. 

Never think you don't have an impact. Your fingerprints can't be wiped away from the little marks of kindness that you've left behind." matter...I matter...we ALL matter...

Wednesday, July 18 - Day 300

I am ever so sorry - I missed out on giving you this information yesterday. My only excuse was that sex for 70-yr-olds must have distracted me.

So it's a day late, but I know it's info you really  can't live without...right? 

Well, maybe not.


An Irish-American stunt pilot from Galveston, Texas, gained notoriety for an unplanned transatlantic flight to Ireland on July 17, 1938. 

 It is National Wrong Way Corrigan Day.

Growing up as a boy, Douglas Corrigan’s (January 22, 1907- December 9, 1995) fascination with flight was not uncommon. Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight may have been the most impressionable moment in his young life. In 1938 the young stunt pilot flew from his home in California to New York and requested permission to duplicate his hero’s historic flight. They quickly denied his request due to the age of Corrigan’s 1929 Curtiss Robin.

With only a magnetic compass, Corrigan advised officials he was returning to California. According to the story, after takeoff, cloud cover prevented Corrigan from accurate navigation. It wasn’t until he dropped below the clouds hours later and saw water surrounded him that Corrigan realized his navigation was off, and 28 hours later he landed in Ireland. Or so he said. Reporters suggested Corrigan made secret plans to repeat his hero’s flight anyway, but years later Corrigan held to his original explanation.

Corrigan’s received a movie deal and soon played himself in The Flying Irishman. During World War II, he tested bombers and after the war toured the country with other familiar war heroes in parades. As the notoriety died down, Corrigan settled into a quiet life with his wife and family occasionally running into a reporter who wanted question the veracity of his story.

So there you have it. 

Now you can wow your friends with this little bit of trivia next July 17th

You're welcome

Today's Inspiration  

"I'm always trolling for trivia."

 Lynn Abbey, too, Lynn. Me, too...

I'm just a wealth of worthless information.

And proud of it

Tuesday, July 17 - Day 299

So today I had my intake evaluation for physical therapy for my poor, pathetic, arthritic knee. I arrived with knee brace and cane, fully equipped with the MRI report and ready to start the PT journey to help my knee.

As I sat in the waiting room, after filling out the obligatory paperwork, I perused the magazines on the table next to me. I had to search through 10 different copies of Outdoor Magazine before I got to a magazine that didn’t have a hiker or bicyclist at the top of a mountain on the cover. I looked around the waiting room and there wasn’t a person under the age of 70, so I suspected that these magazines were there just to remind all of us that life had passed us by, because I didn't think any of our futures included extreme outdoor sports - 

...or sports of any kind in my case...

Next on the pile was a copy of Vogue.


But then I found the treasure…the AARP magazine.


Something age appropriate for someone with a cane and a limp.

And then I hit the mother lode…an article on “Your Body At 70.”

And as I read page after page, it described what to expect to be happening in your body…everything from your brain, to your skin, to your health risks, to your bones and muscles, to your sex life. 

I’m not even going to go there.

In some ways, it was very encouraging. 

It said the cancer risk was less than it would be from previous generations (due to proper screening). It said you were likely to be happier and more fulfilled in your 70s. It said that you were probably in a happy marriage. It said that a few extra pounds could actually prolong your life. (I like that one).

Then of course, it had the stats on your muscles getting weaker, your hair and bones getting thinner, your skin saggier, and your heart potentially needing a pacemaker because it had been beating for so long.

But overall, it was an informative and slightly uplifting article.

But as I said, I’m not discussing the sex life over 70. 

If you’re interested, look it up yourself…in the May 2018 issue.

Today’s Inspiration

“Ageing's alright, better than the alternative, which is not being here.” 

                                George H. W. Bush

Monday, July 16 - Day 298

Okay, so coffee cup inventors seem to be working overtime. 

Remember the Ember ceramic coffee mug I talked about over the winter? 

Here’s the brief skinny in case you forgot -



Beautifully designed to be used in your home or at your desk, the Ember® Ceramic Mug keeps your beverages at the perfect temperature from the first sip to the last drop.

The Ember® Ceramic Mug is a connected device that requires the use of the Ember app. The Ember app will notify you once your drink has reached your preferred temperature.


Remotely adjust to your ideal temperature

Select your personalized LED color

Choose and save your presets for different drinks

Switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit

Temperature range: 120°F - 145°F

And yesterday, I brought you the much less expensive techie coffee mug - the battery-powered self-stirrer for $12.95.

So today I bring you my latest find (found at Starbucks, of course) - a travel mug with a built-in (but removable) blue tooth speaker as the base of the mug.

All for $39.95

So you can be sipping your coffee while listening to your favorite music, 

all in one gulp, (pardon the pun).

Now I listen to music all the time in my house, in my car, so I’m not sure why I might be enticed to bring a musical mug with me when I’m out and about, but to each his own. 

I suppose if you have a long sit-down job on the potty it could be of some use.

Well, there you have it. 

Another great find for coffee (and music) lovers.

 For $39.95.

Have at it.

Today’s Inspiration

“My definition of 'innovative' is providing value to the customer.”

Mary Barra

“If I had a free afternoon, I would play music, sit in my backyard, and drink coffee.”

Aja Naomi King

…and all you would need would be this cup…

“There seems to be no limit to the exciting possibilities that come from combining technical innovations, the Internet, and social media.”

Mohamed El-Erian

…and the coffee mug…

Sunday, July 15 - Day 297

The height of genius? 

The height of laziness? 

The height of capitalism at its best…

taking advantage of the poor caffeine-deprived morning person?

The self- stirring coffee mug from Blue Crate

“The morning is tough enough! Why make life harder than it needs to be by having to stir your own coffee or tea?

With our self-stirring mug you don't need to stir any longer. Even better, it will keep your drink hot on the way into the office. Life changing!”

Today’s inspiration

“All of the biggest technological inventions created by man - 

the airplane, the automobile, the computer - says little about his intelligence, 

but speaks volumes about his laziness.”

                                     Mark Kennedy

Yeah, I think this mug fits the category.

Saturday, July 14 - Day 296

I hope you all survived yesterday without any evil or unlucky incidents. 

I know I did.

But being the curious person I am, I decided to google Saturday the 14th to see if there are any, day-after-the-13th, predictions or traditions and this popped up.

Saturday the 14th is a 1981 American horror comedy film starring real-life husband and wife Paula Prentiss and Richard Benjamin, co-written and directed by Howard R. Cohen and produced by Julie Corman.

As a writer, I thought, clever play on a superstitious day

The plot - 

An all-American family inherits a deceased uncle's house. John (Richard Benjamin) and Mary (Paula Prentiss), together with daughter Debbie (Kari Michaelsen) and son Billy (Kevin Brando), move in, but Waldemar (Jeffrey Tambor), a vampire, and Yolanda (Nancy Lee Andrews), his wife, want desperately to get into the rundown house because it contains a book of evil.

Billy finds the mysterious book. He reads of a curse hanging over the date of Saturday the 14th. As he turns the page, a monster is unleashed, and with each turn another disappears from the page and is materialized within or outside the home. The house is soon swarming with monsters.

Strange things start happening: eyes appear in John's coffee, sandwiches are mysteriously eaten, the television tunes into The Twilight Zone only, dirt is found in Mary's bed, dishes get done by themselves, neighbors disappear. As this is happening, neither John or Mary suspect anything, oblivious to the spooky occurrences around them.

Okay, that’s enough of a description of the movie. I don’t want to do a spoiler on the off-chance you might want to rent this movie.

Personally, I’m not so inclined. 

It got a one star review and I suspect it’s probably not going to be remade with Keanu Reeves and Julia Roberts.

But knowing Hollywood…who knows?

Today’s inspiration

“Oh God, I'm going to get in trouble for saying this, but I grew up falling asleep in church because I was tired from watching horror movies late at night.”

KaDee Strickland

“Horror movies don't exist unless you go and see them, and people always will.”

Joss Whedon

“Horror movies are the best date movies. There's no wondering, 'When do I put my arm around her?’”

Eli Roth

Hmmm, not sure I’d let my granddaughter date HIM.

Friday, July 13th - Day 295

Yes, it’s Friday the 13th. 

I personally have never been superstitious, but I know many people who are. 

Just in case you’re curious, I thought I’d post a little trivia regarding the day.

From Wikipedia


The fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name:

 "triskaidekaphobia"; and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning "Friday"), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”)

(Try and say THAT 10 times fast)

The superstition surrounding this day may have arisen in the Middle Ages, "originating from the story of Jesus' last supper and crucifixion" in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday.

While there is evidence of both Friday and the number 13 being considered unlucky, there is no record of the two items being referred to as especially unlucky in conjunction before the 19th century.

An early documented reference in English occurs in Henry Sutherland Edwards' 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th:

He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, its remarkable that on Friday 13th of November he passed away.

Social impact

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day, making it the most feared day and date in history. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. "It's been estimated that $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day”.

Rate of accidents

A study in the British Medical Journal, published in 1993, attracted some attention from popular science-literature[, as it concluded that "'the risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent' on the 13th"; however, the authors clearly state that "the numbers of admissions from accidents are too small to allow meaningful analysis". Subsequent studies have disproved any correlation between Friday the 13th and the rate of accidents..

So there you have it, and whether you are shivering under the covers today or climbing a mountain, it will STILL be Friday the 13th for us all.

Have a safe day.

Today’s Inspiration

“Everyone has his superstitions. One of mine has always been when I started to go anywhere, or to do anything, never to turn back or to stop until the thing intended was accomplished.”

Ulysses S. Grant

“Don't be superstitious. Nothing will happen on Friday the 13th that cannot happen on Saturday the 14th.”     


“Don't walk under any ladders, Don't break any mirrors, Don't spill any salt, And don't walk by any black cats. Happy Friday the 13th!”


“Fear of Friday the 13th one of the most popular myths in science is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.”


“President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and President Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.”     


“Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.”



“I'm not nearly as afraid of Friday the 13th as I am of the people who are afraid of Friday the 13th.”


“Superstition is foolish, childish, primitive, and irrational-but how much does it cost you to knock on wood?”    

Judith Viorst

Thursday, July 12 - Day 294

Yes, I have finally located and been re-united with my laptop charger, but this late in the day I am just going to leave you with food for thought.

Today’s inspiration

“Calm down. Both your sins and your good deeds will be lost in oblivion.”

                                           Czeslaw Milosz

Think about it

Wednesday, July 11 - Day 293

My laptop charger has disappeared to parts unknown and I have only minutes of power left, only enough to say...hello and goodbye. Hopefully, it will wander back into my possession for tomorrow's post...otherwise...

Tuesday, July 10 - Day 292

Q: Doctor, I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?

A: The heart is only good for just so many beats and that’s all. Don’t waste it on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up the heart doesn’t make you live longer. It’s like saying that you will extend the life of your car by driving it faster.

Brilliant answer!

Today’s Inspiration

“I have never taken any exercise, except sleeping and resting, and I never intend to take any.”

                                               Mark Twain

Couldn’t have said it better myself Mr. Twain

Monday, July 9 - Day 291

You good people know that in the past I have given you some very interesting information about…the nuances of toilets and toilet paper, probably more than you ever needed, or WANTED to know about.

Well, just when you thought there was not much more to be said about the subject, I ran across this…

 and I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t share it with you.

So here it is, straight from their website, 

because #1- I can’t resist, 

and #2 - I honestly believe that this noble idea is brilliantly altruistic

(and if I could afford it, I’d buy it in a heartbeat).

from their website…

Sure, we love puppies and sunny days and walks on the beach, but our real love is toilet paper. 

Why, you might ask?

First of all, it's funny. 

Lots of room for toilet jokes, which we love.

But really, we love toilet paper because for us, it's our way of making a difference. We started Who Gives A Crap when we learnt that 2.3 billion people across the world don't have access to a toilet. That's roughly 40% of the global population and means that around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. 

That's almost 800 children per day, or one child every two minutes.

We thought that was pretty crap. 

So in July 2012, Simon, Jehan and Danny launched Who Gives A Crap with a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo. Simon sat on a toilet in our draughty warehouse and refused to move until we had raised enough pre-orders to start production. 50 hours and one cold bottom later, we'd raised over $50,000

((I have to interject here, that he should have earned a lot more that $50,000 for THAT feat…50 hours on the pot!!!!Serious potty ring!))

We delivered our first product in March 2013 and have been thrilled to keep growing ever since. Not just because our toilet paper is gracing bathrooms across the country but also because we donate 50% of our profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.

Though we're still growing, and now make more than just toilet paper, we always want to stay true to our roots: toilet humor and making the world a better place.

We're determined to prove that toilet paper is about more than just wiping bums. We make all of our products with environmentally friendly materials, and we donate 50% of our profits to help build toilets for those in need. To date we've donated over $1.2m Aussie dollars (that’s the equivalent of over $950,000!) to charity and saved a heck of a lot of trees, water and energy. 

Not bad for a toilet paper company, eh?

Good for the world

All of our products are made without trees.

Good for people

Our TP helps build toilets for people who need them.

Good for your bum

We don't use any inks, dyes or scents.

Awesome, right? So if you are interested, here are a few of their products---



Our softest loo roll ever— it’s like wiping with clouds

Made with 100% forest friendly bamboo

No inks, dyes or scents

Luxurious trois-ply (that’s 3-ply in French, darling)



Jumbo rolls—400 sheets per roll!

Incredible value starting at just 25¢ per 100 sheets (including delivery!)

Made with 100% recycled paper

No inks, dyes or scents

Our 3-ply is as soft as unicorn kisses and as strong as 1000 ponies

Box Size:

48 Rolls for $48 - Best Value!24 Rolls for $30

Today’s Inspiration

a few reviews from the over 300 five-star reviews about

“This tp is soft and durable. We use less than any other brand. I am environmentally conscious and have used recycled paper for many years. I felt that that was the best choice I had. When I came across your ad, I was intrigued. I knew how much more sustainable bamboo is, as well as its need for water is far less than that of trees. I thought I would give it a try. I am so pleased that I did. My family likes it and guests have mentioned that they love our tp!!!

Thank you! :) “

“Soft and surprisingly strong and a roll lasts days and days and days and all for a good cause. I cannot imagine not having access to a loo in the 21st century.”

“Good quality, soft and long...what else do you need? So it's a bonus they also support good causes, have a sense of humour and "Who gives a crap" also appears on my bank statement. Loo roll that makes you smile - excellent!”

“Very literally saved my a**. I was having terrible issues with our usual toilet paper, and it turns out I am allergic. Tried other brands of dye free, scent free toilet paper and they were too scratchy for an already problematic bottom. A few months of who gives a crap toilet paper and I’m mostly back to normal. If there are awards for toilet paper, this toilet paper should win them all.”

I can’t even begin to imagine what hell it would be to be allergic to TP, so I second the idea that this company should win some awards…

Maybe the “Looie”? 

the “Crapper”? 

 (named after Thomas Crapper, inventor of the toilet.)

Sunday, July 8 - Day 290

Another good day to keep it light, and laugh

Today’s Inspiration


The Perks of Being Over 65

kidnappers are not interested in you

in a hostage situation you are likely to be released first

people call at 8 PM and ask…”did I wake you?”

people no longer view you as a hypochondriac

there is nothing left to learn the hard way

things you buy now, won’t wear out

you can eat dinner at 4 PM

you can live without sex…but not your glasses

your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size

Fun Facts

1 - you can’t see your ears without a mirror

2 - you can’t count your hair

3 - you can’t breathe through your nose while you stick out your tongue

4 - you just tried number 3

6 - when you did try it you realized that it IS possible and you looked like a dog

7 - you are smiling now, because you were fooled

8 - you skipped number 5

9 - you just checked to see if there is a number 5

For The Women…

woman has MAN in it.

mrs has MR in it

female has MALE in it.

she has HE in it.

madam has ADAM in it.

Notice how all women’s problems start with MEN?

MENtal illness

MENstrual cramps

MENtal breakdown



and when there’s REAL trouble…

it’s a HISterectomy!

Have a sparkling day y'all…and laugh

Saturday, July 7 - Day 289

It seems like a good day to laugh a little

Today’s Inspiration


Bread is like the sun.

 It rises in the yeast and sets in the waist.

To my darling children: I loved you before I knew you.

But if one of you takes my phone charger again, all bets are off.

One day you’re 25, 

staying up until 4 a.m., 

eating pizza 

and dancing like no one was ever watching.

Then suddenly, you’re 50, 

eating kale, 

going to bed at 9 p.m. 

and you can’t dance 

because you pulled a muscle putting on your socks.

I don’t jog... 

because I’ve watched enough Law & Order to know 

that’s how you end up finding a dead body.

Friday, July 6 - Day 288

How do YOU spell potato?

   If GH can stand for P as in ‘hiccough’

     If OUGH can stand for O as in ‘dough’

      If PHTH can stand for T as in ‘phthisis’

          If EIGH can stand for A as in ‘neighbour’

If TTE can stand for T as in ‘gazette’

  If EAU can stand for O as in ‘plateau’

....then the correct way to spell potato would be...


Don’t you just love the english language?

Today’s Inspiration

“My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”

                         A. A. Milne

“When our spelling is perfect, it's invisible. But when it's flawed, it prompts strong negative associations.”

                                     Marilyn vos Savant

“I was terrible in English. I couldn't stand the subject. It seemed to me ridiculous to worry about whether you spelled something wrong or not, because English spelling is just a human convention - it has nothing to do with anything real, anything from nature.”

                                     Richard P. Feynman

Thursday, July 5 - Day 287

I know it’s summer vacation and the kids are out of school, but I ran across this today and found it to be brilliant. 

I pass it on in hopes that parents might read it and perhaps use the summer to teach, unteach or reteach the values that could influence the rest of their lives, and the lives of society as a whole.

It’s a question we always ask: What are exactly school’s responsibilities? where do they begin, and where do they end?

This is especially relevant when considering where to draw the line between what constitutes parents’ responsibilities and a school’s.

A Portuguese school decided to clarify the matter once and for all, by sticking a poster in its halls- and the message they’re sending is now spreading like wildfire.

The school’s sign was later shared on Facebook, where the message contained within it quickly began to spread around the world.

The simple but effective message highlights five key points which the school is determined should be managed by the parents, as follows:

“Dear parents

◦ We would like to remind you that magic words such as hello, please, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, and thank you, all begin to be learned at home

◦ It’s also at home that children learn to be honest, to be on time, diligent, show friends their sympathy, as well as show utmost respect for their elders and all teachers.

◦ Home is where they learn to be clean, not talk with their mouths full, and how/where to properly dispose of garbage.

◦ Home is also where they learn to be organized, to take good care of their belongings, and that it’s not ok to touch others.

◦ Here at school, on the other hand, we teach language, math, history, geography, physics, sciences, and physical education. We only reinforce the education that children receive at home from their parents.

Today's inspiration

"I have learned so many things from my mother about the right upbringing, the right values, value for money, value for elders, for family members. I think these things only a parent can teach you." 

Karisma Kapoor

"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil." 

C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, July 4th - Day 286

Happy 4th of July

reprinted from Wikipedia

Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire.

After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it two days later on July 4. 

A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

Adams's prediction was off by two days.

Historians have long disputed whether members of Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed it on that day. Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.

Coincidentally, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.

Today’s inspiration

From the Declaration of Independence

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

                                 Thomas Jefferson

“I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it's marked by the blood of those who died defending it.” 

                       John Thune

“Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.”

                                       George Washington

“The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave.”

                                   Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, July 3 - Day 285

Day 3 of heat wave…

predicted heat index near 100. 

That downgrades us from an extreme heat warning to only a heat advisory.

Oh, yay!

Must be winter’s coming

Today’s inspiration

“If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

                                          Harry S Truman

Well, now how about that. 

I actually have presidential permission NOT to cook. 

Sorry, honey, I guess it's take-out again

Monday, July 2 - Day 284

Day 2 of heat index over 105 degrees.

Unsticking your thighs from plastic chairs HERE!

Today's inspiration

"If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?"

                     Steven Wright

Sunday, July 1 - Day 283

Unless you’re living in Alaska, or at least far west of the East Coast, chances are you are under an excessive heat warning today. Our temperature is 99 right now with a heat index of 107. 107 and rising, with no end in the next 24 hours.

From the AccuWeather site-

The unfolding heat wave across the northeastern United States may be especially taxing on residents since there has not been such a stretch of hot temperatures since 2016, and in some cases even longer. Days of highs in the 90s F with dangerously higher AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures are expected to grip many communities in the Northeast through at least July Fourth.

The sweltering conditions will continue at night, especially in the major urban areas where temperatures may not fall below the middle or upper 70s.

"The vast expanse of concrete, pavement and brick will give off heat through the night," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

"It will not only be very hot, but it may also be perceived as relentless for many people in the Northeast as the heat lingers into July," AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.

"Last summer, the longest stretch of 90-degree days was mostly in the four- to five-day range for areas north of the Mason-Dixon Line," he said.

This heat wave can range from six to eight days in many communities. This includes Burlington, Vermont; New York City and Albany, New York; Hartford, Connecticut; Philadelphia; and Washington, D.C."

So it’s hot. 


Brutally hot...

 and you need to follow the recommendations to avoid heat stroke - 

stay hydrated, 

avoid alcohol intake, 

wear loose, light-colored clothing, 

stay indoors in air conditioning if you can, 

avoid outdoor activities, 

pay particular attention to the elderly and children

…and dogs. 

Dogs can quickly become a victim of the heat and asphalt temperatures are burning hot to their tender paws.

With all this being said, and as I sit home in my air conditioned living room, I saw the following post that puts things in more perspective...

Today’s inspiration

“I was going to complain about the heat today, but then I realized…

It isn’t 120 degrees,

I’m not 5,700 miles from home,

I’m not dressed in full uniform, 

I’m not carrying 70+ lbs of gear,

and there is little chance of me driving over a bomb today.”

And I give thanks to those soldiers who have a legitimate cause to complain…but never do. They just selflessly serve.

Saturday, June 30 - Day 282

It is the weekend preceding the 4th of July and some communities are having their fireworks displays tonight and tomorrow. 

Most everyone looks forward to the fireworks festivities, but there are some to whom they can be traumatic.

The first are the soldiers who have served in war who suffer from PTSD. 

The sound of exploding fireworks can trigger flashbacks of war.

The second are children to whom loud noises are disturbing. Some children love the boom, boom of explosions when the sky is lit up with brilliant flashing color. 

For others, it scares them to death.

The third are dogs.

Camp K-9, a doggie daycare facility in Massachusetts wants to remind everyone that the number one day each year for a dog to run away is Fireworks Display Day/Fourth of July. Please remember that our furry friends can be sensitive to these loud noises. Although fireworks are fun for the family, your fur-baby may be better off not attending and being safely in their comfort zone at home.

So enjoy the festivities, 

but be sensitive to those who don’t share in the excitement.

Today’s inspiration

“Noises and smells, those can bring back powerful memories. I remember when I was going to school one Fourth of July, and there were a lot of fireworks going off. I knew that I was in Richmond. I knew that I was a college student. But I thought people were shooting at me.”

                              Kevin Powers

Friday, June 29 - Day 281

I love learning. 

I always have. 

I loved school even before I started kindergarten. I used to play ‘school’ when I was 4yrs-old sitting on our back steps using our metal milkbox (anybody remember those?) as a desk.

I remember the excitement I felt starting each school year with a new book bag (that’s what they were called before backpacks) a new 3 ring binder filled with lined paper, and a pencil case filled with new pens and pencils.

I LOVED school and even though my father worked a relatively low paying job, I always had the essentials I needed to go to school every day, every year.

Today, there are millions of kids who are not as fortunate.

Today I ran across this story that touched my heart beyond words.

Tammy Waddell was a teacher who sadly passed away at a young age from cancer. She must have been a wonderful woman and teacher because her final wish was that instead of flowers at her funeral, she requested that backpacks full of school supplies be brought to the funeral.The picture on Facebook showed backpacks lining the pews of the church at her funeral. 

It gave me chills.

“It shows her legacy as a teacher, that teachers never truly quit teaching. I think her final lesson was her life story, to serve others. Even in death she was thinking about those in need.”

                                                 Dr. Brad Johnson

A beautiful legacy indeed.

Today’s inspiration

Tammy Waddell

Thursday, June 28 - Day 280

Minion Thoughts

“A best friend is someone who when you show up at their door with a dead body, say nothing, grab a shovel and follow you.”

…gotta love those Minions…

Today’s inspiration

“Things are never quite as scary when you've got a best friend.”

                                         Bill Watterson

“It's not that diamonds are a girl's best friend, but it's your best friends who are your diamonds. It's your best friends who are supremely resilient, made under pressure and of astonishing value. They're everlasting; they can cut glass if they need to.”

                                     Gina Barreca

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”

                                       Groucho Marx

“When a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem.”

                                        Edward Abbey

Wednesday, June 27 - Day 279

Saw this little gem on Facebook today -

Don’t let the seeds stop you from enjoying the watermelon. Spit them out.


I also saw this recipe -

Soak watermelon slices in tequila and sprinkle with salt -

Margueritas with no glasses to wash.

Personally, I don’t drink, but this seems like a genius idea for BBQ’s.

Just make sure someone is carding the kids

 - but then again, they would sleep really good that night.

Today’s inspiration

“As a kid, I really, truly believed that if you swallowed a watermelon seed, something really bad was going to happen.“

                                        Stephanie Beatriz

“As a child in South Carolina, I spent summers like so many children - sitting on my grandparents' back porch with my siblings, spitting watermelon seeds into the garden or, even worse, swallowing them and trembling as my older brother and sister spoke of the vine that was probably already growing in my belly.”

                                               Jacqueline Woodson

Tuesday, June 26 - Day 278

Reprint from National Geographic

Huge Bubble of Hot Rock May Be Rising Under New England

If the findings hold up, the northeastern U.S. may be more geologically active than anyone realized.

By Erin Blakemore


At first glance, New England doesn’t seem like a hotbed of geologic activity. The region doesn’t have any rumbling volcanoes. Earthquakes are almost unheard of. And its mountains are mere hills compared to ranges like the Rockies or the Sierra Nevada in the western U.S.

But don’t underestimate what’s going on beneath the surface: It turns out this idyllic pocket of the northeastern U.S. may sit atop a rising mass of warm rock—a smaller, slower version of the magma pockets under well-known volcanic zones.

The findings, recently published in the journal Geology, suggest that New England may not be so immune to abrupt geological change.

A team of researchers at Rutgers University and Yale University made this surprising discovery using an advanced array of seismic sensors, which show what lies in the otherwise hidden rock below our feet.

“Ten years ago, this would not have been possible,” says study coauthor Vadim Levin, a professor at Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s department of Earth and planetary sciences. “Now, all of a sudden, we have a much better eye to see inside the Earth.”


Inside our planet, heat from the volatile core makes its way up through the mantle—the hot, high-pressure zone that lies below the planet’s crust. That heat causes the crust’s tectonic plates to slip and slide around. Where those plates collide or divide is where we most often see mountains, earthquakes, and volcanoes. (These mesmerizing pictures show lava flows from the air, land, and sea.)

Since we can’t see that deep into the planet, geologists use seismic vibrations caused by earthquakes to visualize the features within rock. Sensing how fast seismic ripples move, for instance, provides details about the structure and temperature of Earth’s mantle. (Here’s why geologists think the Yellowstone supervolcano may rumble to life faster than thought.)

In this case, Levin’s team studied data from EarthScope, a National Science Foundation program that deploys hundreds of geophysical instruments across the United States. The project’s Transportable Array, a temporary network of seismic sensors, made its way around the country starting in 2007. The array picked up readings from small earthquakes and observed the motions of seismic waves in various regions.

The team piggybacked off previous research showing a relatively hot spot beneath New England’s upper mantle. Using data from EarthScope, they then observed a localized plume of warm rock beneath central Vermont, western New Hampshire, and western Massachusetts—and found geologic evidence that it’s on the move.

Less dense areas are where the rock is hotter, and seismic waves move more slowly. That’s what the team saw under New England. They also observed wave patterns that suggest deformations in the rock itself.

Normal plate motion leaves the geologic equivalent of skid marks in its wake, which seismic sensors can detect. In this region, however, the skid marks were gone—erased by the upward movement of warmer rock.


New England residents don’t need to panic. The upwelling is likely tens of millions of years old, which would make it a relatively recent development in geological terms, and it’s moving very slowly. For now, it certainly hasn’t gotten close enough to the surface to shape New England’s geography or create a volcano.

So looks like we have a million or two years before we need to worry.

So maybe we won't relocate to Alaska after all.

Today's inspiration

"We still carry this old caveman-imprint idea that we're small, nature's big, and it's everything we can manage to hang on and survive. When big geophysical events happen - a huge earthquake, tsunami, or volcanic eruption - we're reminded of that."

                                                   James Balog

"We're constantly re-evaluating the potential for life. We're finding it where we didn't think it could exist, such as volcanic vents and other extreme conditions like under arctic ice. We're finding life in these incredibly harsh and dynamic conditions, so we're having to re-evaluate our own ideas of what's possible on this planet alone."

 Joe Rogan

Hmmmm, well I guess we'll have to wait a long time to find out what (or who) is living down there.

Monday, June 25- Day 277

So awhile back I mentioned my stress fracture, osteoporosis and some other physical fun facts. Well, today I’m going to share a possible solution to one of the quandaries-that I can’t take osteoporosis meds because of some other underlying issues.

Now, I’m all for trying anything that sounds reasonable and do-able and when this option was presented I thought, “hey, I can try that.”

I watched a movie called “Miso Hungry Documentary” which was made by a comedian and filmmaker with an interesting life-style. He was over 350lbs, lived on huge quantities of fast food and soda, and sat at his computer all day and night.

He was a self-admitted extremely unhealthy individual. Another filmmaker who was a friend of his wanted to make a documentary about the Japanese life-style to determine why they are so healthy with the lowest obesity, cardiac, diabetes and cancer rates.

So he talked his friend into going to Japan to ‘learn and live’ the lifestyle to see how his life would change. Prior to leaving he had extensive medical testing that quantified exactly how unhealthy he was and that he was headed for a long walk off a short medical pier.

It was a fascinating movie (on Amazon) and if you’re not squeamish, I highly recommend it. It’s highly entertaining, funny, and informative.

What I got out of it for my own benefit, however, was learning about a Japanese food substance called natto.

When it was introduced to him at one of his first meals it was described as an ancient delicacy - a sticky, stringy whole soy food made of fermented soybeans to which a bacillus subtitles culture is added. He was also told, and found out the hard way…it stinks…with an odor similar to paint thinner and tasted, well, all I have to say is it looked disgusting and I give him credit for his bravery. But he was in for the long haul and ate everything they told him to.

Natto is high in protein with a potent enzyme called nattokinase, and vitamin k2 (which is the real hero in this story).

