Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Six Years Ago Sometime in October

Six years ago sometime in October, someone had an idea that there should be a family photo.  There seemed to be a frantic urgency about it.    I don’t remember whose idea it was, but I do have memories of the assigned day.  Picture day.
We were to meet in the park.
The ground was covered with leaves that crackled and rustled as I scuffed through, kicking them aside, making a path for myself, waving to the others, hurrying to get to them.
The young kids were excited.  Why wouldn’t they be?   They were set free in a wide open space with bright Crayola colored things they could climb up,  hang upside down from, swing high and slide down.
They could use their outside voices to call to one another.   “Over here, come over here!  Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Pop-pop, look at me!”
The youngest one, honing his newly acquired walking upright skills,  was happily exploring,  one of us always close behind him, sometimes having a hard time keeping his pace.
I remember the photographer was late.
The daylight started to fade, bringing with it the end of day chill.
The adults were getting impatient.  I suppose at that point so were the kids.
Joe was tired, he said.  He was cold, I could see that. “Why don’t you sit in the car and rest?” we said.
The photographer sent a text apologizing, but promised she was on her way.
“Why don’t you go sit with Joe for a while,” Ross said.
Joe was listening to a game.  I don’t remember if it was end of season baseball or start of season football.
I remember thinking how the noise of the radio was drowned out by the silence inside of the car.   I can picture the two of us, sitting side by side, the windows rolled up.
I remember looking out of the front window, watching the others as if I were watching a movie, a movie with no sound. The kids were laughing and chasing each other. The adults were talking, or looking at their phones.  They would often turn their heads towards the parking lot as a car pulled in, hoping, I suppose that it would be the photographer.
Every once in a while, I would glance over at Joe.  He did look tired, so tired.
I still remember what we talked about.  So silly,  what I was telling him.  But, now that I think about it, it wasn’t silly at all.
It was family stuff.  I guess you could call it gossip.  It was the weather.  “It’s getting cold out, right?”
I wanted to tell him so many other things.  Things that were hard to say.  I guess too hard to say.
Today, for some reason the memory of that day came to mind.  The first thought as I roused out of sleep, in fact, was of that day.
I used to have regrets about that October family picture day.   For it was the last time the two of us were alone together.   Why didn’t I say those too hard to say things?  Why was I chatting about nonsensical things?
Today, as I write about that day, though, I began to realize what I was doing.  I wanted things to be normal, you know.  I wanted to talk about the weather, and family gossip, and whether his favorite team was going to pull this one out.  I wanted him to know that we would have more time, much more time to say the hard to say things.  No, we didn’t have to say those things on this day, this family picture day.
You might imagine that I would say to you something like, “Say the hard to say things because you never know if you will get another chance.”  But I’m not going to do that.  Simply because I feel that the people you love and those who love you, that sometimes it’s okay to just sit side by side and be.
As it turned out, Joe couldn’t wait any longer for the photographer.  He was tired, so tired.  Anne took him home and then came back for the family photo.
So even though you might not see Joe in that six years ago October family picture, I can see him clearly, so clearly, sitting side by side of each one of us.

 Six years ago today, on this fifth day of December, 2011, my son, Joe died of colon cancer.  He was 34 years old.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

At “The End” My Heart Will Be Whole

I think I am able to express myself more easily in the written word than I can orally.  When I am writing there are no uh’s or um’s.  Oh, don’t get me wrong there are plenty of pauses when I write.  But the reader doesn’t know how much time I may have spent staring out the window in between sentences.
Sometimes the speed of thought between brain and mouth can be unmanageable, especially during episodes of high emotion.  When I speak there is no auto correct, no backspace or delete key.
I remember as a kid arguing with my sister.  She would yell at me to “Take that back!”
But we quickly learn, there is no “taking back” of the spoken word.
When I write I can cryptically hide behind metaphors.  I can let those characters running around in my head laugh and cry, wander and wonder, be lonely and afraid.

I’ve always liked to tell stories to little kids.  I would tell tales to my little sisters and brothers or younger cousins,  then my own children and now my grandkids.  
Until recently, until I started my blog, actually, I had not thought about writing my stories.    
Now, I have a number of stories with great beginnings, but can’t seem to make them whole.  
I suppose it’s a combination of  a lack of discipline, perseverance, and mostly self confidence. 

I have no idea of being a famous writer or even getting published.   But at this point in my life, wouldn’t it be the grandest of finales to not only have a beginning, but a middle and a “The end". 

