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!

What tv shows did you watch growing up? Did you watch Sonny and Cher or All in the Family? How about Sanford and Son? or The Jeffersons? I am curious in your part of the world or your part of the country which tv shows you enjoyed watching.

Was it the first time you saw The Avengers with Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee? Then Diana was replaced by Tara King. I remember watching reruns enjoying the British humor and action. Diana always had style, intelligence and self-confidence. I remember sitting quietly in the background while my father and I watched the show. Back then, tv was a treat. Humor and canned laughter flowed without specification of what we should find humorous. We didn’t listen to much news then, occasionally Sixty Minutes.

We didn’t always have a tv when we left the city for the Catskill Mountains. There always seemed chores to do especially in the winter with shoveling snow, making sure there was wood for the fireplace. In the summer, my parent’s small business was open selling custard, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and I was helping my mom with the store. In the winter, we watched tv when my father finally broke down and bought one. It was a small tv and I can remember him sitting very close to it. I would sit further away behind our chess table and observe both my father and the tv.

On my own, I watched reruns of I Love Lucy, I Dream of Jeannie, and others. I can’t remember them all but I do remember that the tv shows were full of innocent humor and we just enjoyed the show. The simplicity of sitting down after a busy day to watch a comedy show or action show was a treat. Kind of like a vanilla custard with a thin fine covering of chocolate dipping and then rolled in nuts, like the kind we would serve up for customers.

What tv shows do you remember watching? Which one was your favorite?

A Lily or a rose never pretends, and its beauty is that it is what it is. (Jiddu Krishnamurti)

“Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.” ~ William Shakespeare

“The people who influence us are those who have stood unconsciously for the right thing. They are like the stars and the lilies, and the joy of God flows through them all the time.” ~ Oswald Chambers

“‘O Tiger-lily,’ said Alice… ‘I wish you could talk!’ ‘We can talk,’ said the Tiger-lily: ‘when there’s anybody worth talking to.”” ~ Lewis Carroll

“The lily is all in white, like a saint, And so is no mate for me.” ~ Thomas Hood

The only Commandment I ever obeyed-‘Consider the lilies.’ (Emily Dickinson)

The

Time is jealous of you and wars against your lilies and your roses. (Oscar Wilde)

The older I get the more I trust in the law according to which the rose and the lily bloom.(John Wolfgang von Goethe)

Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance. (John Ruskin)

A few projects at our home have been completed the past two years including cutting down a few trees. Husband even volunteered without prompting to sell or give away some of his book collection. This seems on the book burner for awhile but recently we made the decision to get more comfortable chairs instead of the Ikea poang chairs-we decided to replace two of them with power recliners. Michael found an excellent deal and we made the move. It has made a big difference in the heat of the summer to recline in the comfortable chair and get up more easily than in the poang.

The

However selling the poangs was another matter. I advertised on three places: facebook marketplace, craigslist and Nextdoor Neighbor. There were a few burps: people asking me to hold them and then not coming. Would we be home? And who likes to tell strangers when you are not going to be home but since one of us is usually here during the summer, we went ahead.

The first person came with her son and was interested in using the chair for gaming. I told her $45 unless you buy both and then it will be $80. She gave me a $50 and said, “I don’t have change.” I told her, “Wait a minute” and went to ask the husband. He said, “Why don’t you just let her have both of them for $50?”

I said, “Whaaat?” shook my head and went outside to tell her. My husband came out and said, “I can run down to the corner store and get change.” I said, “You mean the Arabic one or the one with owner from Palestine?”

He said, “Yeah. It might be better if I go because he knows us.” I gave my husband a look and said, “She can also go to Publix’s up the street.” She nodded agreement and said, “I know where it is.”

When they left, I said to Michael, “It shouldn’t be more work for us to sell this. This is a good buy. She is not getting two of these for $50.”

He said, “I don’t think she is going to return. I just want to get rid of them.” I said, “Oh yeah, she will.” And so she did. I sold it to her for $5 less at $40. The next chair remained for another 2 weeks. Finally through facebook marketplace, she came. I was busy working online the computer finishing some time sensitive items, so I asked the husband if he would handle it. He said, ‘no problem.’ I told him she already tried to get me down to $20 but that is a no. It is $30.”

I continued working on my paperwork and about 15 minutes later I wondered about the chair. I opened the door to the garage and there was a middle aged woman laughing with my husband and talking about her husband and family move from Connecticut. I smiled a little and said, “Hey, what is going on?” Then I muttered under my breath, “Not for $20.” My husband gave me a look and they continued to discuss the move from up North. I listened for a few minutes and then said, “What is your profession? Did you move here for your job?”

“I’m a pastor. I travel to small churches in different parts of the country. I think it is time for me to settle down. I really like Florida.” I excused myself and went back in to continue my online work. Before I did I eavesdropped as she told my husband that her husband was kind of obsessive about the details and wouldn’t like the spot on the black cushion. I listened to my husband tell her that replacing the cushion would be at least $45. I waited for her to ask, “Could I have it for $20?” Then I figured since she confided she was a pastor maybe she would not do this and so I shook my head and returned to my business.

After awhile she drove off, and the husband returned. She didn’t buy the chair. My husband asked me, “What was that about?” I said I did not want her to talk the price down. He said, “I knew she wouldn’t buy it when she sat down in the poang and then needed help getting out of it. ”

I giggled. Yeah, the other chair is still hanging around in the garage and I am not going to lower the price. If they want, they can make me an offer. The nicest customers who come as we continue with our downsizing are the ones from Craiglist. They are usually older and more compatible with my type of sales: they don’t argue when they see a good deal, they jump on it!

Update: Yeah, the black frame one is gone but not the brown frame one, still available. No, the tennis racket is not for sale nor are the tools. I am left wondering if the best was take 2 for $50 and if the husband wasn’t a step ahead of me. But then again, I have the time to wait. It is 90 degrees outside.

“It has been 90 something for over 3 weeks” and then today-it finally rained and the garden sighed relief is in store and now we have a small break from watering. The pug in red just watched inside while I sat outside soaking in the cooler air.

A tall glass of ice tea, gin and tonic or coffee. Tonight we are having BLT on rye.
The neighbor is barbecuing with an smoker. The rain smells fresh.
I am no fool. I leave out the tin watering can to catch a few drops.
Pugs are curious. He endured the phone camera invading his space.

Alexa has a few answers to questions. I have been wondering for my book when to start and end chapters. I am not going to ask Alexa. I have started my own proofreading for the 190 pages trying to see if it makes sense. It is challenging to read your own work time and time again. The alternative is a literary agent who said she would do the work for me for $2,975 dollars accepted by three payments of $991.66. The Agency assured me they might be even more interested in my work after the agent provided me with a roadmap.

In between, I was wondering what are some of the more challenging questions asked to Alexa. I wondered which questions Alexa might be able to answer and which not. My husband’s friend, his ex-wife left and took Alexa with her. He found he missed asking Alexa to do things for him like finding music he liked or answer questions.

That led to a challenge between him and my husband saying, “I bet I can stump Alexa.” But he did not or he might have with one song leading me to wonder how many times people try to stump Alexa with questions she cannot answer. If I felt more ambitious about the topic, I might peruse it over the internet.

But I have a book to read again with definitive chapters to mark, and so I begin. Once again. For the price of $2,975 I can also think of other things to do with the money. And they would not include down payments made out to an agency. Thanks for listening. Have a great week!

This morning the husband and I biked 8 miles around Flatwood Park. When we returned, his military buddy asked him via text or email “Why?” and my husband said, “One word” and mentioned my name. Okay, Cupcake. We are beat but the ride was beautiful and we were on the paved bike trail with some professional bicyclists, the ones whizzing by us. And then there were the people with roller blades and a bicyclist pulling a large dog in a wagon and speaking French to a group of French women. So I had a chance to see if I understood testing the muscles, the lungs and now my ears and comprehension. I was in for a work-out!

Each water spot we parked at, people started up conversations. My husband offered to sell some extra tools to someone and they discussed a better ride with a comfier seat. It was fun; however, it has been awhile since we rode the 8 miles, around 5 years or so. We have taken short rides around the neighborhood.

The Doctor suggested we go for long rides and start exercising more, for me also. I like to think I am in good shape going to You Fit two or three times a week, walking the dog, etc. but I really felt it today. I had not even had a cup of coffee. We flew out the door with water cups foregoing breakfast.

It was an excellent trip and one which we will most likely be repeating. The best part is we are finished with exercise for the day! And I enjoyed my cup of coffee! Michael ate breakfast and we are good.

