Monday, October 16, 2017


Last Tuesday began as usual, but as the hours ticked by, it became abundantly clear that it would become THE UTMOST UNUSUAL, WEIRD, UNEXPECTED,  WONDER-FILLED DAY!
  • Awoke at 6:00 a.m.  
  • Took the dog out, picked up the morning paper
  • Poured a cup of joe, grabbed a breakfast bar
  • Changed Shadow's water, gave her two bacon strips
  • Meditated with prayer and centering
  • Read the paper
  • Checked book sales 
  • Read FB posts
  • Brushed teeth, washed face, and dressed for zumba class
  • Drove to Anytime Fitness
Nothing unusual to this point, right? Right.
  • Met up with a few Zumba regulars
  • Was asked if I was going to lunch with them (didn't know about lunch date)
  • Graciously accepted invitation
Folks, if you've never eaten at the Bistro Iceburgh before, do yourself a favor and head on over to the corner of 4th Street in downtown Irwin. You can build your own salad with fresh greens, multiple meat and veggie choices, various toppings and at least 20 different dressings from which to choose. The salads are enormous, and with the exception of one of our Zumba buds, who nearly consumed the whole bowl in one sitting, could easily feed a family of four for a mere ten bucks. But I digress...
  • Casually chatted about varied topics
  • Heard someone say something about an 'esoteric' presentation 
  • Gathered outside to say good-byes when presentation came up again
  • "I want to go," popped out of my mouth
  • 'Dawn' invited me to come along with 'them' and offered me a ride
Still not in the category of the unusual, except for the 'them'.
  • Received a call at 2:00 from 'Dawn' saying 'they' were in front of my house
  • 'Dawn' was in the driver's seat, 'Mellow', riding shotgun, 'Your Highness', in the back seat
  • As I got in the car, I thought, "What the hell am I doing going to a 7:00 p.m. presentation in East Liberty on something I knew nothing about with three kids nearly 30 years my junior at two o'clock in the afternoon"?
You've got to admit things ARE getting a little bit weird now!
  • Headed for Homestead which just happens to be a stone's throw from Munhall, the place where I was born and raised
  • Compared notes on the Homestead area
  • Proudly said that the mayor was an old family friend I'd known since the age of five
  • 'Dawn' called the mayor, "Betty," which absolutely horrified me
  • Parked in front of an apartment building and approached the front door
Picture yourself walking up the pathway to a place you've never been before with three people you barely knew to do God only knows what! (for me, the scary movie, 'Halloween' comes to mind). Actually 'they' were there to paint walls. When asked if I enjoyed painting, I responded with a loud and clear, "Hell, no!" 

At this point, you've got to admit 'unusual and weird' might not be strong enough words to describe my experience thus far. Oh, and it's about to get even better!
  • Stairway and interiors rooms eerily similar to those in my grandparents' home in which I grew up
  • A train whistle outside carried me back to the Fifties in one split second
  • After exploring the entire unit, settled on the back porch to read about abuses in a particular Amish community (perfect selection)
  • Asked 'Mellow' if I could get a lemonade, but never did
  • While reading, heard some muffled voices and bangs of unknown origin 

  • Decided to check on the 'kids' (if one think I've learned in my 73 years on this earth is that kids always need to be checked on)
  • 'Mellow' was washing baseboards
  • 'Dawn', high on a ladder, washing windows (by high, I mean up on a rung)
  • 'Your Highness', the only one actually painting
  • Felt guilty about not being useful, offered to help wash windows
  • Had a bucket placed at my feet, and a rag in hand before I could even entertain the thought of changing my mind
  • Took 2 hours to clean two double-hung windows that hadn't been kissed by Windex in a very, very, very long time
During this period of the day, things were beginning to normalize or so you might think, but, as par for the course, you'd be wrong!
  • Announced that 5:30 quitting time was fast approaching
  • The 'kids' ignored me and continued their work
  • So, in my teacher voice, I instructed 'them' to wrap it up in five minutes
  • Freshened up with cold water and a paper towel 
  • Put on deodorant and a clean blouse
  • At some point, 'Dawn', 'Your Highness,' and 'Mellow' did likewise
  • Headed out for dinner
Now for the 'unexpected'. Surely you'd think that since we were so near Homestead's Waterfront, a fairly new development of businesses, apartments, and eateries, we'd be on our way to an establishment well-known for its good food and pleasant ambiance. Wrong again.
  • Pulled into a COSCO lot and exited the car
  • Gained admittance by 'Dawn' flashing her membership card
  • Studied the menu placed high above on easily-read placards with pictures and prices included
  • Selected a 'chicken something' encased in a tubular crust and a lemonade
  • Sat at a picnic table to eat and take in the eclectic ambiance of Christmas trees set up right next to the Halloween display
  • When finished, we tossed our paper plates and off we went

If truth be told, 'Dawn' had asked beforehand if it was okay with each of us to go to COSCO's, for dinner, and with no objections logged, it was a unanimous group decision. I must say, though unexpected, my meal was delicious, the price was definitely right, the company was delightful, and the ambiance, it was unusual!

