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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Are you lost?”

“Where do you want to go?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening! Have a great weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huh?? No, no, no…

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

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

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

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

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

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

I choose life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for giving us this one!

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

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

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

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

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

Never a dull moment here. Enjoy your weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It has been for real!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anapest Journal “Wishing on Cotton” 2017 (poem)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading. Have a good day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening.

“The heart is the only muscle that never rests.” Today I was at the VA Hospital with my husband waiting for him while he had several pints of blood taken for lab work. Sometimes he has had more than the 4 tubes required, much more. I went with him because I had the day free and wanted to be supportive.

While I waited for him, there was a Vietnam Vet who began a conversation with me. We continued the conversation and I continued wanting to breathe but unable to say much as he shared a story with me of his time in Vietnam and being captured, his escape into the jungle. As he described his captors torturing him with needles, my eyes closed. I prayed inwardly and squashed my emotions not wanting to seem weak. I sensed some people don’t want sympathy but only an ear to listen and perhaps a pen to write the story. The nurse called and he left. Several other veterans came in with Vietnam hats and memorabilia pasted onto their body.

I listened to their conversation traded like trading cards and then I, feeling worried and antsy, about my husband and his upcoming surgery this week to remove several tumors, posed a question, “Who did you vote for?” I needed to know….when I told my husband his jaw dropped as usually I just sit there quietly taking it all in.

“I would have told you it was none of your business.”

Yeah, but somehow I did not think these men would mind and with bated pause, the first one said to me, “Trump.” The others nodded in ascension. I said, “Thank you for telling me.” I smiled and laughed. To me it was interesting that every single vet, all 5 of them of different cultures, had voted for Trump. One Vietnam vet wearing a t-shirt with a tribute to Martin Luther King was praised by the nurse for wearing the shirt this day. Everyone was comfortable with one another and there was no fighting. The true fights had already taken place years ago. Or maybe they learned that when the shoe drops, the war begins and as soldiers they did not want a repeat performance.

My husband came out and the wait was short and I dropped the phone. It made a heavy thud. There was a guy opposite me and his eyes never left my face as he watched me apologize for the loud bang and then quietly pick it up. They had just been discussing PTSD, and this guy told me proudly, “I voted for Trump both times.” Idly, I wondered why the media never prints these stories of the vets for Trump and why they feel that way. Somehow I doubt if many of the reporters have served in Vietnam. The most we can do for history is to remember, so that to the younger generation one day they won’t ask or be fed a tale like some about the Holocaust…it never happened….I want people to feel the same curiosity after meeting these Vets and hearing their stories to look up this war and I want them to pause and wonder about their vote. In other words, it isn’t sexy and it is not a Harlequin novel and not part of the in crowd but for me it tinges my heart and exercises my muscles.

I told him, “I hope your vote counted.” He laughed but I will remember the way his eyes silently watched me pick up the phone. The stories I heard from the first Vietnam Vet were heart breaking. Again, I wondered if I had the stamina and mental discipline to volunteer if I had the time with the vets and not show my emotions.

The heart is the only muscle that never rests. This week is a long one. Thanks for listening.

Note to self: Although the heart never rests, my hips and back are feeling 45 minutes of intense exercise this long weekend and lifting weights. When I have a rough week, I do the physical easily but as always it is the mental and emotional that one must practice daily….here is to a good week.

What is she talking about? Last night I watched “Antique Road Show” about someone bringing in an original Keith Haring painting. Keith Haring was an American artist whose pop-art and graffiti grew out of the New York street culture of the 1980s. According to Wikipedia, much of his work includes sexual allusions that turned into social activism. ‘He achieved this by using sexual images to advocate for safe sex and AIDS awareness.’

I remember New York City and the underground subways of the 80’s because I was there. Well, evidently there was a man there who ripped down a poster by Keith Haring off the subway wall. This is the ARS episode I am watching with interest. The artwork is interesting as I like this type of art.

There is some mystery and intrigue and as always I like shapes, patterns, etc. which are deceptive and which you must figure out by studying closely. There are some layers so you can’t label it by saying, “It is what it is.”

Well, as the commentator continued, with the overall value of the original artwork torn down by his friend from the subway wall, he estimated it to be worth between $30-$60,000 or something like that. My mouth dropped open and I wondered ‘why I had not torn down any signs off the subway station in New York?’ And then I wondered like ‘does it really belong to him? or to the city of New York?