Last week I had been paid by one of the ladies I helped with rewriting for her blog and book a pass for a pedi/mani at her salon. I was pleased to go as I don’t consistently go to the same salon when I treat myself. I am fickle and try new places. Anyway, I went and had the opportunity to meet another family member, her sister.

As I sat in the pedicure chair, the saddest music came on. I asked about the music. It made me cry as I remembered the story of Queena. I remember how I wrote the words so easily in an article accepted online by a journal. I remember visiting the Bloomingdale Library curious to see the place the attack occurred. “Listening to the Voice” was published by the journal Writing Disorder. Prior to publishing, I sat down with Vanna and we shared coffee together in between my home and hers-at The Waffle House which somehow was the perfect meeting place with my laptop and a waitress who took our order and then left us alone. On the other side of the restaurant was an interesting type of hotel and I can still remember looking out the window and observing. Sometimes the first meeting with someone sticks in your mind like a troublesome piece of gum sticking to the roof of your mouth. You don’t forget it. I can remember going home and just reworking, rewriting until the story was exactly as it needed to be. I believe as I wrote this is where I ended…teach your children to trust their intuition. I was looking out the window of the Waffle House observing the children in the motel thinking of a few students I had taught who lived in hotels.

Tears silently streamed down my face. The sister of Vanna looked up at me. I shook my head. Sometimes words are not enough. When I left, I bought the book “The Life She Once Knew” which is the story of Queena, the Bloomingdale Library attack survivor. I thought again of how a trip to the library, a place where you see sanctuary in books, culture and learning became a den of horrors leading me to write an article about the attack and actively seek out Vanna, her mom. The Scottish music seemed to howl with meaning and was so hauntingly sweet. Again, I have not the opportunity to meet Queena in person although I have several times met and worked with writing for Vanna, her mom.

I thought of how she met evil. I had finished crying but I look forward to reading the book having worked with her mother, spoken with her, and having an interest in wanting to read more insight about the family and the circumstances surrounding the attack. Although I am very familiar with the life and background of Vanna, and the sentence of her attacker, it is sometimes the details which fill in the whole story. If you have a chance, I hope you will read the book also. It has been several years since the attack but if the one thing we carry with us is to be aware of our surroundings, put down the phone, and focus on the present. You never know what might be lurking nearby.http://writingdisorder.com/eve-dobbins-nonfiction/

https://www.tampabay.com/life-culture/arts/books/2020/10/21/mothers-memoir-recounts-bloomingdale-rape-case/

I am interested in finding a few beta readers. I wrote about my pug. The pug is learning more English. This is my first time combing a grammar book and a book for children. I would like some honesty and some thoughts about it. Thank you. Email me at verbpro@aol.com if interested.

It is like a grammar learner of a pug learning to speak more English-kind of like a fantasy reader for children ages 7-9. You can email me your address if you are interested and I will send you a pdf. It is short. Thank you.

LA in her blog talked about her rule of thirds. I thought how this might apply to the future. 1/3 of the time you are in panic thinking of everything that can go wrong. If it can go wrong, it might or will.

1/3 of the time spend preparing yourself, your abode, your loved ones in case something does happen whether it is medical, or to your job.

And the last 1/3 we should be enjoying the moment but in the 1/3 + 1/3 adding up to the final 1/3, we might feel queasy somedays, head-ache others, and wonder what is going on….will it work out.

Michael is okay. His doctor called and said there is no new tumor for now or even a cyst. His body is still healing itself. But for now, he is good and getting his energy back.

So, we worried a little over possibilities that did not happen. Although that does not preclude it might happen in the future…just like rolling the dice, how about the article I read recently about a Publix worker mistakenly throwing away someone’s $1 million lottery ticket.

Wow, what is the percentage of chances or change lost over that ticket? Sometimes we hold on to things tightly, sometimes for good reason-sometimes for a million reasons in this case. Other times, we must learn to let go or let the reins be looser in our hands because we never know what the rule of thirds or no rules will bring us. In the end, we are only fully present in our present tense. We cannot know if we will keep our health, our jobs, our family, or friends…only that like a crap shot, we must let go of the dice to be in the present.

We must live the day fully. Thanks for listening. Enjoy your weekend.

Update: And by the way, the man did find his ticket. The clerk had thrown the ticket away but he was able to retrieve the ticket from the garbage. He matched the first five numbers winning the second biggest Powerball prize of $1 million. Although he knew his ticket was a winner and more than $600 from running it under the machine, the wrong ticket was thrown away. Sometimes it might mean we don’t know if we already have a winning card. The odds of matching the first five Powerball numbers are 1 in 11,688,054. Sometimes we just need to hold on and keep checking as in the hurry of throwing out the trash, we mistakenly give away our winning hands.

Today both of us had to go to the VA. I was told to come in for x-rays on a few parts of me, so they could see why I was having trouble with my hip area. The husband had to have a possible tumor or cyst checked out. In order to do so, he had to drink some nasty stuff before they use the radiology on him. And yes, I tune out for medical terms, definitions, and places. I freak out. I could feel my husband’s anxiety last night and this morning.

Somehow I slept but burst into tears this morning noticing his anxiety. Sometimes it hurts when they can’t find a vein or blood. I felt his anxiety and tiredness at the same time. We got to the VA. It is like a labyrinthine of mazes and I get lost easily. Before we left, I must of asked 5 people for directions and 5 people volunteered directions.

“Are you lost?”

“Where do you want to go?”

My x-rays were very easy. I had an intern being supervised and he was great, both were wonderful. I decided not to tell him that I had been an English instructor at the community college he attended. I become very fearful and close inward in hospitals and with medical personnel. Afterwards, I headed for the store and found a wonderful buy on a hot iron reduced to $7. I was still waiting for the husband when he texted me, “I just drank the stuff. Now I wait for an hour.”

So, I went to the cafeteria but was too nervous to eat and reviewed all the food stands including the sushi. An older man came in dressed in hospital gown as a patient. He said to the air, “I can’t wait to eat good food again. I am so hungry. I just finished surgery.” Something like that.

I smiled and asked him, “What do you think you will eat?”

We began talking and he mentioned his wife had died of cancer. He was 76 years old. He asked me, “What are you eating?”

I said, “I don’t have any appetite. I am like that. Sometimes I don’t eat.”

He said, “Nerves. You are nervous. When it is our time to go, we go. That’s it.”

I burst out crying. He nodded his head and patted my shoulder.

“We can only do our best. Don’t worry.” Then he confided in me how some of his friends had gotten the Covid shot and were still worried. Then he said, “There were those who hadn’t gotten the shot and they were worried.” Then he said, “I was here for an operation. I don’t have Covid. Don’t worry.”

He repeated, “When it is your time….” I nodded, and moved on. I think he wanted company but I could not eat.

I asked someone for directions again. He said, “I am going that way. I will take you there.”

I babbled, “I get lost all the time even driving in my area.”

Nervously, I pointed, “That is the place, isn’t it.” He said, “Are you okay now?” I guess I might have looked teary beneath the mask and mascara because I always want to look nice when I am in a hospital. Like a mental exercise, this helps me through. I focus on physical things in front of me to move forward. The curling iron for my hair, my make up, a good cup of coffee…

I truly appreciated the people I met today. Then I left with my husband and we bought a few lottery tickets, and then did some grocery shopping and shopping for jeans as I had a gift certificate from work. They had given it to me awhile ago and I had not gotten around to spending it.

I finally found two pairs of jeans after trying on 8. The husband waited for me outside on a bench, then we went home. In a few weeks, we will know if it is a cyst or a bad tumor that is very aggressive. All I am happy today is that the day is over, we are intact and I have 2 new pairs of jeans.

Tonight at dinner, my husband and I were sharing the day. I told him, “I felt good about my health.”

He said, “Yes, you did, ” as I carried on about looking at myself in the mirror with a healthy glow and my visage in the mirror. I am a little bit heavier then I want to be but I look good. I do not look tired. My tears had dried and I was focused on my husband.

Then he said, “If you ever feel you have health problems, hang out at the VA in room with patients waiting to have chemotherapy.” He has immunotherapy but he told me “Sometimes I feel guilty when I complain and see the others around me.”

I told him about my encounter with the couple in the waiting room married 55 years. She shushed him as he tried to speak with me about my service, my husband’s service and our family. She told him, “She can’t hear you.”

I said, “These masks are hard, aren’t they?”

She nodded. I began to cry silently again. Then my husband came out and smiled, “Lets roll.

And like a fast roller coaster, we left together as I related the story to my husband of my day.

We planted some daffodils.
I found these on the sale rack and decided to bring them back to life.
We did some weeding and noticed the color coordination.
And here is the eclectic mix-that might be my touch.
And here we have order-that is the husband.
And this was before the transformation as the old plants passed away.
I made some fat bombs last night (Keto friendly) dipped in chocolate.
Husband is using the grill more. We even had the chance to talk to our neighbors who hadn’t surfaced for awhile.
Here is to a good road for next week.