Perhaps it took awhile, but finally we get to the 'wonder-filled'!

  • Signed in at the registration table, dropped five bucks in the donation basket
  • Had to insist 'Dawn' exchange seats with me since she had me sitting squarely in front of the speaker
  • Listened to the introduction of Mr. William Meader, an esoteric philosopher who teaches and lectures in various countries around the world
  • Took part in a brief centering exercise before the presentation began

From his first words, Mr. Meader, in a soft-spoken tone, captivated my attention, and for the next 90 minutes or so, enlightened my mind with sacred information I had either never heard before, or had never heard it explained exactly in that way. The title of his talk,"The Cry of Humanity", began by going back to ancient times, passed through the centuries, and circled completely around to the sorry conditions we are experiencing in our world today. The crux of his presentation focused on what he referred to as, 'The Seven Rays of Divine Manifestation.' With my limited knowledge, I would do a great disservice to Mr. Meader in trying to explain this topic, so instead I've provided an attachment for your thoughtful consideration. Believe me, if you're looking to discover an answer to the age old question, 'Who Am I?' it would certainly be worth your valuable time. Upon finishing his remarks, Mr. Meader allowed ample time for questions from the audience. Towards the end, I asked, "if the Rays of our Soul and Personality would ever be one and the same, and would they then be operating at the same intensity?" His response was, "yes, and yes." He then answered by saying that when such a phenomenal occurrence happened, that person would then become the Master. I was certainly satisfied with his explanation, but was absolutely baffled when he unexpectedly added a seemingly off- the-cuff exclamation to me. "You'll get there," he said and turned away to entertain another query.

THE UTMOST UNUSUAL, WEIRD, UNEXPECTED, WONDER-FILLED DAY was nearing its end, with only the ride home left.

  • Upon leaving the building, my head felt like it was three times the size which made me dizzy and a little wobbly on my feet
  • Walking down the embankment, 'Dawn' shadowed me to offer support if need be, but I shooed her away (I find it difficult to accept help even when its clear assistance might be needed)
  • I tripped trying to navigate the curb, only to have 'Your Highness' stop my fall with her outstretched arms
  • Got in the car, closed my eyes, and listened to the constant reverberation playing in my brain, You'll get there, you'll get there, you'll get there.
  • When the kids dropped me at my front door, they waited until I was safely inside 
After almost spending eleven hours in their company, I believe I now know much more about 'Dawn', 'Your Highness', and last, but certainly not least, 'Mellow' than I did at the beginning of THE UTMOST UNUSUAL, WEIRD, UNEXPECTED, WONDER-FILLED DAY! And what I know is that we can be very proud of our young people who are definitely the hope for a better world in our not so distant future!

I couldn't figure out how to add the atttachment, so here it is:

William Meader

 A.   The question we ask ourselves every day of our lives
                 1.    Subconsciously or consciously
                                   2.     Attempts to answer this question include:
                                           a)   Personal relationships
                                           b)  Chosen career paths,
                                           c)    Personal beliefs
   B.   Spiritual perspective of this question
                       1.     Search for the Soul
                       2.     All Souls inherently conditioned by love 
                       3.     Significant variations exist between Souls

                 II. NATURE OF LIGHT

A.   White light, through a prism, is divided into seven unique colors
B.   Light of God expressed Itself in seven unique qualities
1.       In Esoteric Philosophy, these are the Seven Rays of Divine Light  
a)       Purpose of Divinity
b)       Divine Love
c)       Divine Intelligence
d)       Beauty of Divinity
e)       Clarity of Divinity
f)         Vision of Divinity
g)       Manifestation of Divinity
2.       Every human Soul is an express of one of these Seven Rays