Then I remembered those New York days of the late 80’s struggling to make a living in an expensive city on my own with a few friends, watching my monies, and handling two jobs. Who had time to really read the subway signs? And of course, the man on ARS was like jumping up and down and salivating at the mouth. Evidently, he had the time and inclination to keep the artwork for so many years and bring to ARS.

I was reminded of one of my mom’s friends from the City bringing to the Catskills a beautiful print and a visitor of about 8 years old decided to draw on the signature or to claim as his. It was a limited edition. My parents kept it on the wall accepting gracefully the situation. I enjoy artwork but this led to some interesting dilemma’s and then I wondered amongst the readers if anyone had ever ripped down a piece of artwork or poster that years later increased substantially in value?

In the end, follow the monies to know who is in and who isn’t….sometimes time will tell tales or no tales need apply. That is all, folks! Enjoy the weekend.

Sometimes in my dreams of reverie or halfway between sleep and awake, I am revising my life, day, words. It is weird because I wake up with lots to do and by the evening have totally forget my time of reverie. Usually the times I revere, the next day or the same day depending on how you look at it is very productive.

I just read a blog that the blogger was interested in visiting Abu Dhabi entertainment parks and that did not happen in 2020. I was thinking that if 2020 has been anything like the tv show 20/20: What would you do? she probably in retrospect should be glad she did not go.

I remembered visiting the Abu Dhabi Ferrari Park with my friend, Madonna, an American living for many years in the Middle East. We watched, we thought about it, we put our hands on our hips, contemplated the speed and moved forward to a safer platform. I thought of my father visiting Busch Gardens and saying he only wanted towards the end of his life to ride the roller coaster. I can’t remember whether I did or not or whether he did or not. We were very busy earning a living at the time.

Reverie: it is a French word which I am sure I could research and it would point me towards whimsical delightful feelings, emotions, and places. But the point of reverie and , if it is a ballet term, in my mind, it is. It seems to be a place of instability where you must always been on pointe reaching for the top. Unfortunately, we always wake up and life pushes us over the dredges; people impinge upon our restraints; and we have no choice but to dance as quickly as we can.

And sometimes we laugh, giggling at someone chasing us: Catch me if you can! The best resolution one can fulfil this year: remember to not be caught, enjoy the year, and never let anyone label you. Keep growing, learning, and moving forward. Thanks for listening!

Enjoy 2021! Best wishes for an extraordinary New Year.

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

Declaration Of Independence — The Earth Spins

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

Declaration Of Independence — The Earth Spins

We visited Webster’s flea market and I found my new toy for the start of 2021. It was part of the $1 box. You shake the rattler and the six winning numbers to chose for the lottery come up. I will have some fun using this in a convenience store. The end of the year is so near and we are ready to call it a wrap. What is your routine during these days? Traffic is busier than ever, and I notice some places such as the eye doc is busy, as is the gym starting to have customers return. How long will the New Year’s resolutions last? Should we take bets?

Wrapping things up, so we can start a new year. One thing I have learned this past year is that I have about as much control over the future as the randomly chosen numbers in this little lottery shaker toy I bought. For a $1, it was a great buy! I also learned this past year that I am not a gambler. Despite my family’s predilection for gambling on various items; my father with the market, and family members with horse races, sports scores, etc. I am not willing to lose that much. I think of my grandfather losing a bit during the Depression and I just can’t bet it all. I learned from my mom to trust my intuition and that despite everything, luck is involved with so many aspects of life. However, good common sense gets you through the uncertainty. With my husband, the retired analyst I have learned patterns of numbers and patterns in life which repeat often or where to look for a pattern. But then again, I am not betting the family farm on patterns.

It has been an interesting year. And that is why this random toy I picked up will be near my desk as a reminder of everything outside of my control. Sometimes one gets lucky with choices and sometimes things happen, despite our plans. We must learn more to go with the flow as best we can and welcome 2021. I will be keeping a written journal in my little red book and next year, I will be curious to see how we all weathered the changes and how things stand. So, clean up your messes before the end of year, de-clutter, get caught up, but stay flexible ready to deal with patterns unexpected popping up.

What are your last minute things to do before the New Year begins? Do you have any traditions or things you have to finish before the New Year? I like to go through my paperwork and shoes trying to consistently have smaller numbers but my pattern is such that I visibly feel as if I am losing a numbered amount on a bank account based in the Caymans. The other day, I donated an old pocketbook to a thrift store…an alligator purse I picked up on sale in Saint Augustine. I checked the pockets 5 times before donating it the shop along with a pair of leather DKNY boots which no longer fit me. As the man behind the desk watched me with disinterest, “Yes, we accept donations” and I rummaged through the boots also to make sure I had not hid anything in the sole and then reluctantly handed them to him.

