The Things We Treasure

The final assignment for #Writing101 is to write about something we treasure, and the twist is to experiment with longform and push to write more than usual.

So for anyone that has faithfully followed along, I did miss a couple of the twenty assignments, but all-in-all, this has been such an amazing journey.  One of deep thinking and thoughtful process.  One of stretching myself out of my comfort zone.  One that has certainly challenged me.  One that is teaching me to not only be okay with myself, but to start liking myself for me just the way I am, and learning to love myself.   Love comes very easy for me…   When it comes to others…

I feel I have grown through the process, and I know I still have a long way to go, but guess what?  That is what it’s all about Alfie – this thing called life.    Growing and stretching and challenging yourself and learning and doing new things.  But most of all, sharing it with those we love, and experiencing the joy of love.   Yep – at life in between.  So hear goes my final assignment for #Writing101.  (But no fear – or “oh no!” – I think there may be a #Writing201 in my future…)

There is no material item I can fathom or imagine treasuring more than I treasure my family – and friends that are like family – that bring such joy and love to my life.

I know it sounds so cliche’, but I truly cannot think of an item that I treasure more dearly.

And at the top of that list is this awkward young man I met 35 years ago.  He was 20.  I was 16.

He’s not so young anymore – but neither am I.

And the most awesome thing I can say about that is I know without a doubt that I love this now sometimes grumpy but whose laugh melts my heart,  gray-haired but more handsome than ever, still sometimes awkward but ever-so intelligent, opinionated that I don’t always agree with, kind-hearted but doesn’t want anyone to know, talented, dependable, logical, level-headed, big lug of a guy with a ‘derriere’ that can still make me blush more than I did all those years ago.

How sweet is the longevity of a lifetime of love?  It’s truly not about mushiness or goobiness or googly eyes or butterflies.  It’s about a sacred bond.  It’s about feeling confident and secure and comfortable and simply loved.

“I believe in love, Alfie.”

So, Merv, after all this, do you still “think I’m cuuuuuute?”  I guess this turned into a love letter just for you…


With love,


Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? – Uh… Me!

big bad wolf
#Writing 101:  Your Personality on the Page:  Today’s Assignment – We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.  Today’s twist: Write this post in a style distinct from your own.

Well – this assignment is a SUPER easy one.
You know why?
Because I’m afraid of everything…


I want to be brave, but truth be told – I’m a big scaredy-cat.  Afraid of the dark, afraid of stepping higher than three rungs on a ladder.

I want to be a daredevil, but I’m afraid to ride a motorcycle, afraid of super high speeds, deathly afraid of heights.

I want to be a thrill seeker, but – alas – afraid of roller coasters, wouldn’t even think about sky diving or bungee jumping.

I want to be one of those people who run INto catastrophic situations and help people (like my Marty), but my initial reaction is to run away scared….

But rather than write a Debbie Downer post about my miserable anxieties, let’s go with the twist and make it fun and silly in a “different style.”

So in David Letterman Top 10 style – – –

Here are the TOP 10 Reasons I am Afraid of Heights:

'I feel on top of the world, panicky, dizzy and nauseated. I'm afraid of heights.'

10.  If you fall, you can break your arm(s).

9.   If you fall, you can break your leg(s).

8.   If you fall, you can break your neck.

7.   If you fall, you can break your back.

6.   If you fall, you can bust your head open and suffer severe brain damage.

5.   If you fall, you could become paralyzed.

4.   When you are up high, you can lose your balance and fall.

3.   If you fall, you could land in an awkward looking position causing extreme embarrassment.

2.   If you fall, you can look really ridiculous during the process, causing extreme embarrassment.

And the #1 Reason I am Afraid of Heights……….   (drum roll……)

1.   If you fall, you could die.   Death=OK – Pain Dying=Not OK

'I'm afraid of heights.'

Do you agree?  Why isn’t everyone afraid of heights?!

Cheers & Scaredy-Cat Hugs,




Lost and Found

#Writing101 – Lost and Found

When I think of “lost and found,” a long-forgotton song comes immediately to my mind:  “Happiest Girl in the Whole USA.”

Isn’t it strange how a word or a song can evoke such crazy memories and feelings?!

