Archives for posts with tag: family

Yesterday was a good day for us! We went to Belk’s Dept. Store and used our discount coupon to buy a few shirts for the husband, a top for me, and some other things. I love going to Belks. Since we were in the area, I also bought a set of paper trays for $10! It was a great deal and barely used. I found it on Facebook Marketplace. She sold me 3 perfectly fitted letter trays for $10.

However, getting the seller to commit was challenging for this $10 deal which is why perhaps it was still online a month later. I was finally able to commit and make it to her home and buy! I was delighted but had to pass several hoops to get the deal, or so it seemed.

Anyway, then after Belks where the saleslady gave us so many discounts that we saved $153, we went to Dunkin’ Doughnuts and I was able to try the Pumpkin Cold Brew which was delicious and the bagel doughnut holes with cream cheese which were good with all spices on them. Honestly, the customer service lady asked so many questions that I am just glad to get what I wanted. And to top it all off, they were playing Coldplay’s Viva La Vida. https://vimeo.com/549051961

The husband said, “You’re buying as you have the monies.” Because I was carrying the $$$ in my pocketbook.

Seriously, I asked myself does it get any better than this? Now, you know why I love Dunkin’ Doughnuts as they play Coldplay. We also had a view of the lake and the birds circling outside. Quiet and peaceful. Then we came home, tried on our clothes, husband watched the Virginia Tech game and I putzed around in the garden watering the plants, filling the fountain for the birds, and enjoying the cooler air as the temperature is 84 degrees.

This is what Fall looks like in Florida. How was your Saturday?

I found this old posting from when social media was the rage and we were current. I remembered how lucky we were. I am getting ready to return to work next week and like most teachers I have a corner or two set aside in our home with things to hang up, cleaning supplies, and papers to hand out. I have spend a few weeks using my laminator, having posters blown up, and making copies along with plans. I have learned that it is best to have some kind of plan but anticipate most plans fall short. Then, you must improvise and adapt. There will be a new school which has retained me in a VE/ESOL push in/pull out position; so, there is that. I interviewed over the summer and was happy to land the position. I am a little anxious working at getting my body and mind in shape for the next couple of weeks. The chair yoga and a visit to the acupuncturist helped with the hip pain. I had to remind myself last night of the many good things which came with new knowledge, new experiences and new serendipities. So, I posted this. See below. Thanks for reading and have a good weekend. Thanks also for allowing me by this blog to ‘scrape the peas off my plate’, so I move forward.

July 29, 2015

This is Michael’s posting on his facebook. I copied it because I know I seemed slightly hysterical the last week without him and running the store and without a car but this is what has been going on. And if you need to get checked out, do!

I am out of the hospital finally, My recovery will be slow, and Hope it is all over.

This is what happened and it is worth the read, because God walked into our house last month, sat on the couch, and told me something needed to be fixed. I know this to be true because of a single phone call.

It was the VA hospital, and they wanted to know if I was interested in becoming a part of a new procedure being tested that would replace the need for colonoscopies. I was 6 years into my 10 year cycle and in no rush to get one I did not need, but they explained that I was over 50, and over 5 years since my last. I said okay, let’s do this. Turns out I was part of the control group and would be getting the “old” kind, not the new “take a pill” kind. So they set it up for two weeks away.

Came the day of the procedure, and all went well. Woke up in recovery, was discharged and went home. No sooner had we closed the door than the phone started to ring off the hook. More than once. They had “found” something. They would not say what, just that it needed a re-look. Okay. Let’s re-look.

I was given little information about what, but was scheduled very quickly for a surgical consult. What? Who said anything about surgery? Well, as it turns out, a bunch of doctors had. I figured I would wait until my consult to find out the details, discuss with Eve our options, and make a decision based on the information they provided. Wrong.

My consult was not really a consult, because I was not being consulted. The Doc explained the details, and sent me to the lab. Then the neurologist, then an anesthesiologist, and the head nurse, then the cardiologist….you get the picture. This was more like prep than a consult. And it was. When I asked the doc when we could decide, she looked at me and said that was going in Wednesday. Period.

