I remember

Monkey bars, swings, see-saws and playground tilt-a-whirls and painted hopscotches all on the pavement at our elementary school. It didn’t take long for me to learn the value of paying attention because when I didn’t… I got all skinned up with some interesting battle scars. All of us at some point, had a few but everyone loved the creative space to be whatever we wanted.

Not all of my classmates were as lucky because my father created an awesome playground at home for my siblings and myself with everything the school had except ours were on the lawn. Slipping or falling wasn’t as painful at home. Recess was always to short so as soon as we got home, we’d play until dinner time.

But then the Parent-Teacher Association decided that the playground equipment was too dangerous so they were all removed and sold off. Recess involved jump rope or dodge ball games. Not as much fun to me. However, that’s when our home became the cool place to hang out for all the neighborhood kids. My father wisely purchased another see-saw, the monkey bars and one more tilt-a-whirl for our increased usage. After school our yard was the place to be until we had to go inside. It irritated my mother that the kids didn’t take the hint and go home. She would shoo them home at dark. We always heard her complaining to our father that someone was going to get hurt out there.

During the summer months we were always at my grandfather’s in Vermont. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the neighborhood kids from playing at our house. I remember the summer I was eleven coming home to find both tilt-a-whirls broken and a see-saw busted. My father unassembled them and tossed them in the dumpster. No one offered any explanations or apologies for the broken equipment. A couple of the kids complained when they weren’t replaced. One more cruel sign childhood was ending.

I miss the wind whipping my hair back as the tilt-a-whirl spun.

What was your favorite playground equipment piece?

Spring teases and safekeeping

She shivered as she strolled toward the bed of tulips and daffodils blooming in vibrant red and yellow surrounded by bright green grass. The rose bush branches are green again with red tips indicating new growth. The sunshine is deceptively bright but not warm. Spring has sprung but Mother Nature’s orneriness is apparent with warm one day, chilly the next.

There are so many things to do but she’s content sitting here with my computer and the finches tossing thistle everywhere. It’s a good thing the junco’s don’t mind eating from the deck otherwise there would be lots of wasted seed. It’s a wonderful time … seeing everything reborn but then it raises the concern of what is already established.

Looking over at Grandma’s Christmas cactus blooming for Easter this year she’s at loss as what to do with her future. She’s been with her since 1981. Her Grandfather gave the plant to her Grandmother in 1940 for their wedding anniversary. She’s cared for it forty years now with a couple of close scares. Thankfully, for an eighty one year old plant it’s looking mighty fine right now. Will it handle another relocation? The difference in temperatures and water may be a factor like it was initially relocating to Jersey from Maine back in 2007.

She stockpiled up on well water and gradually introduced purified city water to the mix. She learned that the hard way when the cactus first came into her care. She wasn’t thrilled with well water at first and our beginning was a bit shaky. And our house was definitely cooler than her Grandmother’s especially during the months without the heat from the woodstove.

The cactus be with her until her death but then what… is the question. There’s also the cactus that Vic gave her when they began living together back in 2004. None of her children are really avid gardeners. At one point, she had hope for Chris but after taking him his cactus plants he had started in Maine to Virginia when she needed to downsize her indoor plants. It was heartbreaking seeing him promptly let them die from neglect. He put them on the front porch of his house. Out of sight, out of mind and they died. She had nurtured them for fifteen years. Grandma’s cactus can’t be trusted with him.

She looked at the millennials or gen y’s (1981-1996) and seeing no interest in tradition or family memories. She’s sorry if she’s labeling the majority, but from what she’s experienced thus far with her interaction, they’re too focused on instant gratification. Her oldest granddaughter can’t see past the Rave concerts and that scene. Some millennials aren’t afraid of being catalysts of change, but others are too busy, while some are galivanting around having soy chai lattes and attending hot yoga. Some give new meaning to the entitlement mentality. Vic’s children are classic examples of you owe me. Generation x (1965-1980) isn’t much better. They’re the misunderstood generation that’s still looking for themselves. Yeah, that describes her children quite well. Each building careers but not positive if it’s what they love. They want more things like the boomer generation but don’t want to be like their parents either. Generation z (1997- 2010) are socially aware, hashtag savvy. Some have a foothold in the government, while others have taken an entrepreneurial stance. Yes, they’re outspoken on their needs but not so much concerned about the boomers or gen x’s. Again, she sees personal gratification without any appreciation of history or tradition. Gen Alpha ( 2011-2025) has had to bear a lot of upheaval with Covid-19. The results aren’t all in as to how well they endured being forced into a virtual learning world, isolated from social interaction.