Vit K2 plays an essential role in bone metabolism and there are some studies that suggest that it can help osteoporosis and fractures. Now if you google it, there is very little real data to sufficiently support it helping, but I’m game for anything. And if there’s a chance, even a slight one, that it will help me prevent a broken hip, I’ll give it a shot.

So today, I was able to locate a little container of the sticky, stringy, smelly fermented beans at Whole Foods, and brought it home.

First, opened the container. 

I was pleasantly surprised that the smell didn’t send me gagging to the bathroom. It indeed has a pungent acetoney odor but it wasn't as bad as I thought.

Then I took a spoon and stirred up the beans as instructed to do.


It vaguely resembles baked beans that someone with a very nasty cold sneezed on. 

So I took some on the end of the spoon, and egged on by my daughter and granddaughter, I put one bean in my mouth.

No, no, they said. 

Put the whole spoon in your mouth.

Like hell I will, I said.

That one gooey, nasty-tasting bean was more than enough. It took several minutes for me to actually chew and swallow it.

There are no words to describe the consistency and taste. But I figure if this stuff can help my bones, I’m just going to have to grin and bear it.

Well, I did it - 

the whole spoonful without regurgitating it, followed by the biggest strawberry I could find, to kill the taste.

The label on the container says it “has a distinct flavor worth trying and that the ‘blessings it brings are unique, numerous and significant.’”

I’d love to meet the adman who came up with that little piece of propaganda.

And I’m still waiting for the blessings.

By the way, I showed it to my husband

 and he said it looks like a container of maggots.

Today’s inspiration

“I think that the Japanese culture is one of the very few cultures left that is its own entity. They're just so traditional and so specific in their ways. It's kind of untouched, it's not Americanized.”

Toni Collette

Sunday, June 24 - Day 276

Okay, so I’ve said all I wanted to say about dealing with the negative people in your life and now I’m moving on to this…

“Left-handed people are wired into the artistic half of the brain, which makes the imaginative, creative, surprising, ambiguous, exasperating, stubborn, emotional, witty, obsessive, infuriating, delightful, original, and…never, never, never dull.”                                          

                  James T. deKay

And guess what? 

I am left-handed.

My husband says that explains SO much.

Today’s inspiration

“I'm left-handed: I can think and feel at the same time. My feminine side is very highly developed.”

                                           Laurence Fishburne

“God made everyone right-handed, the truly gifted overcome it.” Anonymous

“If the left half of the brain controls the right half of the body then only left handed people are in the right mind.”

                          W.C. Fields

“Everybody is born left handed. You become right handed after your first sin.”


“Lefties – in great demand but limited supply!”


Saturday, June 23 - Day 275

Day five of dealing with difficult people.

Today’s inspiration

The greatest stress you go through when dealing with a difficult person is not fueled by the words or actions of this person - it is fueled by your own mind giving their words and actions importance.

Friday, June 22 - Day 274

Day four - dealing with other’s negativity

Today’s inspiration

It’s okay to be upset. It’s never okay to be cruel. Rage and resentment do not change the hearts of others - they only change yours.

Thursday, June 21 - Day 273

Dealing with negative people - day three

Today’s inspiration

Always set an example. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you - not because they are nice, but because YOU are. And do your best to be thankful for rude and difficult people too - they serve as great reminders of how not to be.

Wednesday, June 20 - Day 272

Dealing with difficult people - Day two

Today’s inspiration

The way we treat people we strongly disagree with is a report card on what we’ve learned about love, compassion and kindness. Life is too short to argue and fight. Count your blessings, value the people who matter, and move on from the drama with your head held high.

Tuesday, June 19 - Day 271

Departing from my somewhat informative, humorous, and/or downright weird posts, I’m taking a few days to post some thoughts on dealing with the difficult people you may encounter in your lives. 

And unless you’re living on a hippy commune in the desert, this applies to just about everyone.

Today’s inspiration

Stay positive when negativity surrounds you. Smile when others refuse to. It’s an easy way to make a difference in the world around you.

Monday, June 18 - Day 270

Heard it on the radio this morning…Paul McCartney turns


Yes, 75. 

My teenage heartthrob is…75!

He’s an old man, but then again I’m an old woman. 

But still, it was a shock.

It brought me back to sitting on the floor of our living room in front of the TV watching the Beatles appear on the Ed Sullivan Show.

I remember his smile, his incredible hair…I swooned along with millions of other teenage girls. I wrote Mrs. Paul McCartney inside all my notebooks.

So, happy 75th birthday Sir Paul, but you will be 18 in my heart, forever.

Today’s inspiration

“I used to fantasize that Paul McCartney would marry my sister.”

Ozzy Osbourne

No, no…he was going to marry me!

Sunday, June 17 - Day 269

Father’s Day

Today’s inspiration


Billy Graham

"A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society."

Carol Coats

“A father is a man who expects his children to be as good as he meant to be.”

Barack Obama

"Any fool can have a child. That doesn't make you a father. It's the courage to raise a child that makes you a father."

Clarence Budington Kelland

"My father didn't tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it."

"When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry." 


"Until you have a son of your own... you will never know the joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son." 

Kent Nerburn

"Dad taught me everything I know. Unfortunately, he didn't teach me everything he knows." 

Al Unser

"Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it." 

Mike Myers

Saturday, June 16 - Day 268

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and through the years, as well as continued into today’s generation, my family has been privileged to have many of its men as members of the Armed Forces. 

So in honor of those men, most of whom are fathers, I share this information which has always stirred me. 

I was only 8-yrs-old when I visited it the first time and it left an indelible footprint on my heart.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

1. How many steps does the guard take during his

walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?

21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the

highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin

hisreturn walk and why?

21 seconds for the same reason as answer number 1

3. Why are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and if not, why not?

He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb.

After his march across the path, he executes an about face

and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

5. How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?

For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5' 10' and 6' 2' tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30.' Other requirements of the Guard:

They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives.

They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform {fighting} or the tomb in any way. After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn.

The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt.

There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform.

Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.

The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV.

All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred.

Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis {the boxer} and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, {the most decorated soldier of WWII} of Hollywood fame.

Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.


In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington , DC , our US Senate/House took 2 days off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment.

They respectfully declined the offer, 

'No way, Sir!' 

Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can

be afforded to a serviceperson.

The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

Today’s inspiration

“The soldiers that didn't come back were the heroes. It's a roll of the dice. If a bullet has your name on it, you're a hero. If you hear a bullet go by, you're a survivor.”

                                        Bob Feller

Friday, June 15 - Day 267

You know my love of innovations from our cousins across the pond. 

Well, here’s the latest.

WOOF&BREW pet drinks company from, where else? The UK

Here’s what they have to say for themselves.

We all like to put our feet up and relax with a nice tipple - and why should our dogs not be part of that?! That's why we launched 'Pawsecco', our still 'wine' for dogs (and cats too!), and 'Bottom Sniffer' beer for dogs. As with all our products, these both contain lots of healthy herbal ingredients, as well as offering dogs a unique and super-indulgent treat.


£2.99 - £35.88

Bottoms Up.

Hair Of The Dog.

Real Tail Swagger.

Give your dog real’ ‘tail swagger’ with this non-alcoholic, non-carbonated doggy beer. This ultimate doggy refreshment will help make your dog leader of the pack and will have other dogs sniffing their bottoms with jealousy!

It’s no coincidence that our brew contains Dandelion & Burdock! Not only are these full of nostalgia in ‘beer type’ refreshments, they (along with all the other herbs) add a touch of goodness. Not forgetting they also add to the unique taste of Bottom Sniffer.


Why our brew has the healthy sniff of approval...

It’s no coincidence that this brew contains Dandelion & Burdock. Not only are these herbs full of nostalgia in ‘beer type’ drinks, they, along with all the other herbs included, help towards aiding general well being for dogs. Not forgetting they add to the unique taste of ‘Bottom Sniffer’.

The brew contains herbs such as Bladderwrack and Nettle which are rich in iron and iodine and known to be great for skin pigmentation and coats. It also uses Rooibos and Dandelion, which are known to be rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The 'Bottom Sniffer' brew is also designed to produce an ‘odour’ helping create envy amongst their doggy peers when being bottom sniffed!

PAWSECCO Still "Wine" for Dogs & Cats

£2.99 - £35.88

Good friends bring happiness, but best friends bring Pawsecco! Providing the purrfect treat for those on four feet, owners can now share the experience in ‘raising a glass’ with their four-legged best friends - and it's healthy too!

Available in both ‘Pet-House White’ and ‘Pet-House Rose’ and gift options




And here's more about them…


the pet drink specialists...

Happy, healthy pets are at the heart of everything we do and natural, healthy, herbal ingredients are at the heart of our products. Ranging from health-focused teas and tonics to infused water for when you're out and about with your dog to some of the most unique treats in the market, all our products have been developed with the advice of veterinary experts. With proven results and taste approval, our nutritionally-balanced, specialized blends offer the perfect tonics and treats.

Today’s inspiration

"I looked up my family tree and found three dogs using it." 

Rodney Dangerfield

"The more I see of men the more I like dogs." 

Madame de Stael

"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

Thursday, June 14 - Day 268

You know how I love to bring you new and exciting products that might fill your life with joy, if not utility. 

So here’s one that might just make your lifestyle sparkle.

It is the Hidrate Spark and here is what the company has to say about it.

Sometimes drinking more water is all we need to feel energized and brighten our mood. Available in an array of frosted colors, our sleek Hidrate Spark 2.0 smart water bottle will keep track of how much you drink and helps you meet your daily hydration goal. There’s no better time than the present to start living healthier. 

Why not do it in style?

The Hidrate Spark


The only bottle with lights that flash to remind you to drink more water and to celebrate when you’ve met your daily goal.


A sensor inside the bottle automatically records how many oz/ml you drink.


The bottle syncs to our iOS and Android app via bluetooth low energy.


Fitbit, Apple Watch, Apple Health, Google Fit, Under Armour Record, and Nokia Health Mate.


Hidrate Spark comes with a long lasting replaceable battery, so no charging required.

Fantastic, yes? 

Hi-tech hydration, very cool and very trendy. 

And with glowing flashing lights, in turquoise, purple, bluet, white and black, 

it’s very pretty.

I might just have to order one.

Oh, wait a second.

I forgot to tell you the price.


That’s right. 

Almost $55 to remind you to drink your water.

Hmmm, I think I’ll just have to pass on this one.

Today’s inspiration

“No water, no life. No blue, no green.”

Sylvia Earle

(unless you order the blue flashing light Spark)

“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.”

Jacques Yves Cousteau

(so it's probably a good idea to drink bottled water)

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”

W. H. Auden

Wednesday, June 13 - Day 267

Meet the Makech, the Bedazzled Beetles Worn as Living Jewelry


and please, by all means, check out the video on their site to see just what you're missing if you don't add these little 'gems' to your collection.

In 2006, fashion designer Jared Gold grossed out fans of America’s Next Top Model with his “roach brooches”—live hissing cockroaches decked out with crystals and sold as wearable jewelry for $60 to $80 a pop. To the best of his knowledge, the idea was totally unique: other cultures have used dead bugs as décor, but “as far as live insects go, we are Patient Zero,” he said during a Washington Post online chat about the creepy-crawly baubles.

But that’s not entirely accurate. 

The Makech, a beautiful beetle from Central and South America has been worn as a living pendant for centuries. Today, vendors in Mexico sell the beetles covered in rhinestones, each one fixed with a gold chain and pin that serves as a leash, so that the bedazzled bug can walk around on the wearer’s shirt.

“The novelty of a tethered jewel beetle on the lapel never fails to attract attention,” former UCLA entomologist Charles Leonard Hogue writes in his 1993 field guide Latin American Insects and Entomology.

The beetles have definitely caught the eyes of officials with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol—according to USDA regulations, live animals can’t cross the border without the necessary permits. Today, several confiscated specimens are glittering among the Coleoptera collections of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

If the idea of mobile insect brooches makes you squirm, their backstory may soften the sartorial blow. 

Hogue and other beetle curators report that the makech, or maquech, is linked to a Yucatán legend involving an ancient princess—often identified as Maya nobility—and her lover. The story has several variations, but the most popular say that the pair’s love was forbidden. The princess was heartbroken when they were discovered and her lover was sentenced to death, so a shaman changed the man into a shining beetle that could be decorated and worn over the princess’s heart as a reminder of their eternal bond.

So if you’re looking for a unique gift for the woman in your life, 

this could be it.

Just remember not to step on it.

Today’s inspiration

“I don't care how small or big they are, insects freak me out.”

                                         Alexander Wang

So I guess this is one designer who won’t have any bejeweled Makech brooches in his Fall collection

Tuesday, June 12 - Day 266

Okay, folks, I’m officially just 100 (minus 1) days away from my original goal of posting on this blog every day for 365 days. 

It’s been a challenge, 

an adventure, 

a lesson in perseverance, 



sometimes downright ridiculous, 

sometimes a little heart tugging, 

sometimes just plain exhausting. 

 And that’s for me. 

I have no idea how it’s been for you.

So if you feel like giving me a little input to keep my momentum going for the next 99-1/2 days, feel free to comment.

Today’s inspiration

“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Jack London

“Many a witty inspiration is like the surprising reunion of befriended thoughts after a long separation.”

                                      Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

“There are little gems all around us that can hold glimmers of inspiration.”                                  Richelle Mead

“In life you need either inspiration or desperation.”

Tony Robbins


Monday, June 11 Day 265

Monday morning humor - 

pardon if it’s slightly indelicate, but I just couldn’t stop laughing.

Jane and Arlene are outside their nursing home, having a drink and a smoke, when it starts to rain. Jane pulls out a condom, cuts off the end, puts it over her cigarette, and continues smoking.

Arlene: What in the hell is that?

Jane: A condom. This way my cigarette doesn't get wet.

Arlene: Where did you get it?

Jane: You can get them at any pharmacy.

The next day, Arlene hobbles herself into the local pharmacy and
announces to the pharmacist that she wants a box of condoms. 
The pharmacist, obviously embarrassed, looks at her kind of strangely (she is, after all, over 80 years of age), but very delicately asks what size, texture, brand of condom she prefers.

'Doesn't matter Sonny, as long as it fits on a Camel.'

The pharmacist fainted.

Today’s inspiration

“I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”

                               Will Rogers

“I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb... and I also know that I'm not blonde.”

                                 Dolly Parton

“If you let go of fart jokes, you've let go of a piece of humanity.”

                                    Andy Samberg

Sunday, June 10 - Day 264

Today I am over the moon excited and I can’t wait to tell you about it. 

For you loyal followers who have heard me talk about my aversion to the outdoors and especially anything to do with dirt, sweat and bugs, i.e. gardening, you may remember back on May 24th & 25th, my uncharacteristic enthusiasm about wanting to plant flowers in my newly constructed window box.

Let me preface all this by saying that once the flowers were nestled in their new home and the one hanging tomato plant I invested in was securely hanging in its place in the sun, I turned the reins over to my husband. He is the master of the watering can and everyday he faithfully waters everything. 

My job? 

Admire their beauty whenever I leave or come home.

But today, I was forced to break the cycle because my husband developed a nasty summer cold and I told him, out of pure love, that I would water the plants.

And that’s just what I did. 

And as I did, I remembered how much I hate those little gnats that for some reason seem to make a beeline for my face and hair whenever I’m outside.

But for my husbands sake I persevered.

And then the magic happened.

As I took the tomato plant down from its perch so I could water it properly

…I saw it!

A tomato. 

One ripe, yellow cherry tomato ready to be picked.

And that’s just what I did. 

And then I ran into the house and into the bedroom holding it in my hands like it was a cache of gold.

“Look! I did it!” I exclaimed to my husband. 

“I grew a tomato!”

I can only guess that his bewildered look and unenthusiastic demeanor was due to the fact he was ill, for surely he must understand what a monumental feat this was. 

I had successfully harvested from our garden.

I had harvested…one little cherry tomato.

It may be the first, 

it may be the last, 

but I took a picture of it for posterity so that no-one can ever accuse me again of having two black thumbs.

Today’s inspiration

“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”

                               Og Mandino

“Gardening is not my thing. You're digging in the dirt, and then a couple of months later, something happens.”

                                   Jillian Michaels

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.”

                       Jim Davis

Saturday, June 9 - Day 263

Yesterday’s post was both a little nostalgic and philosophic for me. 

Nostalgic, remembering nursing people that were brought in to my life at the end stages of their lives and philosophic, because of my passion for respecting every human life, no matter who or where they have been, no matter what or why they believe what they do, knowing that everyone of us had walked a different path, with different trials, tribulations, and circumstances. 

Basically, I am a judgement-free zone, not perfectly, of course, but to the best of my ability. 

And my mother always said, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Wow, that’s pretty prolific, isn’t it?

So where am I going with this now, lol?

Well, I was going to continue on with my trek through the rest of my nursing career, but after all that I said above, I’m exhausted, and even though it’s only 9am, I don’t think I can muster any more literary brain cells...

 so I’m going to sign off, here and now.

And go back to bed.

Today’s inspiration

“Be kind, don't judge, and have respect for others. If we can all do this, the world would be a better place. The point is to teach this to the next generation.”

                                       Jasmine Guinness

“If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.” 

                               Maya Angelou

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.”

                                    Laurence Sterne

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.”

                             Richard Bach

“We don't need to share the same opinions as others, but we need to be respectful.”

                         Taylor Swift

Friday, June 8 - Day 262

Okay, so now I'm going to continue on with yesterday's nursing train of thought.

I graduated at the ripe old age of 36 and moved on to the ‘real world’ of nursing. My heart has always been drawn to caring for the elderly (perhaps because I knew I would someday be one) and those whose end of life was near, so I chose a duel specialty of geriatric and hospice patients for the first five years of my nursing career.

A lot of people think that nursing old people just means giving out tons of pills, bathing and dressing, feeding and diapering. 

I think the nursing home stereotype is imprinted on the public’s mindset.

But they are so sorely wrong. 

Aside from the ‘intensity’ of care that is now the standard of care in many facilities and hospital settings, there is the part of caring for the elderly that has always been so near and dear to my heart.

They are often the ‘forgotten.’

I don’t mean that they are forgotten by their families (although there are such unfortunates). I mean that society as a whole forgets that each and every one of these aging men and women were once active members of society. 

They were mothers and fathers, teachers and lawyers, farmers and factory workers, writers and artists, Democrats and Republicans, activists and pacifists, innovators and inventors, scholars and students, milkmen and firemen, saleswomen and stockbrokers…you get the idea. 

Each one is unto themselves an entire world of their own who in the course of their life was vital to the world. They each touched someone in some way, and the ripple effect means that they enriched society as a whole, whoever they were, whatever they did, whatever contribution they made, whether it was hugging and nurturing their children, or inventing the electric can opener.

It was my privileged honor to look into the weary eyes of someone who, as far as society was considered, outlived their societal usefulness and to look into the heart and soul of someone who could share the wisdom that only someone who had lived a lifetime could know. They had answers to questions I was too young and inexperienced to ask. But if I listened, just sat and listened, I would hear the wisdom of the ages - wisdom that often went untapped because these sages were...forgotten.

Wow, I certainly had no intention of going down this line of thought and I didn’t even touch on some of the other main things I wanted to say.

So, I’m going to do it again and end here - to be continued tomorrow.

Today’s inspiration

“We respect our elders. There is wisdom that comes from experience, and I am not going to stop learning from wise counsel.”

Marcia Fudge

“What could be more lonely than to be enveloped in silence, to be the last of your people to speak your native tongue, to have no way to pass on the wisdom of the elders, to anticipate the promise of the children. This tragic fate is indeed the plight of someone somewhere roughly every two weeks.”

Wade Davis

“Slow down and think about the lessons of the elders.”

Maya Soetoro-Ng

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”

Bryant H. McGill

Thursday, June 7 - Day 261

I went into nursing ‘later in life’ at the ripe old age of 36. My class was filled with young, fresh-out-of-high school, girls with the wide-eyed innocence that nursing school would be fun and they would come out with a lofty degree that would guarantee them a noble profession.


Not so much.

The pretty, starched, white cap, the hallmark the profession was not as easy to obtain as they thought.

Being far ‘older’ and more experienced with the real world, I knew what was coming. I knew that the ‘glamorous’ side of soap opera nurses with full makeup, polished nails and white heels was far from the reality of the ‘down and dirty’ side of nursing, and I have to admit that I had to hide my amusement when a young fellow student exclaimed… 

"I have to do WHAT??”

But anyway, after the wheat was sifted from the chaff, and 38 of us were left from the original 64, we graduated in our crisp white uniform and cap that sported TWO black stripes signifying that we were ‘real’ nurses.

Well, almost.

We still had to pass the grueling two day long nursing boards. That was in the olden days when you sat with a #2 pencil, and a paper with little ovals, A,B,C, and D and tried your darnedest to remember obscure information you tried to store in your memory banks three years ago. 

Nowadays, in this high-tech world, you sit in front of a computer screen


answer a minimum of 75 questions to a maximum of 265 .You have a maximum of 6 hours to complete the exam. Your exam ends when you have demonstrated minimum competency and answered the minimum number of questions (75) or have demonstrated a lack of minimum competency and answered the minimum number of questions (75) or have answered the maximum number of questions (265) or have used the maximum time allowed (6 hours).

Back in the day, you sweated it out, day after day, week after week, for six weeks until you got that official looking envelope in the mail. 

Pass or fail.

It still takes six weeks to receive the official letter, but in most states, you can cut to the quick, and access “Quick Results” after two days. You’re not official for the six weeks, but at least the agonizing wait is over and you can either cheer and go out to celebrate, or cry and go back to hitting the books.

I really hadn’t planned to make this a long post. 

The subject only came to mind because my post-retirement nursing skills are required to do some ‘private duty’ nursing for a family member today. 

So I’m going to stop here, because apparently I have more to say (as I usually do) about the whole nursing thing.

Today’s inspiration

“How can anybody hate nurses? Nobody hates nurses. The only time you hate a nurse is when they're giving you an enema.”

                                              Warren Beatty

Wednesday, June 6 - Day 260

I guess my post yesterday about the shift to adding high-end designer clothes to the Walmart line-up, was a day too early. 

I have more information about why it’s all happening.

...and here's the scoop.

According to USA TODAY

Hudson's Bay Co. will close up to 10 Lord & Taylor stores, including the Fifth Avenue location in New York City, as department stores grasp for stability amid retail upheaval.

"This reduced store network will allow new leadership to re-think the model and better position Lord & Taylor for future success," Hudson's Bay said in a statement.

The company hopes to "better balance the brand's brick-and-mortar presence with its online channels and increase profitability."

The move comes amid declining sales for Hudson's Bay's 488 stores, which include Saks Fifth Avenue, Hudson's Bay, Lord & Taylor and Saks OFF 5th. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 0.7% in the quarter ended May 5.

The company is also seeking new ways to connect with customers. 

It recently struck a deal to sell Lord & Taylor items through a dedicated space on Walmart's site.

So there you have it. 

High-end department stores in trouble, so where do they turn?

Same place us budget-conscious average shopper turns.


The only thing that tugs at my New York heart is that Lord & Taylor is a Fifth Ave. icon, like Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and it’s closing. It’s been there since 1914 and if you’re a New Yorker, even if you can’t afford to shop there, walking up and down 5th Ave at Christmas, looking at the holiday displays is something that will be missed.

Let’s just hope that Radio City Music Hall isn’t the next to go.

Today’s inspiration

"It is imperative that we make consumers more aware of the long-term effects of their financial decisions, particularly in managing their credit card debt, so that they can avoid financial pitfalls that may lead to bankruptcy. Daniel Akaka

True icons are larger than life, unforgettable with an elegance that's mesmerizingly timeless." 

                                         Francois Nars

"When you think about it, department stores are kind of like museums."

                                       Andy Warhol

"For more than a century, New York City has been home to a constellation of department stores whose openings, closings, and transformations have charted the fortunes and foibles of the city itself."

                                            Christina Binkley

Tuesday, June 5 - Day 259

Yesterday, I talked about expensive, extravagant gifts for 4 yr. olds and then this morning, I received an advertisement e-mail from my favorite, go-to store, Walmart, and I thought, 

the trickle down effect is happening.

As my followers know, the majority of my clothes come from Walmart and I have always been happy with the quality, but even more so, the price. Despite the fact they are not ‘designer’ clothes, they are fashionable nonetheless, (well at least as far as I’m concerned).

But then as I read the e-mail, I thought maybe I could upgrade my wardrobe a little, with real designer clothes. For you see, Walmart now offers clothes on their on-line website from Lord & Taylor, Halston, Lagerfeld, and Calvin Klein.


Maybe, I’ll treat myself to a treat and pay a little extra for a ‘designer’ outfit.

I mean it’s sold from Walmart so it can’t be all that expensive.



A little Calvin Klein or Halston ruffled dress…$100

A Vince Camuto halter dress…$96

An Anne Cole bathing suit…$78

and an Alex evening gown…$239!

Now I don’t know about anyone else, but if I am going to spend that much money on ANY outfit, it would certainly not be ordered online, where I can’t see it, feel it, and most importantly…

try it on!

My bottom line…I wouldn’t spend that much money on any outfit anyway, so, sorry, Walmart, I think maybe you’ve gone just a little bit too far, considering why people shop at your store in the first place - 

budget-friendly value at an affordable price.

$239 dress? 

Call me crazy, but I think not.

Today’s inspiration

“The best way to look stylish on a budget is to try second-hand, bargain hunting, and vintage.”

                                                      Orlando Bloom

“A budget tells us what we can't afford, but it doesn't keep us from buying it.”

                                                      William Feather

“When you're dressing on a budget, simplicity is key.”


“Without frugality none can be rich, and with it very few would be poor.” 

                                                       Samuel Johnson

Monday, June 4 - Day 258

To continue on the subject of birthdays, yesterday, I saw what is perhaps the latest trend in gifts for the little ones.

Remember a few months ago, I discussed the subject of celebrities children names? 

Well, it turns out that North West (Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s daughter) turned 4 a few days ago.

I have 14 grandchildren, and over the years they have all celebrated a 4th birthday. I fondly remember their little birthday parties, and shopping for gift they would love…a doll, a Tonka truck, a tea set, a butterfly bangle bracelet…

Well, I guess I missed the mark. 

Granted, my income (as well as the number of grandchildren I had to buy for) limited the choice of gifts, but I suppose if I had unlimited resources, I might be tempted to splurge. But I tend spoil my loved ones with hugs, kisses and time spent together, rather than extravagant gifts.

So what did little North West receive for her 4th birthday from designer Alexander Wang?

One of his leopard print mini-shoulder bag purses, of course.



I wonder what little treasures she’ll put in it?

Thousand dollar bills?

Today’s inspiration

“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”

                                                  Denis Waitley

Well, I guess you can be pretty independent with some thousand dollar bills.

Sunday, June 3 - Day 257

Today I dedicate the day to celebrating the day my husband was born. 

72 years ago. 

He may be getting older, but he’s definitely a man of integrity I am honored to be married to.


Happy birthday, Bill. 

I love you to the moon and back.

Today’s inspiration

“There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why.”

                                       William Barclay

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

                           Dr. Seuss

Saturday, June 2 - Day 256

I was up very early and decided to treat myself to a drive-thru breakfast from…where-else? Starbucks, of course…

It was a beautiful morning and I decided to drive to a large, empty (due to the early hour) parking lot, roll down the windows and enjoy my breakfast in the fresh air and sunshine.

I was the only car since none of the stores opened for at least another hour. As I sat, listening to the birds and sipping my espresso, I saw a car pull into the entrance. It had out-of-state license plates and was driving very slowly.

Too bad. 

I was really enjoying my solitude.

It was an understatement when I say the car was driving slowly. It was CRAWLING. I didn’t know a car could go slow.

I figured it was someone who was lost and looking for some particular store in the lot because it SLOOOOOOWLY drove past the first store, then back around again past the same store, perhaps checking out the store hours, SLOOOOOOWLY back around again, and again, and AGAIN.

Then it occurred to me, it was a young man who was just learning to drive.

At one point, he passed near enough to me to see his face and it was definitely the face of a scare-to-death teenager sitting next to a VERY nervous parent.

It brought me back to 53 years ago, sitting next to my father as he patiently tried to teach me to drive. He taught me well and I learned quickly and proficiently. With one small exception. I very vividly remember him cringing every time I tried to parallel park. I tried…over and over and over, again, with varying degrees of success. Actually, I think I only managed to get it almost right, one time before my driver’s test. And then by some vehicular miracle, I managed to parallel park the car and pass my test. And I seriously meant it was a miracle, because prior to the test, and for the 53 years since, I could not and can not park between two cars.

It’s a source of some amusement to my family that I will drive ten times around the block to find a spot that doesn't require any parallel parking skills. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll find a parking lot, pay the money, and walk the two or three miles to my destination.

Maybe I should just take a cab.

Today’s inspiration

“My grandma's the most careful, safe driver in the world. You put her in a rental car, and she's doing doughnuts in the K-Mart parking lot!”

                                                   Jeff Foxworthy

“When Solomon said there was a time and a place for everything he had not encountered the problem of parking his automobile.”

                                              Bob Edwards

“Parking is a nightmare for me... I still have sensors on my car that help me park.”

                                                      Jordana Brewster

“Self-driving cars will enable car-sharing even in spread-out suburbs. A car will come to you just when you need it. And when you are done with it, the car will just drive away, so you won't even have to look for parking.” 

                                                    Sebastian Thrun

“No one likes a show-off, but if parallel parking was an Olympic sport, I would get gold, no probs.”

                                             Miranda Hart

Me? I’d get a black wreath.


Friday, June 1 - Day 255

You good folks know I love creative and innovative ideas, especially when they originate in the UK. I told you about the re-introduction of home milk deliveries (in GLASS bottles) and the bed and breakfast that is housed in a library.

Well here’s the latest, and by far, the BEST idea...ever!

It’s called the Posh Club.

The Posh Club is a weekly glamorous performance and social club for older people held in five locations across London and the South East.

Each three-hour event is styled as a tongue-in-cheek ‘posh’ 1940’s afternoon tea with three live show business turns, volunteer waiters in black tie, vintage crockery and an in-house pianist. It is a glamorous event for about 100 participants a week, held in the heart of the community in elegantly transformed church halls and other grass roots spaces and emphasises dressing up, regular access to live performance, social connectivity and intergenerational volunteering.

Sounds great, something for us older keep us young and combat the loneliness that sometimes accompanies old age.


The History of the Posh Club

The Posh Club was invented in Crawley, a town in West Sussex, by Duckie-münter Simon Casson and his sister Annie for their Mum who was in her 80s and feeling a bit lonely, after recently moving to the area from the more socially vibrant Hackney.

