I have had a challenging year and one of the ways I have escaped is by media: namely, the New York Post app on my phone along with listening to MJ “Idiots in the news” which ultimately makes me feel better about getting up at 5 a.m. and trying to juggle my work. One thing I learned this year is that “The greatest chef in the world cannot make an omelet if the chicken doesn’t lay the eggs.” (The Earth Spins).

My husband said this to me after listening to me hunt down people for information and go running to find people who neglected to tell me that they would not be where they were. In the hot Florida sun, and in a fairly big school-I run around often like a chicken without my head leading my husband to suggest, “Don’t ever run after people. They know where to find you. If you go and they are not there, move on.”

Good advice and it is something I don’t take well but in retrospect, he is right. Sometimes the ball must fall in their court when work is dumped upon you. Move the ball back to them. So, like a chess player I have been thrown in the mix this year and survived learning a few new tricks which goes to show at any age, you can learn.

Headlines in the New York Post which keep me intrigued and entertained: Who was that masked man? Man knocks mom, 4-year old son to ground in NYC robbery: video; NY electric bills expected to jump 12 percent this summer; ‘Drove for 3 hours’: Formula shortage hits NYC parents, special needs kids hard” Why do I read the New York Post? I like it. I remember in our cupcakerie a man who came in once a week before noon carrying the paper copy of the New York Post and then would sit in our little store savoring a cup of coffee and something sweet. When he left the paper, he would wink at me and say, “Would you like it?” Uh, yeah.

And for my next foray, I will discuss “Birds are not real” a theory recently introduced to me on 60 minutes. It is described as a “joke that thousands of people are in on” and after the past couple of years, we need a good joke to keep going! Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

“9-1-1 is a good number but 9, 45, 380, 357 are better numbers.” A remark made by my husband to me this past month. You see, we found a quarter on the front doorstep. We have a long brick entrance to our house. I had walked the pug and returned. In the early afternoon, I went outside to sweep down the entry way and water the plants. Upon returning, I noticed a quarter laying in an odd position outside the front door. There was no way to miss it and since we don’t often use the front door-walk the pug, go outside to collect the mail, we would have noticed. I picked it up and told my husband. He said, “That is very strange. Did you notice it this morning?” No, as that morning after walking the pug, we went out using the garage exit taking the car and returning about noon.

My husband looked it up and read about potential burglars casing homes and occupancy by attaching monies or dropping trash, coins, and other things. So, he told a few neighbors including the police neighbor nearby and they had not heard of it. One suggested I post on the site “Next door neighbor” and so, I did. This is when it became really weird.

The first post asked, “Have you lost someone close to you lately?” Uh, no, another posted, “Are you sure it wasn’t you who dropped the quarter?” No, we don’t carry change. Someone else posted, “Amazon delivery?” Uh, no, as husband usually meets them halfway up the driveway. Then came the next barrage of comments including, “That is weird!” “Is this some kind of joke-are you a Karen?” Another person posted in response that I might be a Stepford wife. Considering we live not in a gated community but a fixer up area being revitalized known for both good and bad, in a working class area…hmmm….one person replied caustically to another post, “And do you believe the tooth fairy left it?” I had about 35 comments, some highly insulting, so I ended by saying, “Well, if I have helped one person and they learn something new…..” I took the high road.

About 2 weeks later, someone posted about finding a piece of tape on their door, so when they opened it the tape came off. They called 9-1-1 and reported it. Another blogger posted, “Someone else mentioned something weird happening.” I chimed in “That was me. We looked it up and google brought up articles about homeowners discovering trash left in highly unusual places to see if the homeowners were there and noticed.” Since, our car is in the garage and our home often appears unoccupied on a quiet street. Hmm…..validation. V-A-L-I-Dation as I had been insulted, accused of being a Karen, etc. I asked my husband as the poster asked “What did the neighbors tell you to do?” and he said, “9-1-1 is a good number…..” His response brought 35 likes and is still adding likes to the post. There was silence from her but many of the posters found her posting valid and offered suggestions. No one accused her of being a Karen or of over reacting by calling 9-1-1. There was no way I would call the police over a dropped quarter that looked as if it had been placed in the center of the welcome mat.

I was a little confused. Had the crime rate gone up that much in 2 weeks that everyone thought she was more valid than I? What was going on? Hmm…..someone even asked if they would take the piece of tape for fingerprints….hmmm…..who knows? Validation feels good though. But you can bet that I don’t like being attacked on social media and unfortunately will think twice about posting again on this site.

Someone did say, “Thank you for sharing.” And during these times, or all times this is what we can do-share, put it out there because if it has happened to you then it might be happening to someone else. And we now have ring camera in the front yard and the back yard. We recently did catch some weird behavior by camera-flashlights looking over our fence at 4 a.m. We woke up because we heard a crash next door. The neighbor next door leaves his gate open frequently. We showed the video to our neighbors who confirmed it was flashlights looking around the area including over our fence.

Are we more careful? Yes. Do I feel comfortable posting on social media again? No. Update: the husband said, “Be prepared that not everyone is going to like what you just posted.” Well, the truth is often stranger than fiction and you can’t make this stuff up. Enjoy the weekend.

This is like someone put their hands against the door trying to push it.

…..the backyard is springing back to bloom with hard work from the husband and a new fence highlighting the garden. I weed and keep the bird baths filled. The white fence really picks up on everything, so Mike was out last week working, weeding, laying some sod around the open parts of the fence as there was a little gap. The past weekend, I was weeding and planning on what to plant. Working outside relieves me of the stresses of the week. Today, I have off but I brought some work home with me to finish as the end of the year is coming with a bang.

Returning home yesterday after a stressful week, I took a big risk. I pushed myself to discover where a road went that I was curious about. It was off a very well-travelled route and dirt with 6 mailboxes at the entrance. I had passed by many times curious but kept going, so yesterday about 4 p.m. I travelled this road less travelled. It was rough going with mud indentations but I kept to the path and finally passed an interesting farmhouse, old style and a little dilapidated but I could tell someone still lived there from the vehicles. There were a couple of bicycles nearby and some children’s toys. Suddenly, I stopped because in front of me was an open pasture with an open door and a bull was eying me. He was still laying down. My eyes widened. I looked back at the house. Nothing was stirring. Beyond the bull was lots of land and there were also a mama with her baby goats. Slowly, I backed up and prayed that I would not meet anyone on that single car road this afternoon. And I didn’t. I reached the mailboxes noticing that 4 were dented and the covers open and only one was serviceable. Again, I wondered who lives here as I slowly turned right onto the highway and headed toward home.

And that made my week because I conquered my fear of the unknown after a highly stressful week of dealing with many unknowns and coping. As for my husband’s response, “You might have been shot. That was a private road and they have the right as you are a trespasser.”

Yes, well I thought of growing up in the mountains and all the properties we trespassed as kids and for a moment I was transported to another time and another place. I felt like the old me returned. Enjoy the weekend! My question: what is a small challenge you have accepted lately that made you feel great?

You are in the grocery store. Which newspaper or magazine do you peruse? Sometimes when I am busy, I treat going to Publix like entertainment because it can be. When I walk in, I peruse the cover of the New York Post because it is always entertaining and then at the check out line, I check out some of the magazines focusing on the recipes, losing weight, getting more energy, etc. Sometimes I observe people’s buying habits or watch which lottery card they chose. I really enjoy the ones who pick out the $20 tickets and then scratch it off quickly while still in the store. I want to hear someone yell, “I won $1 million.” I asked one woman once who was in front of me returning after she scratched it off, and she replied, “I won $50.” I like how they take risks but I just can’t spend that much: instead it is several $2 tickets or maybe two $5 tickets.

When I had some time recently, I made an easy keto apple tart which smoothed my quest for something sweet. Husband and I also checked out “Craving Doughnuts” for some good doughnuts, not carb free after a very busy day. I did crave the carbs and they were in our area. So to some keto ideas, I said “Kiss my grits” and treated myself. However, here the recipe for the apple tart can be found easily under http://www.ibreatheimhungry. cum and it was delicious. Let me know which newspapers or magazines you like to view. I also like the price of the daily for the NY Post: for $2 daily, it is entertaining on the go.

Easy Keto Apple Tart-low carb & gluten

Another question which kept me awake in the wee hours-have you ever been outside a group and when you were finally offered the opportunity to join the group felt disappointed and realized you were not really missing anything all along? So, your choice…I look forward to reading your responses.

Enjoy your weekend!

Susie Shy 45, From Michigan to Germany, Teresa Dovalpage: A Cuban Writer, Roadtripping with Ron, Korea Twenty Years Ago, Just Joan 42-some of the bloggers I enjoyed reading who disappeared between 2-3 months ago. Will they return? If you are out there in cyberspace reading this, give a holler!

This is just a short blog to say I miss them and reading about their experiences. I hope they return! Have you ever started following a blogger and they disappeared. If your blog disappeared, who would miss it?

I , you, he, him, she, her, and we “think you better slow down.” The other day, I mentioned to my husband “we think you better slow down.” We were going out to breakfast as an early Saint Patty’s treat. It was lovely but we or better yet, he took the curves a little fast on a country road and I was like, “we, we, we…” He asked, “Who is we?” Oh, you know..the speedometer registering 55 mph in a 40 mph zone and myself.

And he may be right about that but I was right about the speed! We have so many pronouns being slung around lately that I wondered how they are being taught and if it sounds less officious in a foreign language like French, Je, tu or vous, il, elle, you get the point. I am not sure what they are thinking in France anyway because the only way to know for sure is to be present in the country.

Just like you can’t know much about a neighbor or home by looking at the exterior. You might see the blinds roll back slowly or if you are walking at a different time in the morning see them up, so you know someone does live there. My favorite are the fake vines which hide over a window, so you can’t really see what is going on. You can order it on Amazon but again the only way to know what is actually going on is to be present in the moment.

So that is my message for today. As I watch people texting on phones as they enter the breakfast place and in their cars, walking down the roadways…be present in the moment. Leave the phone in the car and listen to the person opposite you. And if there is no one, then listen to yourself. Take the time to observe around you. You might be surprised by what you learn. Posting some pictures of the outdoor market in Webster-this is what you see since you can’t be physically present in the moment. Thanks for reading!

As you can see, lots of diversity but who is to say “We can’t all get along…perhaps he, him, she or her…..and just who are they? Just for the record: husband says my favorite pronoun is “we.” We know that!

It began to rain mid morning when I started my course for my job and by the time I finished 3 hours later the modules, the rain stopped. In between, I took some pictures of the cactus. Another blogger mentioned a cactus doctor stopping by their home. Something we don’t often use as cactus grows easily in Florida. I posted some pictures of hanging cacti and some spring plants growing.