                                          III. DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVEN RAYS

A.  Ray 1 – The Ray of Divine Will and Purpose
1.     Reveals the Purpose of Divinity within the human kingdom
2.    Stirs the 1st Ray Soul to express the power of divine purpose thru loving strength and one-pointed vision
3.     Role is to shatter forms that no longer adequately express God’s Love
4.    Liberates Divine Life from outworn modes of outward expression
5.     Frees the Life to seek new forms to express Itself more radiantly
6.   In ancient record, known as The Light Which Annihilates

B.  Ray 2 - The Ray of Love and Wisdom
1.  Conditions all of life with Divine Love
2.  Reveals the unity that underlies all apparent diversity within creation
3.       Expresses love through compassion and   understanding
4.       The Ray of inclusiveness
5.       It attracts all unto itself
6.       In ancient records, known as The Cosmic Magnet

C.  Ray 3 – The Ray of Abstract Intelligence and Activity
1.       Provides the underlying intelligence in all of nature
2.       It is the force that animates human thought
3.       Reveals the Mind of God within the consciousness of humanity
4.       Gives spiritual understanding to all human activity
5.       Most associated with karma, remembering what was, and what is to be
6.       In ancient records, known as The Keeper of the Records

D.  Ray 4 – The Ray of Harmony Through Conflict
1.       Creates a sense of equilibrium and beauty in creation
2.       Seeks balance and resolution to the warring dualities present in the human experience
3.       Ability to see both sides of opposing ideas and seeks harmony between them
4.       With harmony, beauty emerges
5.       All life contains a hidden seed of spiritual harmony
6.       In ancient records, known as The Seed that is the Flower

E.      Ray 5 – The Ray of Concrete Knowledge and Science
1.       Pursues correct knowledge
2.       Clarifies life through scientifically precise examination of reality
3.       5th Ray Souls dedicate their lives to finding solutions to problems facing humanity
4.       Spiritual purpose is to show that knowledge adds understanding of the Spirit
5.       In ancient records, known as The Dispenser of Knowledge

F.      Ray 6 – The Ray of Idealism and Devotion
1.       Instills a yearning to spiritually aspire
2.       Influences humanity to realize the Spirit within
3.       Lifts humanity to realize something greater than life awaits those who aspire toward the Light within
4.       6th Ray Souls believe that the path to enlightenment is in letting go of human desire
5.       In ancient records, known as The Negator of Desire

G.     Ray 7 – The Ray of Ceremonial Order and Magic
1.       Best known for bringing order out of chaos
2.       Purpose is to translate spiritual ideas into tangible realities
3.       Influences humanity to outwardly creat according to Divine intention
4.       7th Ray Souls are true magicians, since through the power of the spoken and written word, they are naturally able to create positive change in the world
5.       7th Ray Souls understand the power of speech for creating new forms for Spirit to express Itself through
6.       In ancient records, known as The Keeper of the Magical Word

A.  The Spiritual Journey
1.       Who Am I? is gradually answered
2.       It is the quest for the Self, the Soul that we are seeking
B.    Individuality of the Soul
1.       Each Soul is a fragment of Divine Light
2.       Each Soul has a unique spiritual mission to fulfill
3.       Introspection is most important in identifying which     Rays are working through us and at what level of         intensity.

*I’ve taken the liberty to simplify Mr. Meader’s handout and blog post,,
 by outlining the main points of The Seven Rays of Divine Manifestation for my own understanding.






Monday, October 9, 2017


As I watched the horrific scene outside the Mandalay Bay complex unfold in Las Vegas last week, a lump formed in my throat, my chest tightened, and tears reached my eyes. I couldn't wrap my head around how someone would even conceive of such a plan much less cold-heartedly carry it out. I must confess the 'why' of it plagued me for a short time, but does it really matter what the motive may have been when 59 people are dead, and over 500 injured, some critically wounded who could eventually lose their fight for survival?

For the next several days, I read many news articles about varying accounts of what happened during those 15 minutes of terror: the mounting number of casualties, the first responders who ran towards danger, the fans who acted selflessly to help wounded strangers, and the madman who inflicted this atrocity on innocent concert-goers. Each and every time I experienced the same visceral reactions, lump in my throat, tightening of my chest, and tears in my eyes.


I consider myself to have empathy for folks who have been wrongly treated or accused. Certainly the Vegas massacre was heads-and-shoulders beyond mistreatment or accusation, and yet I didn't shed a tear. Is it because over the last twenty years or so, these kinds of ugly scenes have become commonplace in our country to the point that I've become numb to them? Maybe without actually having a personal connection with anyone who suffered injury or death, I felt somehow removed from this cruel reality. I hope neither of these possibilities are true of me.