Why is it so hard to break free of patterns? If I ever write a book about a missing person, I will most likely find him or her by following their pattern. But this is another blog. Enjoy your day!

The Christmas Project of which I am so proud of: framing my husband’s print from the race he participated in years ago in Honolulu. He finished in the top 10 percent for his age group! I want him to stay motivated, so I took it out of storage and had it framed.

This also inspired husband to remark we need to repaint. The overall winner was from Kenya.
This room is also home to the bookcase husband build from a photo I showed him, our books, and his shadow box.
My closet which holds 15 pairs of shoes and more books. We need to repaint this, also.
A clever way to hide away a map of Old Tampa Bay and our water cooler from “Cupcake Cache.”
Memo that we have this tree planted in our front yard.

Husband’s photo from time in Hawaii. An old photo of me enjoying my 20’s! Photo of husband and I. Need to update.

This is my office. The pocketbook portfolio holds my writing which I am prepared to attack finally this afternoon.
My bulletin boards and my school bag nearby. There is room for an old Swedish futon which is room for company for the family. There is also a tv above the desk just in case I get bored of writing. I guess it is a he/she room functioning for both of us. I am most proud of finally getting the picture framed as it was hidden in a closet for many years.

I never tire of hearing this song, lyrics or none…each time I hear it, I reach for it like an old comfortable blanket soothing the soul.

Chris Martin, the band’s frontman, stated that the idea behind the album is Frida Kahlo’s strength to face hardships and still celebrate life. I found this under “7 songs inspired by some of the most iconic paintings in the history of art.” Her last painting which she completed shortly before she died is a still life with watermelons. Personal tragedy including medical complications led to her right leg being amputated below her knee. The watermelon is a popular symbol in the holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which depicts watermelons being eaten by the dead or shown in close conjunction with the dead.

There are so many layers deep to the words of the song and the cadence that I find myself returning to it for inspiration, fortitude, and when I need more patience as I hear the melody soothing the beast ready to roar…not 2021, yet.

Dear Santa,

For my Christmas goodwill this year, I wanted to post a critique about “Secret Angel of God: The Captive Clairvoyant” written by Eileen Slovak. I discovered her blog Over Forty Witticisms’ and enjoyed her writing, so I clicked on the Amazon link and bought her book.

I always admire those who finish a project they start as their efforts are deeply within a kindred spirit. I hope to finish my book but I have a few challenges along the way. So this is a tribute to a blogger who finished her book. The book has an unusual theme with enough mystique and mention of clairvoyance for me to be intrigued. I enjoyed the book because it is unusual and not one which follows the same old formulas.

So, I hope some bloggers will check out her book and her blog. Thanks for listening. My good deed is checked. I now must attend to my own procrastination and try to finish my book. Have a wonderful holiday! And an even better new year to all who find themselves at a dead note waiting for the next chord….a new year is on the way. If not now, when?

Regards,

Cupcake Cache

I am enjoying my time off! The days are crisp and clear walking the pug in the morning and there is joy in knowing I have time to myself to read, shop, and if I so desire, write. I haven’t had much desire to finish a short story or write poetry. My mind is clearly in the present.

The other day, I was in a thrift shop I like discussing a pocketbook with a woman in her 70’s. It was on sale half price. She was feisty and I realized that I could count on her to give a honest opinion, so I asked her about a brand new pair of pants marked down from $78 to $20. We aren’t allowed to use the dressing room because of COVID restrictions. It was a size 12 but looked very small with narrow hips. I am a size 10 but it didn’t seem as if it would fit me. She confirmed me by looking me up and down, “That might be a girl’s size. This will not fit you.”

I told her, “Thanks. You didn’t hurt my feelings,” and we laughed. There was a young man in his early 30’s listening near by and he kept glancing over at our discussion as we discussed our preference for pocketbooks and she told me, “Your pocketbook is very pretty but not big enough for me.” This led to a new conversation about “where we were from,” and we continued discussing all aspects of pocketbooks which led into other reins of conversation. I saw him blink and smile as if “wow, women really can bond over discussion of a pocketbook?”