This is the cactus I transplanted from the neighbor’s across the way. She donated the cacti. I do like cactus and we have a few stalks of night cactus growing on our trees in the back yard. That is a big oak over our home. Later on, we heard something fall but could not find anything on the roof.

I have off for Spring Break! A few more work things to finish. The weather is supposed to drop later on this afternoon and by tomorrow when I am running around with a few favorite chores, I will be wearing my jean jacket as the highest temp is 69 degrees. I have a good but busy day planned!

Enjoy your weekend! What are you up to? Oh, and I need to clean the cat bowl in the front of the house. Domestics.

Have you ever thought of an unusual business that might remind you of your past and that you would like to see in the future? I have. I thought of a store that would resell 1-3 month old magazines like Readers Digest, National Geographic, Consumer, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, People Magazine, Vanity Fair, etc. ? What is your favorite magazine that you would like to read and wouldn’t mind it being a few months later?

And the little store would also sell a few keto desserts, good coffee….where have all the old magazines disappeared to? During Covid, medical, dental, and some business offices stopped leaving out magazines. We were forced to wait playing with our phones. For an old schooler like me or a tactile person, I missed my magazines and the rich feel of flipping through one to find the pictures.

Are magazines going out of business? What are some magazines you still buy? Would you be willing to buy old magazines, a few months old? You might even meet a few people at the store you could actually enjoy chatting with in person instead of by text. What would you talk about? Whatever came to mind, whether it was the latest or 3 months old news from Russia or Georgia or the latest scoop on ‘stars who went to school together.’

Or is there another business idea you have from the good old days which you think just might work. Do tell.

I thought of this as a unique question but discovered it is one most googled. I found out that people who are good with dealing with the practicalities of everyday life are referred to as having street smarts whereas those who are very educated are book smart. Usually people who are book smart are good at trivia games and crossword puzzles. I am horrible at trivia and crossword puzzles but if you ask me to read a situation and people I find that I am usually right even if I don’t find out till somewhere down the line. I have good instincts brought about by experience and age. Even in my younger days, I was always very aware of my surroundings which might have been fostered by a mother who grew up in New York City always telling me to ‘look around.’ When I lived in the City after college, she told me ‘get to know the people in the apartments around you.’ It did come in handy, so she was right. So often I am an observer before jumping in. I am more educated than my mom was with a master’s degree as my mom started NYU for fashion merchandising but left after a year to work in the fashion industry as a stylist and to start a family.

“Street smart” is an alternative form of streetwise. “This word is succinctly defined as being the knowledge and experience required to handle dangers and potential difficulties in an urban setting.” Book Smart implies having knowledge of books and being scholarly sometimes implying that the person might lack common sense. Can you have both? I think of my years after college in urban settings-was I simply lucky to come out alive of some hairy situations by trusting my instincts or intuition or did part of my book smarts come in handy? Did I make some good choices and stayed away from trouble by trusting my intuition which was not gained by real life experience but was around, somewhere…..

My favorite definition is that being street smart means you learn to trust your own judgment. So the other day, I was happy to notice that I am finally accommodating and adapting to being a full time teacher again when I was able to hold my bladder and wait until I had free time. In other words, I have finally figured out the right amount of liquids to hydrate and the time I have until I have to be in the classroom. This past week, I stepped up to substitute for two absent teachers helping out and discovering that I was able to hold my bladder for longer periods of time. Between the practicing fire alarms which went off, finding an available bathroom, and the time-I felt streetwise in a sense like this morning while speaking to a neighbor and knowing it was time to step inside the house when we both noticed a couple approaching us with a big bulldog, two small mean looking dogs, a baby carriage, and all the dogs off the chain. Common sense prevailed but then again, isn’t it fun to engross yourself in a novel about an outlandish plot or even about people and the sometimes strange choices they make. Being educated doesn’t always mean understanding the people around you.

What do you think? Have a great day and enjoy the weekend! Or is it simply the luck of the draw that keeps us safe? Or is it someone looking out for us and if so, my Irish mother in heaven or somewhere, your job is done! I am still here going strong! That’s all!

I love Dr. Seuss-how many ways can I use the book “Green Eggs and Ham” teaching phonics? Hmm…
My husband says I am so organized. Trying as I finish my last course for Reading Endorsement.
We found this Lucille Ball sketch at the market after we ate our Craving Doughnuts treat. This is for my nephew’s wife.
I included her card if anyone is a fan of her work as she is so talented and her prices are so reasonable!
Mike bought me beautiful roses for Valentines Day. I asked him to pick the ones from Aldi’s as they were the ones I wanted but I picked up these sunflowers from the little dollar store near my worksite. I love them!

What I really respect about my husband is he keeps me on my toes-calling me from Aldi’s to measure the picture, so we can find the right box. Me, measure…hmm…like when I was in grad school and he suggested being a security guard on weekend as an excellent way to earn extra monies without too much trouble and be able now and then to review my notes, etc. It turns out he was right and going outside my comfort zone was good for me! And he notices things which escape me-like the Lucille Ball picture at the market and the fact that the woman parking near our car had 3 dents-“can she drive, really?” while I was taking notice of the stores in the plaza like the shoe store, Target, etc. and he does notice the details which help me. I am not more detailed than before. What about you? What does your husband notice that totally escapes you or what have you picked up and acclimated according to your daily life? In other words, what does he do that makes sense, mostly?

The husband and I are getting ready for a morning trip to pick up a few donuts, books and enjoy the triviality of running a few errands together. You see, he is feeling much better and we both had an excellent sleep last night. I slept like a log and even the pug’s snoring did not awaken me. While the husband took the pug for a walk and met a few friends, I put on my makeup leisurely, curled my hair and thought of the good doughnuts we would chose from the truck of owners we once knew as they had a shop near us. They are doing very well and visiting them was something we used to do often in the past.

They morphed into a food truck which is doing very well. The normalcy of little things: what a difference it makes. Found the Jack Reacher new series on Prime; the weather becoming more normal; and putting on makeup to go out with the husband. They are small things but a return to normalcy. Reading my list over of tv shows I enjoy watching from the past: Walker, Kojak, Charlies Angels…how we give away our age by our memories! Which tv shows do you remember and your visual images tweak as your hand pauses on the clicker?

Yesterday, I felt optimistic and had enough energy after work to stop at an old $1 store on the way home. It was in a hidden location which you might not see easily but had to be looking and the owners were Asian. It was exactly as I pictured: a mix of eclectic items from kitchen to kitsch. I returned home with 6 giant sunflowers made of felt and which I had been eying from roadsides many times and a few small goodies for my treasure box. Of course, the clothes were too small and I was definitely unsure about size 10 shoes and if they would really fit but I enjoyed the neighborhood friendly conversation overhearing a local ask questions for his friend about renting a part of the lot for washing cars. Isn’t this what makes a neighborhood and a return to normalcy?

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend! And as for those two doughnuts…I will be looking for something with bacon and apple. The husband wants jelly and they do have guava, of course.

Mea Culpa. A confession: I have been taking care of my husband and myself as we were not feeling well. We are slowly getting better with rest and staying in, mostly. My husband spoke to the VA and after listening to him on the phone the Doctor diagnosed him with a possible case of pneumonia. He refused to go to the emergency room and be poked and prodded once again, so I bade my breathe, took care of my aches and pains and finally am beginning to see the light. He is a challenging person to take care of but I am doing my best with both of us!

We are slowly mending. My illness was healed more quickly than my husband’s as my immune system is strong but I have increasing sharp stomach pains, so I must be careful of what I eat. I also have a new female doctor with the VA, so I look forward to meeting her. My husband has felt very depressed with the VA that since COVID, he feels that he has been neglected by some of his specialty cancer doctors and he had a long conversation with them about that over the phone. I am glad he told me this as I had no idea but I did realize that he was feeling depressed about something.

He also told me that when he felt better he wanted to work on his bowling game and take a few lessons to improve his throw. My mouth dropped open. Well, first I was happy that he was mentioning an activity and feeling better but second I was surprised. Then I remembered who my husband is: a very directed person. The person who when I suggested opening a cupcakerie worked out the details; the man who played golf in Hawaii during his military days and became pretty good at the game; the marathon completer in Hawaii. You see, I am not so directed by specifics. If you asked me “what I wanted to do?” and I was feeling off track my goals would be huge: finish my book, get it published. I am not specific and frequently overwhelmed by enormous goals, wants, and needs.

Marrying my husband was a good decision because he taught me the rule of 3. When you are having a rough start, focus on 3 things you can do or can control. One might be ‘making your bed’ and the second might be a household chore but the third just might get you out the door. If you complete the smaller items, you are more motivated to stay moving. During times of challenge in my work and personal life, this rule got me started and helped me stay on track. As my husband’s hacking becomes less, my cramps fewer and I anticipate a return to the work week, I think of all the moments he was there for me: waiting once a week sitting outside in our old car waiting every night for 3-4 hours worried about my safety as I taught English in a detention center for deputies. The setting was not pleasant, some of the characters were unsavory and he was little worried about me. He drove me there and then drove us home arriving at home around 10 p.m. I won’t deny that it has been a challenging time since January 23rd when these medical problems began but we are getting back on track. Now you know why I have not been on WordPress often.

Thanks for listening! Have a good weekend, everyone! Out of curiosity, do you focus on the big pictures during stressful times or can you work on the details best. Which is more helpful to you?

We have been hibernating last night as there was a freeze watch in our part of Florida. This morning was in the 30’s when I walked the pug and it is now 52 degrees. Both of us felt a little under the weather this past week, so we haven’t been on WordPress often. Today, I went out to grocery shopping picking up some bagels for Michael at Panera Bread and some of his favorite foods encouraging him to eat. My jeans are very loose as I lost a few pounds not feeling any hunger this week. I am hoping that as the day wears on, he will feel better. I feel good now and took a few pictures as the best time to take them is with the blue of the sky and the brisk coldness which adds for a good backdrop. This past week, there was frost on the ground.

When you are under the weather, you understand why dogs aren’t big on change. The pug is finally starting to like the new bed and now he doesn’t leave it. The husband and I were joking as I made this note on my blackboard. I hate to run out of soap and will stock up on dove and he hates to run out of toilet paper which was helpful last year as some stores did run out. Now that I return to the blog, I can finally erase my reminder. I have the pug climbing up the stairs to the bed, so I guess I am an effective teacher, after all! I just realized why I wrote: “Bring mom to buy sheets.” Last weekend, we went shopping for sheets. Buying sheets has become so complicated: thread count, will it fit a king size bed that I was not surprised to see a young woman in her mid 20’s with her mom. Honestly, I felt like I needed some help!!
I found this lady’s Cozy Lounge Wrap hanging out for $12 at Aldi’s. I passed last week thinking the cold front would pass and this morning it was still there. I am happy as my work area during the week is soooo cold even in the room that I will need this!
Some flowers seem to be perennials surviving the cold. No falling iguanas headed this way, only stray cats looking for a cozy place. There was no blizzard, so I enjoyed looking at the Times Square NYC in the Blizzard of 2022. It is fun also to chat with a few people about the cold, especially to native Floridians who will always say, “Well you must be used to this,” after hearing that I grew up in the Catskills and spend a few winters also living in South Korea. That was cold but my skin does not have a long memory and after a few decades or so I am happy to state we are mostly native Floridians. Enjoy your week! Stay warm.

