coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Friday, December 22, 2023

Eating our way towards tolerance.

I'm baking, but not cookies. Nope, NOT making cookies. I made a couple loaves of braided cheese and onion bread, and I just finished rolling up some Hungarian kolache. I am waiting for it to proof. 

Kolache shouldn't be confused with Polish kolacky, those are cookies. A kolache is a sweet bread filled with sweetened ground walnuts (or poppyseeds). It is rolled like a Swiss roll, but a Swiss roll is made out of sponge cake. Kolache has an odd yeasted dough almost like an enriched pie crust with milk, sugar and egg yolks added. A number of Eastern European countries seem to have a version of it with a different name.  

I am also marinading beef for Sauerbraten, which Tom and I will eat Christmas evening with spaetzle and red cabbage on the side. Our dinner is long after our daughter's family goes home on Christmas day. They come at noon for a good old Southern brunch with eggs, bacon, biscuits and sausage gravy.  

Last night we ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant. 

This is America. The great melting pot starts in the kitchen.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Love Gifts

When I was a young wife and mother, my grandmother was poor as a church mouse, but she once slipped me $20 so my cranky grandpa couldn't see. She whispered that it was a love gift. Times were hard. I needed that $20 as much as I needed her love. That loving sacrifice made an impression.

Independent of being a mother and a grandmother, I am a doting aunt and great-aunt, and by the grace of a random universe, we are also great-grandparents. 

Last year I mailed 6 packages to our young great-grand children, great-nieces and nephews. I actually used a hand truck dolly to carry them all in to the post office. This year I only have three to mail, because I ordered some presents to be delivered directly to a few young children in our lives. 

None of our presents are expensive. Young children don't judge presents based on money spent. They get excited to get a package in the mail. I simply want these children to grow up knowing they have two old farts living in Florida who love them. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

A St. Nicholas Day dream.

Last night I dreamt I was going someplace with a friend. I stood outside by the car waiting for her to come out of the house. She walked out and I heard her say, “Go away!” to something I couldn't see. Then, from around the back of the house, a decorated bull with large horns came rushing towards me. It hit me in the chest, and everything went black. I woke up. 

But get this, it was decorated like a Hindu sacred cow. The only thing it had in mind was to slam into my chest. Why? If it was real I would say it is simply a bull's nature. However, it was a dream, and I'm of the opinion dreams are our unconscious mind trying to tell us something super freaking obscure.

Today is December 6th, St. Nicholas Day. As a child, I put my shoes by the front door the night before, and lo and behold they were filled with candy, nuts, and fruit the next morning. St. Nicholas had visited our house while we slept!

My mother's grandparents were from Lorraine, France. This is a tradition that has been maintained in my family. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of Lorraine, and popular in Germany and Austria. 

Krampus is part of that medieval tradition, too. He is a companion of St. Nicholas. They represent a duality, good and evil. Good behavior is rewarded, and bad behavior is punished. Very effective message.

Because I have both a ridiculous sense of humor and a wild imagination, I think I was visited by Krampus last night. Darn!

Monday, November 27, 2023

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Thanksgiving 2023

I'm trying to get into the right frame of mind for Thanksgiving, you know, the state where I want to clean and cook. It's getting late, so it better happen soon. Thankfully my husband cleans, and he's always game to make the turkey and mashed potatoes. I don't think I have ever made a turkey. I'm spoiled rotten.  

I would like to experiment with wild side dishes, but our daughter and her family have food issues. Our daughter has gluten issues that will make her sick in bed if I use wheat flour. Grandson N has a milk protein allergy and will spend his evening in the bathroom if I'm not careful. He's also extremely picky because so many foods have made him sick in the past. Granddaughter E is the foodie, but even she doesn't like onions. Neither does her father. I want ALL of us to be happy on Thanksgiving. 

I make two stuffings, one gluten free. I sauté onions and celery blended to high heaven with turkey broth before I bake this GF one. The other is made with cornbread and includes apples, pecans, onions, celery and mushrooms. Guess which one I eat? Gravy is made with gluten free flour, and it turns out just fine. I use cold water instead of milk. Tom and I are the only ones who will eat the cranberry sauce or the sweet potatoes. Everyone likes green beans. Butter doesn't have milk protein in it, so there's plenty of butter in or on everything. 

Grandson N will eat chicken nuggets and separately roasted potatoes. Don't judge me, he's my grandson and I'll make him whatever he wants. You be you. I'll be me.

Make me say it: I make fresh green beans for some, green bean casserole (with gluten free cream of mushroom soup and crispy onions) for others.  