I guess men might bond at Home Depot or over a couple of shots at the bar. I don’t know. Whatever.

I have learned that you can’t really tell much about people by viewing them from the outside. Going for my Christmas pedicure treat to myself, I started a conversation with a woman the same age as I who looked very tired and was sitting in my seat. I thought she might be down on her luck. As we talked, I learned that she and her husband were in the process of moving to the Appalachian mountains; she had a good job and was getting ready to retire; they had just sold their home in a very nice area of town; she came to the beauty school all the time because the prices were good and the service was excellent.

It was! I went because I was also checking out their services on hair style and color. I said to her, “I might get a hair cut here.” She looked intently at my hair, and said, “Yes, when was the last time you had your hair cut?” I smiled, and said, “This past week.” I realized that my favorite hairdresser had given me a nouveau style cut which appears to be feathered, different lengths, and seems as if I did not get my hair cut? Hmm…but I decided to leave this for another day. I had been at a 7 a.m. dentist appointment, light Christmas shopping for a new 2020 calendar and it was time to head home.

All I had to do to leave the COVID blues was leave the house, speak to a few people, and I slept very well last night. Thanks for listening!

If women gave birth to cars…drive the jaguar home. I found this thought on the internet. You know, it is world-wide, so many of us have the same thoughts. Today the husband and I were walking around the golf course on the other side of the street and we met an old customer from our store “Cupcake Cache.” She and her husband greeted us and we caught up quickly. As we walked around the hilly golf course noticing the beautiful and unique houses nearby the site of Billy Graham’s decision to become a preacher, the hills are where the coyotes have been spotted. I spotted a lone black cat parading along the golf course warily eyeing the terrain.

We don’t know what the new year will promise. I am grateful my husband is still here with me continuing his treatments with the VA and I am grateful that I will return after the New Year to my job, again. One more time, nothing is promised in this world, but it is nice when several things come through. Speaking of giving birth to cars, we passed my favorite car, a new Volvo in the parking lot of the country club. It is on my wish list one day, but it will be an older version we will eventually need to purchase. I like Volvos because they are a) Swedish like me b) the car my brother was driving many decades ago when we crashed into an oil tanker which did not stop at a 3-way crossing. All three of us survived which was a miracle and explains why years later, I am still terrified of crossings and someone else driving. We can’t change the past but sometimes the longer we live, the more we can find out why we are the way we are. And sometimes we don’t want anyone to tell us. I asked my husband today, “Am I old-fashioned, do you think?”

Wisely he said, “I don’t need to answer that or want to talk about that right now.” Smart move. I feel like a different person treating myself to a new hair do called “balayage.” The funny part is that the bold colors make me a strawberry blonde and I am more of an ash blonde type. After the hairdresser finished, I stared unwaverly at myself, “I don’t think this is what I wanted.” So three hours later, she streaked certain high lights and I left still feeling increasingly unsure of my hair. I listened to the conversation next to me of a customer wanting “purple highlights” but unable to have them because of the workplace. I wondered “Am I old-fashioned?” The young lady who did my balayage was in her 20’s and I am sure she felt it was perfect. I tipped her well and left thinking, “Will anyone notice?” Yeah, they did and I am sure the folks will at work or a few will. I decided to try something new and not be old fashioned and so, I did. It will only last 3 months or so, right. I realized that the young lady and I had a totally different expectation of “hairstyle” but don’t we all follow our own recipe each year. I know she felt that she did an excellent job! And for all I know, her interpretation was spot on. The old fashioned part of me did not want to connect to the businesses wifi and no magazines in the store. Next time, I will bring a picture.

We did not put up a Christmas tree or stockings this year but we mailed gifts to our family members. I also bought a present for my husband that I have been wanting to get him for a very long time. It is part of a project and I took that project out of the closet and finished something for him. Just like the cobwebs or the never ending strings, I needed to tie this up. I also send an interesting reminder of my father’s chess games he played with my brother’s son to my nephew. I hope he will understand the analogy to his gift.

I don’t always make things clear but yet I am lucky enough this year to be surrounded by people presented in my life who make things absolutely clear and for that, thank you.