I bought from Amazon “Unbroken Threads” a first novel by Jennifer Klepper. It was published by Red Adept Publishing. I thought the premise was great as was the tie to the title: “Jessica Donnelly’s life is beginning to unravel. When the attorney turned stay-at-home mom tentatively volunteers to represent Amina Hamid, a woman seeking asylum, Jessica must learn an unfamiliar area of the law.”

It sounded interesting and I was looking forward to reading more about Syria. Instead, I was more entwined in the life of Jessica which I did not find interesting. I think many assumptions were made about the characters and some of the fine lines drawing the characters together were not really elaborated. This is her first novel, so I look forward to her second novel. I sped read through it.

I was eager to dive into the newest Jack Reacher “Better Off Dead.” I am on page 117. It is cowritten with Lee Child and Andrew Child. It is a little different from his other novels. While I really enjoy the novels of Diane Capri : The Hunt for Jack Reacher Series as the characters are interesting and the writing moves quickly, but I am not finding this novel a quick read. I am taking my time perhaps because as a gift of a hardback book from my Christmas present to Barnes and Nobel, it was more expensive. If you remember, I prefer library books and using my kindle. I am not finding it a fast read meaning I am able to easily put the novel down although the beginning was fantastic with a twist to reel in the reader. My other Christmas novel is Heather Graham “Danger in Numbers” which I have not started yet as I have the latest Lisa Unger “Last Girl Ghosted” which I am enjoying, as a short nosh after dinner or on a slow afternoon of a Saturday. It is perfect! Light, not too heavy and teaches me a few new things.

All in all, a great retreat from work and entry into the new year! Enjoy the weekend! What are you reading? Note to self: I do enjoy looking at the back cover of the pics of the author, yet I wonder often if the real picture of the author is displayed. I know it is the real picture of Lisa Unger because I met her at a book signing in Clearwater. Unfortunately, our cupcakerie was closed the day she visited Mel’s Hot Dogs as we were baking for his celebration of 40 years in business. That brings to mind another question: if you published a book, would you publish your real picture or if you had someone stand in for you-who would you chose?

The most appreciated Christmas presents are always the ones we don’t get for ourselves and we receive as a gift. Yesterday on New Year’s Day, the husband and I took off on an unplanned trip to Sarasota. What many don’t realize about Florida is the beautiful country, horse farms in the middle near civilization between Sarasota and Bradenton. There is much open land, farms and beautiful country.

We often did this in the past: go on a day trip with no destination and it is something we missed, so we started the New Year off well. What inspired us to do this was two Christmas gifts I received from my nephew and stepdaughter: 1 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble and the other for Long Horn Steakhouse. I had the most challenging time deciding how to spend the certificate at Barnes and Noble but finally picked out the newest Jack Reacher and a book by Heather Graham set in the Everglades. We enjoyed the newest Barnes and Noble in Sarasota and feasted on shrimp, smoked macaroni and cheese appetizer and delicious stuffed mushrooms. This was our lunch and dinner and carried me through breakfast the next morning. The drive was beautiful. Most interestingly were two American flags painted black in front of two large ranches. I discovered they signaled ‘solidarity with the police’ and upon researching I came upon ‘country in distress.’ We went by interesting small towns with names like Duet, Fruitville, Parrish, etc.

We went by an interesting general store on the other side of the road which I wanted to stop at but by then it was late afternoon. We joked as we drove forward that we would probably hear some interesting stories, not much crime as everyone knew one another, but when it happened it would be memorable. And they would most likely know the people! We passed fields with solar panels, fields of agriculture, cows, horses, bulls, etc. It was a good trip as the short drive to the country reminded me of gentler times yet some things brought me quickly back to reality.

And when we came home, I slept like a log. A good start to the New Year. Thanks for listening. Happy 2022!

Why did we begin on this journey of blogging? How did you begin? As always, with a few days off I revert to questions in a game of hide and seek. Even my books chosen including “Your Survival Instinct is Killing you” indicate my desire to retrain some of my patterns. The byline reads ‘Retrain your Brain to Conquer Fear, Make Better Decisions….you get the idea.

The days off before the end of the year are invaluable and as always I regroup while cleaning out old papers and tying up loose ends. I began blogging when we opened our cupcakerie and continued after we closed. I found a blogger “The Existential Baker” who is now The Existential Baker and His Wife as he has passed away. He made beautiful cupcakes and other creations and I enjoyed reading his journey about his store in Manhattan. He wrote about his journey as a chef graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in the 80’s. It was very interesting and it helped pass the time as we wavered between very busy getting up at 5:00 a.m. and long periods of waiting. We baked, merchandised our product which included taking photos of our cupcakes and using social media to gain the interest of potential customers, and we waited, etc. We learned more about our area and met many people we would never have had the opportunity to meet. My husband enjoyed the chatting and the meet and greet while I hovered sometimes nervously in the background. The area was up and coming but would still have another 5 years after we closed before the boom appeared. However, the public learned about us and came to us with time! It was a good experience but some days were very challenging. Reading the blog of the Existential Baker moved me through those times. Then a blogger “Don Charisma” began following me and I began following this blogger along with 36,000 other followers.

It appears that both of these bloggers stopped. The Existential Baker’s Wife wrote one last blog “The Next 30 Years Without You” which was very sad to read and Don Charisma’s last blog was a year ago. I continued blogging after we closed the store because I enjoyed the blogger who sometimes wrote about living in the city Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50; the interesting stories of bloggers living overseas or in the states piqued my interest including those bloggers who were writers trying to publish books. This vacation I also picked up my finished book which includes a character who manages a cupcakerie and travels to the Middle East. Why do we find bloggers whose life we are interested in: is it because we want to be armchair travelers, safely wrapped in the comfort of our home while living out someone else’s visage sometimes sharing similar thoughts, questions, and even experiences. We walk vicariously through these times and certainly the last year weathered the desire to get through the times.

As we approach the holidays, I continue cleaning my cache of messes with paperwork, dusting corners, and trying to strategize the New Year and what it will bring. In the end, I will not be able to control all the dusting or caretaking as it will be as always, “All hands on deck” for 2022! And for that, and for all the opportunities we are given and those we pursue, I remain thankful. As for stuffed gourmet cupcakes, as my husband and I get older instead of baking half a dozen “Ka-Ching; Caramel-by-the-Sea; Date Night: Earth’s Galaxy; Dade City Wrangler; Mudslinger: The Pappa-Razzi; it is more likely to be keto inspired: Keto brownie fat bombs; Keto butter cake; no-bake brownie bites; 3 ingredient yogurt cake. As I write, I peruse my recipes, like my mother used to, deciding which ones to keep and which to throw away. Also, I find, I like cooking and baking less and so we eat more simply but we still enjoy a well put together meal. In the end, I will find that vichyssoise recipe as I will continue to find the boggers I enjoy reading.

And so, I continue blogging. See you on the other side, Brizzy Mays Books and Bruschetta. This brings another question, “Do we really want to rise from our armchair and our routines to meet the bloggers we enjoy? Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes perception is the reality. With that, I will hope we all enjoy a better 2022. And most days I am grateful that we are both still here and still kicking as the metastatic diagnosis of cancer was not a death sentence for my husband and 6 years later, with treatment he is still with me. We have been through some challenging times and survived, so maybe I do know a thing or two before reading this book but still it can’t hurt. Have a great day!

For the 4 days before Christmas-hope that the flag near the home above the American flag is taken down. At least the home I walk by is not on our same street but every time I walk by I think of how if another flag (in this case Puerto Rican Flag) flew above the flag of the home country (American flag) in some places-you might be fined or put in jail. I don’t think this would be tolerated in the UAE. Hope that I have the ability to get rid of an old pair of shoes well made but now seeing its age over a decade later and find a new pair. A question we might not be able to answer: Mayim Bialik “That’s right.” Will she find a new way to tell the contestant on “Jeopardy” they have the right answer? Will she find a new person to dress her? Will we find out if Pat Sajak(Wheel of Fortune) fired the dress designer who sent out his daughter in a very short dress the other day? Will I find a pair of shoes comfortable for all day standing, treking on concrete and just all around compatibility? Or do I favor them because they carried me through a year overseas working in the United Arab Emirates.

For the holidays, try not to stress too much and continue forward. On the days, you feel like running away to a foreign land or another county remain calm. Think of how your tell might find you. Let us know how they might find you. How do you think your family or friends would find you? Let me know in the comments. This will be fun.

For example: if you check out the library, the coffee houses, the independent exercise rooms or clubs you might find me or perusing certain stores. Can we ever really change our tell or hide? Most likely not, so stay and face Christmas time. Find a book, enjoy the cup of coffee and take a day trip to somewhere nice.

Enjoy your holidays. And be aware that if something bothers you, there is a good chance someone else has noticed. If only to point out, how much we have in common with one another. The days leading up to Christmas and the week afterwards are also a good opportunity for some impromptu shoe shopping. Plan to make use of them on New Year’s Eve.

Or you can just put all your chips on the table like my favorite contestant on Jeopardy, James Holzhauer, keep on your poker face and just patiently wait it out until the New Year when it will be “All in.”

Is that what they call a poker face?

Mike and I were running some chores and we stopped by Arby’s for a quick bite. The young lady who waited on us stared at me, “Are you Mrs. D?” She went on to tell me that she remembered me as her elementary teacher (2008) at M*** Elementary, the infamous title one school I worked while temp. certified. My mouth dropped open: I was a little cautious. At first, I thought she was one of my students from Saint Leo University Freshman comp. and when I mentioned Saint Leo, her eyes grew big and then she said, “Elementary.” Tampa is such a big place and she told me her family moved often and she was at many schools but she remembered me! It was very typical of this elementary school that the students moved frequently but she remembered my name and face. She is very bright! Sad to say, I didn’t recognize her. I remember the year as trying to stay under the principal’s radar whenever I tried something different in my classroom. She retired or was asked to leave 2 years later but we were truly on different paths. Anyway, that was truly a lift for my self-confidence as a teacher to know I left some kind of positive impression on her. That year was so challenging for me with the administrators and the economy. Also, health-wise for both Mike and me. It is good to know. She is the second student I have run into from M*****. I have also met students who remembered me from my first year in Florida teaching remedial reading at a middle school. He remembered me as “the bomb.” I am glad they liked me but more importantly I hope I influenced them positively to enjoy reading, writing and to learn 3 new things each day.