Our daughter is in charge of dessert. She's a good baker, and sees it as her lot in life to adapt wheat based recipes to gluten free.Whatever she makes will be super damn yummy. 

In my mind, Thanksgiving is the best meal of the year. For all who celebrate, enjoy!

Last year's meal. Oh gee, I need to run to the store for
red beets, and apples to make applesauce. Aaaack. 
Granddaughter E LOVES red beets.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Metaphysical woo woo

I often think of my paternal Grandma. I love her beyond words. Well, maybe I'm being dramatic. I could probably describe how much I love her in any number of ways. 

I could write a litany to describe her. I like litanies, especially the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A litany drills you right down to the core of an archetype. Words of power and images of faith. After an invocation was read by the priest, the congregation would reply in unison the following supplication: "Pray for us!" If you could pay attention long enough, it was magical. Not much different than a Babylonian prayer to Ishtar.

Those old fathers of the church really knew what they were doing on a deep psychological level. In addition, the BVM litany gave you an indulgence of 7 years off your time in Limbo! But I digress. Grandma.  

She was Protestant to my Catholic. Raised Southern Baptist, she became Pentecostal in middle-age. She could talk in the language of the angels if the spirit moved her. I was scared of her church and only went with her once. You may think pre-Vatican II Catholicism was metaphysical woo woo, but that's only because you never went to Grandma's church. Still, she believed. Her life wasn't easy and it got her through a lot.

I never told her I lost my faith. How could I?

The nuns said non-Catholics wouldn't go to heaven. They told us lots of crazy stuff, trying to make sure we'd never think for ourselves. That's how I knew religious dogma was purposely manipulative, because my Grandma was the holiest person I ever met. If Grandma couldn't go to heaven, then there must not be a heaven. 

To be fair, Pentecostals believe Catholics are a cult and will burn in hell. With 7 Catholic grandchildren, I wonder what Grandma thought about that? 

A Mother Goddess if I ever saw one!

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Awash but not completely submerged

I was awash with feelings this past week, having spent a few days with a three people I love very much. They are three people I don't often spend time with. When I say "awash" I mean I was covered in emotional goo. 

My husband and I live a quiet life. Being with more than one person over the course of a few days is kind of overwhelming for me. I find myself practically dissociating at times. When I have used up every ounce of my energy reserves, I need to rest. Fully overwhelmed I might hallucinate, talk in tongues, overeat, and drive badly. Stone sober, I might accidentally drive the wrong way on a one way street.  

That didn't happen this time. Well, okay, I did drive the wrong way down a divided entrance/exit to an apartment complex. But it was dark and I was in unfamiliar territory. It was a short entranceway. That could have happened to anyone.  

After a few days of intense social interactions, I am running on empty. Sometimes rest is not an option and I must keep going. Then I trust that if I just go through the motions, one movement will lead me to another.  It works.  

Monday, October 30, 2023

Sea of Joy

My favorite blogger has done it again. Tone Deaf inspired me to write a post. 

I started commenting on his blog a few years ago. Okay, I don't really know how long ago it was. Does it matter?

Robbie may be as old as Methuselah, you know, 969 years old. He is scary honest, and starkly opinionated. There is no one else like him. Consequently, I had to force myself to overcome my trepidation when I first commented on his blog. I expected to be ridiculed and outed as a hack. Sometimes that happens, but mostly I learn a lot. Most of his comments on my or other blogs make me laugh out loud.  

He writes about many things, just about anything really. Sometimes he writes about aging without apology or fear. When the spirit moves him, he doesn't hold back. He probably wouldn't anthropomorphize the creative spirit. But I will.

He wrote today about the various restrictions aging has imposed over time. That was interesting, but then he included imagination in that lot, which gave me pause. 

Now this post becomes about me, because that pause turned me inward. I'm hoping the creative imagination is the last to leave. Coy as she is, withholding, and then bam! A Muse holds us close to her heart and the words flow.  

I think creativity is an act of faith.  Surrender.  Blind Faith.  Sea of Joy.

Just following my Muse where she takes me.  

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Halloween approaching

I bought a pumpkin, but I can't put it outside or the Florida heat will make it rot.  So it is sitting in my dining room until Halloween.  Sometimes I buy two so that both Tom and I get a chance to carve one.  I don't think I will this year.  I'm not all that interested.  

Our granddaughter was home from college last weekend, so I got two small pumpkins for her and her brother.  I thought they might like to paint them, but they insisted on carving.  They turned out pretty cute.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Making a change

I am taking a break from wine. I don't know if it is permanent. Probably not. I just know I haven't had anything wine all week.  

