Mosquito, Don't Ya Know!

I should have known I was in for it when the 4th forms started giggling before they started reading... (read why later in the post).

I should have known I was in for it when the 4th forms started giggling before they started reading... (read why later in the post).

Turn around is the best play! 

My last school visit as a resident of Trinidad & Tobago was to Guayaguayare R.C School, and what a treat! Instead of me entertaining them, the students, each grade in turn from 1st to 4th form (ages 5-10), shared their stories with the other students, teachers, visitors from Bridge Foundation, and me!

As part of its "Read to Rise," early literacy program, Bridge Foundation works with students and teachers in some of Trinidad's most needy areas, including Guayaguayare R.C. school.

Guayagyayare (pronounced exactly as it looks, with a Trini accent, yes I practiced heaps) is about 2 1/2 hour drive south-east of Port Of Spain. Reginald Holder, a Bridge Foundation staffer and long-time supporter before that, was kind enough to drive me down. (I'm thinking he and Anthea were worried I might not make it if I drove myself.) They might well have been on to something, some of the towns we passed through looked inviting and the beaches, spectacular. Here's a photo of the coconut palm lined highway in nearby Mayaro. That's the beach just to the left of the road, about 50 feet. (Now you see the temptation...)

Bridge's Founder,  Anthea McLaughlin, is a former Jumpstart board member, so naturally, when she moved to Trinidad about 7 years ago, she brought  Read for the Record® with her.

Jamie Tan from Candlewick Press hooking up the webcast on 10-22-15

Jamie Tan from Candlewick Press hooking up the webcast on 10-22-15

Now it's an annual part of the Read to Rise curriculum. And this year it was huge! Through Bridge Foundation's efforts 92 Trinidad and Tobago schools and almost 30,000 children and adults took part in the shared reading experience. Including the students and staff at Guayaguayare and Mayaro schools. What's more, Bridge Foundation gave every student at this school a book, and 2 copies each to the 90 other schools! 30,000 students, that's about 20% of Trinidad's children! 

Already acquainted with Norman, the 1st form students (4-5) were brilliantly equipped to respond to the prompt: When I got Norman, I didn't want to keep him.

(Can you guess which was Norman's fav?)

Through Bridge Foundation’s efforts 92 Trinidad and Tobago schools and almost 30,000 children and adults took part in the shared reading experience

Along with readings by celebrities who put a "Trini" spin on the story, Bridge partners created a slew of activities built around the theme of Pet and Sea-responsibility. Here's more about Bridge Foundation and Read for the Record® day 2015! 

Which is where I came in. Reginald read that I lived in Trinidad, he told Anthea who got in touch with me. Three heads together over coffee came up with a plan for me to give a workshop to UWI 2nd year Creative Art students on picture books, which they would then use to help Guayaraguayare students WRITE AND ILLUSTRATE their own stories. The books are being created as we speak! And having met the students, I know they will be amazing! (I'll share some if I can.) 

The really really fun part came after my presentation. 2nd form students, with hands clasped & sincerity gave a rousing rendition of their Trini version of There Was an Old Man Who Swallowed a Mosquito--

It had the Zeeka Virus, don’t ya know...
He swallowed a lizard to eat the mos-qui-TO
That wiggled and jiggled down to his gizzard!

Q&A session was hillarious! Of course one asked my age...and if my goldfish ever died, because their's did!

Bridge Foundation donated stacks of copies of Not Norman that will be given as prizes later. I was thrilled to sign them. Principal Burt Wiseman is fab and welcoming!

The grand finale was 4th Form's surprise. A recital of a brand new poem penned in Norman's honor! 

I should have known their was something, er...fishy going on when they lined up looking like they were up to something. Turns out Bridge's resident poet, Shurla Blade, had composed a poem in honor of my friendly little fish, Norman. They could not stop smiling even while reciting. Imagine my shock & Surprise: 

What do I get from school visits? Besides hugs and smiles--and being made to feel like a rockstar for a day? Images of those earnest, interested, bright children to hold, a reminder of who I'm writing for and why. 

They Call It "Tabanca"

"Tabanca" our friend, and Carnival costume creator, Ian, finally named what I was feeling, after a chain of text responding with a bandaged thumb. (Ian literally ground off the tip of his thumb Thursday last, while trying to wedge a rock under the rear tire of his car so he could drive up a steep hill.)

Here's Ian hot-gluing Curtis's "Horns"pre thumb smash.

