Monday, February 24, 2014

Playing Hooky

"Playing Hooky  A Child's Path To Healing" is my first children's chapter book I plan to present to the public on March 15 or thereabouts depending on my cover illustrator.  The story takes place in 1950 and centers around the Kolinski family:  Mary and her two children, Betty Lou and Danny.  Three years prior, Mary's husband was severely injured in the local steel mill where Frank worked as an operations supervisor. He died a few days later. Mary's compensation for her tragic loss was a matron's job, scrubbing floors and cleaning toilets.

After a particularly tough morning at St. Michael's Parochial School, the Kolinski Kids decide to play hooky.
However, if they had only known what awaited them down the road on that fateful day, perhaps they might have reconsidered.  Without revealing more of the story, I can say that any negatives the children endured were nothing compared to the lessons they both learned, lessons that would impact them for the rest of their lives.

Believe me, I'm not advocating playing hooky, but oftentimes education is best served through actual experience.What this brother and sister discovered about the consequences of their actions, the loss of their beloved father, and the inner strength innate even to young children becomes the building blocks of their maturity and independence.

You may ask, how playing hooky could have possibly put these kids on the path to healing?   As unlikely as it may seem, by taking the cinder path which leads to the creek running through their neighborhood, Betty Lou and Danny eventually realize the healing of their own bodies and spirits.  Such lessons could have never been learned in any classroom whether in 1950 or today in 2014.

We find answers to our most difficult problems in the strangest of ways and places.  As long as we stay open to possiblities in our lives, all things are just that, possible!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Rocco, the Hero!

Two weeks ago, Rocco, a canine officer in the city of Pittsburgh, as well as a number of men in blue were in pursuit of a local thug.  Rocco led the charge, was shot at  and was stabbed many times defending his comrades.  If it hadn't been for the courageous efforts of this German Shepherd, several of the police said they could have lost their lives.

Rocco died a day later as the result of his horrific injuries.

The city conducted a funeral for the downed officer with full honors.  His handler and family along with hundreds of service men and canines attended. People from all over came, too.  Many expressed their sorrow and felt the need to be present to applaud Rocco's selflessness in person even though they'd never met him.

As a dog owner myself, my heart goes out to all the folks touched by the loss of this magnificent animal.  Dogs are incredible creatures who are capable of unconditional love, perhaps the only living beings who are.  There only purpose in life is to serve their loved ones in any and all ways possible.

Surprisingly, there were a few people who thought that such a send-off was over the top and inappropriate.  One commented that "he was only a dog."  Only a dog?  Evidently he or she has never experienced the love shared between best friends.  All I can say is such people are depriving themselves of a truly awesome relationship.  Too bad for them.

Rocco died a hero.  He will be remembered for his strong adherence to duty and his willingness to die for the men he was commissioned to protect.

Rest in peace, valiant officer. Well done, good and faithful servant.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Who wouldn't want to be a character in a famous romance writer's novel?  Pick me, pick me, pick me, I hear you screaming!  Add to that that the new book is going to be dubbed with one of Elvis Presley's song titles. And finally, that you actually get to choose which of his many great hits it will be!  Well, my very good friend and very talented author of tender love stories, Mimi Barbour, is offering you the chance of a lifetime. All during the month of February you can enter her contest by going to Fresh Fiction:
But rather than me going on and on and on about such a terrific opportunity, Mimi herself will give you all the details in my Monday morning blog.  Take it away, Mimi!

After I listened to an old Elvis Presley hit called “She’s Not You”, I couldn’t get the words out of my head. Finally, it came to me. The sentiments were so beautiful that the story they told should be written. So, I wrote the first chapter and the song stopped haunting me. I released book #1 of the Elvis Series late in Nov. When it came time to decide which of Elvis’s song should be chosen for Book #2, I decided who better than the readers themselves to make the choice.

                                      Hence “Make an Elvis song into a book contest!” was born.

.                                    HERE IT IS LIVE THE WHOLE MONTH OF FEBRUARY

Please let all your friends know about it! Tell your mom and her pals who grew up with the King!

Share the above link with your Facebook buddies and twitter followers. It'll be fun to see which of his songs will grace the cover of Book #2 in Mimi Barbour’s Elvis series.

                                              HERE IS WHAT THE WINNER WILL RECEIVE:
                        1. The winner will have his/her favorite song chosen as the title and theme
                            for the next book in the Elvis series.
                        2. It will be dedicated to the winner.
                        3. And their name will be used for one of the characters.

                                           Video of Elvis singing – Book #1 “She’s Not You”

Thanks, Mimi, for taking the time to clue us in with the specifics.  I already have the song in mind I'd submit if I weren't one of your buds!  Hope one of the crime writers takes the hint and runs an Elvis contest.  I think 'JAILHOUSE ROCK' would make an awesome story. And I'd make an awesome warden!     love ya'll

Monday, February 3, 2014

Mental Health Awareness Week

Please let me begin by applauding you for having the courage for reading my blog despite its discomfort-inducing title.  Most folks cannot even admit their thoughts about mental illness, let alone allow themselves to entertain the possibility that they or someone they know might be suffering from some form of it.

Perhaps a simple, clear definition of this debilitating and taboo disease would help with both its understanding and societal acceptance. Let me first say that the explanation you are about to be given is entirely my own opinion.  I did not consult Mr.Webster or the AMA.

To me, mental illness is an imbalance in the brain due to an overabundance or lacking of chemicals important to normal brain functionality. I believe I'm qualified to define mental illness since I've officially suffered from depression for more than twenty-five years initiated by a painful physical condition that no doctor could identify.  If you take into account that with the untimely death of my dad when I was three-years-old, I probably have been depressed for 66 of the 69 years I've been alive. That makes me an authority on the subject if I do say so myself.

Though millions of dollars have been spent on R&D in our country, to date the reasons people suffer from mental dysfunction remain elusive. In most cases while the symptoms are obvious, the causes for these imbalances are unknown.

Yes, though there are countless pharmacuticals availalbe to alleviate symptoms,  many of the side effects produced by these drugs prohibit sufferers' usage.  Nobody wants to walk around like a cloudy-headed zombie or a hyped-up crazy.

Five years ago, I took matters into my own hands.  I researched my physical condition on the internet, found a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic who not only worked successfully with patients who reported my same symptoms, but actually had a name for it.  I now see a Pittsburgh doctor who has continued the treatment began in Cleveland and for the most part I am asymptomatic.  As my physical condition improved, so did my depression.  Today I am free of the darkness associated with this mental illness and only take a minimal dose of an antidepressant for maintenance purposes.

For me, what began with emotional and physical initiators, turned into depression defined as mental illness.  If I had succumbed to the belief that being mentally-ill was a stigma I would never escape, perhaps this blog would never have been written.  But I didn't, and I did, and since you're reading it, this blog has indeed been written by a strong-minded, healthy, humorous lady who soon will celebrate her 70th birthday.

Instead of shying away from the term, mental illness, educate yourselves about what it really means, who and where to find excellent help, and how to be involved in erasing the taboo the keeps many people in denial and without the proper treatment that could make their lives meaningful and productive.

Dr. Grammy is in the house!