As I gave thought to my lack of emotional release, I tried to think when it was that I had last cried. September 14, the 14th anniversary of a dear friend's suicide...

 After attending a band concert, my friend went home and in the wee hours of the morning, she shot herself. I remember getting the call, screaming into the phone, and pounding my fists on my knees. I was so angry, so irate, and felt so disappointed with her, that I couldn't have cried if I wanted to. which at the time, I had no intention of shedding my precious tears for someone who devalued life in such a violent way. I attended her viewing, even sang 'Ava Marie' with our performance group while there, and although I experienced the lump in my throat, the tightening of my chest, and the tears in my eyes, with chin extended and a hardened resolve to be strong, I refused to cry. 

When something significant or catastrophic happens in my life or in my world, the best way I find to deal with it is to write about it. After a few months and an unusual occurrence, I wrote the poem, *"A Light In The Mourning," detailing my friend's suicide; what might have driven her to it, the feelings that rushed through my mind and body when I was notified, and finally described how I came to some sense of acceptance.

As I wrote each line, visions of the good times we shared played like a video in my mind, and as I continued my efforts to complete the poem,  I realized more and more how much she'd meant to me, how much I missed her, and that I would go on missing her always and forever. With that realization I, either consciously or subconsciously, gave myself permission to cry, and by the time I'd finished, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably.

Every September 14 since,  I cry over a loss that ripped out a piece of my heart and my soul. I feel sorry for her, I feel sorry for me, I feel sorry for all those who never had the chance to meet this wonderful, talented person, and I feel especially sorry for the great things she left undone that could have been so influential in making our world a better place.

As I write this post, tears run down my cheeks for all those who lost their lives in Las Vegas, for all those who were critically wounded and for all those who had to witness this senseless massacre.

I feel sorry for them, I feel sorry for me, I feel sorry for all of us who will never have the chance to meet these wonderful, talented people, and I feel especially sorry for the great things they've left undone that could have been so influential in making our world a better place.

* "A Light In The Mourning" by Flo Barnett

In the blackness of night,                            Then, somewhere in the mourning,  
She writhes in unspeakable pain.                 An incredible light appears.
Her demons screeching out obscenities       Trembling we draw closer
Leaving her tormented soul defeated,          And, although never seen before,
Without hope or friend,                                This radiance is familiar,
She ends her life.                                          Comforting even.

In the early mourning                                    Intuitively, we recognize her glow.
We cry rivers of tears,                                    It warms our hearts,
Wail in deafening pitch,                                 Eases our minds,
Sustain crushing blows                                  Embraces our souls,
To heart and spirit,                                         Lifts our burdens,
Drained, we turn stone cold.                           Genuinely loves us.

We hate her for this dastardly act,                And in the light of the mourning,
Cursing her decision to inflict agony.             We sense the ‘why’ of it.
But not for precious memories,                      Enlightened in our grief,        
We might hold her forever in contempt,         We come to respect her choice,
Wishing her eternal suffering,                        For her it was the right choice,
Damnation even.                                            The only one even.

In time, God only knows how long,                 Every second of life involves choice
We remember,                                               And each one we make
Laughing like hyenas,                                    Is right for us in that moment.    
Talking about how to live,                             We will never understand hers, 
Dancing to life’s rhythms,                             One day, perhaps we’ll accept it,
Singing in perfect harmony.                          Forgive it even.

                                           Unedited original


Monday, October 2, 2017


We spend so much of our precious time gathering things that are of little to no use to our existence. Why? Perhaps we're like the squirrels of the forest who act upon survival instincts, scooping up as many acorns as possible before the winter snows cover the ground.

But we're not like the squirrels, and the more we accumulate the more anxious we become, exerting inordinate amounts of energy to protect our stuff. Letting go of anything is extremely difficult, but absolutely necessary to exist harmoniously within ourselves as well as with others.  De-Cluttering our lives allows us to be free of the inane responsibilities we bear for the "junk" we feverishly clutch with white-knuckled determination.


Look around your home and access what you see with truth and introspection. Do you need even half of what is scattered haphazardly on your kitchen countertop? Empty grocery bags, three chewed pencils, stacks of newspapers, a moldy tomato, one cookie jar for the family, one cookie jar for the dog, last week's mail, a few beer cans, a pizza box....need I go on? What in God's name do these things have to do with your happiness or survival? NOTHING, NADA, ZIP! Aside from the dog's cookie jar, nothing deserves the least bit of your attention, and with one swipe of the hand, all of it can be swept into the trash.