Evidently, some days are too busy for my mind, heart and feet, so I need to remind myself ‘learn 3 new things a day’ or stick with getting 3 things done. Just pick them and do it. Enjoy the holidays and as one co-teacher this year reminded me, ‘Keep on challenging yourself. If it feels uncomfortable, do it.’ Evidently, I am taking her advice, mostly. How about you? What are your plans for the season?

You know you have lived a long time in a city when you longer get lost reading new directions and visiting new areas. You go shopping in a different area and run into a familiar face. You can arrive home after finding a new location using map quest to go and your instincts to come home. You say nay to Starbucks and Dunkin Doughnuts finding a cozy cup of Cuban Coffee in an old style place where they all turn to watch you come in as you are not the neighborhood local. The coffee wakes you up! In a New York minute, you are ready for the day. You are able to easily handle the one way streets, the charming areas flanked by the not so great areas because you know the place. It is a rewarding feeling like a good book sitting near an armchair and you have the evening to yourself. However, tonight is taken or at least early evening.

Chicken wings warming in oven with bourbon sauce prepped by husband while I went on a shopping expedition this morning to pick up a few things. I also stopped by this library in an old part of Tampa which I had never been to before. The bookmark inside reading, “This takes place in Bangkok! Check me out! I felt intrigued and chose the book in minutes provoked by the Thank Proverb inside: Kwam lub mai mee nai like “There are no secrets in the world.”

And with that, I must get ready to go to a Christmas party for my workplace! Cheers!

Florida floral growing healthy outside while inside the Christmas tree lights shine forth.

The week off is finally here! Last week was a scurry of week long training of a years worth of information crushed into a week. The traffic pattern was long but I had some time to check out some interesting places for lunch and meet a few new faces.

I have a few doctor appointments next week but am looking forward to enjoying the holiday, watching a few new tv shows including “Ghosts” and the new episodes of all my favorite shows. I have a few good books to read including a new author to check out: Belinda Bauer. I am reading “Exit” which has an unusual plot and is allowing me to escape to a new world. The author lives in Wales and has published seven other books!

How did I get through a challenging week of training which was highly interactive from 7:30-3:30 with an hour commute and heavy traffic patterns? I treated myself to a matcha latte at Dunkin Doughnuts which is green tea chilled promising energy and weight loss. It got me through along with a trip to the German deli where I met another participant in the training and we had lunch and chatted. I learned that at a German Deli you should not order a croissant as the meat and cheese was delicious but not the dry croissant. I brought my odd lunch habits including packets of Hellman’s mayonnaise to spread on deli crackers which seems to get me through.

I am looking forward to a laid back week with the husband, enjoying the gym if I feel like going and just breathing without running around crazy. Doing nothing and doing a few things I enjoy and we enjoy together. And my newest pet peeve was googling keto goods in my area and seeing the owner perform a Tik Tok of herself in front of her little bakery. I wondered is this a trend or what exactly are we buying?

So, yeah I might whip up a couple of keto desserts this week but no Tik Tok will be performed as the show is only for me and my household. Thanks for listening! Enjoy your holiday.

You know that I am a big fan of cats. I grew up with cats on a farm, harbored an indoor cat on the Bayous in the small cottage named ‘Raisa’ after Raisa Gorbachev, and took in Sheba from infancy until she passed on. I remember our neighbor saying when I found the nest of kittens, “That was no accident.”

Someone recently asked me what kind of costume I wore for Halloween when I lived and worked in South Korea throwing a Halloween party for my class. With little time for pause or memories, I said ‘A cat.’ I thought of going on safari while living in the Middle East to Kenya and researched the different cats I would see. I adopted a little Siamese kitten to visit at a small computer repair store in the United Arab Emirates and sometimes fed the feral cats as not everyone was a fan of them.

That is why when my goggle reader on my phone came up with articles about cats that I was not surprised. Perhaps I insinuated through talk or research my interest or maybe they were searching. Who knows? I was happy to read that cats are very intelligent and are among the smartest creatures in the animal kingdom. They have 300 million neurons compared to dogs with 160 million neurons. I think of Ms. Sheba and how as our previous dog became older that she would swat him on the nose to lead him safely around our backyard.

Cats watch and they are able to perceive things we cannot. Often I watch with great curiosity a cat which visits our yard and hunts for small animals. Besides keeping rats away, they can also know when someone is near them. If you are living alone with a cat, and you open the apartment or house door, they might be able to softly tell you someone is inside. Of course, I love our pug but the next alternative is Le Chat. The cat. I find the research interesting. Perhaps because of this, “Cats are more impulsive than dogs and have far less patience. They don’t easily tolerate frustrating situations for long periods of time. …..cats can solve harder cognitive problems, if indeed they feel like it.” (Berit Brogaard, “How Smart is your Cat?” at Psychology Today (2013). Who hasn’t felt the cats attitude when they march off or sit idly watching you from a distance. They are masters of their own domain.

Meow. I feel like I have more in common with cats. Looking forward to Thanksgiving Break! Enjoy the weekend.

In an alternate reality there are no robo or spam calls and there is no one alerting you “I am moto” by your phone. There are only transactions in person as there is ‘for real’ stuff as I used to hear in the past. ‘Is this for real?’ Yep. In an alternate reality, I wake up and am whisked away as my breakfast is prepared with carb count automatically registered. I do not have to turn on my phone to alert me to the carb count or how many steps a day I take. I am present in the moment.

I don’t have to browse news on my phone because I can walk to the corner and pick up the paper. There are no scores I need to follow or people I need to contact through the cloud or texting as I meet them in person. There is little texting because I can speak with them face to face, most of the time.

I pick up a hardback book to read. What am I reading? Sara Paretsky “Shell Game” or Michael Robotham “The Wreckage” thrillers. With Wreckage, I can read about the Middle East and travel to London, Baghdad, Iraq to view the manhunt for one person. With Shell Game, I am following Middle Eastern archaeology trail. In between, I can access my computer to information I need to review. Is my alternate reality inhabited by the computer or techie?

No, my alternate reality is how we create our own concept of reality. We all see the same things but how do we interpret the results is different. When people disagree with my view of reality, should I get mad? Maybe, maybe not: if I can block them by visualizing something like the next week when they are hit by new realities or different perspectives of a situation. The Urban Dictionary defines alternate reality is ‘where what you think is real is completely different from what the majority of the population thinks is real.’ The definition continues ‘a common symptom of politicians, (un)reality stars and musicians.’

‘Thinking that they are often great at everything, despite all evidence to the contrary.’ I sigh with relief: not I or my definition. I get mad when people don’t see what I see but I move forward knowing that things change quickly and if I can see some things, so can others. My writing: in my alternate reality my book focuses on characters with traits similar to myself and my friends but would I perform the action and complete the task they must once the scenario is set and moves forward. Most likely not, but then again my book is writing my alternate reality as is my life choices. I dream a short scenario in my imagination thinking of how I want someone to realize the truth about a situation or watch a movie like “Going in Style” a comedy about a trio of retirees planning to rob a bank after their pensions are cancelled. Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine will act out my alternate reality and in some ways mirror my book and characters decision after a crime is committed involving a significant sum of monies. Would I act the same as my characters created by my book? Most likely not, but I can have some fun with writing about it.

And that is what I enjoy about alternate reality: no cell phones, robo calls, texting as the only technology is part of my DNA creatively imagining scenarios. Now if we can just hook up our thoughts to technology but others reading our mind is what happens with ‘cookies’ and other techie things. Sometimes it is just better to be real and finish the day without technology. Enjoy your weekend! Make the most of it.

Do you ever wonder about what people don’t say in person, on blogs, over the phone, in an interview? Today was the last day for city workers in New York for Covid Shot or to be send home without pay. They shut down 150 ambulances, a dozen fire stations were closed and police precincts are being consolidated because of the number of workers who will not get the shot. Many of them are moving our way my husband told me happily.

It is interesting that many police from Chicago have moved our way. I wonder how they are handling the crime and how they will curb it: their city experiences are well received, I believe as they bring a different viewpoint to the venue. Some bloggers from these areas don’t talk about these things. I am not sure why.

Is it because it is better to ignore what is happening or to bide the time until things may change? What if thing don’t change? What if grocery prices continue to rise along with rents and owning homes become a dream for the new generations…can we exist in a void. Many of us continue with our jobs, our daily life and sometimes we don’t have time to notice what is happening around us because we are at work or at school or busy, busy, busy. In this case, we need others around us to notice. My husband notices. Sometimes I pick up on details through noticing those I work with, hearing stories, keeping my ears open. Sometimes a commute and reading the news on the weekend will help me pick up the slack.

The things we don’t say and need to say. I hope we all have someone in our life who reminds us of events happening outside our community, so we pay attention and not exist in a slog of one. Thanks for listening and reading! Now, I think I will do like a former student of mine mentioned revert to a bad habit: reading a piece of fiction to take the edge off reality. In this example, I still think this bad habit is not going to get me in trouble anytime soon. It beats waiting for bloggers from the Chicago and New York area to relate to us these realities and how the shortage of essential city workers will affect their life. What about when they call 9-1-1 and no one picks up? Enjoy your weekend!

I was writing this blog in the early a.m. this morning visualizing reading the hard back newspaper. Do you remember those days? As an English major at college, I read newspapers: since I was on Long Island, there was the college newspaper, the New York Times, the Daily News, local papers. I remember sitting in coffee houses with friends tearing apart the paper into sections: sports for you; cultural events for me; not so much politics but the daily calendar and people of the day. I read for writers. The Times had some excellent writers and I devoured them reading voraciously of people, places, and events.

Through time, this event of newspapering seemed to fall by the wayside as the news became more and more political but still I searched out those writers I liked to read. When I first moved to the Gulf of Mexico, my family knew a good Christmas stocking present was the New York Times or even better, the Post which never failed to publish the absolute truth with bold shocking headlines of things people never knew or wanted to talk about. I was very pleased to discover some of our regular customers at our store years ago were Post readers and would arrive with the Post under their arm ordering a cupcake and sipping a coffee.

I asked my husband for a stocking gift one year to buy me gossip magazines: you know the kind they sell right before check out with shocking headlines of celebrities, and events in the news. I am not sure they even position them in the same place anymore. In the check out line lately, I see a magazine about “Cooking and living light” or is is “Living Simply?” Anyway, I loved the moments away on vacation and laughs these magazines gave me. My life and concerns seemed simple.

