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If we build them, someone will buy them was my husband’s comment as we drove South. The houses in the neighborhoods look the same, so when we returned and came past several raggedy areas….I preferred them as they had some character. Since many big businesses are moving to Florida, they are building and houses are selling quickly. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t offer us monies for our home. The next time someone calls, I am tempted to quote a outrageous sum to see if they bite but usually with the robo calls for insurance warranty my mind is on overdrive. And then I still have to answer the phone because I might miss an important phone call and they are not going to text me as mentioned in the latest book by Harlan Coben.

Maybe his friends will, but I am not a big texter. My idea of texting is speaking into the microphone and letting my phone do the work for me. Our house and neighborhood has character. The builders build two similar houses on our street but they are not brick and the landscaping is not the same. We have put a lot of work into the landscaping outside and we know all our neighbors. There is some kind of security which comes with knowing your neighbors watch out for you and knowing a few in the neighborhood as we walk the pug and knowing the shortcuts around town. So even when the builders come just outside our area, we will know how to get round the traffic.

Although the husband did mention a good deal for a foreigner willing to invest a small amount to live somewhere in Italy near the mountains and the ocean. They were searching for people looking to relocate. It sounded like my cup of tea or glass of wine but we need roots here for a few reasons. It is nice to dream and one day we just may vanish to a small place overseas. You never know.

Thanks for listening. Harlan Coben awaits. I want to find out what happens to the boy who grows up in the forest: will they ever discover how he ended up there and now that he is grown up, and there are a few more teenagers who have disappeared-is there a pattern? How will the book end? Running around is finished, and I know what I am making for dinner. Time to relax a bit and enjoy the weekend!

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.