From what I could gather, it turns out there was some little cells that were misbehaving and looking to do some ugly damage to the area where my colon meets my small intestine (there is some valve there), and although they were not being aggressive cells, they would at some point go looking for a good time. So, they took out the valve and a bunch of colon (a foot) to isolate and eliminate the threat and the doc said it is less than a 3% chance of becoming anything more.

Now, if I had not gotten the call, or opted to not participate, or come up on the “pill” side of the test, it would have been YEARS before they would have scheduled me, and no telling the damage, but I am guessing that I would have had little chance of this going away on its own.

Only God can put that many variable in play and have it work out for me.

Update: Husband is around being treated successfully because the cancer was discovered. Store is closed but we have been through some trying times and survived. We are still here, still together moving forward.

The husband bought a few lottery tickets-as we got up this morning, I asked him, ‘where did you buy them?’ He told me, ‘the gas station on the corner.’

‘Oh, we never have luck there.’

‘It’s all random.’

I kind of believed it. Kismet though is not a number. It turns out we did hit 3 of the numbers and on a separate line one of the multipliers, so we won $12 back from the $20 spent. I thought it was pretty amazing to match 3 of the numbers!!

There is no winner for the jackpot and the pot today was $487.9 million. That is an obscene amount of dollars to control. I hope the person, people or corporation who win it (as many are buying the store) know how to spend it responsibly. If you can, as I guess common sense might be frittered away after you pay off the necessities.

It is a beautiful day out there. I am reading a good book which is part of a series: Rachel Hatch written by L.T. Ryan and Brian Shea. I am on book 2: Downburst. She is kind of like a female Jack Reacher who takes me on a good voyage and out of my line of comfort, , kind of like if I won the jackpot. Although to read her requires no advisors (financial) of any sort, just imagination. Reading series now is something I am enjoying. Perhaps I am reminded of summers years ago reading all the Nancy Drew Series and then Chronicles of Narnia.

Our side yard is easier to handle. The side yard was a mess. Unfortunately, no before pics. Mother in laws tongue (See photo below frog) Snake plant or Mother-in-laws tongue (Sansevieria Trifasciata) Origin: West Africa: toxic to cats and dogs. We planted one when we first arrived believing it would be a good plant to protect the small window before we were recognized as being in a popular area. It grew, grew and was a mess to weed after I planted cactus. The husband attacked it one day last week and this is what we put in. Thank you, thank you! That was an ugly but needed job.

Hostas: manageable and no weeding. My frog moved from backyard to front.

Kismet: noun, often capitalized. Arabic roots. Synonyms include: fortune, fate, lot, circumstance, destiny.

I do believe in a little kismet but I believe more that no one is going to give me the monies today and I will most likely not win the monies ( a fortune) as many are in the race, also. If I do, it is kismet; meant to be and I will most likely be hiding somewhere nice, with a martini and a chef nearby thanking ‘kismet.’ And I will take my husband with me, maybe a few friends or family to enjoy the ride will know my location in hiding. It will be most likely a mountain, near the ocean, lots of books nearby. That is all I am going to say or maybe I will stay ‘hiding in plain sight’ and keep on going in our neighborhood. It is fun to write fiction, isn’t it?

Until then, we keep on trekking, pulling weeds, taking care of the details, as the summer nears the end. Enjoy!

When my father came to live with us the last years of his life, he told me ‘I want to ride the roller coaster’ indicating Busch Gardens. I would grimace and think, ‘hmmmm…’ My husband was not eager to ride the roller coaster, either. This week, my husband’s brother stayed for the week becoming more familiar with both of us and the area. He loved it but he expressed no desire to ride the roller coaster or go to Busch Gardens.

We visited the new pier in Saint Petersburgh and did some walking.
Although it looks cool, it was hard to find a breeze. When we could, we took the trolley or gulf cart.
We did some walking and touring of old Northeast and ate seafood including smoked fish, shrimp kebabs and scallops. He was introduced to our state pie: key lime.