For a special treat, Annie decided to hold a tea party in her front room for her Mum and her ninety-something neighbours Esther and Frieda – to serve them nice sandwiches and cakes on fancy crockery.

The ladies had fun chatting and eating and being served like they were important guests.  They discussed their more social early years before they were married and especially the dances and variety shows that used to be more prevalent just after the war before the telly and the family started to dominate people’s lives.

Annie and Simon decided to hire and decorate the local church hall, dig out some of the old Shirley Bassey and Frank Sinatra albums that their Dad used to play, put on their glad rags and distribute very fancy invitations for all of the neighbours who were senior citizens to attend a daytime soiree.

Simon was tasked with booking a few of the more popular turns from the arty queer cabaret he runs in London as entertainment, whilst Annie made the food and recruited local pals to volunteer as posh waiters.  Different formations were trialed over that year until the group were happy with the results and The Posh Club was born.

Two years later the club was expanded to their old stomping ground Hackney to rave reviews and now there is a growing network of five clubs with regular events happening in Crawley, Hackney and Elephant & Castle and new clubs opening in Hastings and Brighton in early 2018.

What a fabulous idea! What good kids!

All I have to say is…we need these here in America. We need to have a hip place where all us old fogies can go, get dressed up and dance, and pretend that we’re teenagers again.

Think how much more your old grannie would be loving life, and how much longer she could live, and live excitedly, if she could get up and boogie.

You may think we’re down and out and can’t do too much more than porch sitting in rocking chairs.

Hell, no. 

80 might just be the new 20...

albeit 20, with a broken hip.

Today’s inspiration

“From my perspective, there's no reason to be afraid of aging, because if you age, you're lucky! The alternative is death.”

                                                Drew Barrymore

“I really feel better about aging at the age of 86 than I did at 70.”

                                      Donald Hall

Thursday, May 31 - Day 254

So here’s the scoop on why the FBI investigated ‘Louie, Louie’, 

some background and the outcome.

per wikipaedia

On April 6, 1963, a rock and roll group from Portland, Oregon, called the Kingsmen, chose "Louie Louie" as their second recording,

The Kingsmen transformed Richard Berry's easy-going ballad into a raucous romp, complete with a twangy guitar, occasional background chatter, 

and nearly unintelligible lyrics by Jack Ely.

When Jack Ely died on April 28, 2015, his son reported that "... my father would say, 'We were initially just going to record the song as an instrumental, and at the last minute I decided I'd sing it.'" When it came time to do that, however, Ely discovered the sound engineer had raised the studio's only microphone several feet above his head. Then he placed Ely in the middle of his fellow musicians, all in an effort to create a better "live feel" for the recording. The result, Ely would say over the years, was that he had to stand on his toes, lean his head back and shout as loudly as he could just to be heard over the drums and guitars.

A factor in the success of the record may have been the rumor that the lyrics were intentionally slurred by the Kingsmen—to cover up the alleged fact that the lyrics were laced with profanity, graphically depicting sex between the sailor and his lady. Crumpled pieces of paper professing to be "the real lyrics" to "Louie Louie" circulated among teens. The song was banned on many radio stations and in many places in the United States, including Indiana, where it was personally prohibited by Governor Matthew Welsh.

These actions were taken despite the small matter that practically no one could distinguish the actual lyrics. Denials of chicanery by Kingsmen and Ely did not stop the controversy. The FBI started a 31-month investigation into the matter and concluded they were "unable to interpret any of the wording in the record.”

This was the moral temperature of the public - no sex or lewd insinuations allowed in song lyrics.

All I can say is…I wish it was still 1963.

Boy, has the temperature of the world changed, and not for the better.

Today’s inspiration

“If rock-and-roll is well done, there's nothing so terribly wrong with that kind of music. But the lyrics are another story.”

                                       Kate Smith

So apropos that it’s today’s quote, too.

Wednesday, May 30 - Day 253

This morning in the car, my oldies station played one of the songs that always has me dancing in my seat. 

It’s Louie, Louie. 

I’ve listened to it from my teen years and it still keeps me rockin’ today.

I ‘sing’ right along with it except that as fans of the song know, the lyrics are almost unintelligable...

 so much so that tomorrow I will tell you about the 31 month FBI investigation that took place to determine if the lyrics were profane and sexual. 

I fill you in on all that tomorrow.

Original version by Richard Berry

Richard Berry was inspired to write the song in 1955 after listening to and performing the song "El Loco Cha Cha" with Ricky Rillera and the Rhythm Rockers. By some accounts "Louie Louie" is the world's most recorded rock song with over 1,600 versions and counting (with more appearing regularly on YouTube and elsewhere).

So here are the lyrics that you hummed along with, never knowing what they said.

Louie Louie

Louie Louie, oh no, you take me where ya gotta go, 

yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby

Louie Louie, oh baby, take me where ya gotta go

A fine little girl, she waits for me

Me catch the ship across the sea

Me sailed the ship all alone

Me never think I'll make it home

Louie Louie, oh no no no, me gotta go, oh no

Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go

Three nights and days I sailed the sea

Me think of girl constantly

On the ship, I dream she there

I smell the rose in her hair

Louie Louie, oh no, me gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby

Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go

Okay, let's give it to 'em right now

Me see

Me see…

Today’s inspiration

“If rock-and-roll is well done, there's nothing so terribly wrong with that kind of music. But the lyrics are another story.”

                                     Kate Smith

Tuesday, May 29 - Day 252

This morning, I needed a few (3 or 4 items) from Walmart, so I went very early since shopping and checking out of that store any of the time of day is nothing short of an exercise in frustration. 

No matter how many cashiers are working, it’s never enough.

So early morning gives me the best shot of getting in and out within a reasonable amount of time. And especially if I only have a handful of items.

 I use the self-checkout.


The only issue I continue to have is that I don’t bother to take a wagon or basket, because I know I can hand-carry my few items.

I never learn.

As I peruse the aisles, I invariably find some extra items that have me juggling items in my arms, eventually dropping a few.

Such was the case this morning, so I wandered up to where the baskets were, and the nice worker helped me get a basket to plop my things in.


Then I proceeded to get a couple of more things and go to the self-checkout.

One by one, I scanned my items that added up to a lot more than a few, put them in the bags, and watched the machine suck my money into the machine. 

I smiled at the ‘basket man’ and the checkout helper and I was on my way.

 I had parked quite far from the entrance so I could get some extra steps. So by now, between walking through the parking lot, then through the whole store (twice) so I didn’t forget something, going back to get a basket, and then all the way back out to the car, I was quite exhausted and ready for a nap. I put the bags in the car and collapsed into the driver’s seat. I sat for a few minutes trying to recoup little energy. 

Then I put my hand into my sweatshirt pocket to get out my car keys.

But what I pulled out, wasn’t my keys.


It was a small jar of almonds I had put in my pocket when I was juggling all my items and I had forgotten about it when I went back for a basket. 


I am one of those people who could never sleep at night if I took something and didn’t pay for it.

It was a predicament. 

I was SO tired and my energy was pretty zapped, and the thought of walking all the way back to pay for the nuts was overwhelming. But I knew I had no choice. I thought about calling the store and telling them I had accidentally taken them and I’d pay next time I came in, but my conscience just wouldn’t let it go.

So back I trekked. 

Luckily, the ‘basket man’ and checkout helper were still in the same place and knew that I had just left after checking out.

I showed them the jar and apologized profusely.

I must admit their reaction was unexpected. 

They looked at each other and then at me. 

They were speechless. 

I felt terrible that they might be thinking I was a thief.

But no, they were shocked that I had come back to pay for it and hadn’t just taken them home.

The woman smiled at me and said, 

“Wow, how refreshing! Thank you. You made my day.”

No, lady. You made mine.

Today’s inspiration

“It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.”

                                  Noel Coward

“The high road is always respected. Honesty and integrity are always rewarded.”

                                     Scott Hamilton 

Monday, May 28 - Day 251


Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day – Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, whereas Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.

“As America celebrates Memorial Day, we pay tribute to those who have given their lives in our nation's wars.”

                                           John M. McHugh

Today’s inspiration

In Remembrance of all the brave men and women who have given their lives that we can be free. 

And in appreciation of the sacrifices of their families that were left behind.

A nation grieves and remembers

Sunday, May 27 - Day 250

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

                                              John F. Kennedy

“Memorial Day isn't just about honoring veterans, its honoring those who lost their lives. Veterans had the fortune of coming home. For us, that's a reminder of when we come home we still have a responsibility to serve. It's a continuation of service that honors our country and those who fell defending it.”

                                     Pete Hegseth

Saturday, May 26 - Day 249

It is Memorial Day weekend, when many people think of parades, and picnics, and barbecues, and the fun of friends and family gathering together. But the significance is not lost on those of us who have been touched by the death of a soldier who has given their life for their country - 

given their life to protect our country, our freedom.

So for the next few days, I am just going to post some quotes that speak to me about true heroism and true sacrifice - 

in memoriam to all those heroes.

Today’s inspiration

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

                                                            Martin Luther King, Jr.

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived."

                                               George S. Patton

Friday, May 25 - Day 248

So I left off yesterday, driving home with uncharacteristic enthusiasm to gardening. 

It was as if I had been taken over by alien garden gnomes.

My husband was outside with the dog when I pulled in the driveway, full of smiles and excitement. I told him that I had just come from the garden center and needed his help to unload all my treasure.

He shook his head, and I could tell he had serious doubts about this drastic change in my attitude about the outdoors.

Scoffer…I’d show him!

So we unpacked the trunk and set all my plants in front of the window box according to the picture on my phone.


I was ready to go.

Well, then again, maybe not.

It never occurred to me that I needed to buy some soil to plant them in.


Okay, so you can’t entirely fault me - 

I am a novice, a neophyte at this stuff.

So off we went to a local garden center for some potting soil.

Yet again, I was stumped. There were bags upon bags of the stuff and I didn’t have a clue which kind to buy. At this point I didn’t want to waste any more time. I had precious little babies waiting at home, ready to stretch their toes in some new soil, so I asked the man in the orange apron.

I, once again, explained my black thumbs and told him I needed his help. I told him the situation and showed him the picture of the plants the woman had my buy.

He smiled and said she did a great job. She had set me up with a completely maintenance-free window garden. All it needed was watering.


Those were welcome words. 

Maybe there was hope for those little ones after all.

So I bought the recommended potting soil and headed home - 

ready, willing, and hopefully, able.

By now, it was around 7:15 and the sun was getting low on the horizon. Perfect ambiance for a new chapter in my life - love of gardening - albeit, on a tiny scale.

My husband dumped the soil in and I began pulling my precious little ones out of the little, green plastic pots and nestling them in the soft, dark brown soil (with gloves on, of course. Touching outside dirt will remain forever repugnant to me.

I was filled with a great sense of fulfillment as the first one went in, then the second…and then it happened. 

The bugs! 

Those nasty, tiny little gnat things were swarming all over me. Not my husband, just me. They were flying in my face, behind my glasses, in my hair…everywhere! With great determination, I persevered until all the plants were in. 

Then I went inside, jumped in the shower and exclaimed to my husband…

"that’s it, I’m done. Next year, you can plant them.”

You see, I was right all along.

The outdoors?

HIGHLY overrated.

Today’s inspiration

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

                                                  Marcus Tullius Cicero

Yeah, Cicero - I’ll think I’ll stick to writing and reading…indoors

Thursday, May 24 - Day 247

To my loyal followers, you are well-accustomed to my slightly scattered and tangential thought patterns, so you you will probably not have too much trouble following today’s post. 

To my new followers…well, you have my sympathies.

Last Monday I talked about my eye-sore of a broken window box that made me cringe every time I left or came home. I tried closing my eyes when I pulled out of the driveway so I didn’t have to look at it, but as you can imagine, that didn’t go well.

I also told you that my wonderful neighbor was going to build me a new one and the excitement of fixing the source of my visual agony sent me on a mental excursion of becoming a gardener extraordinaire. 

And then I was shaken back to my senses and the reality that my opinion has always been…

the outdoors is highly overrated.

Okay, so now I can I can tell you all about my invigorating, inspiring day on Monday. Sunday night, my neighbor installed my new window box and I could scarcely contain myself. It is truly a thing of beauty and I went to sleep with dreams of petunias dancing in my head.

Early the next morning, I leapt out of bed - well, perhaps leapt was a bit of an exaggeration - and headed for the garden center.

I am a watercolorist so I was envisioning a magnificent array of greens and purples and yellows and whites and reds. I knew exactly how I wanted the window box to look.

When I arrived at the ever-so popular local nursery, there were hoards of people, all with the same idea, buy, buy, buy…go home and plant.

So I went looking for the pansies, my favorite flower, and about the only one I never killed - mainly because my husband kept them watered. I couldn’t find a single pansy in the place and I couldn’t understand it. Weeks ago they were everywhere, even in the supermarkets.

So I decided to ask a nice woman who worked there and she laughed. 

I really didn’t see anything funny about it. 

I wanted pansies to overflow my beautiful new window box.

She explained that pansies are abundant in early spring and then they are gone.



How can that be?

So, disheartened, I started walking up and down the aisles, choosing these red ones, those yellow ones, some pretty white things…

I must have looked a little confused because the lady came back and asked me if I needed help.

Did I ever.

I explained about my two black thumbs and that I pretty much killed every plant anyone had ever given me (including the pink-leaved silk plant in the white ceramic swan planter that my husband had given me many years ago).

Again she laughed. 

She didn’t know that I was totally serious.

And then this wonderful woman took pity on me and asked me all sorts of questions I had no real answers to. 

How much sun does my window box get? 

What time of day is the sunniest? etc, etc.

How the heck did I know? 

The sun comes up. 

The sun goes down. 

I never really paid attention to the details. 

Who does? 

Gardeners do, I guess. 

So I gave her my best guesstimate and she proceeded to walk me up and down the aisle, choosing plants that were well suited for a window box. You see, I thought you just get some pretty ones and stick them in.

Oh, no. 

There is a science to it. 

She checked to see how tall each one grew, which ones would cascade over the side, which ones would complement the others…

Egads, I was impressed, and overwhelmed!

I can’t possibly take this all home and be able to get it right.

So then, she became my garden angel. 

She took me to an open area and took out all the plants and laid them out exactly where I should plant them. And then she told me to take a picture of it. 

What a fantastic idea! 

Just like paint by numbers, but with plants. 


So off I went, my car chock-a-block full of plants, so excited to get home and start ‘gardening.’ This was a whole new experience for me and now that the ball was rolling downhill, I was ready to conquer the gardening world.

Okay, I’m going to have to stop here, because there’s so much more to the story that I really can’t do it justice at this time of night.

So part two will come tomorrow.

Today’s inspiration

“Gardens are not made by singing 'Oh, how beautiful,' and sitting in the shade.”

                            Rudyard Kipling

Wednesday, May 23 - Day 246

Okay, sorry folks, but I have to postpone my ‘spectacular’ day post that I put off yesterday because I just can’t pass up what happened today.

First, I’m going to give your a brief recap of my May 9th post, just in case you missed it, just in case you forgot it, or just in case it was dull as toast and you skipped over it - 

and I promise you I’ll be brief.

I began a walking program to strengthen my bones back in April and due to osteoporosis, I developed a stress fracture in my foot. My orthopedic doc put me in a post-op shoe which is like a heavy velcroed, flat sandal that keeps the foot from bending so it can heal in about 6 weeks. It was miraculous and there is absolutely no pain when I walk when I’m wearing it.


Today was my follow-up appointment and he is pleased with my progress. The only problem I was having was that whatever shoe or sandal I wear on the other foot it’s always a slightly different height so it throws my hip and knee off. So I had come up with a great idea that I was going to suggest to him. I would ask him to order me another post-op shoe for the other foot. Therefore, the height would be identical and I would have two matching black shoes. They are really just very clunky-looking sandals, something akin to ones I’ve seen on crazy hikers.

So I’m sitting in the chair waiting for him to come in when a heavy laminated sign that was taped to the wall, fell off and hit me in the head!


I bent over and picked it up and when the doctor came in I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breath.

The sign was an advertisement for an adaptive walking device to put on the opposite foot if you are in a post-op boot. It stretches over your shoe to lift it up higher so your gait is even. 

Exactly what I planned to do by getting a matching sandal.

I mean what are the chances that that sign would hit anyone else in the head?

He thought it was pretty funny too, and he gave me the prescription to go get my second sandal.

Upstairs to orthotics I trekked, and when I explained why I requested the matching shoe, the physical therapist thought it was a great idea, too. Particularly because these shoes are just $19 and FAR less than the lifts designed for the same purpose.

So he went and got me one, I put it on and I was thrilled. I now had matching clunky, black sandals. 

I was finally on level ground.

I told him I was going to tell people that they were the newest in designer sandals from France called Black Angels and I paid $350 for them and that they’re all the rage in Europe.

I could still hear him laughing as I shut the door.

The REALLY funny part is…I KNOW there are some people who will believe me, because they will never have seen any like them and they are just funky enough to be believable.

Hmmm, I bet I could make a fortune on the black market.

Today’s inspiration

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

                                                Marilyn Monroe

Tuesday, May 22 - Day 245

Yesterday was a particularly spectacular day and I had planned today’s post all around it. The only problem was that it was SO spectacular that it sucked every bit of energy right out of me and I woke up like a soggy pile of wet noodles. 

With every intention of gathering up my strength and getting up, out and about, the noodles didn’t move. 

And still haven’t. 

So forgive the delay, but you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow for the details of why yesterday was so spectacular.

Today’s inspiration

“The exhaustion of old age is something people who are younger don't fully appreciate.”

                                              Tony Benn

Monday, May 21 - Day 244

Jiminey Cricket  

today’s inspiration and the ultimate, definitive, and final word on crickets.

“Let your conscience be your guide.”

“A clear and innocent conscience fears nothing.”

                                        Elizabeth I

“A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.”

                                                 Steven Wright

Sunday, May 20 - Day 243

Okay, so here is the final episode of the demon cricket chronicles.

Yesterday, I left off telling you that I knew my answer lie with contacting a reputable pest control company, so I confidently called an exterminator, because that is their job, isn’t it - to exterminate any and all unwanted pests? I knew they would have a way to rid me of living in fear every time I walked in a room, waiting for one of those terrifying creatures to leap across the room, straight at my face.

So, this is what all FOUR of the exterminators told me. I was sure the first three were wrong and the fourth would surely come to my rescue.


The bottom line?

Insecticides are ineffective, you can’t drown them with water, and if you’re trying to eliminate them one-by-one, crushing them is EXTREMELY difficult.

So what the hell are you supposed to do?

First, you have to attempt to eliminate the source, which means drying out all the areas where they live and seal up ALL cracks and crevices in your entire house. Easier said than done.

If these two measures fail to eliminate the source of problem, you have a few options to actually kill these nasty buggers.


Get an iguana.

Yup, apparently, lizards LOVE to eat these tasty, little (BIG) morsels.

 But make sure it isn’t a baby iguana, just in case it gets carried away by a hoard of BIG Daddy camel crickets. So here was my thought on the matter. A good size iguana living under my house devouring all the offensive crickets. Great. Then, I was envisioning this hero of a lizard consuming a couple of thousand bugs at roughly, oh, I don’t know, 50 calories each, and…growing…growing…GROWING. End result? Something akin to the Creature From The Black Lagoon living beneath us. 


Maybe not.

Second, find some brave cricket hunter to ferret out the beasts (alive) to sell them to a pet store to sell to lizard owners (because people actually PAY for these things).

So they might actually be a blessing in disguise. 

Maybe I could finance a beach house in the Carolinas (sans bugs). 

But at the going rate of $.03 per cricket, that didn’t seem realistic.

Third (and the only really do-able one for me) solution - glue traps. 

Actually, they’re quite marvelous. 

Pre-glued, infused with a sweet-smelling, non-offensive bait, you lay them down near wherever the beasts have historically appeared. 

Simple, and they work REMARKABLY well.

You trap them before they ever get past that entry point. I did discover however, that because they can leap three feet, that occasionally one of the smarter ones would leap over the traps. It happens rarely, so most of them are stuck fast to the sticky trap. 

The only real problem with them is that the glue is akin to the type on fly paper, and it sticks to ANYTHING.

First time I tried to use one, I lost a good pair of jeans that I brushed up against. And if you accidentally drop something on one, its stuck forever. Over the course of time, I’ve lost a tube of toothpaste, a can of Spray and Wash, a can of tuna fish (don’t ask) and various other items.

But they work! 

Fantastic, right?

Well, if you went on the internet to take a gander at what I’m talking about, you saw one of the disgusting, hair-raising, creepy critters.

So there are two entry points where these beasts seem to get in.

One is behind the washing machine, which means I have to lay the traps around the front of the machine, in full view every time I walk by the laundry room. It’s wonderful that they are trapped, but looking at two, or three, or four of them, even though they’re dead, makes my skin crawl. So if my husband isn’t home, I take another trap, close my eyes, and quickly lay it on to of the offending one, making a glued camel cricket sandwich.

The second area is in our small bathroom, under the radiator. So I line up five traps in a row underneath it. There seem to be fewer ones that come in that way, but I will NOT go into that bathroom unless my husband, the giant killer, goes in to check first and gives me the ‘all clear’.

It’s an imperfect system, but it works well enough that for now I’m not insisting we move, but it’s always be an option if things get out of control.

For now, we are keeping the glue trap makers in business because I buy them by the case. 

Call me crazy, but you never know when there might be a worldwide glue shortage. 

Stranger things have been known to happen.

Today’s inspiration

“We all have our demons. When we finally learn to let them go, we get to live and be free.”

                                            Jodie Sweetin

Let them go? Hell, no, Jodie. Not in MY house.

Saturday, May 19 - Day 242

Okay, I’m afraid I have to divide today’s post into two parts, because once I started, it turned into a marathon story that I could make into a great sci-fi short story. 

Actually I might just do that.

Yesterday, I revealed some facts about the intriguing subject of crickets. I brought you the cheery world of the benign little critters. 

Today, I take you to the dark side.

First, I will give you a little personal history on the subject.

When I was ten or eleven, I remember, with great fondness, having my very own cricket cage. It was given to me by a very nice, little old Japanese woman who owned a Japanese gift shop near where my mother worked. I was fascinated with the Japanese culture and she let me hang out with her when my mom was working. I adored the little trinkets decorated with cherry blossoms and the rice paper-wrapped candy.

My treasured little bamboo cage was where I put my tiny, pink set of ceramic Japanese cats in. My kitties lived happily in their cage and never did I make them share their home with a cricket - lucky or otherwise.

Growing up, cricket chirping never bothered me. It was only when I became an older adult that the incessant chirping outside on an otherwise quiet night would drive me crazy. I suspect I am not alone in this, and I know of one particular lady who tore her entire house apart to find one lone, rogue cricket that was driving her to drink. (Okay, so perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration.)

ANYWAY, back to the demon crickets that hold me hostage. 

They are not your run-of-the-mill, lucky, cheerful chirpers.

They are Camel Crickets and if you have never seen one, consider yourself lucky. For those who have, they are adequately described as disgusting, gross, monstrous, terrifying, creepy, and I will add my own…demonic!

For your viewing pleasure, I urge you to google some pictures of these monsters so you have an idea of what I’m talking about. 

Trust me - I do not exaggerate!

Here is the 411 on what they are.

Camel crickets get their common name from their humpbacked appearance, which is similar to that of a camel. They are widespread in the United States and in the world. Camel crickets do not possess sound producing organs, and therefore do not chirp. Additionally, the adults do not have wings, unlike other cricket species. Camel crickets leap when they are frightened since it's the only defense mechanism they have to scare off predators. Light to dark brown, often mottled with dark bands on some segments with six legs and VERY long antennae. They are humpbacked with long, very enlarged hind legs.

They are meaty little creatures that are ½”- 1 ½” in length. (and I’ve seen ones that seem to be on steroids because they are at least 2 inches).They cannot bite (thank God) because they lack fangs. However, these crickets have chewing mouth parts and can, therefore, devour on just about anything, just like goats. They also have six long legs, and their hind legs are large and drumstick-shaped which makes them exquisite at jumping. These insects are nocturnal; they show themselves at night and will hop away when startled.

Camel crickets do not have wings, neither do they have the ability to make any sounds as normal crickets rub their wings together to make their distinctive chirrups. They love dark and moist places, and that is why you will find them in areas like the garage and the basement. And when it gets cold, they will invite themselves to become very unwelcome guests in your house.

Despite their size, they can get inside through any crack or crevice and can even climb up the drain spout of your tub and greet you during your morning shower.

My very first encounter was finding one on my bed! 

I had never seen anything like it in my life. 

It was my first experience and was a relatively small, one so I grabbed a towel to swat it. 

BAAAAD move. 

The damn thing flew directly at my face!

 I screamed, ran, and went outside to get my husband. 

By the time we made it back to the bedroom, it was gone. 

Not on my bed, not under my bed, nowhere. 

Okay, then, where the hell WAS it? 

I left the bedroom and decided to hide in the living room until my husband could find and kill it. I was seriously so grossed out that I was ready to move out. 

And that ISN’T an exaggeration.

The thing is, no other bugs freak me out. Not spiders, stinkbugs, not water bugs, not even snakes…I’m the go-to girl when anyone needs to eradicate a pest.

But the camel cricket? It’s like something out of a sci-fi movie. 


So you can imagine my horror when the demon appear in the living room. I screamed a blood-curdling scream that sent my husband running in. He laughed at me as I sat with a blanket over my head pointing to IT. Apparently, he is not affected by the beasts appearance and face-jumping behavior. Thank God!

So he ATTEMPTED to kill it. Yes, besides its other demonic qualities, it has an extremely hard exoskeleton that is nearly impossible to crush. It took a solid five minutes of hard smashing with a heavy boot to render the damn thing motionless. 

And then it STILL wasn’t dead!! 

Smashed in pieces, it still tried to crawl away. But my hero kept at it until the thing was finally unrecognizable and finally dead.

Now as I said, this was my FIRST encounter. And by no means the last. Our home is elevated and sits above a dirt floor. A dirt floor, which is by nature, is dark and damp. Damp, dark, and a perfect breeding ground for camel crickets.

It was spring, when love blooms, and so do these creatures. The little baby ones come in first and then…the BIG ones. Not in droves. Just an occasional one, here and there. But they come.

My first move?

 Call an exterminator, of course, Because that's their job - to KILL BUGS - ALL BUGS!!

The best news about this is that these crickets, unlike all others, do not make any sound. 

They are SILENT demons.


The bad news? 

Basically, you can’t kill them!

Okay, sorry folks, I’m going to stop here because there is WAY too much more to the story, so I’ll finish it up tomorrow.

And I know you just can’t WAIT.

Today's inspiration

"I don't care how small or big they are, insects freak me out."

                                    Alexander Wang

Not me, Alexander. Just the demon ones. Bet they'd send you into a catatonic state.

Friday, May 18 - Day 241

Today’s blog is going to be a two-parter. 

Today’s part one is just of an interesting bit of trivia. 

Part two is going to be the twisted, personalized version and trust me, you won’t want miss it. 

Particularly, if you have a nature that goes to the bizarre, dark side.

Part one:

On the radio this morning there was a little blurb about things that are considered good luck, and the first on the list was crickets. 

I did my research and yes, from ancient times until now they have been considered a sign of good fortune. Here is some historical information so you will be in the know.


A cricket on the hearth has been a sign of household luck for thousands of years. In the Far East as well as across Europe, it’s considered very bad luck to kill a cricket, even by accident.

Crickets have played a strong role throughout Chinese, Japanese and Native American cultures as a symbol of good fortune, vitality and prosperity. As far back as 500 B.C., people revered the song of the cricket and often kept crickets in cages to enjoy that song on a regular basis.

Crickets lay hundreds of eggs. Their fertility coincides with the traditional Chinese belief that having many children is a symbol of vitality and a requirement for financial success. In ancient times, farmers began preparing fields for spring harvest only after listening to the song of a cricket.

From nobleman and famous artists to peasant farmers and Buddhist monks, people throughout history have kept caged crickets to enjoy their song. Crickets chirp, or sing, by rubbing their wings together. Only the male cricket sings, often to attract a female or to fend off another male cricket. If you count the number of chirps in 15 seconds and add 37, you can estimate the approximate outdoor temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.

For generations throughout Chinese and Japanese history, crickets have been considered great protection because they stop singing when anyone or anything approaches. Middle Eastern and European craftsman commonly carved amulets and charms bearing images of crickets to fend off evil spirits. American colonial builders added a copper cricket to the weather vane on Boston’s Fanuel Hall as a symbol of protection.

So there you have. 

The innocent, historically significant, little cricket.

Now, don’t forget - come back tomorrow for this good fortune’s evil twin.

Today’s inspiration

The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home is a novella by Charles Dickens, published by Bradbury and Evans, and released 20 December 1845. John Peerybingle, a carrier, lives with his young wife Dot, their baby boy and their nanny Tilly Slowboy. A cricket chirps on the hearth and acts as a guardian angel to the family.

“To have a cricket on the hearth is the luckiest thing in all the world!”

Charles Dickens

Thursday, May 17 - Day 240

So yesterday, I expounded on the infinite variety of antiperspirant fragrances from different manufacturers.

Today, I bring you what I consider, the new wave of antiperspirant inventions.

“Sexy Intrigue Motionsense® Dry Spray Antiperspirant Deodorant

from Degree”

“Florals. Vanilla. Spicy amber. 48-hour sweat protection and Motionsense® technology comes with a heady scent.”

“Sun. Heat. Blue skies. A combination that makes Exude confidence. Smell irresistible. With a heady scent, Degree Sexy Intrigue Dry Spray Antiperspirant Deodorant keeps you feeling invincible. Skip the taxi, walk to the party, and dance all night. When you’re protected against sweat and odor, you have the confidence to keep moving all day – and all night.”

“With up to 48 hours of protection in an instantly drying formula, you can start moving straight away. And with Motionsense® technology, each movement is matched with a burst of fragrance. Microcapsules of fragrance sit on the surface of your skin, breaking with friction to release a heady scent of jasmine, red rose, amber and Tahitian vanilla. Keep moving. Feel powerful. Be unstoppable.”

I don't think I care to say any more about this. The ad agency who wrote this has gone above and beyond anything else that needs to be described.

I think this is just WAY to far out of the realm of my own personal lifestyle. At 69, the only sexy dancing I’ll be doing is in my dreams.

Today’s inspiration

“I find fragrance to be such a mood enhancer and definitely a seduction tool.”

                                       Christina Aguilera

“In France one must adapt oneself to the fragrance of a urinal.”

                                 Gertrude Stein

“My daughter Lila loves the smell of gasoline - she always says, 'Mummy, keep the door open,' when I'm filling up the car. I've heard it is one of the most preferred scents in the world - maybe that's something to study for my next fragrance!”