I’ve been playing this song over and over as I contemplate this #Writing101 Assignment.

It makes me smile, it makes me laugh (when music was “corny” by today’s standards), but mostly it makes me sad….

Let me take you back.

It was circa 1973.

I was 10, my brother was 9.  We were living  in another new-to-us house with our Mom and new Dad and new baby sister.  My brother and I were “buddies.”  Being only 13 months apart, we were very close (some refer to this as “Irish Twins”).  We had a special bond in our life as we were the stable link in our family life that had turned us upside down and all around.  I smile remembering the sweet little boy my brother was.  Even when I see him today, it is that little boy I see (despite the circumstances that have affected our lives).

One weekend afternoon, my brother and I were allowed to walk to the shopping mall that was about a mile from our house.  The details of the circumstances are sketchy in my mind (I truly believe I have blocked a lot for sanity’s sake), but the emotions are as raw as if it were that day 40 years ago.

It was a big deal for us to get to walk to the “five and dime” and spend some of our allowance on whatever it was that we were looking for at that point in our life.  Mom had asked us to pick  something up from the grocery store for her and gave us some money.  Like I said, the details are sketchy, but I want to think it was a $20 bill we were given to purchase whatever it was we were supposed to get.  (Though thinking back that sounds like a lot of money for 40 years ago – maybe it was $10??)  The amount really doesn’t matter, and we’ll just say $20 for the sake of this story.

My brother and I were walking and running and skipping and who knows what else along the way to the store.  There was a creek, there was a tunnel, there was an old one-room school house.  All of these things were investigated on our trip.  It was exciting to have this freedom, and we were enjoying our adventure.  When we got to the store, however, we couldn’t find the money we were given to buy what Mom had asked us to get.


We were going to be in BIG trouble!

Boy did our moods change.  We headed home combing the ground for the lost money.

No luck…

We finally decided we needed to tell Mom we had lost the money and were not able to get what she had asked us to buy.

She was so mad.

She didn’t believe us.

She told us to march ourselves right back out the door and FIND that money.

My brother and I were distraught.  We had looked everywhere for that money on the way home until finally giving up.  Mom didn’t believe us.  She thought we were lying and spent her money on something else for ourselves.

We were sad.

We had no clue what our punishment was going to be when we went home again WITHOUT the money…

We kept walking the path we had traveled, tracing and re-tracing our footsteps.  Heads down.  Hearts heavy.  So nervous.

Then, as if sent on an angel’s wings from heaven, there it was!  The $20 (?) bill on the ground right in front of us in a spot we had looked at least five times at.

We screamed.  We screeched.  We hugged.

We starting running home – only interrupted by skips – as we sang “I’m the HAPPIEST Girl (and my brother shouted BOY!) in the WHOLE U.S.A.).  We were so “happy.”  Though truly the feeling was “relief.”

I really don’t remember Mom’s reaction or what happened after.  I just remember the elated feeling of being spared the punishment for an accident that our Mom didn’t believe.  And that is still the part that makes me sad.  Mom didn’t believe us.  She thought we were lying and deceiving her.  She didn’t believe that we truly didn’t mean to, but had accidentally lost the money.  Maybe that was very irresponsible.  Maybe that was a lot of money at the time.  But all I can feel is the relief and the grief.

My brother and I bonded that afternoon yet again in a way only kids in our circumstances could.



Rubbing our Feet, Rubbing our Eyes, Creating Memories

#Writing 101: Your Voice Will Find You

You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever. Write about it. For your twist, focus on your own voice.

A couple years ago, I was invited into a “sacred” ritual with my (then future) now daughter-in-law and the girls in her family.

BLACK FRIDAY Girl’s Night Out Shopping Extravaganza!

I can just hear some of you right now as you read this saying/thinking:



Only Crazies go out shopping on Black Friday!”

(I used to be one of these!)


Then there are some of you reading this that have a secret smile slowly forming at the corners of your mouth.  You know who you are!

Your mind is beginning to race.

Admit it – by now you are already starting to think about your plan, beginning to map out your excursion.  You’ve got the bug!

Black Friday Shopping is a crazy “tradition” here in the United States that is designated as “Opening Day” of Christmas Shopping Season (even though Christmas decorations are ridiculously already out now in the beginning of October at most every discount and department store).