Throw out the recliner that has a gaping hole in it, rip down the drapes that have been hanging since you moved in, clean out your linen closet, saving only the sheets and towels that you actually use, go through your clothes, and if you haven't worn them in the past 6 months, Good Will will gladly accept your donations.

Having rid yourself of things that have absolutely no relevance to your value as a person or to your ultimate survival is truly freeing! Once you start this process, you'll find that the less you accumulate, the more you have.

Open the windows, let in the fresh air, and reflect upon this, "The best things in life are free!"



When you were born, you were perfect. You were the weight and length you were meant to be. Your skin was gorgeous, your hair, soft as silk, your eyes, clear windows to your soul. I'm pretty sure you didn't exit the womb with tattoos covering your face, arms, and ankles, you had no ear, eye, and tongue piercings and permanently stamped eyebrows, lashes and lips.  Am I right? Of course I am!

In order to have a healthy, beautiful (your concept of beauty, not one that society has imposed) body, you simply need to eat well, avoid empty calories, exercise regularly, shower daily, and love the skin you're in!

All of the accouterments you think you need to enhance your appearance such as jewelry, the latest in fashions, shoes, make-up and hair style, do nothing but increase your anxiety over not having the latest and greatest, and do more harm than good to your self-image than you might consider.

Today's media, as well as growing up in a dysfunctional family, are largely responsible for how poorly we view our own bodies. Disregard these toxic forces, take care of your health, and present yourself to the world much like the perfect baby you were at birth, pure, simple, and entirely whole!



What is on your mind right now? Is it meaningful? Positive? Beneficial? If not, erase it and either clear your mind of all thoughts or replace it with ones that contribute to your health and success.

If worry, negativity, and depressed thinking fill your mind for even a few minutes each day, these villians eventually kill your ability to formulate  mentally-sound judgments. You become prone to making poor choices in all areas of your life, and I can assure you, nothing can threaten your survival more than a warped mind.

Taking time each day to meditate frees the mind and opens the door to more productive thinking. Try giving some thought to the needs of others instead of concentrating on yourself,  Formulate a plan that can turn these ideas into changing the lives of folks less fortunate than yourself.

When events in your life cause stress, make a concerted effort to see the possibility for positive outcomes no matter how dire the situation.

By De-Cluttering your mind of mundane, useless thinking, you can train yourself to focus on more important, expansive issues.




De-Clutter your life and, I promise you, your soul will be reawakened. You will gradually feel a sense of well-being, and begin to enjoy a light, carefree existence full of promise and hope. When your survival is in tact, true peace will embrace you, eradicating the need to be responsible for that "junk" you've been holding on to, dragging around, and finally give you the courage to dump it.


Monday, September 25, 2017


In the wee hours of Sunday morning I awoke from a disturbing dream. Now to put things in prospective, I hardly ever remember my dreams, and the ones I do kind of remember are nebulous at best.

Perhaps after reading this detailed description, one of you loyal readers will be able to help me make some sense of it.

I found myself in the midst of a newly-constructed home that I obviously was either building or buying. The workers were still in the process of completing certain aspects of the bathroom and kitchen areas. As I inspected the bathroom tiles on the walls, I noticed a number of chips, some no more than a speck, others as large as a nickel. When I brought these defects to the attention of one of the guys, he assured me that this was the make-up of the material and not to worry. If you know me at all, you won't be shocked at my response. "Bullshit, these tiles are NOT what I ordered, so get busy ripping them off and replacing them with quality materials." Actually I think in this situation, my comments were quite civil under the circumstances!

My next order of business was to check out the kitchen. Walking into the open floor plan, the self-standing range immediately caught my attention. It was about three feet high, two feet wide, and was WHITE! The first thing that popped into my mind was that all the other appliances were the right height and width and were BLACK, my color of choice. Secondly, as I opened the oven door, I replied aloud, "How in God's name am I going to be able to fit a turkey in here?"

A young man approached me and introduced himself as the son of the contractor. He asked what the problem was, and after explaining my dilemma, he told me that this range was the latest in design and technology, and that I would be very happy with my choice. My heated comeback went something like this, "If you think I believe you, you're out of your cottonpicking mind, and I DIDN'T SELECT THIS RIDICULOUS EXCUSE FOR A RANGE, so put that in your pipe and smoke it!" (my actual words were a bit too coarse for this post, if you get my drift)

Upon hearing all the ruckus, the contractor came into the kitchen looking slightly perturbed. When his son laid out my complaints, the older man asked me to sit down to CALMLY discuss my displeasure. (Evidently this fellow was either in denial or hadn't a clue to whom he was about to converse with!)