                        Kate Moss 

Wednesday, May 16 - Day 239

Well, we survived the severe thunderstorm and impending tornado that mercifully did not appear. So I’m still here, to carry on with the musings from my imagination which can sometimes be likened to a tornado, in and of itself.

After yesterday’s introspective reflections on the complexities of soap, I decided today to carry on the theme of body fragrance.

Every time I peruse the anti-perspirant aisle, I am totally enthralled by the choices. Besides the overwhelming number of different brands, I am amazed at the choices of fragrances. In the ‘olden days’ you really didn’t have a choice. 

One flavor fit all.

But in today’s designer world, you have a selection of different choices that would rival any French parfum factory.

Every brand has their own line of aromas -

There are the straightforward bouquet smells such as baby powder, cherry blossom, lavender, lilac, citrus, coconut... 

even vanilla if you want to smell like a fresh-baked cookie.

But then there are the more enigmatic fragrance choices like tropical paradise, ocean breeze, spring breeze, pure rain, and everlasting sunshine.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly know what rain or sunshine or paradise smells like and I’m not entirely sure that when I sweat, I want to smell like such an elusive aroma.

I can envision lying on a tropical beach with the sun on my face and the sound of the ocean waves lapping against the sand brings many things to mind, and many aromas as well, but none of them remind me of the smell of my armpits ‘au natural’.

Oh, I forgot to mention that for you unadventurous women who prefer vanilla ice cream to rocky road, there is always an unscented option.

So I ask you, what do YOUR underarms smell like?

Feel free to decline answering if it’s too personal a question.


I’m a coconut.

Sorry, if that's more than you wanted to know.

Today’s inspiration

“A good fragrance should have a certain personality that makes people identify the scent with you.”


“If you want someone to miss you, go secretly and spray your fragrance somewhere.”

                                               Blake Lively

“For me, a fragrance is another way of leaving an impression on somebody.”

                                       Rita Ora

“On the fragrance side, I think it's important that it's not overpowering, a fragrance on a man or a woman. I think it's important to see the person before you smell them. Less is more.”

                                                    David Beckham

Tuesday, May 15 - Day 238

So, today I found a new product in the health food store and I can’t NOT share it, because you know my love of bringing things into your life that you might never find on your own - things you might be clamoring for if you knew they existed.

And I’m sure this is one of them.

I don’t know about you, but soap fascinates me. Not your run-of-the-mill, average bar of Zest or Ivory, but the exotic, beautifully crafted bars of natural, organic soaps you find at farmer’s markets, trendy boutiques, health food markets, etc.

Most are made with combinations of essential oils and organic coconut oil, organic extra virgin olive oil, raw goat milk,sustainable organic palm fruit oil, castor oil, organic shea butter, organic cocoa butter, raw honey and vitamin E, oatmeal, rose petals, Himalayan sea salt crystals and some of them sound good enough to eat.

And they bear no physical resemblance to the Ivory soap your mom washed you with when you were a baby.

They are elaborately designed and handmade into works of art. If you’ve never experienced it, you should take a trip to a local farm, or boutique and see for yourself.

They come in a rainbow of different color combinations and shapes that vary from the standard rectangle and round, to ones that look like they were crafted in an art studio tucked away in a mountain retreat in the Himalayas.

And the fragrances, oh the fragrances - lavender, patchouli, lemon verbena, rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus - the list goes on and on and they are heavenly.

I have a friend, whose handcrafted soaps from Wash On Custom Soaps, who will create soaps to your own desires and I ordered some for Christmas for family members. When they arrived, I must admit that I was so tempted to keep them all for myself because they looked and smelled luscious, but since I had custom ordered them according to the ingredients and fragrances for each individual recipient, I very reluctantly gifted them away, (well, all except for one lavender, sea salt one that I tucked away for myself). I decided that person really wouldn’t have appreciated the full beauty of the soap, so they ended up with a Dinkin’ Donuts gift card instead.

Sssh. Don’t tell

Anyway, back to today’s find in the health food store.

As usual, as you enter, there is a beautiful display of these ‘gourmet’ soaps all in delicate, eggshell-colored net bags tied with twine. 

So tempting.

I went down the line, fingering the soft mesh bags, picking them up and smelling their lovely fragrances when I was stopped cold by their latest addition.

Pipe tobacco and coffee scented soap. 

Yes, tobacco and coffee. 

I had no desire to sniff it. If it was just coffee alone, then yes, I would have, because you KNOW how much I love coffee.

But tobacco?

I envisioned the smell of a group of fat, sweaty old men sitting around a poker table, getting up and going to the men’s room.

Perhaps that’s a tad gross, but somehow, taking a bath in tobacco conjures up some pretty nasty visions.

Okay, so there you have it. 

I’m afraid my train of thought got completely scrambled because we have been in a severe thunderstorm and tornado warning for the past few hours and we are right in the middle of it now. 

So I’m rushing to get this posted before we either lose power, or end up in Oz.

Quick last minute inspiration

“If a tornado twists at 175 miles an hour and stays on the ground like a massive lawnmower for 50 miles, God gave the command.”

John Piper

Monday, May 14 - Day 237

Today, I experienced something that was very foreign to me. 

As I have written before (on more than one occasion), I firmly believe the outdoors is HIGHLY overrated. I should clarify before going any further, that the outdoors in the winter, early spring and late autumn, do not fall into this category. It’s really just the summer, the hot, hazy lazy days of summer that keeps me neatly tucked inside in the cool, clean environment sans the bugs, the dirt and grit, the heat.

I wasn’t always like that. 

Growing up I actually enjoyed all that, including munching on the occasional Japanese beetle off our rose bush.

I don’t remember specifically when the outdoors in the summer became so distasteful, but generally it was in the last 10 or 15 years, I would say.

Perhaps it was when my own internal thermometer started to rise to the boiling point, or the mosquito and tick population seemed to grow exponentially. And perhaps, my dislike has something to do with the fact that every attempt at growing anything in outside soil was a lesson in futility. 

If I planted it, it was doomed for a vicious death at the mercy of my black thumbs.

So what happened today?

Last winter, the flower box under my front window was wiped out by a falling tree from my neighbor’s yard. It wouldn’t have been a big deal except it was hand built by the previous owner who seemed to think he was a Bob Villa clone. He was not. The monstrosity he built was huge and attached to the house in a very unconventional way. So when the tree hit, it left cracked planking that would need to be somehow removed without damaging the house and then figure out what to replace it with. Because of the size and placement, there was nothing that was going to work. It has been an eyesore and I cringe every time I come home and see it.

What to do, what to do? 

I have tried to find someone who was willing to build a replacement to the monstrosity, but no go.

And then today, an angel appeared. 

A neighbor who was walking by, heard me mumbling to myself as I stood looking at the outdoor bane of my existence and he struck up a conversation. 

When I expressed my exasperation at the window box situation, he said…”oh, I can build that for you. It’s easy.”


This man was heaven sent. I wanted to cry. 

To him, it was a simple little carpentry job.

Now you might be wondering why my husband hadn’t stepped in to attempt to fix it, because don’t ALL men have a wood-shop and tool bench and aren’t ALL men equipped with these skills?

Of course not. 

Some men have the knowledge and gift of home repairs and DIY and some don’t. But most men have the basics to use a screwdriver and hammer for simple tasks, don’t they?

Not necessarily.

My husband, god bless him, is a very smart man with years of wisdom that young people actually listen to. But when it comes to using his hands there is a disconnect from hands to brain.

I will give you an example that explains it all.

Many years ago, he attempted to change a light bulb in a ceiling fan.


But as he was removing the old bulb, it broke in the socket and he couldn’t get it out.

So he got a screwdriver to pry it out.

No problem..except he didn’t realize he needed to turn of the power before he started digging around with the screwdriver.

From that moment on, his lightbulb changing days were over.

I could go on, but you get the idea. 

Handy is not in his vocabulary, and luckily, he recognizes that his skills lay in the intangibles and not in a toolbox.

So we rely on the kindness of strangers we hire to do work around the house.

Sorry, I’ve digressesed.

The point is that in the near future I will have a window box and not an eye-sore and it so inspired me that I decided I wanted to…wait for it…go to the garden store and buy plants. Not just for the window box, but I was so excited I thought I might start a garden…in the dirt, actually I think it’s called soil, in the sun, in the heat.

A garden!…flowers, vegetables, herbs…

The inspiration lasted all of two hours when I came to my senses.

You see the only thing I ever planted in my old window box was plastic and silk flowers that I couldn’t kill.

Today’s inspiration

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” 

                                                    Alfred Austin


“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.”

                                              A. A. Milne

That’s more like it.

Sunday, May 13 - Day 236


Today is a day of remembrance for me since my mother passed on when I was 16. She was a mom who passed on all her love to me so I could pass it on to my own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and for that I will always be grateful. Every year on Mother’s Day when I was growing up, I would craft some homemade gift that she would cherish no matter WHAT it was. And then I would gather a big bouquet of lilacs from a bush behind our apartment building. Lilacs were the tradition, and to this day, the gentle fragrance and warm purple color of lilacs bring back all the memories of my mom.

So today, I wish all the mother’s the best of days and hope you are blessed with a wonderful family day.

Today’s inspiration

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.”

                                    Robert Browning

 Saturday, May 12 - Day 235

So tomorrow is Mother’s Day and as promised I am bringing you some ideas to show just how much you love and appreciate your mom.

The first ones are something that may not have occurred to you, but may appeal to your altruistic side.

For Christmas many years ago, after a devastating earthquake in Pakistan, I donated a family-size tent for victims who lost their shelters. I donated one for each of my children, in their names. Each tent cost $150 so I felt it was a generous gift for them, and a lesson in charity for the grandkids.

I hate to admit it, but the gesture was not received fondly.


I had also gotten each of them personal Christmas gifts, but I can still see the look on their faces when I explained about the tents. Don’t get me wrong, they each have generous, giving hearts, but somehow the giving of tents was lost on them.

So when I googled unique Mother’s Day gifts, this charitable organization popped up.


The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.

Here are some suggestions for Mom.

Protection for beekeepers

Traditional beekeeping is dangerous work -- and typically, man’s work. But in places like rural Zimbabwe, where unemployment is high, beekeeping can be an economic lifeline for struggling farmers. The IRC trains women as well as men in modern beekeeping methods and helps them to market and sell the honey they harvest. $95 can provide essential protective gear for an aspiring beekeeper, including a veiled hat, jacket, overalls and boots that shield against bee stings.

Essential to life

When a crisis hits, the IRC is there, supplying families with clean water and other emergency aid. Clean water and proper sanitation reduce the risk of deadly diseases in crowded environments, like the displacement camps in war-torn Syria. In 2015, the IRC gave 2.6 million people access to clean water and sanitation, helping to prevent dehydration and stop the spread of disease. $110 can supply clean water for a year to three people who have been uprooted by crisis.

A very valuable asset

In places like South Sudan, where ongoing conflict has spurred a food crisis, milk can be scarce. The IRC is helping families to survive and rebuild their lives with the delivery of baby goats. A goat can give a family in need nourishment as well as a sustainable source of income and a chance to regain economic independence.

Comfort through the night

When war or a natural disaster forces a family from home, a blanket can provide warmth and a sense of security in the most difficult of circumstances. $84 can provide 15 warm, soft blankets for uprooted families who have lost everything in a crisis, like the war in Syria, helping them stay warm and get a better night’s sleep.

Now, here are some suggestions if you are thinking more along the traditional line.

Shari’s Berries

Surprise someone special for Mother's Day with these incredible, mouthwatering creations! Each succulent strawberry is dipped in milk, dark or white and covered with toppings. The end result is a heavenly combination of flavors. One dozen, on sale $29

Then there’s always 1-800-Flowers for a special Mother’s Day arrangement of flowers.

But if you are inclined to go a little over and above the standard, I’ve included a few suggestions for that as well.

May is the month for blooming flowers, which is why a sweet bouquet is usually the first thing we think of! A gorgeous bouquet of Fleur-de-Lis from luxury flower company Landeau will set you back $169, plus a flat-rate delivery fee of $14.99. That’s $183.99 for a box of flowers!

If flowers and spa pampering aren't your style, you could always shower her in $2,500 bottle of Viktor and Rolf perfume or dress up her living room with a $6000 picture frame.

Is Mama more into mani-pedis? Images Luxury Nail Lounge in California, offers a Glitz & Glamicure that starts at $10,000 and can go up to over $25,000! Mom would be leaving with real diamonds on her fingers and toes, a massage, facial, makeover, lash extensions and complimentary champagne.eef & Arpels will set you back $14,200.

Okay, so there you have it. 

A plethora of ideas to choose from. 

But remember that the BEST gift of all will ALWAYS be spending the day with the woman who gave you life.

Today’s inspiration

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”

                                           Rudyard Kipling

Friday, May 11 - Day 234

So, after my long and protracted posts about identity panic, illness, more illness…and more illness, I had to try and think of something that is less self-oriented and the opposite end of the spectrum. And it hit me this morning when my Facebook’s memories from previous years popped up.

I was looking through the previous years posts and they were all pictures of past Mother’s Days. 

So I decided, what would better than to find you some unique gifts for your moms, just in case you haven’t already thought of the perfect gift to honor the woman who gave you life.

I must admit that today’s gift idea might be a just little ego-centric - since it speaks to one of my greatest loves and obsessions, which you all know is…coffee.

Brumi Pour Over & Cold Brew To-Go Bottle


Take your pour-over coffee or cold brew to go in this reusable double-walled glass bottle—wrapped with a cork sleeve that gives your hand something to grip on to. The strong borosilicate glass bottle—available with white, pink, or navy lid—features a stainless steel filter that you can fill with coffee grounds to easily brew hot or cold coffee right in the bottle. Pour-over aficionados can simply fill the filter with grounds and slowly pour hot water over them for a perfectly brewed cup to go; cold brew die-hards can fill the filter with grounds, then fill up the bottle with water and place in the fridge to steep for 12 to 16 hours before grabbing and going!

Awesome gift for the moms that love quality coffee. 

Hmmm, it's just too bad my offspring aren't in the habit of reading my blog every day. Well, maybe today will be the day.

One can only hope

Today’s inspiration

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, May 10 - Day 233

I promise, I promise, I promise, this is going to be the end of the aging/illness theme that I have been droning on about all week. 

I know I’M sick of it and I’m sure you are too.

Today was our 6 month doctor’s visit so perhaps it’s for that reason that I’m going to write just a little bit more.

We have the most WONDERFUL doctor in the world, bar none (hope I didn’t make you blush, Sheri). We’ve known each other since she was a resident so we are as much friends as patient/doctor.

Anyway, she sees both my husband and myself together because she thinks we are so amusing and we all spend the hour laughing through the visit. I don’t think many people look forward to their doctor’s visits but we do, all three of us.

She takes care of me first because I have a plethora of medical issues that take up most of the visit. Which is no problem, because my husband is the same, year in and year out. He should be the septuagenarian's poster boy for good health.

And me? 

She says ‘I’m a conundrum’. I won’t bore you with the details of it, but suffice it to say, my medical status is between a rock and a hard place. I can’t this med because of that problem. I can’t take that med because of this problem, and so on and so forth.

So I left today with referrals to specialists who can try and battle it out amongst themselves and their opposing opinions.

And my husband?

 Healthy as a horse. 

And his attitude?

 As far as he’s concerned, he’s on the gravy train and every day above ground is a bonus.

God bless his little heart.

Today’s inspiration

“I am lucky: I have fantastic doctors.”

Anna Deavere Smith

I don't know who she is, but I agree with her.

Wednesday, May 9 - Day 232

I wasn’t planning on continuing on with this theme of aging, but I just can’t resist.


For several years I have been borderline osteoporotic and I am due for my next bone density test and I suspect that I’ve crossed over the line to full osteoporosis (since I’m now 5ft. 1 in. and started out 5ft 2-3/4 inches on a sunny day).

Anyway, I had a cortisone injection last month on my arthritic knee and it started to feel better.

So, I decided to begin a walking program since my doctor said she wants me to walk 10,000 steps a day. 

Easy peasy, right? 

Well, considering that due to my arthritis and various other sundry physical ailments that comes with aging, on good days I might inch my way up to 5000, and good days don’t happen very often.

So…I started slowly, but I was determined

Walking is good for your bone health, so they say. It took me a week, but I slowly built up to 5000…6000…7000…8000…9000…

and yes, I DID IT! 10,000 steps a day for almost a week.

Then, however, I developed a pain in my left foot. It’s my right foot that has a badly arthritic big toe, but I pushed through that pain to achieve my goal. But now I was having pain in my left foot (the only good foot I had). It hurt badly with every step I took, all day, every day.

Anyway, today I was actually scheduled to have an injection in my right toe so I knew he would look at my left foot, too.

Very nice man, sent me for x-rays of both feet.

Results - the right toe, as expected, worsening arthritis with a little bone spur thrown in for good measure.

Left foot…a stress fracture!


Yes, all my good effort to walk my way into better bone health and I broke a bone.


I actually came out into the waiting room laughing. My husband, who always thinks I’m funny, asked what was up and I told him I broke a bone in my foot by walking. 

He didn’t see the humor.

So now I am walking around with a post-op boot for three weeks and limited walking. All from trying to keep myself deteriorating into old age.

Does anyone else see the irony here?

All I can say is…old age really does suck.

And on that note, I’m using yesterday’s inspiration again because it’s even truer today than it was yesterday.

“Getting old sucks. I used to wake up feeling like a million bucks…now I feel more like a bounced check.” 


Tuesday, May 8 - Day 231

I think today’s inspiration is appropriate for the day after my birthday, since I’m only 98% recovered from my illness, and after my husband took me out for a quick bite to eat for my birthday, I came home and fell exhausted into bed for the rest of the day. 

And this morning?

Today’s inspiration

“Getting old sucks. I used to wake up feeling like a million bucks…

now I feel more like a bounced check.” 


Monday, May 7 - Day 230

I’m finally on the mend and hope to be back to my witty self tomorrow, but for today, I’m going to cop out one more time. 

Today is my birthday and I’m going to use that as my excuse. 

It’s my 69th, which means next year I become a septuagenarian, so I’m going to enjoy my last year as a ‘youngster’.

Today’s inspiration

“There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why.”

                                              William Barclay

“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.”


“Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter.” 

                                         Satchel Paige

Sunday, May 6 - Day 229

Unfortunately, not improving much, but it has allowed some quality TV binge watching. 

So until my physical condition improves and the ‘little grey cells’ as Poirot calls them, return to some semblance of normal, I’m going to just post what my binge watching status is.

Today, finished re-watching the entire 6 seasons of Downton Abbey…for the ninth time.

And I’m going to continue to use yesterday’s inspiration daily, until I’m back on my feet.

I’m afraid it’s the best I can do for now.

Today’s inspiration

“I enjoy convalescence. It is the part that makes the illness worth while.”

 George Bernard Shaw

Saturday, May 5 - Day 228

Still sick, drinking chicken soup and tea, but the fever is down so I’m not loopy like I was yesterday.

Today’s inspiration

“I enjoy convalescence. It is the part that makes the illness worth while.” George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, May 3 - Day 226

Okay, I promised to bring this long, convoluted tale to a close today, and I am nothing, if not trustworthy to fulfill that promise.

So yesterday, I left off with my mad dash to AAA with the proper documents in hand (or so says the nice supervisor I had spoken to).

I could have waited until the next day, but I wasn’t about to risk ANYTHING going wrong.

I mean what if the woman was mistaken? 

What if I really DID need more documentation? 

What if…?

No, I had to settle this, right here and now.

So I parked the car, jumped out and hurried to the smiling lady at the reception desk.

“Are you Judith?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said, trying to figure out how she knew who I was.

Perhaps, it was my rushed and harried demeanor, or the way I was desperately clutching the envelope in my hand.

“I was told to ask for the supervisor,” I said, feeling strengthened by the fact that it was someone who was in charge that was going to help me…hopefully.

At that moment, the supervisor, a very friendly, well-dressed woman came up to me and introduced herself. I thanked her profusely for helping me as she thumbed through the documents and give me the thumbs up. 

We were good to go.

Well, not exactly. 

You see, moments before I got there, the entire state of Massachusett’s Registry computer system went down.

It was 2:30 in the afternoon and there were about an hour’s worth of anxious patrons waiting before me so as long as the system came back up by 5, I could still accomplish my goal.

As I said I am patient, and I didn’t care if I had to wait 3 hours…or 4…or 8…I would wait as long as it took, if I could be assured I would walk out with my license.

So I sat, writing on my computer as my husband thumbed through cruise brochures to Norway, Alaska, the Mediterranean and every other brochure in the racks.

5 o’clock rolled around and the system was STILL down so it was a no go. 

I decided I would come back at the crack of dawn the next morning to wait until they opened and pray the system came back up.

Now I said I was patient, but I can tell you that the others were anything but. As the minutes, then hours, ticked by, they were getting anxious, flustered and some were beginning to show signs of outright hostility. They had been there all day, some taking off work, or skipping lunch, or paying for a sitter, and they were going to have to come back and do it again.

I felt their pain.

I felt their panic.

If their license were expiring that day, they were in trouble, just like I would have been. But I still had 6 business days left and if I had to camp out in my car every night and wait in the waiting area ever day, all day, I WAS going to get my license.

So the next morning, I arrived over an hour early and I was the first one to line up outside. It was a cold, rainy, windy, raw day, but I came prepared. I wore my hat, coat, scarf, gloves, and heavy socks.There is an overhang by the door so unless a gusty wind flared up, I stayed pretty dry.

Again, I didn’t care. 

I was just thrilled that I wasn’t driving on some back road in S.C.

About 10 minutes later, a very sweet, little lady in her 70s came to wait as well. She was only wearing jeans, sneakers and a heavy sweatshirt. In her hand was a clear, plastic envelope with her documents.

She said she had been there once before but needed another paper, but now she was all set. We had about another 45 minutes to wait and the weather was still nasty.

I felt very sorry for her because she wasn’t dressed warm enough and seemed somewhat frail.

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I was a Girl Scout in my youth and took to heart their motto, “Be Prepared.” 

And I always am. 

I am the source of great amusement for my family because they know I travel with enough staples to sustain me for a few days if I’m ever stranded. They laugh, but on many an occasion, they’ve rummaged in my trunk for spoons, peanut butter, towels, even toilet paper (don’t ask).

So off to my car I went, to get my new little friend a chair to sit on. 

Yes, a chair.

She thanked me and sat down and as the line behind us got longer and longer, we chatted. She was wearing a wedding ring and I decided to ask if she had her marriage certificate because I didn’t want her to endure this cold, wet waiting, in vain.

She said, no, she didn’t need it because she had all this other information and proceeded to pull out her documents and explain them to me. I tried to explain that even though these were all legal papers that had her name on them, she still needed her marriage certificate. I was gentle and kind and listened to her explanations, again and again, and knew she wasn’t leaving. She was convinced that she could circumvent the requirement because it was just common sense.

Ah, yes. Common sense. 

We know how far THAT will get you.

About 10 minutes before they were due to open, they took pity on us and let us into the waiting area to get warm. As we entered, they took our first names to make a list for when they opened. I let my new friend go first, because I KNEW she was going to be turned away and didn't want her to have to wait any longer than she had to.

I saw the supervisor near the reception area and signaled to her. I whispered in her ear what the situation was and when they called my name to the counter to get my license, I watched as the supervisor sat patiently, as my new friend took out every paper, one by one. She looked at me and we nodded to each other. We knew that this little lady was caught in the twilight zone of bureaucracy and no matter what, she would eventually have to go home and come back again.

So there you have it…the long, protracted version.

The bottom line? 

It’s a done deal. 

I have my license.

And I hope you’ve all learned some valuable information.

When it comes time to renew your license…

“Be Prepared”

Today’s inspiration

“Life is too short for a long story.”

Mary Wortley Montagu

“I was not an attractive child. When I didn't use my Girl Scouts uniform as a uniform, I used it as a tent.”

Joan Rivers

Wednesday, May 2 - Day 225

Okay, so where did I leave off? 

Oh, that’s right, South Carolina.

No place I wish to visit again, sorry to my SC friends. I’m just a staunch,

dyed-in-the-wool New Englander.

But 52 years ago I was married to my first husband there. He was a marine and very sadly, he was killed in Vietnam shortly after our marriage. Those were sad times, and it was very, very long ago and a time that is way back in my memory banks.

But this RMV fiasco left me no choice but to revisit the situation, and possibly SC, as well. You see, I realized that my current marriage certificate wasn’t going to solve the problem, because it didn’t have my maiden name on it, it had my first married name on it.

Now it was time to begin panicking, just a little.

I went to the SC state website to track down just where and how I could get the necessary document in the 8 business days I had left before my license expired.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that there was a direct phone number to the vital records bureau, so I knew everything should go smoothly.

I was sorely mistaken.

I dialed the number and heard the sweet lady’s voice tell me my call would be answered in the order it was received. I mean this is SC, not NYC. How busy could they be?

So, I waited…and waited…and waited…

5 min…10 min…15 min…

Southerners are very polite, so every few minutes she would come on the line to apologize and say someone should be with me shortly.

30 min…45 min…60 min…

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a VERY patient person. I once was on the phone with a very nice man in India named Rajesh, who tried fixing my computer problem. During the course of our 8 hours relationship, I learned he had a cousin in NYC who had recently become engaged and he would be coming over for the wedding. We got to know each other very well in 8 hours so I couldn’t possibly have gotten mad when he told me the problem still wasn’t fixed when his shift was over and he had to turn me over to Monaj.

Yes, I’m very patient. But I only had 8 business days left!

FINALLY, a woman with a very thick southern accent and a terrible phone connection answered.

I asked what I needed to do to get my certificate, but it took many “excuse me, what?” and “could you repeat that, please?” to find out the form I needed to print, fill out and send in with a money order. 


Not so great.

The turn-a-round time? 

2 - 4 weeks…WEEKS!

You see, SC has no expedited fax option.


So apparently, my only option was to head south and get it person.

I checked the flights and I could fly to NC to where my son lives, rent a car, drive to my friend’s house in SC (3 -1/2 hours away) and then onto the SC record bureau (another 3 hours away).

My head was spinning and the panic level was beginning to rise because #1- I hate to fly #2- I hate to drive, as you well know, and #3- it was going to cost me almost $1000!

I sat on my couch with head in hands, dreading what I was going to have to do, when a tiny nightlight went off in my head.

I went to get the marriage certificate that was now in my possession and I examined it more closely.

Yes, it had my husbands name and my married name on it, but as I perused further down to the bottom, it also listed my father’s name - the same name that is on my birth certificate. And then a little further down in small print, it asked if this was my first marriage, and the box was checked - no, and then it asked for the disposition of the first marriage, and it listed my husband as deceased. I had to sit with that thought for awhile before I went back to the business at hand.

It occurred to me that you could trace the name change from birth to first marriage to second. 

It made sense, complete sense…to ME.

Of course, that wouldn’t necessarily mean anything to the state of Massachusetts.

But I decided to give it a shot. 

What did I have to lose?

So I called AAA and started to talk to the receptionist, who then transferred me to a supervisor, because my story was FAR too complicated for her, and when I started to lay out the scenario, the supervisor stopped me mid-sentence and told me I was not going to have to go to SC - my document was sufficient proof.

She told me to come right away because, miraculously, the wait time was less than an hour. I hopped in the car and actually drove over the speed limit to get there as quickly as I could.

Might plight was almost over! 

There was a successful end in sight and I would indeed be able to retain my legal status!


Okay, not so fast.

You don’t think that this could possibly be the end of the story, do you?

Nope, it isn’t.

And here I go again.

I just can’t resist. 

I mean, after all I went through, I think I should get one more blog day out of it.

So come back tomorrow. 

This time I PROMISE to bring this to completion.

Pinky swear.

Devilish, aren’t I?

Today’s inspiration

“Inside each of us, there is the seed of both good and evil. It's a constant struggle as to which one will win. And one cannot exist without the other.” 

                                        Eric Burdon

Tuesday, May 1 - Day 224

Okay, I had a good night’s sleep and now I feel replenished enough to tell you the rest of the identity crisis tale.

I call it an identity crisis because that is exactly what it was (and will be for anyone else in similar circumstances). Because if I was unable to resolve the problem, I would be like Phillip Nolan from “A Man Without A Country” forced to travel the seas with no country to call his own. 

Okay, perhaps that’s just a tad overdramatic, but basically true, nonetheless.

Without my legal ID I would not exist in the eyes of the US.

So, yesterday I left off as I headed to NY, heart in my throat, hands shaking on the wheel as I drove onto the dreaded Interstate. At first, I was relatively calm because at 5:30am there was basically no traffic.


So, I confidently drove in the right lane going 45 on a 65mph highway.

No matter, there really wasn’t anyone else to complain it, for a while.

Then, they came. 

The cars, the SUVs, the pick-up trucks, the motorcycles…and the most dreaded, the trucks going 95mph, barreling down on me, whizzing past me, weaving in and out, and if I could have safely closed my eyes, I would have.

With sweat collecting in my hairline and slowly running down my cheeks, and my hands tightly glued to the wheel, I decided this would never do. I was on a mission. I had no choice. If I was going to remain a citizen of the US, I had to pull up my big girl pants and carry on.

And that’s just what I did. 

Armed with the courage only mortal fear can produce, I did it.

My trusty GPS led me safely to my destination and now, the task at hand was to obtain the missing document.

My hands were still a little shaky and my knees still a little wobbly from the drive, but my real fear at this point was that they would be unable to locate my marriage certificate, because what avenues would be open to me then? 


So, I filled out the form and handed Felicia the $45 non-refundable fee so she could begin the document search. She was a lovely woman with a beautiful smile, and she knew how much I was depending on a successful search.

I sat, nervously twiddling my thumbs, and 15 minutes later, my savior appeared with document in hand. She didn’t know why the county records bureau couldn’t find it, but I didn’t care! She found it and that’s all that mattered.

I was so elated that I drove back home driving 70mph with not one drop of sweat. There were cars, SUVs, motorcycles, pick-up trucks and semis galore and I didn’t notice any of them. 

I was flying back home on the wings of euphoria, first goal accomplished.

I say first goal, because now I had to face my next and far more complicated challenge. 

You see, I had been married once before…52 years ago, in South Carolina and I was informed I would need that marriage certificate as well.

I know, I know, you’re going to hate me, because I’m going to do it again. I’m going to stop here, because this next part gets even more complicated.

But I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to finish the whole story tomorrow. One can only hope.

Today’s inspiration

“Even cowards can endure hardship; only the brave can endure suspense.”   Mignon McLaughlin

Monday, April 30 - Day 223

Okay so, today, I will finally tell the tale of what has kept my head spinning and my feet moving for the past two weeks.

It is the terrorizing tale of obtaining my driver’s license renewal.

I know that I’ve given you bits and pieces of the story along the way, or perhaps I just dreamt that I did in this nightmarish four week process.