This was inspired by a YouTube video I watched of Chris Marten with James Corden. He spots Chris Marten looking for a ride to San Francisco to perform with Coldplay in the Superbowl 50 halftime show. It is from Feb 13 2016. As you might remember, I like Coldplay and feeling the need for inspiration tuned them in recently.

It is funny. I had forgotten how entertaining it can be to watch them Karaoking together. Then when you are tired of the beautiful scenery as they ride along the California Coast, they pull into an overnight hotel to wake up the next morning and their car is gone, so they tool on using bikes. It is entertaining and moves me away from the stillness of current day news.

Then I began imagining if I were to be stuck in a car for 5 hours, who would I want my passenger to be? That would be interesting and I am looking forward to reading a few answers from my readers about who their side kick would be. Somewhere in the far reigns of my memory, I remember my mother accepting a ride from the Catskills to the City of New York with my best friend’s mother: 2.5 hours of mostly silence as they rode in going underground the tunnel to New York until she dropped my mom off in Queens at my grandmother’s apartment. They discovered along the way they did not really like one another. For some reason, I can still laugh at my mother recanting the long drive in which she discovered she had not much in common with my best friend’s mom and ironically the mother of my brother’s friends, also. Silence reigned.

So, who would you invite for that trip? I enjoyed watching Chris Marten and acknowledge that singing along to “Viva La Vida” would most likely be very entertaining for me. Other than that, I would like to invite a writer to sit in the seat beside me, like Lisa Unger or Dan Ames. Considering that I have a hard time often keeping my cool in the driver’s seat, I might enjoy having Danica Patrick, NASCAR’s well-known female driver, sitting in the driver seat coaching me on taking the turns and heading into tunnels. That is, without flinching. This year has had us all flinching at sometime but I want to throw the dice, improve my cast, and learn about not flinching. That way the driver’s seat will be a natural.

Thanks for listening! Have a great weekend.

I thought this was a funny aside. I walked the pug this morning and was working outside in the backyard putting water in our fountain and just enjoying the balmy weather. I was hungry and the husband was still inside. I know it is best to keep him busy, so I said, “Are you making the keto pancakes this morning or am I?” I already felt like I was on the run with doing a few things and getting ready to check my emails, etc.

He said, “Yeah, I can do it.” So, he did while I answered a few emails, etc. and puttered about a little. I know the keto mix does not always weld together well and sometimes as you are cooking, they dissolve and break up. This leads to me getting frustrated, having a second cup of coffee, putting a pat of butter on them and sort of apologizing by saying, “They broke up.” Then the husband will say, “Oh, but I bet they taste good.” And they do!

So, this morning as he is cooking them in the fry pan, he says, “This is not working.” He throws away half the batter.

I ask, “Did you let them sit for awhile as you have to be patient with waiting for the mix to coagulate.”

“Yes, yes….” and he takes out another pan and tries again with the oil spray and the same thing happens. He throws away more of the batter. I roll my eyes.

I tell him, “The same thing happens to me but I keep going.”

He thinks for a minute and then says, “I need a grill.”

I ask him with trepidation, “You are not going to run out and buy a new grill.”

“No, he says, “I have the blackstone burner.”

The blackstone is what the stepson gave us before he moved to Georgia. He starts it up and then runs back in to ask if we have any Crisco. I tell him no as I remember getting rid of the crisco awhile ago. ‘The other refrigerator, do we have it there?’

No, no, no….I sound like Amy Winehouse Rehab….I won’t go to Rehab…no, no, no. I know the contents of the refrigerators. There is no Crisco.

A few minutes later, he rushes in, and say “I am sorry. I can’t do this and I need to throw this batter away also.”

I get up from the computer and go outside, “The look fine to me. Turn them over.” He does and they are fine. He hands me the plate and I bring them in while he continues grilling. This leads to a conversations about why we are not using the grill more for cooking seafood, hamburgers, etc. I take out the fish and the shrimp for dinner. He says, “I will cook them tonight.”

I say, “But it is my turn to cook.” He says, “We will use the blackstone.”

And just like that, he tells me that he will need to clean the blackstone later on and now he is busy and his mind is away from his medical issues. Isn’t it interesting how men try to solve problems so differently from women? But I think I have him figured out a little bit more.

And then he spoils it by saying, “I will have to teach you how to use the grill, also.”

Huh?? No, no, no…

Do you ever get so busy and going in so many different directions that words escape you? This has happened with me being worried about my husband’s health and just minor decisions. What I have learned is that sometimes escape by a book or exercise is good. Staying away from the phone to my family might work also. I don’t need my family to question my decision for anything at this point.

With a phone, we can hang up easily. With a book, we can read. With a garden, we can plant. With a full refrigerator and a few ideas, we can cook. There are always things to do to keep us busy. And sometimes we need to hear more of the voice within.

I find that often in the middle of a deep sleep that I will solve problems or an answer will come to me as why something is happening. It is a deep sleep, so deep that I don’t hear the pug snoring or noise outside. The dream takes me to answers, perhaps answers I compile impressions of during the day from observing, watching, listening and then my answer comes.

It is a good sign that we have both been sleeping very well at night. And the answers are showing themselves to me. Sometimes I have to be patient with myself and others. It is kind of like the New Year’s resolution: do any of you remember what yours was? I do, and I have kept some of it, a little. What about your resolution? Do words escape you or are they hanging out in the fringe nearby? TBC# To Be Continued…..

Thanks for listening.

$175 + $60 for a tip=$235.

The cost of a visit to the hairdresser for a bridesmaid from Chicago. Wow, this is a true story happening to someone we know. It is the child of someone we know and the child is in her 30’s at least. I had to smile when I heard the story because I know the woman in question and she is very pretty and her hair is fine and straight like mine. Easy to style, easy to cut, and there is not much you can do with it other than cut and curl but the humidity is such in Florida that it will destroy anyone’s attempts at styling quickly.

Especially now as the weather is humid and the weathermen has been promising heavy rain since yesterday. Now they are predicting it will come tomorrow. I have penciled in my time to go to the gym and do some grocery shopping on that side of town, check out some plants, etc. but it is supposed to pour by 9 a.m. tomorrow. I am not getting married although heavy rain is supposed to be lucky. I am glad the gym membership is still on for me because it motivates me to get out more albeit in my gym clothes now that I am no longer working onsite but online. Yesterday, I felt unmotivated but went to the gym anyway and ran my errands. The barometric pressure is high here, so we are in for some storms. Anyway, the story gets better. As I was imagining her hairdo and thinking of the more expensive hairdressers on this side, comparing how much I would pay for a good haircut….it was fun because you know, we are human. We like to imagine we are smarter than those poor guileless dummies or whatever we read about. Ah ha. Well, I came home from running about, and the husband had been up to his own running about in the garden trimming the cherry tree and another tree and carting off 3 big bags of branches, and leaves. We were supposed to meet friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant and we were both exhausted! Then he was not sure they were going to meet us there as the friend just mentioned a band he knew was playing. We couldn’t get in touch with them and finally husband texted, “Maybe, another time. We are beat.”

Truth is, we were both beat and we did not want to go out anywhere or drive. We found out later the friends were on a boat somewhere and then were involved in lots of traffic coming and going off the boat and didn’t make it either. So, I said, “Well, I bought some hash browns today but I skipped the good looking roasted chicken because I thought we were going out.” He said, “And we have cauliflower bake.” So that is what we ate and finished it up by eating my last peanut butter/chocolate keto ball with a smitching of ice cream. Husband said, “I will get a few things tomorrow.” I said, “I will get a few things from the other side of town tomorrow.” And that was that. Where was I? We like to think we are so smarter than everyone else, don’t we? And the thing is, the rain did not come, so the day of my running about, the rain will come.

And to end the story: she missed the wedding because she didn’t have a car and hadn’t counted on how bad traffic can be, so the cab driver who finally arrived to take her the 15 miles from one side of the island to another was late and she missed the wedding. Why did she not Uber it? ‘She didn’t have Uber!” There were a few other guests who didn’t know either, from out-of-town but I gather the bridesmaid showed up on time and they all made the reception on time so her new hairdo did not go to waste. I heard the bride was pissed off but I wondered which pissed her off more: did her elaborate hairdo upstage the bride? It was more likely that several people did not show up for the wedding but they did make the reception. Just another day in Paradise.

Isn’t the bride supposed to be the best looking in the room and that is why the bridesmaids dresses are so poufy and funny? and that is last thought on the subject.