I can escape my reality with a story. 
In my story my spirit would soar.
I would breathlessly run up to the mountain top so that I could see the world.  I would throw my anger over the edge.
My tale would be filled with lavender and daffodil and aqua blue. 
At the end of my story my heart would be whole.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

If You Knew Joe

So, I’m thinking about what I have to do to get ready for my podcast today.
In case you are new to my blog, let me explain.  For the past six months, I have been doing a YouTube video podcast.   The main topics of the podcast are about knitting.
But, the name of my podcast is “Joey’s Scarf” in honor of my son, Joe, who passed away from colon cancer.
At the end of each podcast I take a few minutes to talk about Joe.  During the last few episodes I have even read some of my writings from this blog.
My objective with the “Joey” segment was to introduce the viewers of the podcast to Joe and quite frankly, also give me a forum to just be able talk about my Joe.
For the past six years readers of this blog and for the past six months viewers of my podcast have gotten to know Joe.
You know of his gentleness, his uniqueness, his deeply quiet and thoughtful personality.  You know that he loved all kinds of music, but in particular off the rails indie bands.
I’ve shared that he played the guitar, which he did, not usually for an audience, but strictly for the love of his music.
You all know that he was a loyal Mets fan, even during their darkest hours.
I’ve talked about how his work ethic made him a most valued employee and that he, his sister and I all worked together at the same company.
I talked about his love story, marriage, and birth of his most cherished little boy.
You know how much of a fighter he was.  How he fought so hard to stay here as long as he possibly could for Anne, the long love of his life and for his little baby boy, Domani the newest love of his life.
How, when he told us that even though his treatment wasn’t working anymore and he would be discontinuing the chemo, he held my hand while I cried and told me, “I still have more time.”
Yes, I’ve shared times of his life from the moment of his birth to the last days of his life.
I still may, from time to time talk about Joe.   And if I am having a sad day, I might share that with you, too.
I think I will continue to share my writings at the end of the podcast, but perhaps they will be on varied topics, I might even share some of my fiction because like my love of knitting, writing has helped me  through a most difficult time.
Most importantly, I know that if you knew Joe personally, you would have liked him.
And now you do, know Joe, quite personally.
So my Joe is now our Joe and that makes me smile.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Dream On

I’ve been spending most of my spare time throughly engaged in my obsession.   Which for those of you who don’t know, is knitting, crocheting and buying yarn.
I have recently carried my obsession to a new level by starring in my own show on YouTube where I talk about what I have knitted or crocheted, (commonly known as a finished object or FO) what I am in the process of knitting or crocheting (this is referred to as a “work in progress or WIP) what new yarns I’ve purchased (or acquisitions) and what my plans are for this new yarn (future projects).
could try to describe the feeling I get when I am among mesmerizing hues and shades of  soft squishy yarn that I cannot stop myself from petting, smelling, and finally totally immerse my fingers into.
could go on and on about how yarn, knitting and crochet helps me deal with life things, how it satisfies, in the most gratifying way, a need to be creative and how when I have a FO to show off or give away, I visit a zen place that is equal to the “mountain top”.
I am not alone in my obsession.  There are many internet based groups available where literally millions of us gather to discuss all of it.
For those of you who are not obsessed, I hear you yawning, loud and clear.
I completely understand that if you are not part of the movement, you probably have stopped reading or perhaps you’ve skimmed through the “boring knitting/crochet/yarn” stuff.
The sad thing about my obsession, though, is that I have stopped writing.  I miss writing.  I miss it because I know it can also bring about a zen “mountain top" experience but perhaps in a different way.
When I write, I figure things out.   I go to places I would normally unconsciously avoid.  I create characters that are at times vaguely familiar, yet often obviously recognizable.
I miss playing with words and phrases.
I have gotten lazy and I feel my imagination is atrophying.
When I knit, I can multitask.  The repetitive motion is soothing, and I can mindlessly watch TV or listen to a book.
When I write I need to be still and quiet.  And even though there may be puppy and hubby distractions, I find I can completely immerse way down deep into an inner world of unexplored terrains.
I recently passed what I consider to be a milestone in life years.  It’s cliche to say, “It’s only a number.”  My body often reminds me that it’s the many minutes, days, weeks, months and yes, especially years stacking one on top of the other which define the strength and stability of that number.
It’s a number that makes me stop and wonder if there is enough time to continue to work on the stories I’ve started (WIP’s), finish the series (FO’s), and plan for future stories.
The thing that ties both of my obsessions together is belief that I will have given the best parts of me to those I most treasure.