Anyway, I will recant their entire story for your reading enjoyment, amusement, or horror (in case you get to experience any of the same).

As a refresher…starting on March 26th, the state of Massachusetts implemented the REAL ID process of legal identification. It is the federal mandate to assure that you are who you say you are, legally, have a right to be here, and as such, you can have a driver’s license.

Not a problem, really. 

You just need to provide the proper documents, and voila, you have a legal identity.

But didn’t I have one before?

I have a birth certificate that proves I was born, to whom, and when and where.

And I have a social security number obtained when I was 16 (back in the olden days, you didn’t get one at birth).

I’ve worked, gotten married, payed taxes, and now I’m collecting Social Security all with that same number since I was 16.

So what could possibly be the problem?

Let me go back and set the stage.

On March 28, I decided to renew my license and get the new REAL ID at the same time, because as of Oct. 2020 it will be one and the same thing. My license wasn’t due to be renewed until May, but I figured, what the heck, since I had collected the needed documents, I’d avoid the rush.

So I went to my local AAA, because they have a registry service there for members, and I knew that the state registry has ALWAYS been a horror even before these new requirements.

There was a little blip on the registry site that said to expect longer than usual wait times due to the new system, so I brought my laptop along so I could get in some quality writing time while waiting.

Upon arrival at 11am, they said the wait was 3 to 3-1/2 hours and that people had waited outside for an hour before they even opened.

Since it was a sunny day and I still had almost 6 weeks before I needed to renew, I decided I’d wait and come back at another time closer to renewal time.

So here is the timeline of the past 2 weeks.

Wednesday, April 18

8am - waited on line (outside in the rain, 42 degrees) for an hour until they opened. To be honest, it wasn’t that bad because there was an overhang so I didn’t get wet…just cold.

9am - doors open. I lined up behind the 3 people who had been in front of me in the rain, documents in hand, ready and waiting to accomplish my mission.

9:15am - handed my documents to the very nice lady in the pretty red seater who handed them back and said, “I’m sorry, but you need your marriage certificate.”



Because the name on my birth certificate isn’t the same as my legal married name, the one that has BEEN my legal married name for almost 50 years, on my IRS forms, on my social security statements, on my medical records, and on every other legal form of documentation.

Yes, but how do THEY know that this baby born with one name is REALLY this person who’s been living with another name.

They don’t. 

So a certified marriage certificate is required.

Well, no problem. Just go home and get it.


Somewhere over the course of 49 years, it had been misplaced and since I was legally married and every government agency listed me as so, I never thought to replace it.

No problem. 

Go home, get on the computer, contact the vital statics bureau and get a copy.

11am - pull up the New York State bureau of Vital Records to begin the process.


You need to apply in the town where the license was issued - NOT in the town you were married.


We’re talking 50 years ago! I know WHERE we were married, and by WHOM we were married (won’t ever forget that because he was a supreme court justice who was jailed for sexual misconduct shortly after he married us), but had no clue which one of the 5 towns we took out the license. And without it, no go.

I am not one to panic. 

I know that if you are persistent enough, and stay level-headed, most anything can be accomplished.

So I called the phone number of the town I was a 99% sure was the right one. A wonderful, friendly woman named Fran answered the phone and I explained my predicament. I told her this was a time-sensitive situation and she was very understanding.

She told me to print out the application (along with my phone # in case she couldn’t find the info) and fax it with a copy of my current photo driver’s license and a credit card #.


Credit card #, sent out through cyber-space?

 You folks KNOW how I guard my credit and identity like a hawk and that I never, never, NEVER give out that info.

But what other choice did I have?

None, if I was to get the vital document.

So off to Staples to send the fax. 

Feeling accomplished, I headed off to Costco. 

I was in the sausage aisle when my phone rang.

It was Fran with the bad news. 

No, she couldn’t find it in her town. 


But she was one of those people who went above and beyond what she needed to. She told me she would call the other surrounding towns to see if she could find it.

God bless her.

I was at the checkout when my phone rang again.

Nowhere. It was nowhere.

How can that possibly be?

She said that I would have to drive to NY to the central vital records bureau to see if they might have it. 


No guarantee.

 It may have been permanently lost.

Now you have to realize that without the marriage license, or other accepted documentation to prove who I am. No proof. No license, but more important…no legal ID. That means no driving, no flying, not able to obtain a passport, and many more things you take for granted until you no longer exist in the system.

Okay, still not in a panic.

Thursday, April 19

Despite the looming identity disaster, I was actually able to fall asleep and get some rest before getting up at 5am to prepare for my 2 hour (depending on the state of traffic and construction) drive to NY.

Freshly showered, dressed and ready to go, I grabbed an apple and cheese stick for the trip and headed out.

Now at this point I need to help you understand what a MONUMENTAL task I was undertaking.

I NEVER drive on the highway. Many years ago, we were in a near-fatal crash on the highway that involved one truck plummeting over the guardrail and down a precipice and an SVU that flipped over and over and when it stopped, we could see that the woman had been decapitated. 

By the grace of God, our car was not hit, but many others were.

I was so traumatized that I didn’t drive at all for many months and when I got behind the wheel again, I had panic attacks. It took years before I was able to drive without having a panic attack, but going full-speed on the highway was out of the question. I drive 20mph BELOW the speed limit which makes me very unpopular on the road. And I could not let anyone else be the driver…ever.

So here I was, in a pickle. 

What to do? 

I couldn’t let my husband drive because I would be in a panic, and there were no back roads to the city.

So I had no choice…and using all the relaxation techniques I could think of, I set out for NY...

I had planned to make this a one day post, but there is SO much more to this story that I’m gong to split it into two, because I’m exhausted just writing this.

So if you’re at all interested in how this story ends, come back tomorrow.

Today’s inspiration

“Sustained exhaustion is not a rite of passage. It's a mark of stupidity.” 

Jason Fried

“It's sad, actually, because my anxiety keeps me from enjoying things as much as I should at this age.”

Amanda Seyfried

“I'm one of the slowest drivers on the road. I mosey along. If you're doing anything too fast, including living life too fast, that creates sudden death. If I have to be somewhere on time, I make sure I leave early enough.” 

Anthony Hopkins

Sunday, April 29 - Day 222

Headline from USA TODAY - April 16

Stressed over final exams? 

This Utah university has a 'cry closet' for students.

A University of Utah student created a space for students struggling to cope with stress during finals week, and it’s called the “cry closet.”

Nemo Miller, a senior at the university, created the closet, which was placed in the middle of the Marriot Library.

"The space is meant to provide a place for students studying for finals to take a short 10-minute break."

And, there are rules listed: 

Knock before entering, 

Only one person inside at a time, 

Limit time inside to 10 minutes

 Turn the lights out before leaving.

The closet, a free-standing woodshop project by senior Nemo Miller in collaboration with Tony Miller and David Meyer, was installed Sunday. It's lined with a black interior, and plush stuffed animals are inside. 


I think it’s the solution to the world’s problems...

go hide in a dark closet with stuffed animals.

Today’s inspiration

“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.” 

Richard Carlson

“Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.”

Natalie Goldberg

“I used to really panic about finals. I didn't understand the concept of how you could have one test that encompasses the entire semester.”

Tyra Banks

and just because I think it’s funny…

"When I went to medical school, the term 'digital' applied only to rectal exams." Eric Topol

Saturday, April 28 - Day 221

                        I’ll be honest, it was one hell of a week, all thanks to the good intentions of the federal government, and it has physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted me. 

But I think it’s an entertaining story, although I wasn’t entertained at the time. 

I want to share it, I’m just too tapped out to do it today. 

Today, the sun is warm and bright and I need to soak in the healing, innervating sunshine to restore my soul.

But have no fear. 

I’ll tell you all about my roller coaster of a week when my brain gets unscrambled.

And I’m sure the sunshine will do it…eventually.

Today’s inspiration

“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.”

                                               Frank Lane

Friday, April 27 - Day 220

Okay, so my apologies for giving you the first two parts of last Sunday’s escapade and then leaving you hanging…because I KNOW you must be on the edge of your seat.

Part one was the sensual, part two was the comical.

So, here’s part three - the ridiculous

After walking around the brick-lined streets for an hour, we were thirsty and stopped in at Whole Food to get some bottled water. If you’ve never walked into Whole Foods, it is the epitome of visual ecstasy. 

They have the store arranged so that the first thing you see are magnificently beautiful displays of produce. Row after row of brightly colored apples, oranges, kiwis, mangoes, artichokes, red peppers, green peppers, orange peppers, purple peppers…every imaginable fruit and vegetable known to man, including ones that look as if they were grown on Mars (with prices to match the cost of importing it from another planet).

Everything is arranged so that even if you are a produce-hating carnivore, your senses will be tempted to buy.

Anyway, this particular Whole Foods has a beverage station right there at the entrance to the produce section with bottles of juices and flavored waters nestled in luscious mounds of crushed ice - a welcome sight since I was very thirsty.

I perused the labels and found an array of bottles of fruit and vegetable juices and sparkling waters from Suja that sounded intriguing. 

They all included ‘natural’ ‘healthy’ additives such as probiotics.

I admit to including ‘healthy’ probiotic foods in my diet so I thought, why not try one of these drinks to quench my thirst.

There was quite a selection, so it took me a few minutes to decide which one of the options would leave me feeling refreshed and ‘healthier’ than I started.

Here were some of the Suja options and I’ve included Suja’s product info from their website.

Suja -

“We’ve handcrafted three lines of delicious Cold-Pressed, Organic & Non-GMO juices and smoothies, plus Probiotic Waters, Probiotic Vinegar Juices and new Kombuchas that are all USDA certified Organic and Non-GMO.


The first-ever enhanced water made with nothing but organic fruits, vegetables and vegan probiotics. At ten calories and one gram of sugar or less, our Pressed Probiotic Waters™ offer a subtle sweetness with no additives of any kinds. Containing 2 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of vegan probiotics, these probiotic waters provide a clean dose of immune and digestive benefits as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.


Our Probiotic Vinegar Juices were born from Suja’s obsession with nutritious cold-pressed juice and digestive health. Blends of organic Apple Cider Vinegar or Coconut Vinegar with the mother still intact, plus four billion live probiotics in every bottle will leave you wondering how they taste so good.

They were intriguing, and as an added benefit, the bottles are very pretty,

so I chose an icy cold bottle of lemon cayenne water. 

Sounded tasty and refreshing.

I handed it to the cashier who smiled and rang it up.


excuse me?



Yes, $7.99 for a 16 ounce bottle of…water, albeit ‘healthy, organic, non-gmo, probiotic’ water.

So, I handed it back to the cashier, took a bottle of plain spring water for $1.99 and was on my way.

The best irony of it all, for $7.99…it was bottled in plastic.

Today's inspiration

“An extravagance is something that your spirit thinks is a necessity.” 

                                                                    Bernard Williams


Thursday, April 26 - Day 219

I have emerged from a scary place of bureaucratic chaos with the bureaucratic kindness of strangers, and now, miraculously, all is well. 

I will give details tomorrow.

Today’s inspiration

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” 

Mark Twain

Wednesday, April 25 - Day 218

"Right now I am trying to be in a place of calm, a place where I can chill out and then handle the chaos of life better. You don't just get it overnight; you have to work at it. It's a daily struggle."

                                         Jackee Harry

All I can say about this, is that there is chaos and then there is chaos. And mine right now is CHAOS and I need several days to see if I can sort it all out, but true to my commitment, I had to at least post something.

Tuesday, April 24 - Day 217

Okay, as promised - part two of Sunday’s tale.

Part two - the comical

So, as I explained yesterday, our trip to our favorite town was one we’ve made a bazillion times, so much so that the car could get there on autopilot.

After nearly 50 years together, we are in tune and can do many things together blindfolded (maybe I should have included that in yesterday’s sensual post).

So when we reached our destination, we pulled into the parking garage we always park in and found a spot, just as always.

So here’s the rub.

As I lock the car and we start towards the exit, we see a line of people at what looks like an ATM machine.

Funny place for one of those, I thought.

As we drew nearer, the line got longer and several people were obviously displeased.

No money left in the ATM?


That’s not good. 

Glad I brought money from home.

And then as we were within earshot, we hear more grumbling, and several people walked off in a huff.

Then we saw what was not an ATM, but a parking meter machine.


Then it occurred to me, and I don’t know how I didn’t notice it before. We had driven in and out of that garage so many times it was just routine, but somehow it escaped me Sunday that we didn’t get a ticket as we entered.

 No ticket booth, no ticket. 

Just drove right in and parked.

So here’s the deal. 

Apparantly, the little town upgraded their technology.

Now you have to go to the cute little machine and pre-pay to park.

Right away I realized what the problems were and why people were walking away in anger. First, you had to register your license plate number in the machine.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have my plate number memorized, and neither did the people in front of us who walked away, back to their car to find it out.

Now this is a VERY big garage so it was no small trek back to your car to get the number.

So back we went, looked at the plate and trekked back…twice…because by the time we got back to the machine, we forgot the number. The second time I decided to take a picture of it, just in case. Good thing, because we forgot the number…again.

Okay, step number 2 - after you enter your plate number, you pay.

Now there’s several choices here.

You can insert a debit or credit card into the machine and choose how much you want to pay. 

$1.50 per hour or $7 for the day!

Well, I don’t know about you, but I have no idea how long we’ll be because I don’t know exactly what we’ll be doing and for how long we’ll be doing it. I know for sure we will have lunch, but being a busy Sunday, that could take 1/2 hour, one hour, two hours…

Now, I’m sure you remember my identity theft paranoia and the fact that I NEVER use debit or credit cards, under ANY circumstances.

As I stood there looking at this machine, I was envisioning some low-life criminal sneaking a skimmer into it to rob unsuspecting patrons of their identity, one right after another, after another.

Well, they weren’t going to get me!

So I’m choosing option #2 - cash.


No problem. 

I went into my bag for some dollar bills.

No problem. 

I had plenty.

Took a dollar and went to insert it into the machine.


The machine doesn’t take bills.


It only takes coins.

And we have none with us.


How ridiculous is that? 

Even soda and candy machines make change.

Well, not this high-tech cash cow.

So here we are with our plate number on the screen and no coins to continue.

By now, this whole process has eaten up twenty minutes of our precious sunshine.

Now another trek all the way back to the car to search for change.

Usually, I have an abundance of spare coins floating around in various nooks and crannies around the car. Just in case. Just in case I get stranded somewhere and need money. And I always make sure that I have an impressive amount of coins…just in case.

So, I knew I’d have plenty to feed the machine and get on with our day.

Then I remembered. I had cleaned the car the week before (not something I do on a very regular basis) and was very proud of myself that I collected all my change and placed it into a cute little tin that I thought would keep it neatly in one place for whenever I needed it.

Well, I needed it now. 

The only problem was that I forgot to place the tin back in the car!

So now, we are stranded IN the garage because we can’t get out unless we pre-pay.

Remember I said this was the comical part? Well, at this point, we didn’t think this was very funny…at all. We used up a good portion of physical and mental energy just trying to park the car and now we were being held hostage.

At this point, when we were quite exasperated, a young man came to the machine and he must have sensed we were just a little perturbed and asked if he could help.

God bless him, he had oodles of quarters in his pocket to use at the arcade. We thanked him profusely as we clunked quarter after quarter after quarter after quarter…into the machine. 

He said your welcome and as he left he said,

“You know you can use a credit card, don’t you?”

Out of the mouth of babes.

“If you look at anything, there are always comedic moments.”

Bradley Cooper

Monday, April 23 - Day  216

Yesterday was a day for a long, bucolic drive in the sunshine to one of our favorite destinations - a picturesque, little town with cobblestone streets and victorian-style street lamps in the hills. 

You know, the kind you’d like to retire to. 

At least I know I would.

Now that you can envision our leisurely Sunday, sunshine escape, I’ll tell you what really happened.

Our trek to our favorite little town may have the brick and cobblestone streets and victorian lamps, but it is far from a village in the hills. It is really just a high-priced, high-end, peripheral part of a city - a very wealthy city.

You know, the kind of place that draws you in because of the atmosphere, knowing that unless you have a six-figure income, you can’t live there, and you probably can’t eat or shop here, either.

Ritzy, upscale boutiques and prohibitively expensive steakhouses galore.

So why am I so drawn here? 

I’m drawn because every breath fills my senses. 

As I walk along, my eyes can see the beauty of the tree-lined brick streets that are magnificently landscaped, and I can smell the rose-filled ceramic planters, and I can feel the brilliant sunshine on my face. 

It’s an explosion of sensual activity that fills me with joy and renews my winter-withered soul.

Now if that isn’t just taking a flowery, little literary and artistic license for you, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, I have completely digressed

I think I’ve adequately set the scene for my original thought for the day, but I’ve wandered so far astream that I’ve decided to break this down into a three-part post about one day - yesterday.

So, part one - the sensual.

Part two? — the comical.

Part three? wait and see.

Today’s inspiration

“Sensual is everything that refers to the delight of the senses. And that's what artists do, is stimulate the senses in any possible way.”


“To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the making of bread.”

James A. Baldwin

Sunday, April 22 - Day 215

Yeah, there’s no superwoman here today. 

Maybe, tomorrow.

Today’s inspiration

“‘When I'm tired, I rest. I say, 'I can't be a superwoman today.’”

                                              Jada Pinkett Smith

Saturday, April 21 - Day 214

Due to emergency circumstances beyond my control, this is today’s post. 

Yup, that’s all there is. 

Sorry, folks. 

Have a sparkling day and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Today’s inspiration

“My life has been a series of emergencies.

Lana Turner

Friday, April 20 - Day 213

Today, I saw an advertisement for something very interesting and the more I thought about it, the more I knew I just HAD to share it with you people who are on the cutting edge of technology, just like me.

It is an e-Pedal.

And what, you may ask, is that?

It is the newest technology from Nissan that is a feature in their new 2018 LEAF compact electric car.

So what is it and how does it work?

This is what Nissan says -

They believe this revolutionary technology will transform the way we drive. While the Leaf will feature a traditional brake pedal, a flip of a switch will see the Leaf's accelerator turn into an e-Pedal, allowing drivers to both accelerate, decelerate and stop using just the e-Pedal. Nissan believes that the e-Pedal/accelerator will cover 90% of the driver's needs.

You'll press the e-Pedal to accelerate as normal, but when you want to slow down you'll simply take your foot off the pedal and the car will automatically reduce in speed, coming to a complete stop should you want it to. The mechanism is even strong enough to hold the car on a hill. 

However, for sudden braking situations you'll still need to jam the brake on with your foot, while switching the system off will see the car's pedals behave as normal; but when you're in town or stuck in traffic, the one pedal should be all you need. 

Now doesn’t that just sound intriguing? 

Think how much easier and less strenuous it will be to drive. Seamless acceleration, seamless braking.

Well, I don’t know about you, but this just scares the hell out of me. I mean just think about it. 

Inexperienced teenage drivers, elderly drivers whose response time isn’t QUITE what it used to be, harried mothers trying to chauffeur a car full of screaming kids, and generally anyone else who can get distracted while driving, relying on a new, untried technology of using one pedal. 

I don’t know about you, but I have trouble sometimes driving with TWO pedals.

There has to be a learning curve to figure out how it works and then become accustomed to the strange phenomenon. 

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be on the road while drivers are trying to figure it out.

The scariest part, if you missed the part above about sudden braking situations, is that you SUDDENLY have to switch back to two pedals. 


Like emergency braking situations aren’t tense enough, now you have to accomplish a two step process in an instant.

So there you have it folks. 

You might want to run right out and buy yourself the new Nissan LEAF to experience this great new technology.

Just do me a favor. If you do, give me a heads up so I can stay off the road when you’re driving.

Today’s inspiration

“And suddenly I realised that I was no longer driving the car consciously. I was driving it by a kind of instinct, only I was in a different dimension.” 

Ayrton Senna

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”

George Carlin

“Baseball is like driving, it's the one who gets home safely that counts.” 

Tommy Lasorda

Thursday, April 19 - Day 212

So, it’s 2:45 a.m. and sleep has eluded me…again. As I’ve mentioned before, I have cyclic insomnia. Don’t try and look that up as a medical diagnosis, because I just made it up. Sounds good though, doesn’t it. But it describes it to a T - bouts of insomnia that usually run in cycles. Simple enough. It’s not bad when I’m in the cycle of a non-insomnia pattern, which appears to have just ended. I thoroughly enjoyed several weeks of almost non-interrupted sleep of 5 - 6 hours a night. 

The cycle of heaven.

But tonight, I fear marks the new cycle. 

The cycle of hell.

Curled up in my cool, cotton comforter, I fell promptly to sleep at 10:35 p.m. And I awoke promptly at 10:58. Awake for the night, well, for the day, actually.

So I’ve been re-binge watching some of my same old black-and-white movies, hoping against hope that I might doze off for a 10 or 15 minute catnap so I can be somewhat coherent in the morning. My blogs can sometimes be a little incoherent in and of themselves, but especially so with lack of sleep.

So I had a thought. Why not write something now? I mean, if it doesn’t make any sense, I can blame it TOTALLY on the 3 a.m. fog.

So here goes.

The movie I’m watching right now is Alfred Hitchcock’s haunting movie, REBECCA, from 1940. 

No-one does eerie black-and-white atmospheric effects like Hitchcock. And there is no scarier villain than Judith Anderson.

Now, I’ve seen this movie at least 40 or 50 times (seriously) and can recite Joan Fontaine’s (the heroine) dialogue right along with her.

I know every inch of the movie, frame by frame.

So imagine my surprise, when tonight I finally realized, after all these years, that the heroine’s first name is never mentioned. Not once. 


How is that even logistically possible? 

The first 1/2 hour of the movie when Joan is being courted by the brooding widower Maxim DeWinter, her name is never mentioned. And when they marry, she is from then on in referred to as Mrs. DeWinter. 

No first name…ever. 

Not once in the entire movie.

Rebecca is the name of the first Mrs. DeWinter whose memory haunts the movie.

Somehow, in my sleepy stupor tonight, I figured this out and I think this a brilliant move by Hitchcock - like a little hidden secret. 

Think of it, having a nameless heroine and most people don’t even realize it.

Or maybe I’m just the only one who never figured it out.

Today’s inspiration

“Insomnia is a vertiginous lucidity that can convert paradise itself into a place of torture.”

                                                Emil Cioran

“Insomnia is a gross feeder. It will nourish itself on any kind of thinking, including thinking about not thinking.”

                                                        Clifton Fadiman

Wednesday, April 18 - Day 211

In Memorium for a great lady

Barbara Bush - June, 1990 -Wellesley College Commencement speech

Thank you very, very much, President Keohane. Mrs. Gorbachev, Trustees, faculty, parents, and I should say, Julia Porter, class president, and certainly my new best friend, Christine Bicknell -- and, of course, the Class of 1990. I am really thrilled to be here today, and very excited, as I know all of you must be, that Mrs. Gorbachev could join us.

These -- These are exciting times. They're exciting in Washington, and I have really looked forward to coming to Wellesley. I thought it was going to be fun. I never dreamt it would be this much fun. So, thank you for that.

More than ten years ago, when I was invited here to talk about our experiences in the People's Republic of China, I was struck by both the natural beauty of your campus and the spirit of this place.

Wellesley, you see, is not just a place but an idea -- an experiment in excellence in which diversity is not just tolerated, but is embraced. The essence of this spirit was captured in a moving speech about tolerance given last year by a student body president of one of your sister colleges. She related the story by Robert Fulghum about a young pastor, finding himself in charge of some very energetic children, hits upon the game called "Giants, Wizards, and Dwarfs." "You have to decide now," the pastor instructed the children, "which you are -- a giant, a wizard, or a dwarf?" At that, a small girl tugging at his pants leg, asked, "But where do the mermaids stand?" And the pastor tells her there are no mermaids. And she says, "Oh yes there are -- they are. I am a mermaid."

Now this little girl knew what she was, and she was not about to give up on either her identity, or the game. She intended to take her place wherever mermaids fit into the scheme of things. "Where do the mermaids stand? All of those who are different, those who do not fit the boxes and the pigeonholes?" "Answer that question," wrote Fulghum, "And you can build a school, a nation, or a whole world." As that very wise young woman said, "Diversity, like anything worth having, requires effort -- effort to learn about and respect difference, to be compassionate with one another, to cherish our own identity, and to accept unconditionally the same in others.

You should all be very proud that this is the Wellesley spirit. Now I know your first choice today was Alice Walker -- guess how I know! -- known for The Color Purple. Instead you got me -- known for the color of my hair. Alice Walker's book has a special resonance here. At Wellesley, each class is known by a special color. For four years the Class of '90 has worn the color purple. Today you meet on Severance Green to say goodbye to all of that, to begin a new and a very personal journey, to search for your own true colors.

In the world that awaits you, beyond the shores of Waban -- Lake Waban, no one can say what your true colors will be. But this I do know: You have a first class education from a first class school. And so you need not, probably cannot, live a "paint-by-numbers" life. Decisions are not irrevocable. Choices do come back. And as you set off from Wellesley, I hope that many of you will consider making three very special choices.

The first is to believe in something larger than yourself, to get involved in some of the big ideas of our time. I chose literacy because I honestly believe that if more people could read, write, and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems that plague our nation and our society.

And early on I made another choice, which I hope you'll make as well. Whether you are talking about education, career, or service, you're talking about life -- and life really must have joy. It's supposed to be fun.

One of the reasons I made the most important decision of my life, to marry George Bush, is because he made me laugh. It's true, sometimes we've laughed through our tears, but that shared laughter has been one of our strongest bonds. Find the joy in life, because as Ferris Bueller said on his day off, "Life moves pretty fast; and you don't stop and look around once in a while, you're going to miss it."

(I'm not going to tell George you clapped more for Ferris than you clapped for George.)

The third choice that must not be missed is to cherish your human connections: your relationships with family and friends. For several years, you've had impressed upon you the importance to your career of dedication and hard work. And, of course, that's true. But as important as your obligations as a doctor, a lawyer, a business leader will be, you are a human being first. And those human connections --- with spouses, with children, with friends -- are the most important investments you will ever make.

At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent.

We are in a transitional period right now -- We are in a transitional period right now, fascinating and exhilarating times, learning to adjust to changes and the choices we, men and women, are facing. As an example, I remember what a friend said, on hearing her husband complain to his buddies that he had to babysit. Quickly setting him straight, my friend told her husband that when it's your own kids, it's not called babysitting.

Now maybe we should adjust faster; maybe we should adjust slower. But whatever the era twenty -- whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change: fathers and mothers, if you have children, they must come first. You must read to your children, and you must hug your children, and you must love your children. Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.

For over fifty years, it was said that the winner of Wellesley's annual hoop race would be the first to get married. Now they say, the winner will be the first to become a C.E.O. Both -- Both of those stereotypes show too little tolerance for those who want to know where the mermaids stand. So -- So I want to offer a new legend: the winner of the hoop race will be the first to realize her dream -- not society's dreams  -- her own personal dream.

And who -- Who knows? Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the President's spouse -- and I wish him well.

Well, the controversy ends here. But our conversation is only beginning. And a worthwhile conversation it has been. So as you leave Wellesley today, take with you deep thanks for the courtesy and the honor you have shared with Mrs. Gorbachev and with me.

Thank you. God bless you. And may your future be worthy of your dreams.

Today’s inspiration

R.I.P. Barbara Bush - 1925-2018

Tuesday, April 17 - Day 210

The United Kingdom has officially had some form of a royal family for over 1,000 years. But what about the present Royal family? Of course, there's Queen Elizabeth II. Her son, Charles, is the Prince of Wales. His older son, Prince William, is Duke of Cambridge; William's son, George, and daughter, Charlotte, are Prince and Princess, respectively. Harry is technically called Prince Henry of Wales. Most of us are familiar with their names, but what of their lives?

According to

How They Sit

Since the Royal family has to be separated from the common folk, they can’t sit like we do. Seriously. That means women can’t sit with their legs crossed at the knee. They must have their legs and knees together, and can be slanted; if they want, they can cross at the ankle. This is called the duchess slant.

Physical Contact is Restricted

The rule states that no one is supposed to touch members of the Royal family, even if they're LeBron James or the first lady of the United States. This was a rule most likely established centuries ago when it sanitation wasn’t as good as it is now.

To Bow Or Not To Bow

Bowing is an ancient tradition but it is still mandatory when meeting the Queen to bow or curtsy. However, you don’t have to be dramatic and take a knee; a simple look down and nod will suffice. If you want to impress, then the longer the curtsy and further down you go, the bigger the sign of respect.

There are also strict rules that govern which members of royalty must curtsy to whom, based on rank. For instance, when Kate Middleton is not with Prince William, she must curtsy to the "blood princesses," Alexandra, Beatrice, and Eugenie. When William is with her, she does need need to curtsy.

The Tower of London Must Keep Ravens

While this sounds like something from Game of Thrones, the show may have actually gotten the inspiration to use ravens from Tower of London tradition. The Historic Royal Palaces website shares a legend that says, “the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress. According to the stories, it was Charles II who first insisted that the ravens of the Tower should be protected.” In fact, the Tower keeps seven ravens on hand in case one goes missing or falls ill. Whatever it takes to protect the realm.

They Can't Vote or Hold Office

This actually makes sense because their vote could easily sway public opinion. Instead, they must focus on what is best for their country and they work to maintain good relationships with all members of the UK's various political parties.

They Can't Use Nicknames

When Kate Middleton married into the Royal family in 2011, she stopped shortening her name from Catherine to Kate. She now must officially be referred to as Catherine, "ma’am," or her official title “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.”

Royal Women In The Workplace

The women of the Royal family typically do not work for financial gain. Instead, they have historically focused on charitable causes and events to improve the lives of their subjects and people around the world.

That being said, Queen Elizabeth served in the British Army as a truck mechanic during and after World War II. One of her granddaughters, Princess Beatrice, works "in the business world," while another, Princess Eugenie, is an associate director at an art gallery.

The men of the Royal family have a longer history of entering the workforce, though. Prince William, for instance, was a Royal Air Force pilot from 2009 to 2013. He began service as an air ambulance pilot in Norfolk in 2014, but in January 2017, he said he would not be renewing his two-year contract with the East Anglian Air Ambulance service so that he could begin focusing on more Royal duties beginning in summer 2017.

Walking In Rank

There are very strict rules concerning the Order of Precedence at processions. The Royal family must enter a space according to the order of their rank, with the Queen (or the reigning monarch) in the forefront. 

Their Religion Has Historically Been Important

Up until 2011, they could not marry anyone who was Roman Catholic. Thanks to Henry VIII back in the 16th century, the Royal family are members of the Church of England; for centuries, this meant they could not marry anyone who was Roman Catholic. But that was changed by the Queen in 2011.

“There's no royalty in America, so people deify actors.”