Black Friday occurs on the last Friday in November – the day after Thanksgiving each year.  There is a huge hype created by most every retail store by advertising (weeks ahead of time) very specific special sales and discounts for just this day.   The special sale price is usually on particularly popular items, sometimes hard to get, and most always in very limited quantities causing waiting lines to form hours (and sometimes even days) before the sale begins for savvy, smart, competitive, mentally-deranged shoppers.


I used to laugh at those half-baked lunatics that stormed Target to save $10.

Now I’m in the club.

It’s not that I even ever really have anything in particular on my list that I have to get.  For me, it’s just about being with the girls, celebrating a “tradition,” and doing something completely different than I ever do any other day of the year.

We meet up at around 10 or 11pm Thanksgiving evening so we can start our shopping at the stroke of midnight to take advantage of every second.  We shop our way through the entire time we are usually snug as a bug in bed and don’t quit until noon for a full 12 hours of laughing, shopping, eating, rubbing our feet, rubbing our eyes, creating secret pacts over gift selections, hiding from the others to purchase something someone gasped over, helping hide others from the one buying something for the other, bumping into friends, eating breakfast at 3am and lunch by 10 am.  We shop until our feet and eyes can take no more.  Until we’ve laughed so hard our throats hurt.  Until our wallets are empty and our trunk is full.

We are creating bonds, creating memories, creating traditions.  It’s so much more than shopping.  It’s an event to look forward to, look back on, tell stories about, grow close together through.  I think it should be called Fun Friday – not Black Friday.

What would truly make this Black for me would be if it were cancelled, if we didn’t do it, if I wasn’t invited/included.  It has come to be an annual event I look forward to.  A special time with the girls that gives me some kind of nonsensical, ludicrous pleasure.

Yep – I joined the club.  The Annual Fun Friday Club.  I think I am going to put this name up to a vote this year 🙂

Call me crazy, but don’t call me at 3pm that day (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz)

Cheers & Hugs,


Dear Malbec – Where do I submit my resume?

1000Dear Friends –

Thanks for visiting.  Today was kind of an exciting day at  I received a notification from WordPress first thing this morning that I had exceeded 1,000 likes.  Then later in the day, I received notification that today, October 1, was my all-time best day for “Likes.”

So THANKS!  Thanks for “Liking!”  I Like “Likes!”  Actually I LOVE “Likes!”

It is such great encouragement to me to continue writing and sharing here at

And speaking of writing, today’s #Writing101 Assignment is entitled, “To Whom it May Concern.”  Our task is to pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. Find a word that jumps out at us, and write in the form of a letter.  (Keeping with the “theme,” I am writing to all of you in the form of a letter also.)

The nearest book to me as I sit here watching the Pittsburgh Buccos (we made the Wild Card Playoffs this year!) this evening is “All the Light We Cannot See” (our current “Best Book Club Ever” selection – which I am VERY much enjoying by the way).

all the light we cannot see

So I turned to page 29, and lo and behold, the word “Malbec” (fancy that!) shouted out to me…  (Doesn’t it just bounce off the page and glare at you?!)

page 29So here goes…

Dear Malbec –

There’s something I really need to tell you, and I’m just not sure how to say it.  I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but there is something about you that really gets on my nerves.  It’s just one small thing, but it’s been bothering me for some time.

First, let me tell you there are many things I do really like about you.

I love your dark, inky purplish color.  Red wines are by far my favorite over white.  And pink?!  I would rather drink nothing than drink pink or rose!

I love your ripe fruity flavors:  black cherry, plum, blackberry – awwhhh!

I love your spicy aromas and smoky, earthy, tobacco, peppery flavors that create such interesting complexity on my palate.

But here’s the thing:  I am so irritated that you are called full-bodied, and IT’S A COMPLIMENT!   It’s so unfair.  I want to be a Malbec!

Where do I submit my resume?

Sincerely yours,




Gingersnaps & Finding Memories

Have you ever found yourself baking something just because of what it reminds you of?  The memories it evokes?  The traditions created around that certain recipe?

Gingersnaps are one of those recipes for me.

Baking them takes me back to Thanksgiving mornings many years ago when the boys were young, and we lived on Borderline Drive.

