Friday, December 27, 2019


I thought about doing a year end post. List all the stuff you did, an inventory of the goings and comings. So, I did, after going over my planner calendar and marking what had happened.

Seems we went to Shop Rite and Costco nearly every week, except when Herb went alone because I couldn't be bothered showering and getting dressed at the crack of dawn.

Not too bad, really. At least it meant getting out of the house.

Then, oh, yeah, besides the numerous doctor visits for sugar and cancer check ups, I added the orthodontist. My teeth, I am happy to say, have really straightened out, but I still have to go until August.

Then there were the various times we had no bathrooms because both the upstairs rooms were redone. Going out to pick out tiles and tubs and sinks took up some precious time along the way.

Lest we forget the work on the floor in the room that has no name and the hallway between the bedrooms, west wing and east wing.
Add to that the redo of the deck surrounding the 20 year old pool. I haven't been in the pool in five years.

Now, let's see. We went on a mini vacation out to Lancaster when K had a sale out there. Did some exploring of the bucolic countryside.
We went down south to Emerald Isle for over a week.

Then the stuff started about the RV. I don't want to discuss that.

Then Herb surprised me with this cruise thing which led to the purchase of the RV thing.
We used it for a long weekend around Halloween.

Let me see. Have I missed anything? Probably.

It was a very expensive year.

Then K developed more physical problems. 
Then Elyse got married.
Then I still hurt over my mom's passing.

But I also made some money editing, which is always interesting.

I forgot the LSFW conference, too, in March. That was revitalizing.

That's it, I believe. All 365 days in a few lines.

All in all, it was not too boring and my teeth are getting straighter, which is good.

Friday, December 20, 2019 very old

This is me. Unvarnished and in the flesh, a week ago. 
I look like shit.

This was for my daughter's wedding...I tried to look my best. The hair is good, though.

Now if you are wondering why I never attend's why.

This is what I used to look like. So long ago, there was no color, only black and white.

Saturday, November 30, 2019


Every family has its quirks. The weird uncle or aunt. The hidden skeleton in the closet. The prison sentence. The boozer. The odd way of describing things. The family traditions and habits that seem queer but mean something to people who lived through it or remember being told about it.

Here are some of mine.

I don't have any killers, except if you count my mother's uncle Nick who blew up a cow with a firecracker in its ear. He and his brother Jake thought they were Jesse James. They both did some time in jail--not sure about prison. Petty crimes, they weren't smart enough to be gangsters. Besides, they were Ukrainian.

We have a peculiar way of remembering conversations and are able to pick them up years after first initiated. Walk into a room and just start talking about the topic where you left off. This is an art, in my opinion. My uncle Eugene was particularly masterful at this, but any member of the family knows what's going on. This may not extend to the other branches on the tree, but it probably does.

Certain phrases some people might not understand.  Such as "the way you go down the cellar" which means, simply, the cellar stairs. There is no "way you go up the stairs" to go to the second floor. We say "ahm" instead of I'm. Lots of folks say that. Sloppy tongues. "Whaddycall" instead of  what do you call it, and it's linguistic brother "Howdycall", meaning something like the same thing, only different.

The way to tell if your hair is clean after washing is to squeak it with your fingers.

To signify a great deal of something, you say simply "whoady". 

There are more. For the moment, these are at the top of my memory.

Oh, yeah. Both of my grandfathers made and sold illegal hooch. One actually spent a night in jail because of a dissatisfied customer, the other avoided the Volstead folks by going out the back door when they were at the front door. 

Other wonderful snippets of my less than illustrious family to follow. And no, these are real relatives, not the made up ones I write about. 

The above are not my relatives.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Brilliant Hallmark moment

Story idea, bound to become a moneymaker.

Santa's favorite female elf falls in love with the Angel of Death.

Think of the possibilities!!!!!

This is my idea. No steals.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Timely death or it's about time!

Not a sad day.
Really, not sad, even though there is a death to report.

Since, oh, last March, I have been using a container of Oil of Olay 7 something. I don't really know the name, but it is a face lotion that is supposed to do wonders for one's face.

I've been using this stuff for a few years. As far as I can tell, it hasn't done much, but I continue to have faith that it will eventually do SOMETHING about the wrinkles and bags. I will say that since it has an SPF listing, I have not had a sunburn, but then, since I don't go out in the sun, well...who can say if it is working?

For months, I have thought the contents were running out. After all, how long can a few ounces of cream last. Every  morning after my ablutions, I'd apply the cream and that was about it. I waited for a miracle on my face. Didn't happen.

But the bloody pump thinger, which should only have lasted a month or two, kept going and going, dispensing more and more Olay.
I'd pull it from the drawer, suggest that this was the last time we'd meet, but time after time, it fooled me.

Since Sunday, I've sorta known the end was near.

Today, the last blop blopped out of the spigot and that was it.

RIP, little jar or bottle or whatever it is called.