“There is no creation without tradition; the ‘new’ is an inflection on a preceding form; novelty is always a variation on the past.” -Carlos Fuentes,

So she’s at a loss on what to do to maintain Grandma’s and their cactus’s safe keeping. Or is it simply to much to hope for that someone will nurture and love the plants with their memories.

Grandma’s cactus is the top one and Vic and mine is the lower one up close in the picture.

“Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.”- W. Somerset Maugham

Object of desire

At a glance, it could be easily missed sitting among Grandma’s things. It didn’t sparkle like her prisms or sun catchers did. Nor did it have any unique markings that might tempt a child’s fantasy but it did. Her wild imagination created a different story for the treasure every time she gazed upon it. Why did it have to be on the do not touch shelf? It didn’t look breakable. It didn’t look like it was worth millions but what did her young mind know about grown up things. She longed to tuck it into her backpack. What virtue hides inside. It was a mystery she needed to solve.

The admired paragon sat silently beside a angel cherub holding a feather. There was a miniature glass terrarium with a metal frame that cast colors of the rainbow across the wall every afternoon with the setting sun on the other side of the shelf. It shined pretty but it wasn’t what the little girl wanted to wrap her chubby fingers around. She wanted to know what secrets it held. And besides she could see what was inside unlike the object of her attraction without a latch to open it.

Would her Gram miss it? How much trouble would she be in if she took off the shelf? She studied it from every angle but decided that she couldn’t disappoint her Grandmother by breaking the rule.

“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”-Albert Einstein

Years later, the paragon of her childhood imagination no longer captivated her because it didn’t hold hidden treasures from a pirate ship. Nor did it have a unique gem from a secret lover. It was simply a box made of dark cherry wood with rounded corners. Why did she foolishly imagine it must be valuable. Not having a latch made a young mind curious, but she was older now and didn’t care.

Time passed and it was forgotten like many other unexplained childhood fascinations.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” -Mark Twain


She picked up her beloved cat’s ashes from the veterinarian’s office. She opened the box and inside was a dark cherry wooden box. Her childhood fixation was an urn, just like the one she was holding in her hand. Now, she understood why it sat next to the cherub on the do not touch shelf.

She wished more than anything she wasn’t grasping this cherry box in her hand. She would rather be holding her beloved cat.

The Driftwood

I tried to imagine it’s story. How did it end up in the Kennebec River up in The Forks, Maine. Why was it lying in just the right place for me to discover it?

Looking at my piece of driftwood, it most likely was a tree branch that dropped into the river in an area where it was tossed around a lot. My reasoning on this is because of the smooth rounded edges. There’s not a burr anywhere. T

I can’t help but wonder if it was happy to be discovered and removed from the chilly water or was it sad. It bet it wasn’t excited to be wood burned with the message fine and dandy on its slender side. Life changed a lot for this piece of wood for sure. Have I given it a better life or a worse one?

My piece of driftwood

Burned with fine and dandy

It’s declaration clear

Limerick humor

Here’s your Monday smile – it’s limerick time. Send in your own or here’s a prompt for you –



Is that man actually our boss
the one chewing strands of dental floss
I’ve heard of diet fads
but he’s really sad
soon will be six feet under the moss.

Is that man actually our boss
the one chewing strands of dental floss
I’ve heard of diet fads
but it’s really sad
he’s missing out on the applesauce

Pondering those things I cherish

The memories they hold and the stories they tell. On the fireplace mantle I have a piece of driftwood under the picture of the seagull swooping down over the sand. It’s a grayish brown in color and straight with rounded ends. Nothing spectacular visually but it has a story.

I was working for Northern Outdoors Whitewater Rafting at the Forks, Maine on weekends and driving school bus during the week. On this day, I was carrying food down to the halfway point on the Kennebec River like the other bus drivers for the different rafting companies. A friend of mine, Brenda Gleason was there for New England Whitewater. She and I drove school bus together as well. We had time on our hands waiting for the rafts when I pulled the driftwood from the river. Brenda asked me what was bothering me. Typical me, said everything was fine and dandy. That was always my answer when I didn’t want to talk about things.

I put the piece of driftwood in my bus. I didn’t think about the driftwood again until much later. It was gone when I went to retrieve it after my shift. No surprise. At that time in my life, nothing went as as it was supposed to be.

Monday morning I unlocked my school bus and there on the dash of my bus was the missing driftwood with fine and dandy wood burned along the side. I didn’t see Brenda until later in the day. I thanked her for making my driftwood log special.