The only thing separating us from our closest neighbors and the boys’ best friends was five glorious acres of woods with a stream running through it and a clearing right smack in the middle that our two boys and the three neighbor boys (and one girl) declared, designed, and spent countless hours at – – “the Field.”

In the summer, there was a dugout made from chain link fence and whatever scraps of wood or pipe the boys could rustle up to hold it up that year.  They built up a pitcher’s mount, painted base lines with spray paint, and secured tattered rubber bases to create their field of dreams.

Come Fall, however, the baseball field was converted to a football field.

And every Thanksgiving morning, after turkeys were stuffed and left to roast, our neighborhood families would gather for our annual “Turkey Bowl” football game.

One neighbor brought the cooler of beer for the adults and built the bonfire for the “fans” and “cheerleaders” to hover and converse at.

My job was hot chocolate and warm gingersnaps fresh out of the oven.

I made them for years every Thanksgiving for the Turkey Bowl.  They usually got eaten by ravenous linebackers and receivers wearing mud covered gloves.  The men found them to go famously with beer too!  There were Thanksgivings with snow on the ground and others where no coat was necessary, but we always had warm gingersnaps.

I seemed to have misplaced the original handwritten recipe from Barb.  I’ve never got around to properly organizing my recipes, and I’m sure I could just call her, but I found this recipe online, and it seems to come pretty close.  I made them the other day to share with some guests at the office.  I think they need a little more ginger, but that is a preference you can decide.

Today’s #Writing101 Assignment is to write about finding something.  I know this is a stretch 🙂 – and a better story would be if I would have found that dang original handwritten recipe from Barb!

But this was my sneaky way of getting to share a recipe, share a memory, and share some photos I took of the cookies I made.  I call that a SCORE!  And hey – I wrote – and I found something.

gingersnaps 8

gingersnaps 2

gingersnaps 3

gingersnaps 5

gingersnaps 9

gingersnaps 6Gingersnap Gems (from Midwest Living)

Pap’s Best Day

pap last day

Today’s Assignment for #Writing101:  Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation. For a twist, include foreshadowing.

Something made me stay a little longer that day.  I wasn’t in my usual hurried, harried mode on my weekly visit to the nursing home.  This visit was surprisingly more enjoyable than the “chore” it sometimes had sadly become of late.

Time seemed to fly as Pap (my father-in-law) and I talked and laughed and reminisced.   Marty even called to see where I was since I was “taking so long.”  But Pap was so excited to share what a wonderful day he had and tell me about his very special visitor.  Nancy, his “favorite” niece from Illinois, had surprised him that day with a visit.  They went for a walk – him in his scooter with the orange safety flag, wearing his favorite chicken hat Colleen had bought him with his beautiful niece by his side.  He proudly introduced her to every person he knew that worked, visited or lived within scooter driving distance of his room, and he begged to have a picture taken to commemorate the day.   He could barely contain his joy and excitement telling me about the fun they had, the laughs they shared, and the joy she had brought to his day.

“It was the best day,” he said.

Pap had been sick for quite a while.  He had more than his fair share of “close encounters” throughout the 33 years I had known him (and even before that).  Yet somehow he managed to outlive his beloved wife of 52 years, and even more heartbreaking, his only daughter.

Lately, Pap was in and out of the hospital more times than we could count.   Moves between assisted living and skilled nursing were becoming the norm.  Pap was getting tired.  He said he was ready to go.  But when breathing got labored due to his CHF and other problems arose from his minimally functioning kidney, he panicked.  He just wanted to “stick around” a few months longer for the upcoming wedding of his grandson, Jake and his favorite girl, Colleen.

It was time to have “the talk.”

In life, there are a few very important “talks.”  There’s the “birds and the bees,” continuing education decisions, marriage, children, buying a home.

Then there’s the BIGGIE:  Death.

The “How do you want to spend your end-of-life journey?” talk.

Now I’m in the hospice business, so I am extremely comfortable talking about these important decisions and discussions.  Until it’s MY family…

I struggled.  Marty anguished.  We called in expert assistance.

We thought we were getting through, then Pap would talk about dialysis and kidney transplants.

We were obviously not being very effective.