                                                          Joseph Gordon-Levitt

“When the Queen says 'well done,' it means so much.”

                                           Prince William

“It's great to be queen!”

                                        Helen Mirren

“My children are not royal; they just happen to have the Queen for their aunt.”

                                                 Princess Margaret

“If you're a queen, you're powerless, so I'd probably demote myself and go shopping.”

                                                         Helena Bonham Carter

Monday, April 16 - Day 209

Today is Patriots' Day which is an official state holiday commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.

In Massachusetts, it is celebrated on the third Monday in April and The biggest celebration of Patriots' Day is the Boston Marathon, which has been run every Patriots' Day since April 19, 1897, with the race linking the Athenian and American struggles for liberty[8] (marathons being so named after the Greek Battle of Marathon).

And despite the sleet and rain and cold, the marathon will be run today. 

And one of my fondest dreams was to run it.

Many, many, MANY years ago, when the jogging/running craze hit the exercise world, I took up running. We were living in Denver at the time and

I had read “The Complete Book of Running,” by James F. Fixx. He was the guru of running who spurred the jogging craze with his best-selling books about running and preached the gospel that active people live longer.

Having been very athletic in high school, I decided that running was right up my alley.

So I bought all the appropriate running paraphernalia, the shoes, The tank top, the little shorts, the sweatband, the water bottle, the fanny pack, and I headed out.

It was exhilarating. The first 1/4 mile, then 1/2 mile, 3/4 mile, and then finally, I hit the mile mark.

That was the moment I realized that running was not my forte.

After trying to catch my breath for 5 or 6 minutes, I was finally able to stand up straight and head home. But, being the stubborn woman I was, I didn’t give up. I started to run every day, a little more each day. Well, actually I jogged, because you really can’t consider 2 mph, running.

I jogged 3 miles a day for almost a year and then decided I was ready to enter the big time and run a road race - a 10K, which in layman’s terms is 6.2 miles.

Jim Fixx says you can double your daily mileage in a race. If I could run 3 miles every day, I could run 6 miles on race day.

So, I paid my entrance fee, pinned my number on my chest, stretched for 10 minutes with the hundreds of other runners, and headed for the starting line.

The adrenaline was coursing through my veins and my heart was pulsating in my ears when the starting gun went off and the race began.

It was a beautiful 78 degree morning with a clear, blue sky and a gentle breeze as we took off through the park.

“I can do this,” I thought.

It didn’t matter to me how long it took.

I wasn’t in it to win it.

Hell, I just wanted to make it to the finish line where I know my husband and kids would be cheering me on to victory.

Well, all I have to say is…he lied.

Jim Fixx, he lied.

Double your mileage on race day, my a**.

By the time I hit the 4.5 mile mark, I thought I was going to pass out. At the 5.5 mark, I thought I was going to vomit. And when I entered the running track where the final 1/4 mile was to be run, I thought I was going to die. No, actually, I KNEW I was going to die.

The sweat was stinging my eyes, my heart was beating as fast as a hummingbird’s, and there was bile in my throat. I was just about to go down for the count when I heard it. It was the voices of my husband and kids screaming at the top of their lungs “you can do it, Mom. You can DO it!!” 

So, fueled by the knowledge that I couldn’t let them down, I mustered up every bit of strength in me, and with arms outstretched above my head in victory, I sailed past the woman in front of me who gave me a very dirty look and crossed the finish line.

I then proceeded to collapse on the grass…and throw up.

No, it wasn’t my finest moment, but I did it. I finished. 6.2 miles.

And it only took me 2-1/2 hours.

Marathons are run in less time.

When I started out, my goal was to run the 10K, but my ultimate goal was to run a marathon. And not just any marathon. The Boston Marathon.

And ironically, today is the day of that Marathon.

No, I never made it. I had to admit that running just wasn’t for me, that my athletic abilities lie elsewhere.

But, I still get a little nostalgic when I pass runners on the road. God bless them, one and all.

Oh, and here’s just a little bit of trivia for you.

Jim Fixx, the runners’ guru, died of a heart attack while on a solitary jog in Vermont. He was 52 years old.

Today’s inspiration

“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.”

Joe Clark

“Marathon running, like golf, is a game for players, not winners. That is why Callaway sells golf clubs and Nike sells running shoes. But running is unique in that the world's best racers are on the same course, at the same time, as amateurs, who have as much chance of winning as your average weekend warrior would scoring a touchdown in the NFL.”

Hunter S. Thompson

“Boston is the cream of the crop of the marathon world. It has such history that you feel such honor just being a part of it. All the other races have pacers to get you to a Boston qualifying time.”

Summer Sanders

“At the end of a marathon, it's going to hurt whether you're speeding up or slowing down. You may as well push.”

Summer Sanders

“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”

Emil Zatopek

“You can run a sprint or your can run a marathon, but you can't sprint a marathon.”

Ryan Holmes

Sunday, April 15 - Day 208

It was 70 degrees yesterday, and what a joy it was to be outside, playing with the kids, cleaning out my car, just feeling the sunshine and smelling the budding forsythias. 

It was glorious.

Then, this morning, when it was 32 degrees with a 24 degree windchill, I opted for turning on the fake fireplace heater and not venturing out of the house.

So, what to do, what to do, with a full day at home trying to stay warm.

Well, there’s been something that has been nagging at me for a little while. 

Actually, for a LONG while.

I am a mail hoarder. 

A mail hoarder? 

And what exactly is that you ask?

Well, in the corner of my walk-in closet are some trash bags - 6 to be exact. 6 trash bags filled with unopened mail.

No, I’m not dodging my creditors or the IRS. 

All this unopened mail is just 1001 credit card offers. 

You know, the ones you get every day by the dozens. 

You know — Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Slate, Discover…and on and on and on.

You see, I’m a fanatic, and just a little bit (or a lot) paranoid about security, so I look at those stacks of credit card offers as identity theft ready to happen.

You’ve heard the horror stories, lives ruined by some amoral hacker or ruthless, unconscionable low-life.

So, I’ve done all the research on protecting yourself - I have an RFID blocking wallet, anti-theft, cross-body bag with a slash-proof strap, I only use cash, never an ATM, debit or credit card, and check my bank account three times a week for suspicious activity. 

I’m like a dog with a bone, and my husband thinks I’m just a little neurotic on the subject.

But it helps me sleep at night.

Anyway, back to my mail.

Last year, after researching all the data on the most secure features I would need, I bought a shredder. A good shredder. The BEST shredder.

That way I could shred the hell out of the stream of credit card applications that streamed in every single day.

It was wonderful. 

It was cathartic. 

I would open the envelope, throw it in the trash and then feel the thrill of threading the application into the shredder. No unscrupulous criminal was going to get his hands on anything he could use to ruin my life.

It was wonderful. 

The first day, the first month, the second. 

But then something happened. 

I got busy. I got lazy. 

Instead of shredding, I started stacking. As the envelopes came in, I tucked them away in a pile. And one pile became two, and the three, and then, eventually, they ended up in a trash bag, and another, and another. And the more there was, the more overwhelmed I became. 

So, I relegated them to a corner of my walk-in closet with full intentions of taking them out and shredding them.

But somehow, I just kept forgetting, and eventually they took on a life of their own.

Now, I’m not sure what it was this morning that sparked my motivation. 

Perhaps, it was sitting in front of the warmth of the pretend flames, not wanting to move that sparked the thought that if I pulled out the shredder and the overflowing trash bags, I wouldn’t HAVE to move. I could sit nestled on the couch and just shred, and I wouldn’t have to feel guilty that I wasn’t getting up. Perfect plan.

So that’s what I did. 

I shredded, and shredded, and shredded. 

For almost four hours, I shredded. The couch, the floor, and my pajama pants were covered with little white shreds, but I was getting the job done.

But the most impressive part of this story?

I clocked 4663 steps on my Fitbit. 


Don’t you have to actually walk in order for the fitness tracker to record steps? The only steps I took were to the bathroom and back, and the kitchen for a snack.


Well, hell, I’m not complaining. 

I got almost a full day’s workout, sitting on the couch, shredding.

Job, well done!

Today’s inspiration

“The police can't protect consumers. People need to be more aware and educated about identity theft. You need to be a little bit wiser, a little bit smarter and there's nothing wrong with being skeptical. We live in a time when if you make it easy for someone to steal from you, someone will.” 

Frank Abagnale

“I don't need to worry about identity theft because no one wants to be me.”

 Jay London

 Saturday, April 14 - Day 207

Yesterday, I reminisced a little about being a teen and then the marvelous reality of being a senior citizen.

So, I thought that today I would throw in a little something for the younger adult, female population.

The topic? - being high maintenance woman.

I’ve always prided myself on being extremely LOW maintenance (except, of course, for my strict coffee requirements). I can curl up anywhere and take a nap, live on freeze-dried cheese and dehydrated apples for months, wear the same clothes over and over, and over and over, and over and over, if need be, etc. I pride myself on being a survivalist of sorts. 

Don’t get me wrong, I know I couldn’t survive in the wild for much more than a nano second, because as you know, I believe the outdoors is HIGHLY overrated.

But I can live a bare-bones existence without makeup, a hairdresser, a manicurist, jewelry, new clothes, and new shoes and not feel deprived. 

Basically, low maintenance.

So when I came across this quiz, I thought I’d share it. I suspect that it is mostly my younger readers who can relate, but who knows.


Wears high heels - 6 pts

Owns 20+ pairs of shoes - 4 pts

Shaves everyday - 8 pts

Shaveable hair is waxed - 8 pts

Shaveable hair is lasered - 10 pts

Wears makeup daily - 6 pts

Buys high end makeup - 6 pts

Shops at Sephora - 10 pts

Has permanent makeup (whatever that is) - 8 pts

Hair is dyed - 2 pts

Has hair extensions - 8 pts

Has manicured nails - 2 pts

Has acrylic nails - 6 pts

Brows are waxed - 8 pts

Has spray tan - 8 pts

Uses designer purse - 6 pts

Owns more than 5 designer purses - 10 pts

Owns and wears a lot of jewelry - 10 pts

Owns more than 25 scarves - 10 pts

Gets massages regularly - 10 pts

Gets facials regularly - 10 pts


20 - you’re High Maintenance

50 - you’re Really High Maintenance

100 - you’re the Freaking Queen of Your Castle

There you have it.

So, I’m no Freaking Queen of My Castle.

I’m just the Freaking Queen of Starbucks

Today’s inspiration

“There is no such thing as low maintenance or high maintenance, just a bunch of women hoping for a capable mechanic.”

                                              Liz Vassey

“I get facials. I get a manicure and pedicure every week. I get my hair cut, and I oil myself down from head to toe. I got that from my brother. I was so impressed with how high maintenance he was. When he left the room, you could still smell him for an hour.”

                                               Bernie Mac

Friday, April 13 - Day 206

Being a teenager, remember it? The drama, the angst, the awkwardness, the passing notes in class, the waiting for your first date, first kiss, the zits. I made it out alive and if you’re reading this, you did, too.

I found this on FB and loved it.

I am a Seenager (Senior teenager)

I have everything I wanted as a teenager, only 60 years later.

I don’t have to go to school or work.

I get an allowance every month.

I have my own pad.

I don’t have a curfew.

I have a driver’s license and my own car.

I don’t have acne.

and this one I added for myself…

I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant.

Today’s inspiration

“Communicating with teenage girls is easy unless you're an adult, and then it's like having someone take a pair of pliers and, one-by-one, yank off your fingernails through your ears.”

                                                          W. Bruce Cameron

“If there's anything worse than being 16, it's having parents visibly reliving their own teenage years in your anguished presence.”

                                                      Rachel Johnson

“Every teenager feels like a freak. It's part of being a teenager, part of the individuation from child to adult - those teenage years are who am I? What am I? Where am I going?”

                                                  Trudie Styler

“I was just another long-haired teenage kid with visions of grandeur, strumming a tennis racket or a broom in front of his bedroom mirror.”

                                                Jon Bon Jovi

“Teenage years are hard. And, having taught high school for a number of years, I think they're particularly hard on teenage girls. The most self-conscious human beings on the planet are teenage girls.”

                                                  Rob Thomas

“The area of teenage life is not necessarily rarefied; we've all gone through that period. It's not as rarefied as a western or a space adventure or a gangster film, but it has its own dynamic.”

                                                    Gus Van Sant

Thursday, April 12 - Day 205

If you read my post from months ago on the subject of fashion, you already know that -

a. I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes

b. I have a very limited, monochromatic wardrobe, and

c. I don’t shop at the mall…ever

You know that my least favorite thing to do is ‘window shop’ unless I’m actually shopping for windows. For me, I find it a pointless activity to peruse shop after shop in the hopes of, what? Finding an outfit that fits my limited clothing standards and my limited budget?

Thanks, but no, thanks.

But yesterday, I found myself in a bit of a predicament. It was one of those rare days, lately, where the sun was shining, there was no wind and it was 50 degrees. It felt like summer. It was the kind of day you want to get in your car and go for a lovely, bucolic drive.

My husband was in agreement and we made our plans accordingly - a nice drive and then, out to dinner.

So, we got in the car and started out when I had a disturbing thought. We were out of vacuum cleaner bags.

Disturbing, why?

because we both had to work the next few days and it was the only opportunity we would have to get them, and there was only one place that carried the bags we needed.

You guessed it.

The mall.


             So we took the lovely, bucolic, ten minute drive on the back roads to the mall. Not what I had in mind, but sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do.

              We parked outside one of the pricey department stores and made our way into the store.

         And here is the point to my story. We entered in the women’s clothing department and the first thing that greeted us was a fashionably attired mannequin.

           I say fashionably, because that is what her purpose was - to display the latest in spring fashion.

           My husband stopped in front of her and exclaimed. “that’s stunning!”

          Stunning. I don’t think I have ever heard my husband use that word in all of our 49 years of marriage.

          “Stunning,” he said. “You should try it on.”

          I looked at him, and then at her, and then back at him.

         “Are you serious?”

         “Yes, it’s so colorful and almost looks a little oriental.”

         I looked at him, and then at her, and then back at him.

         Then I burst out laughing.

        “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

        No apparently he wasn’t and didn’t understand what I thought was so funny.

      I truly wish I could find a way to post pictures here, because words can not describe the outfit Miss Mannequin was so proudly wearing.

        It was a blouse and matching jeans.

     The blouse was a thin, pale blue-and-white striped fabric with three VERY large red and orange embroidered blooms - one on each side of the chest and the third at the waist. It criss-crossed and had a fabric sash that tied in a bow and slightly gathered at the sleeves.

        The jeans were not quite ankle length, with fringed bottoms, and the piece de resistance - large, embroidered red-and-white flower embellishments.


                 It was very hippie-reminiscent and as an ex-hippie, it was not a look I ever wanted to revisit.

          It was (in my humble opinion) hideous, and about as far from my understated, grey-scale, monochromatic wardrobe as you can get.

                  My husband looked disappointed, and as the loving wife I thought, what the hell, make him happy, and at least try it on for him.

                          As I took the blouse off the rack, he looked at the price tag.


The jeans?


He expressed his shock and without another word, place it back on the rack.

Saved by the bell.

                         So, we bid farewell to Miss Mannequin and her stylish, embroidered, red-flowered, fringed outfit and went on our way to accomplish what we went for in the first place.

                     On the way out, with vacuum cleaner bags in hand, we headed back out to the car, but not before stopping to smile and say, “have a good afternoon, Miss Mannequin.”

                        And I could have sworn she smiled back - all the way to the 60s.

                                                           Today’s inspiration

“My personal style is a mixture of, like, girly, throwback, like retro '50s pin-ups, floral, like hippies, like anything feminine, and like flirty.”

                                                                                     Ariana Grande

“When I think of my childhood, I see my mother, the complete sixties parent, decked in purple frappe silk caftans, the acidic smell of newly stripped pine mingling with incense.”

                                                                                     Hamish Bowles

Wednesday, April 11 - Day 204

                   This morning, I went into, well, peeked into, a room that has evolved, multiple times, into many different things.

                   It started out as a guest bedroom, despite the fact that we rarely have sleepover guests that require a whole room.

                      If we have sleepovers, it is with our grandkids, who would rather camp out in the living room on sleeping bags and in a pretend tent.

                      So out went the daybed and in went the computer desk, printer, bookcase and file cabinet.

              But, my husband never needed a home office since he doesn’t use a computer, printer, file cabinet, and usually does his extensive reading in the living room, or truth be told, the bathroom.

                   And despite my best intentions to do my writing ‘in an office, at a desk’ like a ‘real’ writer, I discovered that ‘real’ writers write anywhere they have access to a pen, pencil, paper, stone tablet and chisel, or in my case, a laptop. So my office, as you know, ended up at Starbucks.

                  So out went the desk, bookcase and file cabinet, and out came my easel, paints, brushes, canvases, and all my other artist’s paraphernalia that had been crammed into a closet, to be dragged out and unpacked every time my artistic muses called to me.

               I tried to keep things as organized as possible and to the best of my ability, kept it in some semblance of order.

            But then, several years ago, my writer’s bug bit again (you can read all about that story on the ‘about’ link on this website here). 

             The room which had previously been named, the guest room, then the office, and at one VERY brief moment in time, the Man Cave, where my husband read and watched a little TV, now housed my art supplies, my books, book paraphernalia, marketing materials, props and supplies for my book signings, and so on, and so forth.

                 Again, I really tried to keep it organized, I really did, but the more books I write, the more paintings I paint, the more ‘stuff’ I have and sometimes it gets away from me.

           So at the moment, with another Book Fair looming, I am rummaging to organize my needed supplies in an orderly fashion, but I’m not having the best of luck. There is only just so much available space in an 8x10 room and it seems I’ve hit the limit.

            I’ve been wondering if my husband would mind if I take just a teeny-weeny, little corner of the living room. Just a tiny little space, for a stack of my latest books, or some posters and flyers, or some…

                                                        No, I suppose not.

                                               Maybe, we should just move.

Today’s inspiration

“Creative people don’t have a mess, they just have ideas lying around everywhere.”


Tuesday, April 10 - Day 203

Your middle name and the last name is your secret agent name.


Charlotte Camembert


Today’s inspiration

“What kid doesn't want to pretend they're James Bond?”

                                                  Jamie Dornan

“I'd be a terrible secret agent. I can't keep a secret and I'm not sneaky.” 

                                                       Katherine Heigl

“Even a secret agent can't lie to a Jewish mother.”

                                                 Peter Malkin

Monday, April 9 - Day 202

This morning I was trying to decide which one of the preponderance of ideas that floated around in my head yesterday would be my subject today. And trust me, there was an overwhelming array of thoughts, each one, blogpost fodder.

Luckily, I jotted them all down which means I have oodles of subjects for your future enjoyment… amusement… or whatever.

So which tasty little morsel from my stream of consciousness did I choose?

Believe it or not, it’s ending up as part FOUR of my spring cleaning journey. As far as I was concerned, Saturday was the end of the quest, but I was wrong.

Yesterday, after spending an hour shopping at Walmart and then another 45 minutes on the check-out line (I promise you, that is a subject I WILL discuss on another day), I came home, put away my things and went into the kitchen for my orange peeler.

Ah, my orange peeler - my cherished possession that I have had for almost 50 years. 

Yes, you heard me correctly, 50 years.

And what, pray tell, is so special about my little treasure and how have I managed to hang on to it for all these years?

I shall tell you.

Back in the late 60s, early 70s when I was a young mom with young kids, socialization was all about play groups and playground gatherings. We were stay at home moms and of course we loved it, but sometimes we craved a little adult conversation and interaction. And mercifully, there was a place to go, a thing to do, to satisfy our adult need.

Okay folks, don’t get nervous. Get your mind out of the gutter - it wasn’t anything like you’re thinking.

But it was the housewives favorite nighttime pleasure.

Tupperware parties.

We would rotate going to different houses, snacking on homemade chocolate chip cookies, drinking coffee (and occasionally, I won’t lie, drinking a glass or two of wine) and watching demonstrations on how to use all the pretty-colored plasticware, and weren’t they all so cute? We would play silly little games for prizes and the hostess would pick out her free hostess gifts enticing us to have a party of our own.

I know it seems that I have gotten so far from my topic that you don’t even remember what it was.

So I’ll remind you.

The orange peeler.

The orange peeler was a bright yellow, plastic crochet hook-shaped tool designed specifically to…you guessed it…peel an orange.

I know you might be a little underwhelmed, but if you are, it’s because you’ve never used one.

It is pure magic. You place the sharp end of the hook at the ‘navel’ of the orange and then, with great ease, score down to the other end of the orange. You then do it again opposite to where you started, and then again between the two on both sides. So basically, the peel is scored in quarters. You then take your thumb nail and insert it at the top in one of the quarters and peel down.


That section of peel seamlessly peels off with no mess, leaving the orange flesh intact. Do the other three sides and you have a perfectly peeled orange in seconds, without any messiness at all.

Pure magic.

So I’m sure you can totally understand why this prized possession is so important to me.

And perhaps you can understand, why, I was in a sheer state of panic yesterday when I COULDN’T FIND IT!

I broke into a cold sweat as I searched its usual spot and it wasn’t there. As you can imagine, I started tearing the drawer apart. And then the next one, and the next. I was sitting on the kitchen floor, practically in tears, surrounded by…kitchen clutter, things that were on my spring cleaning list from the other day.

      13 pairs of take-out chopsticks; 10 soy sauce, 8 duck sauce,12 ketchup, and 8 mustard packets; handfuls of salt and pepper packets and 14 Splenda packs; four different mismatched sets of measuring cups, three different sets of measuring spoons and so many other things that hadn’t seen the light of day for several years.

The only thing that wasn’t there was my orange peeler!

So here I was, amongst a boatload of stuff I needed to organize, reorganize, or get rid of, while mourning the loss of my precious 50 cent, 50-year-old plastic peeler.

With a heavy heart, I was able to accomplish the task in under an hour and admittedly felt a great deal of satisfaction in seeing three kitchen drawers neat and tidy, sans the unneeded crap.

Right about that time, my husband came home, saw my distress and asked what was wrong. In deep mourning, I told him my beloved peeler was gone.

“Oh,” was all he said and left the kitchen.

I was shocked at his response. 

How insensitive can one man be? 

I mean that peeler had been around as long as he had. 

Just as some insensitive thoughts of my own were formulating, he came back, and asked, “Is this it?”

There he was, standing with the bright yellow, plastic hook.

He was a little unprepared for my response. I grabbed it out of his hand and then threw my arms around him and cried.

“Where did you find it?” I asked incredulously.

“Oh, it was in my shaving kit. I guess I forgot to put it back after I used it to…”

I didn’t even hear what he’d used it for because I was so mad he used it for ANYTHING. How DARE he?

He must have sensed he did something inexcusable because he lowered his head and muttered, “sorry” as he skulked out of the kitchen.

Sound a little overdramatic? Maybe, but there are only a few valued things that I’ve had around for 50 years.

He’s just lucky he’s one of them.

Today’s inspiration

“The ideal man doesn't exist. A husband is easier to find.”

Britt Ekland

“Relics are treasured as something close to the divine.”

Sarah Vowell

“Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them.”

 Napoleon Bonaparte

Sunday, April 8 - Day 201

I actually had quite a lot of things on my mind to write about today, and I thoroughly planned to sit down and write, but I have no time to do it. 

It turned out to be one of those busy, busy days you don’t plan on. 

So instead, I wish you a sparkling, peaceful Sunday and I’ll be back, and more prolifically, tomorrow.

Today’s inspiration

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

                                                  John Lennon

Saturday, April 7 - Day 200

So, you ask, after my preponderance of motivational info, what decluttering did I actually accomplish yesterday?


Got home from work. Put down my bag

…and took a nap.

Today’s inspiration

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

                                                   Jules Renard

Friday, April 6 - Day 199

Yesterday, I voiced my philosophical opinions about spring cleaning. So, today I thought I’d flip the coin and give you the practical side. I came across a list of how to declutter from a very reputable source - a junk man. And who knows better about clutter than a junk man?

So here it is.


Old magazines

Old couch pillows

DVDs you don’t watch

DVDs that are scratched

Burnt out candles

Puzzles with missing pieces

Old books you’ll never read again

Old makeup, nail polish, perfume

Towels with holes

Socks with holes

Underwear with holes

Shoes with holes

Socks without a match

Earrings without a match

Old receipts

Old mail

Birthday cards

Happy Meal toys

Clothes that don’t fit anymore (your fat clothes, just in case you gain back the weight back - your skinny clothes, just in case you lose the weight)

Expired medication

Expired coupons

Nearly empty bottles of cleaning supplies, salad dressings, ketchup - nearly empty bottles of anything

Take-out menus

Restaurant sauce packets (you know, the ones you swear you will need one day)

Plastic travel mugs with missing lids

Plastic travel mug lids with missing mugs

Tupperware lids with no bottoms

Tupperware bottoms with no lids

Anything you have too much of

Anything you haven’t used or worn in the past 6 months.

Okay, so there you have it.

Inspiring, isn’t it? 

Just reading it fills me with energy and motivation.

Easy peasy. One, two, three and get it done.

You can check back tomorrow and see if I got it all done -

or if I’m sitting on the kitchen floor, overwhelmed and bleary-eyed, surrounded by mounds of mustard, soy sauce, ketchup, salt and pepper packets and a mountain of mismatched tupperware.

Today’s inspiration

“I hate belongings. I hate clutter. It really bothers me because I can't think properly. If you've got distractions in front of you, your mind goes nuts.” 

Simon Cowell

“I can't stand clutter. I can't stand piles of stuff. And whenever I see it, I basically just throw the stuff away.”

Brian Greene

“In the scope of a happy life, a messy desk or an overstuffed coat closet is a trivial thing, yet I find - and I hear from other people that they agree - that getting rid of clutter gives a disproportionate boost to happiness.”

 Gretchen Rubin

Thursday, April 5 - Day 198

Yes, spring is officially here, despite these ongoing on-again, off-again snow squalls versus crocus-producing temps. 

But when spring comes, what is one of the first things that springs to mind? Spring cleaning, of course. 

Or so I’ve heard. 

Being very well-intentioned, but admittedly, not the most organized of housekeepers, the thought of spring cleaning has always intrigued me. Just the thought of throwing open the windows, letting in the warm sunshine and crisp, clean air fills me with the feeling of rebirth and renewal. Let out the stale, winter blues and welcome in a fresh, new beginning.


Nothing fills me with such hope as that bright sunshine and smell of spring air as it rustles through the curtains on the first day of spring cleaning. 

And it is usually my full intention to strip down every cleanable service and scrub it with a toothbrush and bleach and declutter the clutter. 

I envision myself in an apron, bucket and mop in hand, with Mr. Clean at the ready, to sanitize my world to within an inch of its life.

Okay, so there’s the intention…and the fantasy. 

The reality?

 After a few hours of sweat and sore joints, I give up the ghost, and concede. 

A clean house? Okay. 

Cleansed, sanitized and rendered completely stripped of disorganized winter clutter?

Well, maybe next year.

Today’s inspiration

"I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again." — Joan Rivers

"There was no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse." — Quentin Crisp

"When it comes to housework the one thing no book of household management can ever tell you is how to begin. Or maybe I mean why." — Katharine Whitehorn

"I am never five minutes into stripping the clutter from my life before I start running into the clutter that is my life." — Robert Brault

"I'm not going to vacuum until Sears makes one you can ride on." — Roseanne Barr

Wednesday, April 4 - Day 197

Today’s inspiration

“Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.”

                                              Albert Einstein

This is the best piece of advice I’ve heard in a long time

Tuesday, April 3 - Day 196

Today’s inspiration

"The only thing worse than being blind is having no vision"

                                      Helen Keller

Monday, April 2 - Day 195

Despite the 50 degree weather yesterday, and the freaky 2 inches of snow in this morning and 55 degree sunny afternoon, it truly is spring.

Today’s inspiration

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.”

                                                 Robert H. Schuller

Sunday, April 1 - Day 194

I want to wish everyone a blessed and Happy Easter and Passover

Saturday, March 31 - Day 193

From my earliest memories, I was always creating…something.

My greatest joy was my craft box that was filled with the most wonderful and magical items; construction and tissue paper in a rainbow of colors, my little kids scissors, a jar of white paste, a stapler, pipe cleaners, glitter and glue, finger paints with slippery, shiny white paper, and a bazillion crayons in every color ever made. It was my treasure trove to the world unleashed by my imagination.

I can still remember the feeling of sliding my fingers covered in shiny paint, swirling around the paper in magical designs, and the smell of paste and glue.

I’ll never forget the Easter hats I made of construction paper covered with pink and yellow tissue paper flowers when I was 4 or 5.

Yes at 4 and 5 and 6, I was a creative genius.

Now, at the age of 68…not so much.

The creativity is still there, but the genius seems to have vanished.

Like many creative types out there, I scour pinterest for the most adorable and ingenious crafts to enchant my family with. With the best of intentions, I carefully choose the cutest holiday crafts that I know will knock the socks off the kids. How can they not?

Watermelon shark fruit display, penguin cupcakes, melted crayon collages, Christmas ornament wreaths, sock puppets…

They give you detailed instructions, and many even have step-by-step videos. So simple even a child could do them. So what could possibly go wrong?

Plenty…like last year’s epic Peep-Twinkie racing car fail. Poor little peep drivers sat in the twinkie race cars complete with white chocolate-dipped pretzel steering wheels and mini oreo cookie wheels. 

Sounds adorable, yes? Yeah, not so much.

So I decided that this year I’d choose an EASY uber-fun Easter egg decorating craft to do WITH the kids. So that’s what I did. And I was even more excited than the kids because I knew how much fun it was going to be and that the eggs were going to be magazine cover beautiful.

I followed the directions to a T. I boiled the eggs, cooled them, dipped them in vinegar, smoothed shaving cream (yes, shaving cream) in a rectangular pan, dropped red, yellow, blue, green drops of food color on the shaving cream, and took a knife and dragged it through the colors to create a beautiful swirling pattern of all the colors. 


We were ready to go. 

We donned latex-free gloves, picked up an egg and ever-so gently laid it in the magical cream. 


What was wrong with this picture?

 We gently rolled the egg, but it certainly didn’t look ANYTHING like the pictures. Instead of a vibrantly colored marble creation, it came out looking like, hmmm, not quite sure how to describe it. The colors were pale, almost non-existent, and the egg was covered in a thick layer of cream that was impossible to remove without just washing everything off. So we laid the foamy eggs, the ones that looked like something from a science experiment that went very wrong, on a platter to dry and hoped for the best.


When my daughter walked in and the kids yelled “Surprise! Look what we made!” she burst out laughing so hard she started to cry. 

Luckily, I had hit the bathroom before we started or it wouldn’t have been pretty.

We waited about 20 minutes, during which time I cleaned up the ENORMOUS mess (shaving cream has a mind of its own) and then washed all the shaving cream off the eggs and voila.