You served your time. Off to the neverland of recycling you go.
May you join others of your ilk and be happy.

And smoothing.

Monday, October 28, 2019

I Dreamt I was in a Hallmark Movie

Well, it finally happened.

Yesterday, I was exhausted after a long weekend of camping. I fell asleep on the sofa during a Hallmark of my Christmas favorites about a veteran. Actually, I had just watched the end of my other favorite about a veteran played by Michael Shanks (from Stargate fame) who falls in love with a war widow and buys her husband's old motorcycle with his re-enlistment money. But I digress.

This second movie stars two of my all time favorite Hallmark actors. This time, it is a woman Marine who was a dog handler who got out of the Marines when they reassigned her dog to someone else. Search and Rescue...that's what her job was. Anyway, her car breaks down in this sweet little fantastic town somewhere in Illinois where it snows a lot. I mean, it is just about Christmas and there is snow everywhere on the green leaves that they carefully try to avoid in each outdoor shot. It's Canada, everybody knows that, but you try to show one license plate and that sets the scene. So, it snows a lot in Illinois in December, right around Christmas, and the whole town is Christmas-mad. I mean, every possible space is decorated with greenery and balls and bells and ribbons and trees and candy canes and hot chocolate stands...and a merry-go-round because it is the big town wide celebration week.

Well, that was that movie.

The one I was in was probably the same place, only with fewer decorations, but the guy...oh, he was there for me.

So, I went through the being lost part and the him finding me and offering to take me in because there were no hotels in the small Illinois town, but not into his house because he has a reputation to uphold, but he's a super nice Hallmark kinda guy.
There I am. Stuck in Nowheresville. The townspeople think I'm safe and treat me well and this nice guy is interested in me.

Now...wait. It's not the me I am now! Of course not. It's the me of me in my prime.

I keep thinking I have to leave, there is something vague I need to see to, but I can't because it's one of those movies. So, I stay and probably fall in love with the guy, even though his face is rather narrow and he's slim and gorgeous and dresses well.

Just when he kisses me and asks me to marry him, I wake up.

That was a relief, actually.
I do not need any further complications in my life.

But I do need to purchase a card for a wedding on Friday. 
It will probably be a Hallmark.

Friday, October 11, 2019


It doesn't have to be a ghost to haunt you.

It can be good, or bad, memories that visit your mind at inopportune moments. 

This week, I have been plagued by ghosts...things conjured from my memory that have long been thought dead. I remembered some stuff that crept out of the depths from my childhood. I wanted to talk to someone about these thoughts, but there was no one who would either remember or give a rat's ass about what I was thinking.

That's the trouble with odd memories. Good or bad, sometimes they are just your own and therein lies the problem. You might be able to unload them if there was someone to share the pain or joy. But, no. They lie in wait for you to shut your eyes and hope for sleep without dreams, or nightmares.

That's when these memories spring up and spill over you.

Most of the time--they hurt.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Why people keep going

Lost causes.

After doing something to find something--a cure, a treasure, an answer, a hope--and getting nowhere--(how many dashes are okay?) what makes people continue?

Einstein said something about doing something over and over the same way and not getting what you want is idiocy. That's paraphrased, to be sure, and I am not even sure it was Einstein who said it, but, well, it makes sense.

Finding the Loch Ness Monster, for instance. I've seen four different programs on television this week, four different groups of people, scouring the lake for signs of this huge prehistoric animal and finding nothing.  Thousands of dollars down the drain, searching for a legend. They find nothing, yet they keep going back to Scotland with hope.

The treasure of Oak Island...another search. Yes, they try different holes, different methods, star charts, high tech satellite photographs, you name it, they've tried it to find treasure. It's been about ten years of this particular team, the Laginas, who have poured money into this venture. So far, they've found a few coins and a lead cross and a crossbow bolt, a couple of semi-precious jewels...but not this huge treasure. The treasure of the Templars and maybe precious first editions of Shakespeare's works...maybe buried somewhere on a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia. Okay, they drill and dig and use every conceivable scientific and geologic method to search for wonders beyond price. 

They've got nothing much so far but a fun television show.

Yet they go on and on, searching, hoping, digging, making television shows. This is 21st century stuff. It has happened all throughout history. Columbus. Ponce deLeon. Name any explorer, any alchemist, anyone who hoped to discover something, anything, that would stop that itch they have to keep going.

Sometimes, an individual does find something of value. Schleimann found Troy. Salk found a cure for polio. There is a huge list of successes, but probably an even bigger list of failures.

Yet, they go on. They keep trolling Loch Ness. The Laginas keep digging on Oak Island. They don't give up.

There may be something more than grace in continuing. But there may be grace also in realizing that the quest is over and giving up.

I am not telling anyone to give up searching, to stop hoping to find a cure, a treasure, a reality (UFOs and Bigfoot), but there has to come a time when either the questions are all answered, or you just plain throw in the towel.