A friend of mine went to an Ayahuasca ceremony a few months ago. She came back reporting she had a good trip, but the message she got was that alcohol is poison. I'm not going to go that far, but I heard what she said and I know what she meant.  

I will order a drink or a beer if I go out to dinner, or I am with friends. But at home, I'm not drinking. What I find is that my anxiety levels have been reduced to almost nothing. I wake up happy, and have energy to do things throughout the day. 

Let's see how long this lasts.

Sunday, October 1, 2023


Well, that was rough, going to a funeral for a 32 year old man. Death is always hard, but when a young person with so much to live for dies, the loss delivers a particularly potent punch.  

Birth, death, and all the living happening in between. It's all so very odd, isn't it? We all come from nothingness and eventually turn back into the same. Is dying simply one's "time?" Or is it just random cruelty? I surely don't know.

Then, almost immediately after a significant loss, there becomes a new normal. A normal without them. It isn't fair, it always sucks, and it is never okay. 

Saturday, September 23, 2023

I can't think of a title for this

I've been sick with a sinus infection all week. I called the doctor on Monday, but couldn't get an appointment so they set me up with a nurse practitioner for a video appointment. She said as soon as she got off she'd call in a prescription for me to my local pharmacy. Instead, she called it in to my mail order provider. It's Saturday, and it still hasn't arrived from the mail order place.  

I called on Tuesday to let the nurse practitioner know the pharmacy hadn't received her order. She fessed up to her mistake and said she'd call it in to the local place. Yesterday (Friday), the local pharmacy finally texted me that it was ready. I picked them up. Today the mail order pills will arrive. When it rains it pours.

I'm very low energy and feel like crap. Tomorrow Tom and I fly to Indiana for a family funeral. A really freaking sad one, by the way, for a 32 year old husband and father of 2 young children. He was my niece's husband. It makes my sinuses ache just to think about what's ahead.  

I'll see family members I haven't seen in years over the course of two days. I will run the gamut of emotions.  Actually, it will seem more like running the gauntlet. Families are tough!

There may be a hurricane off the East Coast right now, but there is no wind propelling my sails. I'm just going through the motions for the people I love. For my niece and her little ones. For all the nieces and nephews and in-laws of her generation who are dealing with peer loss for the first time. For my siblings and in-laws who are triggered by the memories of similar losses, and extreme familial love. For the kind of love that wrestles you to the ground. My heart is broken.  

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Card tricks and magnets

Our grandson N is in middle school now.  He's rarely silly anymore, darn it.  A couple months ago he stopped hugging me hello or goodbye. I knew it would happen eventually, but I didn't see it coming so soon. Darn! I never had a boy child, so male growing pains are new to me. It's quite interesting.  

He came over alone the other day to make cookies. He swaggered in and took over the kitchen. He likes to cook, and has created his own special cookie recipe. The cookies are good, too. He started right in, not needing my advice or help in any way, shape, or form.  

When the cookies were done, he played with magnets for a while, and then wanted to go home. We couldn't take him right then. I needed to find something to entertain him with for one more hour, so I brought out a deck of cards.

At first he entertained me with card tricks. Then he built card structures. I was afraid it wouldn't go well and he'd be annoyed, but no! He successfully build a small structure and he was both surprised and pleased. Finally, we settled down to a game of War. Grandpa even joined in. It was like turning back the clock, back to those old days when the three of us were the best of friends. We laughed, slapped the cards down, and teased each other. Honestly, it was the best time I'd had in weeks.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Update on Car

We took the car to another mechanic for that second opinion and I'm so glad we did. 

The second opinion guy has his own shop. He is a big, burly biker with a red beard halfway down his chest. His head is shaved, and he has tattoos. When we lived in NYS we knew lots of interesting people simply because we lived there so long. Retired in Central Florida, not so much. I was thrilled. 

He checked the car out and replaced the back brake pads, telling us the front pads still seem okay and probably would last for another 10,000 miles. He joked that might take two years since our 2015 Subaru currently only has 38,000 miles on it.  

He said the only other thing they found was that the struts are starting to wear out. Although that's a $1400 expense, he said it wasn't life threatening and we could wait on it.  So with the inspection, break pads and an oil change it came to a little over $400.

Now we have a unique and colorful local mechanic we like and trust.  He laughs at our jokes. It doesn't get much better than that.  

Friday, September 1, 2023

The end of August 2023

 I took these pictures when it was still August.  

Red Canna Lily

Brown eyed Susan

Crape Myrtle


Canna with banana leaf


White Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise


Dwarf Poinciana

The Super Blue Moon 30Aug2023

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Repair Estimate Limbo

Aaack!  I'm a bit traumatized by taking my car in for a look see. They ran a diagnostic and came up with 12 things they wanted to do for a total of $2,928.96.  