Happy Holidays! I see some changes. The Volvo is not on the doorstep but my new strawberry blonde do is out there. Perhaps she was spot on with her interpretation but inside I still am an ash blonde.

if he loves you

carry your pocketbook if you need a free hand

get sanitary pads for you from whichever store is open…..

hold on to your pocketbook while you try on shoes….

he will note the small things you like even if they are a little crazy: your pork rinds need a touch of mayonnaise on them…

he will learn “hummus is actually a thing….” and it is best found in Middle Eastern stores

you will also do for him….

wait in a line at 4 a.m. for the special sale (equipment) or ask crazy questions at Home Depot while entertaining the sales people….

tag along to a sports game if it is not your thing….

listen to stories of before you met when he was in the military doing codes and introduce you to all of his badges

meet his buddies….listen to the stories…

and make him enjoy listening every once in awhile to opera, Amy Winehouse, an oldie, some classical

while he plays AC DC, and rocks on…

It is all in the spirit of the holidays and making memories.

And sometimes you find the perfect balance and place to agree…

They might be “blue herons” but there is always someone in line somewhere in Florida on Black Friday. I took these pictures after doing some early Christmas shopping for a few people. The most interesting conversation was with the 20-something sales lady who mentioned missing “getting up to shop for Black Friday at 4 a.m. with her mom and sisters and then going out for breakfast.”

I remember waiting on line at 4 a.m. clutching a bag of golf clubs one year. Who can forget also getting up early for markets in South Korea as the first shopper gets the deal.

Why do we choose certain things to write about? I was contemplating recently in my hiding place just outside the garage door. There is a narrow piece of territory where the sun shines and I call “mine.” Dibbs on planting sunflowers, a shed in the background, and a small blue collapsible chair. The sun beats me into quiet submission as I observe the birds flying above. First, I hear a plane and as my eyes lazily watch the speck until it disappears beyond the clouds, I see the birds circling following one another and some circling back as if this is a favorite route.

Why do they choose the route above the house? Why do writers choose topics? I think of the writer on WordPress who writes about the possibility of having hot sexual encounters with another dog walker in a park and then continues like a record playing “repeat” the sexual encounters. It is obviously something she craves or maybe needs, like  attention. Many of us remember the 20’s, 30’s as this type of hot and heavy and then we moved into more committed established relationships with one person. Most hopefully.

What do I choose to write about? Like the pattern the birds follow, I choose often ethereal topics like characters following superstitious beliefs or people who are avid bitten gamblers, loners, sometimes pursuing things because of a sixth sense about something or someone. They follow without reason because they have no choice but to do so. My characters are often build around memories of my brothers, friends, and my interesting family. I have a brother I use often his character in my books. For now, he is lost to me and I don’t have any idea where he is. They say it is hard to lose someone but sometimes I dream of meeting him again. There might be a reason he does not want to be found. I might write a book about this. This is my style and that is most likely why I enjoy reading Jack Reacher’s adventures. Because for me, he is the ultimate cowboy without roots saving those randomly without reason, those who don’t know they need a hand.

Perhaps my sixth sense is telling me something. Thanks for listening. Until the next break, Christmas. And to my brother, if you are listening I love you.

Thank you for your submission to The Stray Branch. I accept, “The Spirit is Willing” for publication in the Fall/Winter 2021 issue.
Sincerely,
Debbie Berk

Dear Ms. Berk, 

I am submitting my short story of 1000 words for possible publication in “The Stray Branch.” As always, I like stories with unusual endings and tales of special powers. 

I reside in Florida which lends itself to the unusual or often those with stories to tell. I hope you will enjoy reading my short story. The concept of being able to travel by imagining yourself in other places is one that has always sparked my interest as the thought of one person in a family losing a superpower and another person picking up the power in another realm. 
Attached in my short story “The Spirit is Willing”. Thank you for your consideration. 

Regards, 

To tell the truth, I am not a person who sits still easily, my husband will tell you. Perhaps it is a by product of growing up in the Catskill Mountains on a farm in the middle of the woods. My parents were city people who moved long before it was a popular thing to do. We always had something to do. As a teenager, my mom would leave me notes instructing me how to make dinner, or heat up things. My dad would expect me to weed the garden boxes with vegetables. They were always busy as we owned a business and my dad had a full time job, also. My brothers were older and left the house as soon as they could. I often had time alone and was responsible at a very early age.

We did have a pool and 14 acres, a beautiful barn (2), and a beautiful location until my father sold as I graduated, moved out, and taxes continued to climb for New York state.