My life lately has been busy with training for the new job and getting accustomed to a busier schedule. It is new but I find that I still relish in reliving some of the good old days which is why when my husband mentioned going out for breakfast this weekend as my training class is downtown and it might be a good idea to find the location before the week arrives: I thought of newspapers, I thought of writers, I thought of news published and how much fun with old friends I used to have eating breakfast and reading/dividing the paper. Now, I go to the computer and we pull up news or watch on the tv but somehow it is not quite the same because once something is in print it is easier to share and to return to and you can cut it out. For years, I kept a magazine article my mom shared with me about “Cowboys on the range” in Wyoming. Because it just sounded like something I might like to write about or perhaps visit one day in person to see the ranches and the wide open spaces.

Those wide open spaces are still there but we just have to find them in different ways and readjust. Just as I adjust to getting up at 5:15 a.m. my husband is cleaning out the garden spending hours pulling weeds and making it more simple to take care of. We have a new neighbor who bought the house next door for a family member and is revamping the house. The house is identical in many ways to our house it is interesting to hear of all the improvements they are making inside. Times are changing and we change with the times.

Do you remember reading newspapers? Do you still read them? What is your favorite to seek out?

It is rewarding to see how many return to this song-almost 40 years old. When you have a challenging day, week, month it is rewarding to watch the dancers working together-“no one wants to be defeated….” I love the songs which keep us going and evidently so do many. Think of “Survivor” Eye of the Tiger and take a few minutes to read the comments under the song.

“Almost October 2021, lets see who is listening to this masterpiece.”

“I feel like fighting someone whenever I listen to this song.”

Isn’t this the point-feelings don’t change-times change and lyrics become more pc but do we really change? A few of us through the years but good songs always get the point. In 100 years, which songs do you think will still be around?

What will inspire you to move forward or who will inspire you to move forward? Will it be a good movie, book, song, or a person? Will you be reminded that it showed alternate viewpoints or perhaps more simply, just the feeling it made you feel? We are not all that complex or deep thinkers-sometimes just dancing and watching those dance in tandem is enough to realize ‘we are in this together.’ Never give up the fight.

Enjoy your weekend.

I am reminded sometimes of the age we are living in. While I was recovering from my stomach flu which was nasty and lingered, I watched a few movies on Netflix and listened to this interesting beat introducing the movie. I wrote it down because it reminded me of the dance of the grasshoppers or the chirping in our garden. I wrote on my blackboard and reviewed it for the past 3 weeks. Finally, feeling better with a few things taken care of, I googled the lyrics and YouTube brought up Frank Sinatra and then came up the Glass Animals Tangerine Lyrics It’s 2:23 you got friends on repeat, on repeat, on repeat, on re-…..and it continued

I tried to think-when I was delirious with fever and aches-were the lyrics playing or just the melody with the lingering beat which was catchy. I tuned in to Frank Sinatra and then the inevitable YouTube asked me through Amazon would I like to subscribe and get the first 30 days free of something?

Nah, sometimes living in the moment suffices. And then I erased the board to get on my way. It is a beautiful day out there and I am feeling good! Thanks for listening.

Update: we just spend 4 hours in the garden. I helped move 8 packages of river rock 40 lbs. each, so guess what my bone density test in November might just show improvement. No mirrors or music to watch my progress just me joking with husband, “Isn’t it much easier just to talk?” and so the simplification and update of the backyard to be continued….

I won’t deny that the past two weeks have been tough. We have a fantastic 2019 car running and no worries about getting to work but ever since we bought the car I have had severe abdominal cramps. For the past two weeks, I have had a stomach virus serious enough to make me consider visiting Emergency Room but I haven’t. I don’t want to overreact, so I have stayed true, yelped, eaten lots of soft foods, and taken lots of hot showers and emailed my doc at the VA.

While they have found no indication of a tumor, there will be more tests over the Thanksgiving holiday to determine what is wrong with my thyroid. I have managed to work the appointments into my Thanksgiving holiday and time in the afternoon. In between, I have been learning a new job, taking a few new classes with the job, and surviving.

Some days I am very well and some, not so. Finally after 2 weeks, I am getting rid of what was in my system and moving forward. I will never take my health for granted again. Thank you for listening. Stay healthy, and cherish those who help you survive, sometimes with a laugh the hard times.

A few things I have learned being married to retired Army man about life as he might see it. Some are helpful.

  1. Do first, and ask forgiveness afterwards, especially if no one is around to answer your question(s). I have always wanted at work and with daily things to get a go ahead or confirmation. I have learned over time that the best answer is to go with your gut and ask ‘forgiveness’ afterwards. Life happens quickly.

“Let’s Roll” means “Let’s Go” without hesitation, second guessing, confirmation and means exactly how it was used on 9/11-the final minutes of flight 93. Once you have a mission, project-get her done. Don’t pause for intermission. Start an activity; attack; action.

2. Keep a list but go with the moment. Have a list but be flexible. I keep my list handy but I know how to revise, edit as need be.

3. If you are feeling something, odds are someone else has the same thoughts, feelings, experience, etc. Share as it doesn’t hurt to open up. Having trouble with technology-others might be having the same thing or have the same experience with something. I have stood there gritting my teeth as my husband bares some information to neighbors, and even complete strangers. What it teaches me is to not be afraid to open up sometimes.

4. Catch something medical early and you will be more likely to beat it. Don’t be afraid of the doctor. Chances are the patient sitting next to you may have the same misgivings waiting to see the doctor.

5. Sometimes you have to not take it personally as it has nothing to do with you but everything to do with the other person or situation. Learn to have a thick skin or at least pretend until you garner one. Some people have deep issues and you can’t change them. Know it is them and not you. Move on.

6. Humor is the best medicine and gift for letting others feel more comfortable around you. Don’t be afraid if they are laughing with you. Sometimes this is a big win. Sometimes even if they are laughing at you as in ‘I can’t believe someone this old gets this.’ uh, yeah….we were not born yesterday.

7. Chances are that if you confide to someone that you are also military, there is no stronger bond. He or she will somehow look out for you in some way subtly letting you know there is no stronger bond. Or if you are not military, but someone in your household is or was-this is a strong bond.

8. If your husband has an Army bud, respect the friendship as they may have known each other since both were in first tour. It doesn’t replace you, the wife, but gives him an outlet for sharing sports stats, memories and a greater friend or buddy will not be found.

And my favorite, found on an Army poster:

I think of those times when we got up at 4:30 am for your business and of my husband wheeling a sign in the wheel barrow our first month of business on a shoe string budget a sign “Coffee and Cupcakes”; I think of all the places we have been to and the hard challenges, so getting up at 5:30 a.m., learning a few new things; dealing with a changing body and new aches and pains as I get older and I know that “Quitting is not an option.” There are some grandchildren visiting soon, family, new challenges daily.

Thanks for listening! Enjoy the weekend! I know I have earned this one!!

List of “Don’t Forgets” and “Remembers” We are still Standing.

We were eight.

Before September 11th, we would wake up with a list of “Don’t Forgets”
Don’t forget to wash your face
Don’t forget to brush your teeth
Don’t forget to do your homework
Don’t forget to wear your jacket
Don’t forget to clean your room
Don’t forget to take a bath

After September 11th, we wake up with a list of “Remembers”
Remember to greet the sun each morning
Remember to enjoy every meal
Remember to thank your parents for their hard work
Remember to honor those who keep you safe
Remember to value each person you meet
Remember to respect other’s beliefs

Now we are nine.

Ping pong; make your reaction fast and beat your opponent is the only way I can describe the last 2.5 days. Our car broke down on Saturday. Sunday we walked to the stores. Monday, labor day, we shopped and found most of the car places not open on a holiday. Tuesday, I called in for a personal day. We went to the bank, arranged paperwork and then begin the search again. The car places that were open and the cars available had high mileage and not good consumer reports. I needed a way to arrive in work in one piece and in a car still running.

By the time, we were approved and the husband called the first place: our volley was off and the car was already sold. Good mileage, etc. As with the dealerships, we found some of the cars on the lot had already been sold. How was that possible? We did not understand the game.

The car was already sold on line to the prospective buyer. This is the way the game is unfolding. We were squashed for a few minutes and then we began to volley. Husband got on the phone and I got on the phone. We found the Ford escape 2019 with 24,000 miles within our price range. We said “yes” quickly.

At one point, I even posted on social media that we were looking and no one came back. No volley. After we got the deal we wanted and they promised to deliver as our car was not good for a long trip we found a dealership willing to deliver. I need the car for Wednesday to return to work, so it looks like the car will be coming in later today. I reported back to social media, ‘Looks like we found one. Whew.” An instant like letting me know others are looking for the same thing.

Ping-pong, the husband was pinging and I was pongginnnggg….and tomorrow, hopefully, I will be back in the flow. Lesson learned: people are buying online, so inventory is low and you have to volley quickly. Pull the trigger fast and not hesitate. It helps if you can work together and synchronize your play. Searching for a car, reviewing internet sites, going to the bank, following up with the purchase order has to be as stressful as buying a home, getting married, job interviewing, your first day on a job, having a child, meeting the step children, etc…the list could go on but we got this one, mostly.

This is a memory that I have wanted to write about for a month and just now found the time. I was exercising in the gym and I took off my juke box. I love my little juke phone filled with music to exercise to like Cold Play ‘Viva La Vida’, Joe Satriani, Blondie, ‘We will rock you’ and the list goes on..including Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Frank Sinatra. It is an eclectic mix of music I like. I decided to take it off because I wanted to eavesdrop on a nearby conversation. Mainly out of boredom. I was just curious.

I did not hear the conversation but I did hear ‘I went to school and I got the big D

I got the big D

I got the big D

I got the big D

I rolled my eyes wondering what the big D referred to: Degree. I thought of all the great lyrics in old songs like ‘Viva La Vida’ and alternatingly the changing meaning of lyrics. Every time I listen to Diana Ross ‘I’m Coming Out’ I am confused momentarily. It does make me pause exercising to the music and I look more curiously around me. Most songs we listened to years ago because of the beat. The beat, the beat, the beat and the beat is kind of catchy. I got the big D; I got the big D; I got the big D. This woman went by about my age and I thought of asking her thoughts about the song but I held back. The moment was gone.

When I got home, I looked up the song and found it: https://genius.com/Wet-leg-chaise-longue-lyrics

As I continued to listen to Chaise Longue “Wet Leg” lyrics speak of “Is your muffin buttered?

Would you like for us to assign someone to butter your muffin?

Excuse me (What?) Excuse me (What?)

The lyrics continue about someone sitting on the chaise lounge (longue) in their underwear and then the lyrics state ‘You should be horizontal now-what are you doing sitting down?’

Is your mother worried? Would you like us to assign someone to worry your mother?