Here's Ian hot-gluing Curtis's "Horns"pre thumb smash.

"That's what we call what you're feeling my dear: Tabanaca. It's Carnival Blues." 

I do have Tabanca!...Or feel Tabanca? Or am Tabanca-ish

How could I not have Carnival Blues?  Dang it, after weeks of planning, collecting, gluing, beading and feathering. . . 

Ian, Charisse & Curtis during a "Bead & Feather" session.

Ian, Charisse & Curtis during a "Bead & Feather" session.

Followed by weeks of playing and limin' and chippin' and whinin' bhoy--not that I am much of a whiner (the Trini kind anyway)--Post-Carnival, rather than coming as a welcome relief after way too much revelry, hit me with, as my mother likes to say, "A dull thud!" Tabanca.

I tried getting busy. Still Tabanca.

I tried ignore in it. More Tabanca.

I'm tired of wallowing it in. So now I've decided to go with it.

In a veiled effort to vanquish TabancaI decided to relive Trinidad Carnival 2016 by sharing memories here. Enjoy!

Jouvert 2015, we played with a band called "Cocoa Devils" and by the end of the night were smeared with cocoa "mud"

Jouvert 2015, we played with a band called "Cocoa Devils" and by the end of the night were smeared with cocoa "mud"

Carnival Weekend starts Sunday night, well really Monday morning about 3:00 am with Jouvert. Revelers dance along beside music trucks--Steel Pan and/or DJ's spinning Carnival Music.

Splashing, smearing, dunking in paint, mud (cocoa powder), and clay until after daybreak.

The origin of Jouvert and this "camoflaging" isn't "pleasant" as it came about as a response to Officials, mostly British, trying to ban Carnival celebrations. (The Spanish, absentee landlords, really, didn't seem to know about Carnival; the French by most accounts, joined in.) 

In case you wonder where I'm getting my info, I've been reading up on it in John Cowley's Carnival Canboulay and Calypso.

Carnival was introduced to Trinidad by French settlers in 1783, a time of slavery. Banned from the masquerade balls of the French, the slaves would stage their own mini-carnivals in their backyards — using their own rituals and folklore, but also imitating and sometimes mocking their masters’ behavior at the masquerade balls.

As with Carnival, despite it's beginnings Jouvert is now pure fun for everyone. Here are a few more pics beginning with us at 3:00 am sparkling clean and ready to play! This year we played Jouvert with "Caribe" and finished smeared with paint (or, as we say, with "improved work-out shirts)

Like Jouvert, Trinidad Carnival's has ebbed and flowed. Carnival came to Trinidad in the 1780s along with French planters and their slaves from other Caribbean Islands. In the beginning the celebration went from Christmas right up to Ash Wednesday services. 

In wasn't until after 1797, when the British "Captured" Trinidad that serious issues and ordinances against Carnival began cropping up. 


 Wealthy white French residents would hired steel pan bands to play for their pre-Lent, "Fat Tuesday" parties. The bands, accompanied by friends and family, made the best of the work. They'd dance and party as they pushed the heavy steel pan drums from house to house. Eventually the revelers inside joined the party outside. But before the revelry can begin, there are costumes to be made:

Carnival Monday everyone dresses in part of their costumes and parade down the street.

Carnival Monday costumes: halos, purple wig and comfy shoes.

Carnival Monday costumes: halos, purple wig and comfy shoes.

Carnival Tuesday is the culmination of "Bacchanal Week" with steel pan band competitions, King and Queen engulfed by costumes as big as floats--some fully 30 ft high x 30 ft wide--Kiddie Carnival, Band Camp "practice" sessions and parties "Fetes" to support the bands everywhere. Here's a fantastic link to more about Trinidad's Carnival.


And here are some of my photos (with apologies as I only had my baby phone to click with. We played with a small band sponsored by Vene Mange restaurant, the owner, Roses is pictured with her parasol below:

And alas, instead of quenching my Tabanca, it's made me long for year!

Trini Translations:

  • "Playing": is getting costumed up, and parading through the streets
  • "Limin'": Getting together with friends
  • "Chippin": bouncy walking to the music
  • "Whinin'": Trinidad-style dancing (precursor to Miley's "Twerking")
  • "Bhoy": Boy in Trini-ese

For more images of Trinidad Carnival 2016 click over to view these by Rapso Imaging

Tabanca Playlist:

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Three Little Words

If only I could make his mouth move and make what I wanted to say come out. But, what would He/I say?