And Pap kept bouncing around from hospital to skilled nursing to assisted and round and round.

This particular day I visited, he was in skilled nursing after a recent episode in the hospital.  I left feeling good.  Pap must have said it a handful of times:  “It was the best day.”

Fast forward four short hours.  The phone rang.  Pap had experienced a “turn,” and he wanted to go to the hospital.  He was struggling to breathe.

Marty asked the nursing staff to please not send him.  “Please keep him there.  Keep him comfortable.  Let him know we will be there in 15 minutes.”

When we arrived, Pap’s favorite aide was on one side of his bed, holding his hand, stroking his cheek.  Another aide stood empathetically behind her.  Still.  Silent.

Our eyes met, and theirs began to glisten.

“He’s comfortable.”  “He’s relaxed now.”

They left us to have some private time with Pap.

Marty rubbed his once larger than life, but now frail and thin Father’s arm.  He garnered all the poise and grace and dignity a 53-year old, 6 foot, 3 inch tall working man’s man could muster, and whispered, “I love you, Dad.”

“You have been a wonderful father, a devoted husband, a loving grandfather,” he said.

“It’s okay.”

“It’s okay to let go.”

“Mom and Maureen are waiting for you.”

“We will miss you, but it’s ok.”

Pap took his last breath.  Marty had one hand.  I had the other.

“It was the best day.”



A Proper Family Unit – #Writing101


We are past the halfway mark in #Writing101, and I have to say I am enjoying it more and more as we progress.  This assignment really conjured up some memories – some good – some bad.   But that’s okay.  It’s my life… and this is my story.

Today’s assignment: #Writing 101, Day Eleven – Size Matters
Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.

The thing I remember most about being 12 is wanting to be 13.  Funny how that was so important at the time.  But boy was it!

You see – I started school at an earlier age than most.  Having a birthday on December 31st did that back in my day.  So when all my friends became teenagers, I thought it was the worst thing in the world being 12.  Too bad that wasn’t the only thing I had to worry about at 12.

Home.  Where would I call “home” when I was 12 years old?  That’s a little trickier for me than some.

Mom had recently remarried, so Mom and new Dad and new baby sister and same brother and I moved into a brand-spanking new two-story house in the country built just for us.

But I didn’t live there long.

It was Grandma’s house that became my home when I was 12.  And as I think back, I daresay it might have been my favorite home growing up.  Grandma had a way of doing that.

I moved six times and lived in eight different places (counting Grandma’s) during my childhood.  I went to five different school districts.  Throughout all the moves, I experienced many different sizes and shapes and types of homes and neighborhoods.  From older communities on one side of town to an apartment after the divorce and staying at Grandma’s during the week, to the other side of town, to the country, and back to newer suburbs in yet another area.  It was never far, but it was a move.  It was a change.  A big change for my brother and me trying to figure out this thing called life and the idea of family.

So as the rest of my family (Mom, new Dad, new sister and same brother) lived in the big, new house in the woods, I was asked to stay with Grandma.

Grandpap had recently passed away, and it was hard on Grandma.  Not only because she loved him, but she needed and relied on him too.  Grandma didn’t drive, so she lost her driver.  Grandma had never written a check in her life.  She had never paid a bill.  Although Grandma had more common sense than anyone I have ever known, she lacked in formal education, so Grandpap made up for this.  He paid the bills, and he balanced the checkbook.  Without him, though, Grandma was lost.

So Mom and new Dad decided to move her closer to them.  “It will be easier to help her this way,” they decided.

Grandma was very reluctant.  She had lived in the same house for almost her entire married life.  Grandpap and her built that house.  They had planted every blade of grass, shrub, fruit tree, and berry bush.  All her friends were there.  But it was a 45-minute drive to get to Grandma’s from our new big house, and Mom thought this would be best.

Grandma moved.  She reluctantly packed up all of her belongings and all of her memories and moved into a double-wide trailer in a mobile home park within walking distance through the woods from our new big house in the country.

But Grandma was sad.  Not just the regular kind of sad, but that clinically depressed kind of sad.  So Mom told me it would help Grandma if I could go stay with her for a while as she adjusted to her new home and new surroundings.  “Having you there will make her feel better,” she said.  So I did.  I was 12.