I read a blog recently about a mother constantly worrying about her adult children. I understand that as myself and my brothers worried my mother consistently. She once mentioned praying to Saint Jude, the Saint of Hopeless causes, as she never knew what to expect from me or my brothers. If I had to lay a bet, my money would be on myself as I was the only girl and consistently found myself in love with other cultures, countries, visiting, living overseas, dating foreign men and changing on a penny. I just had a lot of life to live in my earlier days before settling in as did my brother, Mr. J.

So, what do you think this song means or is referring to? What do you think of it? What do you think of some of the new songs on the radio lately?

Then they played We will rock you…and my world became normal, once again.

Where have I been weekdays? Adjusting to a new work route and workplace, getting up at 5:30 a.m. and even if we don’t have the subway and have to push a turnstyle, like LA blogger spoke of today…I get in my car and face traffic. The route is new, so I lack a good sense of direction, so for the first week I carried my android set to google directions. Friday, I breathed a sigh of relief and found a new route to return which went past a few interesting places like a thrift shop and a grocery store with a new name brand.

So far, the commute was fine until I encountered a bad accident and I freaked as the police turned me down a dead end street telling me “You can’t come this way.” He gave me an alternate route but it was by the numerical name I did not recognize which led to more google directions. I get to work and find out that others encountered 3 other accidents, so I solved it by leaving 5 minutes early to avoid any delays. These details give me some room in case I encounter more delays. I can visualize my drive: straight and one turn 8 miles away through heavy morning traffic. There is more than 1 way to get there and get back. As long as I can visualize, I know how to arrive. Sometimes it might be important to remember the route numbers and names. Also, responding to a human voice is comforting. I have to confess: I called my husband as I went down a dead end road following literally the instructions on google map. The dead end road suddenly stopped and I found that calling someone who is can find his way anywhere is a great alternative. I did not text. I called.

I like one of my co-workers solution: she lives nearby and came to work a few times riding a horse as they live on a horse farm nearby. I tried to imagine the sharp curves of the country road and tie in with the road with cars moving quickly waiting at the stop light, after you turn away from the trucks barreling down the highway but I could not. I need to actually see her farm and ride her route from home to work. Until then, I will just enjoy the little ‘leave 5 minutes earlier’ to miss delays with lights, etc. and any other things you might encounter on the road.

Enjoy your weekend! What are your plans? I am not sure I want to get into the car until Monday but I have some things I need to do like go to the gym and exercise this back, and just breathe a little more easily while driving routes I know all the back routes for. With time, it will get easier for me. And yes, the subway or bus is not an alternative. Having lived many years ago in New York City, I cannot imagine the new turnstyles described to keep away slackers from not paying. I think I have more control driving my car….I think I prefer a car to a subway.

Mix 10 grams discipline 4 grams creativity 4 oz. re-writing, and sprinkle with grammar checks & review. Top with a little bit of chutzpah for even thinking you can publish. Broil. Or even, stew while keeping track of publishers. Best not to marinate or sit back for too long.

Serves indeterminate number of people depending on interests, whims, and luck.

There you have it: a recipe for writing substituting my mom’s favorite recipe for seafood au gratin. Or you can take a break and mix 10 shrimp 4 scallops 4 oz crab. Cheese sauce. Sprinkle cheddar 7 parmesan cheese. Broil, Serves 2-4 people depending on appetite. Serve immediately.

Which one is simpler in your opinion? Have a great weekend and make the week a good one!

I felt like I needed a sweet impetus today, so I focused on a few memories. Instead of eating keto inspired dessert last night which was very good I remembered our store and the cupcakes we sold. The keto recipe was delicious as we share a different type of sweet.

Hot cupcakes with chile peppers on top-Firecracker-!!!
We sold mini with hershey kisses, pistachio, etc.
Watermelon-we were interviewed about this one by a food blogger who came in person from California.
This was taken in 2011. My date never changed. Can we agree “frozen in time” from a mall in Dubai? How we might feel as we wait…
A few years ago, but not 2007. More like two years ago. I now have a new phone to take photos. Proof that I move forward and changed.
Crinum asiaticum, commonly known as poison bulb, giant crinum lily, spider lily…..

I thought I would share pictures of the garden this morning. The coming weeks promise to be busy with planning for the year and changes in my schedule, so I expect I will be busy with the coming of the school year. Last night, I woke up thinking of my blog and in my dream I was writing my blog.

This is what I said: I mentioned that I have been reading Teresa Dovalpage. “Death Comes in Through the Kitchen” is the book I am reading. I read it before bed and find that her description of Cuba, and her experiences are interesting to read and her character’s situations captivate me. She is a Cuban writer born in Havana and left in 1996 where she resides in the United States. Teresa has published eight novels and obtained her doctorate in Latin America Literature from the University of New Mexico. She is a Spanish and ESL professor at New Mexico Junior College. I was very impressed that I was able easily to find her books at my local library! Often I have found authors I enjoy reading through Amazon but I am unable to find them through my local library. Another blogger site “Writer of Words” introduced me to her blog and writing. I enjoy reading an author who lets me escape my worries and transports me to another area of the world. I will let you know more as I keep reading her books.

We think this is the plant the granddaughter left with us before they headed to Georgia but we are not sure. Plant is always here if she visits.

And then in the last part of my letter or blog written in my dreams, I thought of my grandchildren and the changes they will see through their lifetimes. I wish them courage, resilience, and opportunity.

Have a great week! If you don’t hear from me, I am around…listening, reading, and will contribute again, soon.

My husband just wrote a blog about starting our garden 20 years ago. He posted a picture today of the results of our work 20 years later. The picture is nicely diagrammed with well defined lines and nice details. I posted a few pictures of our garden, backyard from time to time. I hope you didn’t get bored.

What I am most proud of is through the difficult times which included starting our business, we maintained the garden. At times during our business period, the garden project got off track. Weeds grew, plants died but it was also during this time the pug, Iago wandered into our life following me from our postbox to the house. I wrote about this.

Teaching in the public school was never easy as our area had some rough schools at times as new people moved in and the combination of skills, culture, and needs were not always compatible so the schools nearby were rated low. Finding a job after getting my certification and working hard to attain it was not an easy feat, so I juggled several part time jobs as an adjunct at the college level. Coming to teaching as a profession later in life presented both challenges and opportunities. Between bouts of unemployment and challenging times, we pulled weeds, dug in the soil and yes, we argued in the garden. There is a reason you don’t find many husband and wife teams in the garden as it takes getting used to one another’s workstyle.

East side of the Garden Project

Now, my husband motivates me to dig deeper and finish and I have learned that once he is concentrating on one thing, do not bother him about another. I am different, easily accustomed to handling several thoughts at once, and focusing is something that can fly out the window. With gardening and my husband’s example, I have learned to do one plot at a time and move on with my day. It is challenging and I still go off course but I achieve what I set out to do by breaking the nurturing and gardening into smaller plots.

Over time, we have had changes of neighbors but the marine still lives behind us and the detective still lives in the front of our home, so we know our neighbors. We have had some interesting neighbors in Florida including a retired football player; a boxer who later moved on to Miami. I remember easily the athletes because the retired player hurt his leg and moved on to become an employee of Fedex. I drove his wife one day to work when she locked herself out. She worked in a hospital. The boxer and his girlfriend used to train in the early morning. He was very big and it was reassuring to see them both in the early morning or evenings running.

So our neighborhood, our life, our health, our employment and even our friends and families went through changes and through it all we kept up the garden. My bit of advice is I can’t say that working together outside in a garden would work for all couples but when if we do leave the house one day and move, I know I will hope to leave the garden to a couple or family that buy because of the garden, not in spite of the garden. Do you have any advice or last thoughts you would like to share this morning?

Being married, or living with someone do you notice how you might pick up some of their habits? The other day at the gym I caught myself carefully folding a small towel after I paused between my exercises. I was in the Navy and went through basic training but I have always struggled with making a bed: crisp corners, etc. The drill master kept me behind a day yelling at me to get it right. My husband is a master at it as he excelled, so often I catch myself finding those corners with towels, sheets, bedspreads, etc.

I like to buy fresh, a little here and there. My husband is the planner and will buy enough to freeze and make lists of the meats we have. I am more spontaneous but he has also picked up some of my habits of buying fresh. When I was growing up, my mother never sat in front of the tv for long as she was always busy with chores, stirring something, or reading something. For a long time, I never sat still for long but find as I get older that I can sit still. I have adapted to my husband’s plans. Get things accomplished in the morning and out of the way. Doctor’s appointments, shopping, the gym, etc. If I am working fulltime during the school year, my schedule changes and I adapt.

My husband buys and stocks us which is why during COVID, there was no shortage of toilet paper for us or paper products. Our garage was full. I am a minimalist and like to use what I have. My parents had a big farmhouse, acres, and when they sold I watched them downsize, buy a travel home and go on the road while I was overseas in France. I decided to never buy more than I needed. Did my husband pick up my traits? Sometimes but he is never the master of the minimalist like I. I prefer to read books through my kindle. I love that they can disappear and that appeals to getting rid of things. Husband likes hardbacks. Today we both had appointments at the VA together. We went to the library at the medical center and collected a few free hardbacks. My husband said, “The next time we come I will bring a few.” I did not want to express too much happiness that he was giving away a few hardbacks.

Then we went to Burger King because I had a coupon for $5 for 2 croissants, 1 hash brown, and a big cup of coffee. I was hungry as last night’s dinner was carb free and no breakfast for my drawing of blood this morning. Sometimes it doesn’t get any better than taking care of the little and big things.

Thanks for hearing! Have a good end of the week. And to my readers, I pose this question: what is a trait or habit that you have embraced from someone in your family or someone you live with?

Did you know those who write a good story of fiction and have photo shop might have sold you a story? Legit.ng is a site wording that A young black man called Donte Franklin has been surprised with over $52,000 (N21,397,480) after he met a kind white man, Lynn. The story continues in caps that he walks hours daily to feed his family gets 92.3 m from oyinbo man. I put in italics the words of the story(think cut and paste). I am curious but not that curious as to click the link and be bombarded with new stories. I don’t know what is mean by “oyinbo” and assume it is another country.

Then I notice an ad for Cheerios which I have been eating. It is interesting that I am singled out as I continue crunching on my cheerios.

106 k like the story and there are 3K comments. Again, why open a box of worms and divert your mind to another placebo? Is it a placebo letting us know there are good people in the world or is it trying to urge us subconsciously to give stuff away? I don’t know about you but making or saving $52,000 is challenging enough, why give it away?