For some reason this Aerosmith Song kept playing in my head while I was writing this piece.

Dream on.
Dream On Lyrics by Aerosmith

Sunday, April 9, 2017

That Old Gang of Mine #AtoZChallenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2017
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It starts on April First with a topic themed on something beginning with the letter A, then every day in April, (with the exception of Sundays)  another topic continuing through the alphabet ending with, of course the letter Z.
I really don’t have a theme.  Some will be fiction.   Mostly whatever strikes my fancy.

That Old Gang of Mine

We all belong to one, don’t we?  As we move through life, we may move in and out of our old gangs and find new ones along the way.
When I was a kid my brother, sister, and I lived with our parents in a housing complex which was built specifically for returning WWII soldiers and their families.  The complex was referred to as “The Barracks”.   Even though I was very young, I think about 7 or 8 years old, I have strong memories of living in “The Barracks”.
The members of my gang were the kids from other ex-military families.
I don’t remember any of their names, but I do remember hanging out with them, playing tag and hide-and-seek around the culdesac.
When I was 9 we moved into a brand new house in a town about 30 miles south of where the barracks were.
There were many kids in the new neighborhood.
After all it was baby boom time.  Our family multiplied from 3 kids to eventually 6.
The Shebel’s across the street had 9 kids and two houses down lived the Creed's with 6 kids.  We all played in the street after school until 5:00 when the mother’s would yell for their kids to come home for supper.
As we became teenagers and our interests became less common and more individual, some of us separated from the neighborhood gang.
Personality types, social status, sports prowess, beauty, brains and the way you dressed now became the determining factor for which gang you would gravitate towards.
I’ve been in gangs where I worked,  gangs of stay at home Mom’s, and then “back to work” again gangs.  Right now I belong to the “active adult community” gang.
When I look back over my life, that’s a lot of gangs.

My forever gang,  the one which is and always has been consistent, loyal, and whose members I can always count on  is my “La Famiglia” gang.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Fran, The Fingerless Gloves and The Fisherman Part III #AtoZChallenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2017
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It starts on April First with a topic themed on something beginning with the letter A, then every day in April, (with the exception of Sundays)  another topic continuing through the alphabet ending with, of course the letter Z.
I really don’t have a theme.  Some will be fiction.   Mostly whatever strikes my fancy.

Another visit with Fran who first made two appearances as the F and K posts in last’s years AtoZ challenge.

April 7, 2016
Fran, The Fingerless Gloves and The Fisherman
On a chilly, early spring morning, Fran sat on a freshly painted, dark green bench and looked out at the ocean.  The bench was anchored onto a wooden deck set high up on the man-made dunes.   Normally she would have walked along the water, picking up shells, but the beach was terribly eroded from destructive winter storms and there was a ten-foot drop down onto the shoreline.
She closed her eyes and let the ocean breeze caress her face.
Her hands snuggled in the warmth of the wool of her well-worn fingerless gloves, her bare fingers wrapped around a white Styrofoam cup of steaming hot tea.
The gloves, cherry red when they were new, had now faded into a rusty shade of their former brightness.
She reflected on how much her life had changed since the day Gina gave her the gloves.
"Ah, Gina," she sighed and looked at her watch.
Fran finished the last of her tea.  She better hurry, she thought.  She did not want to be late.  Today was Gina's last day.  They were going to surprise her with a cake and presents.
Of course, Fran suspected that Gina wouldn't be all that surprised.  After 25 years at the halfway house, it was hard to pull the wool over her eyes.
She stood up and noticed a man coming down the beach.  He was bent over, carrying an army green tackle box and fishing pole in one hand and dragging along a large blue cooler with the other.
He spotted her and began to wave.
As she turned to leave, she carelessly waved back.
Fran began to walk down the wooden ramp when she thought she heard her name being called.
She stopped to listen.