That piece of driftwood traveled in my Pontiac Catalina, then my Ford truck and then my Dodge Neon before becoming a part of beach décor. I’m guilty of still saying when I don’t want to talk… I’m fine and dandy.

I’m not sure where it will be displayed in our next home but I know it definitely going with us.

“Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.”― Oscar Wilde

My Rocking chair

is navy blue with a beveled seat that feels just right. The arms are flat with curved ends that draw my eyes to the decorative notches in the structure. When I study it closely, I notice how the light plays off the painted finish. It holds my afghan perfectly on the tall back rest.

I’m reminded of my grandparents dining room. There was a card table by the window with a huge word find sheet and several pencils. There were a pair of rocking chairs on the other side of the room with a small table and a lamp. They used to sit together at night reading together. My grandmother’s rocking always had a cushion tied to the seat that hid the slat design of the seat. I never liked the cushion, I preferred the simplistic beauty of the chair as it was designed like my grandfather did with his rocking chair. He balked so much when my grandmother tried to make them match. She stashed it in the closet. Eventually, it migrated to her chair when her cushion cover gave out.

I remember sitting in his rocking chair. I loved the distinct noise on the hardwood floor with every rock. I found comfort in the sound while my grandmother puttered. Sometimes, I used to rock fast hoping it would carry me off to some magical place. The arms were just right I could easily navigate through space. I was invincible.

Other times, the rocking chair would whisper sharing it’s memories before it became a rocker. It was a sturdy oak tree on the edge of a meadow. The sun tickled it’s branches each sunrise and sunset. Children climbed its sturdy branches. The rocking chair confided those moments gave him the most joy.

I asked him if it hurt becoming a rocking chair. He didn’t answer at first but I stubbornly persisted as children tend to do. He said, the most important thing was now. He had a new purpose and it gave him joy. He said my enjoyment in his safe arms was worth it all. He was happy going on adventures with me.

I think he enjoyed rocking me away from everything that made me sad. His gentle sway always filled me with pleasure like a secret lover’s touch. I think he loved me as much as I loved him. I wonder if he ever thinks of me.

Its been forty five years since I’ve sat in my grandfather’s rocking chair. A few years ago, Vic got me a rocking chair for my birthday. I sit in my rocking chair letting the swaying of each rock carry me back to those special times at my grandparents. Maybe someday my rocking chair will whisper to my granddaughter.


Stream of pomegranate

Only Leslea Newman would choose a pomegranate for prompt to use in stream of consciousness writing. Yes, the fruit is a power color or as some would say a royal color. Although, I’m not fond of eating fruit that stain my fingers, but I do enjoy a glass of pomegranate juice. And it’s a nice change of pace from all the green hype. Just so you know, fresh juice doesn’t have to be green or full of spinach to be healthy.

Speaking of healthy, I decided to toss a soup together in the crockpot. It’s dreary and rainy again and a good hot bowl of soup is the perfect comfort food. I’m all about comfort these days. It’s not easy in this stressful existence to balance good meals and keeping the house looking unlived in.

Checked the balances in our account, no stimulus payment again. That’s three times we’ve not received anything. Our address hasn’t changed nor have our bank accounts. I’m not even sure why I bother checking, I only get more depressed. At least, our cupboards aren’t bare… I’m thankful I always kept them well stocked for emergencies. I just didn’t expect them to be happening for such a long period of time. No deposits from the insurance companies yet for Vic’s commissions. Absolutely deplorable! I totally understand why there is such a high turnover among insurance agents, the f-ing companies don’t pay consistently. It’s all about the shareholder’s and ceo’s accounts. There’s also the first quarter reports involved, got to keep that looking good for new investors. Yeah, lots of gray area to go around but that doesn’t pay bills.

Macavity was snuggled with me when I woke up this morning. He came down with me, watched me make coffee and then his breakfast before snuggling on my lap while I free wrote in my journal. He wasn’t happy when I picked him up so I could grab another coffee. He should know by now that nothing comes between my coffee consumption. Anyway, he’s lying in front of the window on his pillow. So there’s peace in both our worlds thus far, because there aren’t any showing requests yet.

I just finished reading Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop. What an interesting perspective! The story unfolded in first person with us joining Monsieur Perdu on his floating bookstore on a barge on the Seine River. He interacts with customers from time to time but mainly we’re reliving his pain from a lost love. He refuses for the longest time to read the letter she sent him. When he finally does, he sets off on a mission to where she lives. Our gift from this book is a reminder how the literary world can take the human soul on a journey of self-discovery and healing. Sometimes, we just need to be reminded of the power of stories and how they shape our lives. Amusingly, the back cover of the book is the same color as a pomegranate.