One day, that one day when the decision is made, or the treasure is located, or the monster comes up and bites you on the butt, well, I guess there is always the chance that it may happen, so, okay, you have to keep on trying.

Albert, even you had to keep on going. Scientists and mathematicians and explorers are still trying to prove your ideas. 

Never give up, never surrender!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

On psychics on the telephone

The past few days, I've caught some television ads for psychic readings...on several cable channels.

Women in the commercials, pretty, blond sincere looking women tell the camera how precise and wonderful their over the telephone psychic readings were. How the person knew them, knew their problems and gave them correct advice...advice they'd base their lives on from now on.


Good guessing.

Let me tell you about a friend of mine who got a job as a telephone psychic back a few years ago when they were hot and a thing

This lady, for she was and still is a lady, told me that she got the job, not really knowing what it was going to be about. The people in charge handed her a loose-leaf notebook full of answers to give to the suckers who called. 

Now, this lady never claimed to possess any psychic powers whatsoever. The phones rang, people poured out their hearts to her and she was supposed to riffle through the pages of the guide and whip out an appropriate answer. None of these answers were direct. None of them actually professed to guide the questioner in exactly what they should or shouldn't do. (careful of lawsuits). But they were innocuous and sounded good. Or made little sense unless the person being read already knew what they wanted the words to mean.

Sort of like the Oracle of Delphi, only in New York City.

Well, by and by, this lady friend realized that people were calling, asking for help with their personal problems. She, being a mother and wise woman of more years than the callers possessed, gradually interjected some of her own wisdom, leaving the callers with more practical, definitive, motherly advice than was found in the loose-leaf.

She got fired.

Beware, any who think calling a number for a buck a minute is going to be the answer to any or all of your problems.

 She never got to take the loose- leaf home with her.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Chocolate milk wars

Mom was an avid Hershey's chocolate syrup fan. That's all we ever had in the fridge...when we actually had it. She also loved Hershey's candy with almonds and would suck off the chocolate piece by piece in some distorted effort to make it last longer so that the rest of the bar would remain uneaten for months.

But, my Grandmother on my father's side had no such compunction about giving her grandkids chocolate milk. And she preferred the powdered Nestle's Quik, which to this day is my favorite.

Pour a spoonful into cold whole milk.
The granules don't completely dissolve, even with vigorous stirring, and a small raft of chocolate powder bubbles appear on the top of the milk.

Which, when sipped, burst into your mouth to your obvious delight as it was solid flavor, not gooey syrup.
And the chocolate was milder, not as acidic as Hershey's.

Thanks, Nana. 
One of my fondest and just remembered memories of you.

Friday, August 16, 2019

John the Bull

Back before we had kids, my husband belonged to a Jeep racing club. We'd spend every other weekend in some godforsaken woods in Pennsylvania listening to the roar of engines sans mufflers and cursing and people who were far more interested in noise than quietude.

Anyway, there were various races, uphill, obstacle, drags...I only watched the drags because they were short and between the dirt and heat, they were about all I could stand. We knew people in the club who were racing...I wished them well.

One person out of the hundreds stood out from the crowd. He was a short, stocky, mean tempered bull of a man...named John the Bull. He may have had a last name; I never heard it. But he was always cussin' and drinkin' beer and mean-looking. Truly correctly named. He had a big racing X type, which meant it was special, not one that fit into one of the tamer groups. It was loud and so was he. Adding to his short, bull-like appearance, he wore a brown felt squashed top hat. Always sneering, calling on his kids in various cuss words...loud and abrasive.
I didn't think too much of him.

But, after once particular race in the heat of summer, we were on our way home, towing our pop-up camper along busy Route 80, when a tire blew. 
We pulled to the side of the road. My heart was in my throat as I imagined all sorts of horrors to befall us...staying at the side of the road forever, leaving the camper for help and finding it gone...the sort of things I always worry about. Being stranded. That was topmost on  my list.

Our friends had gone before us, they did not know we were stuck. Yes, we had a spare, but even that was hard to reach.

So here we are, stuck on the side of the road, when a big RV pulls up behind us and out steps John the Bull.
Sweet as can be, he starts helping us lift up the camper, detach and reattach the spare, having his kids help.
Now, he pulled up behind us on a busy highway. No way could he have known we were part of the racing group as we towed no Jeep. He stopped because he was a nice guy who wanted to help somebody.


I'm tearing up now because I remember every bit of that incident and it just showed me how wrong someone can be about another human being.

John the Bull passed away a few years after this. I send up a prayer for him every now and then.
He deserves it. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019


So, the Petersons are going on a cruise somewhere up north.
New England ports, lots of fishing villages dotting the coast, then up to Nova Scotia...not near Oak Island, but then, one can't see enough quaint fishing villages, can one?

This is all husband's brainstorm.

It is going to be very expensive...I don't know why he decided to waste money on this extravagance, but he wants to do it and it is better than me having to endure life in an RV.