Fran, The Fingerless Gloves and The Fisherman Part II - A to Z Challenge - The Letter K for Knitting
April 13, 2016
"Frankie, Frankie, wait!”
Startled, she froze.  There was only one person who ever called her Frankie. 
"Frankie, wait!"
She tried to reassure herself.  No, it couldn't be she thought.
Fran slowly turned around and saw the fisherman struggling to climb up the steep sand dune.
As he got closer, she squinted and raised her hand up to shade her eyes from the bright sun, trying to see if it
 was he.
But by then she already knew that it was.  It was Tom.  He was the only one who ever called her Frankie.
She wanted to run.  Run as fast as she could, down the planked path to the parking lot.
But she was frozen and like a deer caught in the headlights, she couldn't move.
Two years ago was the last time she had seen him.
As she waited for him to make his way towards her she thought about the day they first met.
January 14.   She would never forget it.
It had been a cold dank morning with a smoky gray snow sky.  She could still recall shivering as she waited outside of the rehab.  Gina was to pick her up to bring her to the halfway house.
When she and Gina got to the residential facility called “Gina’s Way”, Tom was the one who had greeted them at the front door.
Now as she reflected back on that day, she remembered that she had barely noticed him. 
She had been too nervous and afraid.  She didn't want to be left there. She didn't want Gina to leave.
"I'll come by tomorrow," promised Gina.
"Can't you stay?  Just a little longer?"  Fran begged.
"Listen, Fran, you're going to be fine.  I just know it."
"Besides, I have the group waiting for me.  You know we are going to be finishing up our gloves tonight," Gina said.
She shook her head back and forth, as if the movement would chase the memory from her mind.  
Slowly looking up she saw that Tom was now on the wooden deck at the top of the dunes, just a few yards from her.
Fran clutched her hands together; her bare fingers peeked out of the faded red fingerless gloves.
Gina had given the gloves to Fran.
"They're beautiful," exclaimed Fran.
 "I knit them just for you, Fran," said Gina.
"Do you think I can learn to do that?" asked Fran.
Gina assured Fran, “Of course you can,” she said.
At first, Fran could hardly keep her shaky hands still enough to hold onto the wooden needles.
But Gina would put her hands over Fran's to guide her through the stitches.
"First, make an X with the needles, like this," Gina said, demonstrating.
"You see, the needle in your right hand goes into the loop on the left needle.  That's it, place the right needle behind the left."
"No, no, it has to go behind the one in your left, like an X," Gina patiently explained.
"Here's an easy way to remember," said Gina.
In a sing-song voice, Gina chanted,
"In through the front door,
Run around the back,
Hop through the window,
Off jumps Jack."
"That's it!"  You've got it!" exclaimed Gina when Fran completed her first stitch.
She remembered the very first thing she made. It was a garter stitch scarf in scratchy blue wool.
By the time she finished it, the scarf was full of holes where she'd dropped stitches and one side was uneven.
Gina made a fuss over it, though, praising Fran for not giving up.
Finishing that scarf gave Fran hope that this time she might also be able to stick with the program.
Gina and knitting.  The were now the tightly interwoven threads of Fran's complex life.
"Hi, Frankie."
He stood in front of her.
She lifted her eyes to look up at him.
He was wearing the blue scarf.

Fran, The Fingerless Gloves and The Fisherman Part III - A to Z Challenge - The Letter F for Frankie
April 7, 2017
Her heart began to thump rapidly in her chest.  She grabbed onto the handrail to steady herself.  
Her mind was racing. Her emotions were like a ball in an arcade game ping ponging all over the place.
Anger hit the jackpot.  Bing, bing, bing!
Without thinking she reached up and punched him in the arm.
She stammered.  “How could you…where…why?”
She could not seem to organize her scattered thoughts into a coherent sentence.
“Frankie,” he said softly. 
He gently placed his hands on her arms pulling her towards him.
Fran wriggled out of his arms and pushed him away.
She felt a searing pain, deep in her being, as the wound she had so carefully tended to began to rip open.
“Please, Frankie,” he pleaded. 
“I’ve got to go!” Fran turned and ran down the ramp.
Tom stayed at the top of the deck.  He did not call after her.  He did not follow.
When Fran got to her car she turned, half expecting Tom to be right there. 
She knew she would have to face him sooner or later, but tonight belonged to Gina.
As she drove the 20 miles back to “Gina House”, she thought about the last night she and Tom spent together.   She was so happy.   She thought he was happy too.  
He told her he was.  
They had sat on the front porch of  “Gina House” and planned an early breakfast the next morning.  Then they were going to begin their apartment search. 
He told her he had some things to take care of so he would have to call it an early night.
“Don’t forget, Frankie, bright and early tomorrow.”
“Nine-thirty, right?”  She teased.
Fran giggled.
“Urgh!”  She growled out loud.
She didn’t want to think about those times.  She especially did not ant to think about that night, that last night.
It had taken Fran months to trust him.  But, slowly she began to open up to him.
He knew about her father and the hurt. 
It was after that time, the time she told him about her father that Tom began call her Frankie. 
“Fran is the little hurt girl”, he said.
“Frankie is my wonderfully strong woman.  That’s who you will always be to me,” he said.”
She even began to think of herself as Frankie. 
The day he left her, waiting for him on the front porch, she became Fran again, fragile as a hurt little girl.