If only I could make his mouth move and make what I wanted to say come out. But, what would He/I say?

We—I—joke how my husband, Curtis, has a set allotment of spoken words at his disposal each month, so he doles them out sparingly. It’s how I explain his silences. Everyone laughs when I say it. But, now, the laugh seems to be on me…

I’ve recently come to the long-delayed realization that, like Curtis, I must have a set allotment of words at my disposal, too. But…while Curtis’s is a monthly quota, mine is a DAILY quota. And, while, to my knowledge, his quota is only on spoken words, mine is on written words.

My writer friend Marty, gave a talk, recently, about Chaos. She noted how, in picture books, chaos is triggered by someone or something breaking a rule. For me, rather than chaos ensuing it’s blah-blah blah blah blah blah bluckkkkkk

Unlike Curtis, it’s not my words—written or otherwise—that run out. It’s my ability to use them creatively. I have this newly adopted Bullet Journal to thank for the realization.  

My last Fishbowl post, “Shot Myself in the Foot with a Bullet Journal, chronicled prats and pitfalls I encountered while undertaking to begin Bullet Journaling. Now a one-month veteran of the process, I have come up with a system that works for me. And some Don’ts (Or Donuts if you prefer):



  1. Donut #1 Do not Spend Too Much Time on It
  2. Donut #2 Do Not Try to Make it Look Pretty or Neat
  3. Donut #3 (with sprinkles): Do Not Write too Much

The realization that I was wasting precious words by writing too much of the wrong things too early in the day came about expressly because of this bullet journal.

Don't get me wrong. Bullet Journaling is fab-u-lous! This past month’s Bullet Journaling has done exactly what it is intended to do. It has:

  1. Helped me prioritize tasks and keep track of to-dos
  2. Provided a space to keep all those lists & notes (i.e. movies to see, books to read, things to fix, notes to write, passwords that I think I will only need once, misc.)

And, maybe most importantly of all, made me keenly aware of why I wasn’t writing what I wanted to write: CREATIVELY!

BTW: My sole purpose in writing this post on The Fishbowl now is as a caution to you, Dear Cherished Reader.

On Leap Day, as per the official Bullet Journal instructions, I reviewed my February monthly and daily task lists. What I realized was that each daily list had 3 or more tasks that required writing—and I was doing them before I got around to what I wanted, really, truly, wanted to be doing: creative writing.

Since all those other Bullet-Journal aficionados share theirs, here's mine.

Since all those other Bullet-Journal aficionados share theirs, here's mine.

These included:

  • ·         Bullet-Journal updates of yearly, monthly, daily task-lists
  • ·         Free writing (to clear the cobwebs)
  • ·         E-mail check and response
  • ·         Word-play exercises
  • ·         Facebook post on my author page
  • ·         Calendar update on my website

This past week, in response to an interview invitation from writer/musician/blogger David Alan Binder, I have been answering questions.(He sent a list of about 40.) Yesterday I stopped at this one, “What do you do when you are not writing?” (Clearly intending that in this context "writing" referred to "written-in-hopes-of-publication writing)

Yes, Curtis and I (with help from friends) glued all those beads, feathers and bling onto our Trini Devil & Angel costumes.

Yes, Curtis and I (with help from friends) glued all those beads, feathers and bling onto our Trini Devil & Angel costumes.

Part of me--the uncensored part, wanted to respond: “Glue beads and feathers onto costumes & parade through Port of Spain limin’ and whinin’.

Or turn on my Jack Nicholson’s Col. Nathan R. Jessup

                               “You want the truth? . . . YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.”

Because truly, what kind of "professional writer" would David and his readers think I was if, in response to his next question: “What are you currently writing?” I sent the above list?

Having written the above—and hyper-aware that I have used 628 of my precious daily quota (not counting deletions and revisions) to do so . . . 

Also keenly aware that because, in this post I discuss my mis-use of creative energy I prefer saving for "writing," some of you have already Fooled Yourselves into thinking this post doesn't apply to you. Yoo-hoo: Creative energy is "energy for creating, being creative, making, doing _Fill-in-the-blank_  

. . . I just want to say:

If you decide to create a Bullet Journal (or any variation on a task list). . . 

And If you prioritize the items on said list. . . . 

Do not do as I did and prioritize them in terms of “importance” to others, or with an eye to crossing-off-as-many-items-as-possible-because-it-feels-good. Prioritize them in terms of “important” to you! 