We spend lots of time talking and he loved our garden. I was happy he made the visit. I thought of my dad the first day and remembered during the time he came that we were very busy attending graduate school and working two jobs. I can’t say for sure if I took the dare and rode the roller coaster with him but in my dreams, I did. I accepted the challenge, and I can visualize strapping myself in the car and then screaming as the car danced slowly up the steep hill and then rushed to the bottom with me screaming and my father laughing.

I thought, ‘yeah, my dad the risktaker and I wondered if he wasn’t sending me a message he learned early growing up in New York ‘Take the ride. Accept the risk. Strap yourself in and open your eyes. Scream, as needed.’ I like to think I took that last ride with him but I am not sure if I just blanked it out because the times were so busy and the road was so steep.

And that is what family does for you. Makes you think. And sometimes, they make you appreciate more what you have.

I saw a quote the other day, “If you are afraid, you are on the right path.” I wrote it down as it seemed like something I needed to remember all those times I feel afraid. To treat fear as something to be embraced because it teaches us and we adapt. To break a big job into smaller components-and look fear in the eyes.

Walking into new situations, like the beginning of a new school year, a new class, or a new school, trying out a new health club, finding directions in the middle of rush hour traffic, getting lost temporarily. Being afraid to take a small risk, feeling penned in, adapting ‘all or nothing’ mindset. My husband and I play the slot machine at the Seminole Casino differently. He has a system and plays systematically never varying often from his bet while I analyze the situation looking for the corner machine and then returning to one I am comfortable with after I take in all the photos and the new added memorabilia of the Hard Rock Casino area. I peruse the menus, the people, view the hard bitten and the ones there for entertainment. When I play the machine, I begin small but then I take bigger risks and play all lines finally anting up $1.00 on one bet on a Nickle machine with a bet of 20 lines. The mathematics of it seem logical but I know it is luck meeting patience. We come with a small set amount and when it is gone, we leave. We are here for the entertainment.

In the car, we spoke of our different styles. I hope to win big and play randomly switching numbers, pressing buttons, etc. Michael is the systematic player and often he hits. When I hit, I hit big (sometimes) but so has he. I don’t like to be systematic. I want to see it is chance, opportunity. As I view the crowd around me, I notice the interesting characters. We speak briefly of my brother and how we might find him in the poker room as he is skilled with this. I think of James Holzhauer, his poker face, and his “all in” gesture. We acknowledge there is a difference between a skilled poker player and someone just playing or pushing the button. I argue vehemently that with my random system, I might hit very big, one day. We have different styles but we appreciate the other’s style. Usually we don’t sit together, so we can’t comment on the other’s style and jinx them. Different styles, different comments. He tells me he has spend $20 and is up to $60. I text back, “Where are we going to spend it?” I take my time and leisurely sit down but my monies go quicker as my bets are bigger. Pure entertainment.

It is still a good morning out. Best deal of the day though was a small tucked away bookstore: garden book, cozy mystery, Tom Clancy’s Commander-in-chief for a total of 4.50-with a .50 cents tip. A family café tucked away in the same non-descript plaza, a little run down but the café was beautiful inside. Hot, hot day and now it will rain, so it was a great day to be out and about. Summertime.

Interesting story: I thought of changing my introduction to my blog. My husband said, “I don’t want you to forget about cancer and push it aside. It is important to remember.” A lot has changed since we closed in 2015. I have been published in a few more places including “The Writing Disorder” for “Listening to the Voice”; “Spillwords” for “Laughing Africa” and “The Stray Branch” for “The Spirit is Willing.” I was nominated by Spillwords for ‘writer of the month.’ Why was I thinking of changing? Because life has changed and we are still going strong. In the end, I decided to keep what I had. I remember every time I have messed with something already set up including writing, I seem to go ‘one step forward and two steps back.’