I sure hope we don’t have to wait another whole year for Fran to make an appearance, right?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Essential #AtoZChallenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2017
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It starts on April First with a topic themed on something beginning with the letter A, then every day in April, (with the exception of Sundays)  another topic continuing through the alphabet ending with, of course the letter Z.
I really don’t have a theme.  Some will be fiction.   Mostly whatever strikes my fancy.


  1. 1
    absolutely necessary; extremely important.

On September 11, 2001,  I was employed by the Wall Street Journal.  My position was not a glamorous one.  I wasn’t a reporter or an editor.  In fact I didn’t even work on Wall Street.  I was ensconced in a cubical on the basement level of a corporate center in Central New Jersey.
I worked in the IT department as an e-mail administrator.  Our group’s job was to maintain the inter-company email system.
Working as an IT support person meant carrying a Blackberry 24/7.  Yes, that’s what we carried back then.   My co-workers and I had a rotating on-call schedule.    By 2001, after 20 years of that grind, I was experiencing burn-out.
That day, the day of the attack, I remember watching the news on one of the break-room TV’s as the horror unfolded right in front of our eyes.
I remember being terrified.
I also remember the only thing I wanted to do that day was go home to be with my family.
The New York headquarters building for the Wall Street Journal was across the street from the World Trade Center.   The group of newspeople who managed to get out of the building and out of the city made their way down to Central New Jersey, where I worked.
It was pretty much chaos in our center as we scrambled to get the reporters up and running to be able to write their stories.  The newspaper had never missed a single day of publication.
A directive came down from the head of IT that no one was to leave.  We were to stay all night if necessary to support the reporter's technical needs.
Our group was considered essential.
Frankly, I remember thinking that getting the scoop on this story and making sure that the production of the paper was not to be interrupted, did not seem very important that day.   At least it wasn’t to me.
What was essential to me was to be home with Ross and to make sure my children were safe.
I stayed that night until the wee hours.
But that day was also the day I decided to retire.  I have never regretted my decision because since the day I am the one who decides what is essential for my life.

I Have A Daughter #AtoZChallenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2017
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It starts on April First with a topic themed on something beginning with the letter A, then every day in April, (with the exception of Sundays)  another topic continuing through the alphabet ending with, of course the letter Z.
I really don’t have a theme.  Some will be fiction.   Mostly whatever strikes my fancy.

I Have A Daughter

Mothers and daughters share a bond that is not the same as mothers and sons or fathers and daughters.
I believe it goes beyond gender empathy.  For  I don’t think that fathers and sons share the same level of understanding that mothers and daughters do.
When our daughters are born we nod our heads and whisper in their tiny ears, “Ahh, yes,” finally understanding the melancholic concert of joy and sadness passed on to us by our own mothers.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Crying Over You #AtoZChallenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2017
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It starts on April First with a topic themed on something beginning with the letter A, then every day in April, (with the exception of Sundays)  another topic continuing through the alphabet ending with, of course the letter Z.
I really don’t have a theme.  Some will be fiction.   Mostly whatever strikes my fancy.

Crying Over You

I was awakened early this morning.  It was 4:34.  Perhaps a bad dream.   The song “Crying” by Roy Orbison was ear worming in my brain.

"I was all right for a while, I could smile for a while
But I saw you last night, you held my hand so tight
As you stopped to say "Hello"
Aw you wished me well, you couldn't tell
That I'd been crying over you, crying over you
Then you said "so long". left me standing all alone
Alone and crying, crying, crying crying
It's hard to understand but the touch of your hand
Can start me crying…”

The most intimate moments in my life occurred when I gave birth to each of my three children.
For each of the times, my child and I shared something together that would be like no other time in our lives.
Although, at the moment of their first breath of life, we may have physically separated, the tightly wound knot that bound us together during the months before, left a deep and everlasting imprint in my heart and soul.
I have had many joyous moments in my life.   But none as heady and breathtaking as giving birth and holding my baby for the first time.  Each time, I was so full of happiness that I cried.

Today, in the early pre dawn of this very day, I am immersed in a memory of the birth of my son, Joe.  I close my eyes and vividly recall the experience.  I feel the weight of him cradled in my arms.   I am filled with joy and wonderment as I look down at his tiny face.   I feel his softness as I trace his baby skin with my fingertips.  He seeks nourishment from me as his little mouth opens and closes.
Me and my Joe, just the two of us, sharing the most intimately tender moment of our lives.
I want to stay here in the moment of that memory.  It’s gauzy and dreamy and delicious.