  1. Select for Creativity. Use your creative energy to create—don’t waste it on trivial/menial tasks

  2. Select for Joy. Be sure to put tasks that bring you joy at the top of the list

(Note to readers: As of March 1, Bullet Journal Task Lists will be made the night before, email and responses, posting on Facebook, etc. will be written in my down time. If this results in a lack of liveliness in above-mentioned writing, I apologize in advance.)

Word Counts Playlist:

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Shot Myself in the Foot with a Bullet Journal

You and I have often talked about how to maintain goals we set. And those we don’t keep…

Click on the journal for a peek at so many images of Bullet Journal pages...

Click on the journal for a peek at so many images of Bullet Journal pages...

 This month—beginning Monday, Feb. 1stI pledged to begin an intensive picture book study, committing to at least 5 hours a day studying/reading/writing picture books. I’ve “pledged” before, but life…especially “important” family and work commitments keep getting in the way. Sound familiar?

This study commitment will require fortitude and organization. A writer friend of mine, Cindy Faughnan, recently set herself up with a Bullet Journal. A tuck it into your purse or pocket paper-pen-ink-no-battery-required journal. In support, she sent me a link to a basic How-To Bullet Journal U-tube video. Here's the link: The Analog System in the Digital Age.

After viewing, I bought my journal—bright pink—selected “the” pen, and following the step-by-step instructions, began setting up my journal. But I had a few questions…  

Turns out this Bullet Journal video is not a one-off; it’s part of a cult-er…craze…er website. There's a library! A Blog! A Store!!!! And slews of videos featuring other bullet journal aficionados showing & explaining their particular journaling styles. Too many . . . 

My excitement over this simple little system turned to angst.

  • Was I numbering correctly?
  • Bulleting, dashing, circling, arrowing appropriately?
  • Were my squares large enough?
  • Too large?
  • Should I color code it? Is that twee? Or just one pen? If one, which?
  • Should I write my goals on the front cover or first page?
  • Should my Future Log go across or down?
  • Should I copy a calendar and tape it in. Or create my own.
  • How many pages would I need for my monthly/daily task lists?...
  • How many other pages—books, movies, words, ideas, goals, writing project, house projects…what am I forgetting?
  • What if I mess it up?!!

                         I can not have an ugly Bullet Journal…

 After ripping out and starting over a few times,  I quit. I had to. My Bullet Journal was on the verge of being pageless.

BTW: This study includes returning to writing Morning Pages ala Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way.  Here's a link to a video explaining Cameron's Morning Pages.

 Feb. 3. was a dark day. I woke worrying about how I was going to continue my planned picture book intensive study if I couldn’t even manage a Bullet Journal?  

In the wee hours before morning I laid in bed driving myself crazy thinking about this Bullet Journal and all the other to-dos on my list, when It dawned on me how instead of mentally agonizing, I could agonize on the page and thus at least accomplish something…my Morning Pages!

Trouble was, I couldn't find any paper on which to write my Morning Pages. The last notebook I'd used to write Morning Pages was full. And I couldn’t find another one…anywhere. Was I destined to fail at this, too??

I’ve often thought these Morning Pages should be called Mourning Pages,’re saying farewell to life as you knew it.
— Julia Cameron on how morning pages should we whinny, petty, grumpy...

Then something one of the gals in one of those “Let Me Show You MY Bullet Journal” videos popped into my head. She’d been sharing how she had refashioned her weekly task list from the previous year and then, after all that work, said: “I’m going to try it. If I don’t like it, I’ll do something else next month…”

  Hallauah!!! (Que the Choir!)

 This is MY Journal. There was no rule saying it could “only” be a Bullet Journal... Or that it had “last” for a year... Or more than a month…Or be pretty...  

There was only one rule: If it’s going to work, it has to work for me.

I flipped half-way back and begin my morning pages there.  Done.

. . . Minor problem. The page number? (Every Bullet Journal has an index to each section.)

Click on the pic to see more

Click on the pic to see more

Very handy, but . . . Should I count all the pages so I could number the page about half-way back, I’d designated Morning Pages 1? Or write my darn Morning Pages?

 I made the tough decision: I stuck a post-it sticky on the first Morning Page—so I could find the spot again, took a breath and especially pleased to know that everything I needed to begin my days—my new Bullet Journal, pen, stick-notes & designated Morning Pages pages all in one tidy book—I began to write…

 If you’ve stuck with me through this entire post, I have no doubt you’re thinking—boring… tedious...if this is the worst of her worries… What a waste… a waste of time…hers and mine.