Thinking ….remembering my childhood. I wore my mask well, hiding behind laughter. I longed for someone back then to save me from my self-hate but no one cared enough. Now, I’m older and a lot wiser but there are times when my dark mind… fears, insecurities and the urge to cut again rises. Depression is a continuous battle that even a good cup of coffee can’t cure.

Just getting it done

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of putting your foot on the ground and then going through the motions masking whatever stress we feel just to function I love when people tell me, put a happy face on and before you know it you’ll be out of the funk you’ve been in. Yeah right, if only silver dollars fell from the sky too. Nothing is ever that easy. Times like this, I actually envy robots, they have the luxury of programming. Humans on the other hand malfunction more than function.

Yesterday, I woke up and absentmindedly reached down to pat Yeatsie. No Yeatsie, no cat bed beside my bed. No Macavity snuggled by my legs. I felt alone even though Vic was still sleeping beside me. Then I rose, made coffee and opened Facebook to discover a good friend had passed away unexpectedly. As I sat, thinking about our last conversation the phone rang and it was the vet’s office telling me Yeatsie’s body was back from cremation. All of this before I finished my first cup of coffee. Needless to say, the day didn’t improve emotionally.

I found myself wondering where I bought the candle I lit for Bruce because it seemed to burn forever. I know I could have distinguished at any point but that’s not my way. I always light a candle to help guide a loved one’s journey to the other side. Many of Bruce’s friends lit their own candles along with mine… he was loved. Wil I be as loved when it’s my time. I hope so.

I glanced at Yeatsie’s urn, it matched Purryl’s perfectly. Three urns with my beloved fur babies all in red cherry sitting together isn’t how I expected life to be but then no one thinks of the time when our pets depart their physical bodies.

I made it through the day, packing up more stuff until I was exhausted and it was time to chair the writing group on zoom. By the time that meeting ended my mind was too exhausted to think and the pillow felt inviting.

This morning, I woke with Macavity beside my legs and I thanked him for making the beginning of my day comforting. He nuzzled my hand and stretched out on the bed. He wasn’t ready to rise yet but I was. Thursday is trash pick up so sleeping in is out of the question. I could have put it out last night but the rain was torrential and I didn’t find it appealing to get saturated before going to bed. The fog is lingering this morning, kinda like Macavity wanting the day to wait for him.

Adding to the daily stress is the mortgage company representing the investor calls every f-ing day. to find out the status of the house. Yes, they harass us every single day except Sunday. I’m beginning to think the investor who owns our loan just wants to take the deed in lieu and sell it himself cutting us out of the picture. Nothing has been easy in this picture since covid drastically impacted our finances. The Care Act is pretty clear on our rights as homeowners but our wallets can’t handle hiring an attorney and this sleeze ball is confident he can pull the rug out while fattening his wallet.

It’s a wonder we rest at all, I believe our bodies shut down out of sheer mental exhaustion.

Sometimes, I wonder if living is really worth this,

The Moon went behind a cloud

to hide it’s face and cry…

The silence of a falling star lit up the early morning sky.
I wonder where you are, Bruce.
I’m so sad…… it just can’t be true. But it is… his son, his daughter, his daughter-in-law all say it is so.

This candle is for my friend, Bruce Shubert, he passed unexpectedly yesterday, leaving so many of us in shock.

Hank Williams knew how to put it into lyrics… the heart ache that never goes away when your loved ones pass.

After Johnny died a man (Bruce) I didn’t know very well at the time reached out daily. Initially, it was just to let me know I wasn’t alone. Bruce offered kindness in the dark hours when I couldn’t sleep. He understood how difficult it was being a grandmother who has lost her grandson and was terrified of losing her son as well.

Sometimes, people say I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m only a phone call, don’t hesitate. Time passes and they’re always too busy. Bruce wasn’t like that. He lived up to his promise and then some. No matter what was happening, he always found the time to check in . We became good friends though we never physically met.

He was very active in many Facebook groups and his presence was felt around the world. Oddly enough yesterday morning he posted this meme. All of us are going to miss his good morning and many blessings post.

I hope he’s right because this world feels very alone today. I found myself wondering if somehow he knew his time was coming, you know like a premonition.

As if there wasn’t enough sadness in my world, the phone rang to tell me Yeatsie is back from the crematory. I stood looking out the window, trying not to cry. Mother Nature thankfully, had it covered, it’s pouring…. all the tears that I’m ready to shed.

Bruce, please give, Johnnie, Sammy, Logan, Yeatsie, Purryl, Quasi and Fluffy… each a hug for me.