Forty-two years ago on this day,  Joe and I shared one of the most intimate moments of our lives, like no other.

Today, I am so filled with sadness that I cried.

Monday, April 3, 2017

If I Had Been Born A Bronte #AtoZChallenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2017
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It starts on April First with a topic themed on something beginning with the letter A, then every day in April, (with the exception of Sundays)  another topic continuing through the alphabet ending with, of course the letter Z.
I really don’t have a theme.  Some will be fiction.   Mostly whatever strikes my fancy. 

If I Had Been Born a Bronte

I recently watched a two hour PBS* Masterpiece drama film called “To Walk Invisible”.   The film takes place during a three year period of the famous Bronte family’s life.

As the piece unfolded, I became intrigued by these three sisters.  I gained insight into where, why and how the stories and characters of their novels evolved.
I thought it was so interesting that their imaginations were able to expand far beyond their small isolated world.

By the end of the film, I began to wonder how it was that not only did each of the sisters share a passionate love of writing, but how extraordinary it was that individually each sister was able to produce literary masterpieces of their own.

That made me think of my own interest in writing.  Comparatively speaking, it is far from passionate.
I would consider it to be more of an outlet for emotional expression than a passion.  And since I am not always in an extreme emotional state,  writing for me is not all consuming.
I can’t help but wonder, though,  if my interest might have developed into a passion if it had been nurtured in the same way that the Bronte’s was nurtured.

Eeven though I was inspired by my high school English teacher Clarence Jolly Jr. to think that I might be able to pursue writing in some professional way, my parents more practical idea of secretarial work and marriage were apparently the more influential.

I have to say my blog has renewed my interest in writing and at times I might even admit to passion.

By the way, I highly recommend “To Walk Invisible”.  It was well done.

Hey, did you notice me in the photo? :)

*PBS is an independently operated non-profit organization and is the most prominent provider of television programming to public television stations in the United States.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore #AtoZChallenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2017
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge” 
What is it?
Blogging every day.  It starts on April First with a topic themed on something beginning with the letter A, then every day in April, (with the exception of Sundays)  another topic continuing through the alphabet ending with, of course the letter Z.
I really don’t have a theme.  Some will be fiction.   Mostly whatever strikes my fancy. 

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Alice stood motionless at the now bare window.  Puzzled, she wondered why the curtains were not on the window.    That’s right, she remembered now.  It was spring cleaning time.  She always hand washed her kitchen curtains. They must be soaking in the tub, she thought.
She remembered how she had walked up and down aisles of bolts of cotton and linen, stopping now and then to pull one out.   She must have walked around the fabric store for thirty minutes.   She covered her mouth and giggled.
“No, Alice, it was more like 4 hours.”
David Sr. would always correct her whenever she would tell the story of the curtains.  

She knew exactly what she had been looking for, though.  Crisp white linen with bunches of cherries all over.
“I’ll take seven yards, please,” she told the lady behind the cutting table.
Hypnotized by the back and forth movement of the rusty blue bird feeder as it moved in time with the light breeze of new spring, she quietly watched, hoping for a glimpse of twittering red feathers hoping between the tree branches.  Her mouth curled into a weak smile as she recalled the rush of excitement she would feel whenever she was lucky enough to spot the cardinal among the brooding fingers of mossy green pine needles.
“Mom?  Mom.  Mom!”
Startled, Alice turned towards the voice which had broken her out of her reverie.
“Do you remember where I put the bird seed?”  she asked.
Sadly, David shook his head and gently put his arm around his mothers frail shoulders, leading her towards the door.
“Mom, come on now it’s time to go.”

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

An Introvert Who Maybe Secretly Wants to Be a Little Less So

What?  No, it can’t be.  It’s March already and no posts yet.  Oh my goodness!