The interaction with service people is automated. I received a boiler plate text from"Service Advisor" Blaine, telling me to click on a link to get the estimate. I did. Holy cow! As my eyes were rolling towards the back of my head, I was supposed to click on what I wanted done. 

My husband said to check the two cheapest things, replacing a couple of filters, because If I paid more that $89 for repairs they wouldn't charged me the $89 for the diagnostic. Fast thinking, Tom! We could then get a second opinion on the rest.  

Still, I wanted to talk to Blaine to determine how critical he thought the expensive things were. I immediately called and had to leave a message for him to return my call. He never did. The next day I sent him 2 texts and tried to call but no one answered. The third day I sent an email, and then tried calling again. Another service person answered and said "Blaine" was busy with a customer. I urged him to get Blaine anyway, as I wanted my car back. The service person returned and told me Blaine said I could come and get the car.

When we went there, I was finally able to speak to Blaine. He was super nice, smarmy almost, and obviously feeling guilty. He admitted nothing on that list was critical. What the heck?  

We are taking the car in elsewhere (with no advance information about the first estimate) on Friday. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Salesmen, sheesh!

We've been having issues with our old sliding glass door, to the point where we haven't been able to open it. We thought maybe it was time to replace it? Tom arranged for two companies to come and give us quotes. I try to avoid salespeople if I can. In fact, I make Tom answer the door because 9 times out of 10 it IS a salesperson.  

The first salesman talked non-stop for an hour. I couldn't believe it! I was on my computer in another room while he yammered on and on to Tom. Finally, I couldn't take it any longer. I went in, sat down across from him and looked deep into his eyes. He stopped talking. Good thing because I'm adept at interrupting motor mouthed men. 

I was going to use my best old lady smile and say all friendly like "Darn, you sure talk a lot!" But my superpower was not needed because he clearly didn't want to talk to me. He got busy "figuring" and gave us a quote of $6,700. After Tom told him it was too much, he then came down to $5,500. As if!

The second salesman was more straight forward. He was here less than 15 minutes and gave us a quote of $3,800. Better, maybe even almost fair - it included a $675 permit required.  The first salesman's quote did not. Still, a mind-blowing amount for retired folks on a fixed income. 

Next, Tom called a repairman. The guy was here for less than an hour replacing this and that. Our angel-with-a-truck fixed that door as good as new for $200. You should have seen Tom's happy face when he came in to get the checkbook from me.  

Tomorrow we are taking our car in to get fixed. Can we get lucky two days in a row? Probably not, but for today I'm a happy old lady with a very real, big smile.

Friday, August 18, 2023


Living conditions were not hard for my mother's family during the Great Depression. The family was large, but Grandpa's job as a railroad inspector was steady. Their lifestyle was comfortable, though simple by modern standards. Their house was close the railroad tracks, so depression-era hoboes (jobless and homeless men who rode the rails) would often stop by their house looking for a handout. Some would ask for food, others would ask if they could chop wood or wash windows in exchange for food. 

In those days, the hoboes had their own written sign language that they used to leave messages for others who were "riding the rails". They would mark or draw the signs on telephone polls and light posts. One particular mark was used to signify if a house was a good place to get a bite to eat. 

Once my grandparents went out and left the children in the care of an older sibling. They heard a knock at the door, and when they looked out the window, they saw what my mother described as "a large, hairy man", a hobo with long hair and a long scraggly beard. When he realized the children were home alone he laughed out loud and attempted to come in through the door. My mother ran into the kitchen and grabbed the first thing she could find, an iron skillet. She ran back to the front room, brandishing the skillet in her upraised arm and chased the intruder back out the door and off the porch. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

We remember what we lived

I was sitting at the breakfast table one Saturday morning with my mother and my brother, Freddie. I'm not sure of the year, but it would have been between 1965 and 1967. We were concerned because my father had not come home the night before.  We didn't know what to expect.

He busted in as we were eating breakfast, like a force of nature. It took my breath away. He pushed open the door and stumbled in to the kitchen, bruised and bleeding from his nose and ears.  It was quite an entrance.  My Mom took one look at him and said “I guess someone really worked you over good.”  He snarled back, “You’d like that, wouldn’t you!”  As he headed up stairs to sleep it off he ordered, “Go out and check the trunk for a body.”  

I am not kidding, this is exactly what he said.  My Mom and brother went out to check the car trunk.  There was nothing in it.  Dad had been in a barroom brawl the night before, helping the bar owner (a friend and neighbor) get rid of some thugs who were menacing the bar.  Dad suffered a concussion and had passed out in his parked car afterwards. He could not remember the outcome of the fight, but it must have been a doozy. 