It’s tedious for me, too. That’s my whole point.

 Agonizing, doubt, questioning, beating myself up, aka “worry” is, in the words of Ben Franklin “Interest paid on trouble before it is due.” 

 But, “worry” is what I do.  If I'm going to play, I have to payfirst. That's how I roll. I have to circle before I can begin anew.  I have to get to that place where I am willing to allow myself to tear out a few pages, let go, make mistakes. Only then can I find my way in. This time, it was creating new routine. Next time, it will be something else…

 Trust in the Process. (I’m writing that in my Bullet Journal.)

...On a new page, that I'll number, and add to the index, so I can turn to it easily P.R.N. 

What a Difference a Smile Makes...

All was Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows last Saturday morning when I took Bennett and Michelle to the airport. He and his mama were winging their way north to Anchorage, Alaska to join Max.

On Jan 4, Max began a new job as an "Arctic Marine Biologist" with Audubon Alaska. (I've linked it here to the announcement on the Audubon website, so click on over to read about Max and what he'll be doing.)

Michelle was due to report for her new position as Labor and Delivery RN, BSN at Providence Alaska Medical Center, Monday.

Yes, this move came suddenly, with less than a month to pack up and ship out, they'd had to scramble, but in a good way.  Although no one in our Tulsa family, was happy to see them leave, everyone: Barb, Chelsie, Bonnie, John, Rhonda, Chris & Parker pitched in to help them move. I flew in for the last week.

Their reunion Sunday was joyous and exciting! Then came Monday….

Max and Michelle had tried hard to get Bennett into a good daycare. There is a serious childcare crisis in Anchorage. All the “best” ones have a waiting list--about a year long--and costs about $1100 per month. So they found one that “seemed” good, Max checked it out and paid a deposit. They had to pack Bennett’s lunch each day, but no big deal.

When Michelle dropped Bennett off, no one seemed especially interested in him. No adult smiled. Patted him. Commented on his dinosaur.  He came home asking about his old teachers in his old school. To be expected. And a nasty, raw diaper rash...

The next day, Tuesday, Max took him to daycare. Bennett didn’t want Max to leave. “Stay and play with me.” So Max did for a bit. But he is in a conference all this week and had to leave. And Michelle was already at work. Max pulled himself away from Bennett…who understood "Dada" had to work. With a “see you later," waved goodbye.

Before driving off, Max paused to return a missed call. As it happened, he'd parked his car so it looked inside the day care. While he made his call he watched Bennett through the window. Bennett took his dinosaurs and sat down. No one spoke to him, or interacted. Staffers walked past him without a pat or a word.  Max said Bennett sat there for a bit with his dinosaurs, then he put his head down and cried.

 Work was work. A paycheck is a paycheck. Even Bennett knows that. Max went to the conference.

As soon as he could get away, about 2:00 pm, Max raced back to get Bennett. It was outdoor time: Bennett’s hat was on inside out, his boots were on the wrong feet, and his shirt tail was stuck inside his soggy diaper. Max was putting Bennett's boots on the right feet when the owner/operator came by.

“Oh, ,”the man said, “Bennett, did you put your boots on the wrong feet?”

Max glared at him. “He’s two,” Max spat. “He doesn’t put on his own boots.” Then he marched to Bennett’s cubicle, scooped up all his belongings and they left.

Michelle and Max’s co-workers stepped up when they heard this story. Everyone scrambled to find a better place for Bennett. The daycare at Michelle’s work—Providence Hospital—which can take B when he’s 3--agreed to let Bennett go there Wednesday, to give M&M time to find a better daycare. And, the director recommended some facilities. I believe she even made some calls, as did Michelle, until they found a spot in one.

On Wednesday, when we spoke—Max and I—Bennett was at Providence for the day, “running around the playground roaring like a tiger.”

Better news, Max called back that night. The daycare they wanted, near Max’s work and well-respected, Tundra Tykes, had a place for Bennett, so he started this Monday.

Two days in and so far so good! Tundra Tykes, doesn't cost any more than that first day care, however the staff is able to include diaper changes--and smiles--as part of the service. Fancy that!

Bennett’s daycare future is bright. Because His parents could take the time, have the resources, the job security education brings, the confidence to say "This is not right. My child deserves to be well treated."

But, I can't help thinking about those other children stuck in that day care... Where's their much deserved smile?