Grandma loved having me there, and I loved being there.  Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months.  Months turned into years.  I eventually moved all of my 12-year old belongings  into Grandma’s house.  Important stuff like records and clothes. I caught the school bus with the neighborhood kids in the mobile home park.  They became my friends and neighbors.  I started babysitting, and Grandma was nearby just in case I needed her.  My best friend, Janet, was only a short walk through the woods away, and we had sleepovers, and we hung out and played cards and games with Grandma.  Life was good.

I learned my most important life lessons living with Grandma.  I learned it’s not the size or the fancy new things or the white-glove, immaculate, spotless, dustless possessions that make a house a home.  It’s not the bricks and shutters and perfectly manicured lawn.  It’s the love.  It’s the warmth.  It’s the feeling of belonging, the participation in doing the things that make it a home.  That’s what Grandma did.  She taught me to cook by letting me help.  It was okay if we made a mess.  We just had to clean it up afterwards.  Grandma let me do science experiments and life experiments in her kitchen.  Even when it included boiling worms and wearing (real dirt and water) mud masks.  Grandma taught me about friendship.  She would visit neighbors, take them homemade soup or baked goods from her kitchen, play cards with them on their porches or at their kitchen tables.

Then Mom and new Dad decided this just wasn’t right.  I should be living with them. They didn’t know how to tell Grandma this though; and besides – I liked living at Grandma’s.  I wanted to stay there.  It was my home now.

So to fix things, Mom and new Dad decided we would all move… to another house about 30 minutes away.  This way I could move back in with them, and we would be a proper family unit.

So I moved… yet again.

Cheers & Hugs,


She said I’m Cuuuuute!

#Writing 101: Happy (Insert Special Occasion Here)!

Tell us about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.
Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.
Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

As I contemplated today’s writing assignment, the first thing that came to mind was Christmas Eve and Holy Supper at Grandma’s House.  It really IS one of my favorite childhood tradition memories.

But I think I will save that for another time.

Then I got a little punchy and thought about writing about when we had Corn on the Cob for dinner when I was growing up.
When we had Corn on the Cob for dinner – that was dinner…
Corn on the Cob…
That’s it…
Just lots and lots of Corn on the Cob…
I liked it…   Thought nothing of it…
Until I got a bit older and found out that people typically serve Corn on the Cob as a vegetable to accompany dinner – not as THE dinner.

But then what kept coming to mind was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Yep.  That’s it!

Waaaayyy back when I was a child (a hundred thousand and fifty some years ago), “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was aired on television ONE TIME each year.

It was usually around the first of December.  (Because way back then, we didn’t start thinking about (promoting/pushing/shoving in your face) Christmas until AFTER Halloween and Thanksgiving.)

So the airing of “Rudolph” marked the beginning of the Holiday season to me as a child.

It ranked up there with the arrival of the J. C. Penney Christmas Catalog in the mail.

But I digress.

We are supposed to be talking about a favorite childhood meal here…  one that was a treat – that marked a celebration.

Well – the airing of “Rudolph” meant a great celebratory “meal.”

It meant Mom would pop a fresh batch of Jiffy Pop Popcorn.  A VERY special treat!


I was mesmerized watching her shake the flat foil-covered pan over the stop top burner until the foil rose, forming a steam-filled crown of buttery puffed corn kernels that smelled like heaven on earth.  It was a rare treat – saved for special occasions such as this.

Salty popcorn

My brother and I would get in our warm footie pajamas after a playful Mr. Bubble bath.  With our hair still wet and our rosey cheeks squeaky clean, we would find our place on the floor in front of the black and white TV with rabbit ear antennae anticipating the excitement of Rudolph’s escapades with the Abominable Snowman, to the Island of Misfit Toys, and back to save the day for Santa!


Along with the heaping bowl of artificial buttered puffed kernels of heavenly goodness, the piece de resistance was the HOMEMADE Hot Cocoa Mom would make with…….. wait for it….. the BEST part of all……. Marshmallow CREME!!!!!!!!


The Marshmallow Creme would cover the entire steamy cup of cocoa so that it would take almost the entire hour of the program for us to be able to drink since it sealed in the steam, but also created the stickiest, most delicious cream mustaches on our upper lips that mingled with the salty delight of the popped corn.