I do so love this guy. He's inventive. He's sweet. He loves to spend money. So un-Ukrainian.

So then, after all this planning and buying passage and the urgent need for decent clothing and footwear, he asks me if there is anything I've always wanted to do.

Simple...I'd love to visit Sandy in Vegas. I'd love to drive along Route 66. At least part of the way. And visit Pie Town, but that's on Route 60, which may or may not be part of 66.

Something that can be done in our huge new car and the added bonus of sleeping in a motel/hotel.

So, we won't get to see the tidal bore on the Bay of Fundy, but we will get to see the tide run backwards.
We will tour Boston Harbor and a couple of other harbors, like Portland?

No, Some place in Maine. I've never been to Maine. We are supposed to get lobster there.

Point in favor, for sure.

But with these effing braces, I'm not anticipating getting much of the deliciousness of the cruise banquet in my gullet.

More ways to lose weight.

I have gotten some new duds, however. I will try to send photos, but I doubt I'll be able to.

Did you know it costs $45/day to have Coke products on the ship?

Monday, August 5, 2019


Chaos in the Peterson household and beyond.

With all the terrible things happening in our country currently, I shouldn't bitch, but I can.

But, in deference to those in El Paso and Dayton, and Parkland and Columbine and all those other atrocities, I will refrain.

They do have it so much worse than I do.

I am bleeding inside for those people. I would pray for the dead but they've already gone to their rewards. I will pray for those injured and their dear ones, however.

Prayers might help them.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

I am not dead.
We received a mail from my cancer doctor's affiliation, to the next of kin of ME. There was an email problem and it may have compromised something, so they sent a post snail mail to my next of kin warning them to check to see if anyone had started a new me thing. Because I was dead.

Contrary to what they think, I am still alive. Mean, disgruntled, pissed off, angry, but breathing regularly and working with my brain.

The more recent photos of me are ugly, hospital and dental things that do me no great justice, but be it known the world over...I am alive.

And intend to stay that way.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Hot time in the summer sun

Last week, here in New Jersey, it was hot. How hot? It was so hot that the water in our pool reached 92 degrees F.

I had to rely on tales told by my daughters and friends and, of course, the news, as I was not in NJ. I was in NC.
It was hot, there, too.

Okay, I only went out of the vacation house a couple of times, into the car, into the grocery store, back in the car, back in the house. That was enough.

Yes, we have had hot summers before. We've had them without air conditioning, also. We survived, but it was most unpleasant. One year, it was this hot when I got chicken pox. My mother cut my hair as short as my brother's. They put an exhaust fan in an upstairs window, closed off all the other windows but for an inch or so, and that was how we made it through the long, sweaty night.

Not actually made it...we probably just sweated ourselves into a stupor that passed for sleep.

To quote my grandmother, "it's so hot, even the cold water is hot."

She was right!

BTW, the water on Emerald Island in NC tastes gross and, yes, even the cold water was hot.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Lost to history

Yesterday, I learned from someone I ought to trust with the truth, that: some famous Roman guy was poisoned by his wife/lover/maybe mother by a poisoned fig. 

At 3:am, I could not find any real reference to this when I Googled "Hey, Google, who poisoned every fig on the tree?"

We all know the hand gesture where the person bites her/his thumb which is really nasty and means something like "Pull a fig out of an ass's butt". I learned that first year of college. It stayed with me while I can't remember who told me that and in what book it was.

However, it deals with a fig.

Possibly, this fig thing goes with the poisoning of the guy.

The coolest part is that, while I can not remember where this was quoted from, I do remember this, and it has become something I will never forget.

In order for the woman to get to poison this guy, she


We're talking a very angry, vengeful woman here.

The Romans were famous for poisoning enemies. Kids. Grandparents. Politicians. There's a big read on Wikipedia about how this poisoning was going on...quite the thing.

Their poisons weren't all that powerful. They knew about Hemlock, thanks to the Greeks. They knew about some mushrooms. Other than those things, they just probably put any old thing into someone's food and hoped for the best.

Since their favorite condiment was garum, which is distilled rotten fish guts, it might have been hard to disguise the bad taste of a poison anyway.

While this story will stick in my has definitely put me off Fig Newtons.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Ahh, to be trolled!

I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

It goes something like this. 
I remember Bobby Kennedy made it popular again, but someone important said it before him.

Someone yesterday burnt me on my patriotism. 
Pissed me off righteously, but that was her prerogative. 

I felt no need to defend myself about my love of country.

What I do not possess is a blind love for the current regime and I have said so repeatedly. Not liking anything he has done, or they have destroyed of my beloved country's laws is appalling, yet it does not make me any less patriotic. I love what this country always has stood for...what my fore-bearers risked their lived crossing the Atlantic to give to me.

So, if this troll was so upset that she intends to burn my books, all I can say is "if you have the Kindle versions, please don't blow up your Kindle."