And then I keep coming up with articles like this or statements with famous celebrities “Just because I disagree with you, doesn’t mean that I hate you. We need to relearn that in our society.” Morgan Freeman evidently said this. I agree but now I am challenged because I think of all the petty disagreements lately and I wonder if I am always the person agreeing or seeing the other point of view, does that mean the other person continues on his/her way merrily having made their point, won the argument, and maybe, benefitted. Is it subconsciously telling me something? Like, get balls because the other person is not going to lean over to hear what you think.

Hmm, have you ever had a very long summer and find yourself stumped by these questions until your mind tells you “focus” return to reality or is this reality?

Thanks for listening. Make your week count!

Last night my husband and I watched the Tampa Bay Lightning win their 3rd Stanley Cup, 2nd in a row. It was exciting. I love hockey. I grew up in the Catskills and watched my brothers and friends play. My husband says “it was an amazing thing that I sat with him for 3 hours watching sports.” Then he continues, “But you were in the majority as most of Tampa was watching that freakin’ game last night. I am surprised they did not shut the city down for it.”

I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out. Yeah, a couple of fights as I watched the Montreal Canadians get rough and rowdy with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The game moved quickly and my eye flew over the ice like a camera shooting a scene before it quickly disappeared.

They are icing the puck. (Flicking the puck down the ice to stop the other teams offensive attack). Doing a lot of tripping. (Canadians with 4 penalties which explains why the Lightning got to shot closer to the goal-ooh, the face off kept coming back to their end). It is like a foreign language, isn’t it.

But I loved it! I watched as some of the players kissed the Stanley Cup after being awarded the trophy. I observed silently the quiet reserve of the coach, Jon Cooper, who husband said is always reserved. He predicted he will return to work today finding his next picks for the draft. I admired the goal keepers of both teams and the teamwork of passing the puck. I cringed as one player hit hard the post of the goal which gave way and moved across the ice.

Then, I watched proudly as the Tampa Bay Lightning moved forward shaking hands and speaking with the Montreal Canadians. They were a challenging team to beat but the Lightning beat them 4 times!! I posted on social media to a teacher I knew from Abu Dhabi-she grew up in Bradenton but moved to Montreal to teach. “They did an awesome job of working with one another and supporting the team but the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup, again.”

There was no response from here. Instead she posted a brutal critique of a rental car place she booked in Florida. Ah well, sometimes it is what it is! And I have a new sport I enjoy! Every time they have played, I have watched, and I sleep very well. It is as if I am living vicariously through their win. I am shooting the puck, dancing with the stick, icing the cake (?) and my sleep comes easier than with melatonin.

Thanks for listening!

Internet Sleuth needed

It came in the mail July 6th 11:20 a.m. A business envelope addressed to me. I opened it up thinking it would be trash mail and saw a neatly folded flag. Upon further investigation, I see it is a very well made cloth bag embodying the United States of America flag. Inside there was no receipt. No indication of who is was from. As you can see, it very carefully fit into the large business envelope neatly.

Inside is a tag “Made in China.”

Who send it to me? I give up.

I google the mailing address in Des Moines, IA. It appears to be a strip mall and there are several businesses. I google the businesses and two come up as unregistered. I search through the google app on my phone noting there is another version of the same bag with a different name brand on it but it is made in the U.S. Peering again, I notice the stitching at the side is ripped. I google “American female veterans send American flag bags” and other searches. Nothing comes up. Moslion USA Flag Tote Bag American National Flag Blue Red Beige Stripes Stars Vintage Canvas Bag Large Shoulder Handbag Reusable Shopping Bags for Women Girls School 15×16 Inch comes up on Amazon. The Moslion tag is clearly displayed in the picture, unlike mine.

I admit I am stumped like the Hurricane Elsa which barely gave us 3 inches of rain; we listened to the reports but in the end it veered towards Gainesville. The pug did not want to walk this morning sensing pressure or the small rain bands that will hit randomly until this afternoon. So, to my readers, I pose this question: have you received a present lately in the mail and if so, is it a bag? And if the person or organization out there is listening, thank you. I like it! Perhaps this is a test of some kind....hmm, any librarians or good researchers out there needed. I will be checking my family and friends shortly but I don’t believe they would send anything like this. Made in China-is it a message? “Vision Enterprises” “Spirit Label Company” are connected with Gary A. Anderson but there is no indication they are in business.

1550 E Washington Avenue Des Moines IA 50340 is the return address. It is registered to Gary A Anderson. There is no listening device in the bag or anything. Readers, what do you make of this?

Have you ever watched this show about following 9-1-1 phone calls? It is pretty interesting reminding me of the Netflix series “I Survived.” What is interesting is the response time, how people handle situations, and the time lapse. Sometimes it seems as if the person on the other end is asking silly questions but then you realize it might be just to keep the person on the other end calm.

As you watch, you cringe noticing the time, minutes ticking. It seems as if in slow motion time is going very quickly which leads me to ask if you, my readers, have ever had a situation in which you called 9-1-1? I can’t say that I have although there may have been a few times I might have. Once was when I first moved to Florida and a big man began pounding on my apartment door screaming at me to “Let him in!” I locked the door and stood quietly pretending I was not in. The area was not great and the landlord was not someone I really trusted but I kept quiet and I may have prayed. I imagine my thoughts were going quickly. Eventually, he left. The same thing happened in Harlem, New York. I went to visit friends and while they went out to get a few things, someone pounded on the door trying to get in. Again, I did not open the door. Although the apartment was beautiful with high ceilings and rumored to be in an “up and coming area” I leaned against the door and said not a word. My friends returned and I breathed out, once again. In both cases, I did not recognize the man pounding on the door, just to be honest, keeping quiet was my best option. I kind of remember one of the men screaming out a name, not mine. Sometimes you just have to keep your wits about you especially as those times, I did not have access to a cell phone, and was not familiar with the area.

I watched the show and as the female taxi driver is told not to get out of her car, as I watch she disregards the advice of the dispatch and gets out of the car promptly allowing the man to highjack her car with her driving. She then cleverly pretends to discuss with dispatch and goes to the McDonalds drive through for breakfast. I am not sure this would happen in real life(evidently it did) but with the clock ticking one can see how quickly events unfold. You must stay alert and on your toes to successfully end the situation. So, share if you want how you handled a situation or if you have ever had to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

There has also been a couple times in a foreign country alone in a strange place that I have thought carefully about calling for help and whom to call. Has this ever happened to you in another country? Again, in the UAE I had a couple of drunk men try to enter my hotel apartment room. I had this adorable furnished hotel apartment while I was working there and the room had a side entrance. This was the entrance they tried to access. This time I was able to call the front desk and they send someone up. That is a nice option to have but hearing someone curse you in a foreign language is not pleasant or yelling. Since Arabic is a guttural sounding language, to the foreigner it can sound threatening. I don’t know if 9-1-1 is an option overseas. Perhaps one of my readers can let me know.

It is a good series and good to watch because it teaches you how to handle unexpected situations and remain calm. Have a great week!

If you ever want to get to the heart of a neighborhood, take a walk and you will understand the rhyme and rhythm. Take a walk in the morning and one at night and you will see the different tempos. I went for a long walk (45 minutes) with my hand held weights this morning. Usually, I go to the gym, so other than walking the pug I haven’t been walking a lot in the area. The husband went to the hospital for his labs, He was anxious. I walked the pug at 6:30, returned left again 6:45-7:30.

I walked. There is therapy in walking which you don’t get in the air conditioned and sterile gym. There is no music or tv but there is plenty to watch. As I turn off our driveway, I meet some of the other walkers I have passed while walking the pug. Earlier that morning, I watched the mailman whizzing by on his bike before work, and the lady who walks her tiny chihuahua without a leash while gabbing on the cell phone. I continued and met a mom this time walking with her daughter who is pregnant. I easily recognized her because of the traditional clothing she wears. She is from India or Pakistan. This time she smiled at me. Perhaps being with her daughter comforted her long walks.

I passed a few new faces and said, “Good morning.” I watched a few houses with ‘for sale’ signs and new cars in front. When we first moved in, we didn’t take any walks around the area to check out the area. We knew it was a promising location which just happened to be near the VA Hospital, a major university, and a very quaint smaller incorporated area across the way. There were wonderful oak trees and a rich history nearby including property of a hunting ranch and one of Florida’s first golf communities. There are a few stories to tell and we saw a few homes but we chose this area, made a bid, and were chosen from many bidders. Throughout our time in our home, the neighborhood has grown from dicey to a ‘hot place’ to live. We have watched many people come and go with job changes, divorces, even odder cases including a family that had to sell their home to put up bail for their son. That was when we first moved in. As in every area, there are these stories and no community is immune, some just hide it better.

Then the thunder rolls in. I clutch my weights pumping my arms and pick up my pace. Where there is thunder, not far behind is lightning. I begin to count the homes where I know the people and can duck in under their porch for safety. There is comfort in knowing your area and your neighbors. Lightning is frightening here. As I continue walking up one of the few hills, I see a young man in his 20’s heading towards me with his rap music. I notice a small bedraggled dog wandering without his collar. Simultaneously, I observe the young man and the puppy. The puppy heads to a yard and sniffs around. As the man draws closer, I hear the music more clearly and notice his eyes do not seem right. I smile and keep moving. I watch two couples walking nearby and then a man running down the street towards the young man calling his name, “Did you take your medicine?”

I hasten my pace curious but wanting to get home ahead of the storm. I think about the young man who passed me and wondered what kind of medication he takes. I enter my home, finally home, and turn on the coffee maker. Yeah, if you want to know more about your neighborhood or if you ever feel lost, just get out and walk. You will realize that everyone has something to contend with. And some of us are lucky with our houses or our homes are our safety and sanctity from the craziness. I hope he has that in his home and I hope that puppy has found the right yard.

Thanks for listening! Have a good week! If you want to share something, tell me about a time you went walking and came upon a person, event, or something which surprised you or reassured you somehow.

As requested: the link to my story. https://spillwords.com/playing-the-odds/

We came. We saw. We conquered. “Veni, vidi, vici.” Julius Caesar to the Roman Senate in 46 B.C. Turkey.

The grandchildren came as did the rains later in the afternoon. They revelled in our garden. The smallest one, age 3, ran around like a jungle man swooping and swerving without shoes and touching the head of the stone snake. The granddaughters sat outside under the elephant leaves while hotdogs and hamburgers were grilled along with corn on the cob.

A trip to Clearwater did ensure along with another heavy rain storm in the afternoon. Pictures were taken, confidences were shared, and the little grandson ended up with my stuffed bulldog which I bought many years ago in South Korea. He left, a very happy camper, clutching his prize while the granddaughters left with word search books, a white board, energy bars, and little knapsacks for high school sports and for taking on the road. One granddaughter, a reader, perused our “Left Behind Series” finding the missing book she craved!