No, he didn't go to the doctor.   

Life is so strange, sometimes it's best to laugh.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Do some really like it hot?

This morning when I checked at 8:39 am, it was already 83 degrees F (a little over 28 degrees C), with 97% humidity.  Right now (12:36 pm) it is 93 with 60% humidity, but the high is supposed to be 96.  Real feel is 103.  You all know what I'm talking about, it's been the hottest summer in memory all over.  

I realize it is even hotter in other places.  I care.  

I know I have a brand new heat pump system that is keeping the inside of my house at a relatively cool 78 degrees. We have a pool. We're lucky and I am so very grateful for those luxuries.  

Still and all, it's hot, and it's going to get worse. Is this how we're all going to end our climate ruined lives and planet, burning up in the freaking heat? 

Here's a thought, instead of buying flowers for a birthday or death, consider donating to an organization that plants trees in areas deforested by fires. Any other ideas?

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Keeping warm in the 1950s

In 1949, my parents moved out of my paternal grandparent’s house in South Bend, Indiana, where they had lived since my father returned from WWII. They moved to a post-World War II housing development for young veteran’s families on what were then the outskirts of the city’s west side, between the Studebaker and Bendix industrial complexes. South Bend was an industrial town back then, a company town, and these were two of the biggest employers. Our house was a small, 2 bedroom, wood-frame house with a breezeway connecting the house and the one car garage. As more children arrived, my parents eventually turned the breezeway into a third bedroom. 

We had a coal burning furnace throughout the 1950s. I'm relying on my memory here, which is always a crap shoot, but I remember it as large and imposing. In my mind's eye it is taller than my father. The furnace lived in the middle of the basement, and I could see the red hot coals when my parents fed it. We had cast iron pokers and shovels, and scoops my parents used to replenish the coal. 

There was a small room in the basement that we called the coal bin. Up at ground level there was an opening big enough for a coal chute door that was opened from the outside for the "coal man" to deliver the coal from a truck once a year. When that happened, it was loud, dirty, and disruptive of normal routine. Of course that was very exciting for young children! 

A world away now. Funny the things that come to mind as we age. 


Friday, July 28, 2023

Two cantankerous old friends

I know anger, only too well. It is the death of the spirit, like burning in Hell. It also feels pretty good at times, quite seductive. I indulge from time to time.  Some of my best posts have been about anger.

Rigidity, that's a harder nut to crack. I've lived a pretty open and unpredictable life, railing against convention more often than not.  I don't understand a rigid adherence to social norms. I'm not putting it down, I just don't I see the world that way.  

I have a friend who is as different from me as could be. She is extremely private and conforms to all sorts of "rules." I struggle to understand boundaries. I drive her crazy. We bicker. I try to respect her boundaries and the way she lives her life. I'm not going to lie, sometimes I fail.  She doesn't hold back, she's honest and direct and I admire that. If she was passive aggressive, I wouldn't have found her interesting. We often tease each other and try to wind each other up. Our shared friends don't really know what to think. Sometimes they laugh, sometimes they step away.  

I would miss her unique perspective if we stopped being friends. I would miss the bickering, if truth be told. I've learned a lot about myself by trying to understand our differences. I think we are both better people for accepting each other for who we really are. Plus, there are plenty of things we agree on and relate to each other over.

I'm pretty sure writing about her is against "the rules." However, I have no fear that she will see this and get mad at me, only because she won't see it. Years ago when I started writing this blog I asked her to read it. She told me she only reads things that have been written by professional writers and published. I laughed. I have a somewhat different perspective on blog writing. That's just the way we are.  

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Dressing up

We went to our grandson's wedding in Louisville, KY last weekend. You know, the wedding I searched so hard to find the right dress for. Sadly, the red dress didn't look good on me. Instead I found a teal colored dress to wear to the rehearsal dinner.  I wore a blue dress for the wedding and reception.  

I was a bit sad I couldn't realize my fantasy with the red dress, I put so much time and effort into finding it. Still, it looked terrible on me. Try as I might, I couldn't muster up enough denial to make myself wear it. The other two dresses were better, and I felt like I looked reasonably good in them. No, I'm not sharing pictures of myself. I didn't look THAT good.  

I wore jewelry, a bit of eye make up, lipstick, new pointy shoes, and even shape-wear, for crying out loud. I had a bit of trouble walking even in short heels, but I managed. I have the blisters to prove it.  

Wonderful wedding, by the way.  

Monday, June 26, 2023


The rainy season is here. It's hot, humid, and wet in Central Florida. It's been raining the past couple of weeks, so the ground is mushy. Up north we would not have mowed our lawn in such a state, but down here we must.  