As Alfred E. Newman often opined, "nuff sed". 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

New experiences

A friend of K's is 100% Cherokee. Cool, right?

She promised to make us some frybread because I mentioned that I had seen it on TV and thought it would be tasty.

Yesterday, she prepared the dough. This morning, she made the frybread.

Guess what?

It is sorta like Italian zeppole. A dusting of powdered sugar and we're fine.


Along with her cooking, I asked questions on all sorts of things and she pleasantly answered them. My education.

Here's the kicker.

Kemosabe is actually a NA word.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Water of life

No, I'm not talking about whiskey, Scottish or Irish or whatever.
I'm writing about how I really, really don't like being wet.

This spring, we have been living with deluges of rain. At least every other day, here in Central New Jersey, the weather has been soggy, sometimes foggy, but annoyingly wet. 

Okay, it isn't as if I have a chance of melting if I go out in the rain. Far from it. (If it could happen, brother, I'd be standing outside right now, dissolving in the damp.)

But, I don't like being wet. 
Showering every day is a chore for me. Just stepping into the shower, that first step, pains me mentally. I have to get up the gumption to step into the shower, and I do every day voluntarily, because being clean is important.
However, diving into a pool, our pool, is sheer insanity.
The five times I have been in our swimming pool, I have eased in slowly...avoiding all splashing, not going in so my hair gets wet. The water, even if the day is scorching and the pool water is cool, gives me the creeps.

When I was young, we'd take any chance we had to go to Lake Hopatcong or the pool at Coddington Park in Bound Brook or any chance to go swimming with friends or relatives. My father found an old swimming hole somewhere in probably is probably well developed by now...but it was dirty water, full of other kids...even had a rope hanging off an ancient tree. We went there several times, crowded as it was, because it was a place to cool off.
Closer than Lake Hopatcong.
Closer than the Atlantic Ocean.

Do not get me wrong. I love the ocean. I can sit and watch the waves for hours on end. I just have no desire to stand in it and get bashed about by waves.

I used to love watching surfers try to ride their boards in the skimpy Lavalette waves. Cute guys, obviously.

But being dragged under, eating sand, getting feet tickled by weird fish and crabs...not me.

So, if I tell you how important the ocean is to me, you might snicker and think I am a fraud.
I like trees, but I don't like camping in deserted forests.
I like the smell of hay, but I don't want to live on a farm or work on one.

Just knowing the ocean is there, around my coastline, is fine. Knowing that I can get clean in a shower is also fine.
Remembering a kid with a bloodsucker attached to his skinny chest while swimming in a place somewhere in the nearby hills, is disturbing. 
Maybe that's why I don't dive in. Maybe that's part of my chickenshit psyche. Who knows.

Maybe, and this is just a perhaps, I have cat DNA.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

All in a name

While talking with daughter #2 last night, I remembered something from way back in my life that I thought she'd get a kick out of hearing. She was rather down in the dumps, but I didn't think this little tale would send her into paroxysms of laughter. 
It did.

Okay. Going back to first grade, start of 1955. Mrs. Dutcher's class.We were learning how to sound out letters, phonetically. She would tap her pointer at the letter of the alphabet that ran across the front of the classroom and sound it out for us. A, well that was uh, but different, she'd get to that later. B, that was buh. C was cuh, D was on and so forth.
It was enough sounding for us to be able to recognize the sound of CAT. Simple words. But an adventure for me. I had always wondered what the letters I could write sounded like. Eager to learn to read.

Once we had enough sounds associated with letters, the simple words began. We'd get out our Puzzle Pages and round tip scissors and that inevitable blob of paste on yellow math paper and proceed to cut out the answers to the pictures and paste them onto the page with gobs of paste. The pages, when done, would curl and never really dry out. It was up to Mrs. Dutcher to check them off into her grade book. I don't remember if there was a grade, just a check or check minus. I don't remember whether kids ever got these things wrong because I never did.

Anyway, the day came when we were divided into three reading groups. Red, Blue and Yellow. We got strips of construction paper as bookmarks in our appropriate colors. Red was the highest group.
So on down the line. 

Then, joy of joys, we got to open our readers and find the adventures of Dick, Jane, Sally, Tim and Spot.

Heaven. I could read their rather stilted little adventures and what was most important of all, I was reading. Sounding out the words was easy since we knew the Buh, Cuh, Duh, Eff, Gee...all those.

But, now here is where I made Karyn laugh.

That first day, filled with enthusiasm and pride, I realized that if I could read it, I could write words. So. This is the gnarly part.

There was this older kid down the street who I thought was incredibly handsome. Older than I was by 6 years, I had an instant crush on him. So, now that I knew how to read, I decided to write his name on a torn out piece of white construction paper, so I did.
Slipped it into the corner of my bureau mirror and there it remained for a long time.