I’ve been struggling with back, hip and knee issues.  I am angry about it too!  Okay, now that we are caught up :)

I just finished recording and uploading the sixth episode of my YouTube knitting podcast called Joey’s Scarf.
It has been an interesting experience, especially for an introvert like me.   First of all, it is strange and a bit uncomfortable to sit in front of a camera and talk.  Although, I suppose it’s like practicing a speech in front of a mirror,  trying to come across relaxed, natural and at ease. 
As I am editing the video, I notice every “uh”, hesitation, and misspoken word.   Not to mention, my wrinkles, saggy neck, and frizzy hair.  Yeah, it’s kind of hard to watch myself.  
Now, of course, with Smart TV’s people can watch these videos on their 42” screens.  Yikes! Now that is scary.  
In fact my son, sent me a text two nights ago with this photo

That’s him with his feet up watching me on his big screen TV.   I was surprised that he would want to watch.  After all it’s a knitting video.  But, actually I am secretly thrilled!  
No, I’m not an internet sensation.  And no, “Joey’s Scarf” has not gone viral.  I’m pretty sure I would not be able to handle something like that anyway.  You know it’s the introvert thing.  
But the group of viewers that have been watching have made my heart swell with the most kind, supportive, and encouraging comments.  
I have definitely stepped out of my comfort zone with this endeavor.  And that’s a good thing for me, the introvert who maybe secretly really wants to be a little less so. 


Thursday, February 9, 2017

There’s Always The Weather To Talk About and My New YouTube Podcast

February 9th, 2017
Boy it’s miserable out this morning.  Here in Barnegat, NJ, we are having another Nor’Easter.  Right now at 8:13 a.m., the temperature is hovering at the freezing point. Noisy window rapping, icy rain pellets have begun to change over to big quiet snow flakes.  
From my chair by the fire place, I have a direct but partial view of what’s going on outside our front door.
Ross asked me, “So what’s on your agenda today?”
“You’re looking at it,” I said.

Yep, I’m pretty much ensconced in my chair for the duration.  While sipping on a never ending cup of herbal tea, knitting, blogging, watching YouTube videos and staring out the window are on my agenda today.

By the way, here in Barnegat, NJ, yesterday the temperatures were in the 60’s.  

For my knitting and crocheting friends, I have started a knitting podcast called Joey’s Scarf.  I would love for you to check it out.   I share what I’m currently working on, what I’ve made and show you any new and yummy items I’ve added to my stash.
Just as important to me, though, is the segment I have near the end of the podcast where I share memories of my Joe.  It’s interesting, you know, in the past few weeks I have been doing these podcasts,  I have found being able to talk about Joe out loud has fulfilled a need in me that I didn’t realize I was missing.  It has been so comforting.  I think I was beginning to feel that somehow Joe was getting further and further away from me.  Everyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one surely understands the feeling, right?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Giggling and Jiggling

Today is Thursday, January 26 2017.  This has been a gray and dreary January here in Barnegat NJ. We have had only five sunny days this month.  Four of the sunny days have been on Sundays.  Interesting, huh?
This year we have not had more than one consecutive day of sunny days.  And the “sun will not come out tomorrow” or the next day or the day after that.
No wonder I am SAD.  Yes, I believe I have been affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.
But, hooray, after two days of a horrific nor’easter, yesterday was one of those five sunny days.
At aerobics, as we grapevined, jumping jacked, lifted and squatted, our collective spirits were visibly lifted by the most beautiful of blue sky.  The usual grimaces were replaced with smiles, winks and nods.  No grunts and groans yesterday, instead we ahh and oohed as we danced to the music in our sun filled ballroom.
I wonder if those who live in “sun almost every day” climates jiggle and giggle more often.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

It’s Just A Story

Rick came by yesterday.   Just when I think he has forgotten about me, he shows up.
He has a key to my house.  Even though I know it could only be him, I still have that split second moment of irrational fear when I hear the sound of the key going into the lock.
Click. Jiggle.  An involuntary intake of breath, which I hold until I hear him call out, “Hey Ma! It’s me-ee!”
I slowly let the air out and pat my chest.
“You scared me, Rick!”  It’s what I always say.
“Ma, who else would it be?”  It’s what he always replies.
“I wish you would’ve called first.”  He never does.
Rick is the soft squish of my heart.  “I brought homemade chicken noodle soup, he said.”
“Trish made it last night.  Used your recipe.”
I stared out the window as he set my little two person table for lunch.  It’s a vintage chrome and Formica set I found at Don’s Antiques here in town. It’s my favorite spot in the house.  From my side of the table, I can see the bird feeder.  A golden female cardinal swoops off the pine tree and onto the feeder.  I catch flashes of brilliant red feathers hopping from branch to branch as the male waits for his mate to bring him lunch.
I tell Rick how relentless I was with my bargaining skills until Don gave in and let me have it for the price I originally wanted to pay.
“I think I’m going to go over to Don’s next week.  I saw a pretty soup bowl set that I have my eye on,” I say.
“Ma, you know Don’s isn’t there anymore.”
I squinted and frowned, trying to remember.  “Oh, I know, I know,” I say.  “Of course I know that.”  I was mad at myself for slipping like that.
The soup was good.  Filled with chunks of meaty white chicken.  The carrots and celery were cut into chunks too.  The noodles were Kluski’s Pennsylvania Dutch.  As my handwritten recipe describes, “It’s the only kind I use.”
I tell Rick to make sure he lets Trish know how much I liked the soup.  And I wasn’t just saying that to be nice.  It was delicious.  Gosh, I haven’t made it myself in years.
While we ate, he filled me in on what RJ and Kate were up to.   RJ was a sophomore at St. Ivans college over in Hyattsville.   Kate was a senior in High School.
I told him that I wished I could see more of them.
He reminded me that I promised I would let him know what my decision was.
An involuntary intake of breath, which I hold until he says, “It’s okay, Ma, you don’t have to decide today.”
I slowly let the air out and pat my chest.
“We’ll talk about it next time, okay, Rick?  I promise.”
It was a nice visit, though.  It always is.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