After listening to "Blah, blah, blah," for about ten minutes in dream time, I demanded a state-of- the-art built-in range with both conventional and convection ovens and a microwave, too. 


The next words out of this contractor's mouth floored me! "Where do you plan  on having your mother buried?" he asked. For a moment my mind went blank, since I was certain that my mother had died 12 years prior and had been interred next to my dad in our parish cemetery. He suggested she be put to rest in the Baldwin area, and when I questioned why, he simply explained that it would be the best and cheapest decision for me to make. At that moment, I became enraged and yelled something like, " You're a complete a**hole! I'm not looking for cheap, and my mother belongs next to my father's side in death as she remained so in life! Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I vacated the seat and walked towards the door. I knew I wasn't ever going to live in that house with the RIDICULOUS EXCUSE FOR A RANGE AND THE INANE CHARACTER OF A CONTRACTOR!

When I awoke from my disturbing dream, I was emotionally upset.

Why did I remember this one in particular so vividly?

What did it mean?

You tell me.

Monday, September 18, 2017


OMG! Today is National Cheeseburger Day and I've started my diet.....again! In little less than a year, my hubby and I are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary with a trip to Italy, Switzerland, and France. I need to be thinner, actually A LOT THINNER! But when I see that my favorite fast food item is being celebrated with a national holiday, how can I not join in the festivities? I absolutely love cheeseburgers!

Here's the thing, I really feel good in my own skin, that is until I see a pic of myself and am aghast at how large I look. Usually I attribute this to camera malfunction, but truthfully, I know it's malfunction of my dietary choices!

I don't understand why my weight isn't dropping. I've cut back on the amount I eat, don't nibble on snacks much, and have been drinking more water these days yet the needle on the scale doesn't budge one iota. Maybe I need a new scale, you think?

And I started exercising more regularly. I take Zumba classes twice a week, and try to walk Shadow everyday for at least 30 minutes. I probably stop 15 of those minutes to allow my dog to sniff and pee, and talk to the neighbors I bump into along the way. BUT IT'S STILL 30 MINUTES, RIGHT?

When grocery shopping, I try to select healthy foods, celery, spinach, carrots, oranges, grapes, etc. along with ice cream, cookies, and pie! The veggies and fruits are for me, the goodies, for Barry, right?  Wrong! Typically the greens get tossed before eaten, and the goodies are gone way before the next shopping trip is scheduled.

So today is the day, National Cheeseburger celebration or not! I'm going to stick to my diet despite the temptations that confront me at every turn. Oh, hell, who do I think I'm kidding!

I'm not one to get all upset over what others think or say about me, but I do take heed about what I think and say about myself. At this time in my life, I'm comfortable with who I am, what I've accomplished, and unless I see a pic of myself, really like the way I look! If I don't lose an ounce before next August, I'll be fine with that, I'll just limit myself to pics of the people and places we visit during our upcoming European vacation.


HAPPY NATIONAL CHEESEBURGER DAY! Enjoy, life is way to short to deny oneself the simple pleasures of melted cheese, a beef patty, lettuce, tomato, and that special sauce!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Legalize Recreational Marijuana in PA?

Over the weekend, some politician in Pittsburgh whose name I can't remember, was peddling his theory in the Trib on why PA should legalize recreational marijuana. He cited a number of states who have already taken that leap, and their tax dollars are rolling in faster than thunderclouds on a steaming August day! Pot is the perfect solution to the PA budget deficit according to him!

This fellow is all about the money. He gives no consideration to the number of studies on addiction, that report more than 75% of drug abusers began their descent into hell by smoking marijuana.

And what about highway fatalities? So many times it's because the one causing the accident was high on pot or some other substance he or she uses after his or her first encounter with weed.

Robberies? Home invasions? Murders?  So many of these criminals who commit these horrific offenses are either doped up at the time or are looking to score illegal drugs in order to get doped up!

The very same politicians who are lamenting the opiate epidemic in our society are the ones leading the parade to legalize recreational marijuana. Why? Because the money that recreational pot can generate is just way to alluring to be ignored. Furthermore, according to this politician whose name I can't remember, if our legislature fails to act quickly, the monies that could have been dumped into PA will be scooped up by other more progressive-thinking states. How tragic!

If I sound like an old woman who needs to chill out, maybe I am. The opiate epidemic in our country is personal to me. My nephew, my deceased brother's only child,  sits in a state prison today because when he was thirteen he decided to get high on marijuana. He's 37 now and has been incarcerated for more than half his life all due to drug abuse and parole violations. Oftentimes my nephew writes and curses the day he ever smoked his first joint!