The husband and I went yesterday to Orlando meeting up with the grandkids. Orlando is about 2 hours away from us. We have just returned from a long road trip and I had mixed feelings about another one but we went: opportunity to see family. Mike took a series of alternative routes going there bordering near I-4. We passed schools I was familiar with, and backwoods areas bordered by new communities springing up around beautiful lakes. It was definitely more interesting than just I-4. He has a wonderful sense of direction and I don’t. You can give him a compass and he can find his way out while I prefer google map or a voice telling me directions.

The agreement was he would drive in Orlando and I would drive coming home. Little did we realize after we passed the truck stop by Lake Alfred, a new Amazon facility being build, reminiscing about working at a school near Lake Alfred that was about an 1 hour or more drive from our home and in the country working with children with emotional and behavioral disorders…anyway…going to the cozy tearoom near Lake Alfred….the best was yet to come. The traffic lights of Kissimmee beckoned and we hit every one.

We finally reached International Drive and were remembering a wonderful little vacation we had taken for a few days off when we had our store. We stayed just off International Drive in a wonderful little condo, parked the car, and took the tram everywhere. The traffic on International Drive seemed to be lighter and with our destination set at the last minute 11:30 p.m. last night for the restaurant, we knew we were meeting up at 5:30 p.m., so that gave us 3 hours to shop at the outlet stores. We were trying to find a cozy little outlet mall with a great European coffee house and lots of stores we liked but we soon discovered that it was not to be found.

We found the big outlet malls off International Drive but we could find nor completely remember the name of the smaller outlet. We could not find any bargains. I was looking for a pair of jeans which did not wrap skin tight around my legs and a vitamin recommended for my aching bones. The vitamin store asked me if I wanted to sign up to be a member and then if I said, “Yes” a big discount could by had by all. I said, “No” and remembered seeing the same vitamins for less a Wal-Greens or maybe Wal-Marts. As for the jeans, whew, in time I will find the comfortable pair. I tried on 8 pairs wanting a comfortable fit driving the salesladies to regard me cautiously. There were only about 5 other people in the store, much less busier than the last time we came.

So, we wandered discovering that one of my favorite stores Van Heusen was now a Levi’s Store! Husband discovered this by googling on his phone. By this time, I was beat, as was he and we were dehydrated so we headed over for ice tea to a McDonalds only to discover how difficult it was to place an order in person instead of through the little automated center. We noticed a few other confused patrons but they may have been from overseas as they were all speaking different languages.

And this is one of the charms of Orlando is the nature of the city is international as the university, the theme parks have so many visitors and people from overseas visiting and residing. However, I enjoyed after waiting a lengthy time to be waited on by a person exchanging conversation with a visitor from Lakeland who appeared as if he might work in the area. I said to him, “We are from Tampa Bay area. Orlando is something.”

He told us he commuted from Lakeland and about Orlando being something, “You got that right.”

We met, laughed, shared food and stories. Everyone at the table looked happy but weary. The grandkids had been up early enjoying season tickets at the major theme parks. I was pleased to notice that all of them had little hesitation to be adventurous with food choice: octopus, squid, fresh shrimp, etc. and the same with roller coasters and rides, I gather. Leaving, the husband and I exchanged places and I became the driver after we left the city of Orlando’s traffic. I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, “There is no place like home” and less than 2 hours later following I-4, we pulled into the driveway “Garage door opening” and the pug yapping gratefully that we had returned.

The dirty deed or is it the dirty dozen: which is for me cleaning out paperwork and file cabinets. Timoursly, I mentioned to my husband yesterday ‘would you help me with the file cabinets and organization?’ I believe I just invented a new word combining timid and with ardor which is not far from the truth or the delicacy of the matter. I wanted him to review the receipts for the car, the warrantees, appliances, etc. and all that good stuff but I did not want to argue over it. I was kind of sly, and so he did this morning while I focused on the other good stuff. (Timorously is the correct spelling) before I get off the computer as it is pouring which means the lightning is not far behind.

I found an old English paper written by one of my former students Hugo Bernard who is now a professional golfer. He was on the team back then and I had to catch him up for a basic composition class. He sat next to a student who was a young nun and they worked together well. He thanked me for my help and for my teaching. I kept the paper. Sometimes that happens! So, I threw away some papers but kept some extra papers for assignments, references, my writings, etc. It was a lot of work that I had been ignoring.

Why this change? Yesterday, I discovered that I had misplaced a card written by my father with all the birthdates of my brothers, cousins, family, etc. I needed that card! I had a fit of hysteria misplacing it as the information was not easy to replace. The good things is it made me clean up my 3 file cabinets fitting everything into 1 nicely. For some reason, I had never combined the husbands files with mine, so I found his files from before we were married and it seemed kind of odd after all this time not to combine and so, I did. That piece of paper meant a lot to me and the husband realized it, as he was trying to help with research some of my lost family information online. I discovered a few new things and the file cabinet is good to go, so I am ready for a new week and even found an old poem I would like to finish up and send away for publishing.

The dirty deed in my mom’s day and place was the cellar in our Catskill home with the old wine/pickle cellar, snakes hiding, and an old furnace which terrified me and blasted heat every winter. I think I prefer my dirty deed to creeping down those cellar stairs to change the laundry over to the dryer. But the deed is done and we are now in for a storm which is a good way to end this morning as the rain will blanket the garden with needed water. Kind of cathartic like shredding old bills, receipts, and papers you don’t need.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

One of the most challenging parts of dealing with medical issues for both Michael and I is the mid-afternoon fatigue which blankets him. A neighbor mentioned that he was speaking with him and all of a sudden he felt the energy drain from him. Then he said, “You know, he is a strong man but I felt the energy leave his body.”

I understand as now that I am home more in the afternoon, I notice. I did not notice when we were on the trip or playing at the golf place as he told me that he did not want to ruin the trip for us, so the grandkids and the stepson..we did not notice as we were all competitively playing. I felt a little guilty that I did not notice but did notice the good shot he made and the play I made not realizing I hit every target!

Last week I found out that the ache in my leg is very real. I mentioned it to my doctor and she reminded me that 6 years ago, I had been diagnosed with a mild case of arthritis, nothing to be worried about she said. I realized that the 6 years passed and I continued exercising at the health club and had kept myself in good shape! I will make an appointment to follow up about the mild arthritis and keep it under check but the good part is the pain is not located in my hip but my leg. For an avid walker, and someone who likes to stay active, I will find a solution.

A solution can be found with arthritis but it can’t always with my husband’s diagnosis of cancer and his shoulder pain which is another matter. What bothers him most is his lack of energy in the afternoon. I understand seeing it now more clearly. I know that tears about it won’t help only understanding it is part of the whole.

We can still travel and go places and he can still do things but we must get them done early. Thanks for listening. As for me, I look forward to keeping the arthritis under control so I can continue to do the things I like such as walking and not feeling vulnerable when my gait or leg collapses. As I felt comfortable this time with his military buddy to say, ” I don’t like to feel vulnerable to anyone.” Part of getting older is realizing more of your strengths and weaknesses.

I choose life.

The husband and I play a game sometimes…we were discussing recent events and I asked ‘what if you could do it all over again knowing everything you now know?’ Husband: ‘Things are changing so quickly, lessons learned from the past don’t apply.’

He changed the rules: by saying no, I wouldn’t want that and then I began to experiment with new rules: what if you were born and already knew what was going to happen and he responded ‘Back to the future, Part II.’

We began changing the parameters of our life imagining new possibilities. I imagined myself arriving in New York City remembering the person who told me, ‘Learn something about computers. They are the future.’ That was an understatement! Husband said, ‘I would be buying shares of Coca-cola, microsoft, Amazon…anything when it first came out.’

Then we had some fun as he imagined all the sports bets to be placed and played as long as you knew the results! And what a day that would be. I paused looking over at an old photo on my office wall of me when I lived in the city and worked in the garment district in a short skirt, with a hand holding up my hair looking into the camera posing for a shot. I tried my hand back then at commercial modeling. I thought of those days when I attended the same church as Donald Trump. I remember the little group of friends we formed and how we all used to watch for him and Marla Maples. ‘Did you see him today? Was he there?‘ What if we had made friends with him? The possibilities…who ever knew or knows the future? We never expected him to be President but only an interesting person in the schema of NYC. Back then, we might even have thought having money was like being President especially in the City.

And so, we decided not in favor of having a second chance at being 20 something but instead reliving those years being born in the same time period and knowing the outcomes. I do believe we would have made our fortune after the first day as we had the playbook in hand.