The sun came out the other day, and although the forecast projected about a 40 - 50% chance of rain for the rest of the day, we went out early to mow. The grass and weeds were SO high. Tom mows and I edge. I use a Black and Decker string trimmer that runs on a rechargeable battery. It's not the best, but it's good enough for me. I wish I had a gas-driven metal blade trimmer because they are so cool; however, they are worse for the environment. Plus, they are lethal and I don't want to cut my toes off.  

When it is wet and mushy, the string kicks up mud as I slice and dice our wayward grass. I am often splattered with mud at the end, all the way up to my sunglasses. It's kind of thrilling.  

We already need to mow again

Friday, June 23, 2023

Can you love when you don't like?

I received the following comment on my last post: "I have no idea what the participle "loved" means in this context."  

Good question. Here's my answer:

It's love, rather than loved. I feel love for my Dad currently. He's dead, but I'm not. I put myself first. 

What is love in this context? A deep caring? An ancestral connection?  An ineffable feeling that can't be fully erased? I don't know.  

Before I forgave him I was angry, burning in Hell kind of angry. Consequently, his actions continued to hurt me. I was a victim. That made me more angry. There came a time when I understood that in order stop being a victim, I had to let go of my anger and leave him behind. It seemed like the best thing I could do for myself.  

Forgiveness doesn't mean I think he's a great guy. It doesn't mean I accept his brutality as a good thing. Forgiveness means I stepped away and left his meanness with him. Sometimes forgiveness is the meanest sucker punch of all. You know, "yeah I have some bruises, but you should see the other guy."

It wasn't being hit that messed me up. The real damage was the feeling that I was unimportant, unloved, and somehow at fault or deserving of such treatment. In fact, his actions were never about me. I was an innocent kid in the wrong place at the wrong time.  

Once I detached, I could see that he was a sad, pathetic person. I left him and his problems behind me. I no longer expected to have a good father. There was only ever going to be him. He had his own story, and his own father. 

It's not a happy, feel good kind of love I feel for him. I'm sad for him, but that's not it. I know his story, his own tortured childhood. I know his father once beat him so badly his mother didn't know if he'd live through the night. No hospital, no calling the police, just the resigned maternal vigil.  

Having said all this, I do believe there are some "sins of the father" that are unforgivable. Thankfully, he was no worse than mean and brutal.  

I don't like him, but that's not an absence of love.  

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Oh well

When I was little I was a Daddy's girl. I adored him. Unfortunately, he changed from a loving father to a scary alcoholic when I was about 6. Yeah, it was super confusing.  

He was disabled in a motorcycle accident when I was 15. He never drank again, but that didn't make me want to spend time with him. I was too used to staying under his radar; some habits are hard to break. If I called the house to talk to my mother and he answered the phone, I hung up. If he was in the living room when I visited, I stayed in the kitchen. I avoided him as best I could. 

I do feel love for my father. I have long since forgiven him. I understood violence was his weakness, not mine. I left the sin with the sinner, but forgiveness doesn't mean we could have a relationship. Emotionally, I walked away. I never had any desire to be around him. That dog don't hunt, as the cliche goes.  

I'm not writing this for consolation. This is just the way it was. Don't worry, I've had lots of therapy.  

Friday, June 9, 2023

Waking up

I remember waking early to an alarm, jumping up half asleep to start a day that was rarely mine.  Nowadays that alarm only goes off when we have to take an early flight, which rarely happens.

I get a thrill out of staying in bed after I wake up.  I doze, I try to remember my dreams, I think about people.  I feel gloriously self-indulgent staying in bed.  

I also try to make room for the cat, who wants me up, not because he needs food.  My husband, an early riser, gets up hours before I do.  Murray the cat has already been fed and has been outside.  He just thinks he can determine the schedule for his humans.  

It's no use fighting with him.  He is big, orange, and has claws and sharp teeth.  Plus, he's relentlessly cute.  

Here's a video of him saying hello to my friend, Judy:

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Window to the soul

I have my mother's eyes. They are small and slant upwards, and as I age my eyelids droop. Just like Mom. I also have her mouth, and her body type. My nose is more like my father's. Parents, family, DNA; it's all so interesting.  

Who do you look like?

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Where have all the heroes gone?

From 2016 through 2020, the U.S. was a hotbed of women warriors fighting the good fight. Caught off guard by that traumatic 2016 loss, there was an awakening of women's political consciousness. We worked hard over the next few years to ensure Trump only had one term, and to elect a new generation of progressive leaders. Florida was no exception. Women (and men, too, of course) spent heroic amounts of time involved in political actions. It was a beautiful thing. 

