Monday, March 05, 2018


Listening to the Broadway cast album of Hamilton (about 50 times!) I was intrigued and decided to read the Ron Chernow tome that inspired this hit musical. 

I began reading this book on July 10th, 2017. I just finished it today, March 5th, 2017. This was by no means the only book I read during this time period. I just had to take breaks from the intense story of this Founding Father periodically. 

Politics was about as nasty during those first years in our young country as it is now. Instead of social media, there were handbills and newspapers. Through these, usually under pseudonyms, political adversaries attacked each other with creativity and gusto. Today's politicians could certainly take lessons on how to insult with aplomb. 

Hamilton was far from perfect. I think we tend to idolize our Founding Fathers to an unrealistic degree. Hamilton was deeply flawed but equally brilliant. 

The part of the book that interested me the most were the chapters about the time leading up to the duel that ended Hamilton's life at the too early age of 49. This was no spur of the moment, in the heat of passion affair. There were weeks between the challenge and the actual duel. It was enlightening to see the difference between the way Hamilton dealt with his time as opposed the way Aaron Burr did. 

Hamilton was well worth the read. I recommend taking it in sections while having lighter fare to turn to when a break is needed. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Promote What You Love

Facebook has a nice new feature that allows one to "snooze" a person or page for 30 days. 

I find myself using this feature, and the "unfollow but still stay friends" feature more and more these days. I am tired of people calling those who do not agree with them tacky names and posting mean memes about them on their public pages. 

I am also tired of seeing people who I know have needed financial help not that long ago, shaming other people for being poor and needing help. How quickly they forget. 

I am also tired of people posting things that simply are not true! Just because it is on Facebook does not mean it is carved in stone. Look on some of the fact-checking sites before blindly passing on garbage. 

Better yet, focus on the good stuff! What nice things are happening in your lives? Even in the bad times, there is usually at least one good thing that happens in a day. Post that! 

If you have not heard from me or I have not "liked" your posts, it probably has nothing to do with that so-called algorithm. I probably just need a break from the negativity for a while. 

I'm not saying I won't ever post anything negative. But, as much as it possible, I am going to focus on the good stuff. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Random Musings

So far, February has been a largely "lost" month thanks to the flu. My poor husband spent his 64th birthday taking care of me instead of celebrating. I hope to make it up to him when I am all better. I did let him know that I would both still need him and feed him now that he has reached the age of the popular Beatles tune. 

Of course, the most frustrating thing for me is the sore throat/hoarseness/loss of voice. This has become an almost yearly "thing" for me and I have learned that the best way to deal with it is to just rest it and wait for my voice to come back. I haven't been to church all month. Not my norm.

There have been some positives. Being "in" gave me time to finish an art project that I had been working on for weeks. I have been looking for ways to "do" art with my eyes and hands giving me fits and I was very pleased with this collage. 

Another nice thing happening while I am down is the Winter Olympics. I am a figure skating fanatic and every 4 years I become a total couch potato for 2 weeks. I have also learned to enjoy curling of all things and I enjoy many of the other events as well. If I have to be down, I am thankful for this timing!

I am past ready to resume normal activities, but my doc tells me that may be a week or more away. I already have another art project going and another week of Olympics to watch.

I can manage. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018


I must admit, in recent years I have not had a great deal of interest in cooking. I considered dining out one of my superpowers. With my husband and I often going in different directions, it was easier to just pick up something than cook. 

Then came the debilitating stomach pain and the effective, but terribly limiting FODMAP diet. Apparently, I do not have enough sugar receptors in my gut any longer to digest my food properly. FODMAP is supposed to be short term, but I have not been able to successfully reintroduce anything on a regular basis.

Coupled with multiple severe good allergies and reflux, this makes dining out much more of a challenge. Locally owned restaurants have been great to cater to me, but I get very tired of grilled chicken, hamburger patties, potatoes, eggs, and cheese which now make up the bulk of my diet. 

So, I am learning how to cook things that I can have. Fortunately, gluten-free foods are becoming more popular and I have been able to find everything from gluten-free pancake mix to gluten-free pizza crust that actually taste good. Coconut milk is working well with most recipes. I am stuffing my own twice baked potatoes. I have found some wonderful gluten-free pasta and have experimented with sauces. I have found alternatives to the garlic and onions I miss so much. 

I'll never be Julia Child. But, it is nice to get a bit more variety in my diet. 

Sometimes I can even coax friends over to come eat with me. 

Bon Appetite! 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Snooze Button

Facebook has a new feature. It allows one to "snooze" a person or page for 30 days. 