In my opinion, there is nothing recreational about using marijuana. The chances of moving on to more additive substances like heroin and cocaine after experiencing the highs of pot aren't worth the risk.

Don't fall prey to the temptations of  innocent euphoria and wealth, and don't listen to that politician whose name I can't remember!

Monday, September 4, 2017


Over Labor Day weekend, we were invited and happily accepted invitations to two holiday picnics. Now you might not find that out of the ordinary, but we are up in years and as seniors don't expect to be included in the activities of the young and energetic.

Yet, our nephew, Brian, and his lovely wife, Monica, made sure that we were very much included and wanted at their Saturday get-together. There were people of all ages and personalities and, if someone hadn't met before, by the end of the afternoon they'd made new friends. Even though the weather was somewhat gloomy, folks sitting under the porch were gleefully engaged. Both the young and the old had stories to tell, and each group was thoroughly interested in what their counterparts had to say. We joked, teased, and yes, even enlightened one another over the course of an hour or so.

We couldn't play outdoor games due to the persistent rain, but that didn't stop us from coming up with some of our own. Shannon, a 10 year old, Brenna, going on 12, and myself, soon to be 73, hid on the cellar steps, and through a cat door leading to the kitchen,  grabbed the legs of people passing by startling the poor souls, and causing us to giggle ourselves silly! Some of the men were couched in the living room watching college football. They didn't seem to mind the youngsters scooting by the t.v. or one of us popping in to snap a few pics of them in their usual game day spots.

There was enough food to feed a large army, and take-out containers were provided so that everyone could pack up left-overs to enjoy later on. I think that was a super idea, and kind of extended the picnic well beyond our actual time spent in Brian's and Monica's welcoming home!

The crowd sang happy birthday to Kat, turning 4, and to me, turning 73 on the same day, September 9, but Not the same year! We both got to make a wish and blow out our own candles. That to me was symbolic of the spirit of this picnic: respect, acceptance, and love for everybody no matter the age or ability of the invitees to contribute to a holiday celebration. If only our world could be so inclusive...

Around 2:00 on Sunday, Ben and Delcie, our new neighbors, had their tent pitched, tables and chairs in place, chips, fruit and coolers filled with all types of beverages at the ready, eagerly awaiting all picnic-goers to arrive. As each car pulled in, folks made their way up the driveway proudly carrying trays of food to delight the preferences of even the most discerning taste buds. Although there were no youngsters in attendance at this holiday celebration, two dogs managed to provide entertainment as only four-legged creatures can. Oddly enough, one was a 15 year old mutt, the other a spry 6 year old pup who seemed to get along famously.

Again, the mixture of young adults with those of us more mature in years added to the fun rather than casting a pall over the get-together. We all truly enjoyed each other's company, listening to funny stories that included frying whole fish and eating their eyeballs which is customary in Venezuela, engaging in heated corn hole competitions to dethrone Barbie, Ben's mom, and once again, meeting strangers who instantly became friends when sharing food and good company.

As a chill filled the air, Ben started a fire in the pit further on up the hill, and very soon we were all gathered around it to keep warm, not wanting this wonderful picnic to be over just yet. Conversations centered around unusual names, starting with Delcie who was a moniker for toilet paper way back when although spelled differently, to what kind of names the young marrieds would be eventually choosing for their future brood of babies. Hazel, Myrtle, Tekla were only a few of the possibilities offered by both sides of the age spectrum, either because of family connections or past encounters. Thankfully none of these was a real consideration for any of the couples. I'm hoping that Flo might make it on somebody's priority list, but I know that would be a long shot for sure!

As we prepared to depart, hugs and kisses were exchanged, and as we walked to our house the feeling of being wanted and appreciated again washed over me, infusing my heart and soul with positive energy that confirms my belief that people of all ages, cultures, and race can indeed live together in peace and harmony, sharing laughter and love at every turn.


Monday, August 28, 2017


Hen-to-the Frying Pan Phase: Better known as conception-to-birth usually lasts for approximately 9 months. However no one has been able to collect verifiable date from those who have floated through this phase of humanity since they aren't ALL THERE for a significant part of it!

Dependently-Dependent Phase: For two exasperating years, humans can't do a blessed thing for themselves. You have to feed, clean, dress, amuse, and soothe them without so much as a 'thank-you' heard...EVER during this second phase of existence.