So, I have 9 days off from my in person job but my online job is still “on.” I do have Conferences, correcting papers, a lesson plan that I am teaching with a resource person about mythology when I return…she asked me to prepare the lesson. I am trying to not have thoughts of my students, plans to interest them overwhelm my thoughts. It takes a few days to make my mind blank and then I rush around trying to shove in everything I am missing like exercise at the health club, enjoy the garden, walk the pug, a bike ride, some fun shopping, should I get my hair cut, new meals to try….and then I begin throwing away some plans, doing some plans, and voicing my thoughts to my husband.

I realize it won’t always be like this. After January, the teacher I am replacing will return, so I don’t have to keep track of everything and try to leave it all together and in good shape for him. About two weeks ago, I replaced a plastic apple full of pins and paper clips with chocolate from my Halloween treats for the students. I used books with the class that had not been used in ages and the resource person became involved. She asked me about my plans for January and I told her “I don’t know.”

I do realize that what I wrote on the black board “Hail Mary” and something about ‘The Cardinals Hitting One” doesn’t have to be a blog. Although sports is a foreign language to me, as is Spanish, I don’t have to know the answer today. It is a time for a break, so I will continue reading the latest Jack Reacher on my kindle, dusting a few corners, enjoying the gym, maybe a coffee with my friend, Ms. D. if she is up to it, talk of a future vacation with my husband, and enjoy being in the home and the garden, sitting in the sun, just learning to be.

Enjoy your week, everyone!

Sometimes I wonder what the end goal is for other people? If you are writing that you feel sorry and sympathy for teenagers or children in trouble, why not become a guardian ad litem?

If you write posing in a picture without a bra asking for a money donation, why not find a job or a friend if you need attention.

If you left Portland, Oregon because of the crazy politics and you voted in some crazies and you now live in Podunk, I don’t need to read your crazy liberalities. Check out the candidate you voted for very carefully.

If you don’t like someone, so what…in the end it is the policies or the actions we vote for. I know that I don’t want to be wearing masks for another year and for small businesses to go under. I don’t want to see hypocrites in action.

I want real. In other words, I want everyone who needs something to do it instead of whining. And if you plan on coming to my state and taking advantage of a few things, remember to give back because those who don’t think ahead might have to prepare for a rude awakening. If your taxes increase and you can’t sell your home. Apartment rents are too high, I don’t want to hear about the second job you are forced to take because you did not anticipate the end goal of some.

Thanks for listening. And I don’t want to hear anymore about masks, donations for coffee, etc. get a job, vote in the best person, and move forward.

The other day we were at Ollie’s and I picked up a couple of men’s casual t-shirts for workout clothes and to wear around the house. It occurred to me that men’s clothes seem to last longer than women’s do. I picked up a couple of t-shirts at Target and they eventually (6 months later) became cleaning rags. I did not care for the v-neck, etc. and the material ripped.

Ollie’s is like a big discount store where I can buy my Columbian keurig, pick up sole savers for my gym sneakers, and find a few odd items. I couldn’t find the coconut oil for my almond fat bombs, so while I went to one line, husband went next door to the Dollar General.

I was pleased to find find a 15-pack of slimfast keto meal shake to go for $8. A steal! I bought 2. Husband found a book which I will probably read also. I like these days when one has time to meander around a store, sleep in the mornings, and stay up later watching Rockin’ 1000 full concert at Stade de France, Paris 2019. We both agreed we liked the conductor the best!

What was nice to see was everyone getting along and to read some of the comments. We stayed up way past our bedtime. Tomorrow is Monday, a busy week! Enjoy.

I was even able to release a few clothes into the bin of let go’s which is something I have trouble doing. I bought new ankle socks for my workout, and got rid of some of the old ones. I cleaned out my drawers. I have two closetfuls of clothing. Asking myself, “Do I really need to keep a top I had made in the Middle East while teaching there?”

“Will I really wear it here?” Challenging questions to answer this morning, more so even than will I fit into the size 8 pants again? Don’t get me started on shoes. Thanks for listening!

This is why I comb the plants carefully. The wasp’s nest.
Requiring some interesting maneuvering to spray and then take a photo.
After Hurricane Eta left the house, the gecko found this house.
He or she found their way in, and now will find a way out.
Lots of rain and heavy winds last night. No watering needed.
The frog keeping watch. No trees blew down. A few heavy branches did.
Pond husband build to catch water. Full of pebbles and water evaporated.
The cherry tree keeps growing with lots of rain, looks healthy.
A good window on the world.