In 2018, it seemed we might flip Florida "blue" (i.e., Democrat). Andrew Gillum was a progressive leader. Honestly, it really seemed like we were going to win the 2018 governor election. We only lost by 1/2 of 1% of the votes cast, about 32,400 votes of the 8.1 million votes cast. 

In 2022, the Florida Democrats ran a former Republican governor, Charlie Crist, who had switched sides to run in 2014, although he lost then. For obvious reasons he seemed like a safer candidate, a moderate who might be able to win in Florida. But he didn't, he lost to Desantis by 19.4%, or 1,507,897 votes of the 7.8 million votes cast. 

Many women warriors have left Florida since 2022. Some moved their families to states where the educational system wasn't threatened. I watch them go, reading their hopeful posts on Facebook. I get it, especially for those who have school aged children, trans children, or children of color. I wish them the best.  

When I first moved here there were more registered Democrats than Republicans.  Here's how it stands now.  Keep in mind that research tells us that the NPA votes are pretty evenly split between liberal and conservative.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Reflecting on Florida and Disney World

I like my Florida retiree life, but I realize Florida is creepy. Republicans have dominated the state senate, house, and governorship for about 30 years. Wacky retro laws are being passed daily, and the educational system is headed for disaster. Hate and intolerance are the rage. Women, children, gay people, and people of color are under attack as the white GOP machine struggles to turn back the clock and put everyone back "in their place."

I also know Disney represents all that is wrong about capitalism, but holy smokes folks! They stand up to DeSatan DeSantis and the repressive Florida GOP.  Currently they are in an epic battle with Desantis because of his stupid Don't Say Gay bill. Disney is big enough, and arrogant enough to fight back on behalf of their LGBTQIA+ employees and guests. The other day at Epcot I saw an entire section of PRIDE merch in the main store. It made me smile. Our granddaughter Melanie, who died in a car accident last summer, was gay. She loved Disney. I wish she could have seen that display, it would have made her smile as well. What I wouldn't give to see her smile!

Sometimes you have to choose a side even though there are no perfect choices. It's all very confusing. When I was a New York liberal, everything seemed so simple and clear.  Down here in Florida, not so much.  Life is really much more complicated than I thought.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Ridiculous pleasures

This is how ridiculous my retirement life is in the Land of Mouse. Today I have the choice of either edging the lawn or going to Epcot with my daughter and granddaughter.  

When you're a Florida resident and buy the cheapest Disney annual pass, you can pretty much go any weekday you like, all year long. Weekends are out for us cheap pass holders, but who cares? Everyone and their brother is there on the weekend. As a retiree, I rarely leave the house on Saturday or Sunday. We only live a half hour from the parks, so it's (ridiculously) easy to go. 

My granddaughter just came home from college for the summer. The grandson is still in school, so he won't be coming this time. It will be my daughter, granddaughter, and me. My husband and son-in-law don't like theme parks and refuse to go. That's fine with me because quite frankly, they get tired and cranky and are NO fun at the parks. 

Please don't judge me!

Monday, May 8, 2023

I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way

As a child I lived in my head. I tried not to go outside and play with neighborhood children because I preferred my own company. I had an active imagination. I played with my dolls for hours. I spent a lot of time daydreaming. I drew images on the newspaper with a ballpoint pen, usually faces and hairdos. I read each of the children's encyclopedias lined up in our room, many times. When I went to the library I would load up. When I came home and piled unread books around me, they seemed like a treasure trove. 

Thankfully, neither of my two older sisters spent day time in our shared room. I did. It was my chance to be alone. No one was looking, no one was judging. I was left to my own devices. I quite liked that.

Eventually, I became a wife, mother, and wage earner. I spent the next 50+ years building an external life that was productive. I made the best of it during the hard times. I thrived during the good times. I learned things. Every task I undertook, every person I interacted with during my earning years was a lesson in something or other.  I tried to pay attention, and I learned to focus as best I could.  

Still, there were times when my computer reminded me I had a meeting to attend. I would gather my purse and be on my way. I'd exit the building and realize I had no idea where the meeting was. No problem, there were other managers leaving their buildings to walk to the exact same meeting. I would either walk with them or follow them. It always worked out just fine.  

Friday, April 28, 2023

I found that red dress

I found it. Not just a red dress. I suspect the dress I now own might be the same Talbot red dress that I show Dora wearing in my post. Of course I don't mean it is Dora's actual dress from 2016, I mean it is one just like it. I found it on ebay for $30.  Can you believe it? Perhaps tenacity is a virtue?