But there’s the twist: we don’t have the playbook in hand and we can often only see as far as we are at that moment. So the best advice we can give to the 20-30 something is play your hand well….be fluid and know sometimes lessons are dealt harshly…be ready to move and stay light on your feet and don’t weigh yourself down with unnecessary mental and physical garbage. Be true to yourself and don’t be one of the group. Listen to your sixth sense and respect your elders.

That’s all folks! What are some things you might do or say?

Validation-a four syllable word is something we all long for, don’t we.. You know, we like those likes, brightly displayed telling us someone shares our point of view or validates our post…in a way, it is ego boosting or boasting to the ego, however you call it. If you like to write and you are trying to publish something, it is also a quick fix on a long road to publication as they say it might happen or might not….but it quickly gives you creds like the rapper playing the song loudly in their souped- up car.

The other day, The Earth Spins, and I went across the bridge to pick up his military buddy to come and fix our electricity outside on our lanai, so our little water bridge would work, and the lights would come on. Then we went out to lunch. It was a nice drive and on Easter Sunday, almost empty as we left early morning. Afterwards, we found a little Irish pub down the way, and the guys let me hang with them. So I got to see or rather hear what they talk about: actually boring stuff like sports, the guy who shot the winning basket for Gonzaga for the NCAA, etc. and maybe an old sitcom, Shoot me or something like that. I kind of remember it but lost interest after the second line. We watched the tv screens of the winning shot and that was fun! They did not talk politics or about women, jobs, etc. I left for the bathroom and complimented the waitress about the chef’s corn beef and hash the other morning Earth Spins and I had for breakfast.

I really enjoyed being included although it did make me miss having a girlfriend and I used to have them and we used to email each other, go out for lunch, etc. and talk about silly things like shopping, sometimes husbands, and never politics….I really miss that but girlfriends have moved away and some are still in other countries-Madonna, United Arab Emirates or Eva, Portland, Oregon…..but it was a slam dunk like the player who made the great shot and one which I realized was a slam dunk because I try it dunking my tissues sometimes in the gym…it isn’t easy at all.

At heart, I am still that 16 year old playing shoot the hoops in my family’s big red two story barn in the Catskill Mountains and I feel him getting the ball in. Yay….it is the big victories and the struggles along with kismet that make the life worth living.

Thanks for giving us this one!

Update: kismet is more about luck meeting hard work. There was, most likely, much more than luck involved with that shot! And the next video to watch is the Vegas sportbook reaction keeping someone somewhere off kilter! Thanks for reading! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EayZ_427nGc

Getting back to normal after a week away from the range is about decompressing. Amazingly enough my body was mostly good during the trip-for both of us we walked in the country, shared the driving, and sightseeing. But then my hip began aching again. About a year ago, I had a Cat Scan and my doctor said it was okay. I went for a walk this morning limping most of the way. Michael was off buying some garden plants to plant. He is doing well. I felt really bummed about my hip.

Most of my life, I have been very active exercising, walking, working, mostly on my feet as a teacher. I thought nothing of walking 3 miles or more when I lived on the Gulf, in the City, overseas and constantly could not sit still as a teacher in the classroom. I have always felt there is something more to do and sometimes this includes being at home. Gotta clean something, have to plant something, go to the gym…get out there. Today was a wake up call that sometimes as I get older, I need to sit, read, enjoy the view.

I have been reading about long train rides which sound so nice but you need to have the time to do them. It is lonely to make 6 hour or more drives by yourself, but the driving although we shared and were there for one another to motivate and encourage does take a piece out of you. A travel trailer to pull over and take a nap might be nice but I would love to visit parts of the country through amtrack. This past trip I also had my second shingles shot which made my arm very sore. I am still in my 50’s but my doctor recommended getting it done.

What I did notice about Florida travelling by car once again is that it is never boring. Although the scenery is flat, unlike mountains-you can exit at a place called “Live Oak” which sounds like an Indian name, and be greeted by a desolate empty gas station on one end. The next station we stop at there is a couple from the Middle East and the man stares intently at me. Unnerved, I smile and ask for the restroom. His wife gives me a sharp look also as I later exit noticing across the street a sign and place which advertises “Exotic Dancers.” It seems as if we are in the middle of nowhere. The pug barks and we settle in the car under a live oak with moss draping the road to scratch off a few lotto tickets, stretch our legs, and comment on diversity. Evidently, in my book diversity marks the page by scenery, people from different cultures, and the foreign culture of the “exotic dancers.” For a few minutes, I muse about an interesting murder mystery to write with this setting in mind. Then it is time to move forward…

Never a dull moment here. Enjoy your weekend.

I erased my blackboard this afternoon. We have been home for about 24 hours from being on the road forever to see family. We went to Georgia and Tennessee, stayed near the Smoky Mountains, visited the grandkids, the family farm, all those dogs, and my nephew (my brother’s son and his family).

On the blackboard were these words written in chalk before we left: “There are no second acts” written by F Scott Fitzgerald. So with this in mind, we visited family feeling footloose and fancy free. It was a wonderful but exhausting trip. The mountains are beautiful; we visited a few new wonderful stores such as Krogers where you can even sample wine at the wine bar; a restaurant with a little bit of every food from sushi to meats “Drakes” a store where every item was from pallets and priced at $5. I found a H2H zip up brand new and a neat kitchen item, a keto friendly restaurant called Fibrizzio’s which was a delight after eating several fast food breakfast on the go. Masks were often optional in Georgia; the in-laws prepared a wickedly good seafood fest and we toured all 10 acres of the farm, navigating the chickens with the stepson mentioning llama’s. Hmm, as long as we don’t have to babysit for them, I am good.

We went out to a place called Topgolf and played Angry Birds. I came in second not often realizing what I was doing but we had a blast with the grandkids. I practiced my bow and archery with the youngest going over and over again my aim until he said, “I am bored. I am going to play on the trampoline.” I think he might take after his dad while I am one of those practicing the same swing until I get it perfect. Yes, my body ached from Topgolf and the swings I took but we both played. It was the perfect shakeup we needed to get moving again after the challenges of this year with Michael’s health.

Seeing family reminded us there are no second acts and we might never pass this way again, and so we enjoyed the mountains, the drive, and today we are feeling like a million dollars as we made the right spur of the moment decision. The next question is where to next and it will most likely involve family or friend destination. I did not take any pictures because I was living entirely in the moment and it felt right.

I think the best line I heard this week is from my husband: the king of one liners: “If one door closes, then another one opens and if it doesn’t pick the lock!”

Good one. I am going to be quiet for awhile and travel incognito in cyberspace. I will still be around but I am getting tired of some things and I need to focus on my husband’s health and recovery and moving forward with finishing my book. A few other projects in the midst of turmoil. As always, the best time to plan is swimming in the current. Just plunge and as some may say, ‘If not now, when?’

I am just a little tired of social media, and my Swedish reserve comes to play. I don’t want to tell you all my secrets but we are both still alive and swimming sometimes with the current and sometimes fighting a current. From time to time, I will show up in your comments as some of your blogs entice me to share my opinion and get my blood stirring. I don’t want to comment on silly things like pictures of food at times, or even play ‘whose favorite’ this week….I just want to be at peace with all that is happening on social media leaving titles and name calling behind.

In other words, I need and seek for now a more peaceful existence swimming in the present tense and moving forward. If you see a few pictures on my blog in the future, you will know we are both in good places but I might not share where we are only that now might be the time we chose to visit family, friends, and see a little more of the outside world because now is the time.

Thanks for listening! Wishing you all well. I am still around as is Michael but for awhile we might disappear from regular blogging. And if one day, I disappear as Cupcake Cache, I hope you will find me either in the comments or my published book. The question is: will I use my real picture as author? or chose incognito….only time will tell as I pick the lock.

It has been for real!

Here is where I am as a writer as of 2/27/2021-My biggest victory: Having Laughing Africa accepted and published simultaneously by two journals after being rejected numerous times. My biggest surprise: Vanna Nguyen hiring me as a proofreader and blogger after reading my short story Listening to the Voice .

A challenge: Working with a friend and helping her edit a children’s book now on Amazon. Trying to write my own story of the pug and husband commenting why is it such a good subject but it sounds like a teacher’s edition? Ugh, it is. A grammar book as my pug is understanding more and more English. I think I have a way to go. Manuscript is still on husband’s desk with a hint to help me out if he can by editing. Question to self: do I need his honest opinion as this has a way to go. I am not a natural children’s writer. Husband is an excellent editor. He also has a thriller and needs an ending. I want to encourage him to start on this when he is feeling better.

My biggest hope: the current book I am working on and have so many pages. I hope to find an editor and someone to publish.