So today, I hit the snooze button multiple times. I am tired of much of what I see on Facebook and this helps make it more manageable. 

I am mainly tired of the personal attacks on people who politics are different from someone else's. I am not talking about a civil debate. I am talking about calling people names like "Rethuglican" or "Libtard." What good does that do exactly? And I am disappointed in a number of people who are using this language and/or unkind images to make their points. Others I just expect it from, so it is not a surprise. Snooze. 

I also am snoozing some folks who constantly make negative posts. I may be having a lousy day, but unless I am asking for prayer for a specific situation, I am going to try to find something uplifting to post most of the time. Something that strikes my funny bone or something that inspires me. 

I unfriend as a last resort. But, I have done it. 

Now if I could find something to automatically snooze all pictures of snakes for the duration, I would really be in business! 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve Musings

On Christmas Eve night, I am usually awake hours after my husband has gone off to dreamland, trying to wind down from my relatively few Christmas preparations and my singing for one or more church services. 

I think of Christmases past, both happy and sad. I have been blessed with a nice, peaceful Christmas so far this year and every year I have such a Christmas, I am beyond grateful.

I think of my friends who are not having a merry Christmas. Those grieving the loss of loved ones, homes, jobs, relationships and dreams. And I hope they can find some glimmer of joy in their darkness. 

I think of my friends who just don't enjoy the holiday. Money, gifts, crowds, and the need to be "on" just sucks the joy out of the season for them. I wish them pockets of peace and calm. 

I also think of my friends who have to make everything perfect and are simply devastated when things do not go as expected. I wish for them some flexibility and ability to roll with the punches!

After tomorrow, for better or worse, Christmas 2017 will be over for most. For me, it will be the first day of the 12 days of Christmas. I am going to enjoy every one. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Cards

For the first time in our 34 year marriage, my husband and I did not send out Christmas cards together. I have a group of mostly elderly friends that I send postcards to several times a year. An app on my phone can take my art and make it into a lovely, glossy postcard with a message on the back. My handwriting has suffered due to nerve issues in my neck and hands and this is a way to let people know that I am thinking about them that is manageable for me. 

But, usually, Bill and I send out some regular cards to friends and family. I like to write at least something personal in each one. And, I do enjoy doing it. This year, with the medical procedures and doctor visits taking up large chunks of my days, I just did not seem to have the energy left to do proper cards. Neither did my better half. 

I hope to resume the tradition next year. But, I also hope that my family and friends know that I care about them 365 days a year, not just at Christmas. And next year, there will be cards! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The New Fridge

Recently, our 20+-year-old refrigerator was beginning to have problems that were more costly to fix than the price of a new one. It was time to go shopping, so off to the local Cowboy Maloney, we went. 

Our last refrigerator was a side by side and I liked not having frozen food fall on my feet. The style was set. I was lobbying for our first refrigerator with an ice maker, but my husband was unsure. "Just one more thing to break down," he grumbled. 

When we got to the store, we discovered that we could not even buy a side by side without an ice maker and water in the door. As luck would have it, my husband was going to be dragged into the 20th, if not the 21st century, whether he liked it or not! 

After a week of this luxury, I can't imagine how we lived without it! The first thing I want in the morning is a glass of half sweet/half unsweet tea. Now I can have it with my own crushed ice. The crew at Sonic on Hall's Ferry is probably wondering what happened to me. I still have to have my Sonic ice fix, but it is nice to have this option right at my fingertips. 

The funny thing is how much the hubby likes it. He is as hooked as I am. 

Maybe worse. 

Saturday, December 02, 2017


I have not put up a Christmas tree, nor have I set up any decorations. I have not been to any Christmas themed events. I have not addressed one Christmas card and I have not even begun playing Christmas music yet. 

Instead, I am preparing for the first Sunday in Advent tomorrow. That lovely time of anticipation and waiting for the birth of Jesus Christ. We will light the first candle, the HOPE candle, on the advent wreath. We will sing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel for our hymn. But, we won't "Christmas" just yet. 

I have found that, if I do things too early, the luster of Christmas dims with the familiarity. The tree, even though artificial, can seem a bit careworn by the real Christmas season. The carols, although some of my favorite music in the world, get old if they are all I hear in December. I would rather wait a bit and enjoy them more fully as Christmas Day approaches. I want people to get my Christmas cards a little later after the early birds have sent theirs in. I have seen Christmas weeks where everything fun had already been done in the weeks before. 