It’s Morning, But It’s Still Night

 It’s six a.m. and dark out.   It’s morning, but it’s still night.

I’ve been up for forty-five minutes.  Rico just came wandering out of the bedroom and headed for the kitchen where he proceeded to bark at his empty water bowl.    Easy enough to take care of that.  At least he wasn’t barking to go out.   Now he’s settled down in his favorite spot.

My winter rant has been for us to de-clutter our den.  Funny how that works.  In order to de-clutter the den, we have to make room in the garage so we can store the “I can’t possibly throw that out!” stuff.   Or the “We’ll call the auction guy over to look at this because it might be worth something,” stuff.  And then there is the steadily growing stack of  “If it’s not in front of me, I might not be able to find that important document which I might need to do our taxes,” stuff.

When we had the whole interior of the house painted in September I boxed up 6 crates worth of “things”.  Funny how that is.  I/we haven’t seemed to miss whatever is in those crates.  Which, by the way, are now stored on the shelves in the garage, just in case, you know “we might need that.”

Today, we are planning to take a dozen cans of paint left over from the last time we had our house painted, a dozen years ago, to the recycle center.  Good thing, because we need the space in the garage to store that den stuff I told you about.

Or we could just do this:

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Why I Don’t Blog Much Anymore

As I wrote my last post, a couple of days ago, I noticed my “Blog Archive”.
 It hangs out on the right side of my blog.  The archive is a history of all the posts I’ve written since I started my blog.  I wrote my first one on March 10, 2011.

Look. It’s obvious, isn’t it?  The steady decline in number of posts.

I began to think about why, particularly this past year,  I don’t blog much anymore.

I do tend to get obsessive about my “hobbies”.   Although, to describe my writing, posting and blogging as a hobby? No, that’s doesn’t do it justice.  It meant  means much more to me than that.   There are so many reasons why my blog was is so essential to my being.  But that topic is for another post.

No, this post is about why I don’t blog much anymore.

Take for instance 2016.  I only wrote 54 posts.  And if it wasn’t for April’s “A to Z” challenge,  2016 would only have had 28 posts.

Okay, I cop to laziness.  Yes, that is a factor.


Why spend an hour or two pondering and contemplating, staring at a blank screen seeking inspiration?  Why agonize over choosing just the right word to creatively complete a poetic phrase?
Why immerse myself in introspection, blocking out Rico’s barking, the blaring TV, or the worries of the world?

Why would I do all of that when in just 140 characters and a few seconds, boom! It’s out there.  Whatever nonsensical thing I have to communicate can easily be stated in an captioned photo, right?
Facebook prompts me every morning,  “Hi Lynda, how are you today?  What are you up to?”
See? I don’t even have to think about what I’m going to write about.

Yes, the main reason I don’t blog much anymore is I’ve been seductively lured by the instantaneous social media Facebook, Instagram and Twitter gratification which has snared me in it’s sticky WEB.

Before I wrote this post, I began to read a few of the 662 posts I have written over the past six years.

Ross always encourages me.  “You really are good,” he’ll say.    “No, I’m not,” I’ll answer.

Maybe the truth lies somewhere in between those two.

But, as I was reading this one past post in particular, I became very emotional.  What I wrote,  it made me feel.  The feeling?  No, it wasn’t instant.  It was better because it was quietly, thoughtfully  and slowly nurtured.

I miss my blog.

I think there is a New Year’s resolution in here somewhere :)