The guy's name was DICK. I printed it carefully and left it in the mirror so that every day I could look at it and pine in my 6 year old way. He was a nice kid. The whole family was nice. Nobody ever noticed that slip of paper.

So, when I told this to the daughter, she went nuts, laughing her head off. See, she never got to read about Dick and Jane and Sally.
I don't know what she read, but it wasn't about that crew.

I had to laugh, myself, at her laughter, not the memory of that Dick.

After she stopped laughing with a hiccup, I mused...funny, I've been writing about Dick for years now.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

In all seriousness

May 30, 2009, I had my last chemo treatment for lymphoma. It was stage 4, which meant that one of the lymph glands above the waist showed signs while the others, below, did also. But I was encouraged by my doctor. She said, "We can cure that."

The first chemo treatment took place on New Year's Eve, 2008. It lasted 13 hours because the drip was deliberately slow to see how I would handle it. I did fine until my dear husband insisted I come home later that day because he was afraid of me being in the hospital where there were so many diseases running around. Not his words, mine. I think he just wanted me around because I'd been in hospital for 9 days already.
I sincerely doubt you can catch cancer in a hospital, but I went home.

Next morning saw me puking into the toilet.
Next day, I got some sort of meds that prevented that from happening again. As I recall, they were extremely expensive, as were all the meds I had to take. God granted us good insurance through my husband's job.

What followed were many, many trips to doctors. Even dentists. The pharmacists were so lovely and always had my meds ready for whoever picked them up. The doctors never made me wait. The nurses who installed the chemo drugs into the port on my chest were so kind and considerate, always. My doctors were wonderful.

But I wanted to write this about what and who really saw me through this ordeal. Six months of intensive poisons pumped through my body. 

I smelled bad. I tasted nothing. (Chocolate was dirt to my tastebuds.) Prednisone made me catch on fire. My hair, my long hair, came out in clumps and I cried more over that than how sick I felt. Husband eventually shaved my head and I cried some more. How could he sleep in the same bed with this wretched woman?

He did. He was still working, yet he came home to feed me and sort of keep things tidy. My younger daughter cooked and waited on me. They brought me cold watermelon chunks and tried different things I might be able to eat.
I lost 70 pounds.
I was on my way to wraithdom.

Older daughter was still in college. I think she was so afraid of me that she didn't come home much, but that was okay. I understood her personality isn't the same as her sister's.

My mother and brother came to see me, but frankly, I didn't want their germs. Brother brought his dog to see me since I wanted to see another living thing. Brother #1 called frequently, as I remember. They were supposed to. They were family!

But you know what I think helped me most?
My friends.
I had visitors, plenty of them.
They brought food. They offered to help. They tolerated my condition and they prayed for me.
That may have been what helped most.

I could never thank them enough. I never will be able to. 

After my last chemo, when the cancer was not showing, they threw me a party.

You reading this cannot possibly know how very much all their good wishes meant to me. Who was I? I wasn't anyone special. I was their friend and, thank God, they were mine.

As the anniversary rolled around this year, 10 years have passed from all that horror. Let me tell you, readers, it was horror! When I dwell on what happened, when I think of the body parts that changed because of the life-saving poisons, I get melancholy. I try to put it out of my mind, but can't. Not really.

Look. If you know someone who is sick, do something. Send notes if they won't see you. Call. Ask if there is anything you can do to help out. Make food for the family. (Pauline, you are the best!) Walk their dog, take them to treatments, listen to the doctors for them if you can because someone on chemo or any heavy meds often gets blurry in the mind.

Don't expect anything from the sick person, but don't stop praying.

Your kindness may just save a life.

 Top: Halloween 2009. Hair coming in.
Right: Good buddy Sally who wrote a song for me and Nurse Practitioner Jennifer who found the cancer, both times.
Left: At the remission party. The lady in red has since died of some horrid cancer. The woman in pink brought me liquid protein to boost my depleted stores. Woman in black came all the way from PA to celebrate. Man in back is currently in nursing home. 

Me, Halloween, year after it was all over. Note return of the hair.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Take Good Care of My Baby

Listened to the words today.

He's a putz.

He cheated of his girlfriend, she leaves him for some other guy, he begs the guy to take good care of her, give her this and that, and if the other guy finds out that he really doesn't love her, Bobby Vee suggests this guy send her back home to him.


Friday, May 17, 2019


Skinny people think they are too fat.
Fat people think and know they are fat.
Some people think their heads are too big. Some people dislike the way their limbs look.

Some people hate their faces, wanting to be beautiful.

Some beautiful people think they could be more beautiful than they are.

It starts on the inside, folks!

Beauty is as beauty does.

Thank you, Jimmy Dodd.

Recently I got braces on my teeth again. I had them from fifth grade to freshman year in college. My teeth came out okay, just not perfect, but they lasted for a long time, until about two years ago.
After the chemo, all sorts of things changed in my body.