The pug was much loved and passed around to all for a hug. Key lime pie and peanut butter cheesecake was gobbled down along with guava cream cakes for breakfast. As I angled around 4 mattresses blown up on the living room floor getting ready to take out the pug, with envy, I observed the heavy sleep of four teenage girls getting ready to embark on their next adventure. I thought of all the adventures, challenges, and changes they would encounter. Through their eyes, I arrived at a different understanding and perspective seeing our world through their eyes.

And as they continued in the night towards home, we had shared a few new stories, and dreams of the future. We understood more. Both my husband and I felt proud of the grandchildren and of how far they have come. They have grown into hardworking and very pretty young women. All of them have their driver’s license and part time jobs. One of them, the oldest, will be going into twelve grade next year and she has won a scholarship to continue her education at the community college. She wants to become a doctor. We will of course encourage her to do her best as she has expressed interest in going to medical school in Florida! She is a planner.

But as I learned this past week, you can plan and you can think things through but sometimes life brings rainstorms, thunder, lightning and sometimes unexpected serendipities. I am happy to be a grandmother!

Thanks for listening!

The heavy rains in the afternoon ensure that your exercise must be completed in the morning unless at the gym. If you run across this, you now know where to return to the sender.

When you read about escaped pets, reading about murders, crime, etc. seems like it could take a backseat, so now I am focusing on a new author Andrea Carter who writes about Dublin. I am reading “The Well of Ice” and enjoying meandering through parts of Ireland as she writes of her village, family, and friends.

Next week promises to be busy, so I will take small pleasures where and when I can find them. Thanks for listening! Have a great weekend!

Spillwords has selected my short story “Playing the Odds” for publication. I haven’t felt as motivated this summer although I did finish proofreading 197 pages single spaced of a work of fiction. The work is my own. My creativity was caught in a web, so am happy that I followed through on my short story idea and submitted.

A challenge accepted: on social media, a nearby group formed for fitness and recreation. I noticed that no one was willing to meet someone new to walk with in our area, so I volunteered, got in my car and discovered a new area not that far away and walked with a much younger and more fit woman. The funny part was that my cell phone began talking without any indication. After our walk, I went to Publix to pick up a few groceries and I heard a man yelling, “Don’t do this. You need to press 1 if you are in trouble. Say something. This is the 8th call. I can’ t get in touch with you.” I thought YouTube was on. I picked up my phone which was in my pocket pouch and discovered an ongoing phone call from my husband. It turned out my phone had inadvertently rang him 8 times and he was getting ready to call the police. He thought I was in trouble and he had no idea the address of where I was walking as I had left my car in the driveway of the person I was walking with and we walked in an area around the new walking buddies home. The rains came, torrentially and as she wheeled a baby carriage with her 3 year old, I prayed the lighting would not come. It didn’t.

It is nice to know you are loved, welcomed home and that my husband paused before calling the police to trace my phone calls!

Lightning struck early this morning before my walk with the pug a couple of streets down. It was loud but I slept very well as my long mile walk was from 7-7:30 pm. A glass of wine and watching a show with Michael about people who fear the end of the world. Fascinating and harmless to watch before bed. “Doomsday Prepper.” They live in beautiful isolated parts of the country, so I enjoyed the wilderness of Montana, Wyoming, Georgia, etc.

We might be having company in the next couple of weeks with the grandchildren coming to visit, so there will be 10 people in the house for a few days. I am nervous about us hosting but will be happy to see all the teenage girls and the new baby boy! It helps that my husband is pragmatic and a good host. He takes things more in stride while I worry and tend to focus on the details. I think we have the living arrangements prepared and we will wait to hear if it is a definite yes to buy more food.

I like the fact that I made the effort to expand my knowledge of our neighbors and get out with a new walking buddy. I took a chance and that makes me happy. Whenever I notice that I am doing something a little bit different from others, I feel like I am on a winning streak. Following through and actually meeting someone to do this was good for me. Most of the people will not make that move but I did, so that means I still got it in me! The ability to take a risk, exert the effort and follow up. I will make sure my phone is not talking to anyone or inadvertently dialing. Has this ever happened to you?

Thanks for listening! Enjoy the rest of the week!

I went this past week to get hair lights and eyebrows waxed. I noticed something interesting from the newslead on tv to several people I interacted with. Their eyebrows looked different. I felt sufficiently interested to remember to get my eyebrows done but not specifically interested to inquire. Reviewing ‘eyebrows’ on google, I noticed that they can now be micro bladed which is a semi permanent brow or eyebrows improved ro-ghoul alpha. This is what came up under google but evidently this refers to a game of some sort. I noticed that it doesn’t look entirely natural. Although I asked the hairdresser to do my highlights like the woman on CSI Miami. Like I expected, she said “Who?” but then she googled Emily Procter and told me, “she is not a natural blonde. You are.” I am also not on a tv show but I liked her do.

I went to a hair academy and enjoyed having my hair taken care of by a myriad of people including those checking the work. It took about 4 hours and then she used TikTok to show off my hair. I felt like a model outside letting my hair drift one way and then the other. Then I went to the nearby thrift shop to look for some summer tops but not before I dragged in a box of books only to be told “bring them around back.”

A woman followed me out to the parking lot. I asked her, “Would you like some books?” She said, “Yeah” and so she ended up with a bag of books. I have a feeling she will read them and they won’t sit on a shelf. The last time I was in the thrift store I was approached by a business owner who wanted to know if I would donate any books, so she could design on them. Evidently this is a new fad of gifting books which have designs cut randomly in and around the chapters. I shook my head no and then thought about it. You know those people who love books-we don’t want any writing/cutting/design in the books. We just want to read them.

It was so hot that I decided not to go to Land and Sea the nice little grocery store with great specials, so I headed home. I thought about the TikTok and wondered if it would eventually disappear but she told me no, that is another app. I wondered how some people can keep track of it all. It seems like my organizing system would be in overdrive, sometimes it is nice to keep it simple. With a haircut and color I like, eyebrows done and I am a happy woman. I noticed I had a few glances and with a glance in the mirror several times, I was happy! A trip to Miami might be nice. But we will be having company soon, so they will see. I notice my eyebrows don’t look manufactured and since I am a natural blonde they almost disappear. I wonder if this eyebrow trend came out because of COVID and all we could show were our eyebrows and so a manufacturer decided ‘I have got to take advantage of this’ and introduced a few new products hawking them at Wal-marts. What do you think?

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Do you want to know about the author’s background or have to know about a writer to buy a book? I remember another blogger mentioned this about 4 weeks ago and I wrote it down on my board-good blog topic. The truth for me is, “YES”. If I know that the author is familiar with the topic, I will definitely case the book, peruse and finally validate by withdrawing from the library or through the online system for my kindle. Yes, I used some funny verbs speaking about book shopping because I have been reading a few funny social media posts and some not so funny about things going on in the hood.

I discover authors I want to read randomly searching in person or online. One author I discovered is Victor Methos. His unusual background snagged me long enough for me to think I need to read one of his books. He immigrated to the United States from Kabul, Afghanistan, and is the bestselling author of over 50 novels and has been nominated for the prestigious Edgar Award for best novel for his work, “A Gambler’s Jury” and is the recipient of the 2020 Harper Lee Prize for legal fiction for, “The Hallows.”

He attended law school at the University of Utah and has been both a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney. He currently lives in Southern Utah. (https://www.victormethos.com/). Okay, I was intrigued and so I bought his book from Amazon as he was not available at the library. I enjoyed reading “A Gambler’s Jury” and kept reading his books. I kept an electronic file of his books and series with Baudin & Dixon Trilogy and others. I also keep the hardbooks of Lisa Unger as she signed two of my books, lives in Clearwater and we met in person. She also visited “Cupcake Cache” with her daughter but we missed her as we were prepping for a big party! I am proud to say “I know her!” Lisa Unger writes mysteries and she doesn’t have a legal background or detective but she worked in NYC as a publicist and she lives in Florida. Some of her location information includes tidbits about Florida and New York making for an easy read for me.

Yes, I enjoy reading authors with something to share who write using their background material, be it their profession, location, or insider knowledge. This definitely influences how I buy books or borrow books. And yes, if I had the opportunity to meet Victor Methos, I would go. This summer, I look forward to self publishing one of my books. I use my background knowledge of running a cupcakerie, being a teacher, and the settings include places I have visited and people I have met along with a pinch or 2 pinches of fiction thrown in.

What about your reading habits? How are you influenced to chose the books you read or ultimately slap some monies down to buy or to borrow from the library? Have a wonderful weekend!

In view of ‘less is more’ here are some of the continuing bloggers I read and enjoy.

Chambers on the Road, My Daily Gratitude List, bleuwater, Roatan Strine Way, Florida Rambler

Some I lost along the way: Roadtripping with Ron, The skoolie Abode, Teresa Dovalpage: A Cuban Writer, From Michigan to Germany.

My go to list of bloggers gets smaller but easier to look up. Enjoy your Sunday. Who has disappeared lately from your list? Nothing personal-they disappeared into Blog-dom, somewhere life gets busier and I wish them well. Hope to see them return.

Have you ever wondered if your past family tree affects your present? This past week, I found myself wondering this as I was told by someone to ‘slow down as I was a little hyper.’ In retrospect, I agreed that I am hyper with things and wear myself out with the details. It is an attribute and one which can damage me if I cannot learn to slow down. So, I am trying.

The husband and I went out to a nearby old style steakhouse for dinner. It was delicious. We arrived early and left early, not many people and we enjoyed the slow country music, the sweet potato and a delicious steak with shrimp for me. Pork chop for the husband and we slowly gossiped, discussed, and enjoyed the different atmosphere. Every now and then, the spirit needs to treat itself whether it is a different outing to a restaurant, or just a simple change of plans. It is healthy in so many ways. I know that we will both sleep very well tonight. Our spirit and appetite is satisfied.

My past family genealogy tree: a relative several years ago living in California tracked me down to let me know more about my family tree. Evidently, my family from way back when was very wealthy in the City of Manhattan. They hired a maid from Sweden and she had an affair with the head of the household. Was it my father’s father or his grandfather? Hmm, and she produced beautiful Swedish children with blonde hair and blue eyes, just like my father, my brother, and I. The whole story has yet to be finished with words but I have a healthy imagination and my mind wandered. I wondered if this is why I like to clean counters and when I am distraught or need to answer a roaming question in my head, I vacuum, and clean the house. I know it is something my mother always enjoyed when I lived with my parents and something my husband watches with curiosity at the strange times I chose to clean. I also like a cold mug of beer. Maybe one day, I will visit Sweden and track down possible relatives.

For me, it is something that just feels right. Do you have any habits that you feel rubbed off on you from a past generation or relative? Have a great weekend! Thanks for reading.