Fall/Winter 2021 “The Stray Branch” The Spirit is Willing (short story)

Fall/Winter 2020 “The Stray Branch” Monsters We Meet (short story)

01/20 Cupcake Cache blog-Trash Travellin’ (poem dedicated to veterans)

12/30/2020 Vanna Nguyen-contributor to blog and proofreader of her book. I worked with her for about 2 years.

Jan 2019 Feet on the Edge of the Feeder-Via Brevis (poem)

Dec 2017 Catch me If you Can-Vita Brevis (poem)

Listening to the Voice-“The Writing Disorder” . 2019

“Untitled” “The Stray Branch #20 vol. 17-Nov. 2017

“Abu Dhabi Time” “The Exit” “The Cold Zone” 2017 Mused Literary Review- non-fiction

“Lost Things” 2017 Page and Spine (short story)

Anapest Journal “Wishing on Cotton” 2017 (poem)

2018 Literary Review-Horror Zine-Poet of the Month-2019

Page & Spine “Swamp” and “Sing” 2019 Paid $14 upon publication. (poetry)

2020-June 19th Laughing Africa Spillwords & The Finest Example

The Artiste Spillwords nominated for writer of the month (poem)

80,000 words-untitled who dun it ??? Still to be released…I hope to finish in another month or so and search for proofreaders. Please forgive my editing mistakes with the blog as I was eager to publish and put this down in writing. You know there is something which makes life and promises to self and to others more real in writing. This is published to help me continue with strength, patience, and ideas until the end. Writing is digging in the trenches kind of like getting my knees all dirty this morning in the garden and of course, prickling my body several times with thorns from the blackberry bush. As some might say, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” Work is not pretty but I am trying.

Published just under 20 x. Waiting to hear back from my teacher friend about the children’s fantasy series we are working on. Both of us busy with new jobs. My contract finished in Feb. but she is still going. The teachers I was filling in on medical leave returned. I am taking a break but still teaching online part time. Time to continue with my book. Thanks for reading.

One weekend this past month or last month, before the operations and when I had a day to myself, we visited an old general store. We were en route to Webster for the outdoor flea market. We had to make a pit stop for the restroom, so we explored a dirt road that was off 301 that led to a park area. We found historic Richloam General Store which is a living, working museum. It was through a place called the Green Swamp and in the backwoods.

The proprietor lived next door as did her son. It is open 7 days a week carrying products from the 1920’s and 1930’s time era. It is a refreshing step back in time when people had small polite conversation while you perused the items at the General Store. We had a similar one in the Catskills where I grew up. It was a place where people congregated to hear the news. We did not have so many issues with kids in school because we all knew each other and this kept us in line. Recently near us, a middle school child was arrested for selling stun guns at school. A 12 year old girl. My first thought was ‘how do they even have access and how do they get these ideas?’ In other words, what is going on in their household. My second thought and fear was for the classmates and the teachers at school. I hope that the deputies, the Resource Officers, the social workers, the Admin, . will be able to figure this out.

Anyway, husband found a 16 oz. buttery topping made by the Amish Country for $6 and bought it. He uses it for omelets, and grilling meat. It was his idea and it is excellent as the buttery topping does not burn. We even returned one weekend and Michael, the planner, bought 5 of them. You only need a small amount and the meats, eggs, etc. cook nicely. Wal-mart has it also but it sells for $12 or so. It is not a long trip and the outing is nice, so we are glad to go proving that the most interesting times are often wrought from desperation: in this case we needed a restroom but found an interesting destination. Getting off the beaten track is often a good idea. Although in these Covid times, we are off the beaten track but the wonderful thing about Webster Flea Market is that we were often outside perusing the goods and were not required to wear a mask. Most of us keep to the rules being pragmatic, as we move forward during these times. At least, we hope.

Just for your information: husband has been Covid-free through every operation as have I. We take sensible precautions but never go overboard. And as for my haircut next week, it will no longer be a production. I am cautious about visiting a place called “Revolution” and not getting out before they charge me half a c note for a cut, trim, style and then there is the tip, so I will go simple to a chain and hope I get a good hairdresser. Mostly, I do and my superfine hair is simple to cut and style. The husband will go to his favorite barber and of course, leave $20 which will include the tip and then we will meet up for lunch. Until then, it is just a hair cut, isn’t it and not a production.

Thanks for hearing. From my house to yours……let’s meet in the middle.

My husband pulled the trigger this week. I realized it worked well. It was over pillows. We needed new pillows but somehow I convinced myself that we could not agree on the style of pillows. So I told my husband about seeing the pillows, rows of pillows with plush fabric, cool to the touch, and fluffy in Big Lots. A whole aisle on sale. He asked me, “So, which ones did you buy?” The truth is I didn’t buy any because I convinced myself that he would not like my choice and was too fussy. He went and picked them out after I described the ones I liked in detail. He is feeling much better and getting around nicely.

The roof in our garage was falling down, so without hesitation he called a guy we know from our Cupcake Cache days and his helper to come fix the roof before it ended up on our car. So, he is here. Sometimes it is uncomfortable: the banging, getting out and around him, etc. but we needed to pull the trigger. Someone did and the husband is much better at that than I am. I analyze the cost, the time, the possibilities, so that even getting a haircut becomes a major production. There is always going to be someone better and someone worse out there for the job, true. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

The truth is every time I have pulled the trigger and made a no holds decision; I did not regret it. Those trigger decisions enabled me to go to France for one year, stay in the United Arab Emirates for a year teaching, and also led me to the decision to marry my husband. Yes, there are the naysayers around me who told me I was crazy; who would go to the Middle East at this time; hasn’t he been married before? What about? And these are the decisions I do not regret, so sometimes you have to pull the trigger. I don’t remember much about the woman who told me that going to France was for dreamers and I need to start working as soon as I could. I don’t remember some jobs I had but I remember that year at the Sorbonne and being an au pair. I am still married to my husband so many years later. And the ex-wife has not bothered me.

Now, actually pulling the trigger if you are in danger or someone breaks in your home, that is another thing which I probably won’t discuss but if the time comes, I will pull the trigger and think not. Thanks for listening to my thoughts this morning. Sometimes your best reaction is to react and not think about it. But that is another blog. And yes, those pillows are helping us both sleep well at night, so the money spend was worth every dime.

I have decided to write down some of my meanderings in my online journal as my in person journal is not getting a workout. Husband just went to pick up a few items at Publix which is a good thing as the second operation is treating him better. This time his reaction time is not off and the store is nearby.

I made French toast for breakfast with the no carb bread for me, cut up bananas, lots of butter, and of course, diet free syrup. He has lost 20 lbs. in one month, so after the walk around the alligator boardwalk with the dog meeting only a grumpy man who suddenly turned and gave me a big smile or was it the pug…..I decided en route to make a big breakfast to get us going. The pug is snoring and wakes us up out of a deep sleep, so I end up going to our spare room and even Michael, famous for his ability to sleep anywhere wakes up grumpily and nudges the dog.

It is cold this morning but my intent is to visit the health club for a workout. My feet are finally back to normal after being on them all last week. This morning I finished reading “A Treacherous Paradise” by my new favorite author, Henning Mankell. This story was based in Africa and centered around the main character who came from a very poor part of Sweden. The books has some supernatural parts in which superstition and I guess, voodoo play a part. My kind of book as my short story “Laughing Africa” has some elements of this. My main character, Genevieve, was loosely based (with a pinch of fiction) on a person I did meet and knew while living in Paris and attending the Sorbonne University. She now has returned to South Africa to be with her family. I am looking forward to reading the next book, “The Troubled Man” which is part of Kurt Wallander series about a Swedish detective. I enjoy the very cold setting of Sweden as part of my heritage is Swedish and I enjoy reading about Sweden and the very small area that the detective lives in.

One of my wishes was to finish writing my book which I feel I will once I am able to have more time to myself. Summer break. And to go to Africa on a safari with my husband. I don’t know if this will happen but ironically one of my students in my online college class that I instruct now lives in Florida. Her family owns a safari business in South Africa but they have relocated here. I found this writer to read: Henning Mankell.

Is this kismet I ask you? Kind of like the pug, Mr. Iago finding our home and following me in from the mailbox the year before we closed our store….he has comforted my husband and myself through so many events….my mother’s love was such that I believe she would watch out for me from above. I do believe she is. Once someone is gone, I do believe love lives on.

Thanks for reading. Have a good day.

I learned an interesting word the other day reading: zero sum. It is like a balance in economic theory in which one person’s gain equals another’s loss. Two or more are competing for the same resources and like a matrix only one will gain. Whew. Mathematics keeps you cold and logical while words and poetry make you soft, sometimes.