Now I just have to invest in shape wear so I don't look lumpy when I wear it. I have two months, maybe I could lose 5 pounds? Whatever it takes. By all that is holy, I'm wearing this blankety blank dress.  

And ladies, could I get away with wearing black shoes with this red dress for a summer wedding? When I was a teenager in the 1960's, one didn't wear black shoes in the warm weather. Black shoes were cold weather shoes. Yeah, that's how long ago I actually thought about fashion. 

Saturday, April 22, 2023

A night out

Our niece, K, flew in to attend a training session in Orlando. She stayed at a Holiday Inn across from the Universal theme park. We took her to Universal's City Walk for dinner with our daughter and her family. City Walk, like Disney's Disney Springs, is the restaurant section. There is no entrance fee for City Walk, and if you arrive after 6 p.m. the parking is free. Otherwise, they charge $30 to park.  

City Walk is much smaller than Disney Springs, but it is a festive place with neon, people, shops, and restaurants. Kiosks selling trinkets, margaritas, and cold beer abound. It feels like a carnival. I like that.

We struggled finding dinner reservations for 6 people. We usually go to The Cowfish@ Sushi Burger Bar. No luck there, or at any of the other decent restaurants. Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville had room for us. The food wasn't great, but as a bonafide Northern transplant I'm used to that sort of deep fried disappointment. Let me just say there aren't many non-franchise eateries in greater Orlando. I made the mistake of trying the fish and chips. Yuck. Cole slaw is a ubiquitous side dish down here. Luckily, Jimmy makes a pretty good slaw, but it was room temp. Never a good sign.

I wish we could have taken K to Cowfish instead of Margaritaville. I also wish we had brought her home, cooked for her, and kept her for a few days. Next time.

Monday, April 17, 2023

That red dress

Our grandson's wedding is still a couple of months away, but I have had no luck finding a dress I like for the rehearsal dinner.  

My needs are simple.  Nothing low cut, no weird cut-outs, tea length (midi or below the knee), short sleeves, not tight fitting, not sexy, not high fashion. And I want it to be red, but I'm willing to compromise on the color.  

I'm 71 years old. I want to look respectable and attractive in an old lady kind of way.  Is that too much to ask?  

Saturday, March 25, 2023


I started physical therapy this week for a rotator cuff injury.  I guess one would call it an injury.  It's not painful as much as it is constantly sore. I don't know how I injured it.  Maybe just sleeping on that side, or due to enthusiastic weeding in the garden?  It's not serious, and doesn't seem to be a tear.  I'm fairly confident it will get better with therapy and I won't need surgery.  I live in hope.  

As one ages, it always seems to be something.  That's a phrase all the old ladies in my life have used.  Now I'm old and I have earned the right to say it.  Cliches have power.  

Looking back over my life I must admit it has always been something.  Looking forward I assume there will be something else and more, both good and bad.  

I do like going to physical therapy, it reminds me of going to the gym, and having a personal trainer.  Maybe if I actually still went to a gym I wouldn't have this injury?  No way to tell unless I went to a gym after I heal.  Not going to happen.  I just don't want to.  

It does feel good to be exercising my upper arms, though.  

Thursday, March 2, 2023

8 years this week

The whole process was surreal. She was in a nursing home and had a stroke. We didn't want her to be alone, so I offered to sleep in a hospital bed next to hers until she died.  

That week in the room with her was strange. She was non-responsive. I feel like I slept in the valley of the shadow of death. And you know what? I feared no evil.  There was no evil, only death and dying. Death is not evil, it is just relentlessly sad.    

My Mom was a devout, old-time Catholic. She once told me that the Prayer of St. Michael the Archangel was her favorite prayer and she wanted it read after she died. Within minutes of her last breath, I googled that Leonine prayer (written about 1886), stood up and told my siblings I was going to read it because she asked. 

I was not the least bit familiar with this prayer. When I started reading it aloud I was a bit spooked, but I soldiered on. My siblings looked at me like they thought I'd lost my mind. Perhaps I had. 

"Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen."

It seemed like a magical invocation. I was calling out the big guns, the ultimate bad ass, an angelic warrior named Michael! In doing so, I made a plea for her safety on that journey only the dead will take.  Honestly, I don't think I COULD have read it out loud if I had been in my right mind.  

Turns out Archangels have job descriptions.  According to Wikipedia

Michael is the angel of death, carrying the souls of all the deceased to heaven. In this role Michael descends at the hour of death, and gives each soul the chance to redeem itself before passing; thus consternating the devil and his minions."

I didn't know this until today when I looked him up. My Mom would have known and believed. At the end, she deserved better than me, an agnostic drama queen.