My hair did grow back, which is a plus, though hair in other parts of my body did not, which meant I didn't need to shave my legs any more.
My hands get numb, mostly in the little and ring fingers, both of 'em.
My feet, well, they're numb most of the time.

I have no idea what my guts are doing. I hope they're all right, but I think some of them aren't functioning the way they should.

As I age, I find I'm getting bumps in my skin...not warts or moles, just little bumps. Grandma Lefko used to refer to them as "sand". Thanks, Gram. It works for me, too.

Now, I am 70 years old. In my mind, I am still mid 20s, but that doesn't count. I can expect certain changes, and though I don't welcome them, they cannot be denied.
My brain functions only when pressed...editing is good, not so good remembering what we ate while on vacation I don't even remember going on.

Faces of people I know sometimes slip through.
I call most people sweetie or honey or kiddo or babe to cover.

Dear GOD, don't let me be falling into senility or ALZ!

If I die soon, I'd like it to be with most of my faculties intact. What's left of them, that is.

One of the best photos of me and my parents. I was 28 and that was my wedding dress.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

From the back of my mind

This came to me today.

When I was a wee wee tot,
Mommy bought me a weewee pot.
Now I weewee quite a lot
In my little weewee pot.

What causes these memories?

Last week, I called my older brother to sing a line from a song from back in the 50s...Honeycomb. I don't remember the singer, but Jack liked the song for some reason.

In these early days of 45 records, they weren't always pressed well and as a result, had parts that skipped.

This record of his had a terrible skip...

So I got me a girl and I kissed her again, and then, Oh, Lordy, well I'd do it all again do it all again do it all again do it all again

This went on until you touched the needle arm and moved it past the skip.

So I called Jack and sang it to him and he laughed at the memory.

I guess CDs don't have skips. Nobody really uses vinyl, not when it doesn't fit into your car or that thing you upload songs into and then play them while you jog or wash dishes or study.

Time to remember air raid shelters, bomb shelters, Sputnik, Korea, death of the last Confederate soldier...and I don't particularly want to do it all again....

Monday, May 6, 2019

Days of my Life

Over the weekend, I thought of so  many things I'd like to post about...deep, observations of life, important things.

Like how come it was okay to shoot the bad guys as they are riding away, but when they shoot back at the posse, the good guys, they die, too.

How accurate they are with six guns on galloping horses, shooting behind themselves, to knock five good guys off their mounts...and die, either from the bullet or the fall?

I pondered this.

Of course, the main good guy, the hero of the story, never ever gets shot, though he has good enough aim to knock off five bad guys.
Then, somehow, he wings the lead bad guy, who falls off his horse, the hero pulls his horse to a halt and jumps down, ties the bad guy up with a rope from nowhere, and all is well.

Nobody ever stops to pick up the bodies of the dead guys.

Are we supposed to think that they get up by themselves and find their horses, mount up and ride back to town?
Unless, they really are dead.
Who picks them up, good or bad, to be buried?

Cowboys never, ever really did this.

The American cowboys of my youth did a lot of killing, except for Sugarfoot, and got away with it because they killed bad guys.

Perhaps we need some cowboys to do some judicious posseing in Washington.


Go get 'em, Roy or Gene or Hoppy.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Watching Midsomer Murders...a woman has been working on her book ms. for thirty years. Handwritten. Very large stack of papers.

At the end of the show, her friend, now a murderess, learns the book has been finished and sold for Pots of Money. The murderess asks what it's about...the writer smiles and states "US". Car rolls away taking the guilty to jail.

So, since they were apparently such great friends that someone could write a book about them, I wondered whether, since I have a best friend,and we've been through so many things together and separately, I could make a book out of our lives.

My part would be dead boring, outside of the odd operations, the kids, the husband, the 350 men I dated, but little else that would interest anyone.

My friend, however, has met Monte Rock. And Fabio.

She's come 'round to painting again, and she does have talent.
She has a husband and a son and now daughter in law.

But, there still doesn't seem to be much there worth a book that would sell.

Our memories are ours alone.

Should anyone ask about anything, both of us gladly regale them with stories. But they're small stories. Interesting, funny, sad, but in the larger scheme of life, small.

San, you know I love you dearly. Perhaps one day I will write a small book of our little stories, just for us, before my memory is completely gone.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Top Ten Movies on a list

Last night, I tried desperately to get to sleep, so I tried praying. I tried not thinking. I tried not thinking about ghosts and Jesus on the cross.

I was so desperate, I thought of my  favorite movies, and making a list of ten of them, just to see if it would bore me to sleep.
Well, it is after 5 pm and I just got around to writing the list, if I can remember those I chose. No particular order, either.

1. Rocky

2. Forbidden Planet

3. Alexander Nevsky

4. The Philadelphia Story

5. Harvey

6. Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid

7. We Bought a Zoo

8. The Longest Day

9. Knights of Hollywood

10. Star Wars, the first one,which is the third one

I must admit that I forgot what I'd thought of around #7. #9 Might be Hollywood Knights. Alexander Nevsky is a silent Russian movie with one scene where he leads the whole Swedish army onto a frozen lake and they crash through the ice and die, thus saving Russia from Swedish domination. Funny, that.