To this day, I still watch “Rudolph’s” first airing on CBS – usually at 8pm followed by “Frosty the Snowman” (which I needn’t watch anymore).

I still make popcorn, and I sing EVERY single song out loud with a huge smile on my face.

I still feel so sad for “Rudolph” when the others make fun of him.

I still feel giddy when Clarice tells him he is cute.

I still feel sad when Mrs. Claus tells Santa to “Eat Papa – Eat – No one likes a skinny Santa!”

I’m no longer afraid of the Abominable Snowman – FINALLY!!!!  (But still freaked out by the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz – SCARIEST movie EVER!)

And I still CLAP with joy when Rudolph saves the day – and the misfit toys.

I can recite just about every line.

I sing every song out loud and proud.

I am strange – aren’t I?

Can anyone relate?

Cheers & Hugs,






A September Walk to Remember (or will she?)

autum park benchHi Friends –

Can you bear with me through another writing assignment?

#Writing 101: Point of View

For today’s assignment, we are instructed to write a scene at the park. The twist is to write the scene from three different points of view.  Here is the setting we were provided:

A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

It was a picture-perfect afternoon in late September.  The kind of day made just for such walks like this that my wife and I had started sharing over the last few months.  The crisp, but gentle breeze sweetly coaxed eager golden, copper and scarlet leaves to dance with it while the orchestra of cardinals and finches chirped a sweet tune.  Cottony clouds danced along, while the sun bathed the scene in a glowing warmth.  Our steps crunched on the crimson carpet underfoot, while my wife’s stride occasionally stretched to crack and smash plump fallen acorns, losing my grasp, but only briefly.

I thoughtfully breathed in the earthy aroma of Autumn, and sadly sighed out the grief of our “situation.”

What a pretty day!  I sure am a lucky girl!  Who ever thought I’d feel so happy and in love after 30 – – – ummmm – – – 30 – – – ?   Oh whatever!   30 something years together.

I’ve always loved Autumn.  Right??!?  My favorite time of year.  But why do I feel this funny ache in the pit of my stomach?  It reminds me of something……  I just can’t remember what…….  Oh well – who cares.  I’m happy.  I’m in love.  It’s a beautiful day.  These walks are so nice.

But, where are we???    Oh – it doesn’t matter really….  I’m with…..  you know…… my husband….. yes – my husband.

Look at that sweet lady sitting on the bench.  What is she doing?  Look at the pretty red……   ummm……. thing……. she is making.  How sweet!

I tug at my husband’s arm so we can go say “hi!”

“Why hello!”  I respond, a bit startled, when I look up at the 50-ish year old woman with the most youthful, curious, happy/sad eyes.  I am not used to even being noticed these days, let alone spoken to, while I spend my afternoons on this bench, passing the hours, reminiscing about the past, wondering how many more Autumn days like this my frail and tired body will experience.

Something feels a little awkward.  The lady is unusually cheerful.  The man seems sullen.  His eyes are weary.  They are as blue as the sky and clearly shine with love.  I watch them intently as his gaze drops from the beautiful lady, whose hand he is holding tightly, to the ground and then to the red sweater I am knitting until  they  finally meet mine.

And in an instant, the sky blueness surrounding his attentive pupils grows cloudy, as if a rain shower is about to burst forth.  A tear drips in slow motion from those deep, sad pools of blue down the mountainside of his haphazardly shaven cheek until it lands and disappears on the bright red ball of yarn by my side.

She will never remember this, he thinks.

She will never be able to do that.   Such a simple craft and pleasure gifted to those who earn the status and wisdom of a brain that ages with its body.

How much more time do we have before she won’t even know me……..

Why does he look so sad, she wonders.

It’s such a beautiful day!

And we just met this nice lady who is………  what is it called?  It’s on the tip of my tongue…….  She is making something with red yarn, and it’s called………

Oh – well – whatever – doesn’t matter…

It’s such a beautiful day!

He loves her deeply.  I can tell.

These old eyes can’t see a lot of things, but they can read the language of love.  They can also feel the intensity of anguish.

My heart is heavy.

Why do the days have to be so long?

I wish I could give my time to this pretty lady.


Cheers & Hugs,