Husband blew the driveway clean with a blower. A woman went by while I was online with my Conference to the adult students and peered in with her three dogs looking at our clean driveway at 8:45 a.m. I mentioned it to my husband smiling, and he said, “Maybe I should buy a shirt which reads, ‘This is Mike, husband of Eve, and then it should say, who is that man, Eve’s man.”

Always entertaining…between hurricane Eta and the clean up. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Husband and I went to one of the remaining flea markets in the Tampa Bay area recently. The building and property have been sold and there was one vendor left with a few excellent deals.

He sold me a clear plastic bag which can be used at a sports event, for a lunch box, or as an airline take on bag. I bought some strong hanging line for a project for my classroom. He sold me these two items and a third for $5. I was happy!

Wandering around the dust bowl, checking out various items is something I like to do. Husband was checking out a few items on this own wondering if we could use a few things. I found these and I could not give them up. There were like 20 or more in a small bag and I thought I know I can use them especially when he told me $5 for everything.

What do you think they are for? I went home and researched them and it seems they might be ties for camping, fishing, boating, but I figured at that price I will find a use for them….

And if I have to keep it for awhile as an investment, I have the time and it looks as if the world is all in knots right now, so I will figure it out! Give us until the next 4 years and most of us will have it all figured out.

Have a great week everyone!

I admire Kayleigh McEnany. I see glimpses of her, her husband and her baby at press conferences. I like how her husband is supportive of her and how they are a team and how the crowd respects her.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds her first press conference Friday in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House.

I like how she gets down to living calmly taking the questions posed by the rabid reporters, often hostile, and then leaves the stage. In particular, I like how she took her baby from her husband, hugged the child and left the stage. She is a cool customer getting on with living.

I was more amazed to know that she is from Tampa. Answering questions from the press and communicating the president’s decisions to the public is a job she embraces. I was not surprised to learn that she has a degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from Harvard. She attended the Academy of Holy Names, a private Catholic preparatory school in Tampa. Many of us are familiar with the beautiful campus located near Bayshore Boulevard. After graduating, she majored in international politics at Georgetown’s University School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2016.

As you watch her on camera answering questions, one would assume that anyone who has the ability to think so quickly on her feet and retain information quickly has an impressive background. She is married to Sean Gilmartin, a pitcher in major league baseball. He joined the Tampa Bay Rays in February 2020 as a relief pitcher.

Tampa is still her home and they own a house on Davis Island. I am proud to know that she is a Tampa Bay native. Thanks for listening.

What do I read after long days at a middle school?

Interesting question.

The Art of War-because I can and it gives me strategies dealing with new things and a whole slew of new attitudes. How to confuse someone entirely does not escape me easily.

Walk in the path defined by rule, and accommodate yourself to the enemy until you can fight a decisive battle.

My interpretation: these students know their school well and how to get around a few rules. Observe carefully until you can plan best how to intercede and get the work done.

I have found a new author I enjoy: Linwood Barclay: Fear the Worst and Never Look Away.

Good intrigue and pure escapism. My favorite show last season was not renewed: Bless this Mess! I do enjoy The Neighborhood!

There was a waiting list for a book about MS-13 and I am reading this now. It is interesting. I am not sure why they keep blaming the politics of the United States for gang activity but I will keep reading and forgive their bias.

Sometimes you just observe, stay quiet, and move on. Thanks for listening. Enjoy your weekend!

One of my lesson plans from the book was about “Lincoln’s Funeral.” Although I realize everything has its place, I have a few challenges getting the attention of 8th graders, so I read over the sample in the book, researched a few things on google and decided to go with something else. I found a lesson plan about social media and decided that with a few PowerPoints I had from teaching in the past that I would be able to use this article and perhaps interest the class more with this lesson.

I realized that when you have challenges being interested in the funeral sermon for Abraham Lincoln that it is a good indicator to look deeper. “Self-Driving Cars”and an excerpt from Fahrenheit 451 along with a few lessons about using the active vs. passive might be something we can take on.

In between, I gave them a fortune cookie to open and read aloud. Sometimes you just have to look for inspiration outside of the book.

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

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

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

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

Half the fun of picking out treasures of books is going to the place. So recently I read that our public library was offering the opportunity “Read or Reject” for books to be delivered to you. “Your perfect book match is waiting for you.”

Personalized book recommendations delivered to your door! Wow! At first, I was like, “Ooh, the new Jack Reacher novel and what about the latest by Lisa Unger…”In other words, you tell them your reading interests and they pick out the books for you. Kind of like an online shopper or picker experience…wow…I thought of all the books I have gathered and all the information they might have on record about me and my weird taste in reading everything from books about crime to gangs to…whatever.