Movies are meant to take one away from the here and now. Every one of these movies does that for me.

Volare! Oh, oh!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Gene Autry and the secularization of Easter and Christmas

Most of you reading this won't know who Gene Autry was.
The Singing Cowboy.

Back in the late 40s and ealy 50s, he was a big deal. Not as cool as Roy Rogers, but close enough. He had a radio show and later a TV show. His horse's name was Champion and he had an assortment of sidekicks in the movies and small screen.
He was mild in manner, a straight shooter, every thing a red blooded American kid wanted to be.

But, he was a singer. He made kid songs we could sing along with. He took Jesus out of holidays and made reindeer and jelly beans what you looked forward to after suffering through a long boring church service (especially if it was in Latin.)

Here's how he sang about Easter:

Jelly beans for Tommy, colored eggs for sister Sue. There's an orchid for your Mommy and an Easter bonnet, too.

That was MY youth.
White gloves, light coat, new scratchy dress and hat with a fake flower or two on it.

And Mass. In Latin. That lasted forever, with the story of the crucifixion and resurrection that took about two hours.

Nicer to think about bunnies and chocolate.

Moving right along, he also took care of Christmas. He had a couple of Christmas about Santy Claus and the famous one about Rudolph.

I was a kid. It was the 50s. You went to church every Sunday. You went to catechism. You prayed, you went to confession after you were seven. You made communion religiously. God was always watching.

And then along came Gene Autry.

I don't know whether Roy Rogers, the King of the Cowboys, sang secular holiday songs, but I know Gene knocked 'em off regularly.

If kids don't know about Jesus suffering, about celebrating His life and not candy, of feeling sad on Good Friday and wearing new scratchy clothes, you have to blame Gene.

Please go to YouTube and check out these links. It was hard for me to get there.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


Went to the orthodontist yesterday. He was surprised the teeth hadn't moved more, because he had me on a fast track.

I would have asked what he meant by that, but my mouth was full of someone else's fingers and sharp metal spikes digging into my persona. flesh.

This morning, while applying more wax to the sharp stuff, I noticed that the front tooth that stuck out so much didn't seem to stick out so much.  The bands were replaced yesterday, teeth felt painful and still do, but it looked as if that one booger tooth might have moved back into line a little.

On the bottom, that one tooth that was sort of behind appears to be even more behind. Made me think of Nanny McPhee.

I'm too old for this shit.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Hometown memories

Recently, my hometown, the one where I grew up and went to school, made a Facebook group. I signed on, though most of the friends were from much later dates. I finished high school in 1967. Most of these folks, not all but some, were more in the late 80s class. I hardly know them, except perhaps by their maiden or last names, if at all.

But this morning I had a bad memory that I am compelled to write about. Somehow, the news today brought this person to mind.

It creeped me out.

There was a family who lived across the lake from where I lived. Many classmates lived on that side and we went to Pierce School together. It was torn down before they put up the plaque saying I had gone there....

I digress, as usual.

There was a parochial school in our town, and a good many kids went there. Because I didn't go there, I didn't really know too many kids who went there, unless I saw them at church or hanging around the playground in the summer.
There was one family, though, that I knew because my friend Sally knew them. For privacy sake, I will not use the last name, though I remember it.

There were three boys and a father...I'd see them at Mass every Sunday, marching in file. The father looked like a military man and the boys behaved in a Catholic school manner.
And there was a daughter.
I believe she was the youngest.
She toed the mark as well, but there was more to it.

She apparently was in control of the household. After all, she was a girl. 
Rumor had it that her mother died giving birth to her, but I am not sure.

This girl can I put it? Downtrodden.
A nest of dull hair, plain features, grim expression on her lips and face.

Now that I think of it, she always appeared to be wearing boys' clothing.

She was famous or infamous for riding around town, away from the western end where she lived, on a sturdy bicycle. Wearing a turned down Navy cap, baggy jackets, leather shoes.
Another rumor claimed she had a knife in her socks.

I never spoke to her. Never really saw her except for at church or riding away from her home.

All the descriptions above are true...the rumors and observations may not be. Who is there to contradict me?

I'll tell you one thing...I hope she is happy. Maybe two, three years younger than I am, so she's old enough to have grandchildren, if she ever had kids and that happily ever after stuff.
Thinking of what she may have gone through, based solely on her appearance and rumor, put me in mind of more of a horror story than anything else.

The world is ugly now. It was ugly back in the 50s. Ugly in the 60s. Even uglier in the 70s.
Those thoughts of what might have been her life may not be true in any way, but my 2019 mind can't help but wonder if she was wounded so severely that she never had a chance to bloom and be happy.

I wish I could find out.