We are a small husband/wife gourmet cupcake place. Our inspiration comes from our eclectic background. I taught in Abu Dhabi for one year and spent time visiting cupcake spots with character. Mike has trained with an award winning culinary arts team and had the honor of working with James Beard prior to his time as an Intelligence Analyst travelling through the Middle East, Horn of Africa, and Asia with the United States Army. His MBA certainly helps us with the small business arena. My mom won awards for her down home cooking. I read cookbooks for fun and grew us in a small business arena in the heart of the Catskill Mountains. My family owned the local “gertrude’s” ice cream shop. My current background is as an English/ESOL Instructor. Prior to that, I worked in Merchandising in the Garment District and held other jobs including a manager of a bookstore in Orange Beach, Alabama. We try to do one thing and do it well. Come visit. (Update) Our store closed last December  (2015) after Michael was diagnosed with cancer. It was caught early and hopefully it will stay in remission. We cut back on our hours and eventually we followed the doctor’s recommendation for a life with less stress and closed our store. I still love writing, and teaching English, so you’ll see me around and I hope you will continue reading the blog. With the store closed, I found more time to write and was able to get published. I am now a published writer on Amazon, so if you google me, the publications will come up. Michael and I are enjoying a life with less stress and finding more time to get some important things done like enjoying down time. You haven’t heard the last of us! Published writer of fiction/non-fiction and poetry: The Bella Online Literary Review; “Down in the Dirt” magazine v 144 (April 2017); “The Horror Zine” Summer 2017 hardback; “Mused Literary Review” (2017) and “The Stray Branch.” (Fall/winter 2017) We found out this past July 2017 that his cancer has returned but the VA has a plan for his cancer which has now metastasized in his small intestine stage 4. Stay with me for the journey as friends who listen are appreciated.

Thank you for listening.

Update: I am trying to publish a book of fiction and in the process of looking for a publisher I sometimes feel the need to change a few things. I am hopeful to find a good editor and publisher for my fictional story. What I have learned is that family and friends don’t always want to edit, so there is that….I have been busy working but during the summer, I have send out query letters to a few literary agents and publishers. I appreciate my husband’s words to me last night. He asked me if I had read the latest “Reader’s Digest” and he quoted: “There is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor. The arts are subjective….It’s like a song or an album is made and it almost has a radar to find the person when they need it most.” -Jon Batiste, Musician, At the 64th Annual Grammy Awards

‘Ain’t that the truth?” and so the beat continues…..We shall see….I wrote in response to another blogger’s comments that most questions, real questions, can be answered by yes or no. Are we still alive? Yes. Answering beyond that required more thought and research as to why some people get cancer, etc. but for for now I am happy to say, “Yes” we are still going strong. Both of us. Thank you for reading.

Another blogger asked this recently and if the definition of ‘love’ had changed. I replied that ‘I thought with each new decade and culture, love changes.’ Then, I found an old memo I kept and decided to repost because so much is true. Sometimes I have felt guilty and awkward about having separate interests but what Paul Newman said still rings true. Perhaps the best of ‘love’ is fluid and mercurial but it is the solidness which you remember. The longer you have been a couple, you realize this. Just as I have come to realize that sometimes silence between couples is not a bad thing-when you feel comfortable enough to say nothing.

Paul Newman

“I’ve repeatedly said that for people with as little in common as Joanne and myself, we have an uncommonly good marriage. We are actors. We make pictures and that’s about all we have in common. Maybe that’s enough …

“Husbands and wives should have separate interests, cultivate different sets of friends and not impose on the other. …You can’t spend a lifetime breathing down each other’s necks.”

Marilyn Monroe

“Experts on romance say for a happy marriage there has to be more than a passionate love. For a lasting union, they insist, there must be a genuine liking for each other. Which, in my book, is a good definition for friendship.”

Sylvester Stallone

“Love is absolute loyalty. People fade, looks fade, but loyalty never fades. You can depend so much on certain people, you can set your watch by them. And that’s love, even if it doesn’t seem very exciting.”

Billie Holiday

“Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was sixteen and I was three.”

Socrates

“My advice to you is get married: If you find a good wife, you’ll be happy; if not, you’ll become a philosopher.”

Elizabeth Taylor

“My mother says I didn’t open my eyes for eight days after I was born, but when I did, the first thing I saw was an engagement ring. I was hooked.”

Alfred Hitchcock

“The ideal husband understands every word his wife doesn’t say.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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