All I have to say is that it was pretty much another epic fail, except for its thoroughly unforgettable entertainment value. I’m afraid it’s going to be one of those funny family stories that’s told around the Easter dinner table long after I’m gone.

And I’m afraid it won’t be the only one.

“Easter is an arts and crafts moment where your whole family and friends can get involved.”

                                      Alex Guarnaschelli

And they can’t WAIT to see what I come up with next year

Friday, March 30 - Day 192

I know that most of my followers are over the age of 40, so I thought I would share this information in hopes that it might clear up any confusion as to where everyone falls in the generational timeline. If like me, you are a Baby Boomer and don’t give much thought to the names and definitions of the generations that follow us. But I was recently on the periphery of a wide range of younger people (under the age of 60) who were discussing which generation classification they were in.

I’m keeping it simple here, because they started talking about sub-classifications and new Millennials, old Millennials and so on and so forth and it left my head spinning. But I always pride myself on trying to stay ‘current’ so I googled this table to try and sort it out.


Cyber Generation

Born 2002 -2025

Generation Y (also known as the Millennial Generation and the i.generation)

Born 1982-2001 

A civic generation, inner driven within the information revolution, striving to get ahead.

Generation X also known as the 13th Generation

Born 1960-1981 A reactive generation, street wise.  Examples - Madonna, Tom Cruise.

Baby Boomers

Born 1943-1960 An idealist generation, often stressed out. Some sources suggest true baby boomers were born between 1946 to 1964 after World War II to experience the pop media revolution and the ideal of peace in our times.

Typical boomers include Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Cher.

Silent Generation

Born 1925-1942, 95% of this generation is retired. They are an adaptive generation because they have had to be. This generation includes beats and beatniks. This generation were technically born too late to be war heroes.

G.I  Generation

Born 1901-1924 Concerned primarily with a civic outlook within society.

Lost Generation

Born 1883-1900 Many fought and died in World War 1.

Today’s inspiration

"Millennials, and the generations that follow, are shaping technology. This generation has grown up with computing in the palm of their hands. They are more socially and globally connected through mobile Internet devices than any prior generation. And they don't question; they just learn."

 Brad D. Smith

"I was just after Generation X. I missed the John Hughes movies; I had to watch them on TBS."

 Freddie Prinze, Jr.

"Generation X is dead. It has come to mean anyone aged 13 to 55 years old." William Gibson

"The millennials were raised in a cocoon, their anxious parents afraid to let them go out in the park to play. So should we be surprised that they learned to leverage technology to build community, tweeting and texting and friending while their elders were still dialing long-distance?"

 Nancy Gibbs

"If boomers were always looking to shock, millennials are eager to share."

 Nancy Gibbs

"The baby boomers owe a big debt of gratitude to the parents and grandparents - who we haven't given enough credit to anyway - for giving us another generation."

 Steven Spielberg

"And you know, the baby boomers are getting older, and those off the rack clothes are just not fitting right any longer, and so, tailor-made suits are coming back into fashion."

 Amy Irving

Oh, so I’m not the ONLY one whose shape has morphed into something unidentifiable.

Thursday, March 29 - Day 191

It’s been one of those days and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to sit down at my computer. 

So I’m afraid that today this is the best I can do.

Today's inspiration

“If women ran the world we wouldn't have wars, just intense negotiations every 28 days.”

Robin Williams

Wednesday, March 28 - Day 190

I begin this post with some very important info for you

By Shivani Vora

Jan. 18, 2018

In the past several months, there has been plenty of conversation about the Real ID Act and how it will affect air travelers. Passed by Congress in 2005, the act is intended to prevent identity fraud, and starting on Oct. 1, 2020, all fliers who reside in the United States, even if they’re flying domestically, will need Real ID identification to pass through Transportation Security Administration security checkpoints at airports.

The act is intended to enhance national security by establishing minimum standards for the secure issuance of driver’s licenses and identification cards, according to Steve Yonkers, the director of the Real ID program for the Department of Homeland Security.

“The act is meant to stop the production of fake IDs,” Mr. Yonkers said.

Okay, so what does that have to do with me. Or you.

In our state, driver’s license renewal is every 5 years.

and mine and my husband’s expire within the next few months.

It isn’t required for us to obtain the REAL ID now, but we will have to get it by Oct, 2020. 

Sounds like a long way away, but that’s only 18 months. So it’s a no-brainer to do it now to get it out of the way and spare the expense of another fee.

As of this past Monday, the Registry of Motor Vehicles has been set up to process the Real ID system for a new and renewed drivers license.

You can’t do it online because you need to bring four different identifying documents including proof of residency in the state you live in.

So I trekked off to the safety deposit box for our certified birth certificates and social security documents and gathered up the 2 required proof of residency papers.

The RMV stated on their website that there might be longer than usual wait times due to the new system.

Longer than usual?

 How could they possibly get any longer than usual? 

Everyone dreads going to the RMV and knows that it is wise to pack a lunch and a few snacks because it can be a very lengthy procedure - so much so that many a stand-up comedienne includes funny jokes in their routine.

Now we are very lucky that we have access to an RMV office in our local AAA office which cuts down wait times to no more than 15-30 minutes. What a blessing. 

So this morning, documents in hand, we drove to our friendly AAA office.

There wasn’t more than ten or so cars in the parking lot and that was for all of AAA, meaning there were certainly travelers doing their travel business, as well.

Confidently, we checked in at the reception desk. 

The very friendly, smiling woman waved her hand in the direction of where we needed to go, and said, “there’s at least a 3 hour wait.”

She said people were lined up in the parking lot for well over an hour before they opened. Just like on Black Friday, but there were no bargains here.

Three hours. Three hours. 

Well, again it was a no-brainer. We hadn’t packed lunch or snacks and still have several months to renew our license. So off we went.

We met a very elderly gentleman getting out of his car and my husband told him about the 3 hour wait. He shook his head, and as he got back into his car he said, “I’ll just renew mine online. I could be dead by the time I need to get one of those.”

Ah, the wisdom of the elderly. So, we got in the car and went to lunch.

Today’s inspiration

To liven up her day, RMV employee Shirley liked to shoot spitballs at people as they had their driver’s photo taken.

Husband reading the newspaper to his wife;

Husband - “It says here the RMV got hit by a robbery yesterday that took 5 hours

Wife - “5 hours??”

Husband - “Yeah, you know what those lines are like.”

“So you’ve been to the RMV before…and you still think the government should be in charge of your health care”

                                              Jerry Seinfeld

Tuesday, March 27 - Day 189

A new study reveals that motherhood is the same as having more than 2.5 full-time jobs.

A survey of 2000 mothers found that a mother’s work week totals 98 hours of work.

The study also shows the average mother gets only an hour and seven minutes of time to herself.

And her yearly salary…$0.00

So this is not news to any woman who has had the privilege and awesome responsibility of becoming a mom.

We know this…we live this…day after day…month after month…year after year.

Moms are the unsung, unrecognized heroes of the family.

So to you fathers, if I’ve made you a little guilty about taking your kids mom for granted, then I’ve accomplished my goal.

Go buy her flowers, book her a massage, cook dinner, do some laundry. 

But most of all, say “thank you for all you do.”

…because you know there’s no way in hell you would trade places with her.

Today’s inspiration

“That's what motherhood is: you're working; you're doing 25 different jobs, and you're not getting paid.”

                                          Melissa Peterman

“If evolution really works, how come mothers have only two hands?"

                                    Roseanne Barr

"A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car for ever after."

                                Calvin Trillin

"Working mothers are guinea pigs in a scientific experiment to show that sleep is not necessary to human life."

                                      Jewish Proverb

“Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease.”

                                       Buddy Hackett

Monday, March 26 - Day 188

I’m so old that…

I have dialed a rotary phone (that didn’t have an answering machine)

recorded a song I love off a transistor radio onto a tape recorder.

I have watched a black and white TH with less than 10 channels that had foil on the rabbit ear antennas.

I've taken long walks without counting the steps.

and I've eaten food that I didn’t take pictures of.

Today’s inspiration

“True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories.” 

                                                          Florence King

“I don't like nostalgia unless it's mine.”

                                                 Lou Reed

“Nostalgia is a seductive liar.”

                                                    George Ball

Sunday, March 25 - Day 187

As I was perusing Facebook this morning, I came across an ad for something I had never seen or heard of before. Funeral potatoes. 

Yes, funeral potatoes. 

So I absolutely had to google and wikipedia what they are, and more importantly WHY they are.

There is a tradition in my family that in the funeral limo, pretzel rods are in abundance. I remember as a tiny tot being handed a pretzel to munch on during the ride to my grandfather’s funeral.

So I was curious, just where do potatoes fit into the funereal scheme? 

Potato chips in the back of the limo? I really do prefer potato chips to pretzels, so it sounds good to me.

But, no. I was way off base there.

So here is the wikipedia explanation.

Funeral potatoes (also known as hash brown casserole, cheesy hash browns,[ those potatoes, or party potatoes) is a traditional potato hotdish or casserole that is popular in the American Intermountain West, Midwest and South. Both Mormon and Southern people call this dish "funeral potatoes" because the casserole is commonly served as a side dish during traditional after-funeral dinners, such as those planned by members of the Relief Society (a LDS auxiliary organization). The dish is also served at other social gatherings such as potlucks, typically in areas with a significant Latter-day Saint population in the Mormon Corridor.

The dish usually consists of hash browns or cubed potatoes, cheese (cheddar or Parmesan), onions, cream soup (chicken, mushroom, or celery) or a cream sauce, sour cream, and a topping of butter with corn flakes or crushed potato chips. Ingredients in some variations include cubed baked ham, frozen peas, or broccoli florets.

During the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, one of the souvenir "food pins" featured a depiction of funeral potatoes.

I certainly hope that you don’t have any occasion in the foreseeable future to need these, but I’ve included a recipe I found, just in case you do.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced

One 30-ounce bag frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, lightly thawed

One 10.5-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups shredded sharp yellow Cheddar

1 1/2 cups lightly crushed corn flake cereal


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a skillet. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant and softened, an additional 2 minutes. 

In a bowl, toss together the cooked onions and garlic, hash brown potatoes, condensed soup, sour cream, Parmesan, salt, pepper and 1 1/2 cups Cheddar. Spread the mixture in a 9-by-13 inch casserole dish. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Top the casserole with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, corn flake cereal and melted butter. 

Bake in the oven until it bubbles around the sides, about 1 hour.

And if that seems a bit labor-intensive to you, as it certainly does me, you can actually buy a ready made mix; just add water, bake, and voila -

ready at a moments notice.

It's shelf-stable for 18 months. Very convenient -just in case somebody drops dead unexpectedly.

Today’s inspiration

“Don't send funny greeting cards on birthdays or at Christmas. Save them for funerals, when their cheery effect is needed.”

                                                P. J. O'Rourke

“Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours.”

                                         Yogi Berra

Saturday, March 24 - DAY 186

According to the 'Simplest'  website, Grandparents Who Babysit Are Less Likely To Develop Dementia And Alzheimer’s.

The site says that research published in the journal of the North American Menopause Society, it was found that grandmothers who babysat once a week scored higher on cognitive tests versus those who did not.


So if one day is good, then maybe three days is better and maybe four or five can jettison you to Einstein status.

Maybe you can skyrocket your aging brain back to your ‘sharp as a tack’ youthful cognition by this method. 

Think again.

The same study also found that grandparents who babysat five or more days per week scored lower on the same tests.

My thoughts in the matter? 

After that much interaction with the precious, adorable little tots, the brain tends to turn to mush.

At least I know mine does.

Brain mush, and I need a nap.

Today's inspiration

“The best babysitters, 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

"TV is the best babysitter."

                                     John Goodman

Friday, March 23 - Day 185

Okay, so you good people know that it is my self-imposed policy NOT to post anything political or socially controversial because of my belief that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And furthermore, it is my strong belief in the ultimate futility in arguing with someone else’s opinion to change their mind.

That being said, gun control is daily in the political forefront, and as per my own policy, I will not voice my own belief. 

So why am I droning on?

 It is to preface today’s post information which I simply can’t NOT share with you because it boggles my mind.

The state of Iowa is granting permits to carry guns in public to…get ready for it…people who are legally or completely blind.

Yup, you heard me right…blind.

Iowa State law does not allow sheriffs to deny anyone the right to carry a weapon based on physical ability.

Okay, that’s the law. Honorable, noble, to give equal rights to anyone with a physical disability, right.

There is however, (surprise, surprise) some controversy over the issue of public safety.

Iowa law enforcement officers disagree over whether it’s a good idea for visually disabled Iowans to have weapons.

On the one side: Sheriff Wethington demonstrated to The Des Moines Register how blind people can be taught to shoot guns. And Jane Hudson, director of Iowa Disability Rights says blocking blind people the right to obtain a weapon permit violates the Americans with Disabilities act.

On the other side: Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School says that guns may be the rare exception to his philosophy that blind people can participate fully in life.

Several county officials have already issued weapons permits to people who can’t legally drive and were unable to read the application forms because of visual impairment.

Sheriff LeClere said, “at what point do vision problems have a detrimental effect to fire a firearm? If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting at something.” (Or someone.)

Amen - can’t argue with that.

And all I will say is - I won’t be taking up residence in Iowa anytime soon.

Today’s inspiration

“There is a condition worse than blindness, and that is, seeing something that isn't there.”

                                    Thomas Hardy

Especially if you have a gun in your hand.

Thursday, March 22 - Day 184

Yesterday, I expounded on the effect spring had on my memory regarding my son’s birthday, which I am firmly convinced is TODAY.


Happy birthday, Darren.

And since I was bemusing the subject of spring, yesterday, albeit for a different reason, I decided today I will share what the true seasonal changes are New England - you know - winter, spring, summer, fall. In New England? Hardly.

The 11 seasons of New England


fool’s spring

second winter

spring of deception

third winter

mud season

actual spring


false fall

second summer

actual fall

And then it starts all over again.

Today’s inspiration

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.”

                                                  Doug Larson

“In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”

                                              Mark Twain

Wednesday, March 21 - Day 183

So it turns out that yesterday marked the first day of spring - also known as the vernal equinox, but I won’t burden you with all the scientific info on seasonal changes.

Traditionally, the date of the emergence of the season where a ‘young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love,’ and ‘spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the birdies is’ has been on March 21.

But due to shifting elliptical orbits, changes in gravitational pulls and the fact that there are 365.25 days in the year, not 365, (and a whole bunch of other scientific facts that I won’t burden you with) the date has changed - it came a day early, yesterday.

For most people this would not be a problem, one day wouldn’t make a difference. But for me, it does cause a bit of a situation. 

You see, my son (who turns 46 tomorrow) was born on March 22. The problems lies in the fact that for some unknown reason, it’s been a problem remembering the exact date. For years I vacillated. Is it the 21st, or the 22nd? I know it makes me sound like a horrible mother. I mean who forgets the day their child is born? The only excuse I have is that I seem to have a problem with the days 20 through 29, no matter what month it is.

I have 14 grandkids and 4 great-grandkids and off the top of my head, I can remember the birthdays of every single on of them - with the regrettable exception of 4 of them. In varying months their birthdays fall on the 21st, the 24th, the 25th and 26th, I just can’t remember what date belongs to whom.

I know, I know, there’s a simple solution. Write them down in my calendar. And I have. The problem lies in the fact that I always forget to look at it.

So what’s the point of all this?

Years ago, I figured out that since my son’s birthday is March 22nd, it falls on the day after the first day of spring, March 21st.

Hooray, a simple fix to an embarrassing problem.

Or so it was. 

But now, spring came early - the 20th - yesterday, and nobody told me.

So now, is my son’s birthday today because it’s the day after the first day of spring? Or is it tomorrow, the day after what has always been the first day? Confused? 

Yeah, me too.

I guess I’ll just have to pull out the calendar, after all.

Today’s inspiration

“There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why.”

                                                 William Barclay

Tuesday, March 20 - Day 182

Well, so here it is and I just can’t quite believe it. Today marks the halfway point of my self-imposed challenge - 365 daily blogposts - one full year of my own stream of personal thoughts of not particularly any importance to anyone but me, (and then maybe not even then).

What started as a light-hearted, little exercise in literary frivolity turned out to be a walk on the wild side of my brain. It challenged me, forced me, to keep my brain primed every day, no matter what. When I was sick, when I was sad, when I was insanely busy, when I was too tired, too sick, too depressed, I still had to be here posting something…anything, so I disappoint anyone. Well, actually it was so I didn’t disappoint myself. My stick-to-itiveness has been sorely lacking in the past and I was determined that I was going to see this through. 

All 365 days of it. 

No matter what.

So here it is, 6 months, halfway through the year, and I’m still up and running (not literally of course, since just walking is a challenge some days).

For those of you who have been following my train of thought - sometimes sweet, sometimes, saucy, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes humorous, sometimes downright bizarre - I thank you for unsolicited interested and support.

I wish I could say I was as excited about the next 6 months as I was the last, but…

Today’s inspiration

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Calvin Coolidge

“Stay focused and stay determined. Don't look to anyone else to be your determination - have self-determination. It will take you very far.”

Justice Smith

“Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That's what little girls are made of.”

Bethany Hamilton

Monday, March 19 - Day 181

According the New York Post on March 14

Astronaut Scott Kelly had an identical twin brother when he ventured into space and set the record for most consecutive days spent in orbit, but not anymore.

In a groundbreaking new study, NASA scientists found that Kelly’s DNA had been altered upon his return to earth — with 7 percent of his genes experiencing an “unexpected change,” according to the agency.

Research teams from around the country had been analyzing the New Jersey native’s condition and genetic makeup following his year-long stay aboard the International Space Station as part of NASA’s “Twins Study.”

Kelly said on Twitter that he didn’t find out about the results until he saw media reports this week about the DNA change.

According to NASA, Kelly’s 340 days in orbit may have ultimately activated what scientists describe as “space genes.”

“This is thought to be from the stresses of space travel, which can cause changes in a cell’s biological pathways and ejection of DNA and RNA,” the agency said. “Such actions can trigger the assembly of new molecules, like a fat or protein, cellular degradation; and can turn genes on and off, which change cellular function.”

Fact or fiction?

Maybe just a little misinterpretation by some well meaning news source. The reality is... 

What the NASA study found was that some of Scott’s genes changed their expression while he was in space, and 7 percent of those genes didn’t return to their preflight states months after he came back. If 7 percent of Scott’s genetic code changed, as some of the stories suggested, he’d come back an entirely different species.  YIKES!

The misinterpretation of the study’s results spread like wildfire this week, across publications like CNN, USA Today, Time, People, and HuffPost. Even Scott Kelly himself was fooled. “What? My DNA changed by 7 percent! Who knew? I just learned about it in this article,” he tweeted earlier this week, linking to a Newsweek article.“This could be good news! I no longer have to call @ShuttleCDRKelly my identical twin brother anymore.”

“Mark and Scott Kelly are still identical twins,” NASA said. “Scott’s DNA did not fundamentally change. What researchers did observe are changes in gene expression, which is how your body reacts to your environment. This likely is within the range for humans under stress, such as mountain climbing or scuba diving.”

So there you have it.

Fake news at its best.

Astronaut returns as an alien from space? Not true.

Good to know. I’ll be able to sleep much better now.

Today’s inspiration

“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans.”

                                                        Stephen Hawking

Sunday, March 18 - Day 180

Okay folks, if you’ve recuperated from all the corned beef and cabbage, Irish apple cake, and green beer, I have a challenge for you.

It’s a quiz. You know, the kind you see on Facebook all the time;

the ones like -

Can you pass a 3rd grade animal vocabulary test? A female fox is a ….etc

How rapidly is your brain aging? memorize the shape sequences

Math quizzes - 3, 8, 13, 24, 41, ?

You can take quizzes to see if you are…a dog lover, a cat lover, a Disney addict, a baseball lover, a geographical genius, a math genius, a vocabulary genius.

But I love this one the best - a visual test to reveal where you fall on the psychopath scale.

You can find this particular personality test @FUNPERSONALITYQUIZZES.NET

So that’s my challenge to you. 

Take that test. Why?

Selfish reason. 

I want to see if any of my followers are psychopaths, because it might say more about me than you.

Today’s inspiration

“Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent.”

                                                            Sigmund Freud

Saturday, March 17 - Day 179

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all!

St. Patrick’s Day occurs on March 17, in observance of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. What began as a religious feast day in the 17th century has evolved into a variety of festivals across the globe celebrating Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a whole lot of green.

And it is widely recognized that today, EVERYBODY is Irish.

So don your green apparel, chop up the cabbage, throw a corned beef into the crockpot and hoist your green beer to celebrate.

Today’s inspiration

“If you're Irish, it doesn't matter where you go - you'll find family.”

                                                   Victoria Smurfit

Friday, March 16 - Day 178

OK, so I heard about a fascinating new study to burn calories that you’re not going to want to miss. But I’m sorry, your going to have to read through all these other studies first to see what else is out there - unless of course, you’re just too anxious to get right down to it (like I would be).

Here’s some of those research studies from the 2014 in the LA Times.

What's better, low carb or low fat for weight loss? A meta-analysis published in JAMA in September suggested: Oh, heck, just follow a regimen. Though low carb very slightly outclassed low fat for weight loss over a course of months, the differences were minimal, and both approaches worked.

But another study, published the same month in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that low-carb dieters fared much better than those who followed a low-fat diet and showed better results on blood tests that indicate cardiovascular health. This study by Tulane University researchers was especially noteworthy because unlike most weight-loss studies, it randomly assigned subjects one group or the other, drastically reducing the chances that there were differences other than diet that accounted for the greater weight loss.

In case the confusion level isn’t higher than your carb intake by now, a University of South Carolina study published in November in the International Journal of Applied and Basic Nutritional Sciences found the greatest weight loss on a high-carbohydrate vegan diet that eschewed all animal products including dairy. The subjects, all university students, were randomly assigned to their eating regimens in this study as well. But support groups that included peer pressure to perform well also played a part in the study.

Crash diets polish their image

You’ll see this over and over; no matter what scientists find, the belief persists. But once again this year, a correlational study suggests crash diets might be more successful than the slow-and-steady sort. The October study in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology found that over time, both types of dieters regained an average of 71% of the weight lost, but crash dieters were more likely to have reached their goals in the first place.

Diet more important than aerobics?

Another study cast doubt on a widely held belief about weight loss -- that aerobic exercise is important to the effort.  Research at Arizona State University in Phoenix, published in the October issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that women who engaged in a regular regimen of supervised treadmill exercise, without changing their previous eating habits, tended to gain weight, largely in the form of fat, instead of losing it, though it’s important to note that they also became more physically fit. Some of the subjects did lose weight and fat, and the scientists think that observing the effect of diet regimens and exercise after a few weeks can help predict which women would be most likely helped in their weight-loss efforts by regular aerobic exercise. The study followed a body of previous research that found that aerobic exercise did not seem to lead to the kind of weight loss that would have been expected from the calories burned.

More sad news about obesity

This one won't surprise anyone. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in October that depression and obesity are strongly linked, and the worse the depression, the worse the obesity (or possibly the other way around.)


Breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day

Contrary to popular belief and the lectures of who knows how many mothers, breakfast doesn’t appear to be the most important meal of the day, at least when it comes to weight loss, according to University of Alabama researchers. The scientists randomly assigned subjects to eat or not eat breakfast, and they  found that it made no real difference to weight loss if dieters skipped the meal altogether. But they also didn’t examine what people ate for breakfast and said that it would take more research to find out whether eating certain kinds of breakfasts might actually make a difference. They published their findings in August in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Another study at about the same time at the University of Bath found pretty much the same thing.

Diet sodas may not be the best option for dieters

We heard plenty during 2014 about the empty calories we consume in sugary sodas without even feeling fuller from all that intake, but one of the more controversial questions has been whether diet sodas are healthier for people.  There are studies on both sides, but one of the most intriguing pieces of research -- conducted on mice -- says it might depend on the individual. The study found that unlike sugary sodas, artificial sweeteners change gut bacteria in ways that affect how we digest and metabolize food. And those changes might make some people more prone to weight gain and diabetes. Remember that these are results on mice fed large amounts of artificial sweetener, not on humans who drink a can or two of diet soda a day, but, as the researchers said, the results call for a closer examination of how artificial sweeteners act on the human body and on weight loss.

The most important weight-loss research news

Perhaps the most important weight-loss research news of all is the item that reminds us to be skeptical of studies (perhaps especially when they're touted by Dr. Oz), to look for studies that appear in respected publications, be aware of who's funding the study and what they might have to gain from it, and even when it comes to the best-conducted research, to remember that weight-loss studies are usually just adding pieces to a complex and largely incomplete picture of how weight is gained and lost -- they are not a signal to adopt one change after another based on a single finding.

In October, researchers retracted a previously published study that purported to find that pills made from green coffee beans led to remarkable weight loss.

The study was conducted in India and funded by a company called Applied Food Sciences -- which sells the pills. But it was written and published by two professors at the University of Scranton who were hired by Applied Food Sciences. The coffee-bean phenomenon fell apart after the Federal Trade Commission brought forth evidence of falsified information in the study -- and after U.S. consumers spent hefty sums on a product not known to have any weight-loss usefulness. Shame on the company, the researchers, the professors who allowed their reputations and that of their university be hired out for bucks, and of course on Dr. Oz. And thanks to smart and aggressive regulators who knew when to step in.

Okay, now back to me, and the exciting news about burning calories.

The reason for today’s post is because of what I heard on the radio this morning. A new study has appeared, so it was said, that you can burn calories by taking a hot bath. You heard me right…a bath. You don’t even have to do water aerobics in the tub. Just lie there and let the lbs (maybe ounces) just float away. No cardio, no weight- training, no walking, jogging, running. Just take a bath - a hot bath.


Now, they didn’t given any more info about the study and silly me, I question the validity and perhaps it was just a funny, haha statement be the announcer. But then again, crazier things have been purported regarding weight-loss and some of those who are fixated or desperate to shed those unwanted pounds will believe anything that might be a panacea for their woes.

So what do you have to lose? no pun intended. Turn on the tap, pour in the bubbles in and relax. They didn’t mention that the hotter the water, the more calories you would burn, but that would make sense, yes? 

So get in as a size 12, boil yourself to a lobster and come out a size 10.

Today’s inspiration

“Don't be gullible, use life before it uses you. Understand there are no free lunches, and for every action you take, there's a reaction.”

                                                       Sylvester Stallone

To burn off one M&M candy, you need to walk the length of football field.

(and then jump in the tub and pop in another M&M)

Thursday, March 15 - Day 177

Great words of wisdom passed on by my grandson-in-law, Austin


1. Never shake someone’s hand while you are in a seated position.

2. Don’t enter a pool by the stairs.

3. Being the man at the BBQ Grill is the closest thing to being king.

4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer.

5. Request the late check-out.

6. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.

7. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.

8. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.

9. Play with passion or not at all…

10. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look them in the eye.

11. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.

12. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.

13. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.

14. You marry the girl, you marry her family.

15. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.
16. Experience the serenity of traveling alone.

17. Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.

18. Never turn down a breath mint.

19. A sport coat is worth 1000 words.

20. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.

21. Thank a veteran. Then make it up to him.

22. Eat lunch with the new kid.

23. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.

24. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win. 

25. Manners maketh the man.

26. Give credit. Take the blame.

27. Stand up to Bullies. Protect those bullied.

28. Write down your dreams.

29. Always protect your siblings (and teammates).

30. Be confident and humble at the same time.

31. Call and visit your parents often. They miss you.

32. The healthiest relationships are those where you’re a team; where you respect, protect, and stand up for each other.

(The rules were adapted from the “whatgirlswant” blog on Tumblr

The Art of Manliness)

Today’s inspiration

“Goodness is about character - integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.”

                                                Dennis Prager

Wednesday, March 14 - Day 176

A burglar broke into a home.

He heard a soft voice say, “Jesus is watching you.” Thinking it was his imagination, he continued his search.

Again, he hears: “Jesus is watching you.”

He turned his flashlight around and saw a parrot in a cage.

He asked the parrot if he was the one talking. The parrot said, “Yes.” So he asked the parrot his name, and the parrot replied, “Moses.”

The burglar asked, “What kind of people would name a parrot Moses?”

The parrot replied, “The same kind of people who would name their pit bull, Jesus.”

Q: What do you call a fake noodle?

A: An Impasta

What is the resemblance between a green apple and a red apple?

They’re both red except for the green one.

Never criticize someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

That way, when you criticize them, you’ll be a mile away, and you’ll have their shoes.

Is Google male or female?

Female, because it doesn’t let you finish a sentence before making a suggestion.

A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer. ‘This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it you.’ The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, ‘Which do you want, son?’ The boy takes the quarters and leaves. ‘What did I tell you?’ said the barber. ‘That kid never learns!’ Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store. ‘Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?’ The boy licked his cone and replied, ‘Because the day I take the dollar, the game is over!’

“Laughter is an instant vacation.”

Milton Berle

Tuesday, March 13 - Day 175

A little more humor on my second sick day.

A police officer attempts to stop a car for speeding and the guy gradually increases his speed until he’s topping 100 mph. The man eventually realizes he can’t escape and finally pulls over. The cop approaches the car and says, “It’s been a long day and my shift is almost over, so if you can give me a good excuse for your behavior, I’ll let you go.” The guy thinks for a few seconds and then says, “My wife ran away with a cop about a week ago. I thought you might be that officer trying to give her back!”

A wife comes home late one night and quietly opens the door to her bedroom. From under the blanket, she sees four legs instead of just her husband’s two. She reaches for a baseball bat and starts hitting the blanket as hard as she can. Once she’s done, she goes to the kitchen to have a drink. As she enters, she sees her husband there, reading a magazine. He says, “Hi darling, your parents have come to visit us, so let them stay in our bedroom. Did you say hello?”

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

                                        Charlie Chaplin

Monday, March 12 - Day 174

A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The driver says: "Ugh, that's the ugliest baby I've ever seen."

The woman walks to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to the man next to her: "The driver just insulted me."

The man says: "You go up there and tell him off. Go on, I'll hold your monkey for you.

My grandpa started walking five miles a day when he was 60.

Now he's 97 years old and we have no idea where the hell he is.

A husband and wife were driving through Louisiana. As they approached Natchitoches, they started arguing about the pronunciation of the town. They argued back and forth, then they stopped for lunch. At the counter, the husband asked the blonde waitress, “Before we order, could you please settle an argument for us? Would you please pronounce where we are very slowly?” She leaned over the counter and said, “Burrr-gerrr Kiiing.”

“Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.” W. C. Fields

Sunday, March 11 - Day 173

Today marks the official beginning of Daylight Savings Time which means the clocks were set ahead an hour at midnight last night.

 So we lost an hours sleep, didn't we? 