It is the same when I go in to a store to pick out clothes. I love the experience and love to feel the material, watch the salespeople out of the corner of my eyes as I wander and wait for a serendipity. I am not the person they are looking for in this experiment or project. I like to leave the house and find my own books. It is nice they can be delivered by mail and then I return them to the library letting them know if I accept or reject their picks. I once made a funny comment about the librarian giving a second look at my book choices. I don’t know if I want them to tell me what my taste is. What if they put me in a database somewhere? And then someone says, ‘Wait a minute, didn’t she go to the Middle East and visit Israel, hmm…” She is different. Yeah, whatever.

Part of pleasure is going in person to the location. I like going to my favorite library en route to my health club. It is not the best location and there is a policeman on duty but I kind of like it. I like the choice of books and I like the eccentricity of the patrons in the area. I know my car is safe because there is a police person on duty. They are all very friendly and the writer in me muses about a few patrons online. One day, I see a professional sifting through his email and through records or databases. Perhaps he is a bondsman or a criminal attorney. Who knows? Maybe a detective trying to find the latest address of someone.

I do know that I like getting out and being there in person. Just like I miss having the ability to try on clothes and use the dressing rooms. Yes, it is easier to have someone else pick out things for you and tell you what you like or don’t like but that has never been me and never will be I.

Thanks for listening.

When never the twain should meet…completely…you know I am an organizer, right. I like to have only what I can use in front of me. I like getting to the bare bones in the cupboard and with my clothes. I hold on to them until I lose the few pounds or notice I am not wearing them any longer.

My husband is the opposite: he stocks which helped us with toilet paper and towels these Covid time-especially last March when there was a shortage. The refrigerator and freezer are stocked with meats, usually but lately my husband is adapting my way of buying. We buy when we need. I listen to him talk about the shortage of items including large jars of peanut butter. I mentioned the concern to the Save-a-lot registrar and she looked at me like I was tripping. She was delightful which is nice to find, someone happy while working at the cash register of a discount grocery story. She had a great attitude, so I will probably stop by there again.

Anyway, when the husband leaves the house for his appointments with the VA this morning, after an unplanned walk in the area holding my small weights, I went through and rearranged a few things including taking stock of our groceries and planning a few meals. We take turns cooking now that I am home more. Again, my creativity lies in the fact that I will use those bamboo shoots for something as the bourbon chicken sauce package and the frozen peas. I will not want to go for more groceries or more items until I find a way to use them.

I think it might have to do with my background growing up in the Catskills about 5 miles outside of town. My mom, a city girl born and raised in Queens, NY was very creative with finding rides, walking, and just making do with groceries with our family. So I adapt and make do with what we have despite the fact that I can easily walk to Publix, Save-a-lot or a convenience store. I know not everybody wants “Little House on the Prairie” about. I know I can make some people freaked out by my need to have less and make do with what I have. Some appreciate it, like my last administrator. I think he appreciated that the room temporarily moved into until the regular teacher returned was clean and organized. However, I don’t think that another supervisor liked the fact that I got rid of most of the retired teacher’s stuff in an elementary classroom about a decade ago including old copies of gossip magazines. I can still remember her sputtering, ‘what, what are you doing with those books?” as if old textbooks from the 90’s were going to be used some time soon. Grammar does not change although I do have a certain kinship with a few grammar books like Eats, Shoots, and Leaves if only because of the title.

So not everyone is enthused about Laura Ingall’s Wilder characters but I know some appreciate my need to control or clean up my environment. My mom when she was ill liked me cleaning up the small home they lived in on the Gulf; however, I can understand a busy mom might find me taxing. Anyway, for me less is more because I have to be creative and figure out the best way to use it and then go forward. It might be having parents who remembered the Depression and believed it would happen again.

This could be why I find it stressful that now a 3rd shot is recommended for Covid. When will it end or will we just have to keep purchasing another shot every 6 months to update our protection ? I think of those easier days growing up and walking to the top of the steep hill in the mountains, looking out over the range, and feeling a combination of the characters from Laura Ingalls Wilder books…I was a little bit Jo, Megan, Amy…I was not going to live forever in the mountains but the memories of their life would bring me strength as I moved forward and lived in cities.

They were resourceful characters and with each step I climbed, I felt their strength and purpose. Thanks for reading!