I realize that those with children and grandchildren have to go after those toys while they are able to be had. Those entertaining need to get a jump on the preparations. And the fun must be had while it is available. 

But, wouldn't it be nice to just back up a bit, relax, and enjoy the season of Advent? 

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Poker Face

Alas, I don't have one. I can't keep my emotions from showing on my face, no matter what I try. If I am happy, everyone knows it. If I am sad, people know that too. Unfortunately, when I am shocked, surprised, and/or sometimes disgusted, that shows too. 

I fear that this lack of inability to hide my feelings more effectively has cost me some friends over the years. I hate this. Usually, the shock, surprise, or whatever go away fairly quickly and I regain my equilibrium. But, sometimes the "damage" seems to be done. I used to be much better at this when I was counseling, but I seem to have lost my touch. I don't know if some of my illnesses or meds are partly to blame, or if some of it is just getting older. I just know that not showing my feelings is not working these days.

Ironically, I spent years myself in counseling learning how NOT to hide all my feelings. 

Maybe it worked too well. 

Monday, October 30, 2017


Last Thursday afternoon, I saw a news segment talking about a new shingles booster shot. I made a mental note to ask my doctor about it on my next visit. 

That night, I felt the telltale tingling and saw the beginnings of the rash that indicated that it was too late. I already had shingles. Again. 

I honestly had no idea that I could get them twice. I was wrong. Thankfully, this is a much milder case than I had last time and I caught it earlier. 

So, even if you have had the shingles, I would highly recommend that you go to your doc ASAP. There is a new vaccine called Shingrix that has a success rate of up to 90% for those 50 and older. As soon as I get over this bout, I WILL be getting that shot. If there is any chance of not going through this again, I am going for it. 

If you have had chickenpox or a previous bout of shingles, call your doctor. TODAY. 

Friday, October 20, 2017


I am a little late writing this, as my 58th birthday was actually last week. I am still celebrating. I don't mind turning 58 ONE bit, my mother and grandfather both dying at age 57. I have talked to others who have outlived a parent and they tell me that it is a relief to be past "that" age. Nice to know that this over the hump feeling is not totally uncommon. 

I wanted to make my 57th year special. And, I feel as if I have done just that. I hired a professional organizer to help me really make the best use of my limited spaces. I helped a couple of friends reach for their dreams. I joined some groups and met new people, many of whom share my interests. Maybe the most interesting thing this year brought was my trip to Fauquier and Culpepper Virginia to find look for my roots and visit friends. This was one of the longest solo trips I have ever made and was a bit of a challenge with my limitations. But, I did it!

I am not sure what this year will bring. Hopefully enough health and strength to be there for several friends who are facing challenges. A return of function in my hands and the motivation to try some new forms of artwork would be nice. Making some shorter trips to visit friends and loved ones is also on the list. 

Fifty-eight can be great. 

I'll be working on it!


Monday, September 18, 2017


When I was counseling, one of the things I used to try to get a sense of early in a client's treatment was his or her view of the world. Many presented as depressed, but I could sense glints of a more optimistic worldview deep down. It was up to me to help the client bring that healthier worldview back into focus. The more difficult to treat were the clients with extremely harsh, punitive, or cynical ways of looking at the world. When I heard their stories, I could often understand where these outlooks came from. Some were able, with therapy, to become happier with themselves and, consequently, the world. 

Others, unfortuately, were not able to pull out of their harsh ways of looking at the world. If damaging behaviors were good enough for thier parents, they were good enough for them, by golly!  The abused sometimes become abusers. There is simply no insight into the damage he or she is perpetuating. No self-awareness. 

I find that when I am around defensive, pessimistic, or rigid people for very long, it becomes harder to keep the more optimistic worldview that I spent years working on to overcome less than positive early experiences. I am having to "double down" to keep from being sucked down into holes I do not wish to revisit. 

That glass is going to be half full!


Monday, August 28, 2017


 Detachment is an art in which I am not proficient. I tend to invest deeply in people, places, and causes I love and believe in. 

However, lately, I am finding myself in a number of situations where I can't reconcile my core beliefs with those being espoused around me. Love, grace, acceptance, inclusion,  mercy, peace...I can't (and don't want to) change or give up those beliefs. 

What do I do when almost everywhere I go I am being pounded words and actions that cause such dissonance in my mind that I come away feeling spiritually and emotionally battered? It almost makes me wish I was the type of person who can float through life without the entanglements of deep emotional investment. But, that is not me. 

So, I must find ways to at least temporarily detach from situations that I feel like I cannot physically escape at this time. 

Ideas are welcome.