I guess life gives us plenty of opportunity for both of these options at different times enabling people to say, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.” I was watching an old Archie Bunker and I think he said this. So you see, the idea goes back a long way. The husband is out of the second operation and is healing. Slowly but surely. Even though you know what to expect, you don’t know what to expect. There is always something new but hopefully all of the tumors have been identified and removed. Sounds like a mathematical equation which is probably why I stutter often sharing the medical details.

Some of us are better in the abstract spouting poetry, observations and words but when we realize that perhaps the twain can meet, there is a lyric out there. The other day, an Arabic speaker at work asked me ‘What was my favorite song?’ Behind my mask, I muttered or tried to speak as clearly as possible through 3 layers of my favorite protective gear “Viva La Vida.”

She said, ‘What?’ and her eyebrows crinkled, “Dida la……” I repeated “Viva La Vida.”

She shrugged and smiled. I asked, “Do you know the song?”

She shook her head. I asked her, “What do you like to listen to?” And then I remained grateful that she was very vague and only said, ‘It depends on how I feel.’ Even speaking behind the mask, I knew that I would not recognize the artists she listened to in the generational gap and then there might be a cultural gap.

“Viva La Vida” my song to relax and chill to when I need a reminder, kind of like a balance that life will move on. Michael’s health will continue to improve with time. The hardest part of waiting is over and the tumors have been removed. The healing begins.

Thanks for listening. What is your favorite song to chill out to when you take a break or when you are debating ‘sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.’

I have a long weekend which is nice, so I thought I would drop a line. Michael is doing better just in time for the second operation next week to remove three more tumors from the liver. The doctors said, “This will not be as painful” so I am hoping….or praying by the bedside this will ring true.

Husband and I went this morning to Ikea. As he gets better, he doesn’t just want to sit around the house for 12 hours sleeping, so after the new floor was put in, he ordered a lightweight glass desk and got rid of his big clunky desk collecting lots of cobwebs and dirt. I was thrilled as you know I am a minimalist…and then he said, “I will probably give away some of the books that I have not read….” The shopping trip went well in Ikea and he came home with some tin storage baskets which he is trying to figure out how to attach with a little flashlight as I watered the garden and took care of the hanging plants noting branches collecting on our roof.

In the car on the way home, we talked about salaries of football players and other sports people. I mentioned that I was helping a student with an article read and chose the right answer for an article about Jackie Robinson. The student mentioned “humble” as he did not expect much unlike some of the sports players of today. I related to the husband my story and he immediately mentioned that Tom Brady plays for fun and ‘love of the game.’ He is satisfied with his salary as he is like the 8th or 9th highest paid quarterback and he is also married to supermodel Gisele and she has an estimated worth of around $400 million! And they are Tampa residents! They chose to live here. I think they also may soon have a home in Miami. I am not up on the gossip but then he mentioned another player who signed a contract, and then demanded they hire a coach he wanted. And they didn’t, they hired who they wanted as they thought he was the best choice. They did not appreciate the comments of the quarterback and now the husband mentioned that not many will pick him up. Is it enough that we just do our job as best as we can and try to follow the lead as best as we can. We may not always agree with leadership but perhaps they know something we do not. I certainly would not demand that someone hire someone because of their ethnic background, their zip code, the way they dress or act, they are friends with me or the same gender…I would want the “best fit.”

This leads me to question “why are some so greedy?” If you sign a contract, is your ego so big that you think you can finagle with the contract and manipulate it to your wishes? Hmm….I think back to the middle schooler speaking of Jackie Robinson and his humbled beginnings. He remained true to form and his beginnings of growing up in a home speared and directed by his mother, a single parent. I felt proud of the student for being smart enough to realize this.

Oops, husband just said, “I got it. I figured out the directions” and the metal box from Ikea is inserted correctly. I promise a picture when we are lighter in possessions and thoughts. After the next operation, things should be a little smoother. If you are searching for my husband’s blog, Earth Spins, he is still around and the light is on…just like that commercial, “We will leave the light on for you.”

Thanks for listening.

Seeing the atmosphere and feeling the excitement of Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl is a great feeling. Michael and I watched the Super Bowl together! I am not a big sports person but I was so happy that the Super Bowl was here and our home based team was playing; Michael was feeling better so I pulled up to the futon and the pug and watched.

I even learned a few things about the game of football and the quarterback. Then there was the defensive tackle, etc. And those lines…you know. I have to say the husband was a good sport patiently answering my questions some of which in the middle I zoned out. I never realized how much depends on the quarterback and the lead. Even now, I hesitate to write something which I might strategically pronounce or state the wrong way. I enjoyed though listening to the play by play commentary. My math improved as did a game plan: how to score, I think.

I remembered my father and brothers patiently discussing the stats and making charts. I thought of my husband and his friend discussing the plays, the players, and which player went to which team. And then like the newbie, I also discussed the name of one player which sounded like the name of a player’s mom I taught English to when I first arrived here. It was at the University of Tampa’s language school. No, my husband stated, ‘That is another sport.” This led me to the conversation, ‘I wonder if she still lives here.’ You know, if you are not originally a sports collector of information…your mind wanders in various directions.

We watched the commercials, the half time show and the next day at work, ‘I could not understand why someone kept mentioning ‘My friend got called by the Weekend to audition.’ For some reason, I kept wanting to correct him and asking him, ‘what do you say?’ I goggled it and discovered what he meant.

I guess I will be looking up some sports information and some music information for the next month or so. I might even write a few blogs about it. Have a great week! And the best part was that it ended before 10 p.m. so not too many people missed work the next day because you know…..

I am grateful to still be kicking like the long life battery the end of a long week. Grateful that the husband is getting stronger and using Advil for sleep and pain control after the embolization of his liver. Grateful for his strength and foresight to buy in bulk which makes this time easier, for sure.

I still need to do grocery shopping in addition to other added chores and work but I made it through the week. I am grateful for an administrator who asks, “How my husband is doing?” because in another two weeks, another operation will be underway to remove the remaining tumors on the liver. It is painful to hear my husband recant to his brother over the phone about being awake, tied down during the operation and following the directions of the surgeons as to when to breathe. It is a dangerous operation and leaves one vulnerable. I am grateful for my husband’s pragmatism and hope he has, mostly, passed it along to me.

In the days of healing, I was annoyed at the husband because he pushed the ticket by deciding to have a friend and his helper replace our living room and office floor which was coming up and needed to be replaced. I did not think it was the right time. I went with Michael to the store and we picked out the tile and had it delivered. He was in pain and moving cautiously. His answer, “If not now, when……” I thought the better time would be the summer. In the end, it looks wonderful, and they have one more day before it will be finished. Last night they finished later, and I stayed out doing some grocery shopping and just sitting numbly in front of the library exhausted after a stressful week. I could not go home to face the workmen, a messy displaced objects, etc. I continued texting the husband until they left at 6:00 p.m. I went to bed at 8 p.m. It was a trying week. As for the husband pressing this issue, now that it is near the finale, I agree it will be wonderful but it was challenging to return from a very stressful week to this.

It reminds me of the time my husband pressed for us to buy a home…I did not think the timing was right…I was not sure about living in the area forever and would we be able to afford it….well, he pushed, we did and here we are so many years later. The Super Bowl is in Tampa. I was reminded of it the other day as I was leaving and one of my co-workers wished me a good weekend and then he reminded me of the Super Bowl this Sunday. It seemed like he was almost jumping up and down. I nodded and repeated, “the Super Bowl.” The husband asked me last night, “Was everyone talking about the Super Bowl?”

I remembered, one person was because this is me and sports. But then I figured the husband is getting better all the time! Thanks for listening! Have a great weekend! And then he reminded me this morning that several years after the Kansas City fans came for the Super Bowl, they ended up coming back and living in the Tampa Bay area because they liked the beaches, the people, and the atmosphere. Yeah, things are returning to normal. We just have to be strong and know a little more what to expect for the second operation. But when my husband is talking sports, he is on his way to healing, for sure. As for me, when I talk sports I am speaking the Super Bowl commercials, the music, and the traffic coming this Sunday.

I will still find time for the gym but then again I have a few great new books to read on OverDrive. I must tell you more about them as they take me to new parts of the world, opening my mind, and making this time go faster.

You know, I have been accused of being a “pinger.” I don’t stop and like a rolex, she keeps ticking. I think they might get more dollar amount for a rolex. This is the time I ping…husband is recovering slowly and I have a new appreciation for pain.

My rolex will keep ticking but I probably won’t keep whining over little things as much such as “writer’s block” “going to the gym” or going “grocery shopping.” I will probably still moan over the price of cars and over the things people do or don’t do if they know you aren’t watching them.

