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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is that what they call a poker face?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And my favorite, found on an Army poster:

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

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

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

We were eight.

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

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

Now we are nine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I got the big D

I got the big D

I got the big D

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

East side of the Garden Project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening. Make your week count!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening!

Internet Sleuth needed

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

Inside is a tag “Made in China.”

Who send it to me? I give up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening! Enjoy the rest of the week!

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the rest of the week!

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.

In the days leading up to 2022, it is always nice to take some by surprise and why do sports phrases seem to say it all….something to think about. As a last resort, I think of my mom praying to Saint Jude when myself or my brother, James did something crazy like shooting the rapids, or taking the ferry from Greece to Israel working on a kibbutz. And it worked, we came back. To my brother, James, and to those who keep shooting the odds-I wish you a Hail Mary dunk for 2022. Thanks for listening!