For those who normally get up at 7am, you really got up at 6am; 8am, really 7am…etc,etc. 

My sympathies for you all because I know that lost hour is precious to you and today might be a little tough. You might need a little nap, or two to make it through the day. 

But for those of us with insomnia, well what the hell does it matter? You lose an hour, or two, or three, or four, every night. 

And when the next DST rolls around at midnight November 4th and you sleepyheads gain an extra hour, it won’t mean a blessed thing to us. 

It will just remain the status quo. 


Today’s inspiration

“His insomnia was so bad, he couldn't sleep during office hours.”

                              Arthur Baer

“If a woman gets insomnia, you never know where you're going to find her furniture the next morning. It's primal. We have so little we can control, but we can perfect the way our room looks.”

                                          Nicole Holofcener

“Insomnia is a vertiginous lucidity that can convert paradise itself into a place of torture.” 

                           Emil Cioran

(Now there’s a mouthful, but oh, so true.)

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”

                           W. C. Fields

Saturday, March 10 - Day 172

I’m so sorry, Barbie. I missed your birthday yesterday, your 59th birthday. 


I was 9 years old when Barbie was introduced and I was mesmerized, as was every other girl I knew. We would all get together and play with our Barbie dolls. She was elegant, glamorous, chic and stylish. She had clothes that were beguiling. Her top-knot ponytail was silky soft and either blonde or brunette - brunette for me, to match my own hair. She came dressed in a black-and-white striped bathing suit and I saved up my own money from doing chores to buy her fancy outfits. My favorites were a black sequined evening gown and a grey suit with a matching sweater set. I can remember very vividly sitting for hours and hours changing her outfits and combing her hair. 

And I have to admit, I didn’t stop playing with her until I was almost 14.

Here’s an excerpt of Barbie’s history from wikipedia for those of you who are itching to know all about this 59 year old curvy, sexy icon.

Personally, I’m still waiting for Menopause Barbie and AARP Barbie.

Barbie is a fashion doll manufactured by the American toy company Mattel, Inc. and launched in March 1959. American businesswoman Ruth Handler is credited with the creation of the doll using a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration.

Ruth watched her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls, and noticed that she often enjoyed giving them adult roles. At the time, most children's toy dolls were representations of infants. Realizing that there could be a gap in the market, Handler suggested the idea of an adult-bodied doll to her husband Elliot, a co-founder of the Mattel toy company. He was unenthusiastic about the idea, as were Mattel's directors.

During a trip to Europe in 1956 with her children Barbara and Kenneth, Ruth Handler came across a German toy doll called Bild Lilli. The adult-figured doll was exactly what Handler had in mind, so she purchased three of them. She gave one to her daughter and took the others back to Mattel. The Lilli doll was based on a popular character appearing in a comic strip drawn by Reinhard Beuthin for the newspaper Bild. Lilli was a blonde bombshell, a working girl who knew what she wanted and was not above using men to get it. The Lilli doll was first sold in Germany in 1955, and although it was initially sold to adults, it became popular with children who enjoyed dressing her up in outfits that were available separately.

Upon her return to the United States, Handler redesigned the doll (with help from engineer Jack Ryan) and the doll was given a new name, Barbie, after Handler's daughter Barbara. The doll made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. This date is also used as Barbie's official birthday.

The first Barbie doll wore a black and white zebra striped swimsuit and signature topknot ponytail, and was available as either a blonde or brunette. The doll was marketed as a "Teen-age Fashion Model," with her clothes created by Mattel fashion designer Charlotte Johnson. The first Barbie dolls were manufactured in Japan, with their clothes hand-stitched by Japanese homeworkers. Around 350,000 Barbie dolls were sold during the first year of production.

Body Image

From the start, some have complained that "the blonde, plastic doll conveyed an unrealistic body image to girls."

Criticisms of Barbie are often centered around concerns that children consider Barbie a role model and will attempt to emulate her. One of the most common criticisms of Barbie is that she promotes an unrealistic idea of body image for a young woman, leading to a risk that girls who attempt to emulate her will become anorexic. A standard Barbie doll is 11.5 inches tall, giving a height of 5 feet 9 inches at 1/6 scale. Barbie's vital statistics have been estimated at 36 inches (chest), 18 inches (waist) and 33 inches (hips). According to research by the University Central Hospital in Helsinki, Finland, she would lack the 17 to 22 percent body fat required for a woman to menstruate. In 1963, the outfit "Barbie Baby-Sits" came with a book entitled How to Lose Weight which advised: "Don't eat!". The same book was included in another ensemble called "Slumber Party" in 1965 along with a pink bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs., which would be around 35 lbs. underweight for a woman 5 feet 9 inches tall. Mattel said that the waist of the Barbie doll was made small because the waistbands of her clothes, along with their seams, snaps, and zippers, added bulk to her figure. In 1997, Barbie's body mold was redesigned and given a wider waist, with Mattel saying that this would make the doll better suited to contemporary fashion designs.


Complaints also point to a lack of diversity in the line.  Mattel responded to these criticisms. Starting in 1980, it produced Hispanic dolls, and later came models from across the globe. For example, in 2007, it introduced "Cinco de Mayo Barbie" wearing a ruffled red, white, and green dress (echoing the Mexican flag). Hispanic magazine reports that:

[O]ne of the most dramatic developments in Barbie's history came when she embraced multi-culturalism and was released in a wide variety of native costumes, hair colors and skin tones to more closely resemble the girls who idolized her. Among these were Cinco De Mayo Barbie, Spanish Barbie, Peruvian Barbie, Mexican Barbie and Puerto Rican Barbie. She also has had close Hispanic friends, such as Teresa.

"Colored Francie" made her debut in 1967, and she is sometimes described as the first African American Barbie doll. However, she was produced using the existing head molds for the white Francie doll and lacked African characteristics other than a dark skin. The first African American doll in the Barbie range is usually regarded as Christie, who made her debut in 1968. Black Barbie was launched in 1980 but still had Caucasian features. In September 2009, Mattel introduced the So In Style range, which was intended to create a more realistic depiction of black people than previous dolls.

Ken is a fashion doll introduced by Mattel in 1961 as the fictional counterpart of Barbie, who was introduced two years earlier. Similar to his female counterpart, Ken has a fashionable line of clothing and accessories. In the Barbie mythos, Ken met Barbie on the set of a TV commercial in 1961, although Mattel has never specified the precise nature of their relationship. Since his debut, Ken has held at least 40 occupations. He was invented by Elliot Handler.

Today’s inspiration

“Barbie ruined my life! It's a really bad image for women. For a long time I thought I was deformed - because my heels didn't touch the ground. I was walking around on tiptoes. What's up with that? I think that it's a bad thing for a woman to try to emulate.” 

                                           Rita Rudner

“Men are self-confident because they grow up identifying with super-heroes. Women have bad self-images because they grow up identifying with Barbie.”

                                         Rita Rudner

“I loved playing with Barbies - that's why I didn't stop!”

                                          Brad Goreski

(I don't know who you are Brad, but that's a little scary)

“When the other girls had given up their Barbies, I was still playing with mine in secret.”

                                     Cheri Oteri

Friday, March 9 - Day 171

Crime is hard. There’s the planning, the execution, the follow-throughs and it’s not a life for everyone. Some are better than others.

Here are some of the ones who could have used a little more training and common-sense.

For a trio of drug thieves, it was their lucky day. They broke into a home in Silver Springs, Florida, and discovered three jars of cocaine. They took it home and snorted the contents. That’s when they discovered that the jars were in fact urns, and that they were snorting the cremains of the victim’s husband and two dogs.

Along the same vein (although I think this one is even funnier) -

Three Missouri men took, among other things, a box containing what they thought was cocaine. Turns out, it was the homeowner’s father’s ashes. And even worse, the homeowner claims that two of the unnamed teens were the deceased man’s grandchildren. That’s gonna make for an awkward family reunion.

Following a dispute a man allegedly tossed a Molotov Cocktail at his neighbor’s trailer home … just as the winds shifted, sending embers on to his own trailer. Luckily, he was arrested, since he no longer had a home of his own to return to.

A San Francisco thief pedaled his bike up to a woman on the sidewalk, snatched the iPhone out of her hands, and rode away. Unknown to him, the woman was in the middle of demonstrating the iPhone’s new GPS tracking device, which worked—the thief was captured minutes later.

When an attempted robbery at a Lowes Home Improvement store went awry, the thief fled across the street and jumped a fence … right into a nudist resort & spa. As one of the only folks wearing clothing, the perpetrator was easily spotted by police.

A retired couple returned home from a holiday to discover a burglar fast asleep in their bed. The couple were amazed to find the intruder had done their dishes, washed his underwear and even bought some groceries.The wife said their house "wasn't too tidy" when they went away, but the thief had kindly tidied up.

"He did burn an old saucepan but that happens!" she added.The thief, admitted burglary, and was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £200 costs.

Police said a 55-year-old man got into an argument with his wife after she allegedly took a bite out of his grilled cheese sandwich.

The woman fled the house with three teens in tow and called police, prompting a three-hour armed standoff between the sandwich-eating man and police.

Luckily, nobody was hurt in the argument and ensuing standoff. The husband was charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and various firearms violations.

No word on whether he managed to finish his grilled cheese sandwich.

Today’s inspiration

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” 

Albert Einstein

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.”

Albert Einstein

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the dumbest of you all?”

Anne Robinson

Thursday, March 8 - Day 170

I thought today I’d continue on with the theme of seeing the humor in senility and aging, although I consider that to be somewhat of an oxymoron. But you can’t deny that you didn’t crack up at yesterday’s ROFLA - rolling on the floor laughing and can’t get up.

So here’s some more.

The biggest lie I tell myself is: I don’t need to write it down, I’ll remember it.

OMG, I’m rich! - silver in the hair, gold in the teeth, crystals in the kidneys, sugar in the blood, lead in the butt, iron in the arteries, and an inexhaustible supply of natural gas.

Gina; I’ve been calling you all day. Why haven’t you answered? Alice; that’s a calculator.

At my age, “getting lucky” means finding my car in the parking lot.

I’m getting old…I got out of bed and had chest pains…I looked down and realized I was standing on my nipples.

Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.

70 is the new…what was I saying?

Gray in the hair is God’s graffiti

The cardiologist’s diet - if it tastes good, spit it out

At my age the only pole dancing I do is having on to the safety bar in the bathtub.

The Senility prayer

God grant me the senility

to forget the people I never liked anyway

the good fortune to run in to the ones I do

and the eyesight to tell the difference.

and finally -

The Cat In the Hat on Aging

I cannot see

I cannot pee

I cannot chew

I cannot screw

OMG, what can I do?

My memory shrinks

My hearing stinks

No sense of smell

I look like hell

My body’s drooping

Have trouble pooping

The Golden Years have come at last

The Golden Years can kiss my a**

Today’s inspiration

(on a philosophical note)

Grow old with me!

The best is yet to be.

The last of life, for which the first was made.

                                       Robert Browning 

Wednesday, March 7 - Day 169

So I am going to preface today’s post with this thought;

Those of you over the age of 60 will probably understand what a ‘senior moment’ is, although I must admit mine started before I was 50. You know - we all have them from time to time, and the older I get, the more frequent they become.

So having clarified that, I can now go on to my post, the post which I may have actually posted before at some point but (senior moment) can’t remember.

I haven’t quite figured out how to archive my previous posts past the first week and it’s far too labor intensive to backtrack through 169 days (wow, I’ve almost hit the halfway point).

So here it is.

The Texting Code for Seniors

ATD; At The Doctors

BFF; Best Friend Fell

BYOW; Bring Your Own Wheelchair

BYOT; Bring Your Own Teeth

FWIW; Forgot Where I Was

GGPBL; Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low

GHA; Got Heartburn Again

IMHO; Is My Hearing Aid On

LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out

OMMR; On My Massage Recliner

OMSG; Oh My! Sorry, Gas

ROFLA; Rolling On The Floor Laughing And Can’t Get Up

Today’s inspiration

“There are three signs of senility. The first sign is that a man forgets his theorems. The second sign is that he forgets to zip up. The third sign is that he forgets to zip down.”

                                                           Paul Erdos

My brain is like the Bermuda Triangle…information goes in and then it’s never found again


I may be getting old, but I still got my photographic memory…I just no longer offer same day service


Tuesday, March 6 - Day 168

Well, here it comes - one more time, another big one - Storm Emma. Predictions of 12 inches heavy, wet snow in our area. It has already hit the UK and perhaps we should follow Scotland’s example.

From Metro news, UK

One shopper has spoken of seeing ‘security guards’ drafted in to ‘protect the milk’ at Asda after the bad weather and panic buying saw stocks running low. Scott McLintock discovered the security at his local supermarket in Bearsden, Glasgow and said the system was working well for him and other locals. He said the rationing system was introduced after shelves were left empty in shops across the country as a result of the Storm Emma chaos. Shoppers have been told they can only buy two cartons of milk and two loaves of bread at a time.

‘After days of no milk, bread and little veg, ASDA now has fresh stock but is limiting to two cartons of milk and two loaves of bread per person,’  Mr McLintock said. ‘The milk is now protected by security to prevent extreme shoppers stocking up.’ Shoppers were seen ‘panic buying’ last week as snow and ice raised fears that stocks would fall while jokers in Scotland attempted to sell a loaf and four pints of milk for almost £1,000 ($1390 US dollars)

Well, you can’t fault them for that, when Super Bowl tickets were being scalped for $5000 plus. 

The Scots have nothing on us.

Today's inspiration

“We are not cisterns made for hoarding, we are channels made for sharing.”

                                                  Billy Graham

Tell that to somebody who will be stuck in a house with 6 kids during a snowstorm.  

Monday, March 5 - Day 167

Bear with me today, because I’m going to use this platform to boast a little. 

I have 14 grandkids and four great-grandkids and there’s not a throwaway in the bunch. I take no credit for how terrific they are, that’s all on them, but I am very proud of every single one of them for their own unique qualities and talents.

But today I want to highlight my grandson, Aidan, who at fourteen has just taken 1st place in the 7th-8th grade Catholic school chess championships in his area and 3rd place in the NC Triangle (3 cities) chess championship. Last week he placed 6th in the NC State Championships. That is one incredible achievement for a 14-yr-old and I am in awe of his talent. He has been competitively playing since about 4th or 5th grade. There are several levels of play from beginner to grand master- Aidan is about half way or half the rank of Grand Master-The last time I visited, I asked him to play with me, since I really love the game, hoping he could give me some pointers.

He beat me in four moves.

Demoralizing, to say the least, but indicative of his skill.

So there you have it. Congratulations, Aidan. Well done to you.

Today’s inspiration

“You cannot say, 'Go! Go! Rah! Rah! Good move!' People want some emotion. Chess is an art and not a spectator sport.”

                                                      Garry Kasparov

“Chess is intellectual gymnastics.”

                                                         Wilhelm Steinitz

“Chess is not for timid souls.”

                                                        Wilhelm Steinitz

Sunday, March 4 - Day 166

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 kids know I would do anything to help them when they need 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 a mother with an unusual quality 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

“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 

Saturday, March 3 - Day 165

Yesterday I showed you the extravagant side of celebrities. It has always struck me that the money used for a few hours of lavish indulgence could do so much good in the world; feed the hungry, clothe the destitute, house the homeless.

Sorry, for the rant, but it’s a sore subject for me, when I see the desperate poverty in the country and what could be done with those millions spent on the extravagant romanticism of a wedding as an example.

So with all that being said, I’m going to show you a few examples of the opposite side of the coin.

Jon Bon Jovi

The first, and I think the most selfless and innovative of these, is Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Foundation that has helped provide support for over 500 units of affordable and supportive housing in 10 states for thousands of people including youth and veterans.The Soul Foundation’s expanded mission helps those in need of a warm, nutritious meal and now operates two JBJ Soul Kitchens in New, Soul Kitchen.

Jon Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea, opened the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, NJ in 2011, its mission was to address issues of food insecurity while allowing diners the dignity of a meal without judgment, whether they can pay or not.

Supporting local businesses he obtains fresh ingredients from local vendors and have some of his celebrity chefs who are also his friends come in and cook. Run by volunteers, they serve three course meals for a donation of $10 if they can afford it. Otherwise, there is no charge.

I’m in awe of the impact this is having on people in such desperate need.

Taylor Swift

She is never, ever, ever, not giving to charity! The I Knew You Were Trouble singer donated $4 million to the Country Hall of Fame Museum, $150,000 to an Alabaman school affected by tornadoes and spent hours with children cancer patients in New York. She was even named most charitable celeb in 2012, 2013 AND 2014, beating former flame Harry Styles who came a close second (in 2013).

Kate Hudson is once again lending her talents to support Watch Hunger Stop, Michael Kors's annual campaign to fight global hunger.

“I’m thrilled and grateful that my friend Kate is joining us once again in our efforts to end hunger,” says Michael Kors. “She and I share the belief that if we all work together, this is a problem we can solve. Watch Hunger Stop supports WFP’s school meals program, improving the lives of children who deserve the chance for a healthy, happy future. We’re proud to be able to help.”

Supermodel Christy Turlington Burns isn’t just a pretty face, she’s also the founder of Every Mother Counts – a non-profit organisation dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. Christy has now teamed up with TOMS to release a limited edition collection featuring a backpack and a tote. The 90s supermodel is pictured with Blake Mycoskie, TOMS Founder and Chief Giving Officer, on their trip to Haiti. With every bag purchase, TOMS will help provide a safe birth for a mother and a baby in need.

These are just a few of the many charitable celebrity contributions to a world so fraught with overwhelming poverty.

So kudos to all of them, in contrast to those on the other side of the spectrum.

Today’s inspiration

“My philanthropy is no relation to anybody else's. None. My philanthropy and what we do at the foundation speaks for itself and has no relation to anyone’s.”

Jon Bon Jovi

“The results of philanthropy are always beyond calculation.”

Mary Ritter Beard

“Charity is just writing checks and not being engaged. Philanthropy, to me, is being engaged, not only with your resources but getting people and yourself really involved and doing things that haven't been done before.”

Eli Broad

“Never respect men merely for their riches, but rather for their philanthropy; we do not value the sun for its height, but for its use.” Gamaliel Bailey

Friday, March 2 - Day 164

Today, I saw a heartwarming piece of news concerning an extremely charitable act by a famous celebrity. So, my post today was going to be about the many other celebrities doing noble charitable work. 

But first I wanted to contrast their philanthropic deeds with some celebrities with a more extravagant bent.

So here are some costly weddings and their outcomes.

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston 

$1 million. Despite being Hollywood's most famous couple at the time, the cost of Brad and Jen's wedding was relatively tame. Most of the expense went on her dress, flowers - 50,000 of them to be precise - and a fireworks display at the end of the night.

They split five years later.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes 

$3 million. They hired out a 15th century Italian castle for their nuptials and invited serious A-Listers including Will and Jada Smith, David and Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Lopez.

Katie wore a custom-designed Giorgio Armani wedding dress and guests were treated to an expensive fireworks display.

They split five years later.

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries.

$10 million. The pair blew $10,000 on invitations, $6,000 on cake, $2 million on flowers, $2.5 million on Kim's diamond head-dress and invited 500 guests.

Kim also wore three Vera Wang dresses on the day, which was filmed for a two-part, four-hour reality TV special.

Kim ended the marriage 72 days later.

Prince William and Kate Middleton.

$34 million. 

It’s estimated that security on the day cost $32 million, with the rest of the money being spent on flowers ($800,000) food ($150,000) and champagne ($60,000).

Kate's Welsh gold wedding ring cost a rumoured $11,000.

Well, at least we’re pretty sure this one is going to last.

Today’s inspiration

“In Hollywood, brides keep the bouquets and throw away the groom.” 

                                       Groucho Marx

Thursday, March 1 - Day 163

Today, I am feeling extremely introspective and feel the need to tell myself some honest truths

Every now and then, I need to bolster my self-esteem with the reality of who and what I am. 

Sorry folks, today is that day.

I'm an imperfect person and have lived an imperfect life. I've loved deeply and given all of me. I've made many mistakes and many amends. I've hurt others and been hurt. I have a lifetime tapestry to look at and hold in my hands. And even if part of it unravels, the picture is still a beautiful and truthful one. And I truly make no apologies for who I have become over the past 68 years.

Today’s inspiration

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

                                                Marilyn Monroe

“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-brake on.” 

                                           Maxwell Maltz

“Don't worry so much about your self-esteem. Worry more about your character. Integrity is its own reward.”

                                                   Laura Schlessinger

Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Day 162

Today is National ‘Slap your annoying coworker day.’

If you are the annoying one, I hope you called in sick.

Today’s inspiration

“Sometimes being the bigger person means smiling and nodding while fantasizing about punching the other person in the throat.”


“There are terrible jerks, and there are an unusually large concentration of them in the workplace. And that means that you do have to make some changes in your behavior, but there is absolutely no need for you to give them power over your happiness.”

                                                 Srikumar Rao

So there you have it. Today you have permission to go for it.

Have a sparkling day, but remember, it's just for today.

Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Day 161

I absolutely love the English. I always have. There is something of a fascination for me of anything British. Their speech, their various dialects, their terminology, their history…everything. I could sit and listen to them for hours, which is why all the television I watch is British TV.

Yesterday, I shared the information about the ‘novel’ (pardon the pun) sleep-in library in Flintshire, England.

Today, I want to share something else wonderful that’s happening ‘over the pond’.

Milkmen and milkwomen are making a comeback in London as millennials have started using glass milk bottles in a bid to cut down plastic waste.

Dairies in the capital told of a "phenomenal" upsurge in interest from younger customers at the start of the year amid growing public upset over plastic waste.

Both UK-wide company milk&more and east London dairy Parker Dairies have seen increased demand for glass bottles in 2018.

The firms said younger consumers and families seem willing to pay more for the service in a bid to help the environment.

If you are old enough to remember having a gray, metal milk box at the back door, then you remember the cold, glass bottles filled with creamy, white milk with the cream on top. There was no such thing as skim milk, 1%, 2%. It was just your lovely, full-fat whole milk. And there was nothing better to dip your

oreos (invented in the 1920s) in.

So hats off to the British for reinventing the wheel.

Today’s inspiration

“I remember the fact that milk was delivered every day by a milkman. In summer, my mother would make what now seem in my middle-aged imagination the most delicious iced milkshakes.”

                                                            Simon McBurney

“Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.”

                                                      Barbara Jordan

“I asked the waiter, 'Is this milk fresh?' He said, 'Lady, three hours ago it was grass.’

                                                 Phyllis Diller

Monday, Feb. 26 - Day 160

This morning I came across this marvelous, fantastic vacation idea for book lovers. Here is their advertisement.

Sleeping with books

Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and surroundings of Gladstone's Library, the perfect getaway.

Gladstone's Library is the UK's only residential library. Our peaceful setting and grounds will leave you feeling renewed and energised, as well as giving you the freedom to explore our collection of almost 150,000 printed items.

If you are looking for a stay with a difference, look no further than Gladstone's Library; we pride ourselves in offering the best service for all our visitors in a truly unique setting. 

We have 26 boutique bedrooms, all unique in their own way, most with en suite facilities. 

As a resident you have extended use of the Reading Rooms from 9am - 10pm (9am - 5pm for the general public). 

Library books may be taken away to your bedroom, however books from the Gladstone Foundation Collection must not be removed from the Reading Rooms.

 The details 

• Bedrooms: Price $92 - $140 American dollars - Most of our 26 bedrooms are en-suite. All have tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryers and Roberts digital radios. Bed linen is changed approximately every fourth day of your stay. Rooms are tended daily to change wet towels and replenish tea / coffee. Please do ask if you need more towels or additional blankets. 

• Bathrooms: If you are in a standard room, there is a shared bathroom / toilet on each floor. If you have an en-suite room, we would ask that you do not use the shared bathrooms.

• Books: The unique offering at Gladstone's Library is our world-renowned collection of books, journals and periodicals. As well as the main collection, you will find books in all of our public rooms. Books cannot be taken off the premises, but most can be taken to your room – the only exceptions are Gladstone's own books which get homesick if they leave the Library!

• Breakfast:  A continental breakfast is served from 8am – 9am and included in your stay. Hot options are available for a small extra fee.

Gladstone's Library was founded in 1894 by William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98) in the Flintshire village of Hawarden, just six miles from Chester. Four times Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivering 13 budgets and in Parliament for over 60 years, Gladstone is often regarded as the greatest statesman that Britain has ever produced. In the final years of his long life, Gladstone put his still-prodigious energy into establishing a library "for the pursuit of divine learning".

Sounds wonderful, to sleep amongst the great writers, surrounded by centuries of great written literature, to wander in your slippers and jammies at night in a paradise of books.

The only thing I can think of that would be better, would be to find one of MY books on their shelves.

Today’s inspiration

“A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.”

                                                                     Henry Ward Beecher

“Your library is your paradise.”

                                                                  Desiderius Erasmus

“I read all the time. I love it. My fantasy would be to be locked into a library. I'd be very, very happy.”


Sunday, Feb. 25 - Day 159

Sorry for the late post. Just got home from my grandson’s (one of them) 28th birthday party. 

Fun (along with pizza and cupcakes) was had by all and now it’s time to relax, watch a little tellie, and then hit the sack. 

It was a great time of fellowship with my awesome family. 

Love them to the moon and back.

Today’s inspiration

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

                                       Rod Stewart

Saturday, Feb. 24 - Day 158

Life can get pretty tough and it’s easy to get knocked down and not want to get up again. The longer you live, the more opportunities there are to experience what feels like mortal wounds. 

To me, courage is just getting up one more time, time after time, and never succumbing to the pain no matter how much you want to. 

Dark days WILL come at some point in your life, and you may feel like giving up, but hang on. 

You never know what’s miracle is around the next corner.

I found these very wise words today -

Today’s inspiration

“What is broken can be mended. What hurts can be healed. And no matter how dark it gets, the sun is going to rise again."


Friday, Feb. 23 - Day 157

It started out a bright, shiny day full of promise and hope. Then it quickly deteriorated into a rubble of frustration.

As I have stated before, I’m quite proficient in my technology skills. I can text, google and reboot with the best of them. I doggedly seek out solutions to computer quirks and glitches, usually with success.

But this morning, I was stopped cold when I ran smack dab into a Web wall.

I was checking my e-mail (of which I have 3 different accounts) only to discover that my gmail account was off-line. So I hit the connect button. 

No go. 

The error message said it could not connect server, verify my settings and try again. So, like a good little obedient girl. I did as instructed. 

Still no go. 

Not to be dissuaded, I tried again…and again…and again…and so on and so forth.

A mild frustration crept upon me. Mild, because I knew that my determination would eventually win out. 



I knew that if all else failed, I would just have to find the option to re-sign in.

Ah, there the problem lies. Both my other two accounts pull up the sign in box, complete with the password dots already there (thank goodness, because I can NEVER remember the passwords). But the g-mail account? No sign-in box…anywhere

I searched every possible nook and cranny on my faithful Mac…and again, no go.

Okay, my frustration level shot up about tenfold because I know there are messages I am helpless to retrieve and respond to. 

And who knows, maybe one of them is a movie deal for one of my novels. Well, one can dream, can’t they?

So for now, I am gmail-less.

So if there is anyone out there that has a solution, I’ll give you my firstborn child ...and a Snickers bar.

Today’s inspiration

“You've done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.”

                                                                   Ralph Marston

Yeah, been there, done that…and STILL no go. Okay, I give up.

Thursday, Feb. 22 - Day 156

Today, I’m putting my inspiration first -

“With our hectic lives, a dose of comedy is a must.”

                                                           Anita Hassanandani Reddy

So today was one of those days filled with…well, just filled. And as I put on my jammies and decided to settle in for the night, I realized…



What to do, what to do?

 So I’m taking the easy way out and found this quote that will work for me, and you, too I hope.

I told you about the hectic - and here’s the humor;









Sounds about right to me.

Good night and God bless.

Wednesday, Feb. 21 - Day 155

It is a magnificent day in New England. 

The sun is shining and it’s going to hit 70 today. The jogger’s are out in droves. Mother’s are pushing the kiddies in their strollers. Kid’s are playing soccer in the park.

This is all in stark contrast to last Saturday when Mother Nature dumped 6 inches of the white stuff in a matter of hours and we were out shoveling and snowplowing away.

So, spring is really here and the crocuses should be popping their heads through the thawing ground, right?

Yeah, not so much.

Tomorrow’s forecast is some snow with temps dropping back into the 20s at night as it is for the next two weeks.

Ah well, it’s a cruel tease, but I expect nothing less from Mother Nature who has one twisted sense of humor.

Today’s inspiration

“Listen, you only tease the ones you love.”

                                              John Boehner

“We have much to learn by studying nature and taking the time to tease out its secrets.”

                                           David Suzuki

“Seems you can't outsmart Mother Nature.”

                                         Mark Hyman

Tuesday, Feb. 20 - Day 154

Okay, I’m back. I’ve rested, I’ve hibernated, I’ve recuperated.

So, I think you good people deserve a little levity. 

I found this bit of humor this morning. I couldn’t stop laughing, I just hope it doesn’t offend anyone.

So here it is —

Fresh from my shower, I stand in front of the mirror complaining to my husband that my breasts are too small. Instead of characteristically telling me it's not so, he uncharacteristically comes up with a suggestion.

"If you want your breasts to grow, then every day take a piece of toilet paper and rub it between them for a few seconds"

Willing to try anything, I fetched a piece of toilet paper and stood in front of the mirror, rubbing it between my breasts.

"How long will this take?" I asked.

"They will grow larger over a period of years," my husband replies.

I stopped.

"Do you really think rubbing a piece of toilet paper between my breasts every day will make my breasts larger over the years?"

Without missing a beat he says: "Worked for your butt, didn't it?"

He's still alive, and with a great deal of therapy, he may even walk again although he will probably continue to take his meals through a straw. :P

Today’s inspiration

“Scientists now believe that the primary biological function of breasts is to make males stupid.”

                                                 Dave Barry

Monday, Feb. 19, Day 153

It has really been an emotionally charged and physically exhausting week and I’ve been feeling guilty that I haven’t been my usually energetic and prolifically jovial self. 

As I scoured my usual sources (one of which is my own brain) for blog ideas, nothing hit me. 

And then I stumbled across the little gem that is today’s inspiration and decided not to feel guilty. 

I know I will get back on track when the muse strikes (soon I hope). So the only thing I did today was watch the movie ‘Julie & Julia’ for the umpteenth time, since it was the reason I started this blog challenge in the first place.

Today’s inspiration

“To protect your energy…It’s okay to cancel a commitment. It’s okay not to answer a call. It’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to be alone. It’s okay to take a day off. It’s okay to do nothing.”


and to this, I add my own thought…it’s okay to say no.

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 kids know I would do anything to help them when they need 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.