Yakkety-Yak Phase: After anxiously waiting to hear their first words, you now wish they'd just BE QUIET! But, as our wise old pediatrician used to say, "It's only going to get worse before it gets better!"

Out-the-Door Phase: Yahoo! As you drag them kicking and screaming to their first day of school, you realize you are FREE AT LAST, even if it's only for six or seven hours, five days a week. This phase has got to be a personal favorite for a huge chunk of humanity!

Back-in-the-Door Phase: NOW WHAT? They've graduated already? Seems like only yesterday you dragged them kicking and screaming to their first day of school! Here's an idea, find a job, get an apartment, join the service, see the world, etc.  No, really, just go!

Living Life Phase: Hopefully the longest segment of a human's existence, this is the time they finally get to do whatever they want, when they want, with whom they want, where they want! Yep, now they can work themselves to the bone, pay their taxes, and complain about everything to folks who could care less about their troubles. LIVING LIFE IS GRAND, AIN'T IT?

Not-All-There Phase: Finally, back to where it all began,though no one has been able to collect verifiable data on those floating through the last phase of humanity, they appear to be without a care in the world since they aren't ALL THERE for a significant part of it!

Monday, August 7, 2017


"Of course I'll take care of your bunny while you both sail away on a 10 day cruise," I say. "How hard can it be to clean out the cage, refill the water bottle and stick a bunch of hay in the boxes?" I ask myself.

Well let me tell you! For the first few days everything went swimmingly. I'd come in about 9:30a.m. let the little fur ball out while I did my chores, entice her back into the cage with a handful of pellets, close the gate and head back home. Around 6:00p.m. I'd do another check to make sure everything was okay. Since the little dear had been confined all day, I'd let her out, give her a few snacks, and watch her hop around enjoying her freedom for about 40 minutes. I'd talk and sing softly to her, pet her when she came up to me, and loved watching her do flips in the air from time to time. Then back in the cage, out go the lights and bid a good evening until the morrow.

But.....upon returning on Saturday evening for the nightly check, to my horror, I found the cage empty, the gate ajar, and Miss Bunny no where in sight! Since I was instructed to shut all the doors in the basement and the one leading to the upstairs, I knew she HAD to be in the designated basement area. I looked high and low but couldn't find the little bugger. I noticed that the cover on the settee had slipped down from the back, so I assumed somebody had been sitting on it. I knew the guy's mom had intended to stop by on the weekend to check on her darling grandbunny, so I assumed she'd come by and decided to take her home since she, too, had a rabbit in the house.

Case closed, right? WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For some reason, I decided to do a morning run on Sunday in case the little devil had returned. When I opened the basement door, much to my surprise and relief, there she was sitting in the middle of the floor looking as pleased as punch! When I asked her where she'd been, she refused to say. Once I completed the morning ritual, I started to leave when I noticed the cover on the couch was more wrinkled than what I'd remembered. Not wanting our friends to come home to a messy basement, I went over to fix it and...... as I removed it I discovered what Miss Bunny had been doing during the night, BITING HOLES IN THE SOFA AND PULLING OUT THE STUFFING! HOLY HOLES!
Now we were both in serious trouble! I went over to her cage and reprimanded her vehemently, so much so she scampered under her shelter and refused to come out. I attached a zip lock tie to the gate and  left her without any possibility of mending our relationship.

After spending the day watching the Pirates, I decided it was as much my fault as hers and went over to give ourselves a second chance. When I saw she was still in her cage, I cut the tie and let her out. In the beginning, she was very tentative and was not eager to approach me even though I had shredded carrots to give as a peace offering. Finally her curiosity won out, and bunny came to fetch her treat. She then hopped around awhile, but wasn't as active as she'd been in the past. I figured she was just worn out from last night's partying. One thing I noticed though was that she kept going over to the recliner and sticking her face in the pillows stuffed behind it. When I went to investigate, she ran away. NO WONDER! When I pulled out the two pillows I discovered she'd also bitten holes in the one and pulled out the stuffing during her Saturday night bash! I immediately returned her to her cage, zip locked it twice, shut out the lights and went home dejectedly.

If you guys are reading this, I do plan to buy you a new pillow and have the settee fixed. I'm very sorry for my bunnysitting ineptitude and promise to do better until your return.

HOPING YOU GUYS ARE HAVING A GLORIOUS TIME! Don't worry about bunny and me because now that I know what kind of evil spirit is lurking in that fluffy creature,  I'm on high alert and security measures have been substantially increased.

love ya'll