To who or whom are we accountable: mostly ourself is the person we hold truce with and shake hands with each day in the mirror. We must be honest like Benjamin Franklin with ourself which is why things get challenging when they keep deciding to replace the face of bills with others, our schedule, or something happens which pulls us out of our record player playing the same music. You can only listen to Donna Summers so much before you need to change the channel…so much drama and queens of melody. I don’t want to be the queen of drama even if I get you to listen…..

So I have been pinging on to a new schedule while the husband recovers. I walk the dog very early and have discovered the school buses come even earlier than expected. I miss some dog walkers because I am up before them so the route is pleasant. I have been streamlining things and going different routes so I have been growing and discovering some interesting things. I won’t confide them but it is kind of like car shopping with my mom years ago.

I returned from teaching English in South Korea after three years. She helped me try to find a car from used car lots. Picture a mom who lived most of her life in New York City and did not have a driver’s license. My father, for some reason, was unavailable or did not want to involve himself. I can still remember speaking to the salesmen and women and traipsing the lots. We ended up buying a car from one of my mother’s retired friends that was in excellent shape, a good price, and allowed me to make my cross country move. We had to discover a lot of duds in those car lots and engage in much trivial pursuit of information which you can only appreciate after you find the one car you buy or when you find out how best to relate to changes gracefully. At this point in my life, I am remembering “grace before pressure” or trying.

However, the medical information, the people information, everything and all the pieces I am learning is like going to the car sale and not knowing some of the basics. I won’t let someone else pick out the car but man, my learning curve is very high and I am pinging. It is not an easy time for either of us but a needed time.

Thanks for listening and all your good wishes. I won’t always mention the husband’s health but we are still pinging along. I might mention books, and some good writers I have discovered… you know…enjoy your weekend! After pinging and the storm, will come some much needed rest.

As my husband faces more surgery for removal of tumors on his liver, I am reminded by this media posted on social media of his strength and resilience. I cannot visit him in the hospital because of Covid precautions. He is Covid free as he was tested and could not go into surgery without himself being Covid-free. Since I work with middle school children, I was relieved to discover he is okay. Needless to say, I went to work today and struggled with being there. I was taken out of my position to substitute for an absent teacher who is not well. Tomorrow someone will sub for me as I wait to pick him up at the hospital.

After work, I shopped for yogurt and soft foods to make him for tomorrow when I pick him up. I wandered the grocery store not really seeing what to buy and not really making a decision. Part of me wanted to make a fresh boiled chicken with chicken stock, carrots and the other said, “a nice omelet.” I couldn’t make a decision just like I thought maybe I should go to work and leave as soon as the phone call came to pick him up but the secretary at the school seemed too confused by a half day, etc. so I went with my gut and put in for a personal day.

The eagle: Fly like the Eagle: we marry in sickness, health, we promise to stand by those we love. I am so proud to have married a veteran and a man I respect. Now, if only the pug would stop whining. We both miss someone who we love.

Thanks for listening.

I know most people have never bothered to read Our Constitution top to bottom, or the Declaration of Independence, or The Federalist Papers, or even the Bill of Rights. They pay more attention to the back of a cereal box than they do to these documents. So here is an exert from THE DOI- —That […]

Declaration Of Independence — The Earth Spins

In 1972, while I was just entering my teens and living in Delaware, my Dad became involved with a local politician trying to make it big time. So involved, he became one of his campaign managers. Delaware had two senators. One was William Roth, a Republican, and the other seat was available. Aiming for this […]

Some memories — The Earth Spins
Under pressure, we bit the bullet and accomplished a few good things this year.
We had to take down the water oak.
Husband directed.
There was a mess but not for long.
The staghorn fern was moved from dead tree to a healthy oak.
Husband planted a black diamond crapemyrtle. I kept the tag so I remembered the name on my office bulletin board.
In between, the pug kept watch over my online teaching and if the students were well-mannered, they had the opportunity to see him.
We heard some surprising news but we didn’t discuss everything within the walls. Sometimes choosing silence when the world seems going in circles.
I went for many walks in the early morning.
The backyard fence had to come down because another oak was not okay.
This one took awhile to come down. We became even more friendly with our neighbor as he let us into his yard and we cleaned the mess.

Michael searched websites for ideas on what to do with the leftover trunk. I found my big concrete frog from the front yard and attached to the trunk where he stands guard.

Time to take a break because when I think of all the things we did this year I am knocked off my feet. To be continued. Oh, and I forgot the two dogs from last summer courtesy of family who in the process of moving needed us to take care of them. They were taken out 3 times a day and lived in cages while pug sniffed them and sometimes watched over them. My most interesting time was when husband helped them move a few things from one state to another and I was left alone with all three but they were great company. No one came near the house without me knowing.
Sometimes the best roller coaster rights are the one you take daily if you come out whole. You always learn something you never knew. Thanks to the bloggers who taught me along the way to laugh at the small stuff and celebrate the good times. I follow a blogger named Rivergirl and liked her format. I don’t think she follows me but I decided to try something new with the format. Thanks for following along .

I reviewed my closet today after we returned from a shopping trip. Do you remember those days growing up when you reviewed your wardrobe before the start of the fall? I do, it usually meant a shopping trip to NYC finding the best bargains. When we returned, we put away summer clothes and retrieved the winter clothes from storage and moth balls. In Florida, we don’t have much of a change of season, so our expectations and shopping habits are different.

It is the same routine: trying on clothes to see if they fit and look okay. The good news is that my clothes fit well. I bought a few new things today finding some good bargains at Belk’s. I found a few clothes I liked at the Goodwill with the tags still on: khakis and Basic Edition from the now defunct KMarts. I liked KMarts and one of my favorite brands was Jacqueline Smith. I don’t know what this says about me but perhaps it reveals my age as I watched Jacqueline Smith alias “Charlie’s Angels.”

I love polka dots even if they are not in style; they remind me of Lord & Taylor’s, New York and my time working there. I know they closed but I enjoyed my first year working a part time sales job, meeting a long time saleslady who offered me a room to rent in her spacious Forest Hills apartment, and watching avidly the buyers run around asking me ‘what did you sell today?’

They had great sales and some of my best buys come from thrift shops/consignment stores and my most comfortable clothes from KMart. I splurge and buy crown & ivy (buy 1, get 1 free)! Shopping is fun and it gives me a spurt of energy as I prepare for Fall. I try on my shoes and keep all of them. Some things just aren’t easy to let go. I try on my earrings notice that my holes in my ear are closed and I have no idea where to go to have someone pierce my ears. I remember seeing on social media that someone mentioned going to a tattoo parlor as they pierce ears, also. That doesn’t interest me too much but I consider it as I try on necklaces to complement some of the blouses I will wear.

In the end, I am still that woman from New York, a bit of a clothes horse, and someone who worked years ago in the garment district enjoying every minute. What I can’t understand is how the mirrors in the store and the mirrors at home reveal different truths…I much prefer my mirrors at home as the pug gives me a quizzical look as I prance in front of the mirror upstaging him.

I also don’t get it how my size in clothing can range from L to XL to XXL and in pants from 10-16 depending on the store brand. At one store I try on clothes in the men’s room of a consignment area as the woman’s side is packed, so I guess we all have the same insight. As I am getting in the car, my husband tells me, “And I was good, I didn’t buy anything. Not even a book.” Uh huh. Enjoy the weekend!

A hurricane is on the way and so we prepare. We will keep an eye on the track of the storm. We are ready with water, generator, lamps, etc. and anything that can come loose in the garden is buckled down. I am using the time to prepare for my online classes which requires checking links, details, etc. and inserting dates. It is tedious at times and I find myself sneaking in breaks to look at WordPress and the news. Taking care of the details with this as with the storm will make the time easier. This morning on my husband’s walk, he met an interesting neighbor who works with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He sets up the lighting and stages events for them and then for several well known musicians. He was mowing his lawn because this is what we do before hurricanes! No kidding. We prepare!

I received an interesting gift in the mail today. I don’t know who it is from but it was addressed to me. It is an bag with the American flag. It was shipped from Iowa. Interesting. There is no note or address in the bag. I went systematically through my memory like a calculator: a long lost member of my family; someone who served with me in the Navy; was it a symbol or something from someone? We are watching the news about the Hurricane and the announcer shortly afterwards began a segment about the beaches in our area. My first thought was we need to visit the beaches more.

Although we are so near by car to the beaches, we don’t go as often as we used to. I thought I love going to the beach and walking. My husband said we should do this more. It is interesting when a hurricane is on the way or your life or routine changes and all of a sudden, you begin thinking more of the things you should do. I also thought I should say hello more often to people I meet while walking. I do say hello to the women more often but maybe I will meet a few writers en route. I also thought that receiving the flag in the mail could be a starting point for an interesting story to write because that is how I think.

We are creatures of habit until something knocks us off course.