What a Difference Playlist:

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Technical Difficulties

Technically speaking, the technical difficulties have been all mine. Truth is, I have been avoiding anything technical. It started during the Hustle-Bustle Ho-Hos of the holiday season and has continued through most of January. Then yesterday, a certain song popped into my head:

"Hello! It's been awhile..."

As I was singing along, I realized it was true:

"I really just wanted to talk to you..."

As y'all know--all y'all who've followed my blog for a while--the Fishbowl is really not a blog, and I'm not your typical blogger. Rather than blog "posts", I tend to write travelogues, commentary, memoir... whatever comes to mind that I want--need--to share. I've been writing this not-really-a-blog for more than 10 years now. And I like it.

So, I'm back! My posts may not be timely, or usual, but they'll keep coming, just as long as those songs keep running through my head.  Tune in!

Happy 2016 wishes to you!

Technical Difficulties Playlist:

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Pick A Winner

Volumes of thoughts by Great Thinkers have been published...How will thoughts of today's Great Thinkers be preserved?

Volumes of thoughts by Great Thinkers have been published...How will thoughts of today's Great Thinkers be preserved?

My Mom's writing letter again... Some arrive with a bonus "Pick Your Own Adventure" component!

Remember letters? Those pages covered in thoughts, questions, memories set down in scribbles that most often didn’t, resemble any of those available in Word, with font sizes that, in my mother's case, flagrantly vary from 8 pt to 24 line to line, or word to word? (If yours is a post-1985 birthday, you might not…)

Writing letter fell out of favor with Mom, too, for scores of years, as did a lot of things… (Who knows, she might start some of those “other things” back up again, too... Let’s not think of the ramifications and implications of that, now.)

Santa letter.jpg

For purposes of this post, let’s return to Mom’s letters. She started sending them shortly after she started reading the Reno Gazette. I won’t say she started reading the newspaper “again” because I can’t recall my mother ever before reading a newspaper, or watching the news. Not since Walter Cronkite retired, anyway. (If yours is a post-1985 birthday, you might not be familiar with Walter Cronkite. For the record, Ron Burgundy might never have been if not for him.)

Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy came after Walter...way after!

Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy came after Walter...way after!

Walter Cronkite.jpg


Cronkite was the CBS Evening News Anchorman of my youth. For that matter, heaps of other pre-1985 era folks, too. For the record, he was the first “anchor of American network television's first nightly half-hour news program.” Cronkite ended his Anchorman career the way he did every night's broadcast: “And that's the way it is: Friday, March 6, 1981."

With a twist announcing he was handing over the reins: "I'll be away on assignment, and Dan Rather will be sitting in here for the next few years. Good night."

Mom’s letters arrive like happy little mailbox bursts, decorated with stickers, glitter, slogans, stars, ANYTHING that will stick to an envelope. I’m thinking they must brighten my mail carrier, Candye’s otherwise dull deliveries. (I’ll have to ask her one day.)  I wonder who Candye thinks is sending the letters? (Reading other people's mail is a Federal Offence, so legally she shouldn't be reading beyond the address.) 

Mom was sending Family History Letters. She wanted to record all about our ancestors before she died. She dedicated each letter to one family member, or decade, or event—as the mood struck her. She made copies of these memoirs and mail them to everyone in our immediate family and a few cousins and friends.

After a few months, we ran out of family history or mom ran out of memories, whichever. All I know is one day the history letters stopped and notes with magazine and newspaper clippings started.

After those drear Family History Letters, Mom’s Notes with Clippings come as a welcome relief. Now that she’s a subscriber, Mom reads the newspaper every day cover-to-cover and while doing so, clips out articles of interest and mails them to us. For grandson Bennett, she cuts out articles and photos of animals. For me, recipes she’d like to eat, beauty tips she’d like me to try (sparkle eye shadow, pants with peek-a-boo legs), human-interest aka photos of “new citizens” being sworn in dressed as hot dogs, and horoscopes.

Always her and my horoscopes: Virgo & Leo.

Receiving out-of-date horoscopes irritated me no end. Why?

  1.  What good is reading out-of-date advice?
  2. Often, Mom cut off the Sun Sign so I didn’t know whose it was—Virgo or Leo or?
  3. Sometimes she cut off part of the horoscope—perhaps the important part…

Yesterday’s mail brought this horoscope--again with the date cut off:

Leo (July 23-Aug 22). You’ll get the wonderful feeling that you’re in the right place and right on time, too.

As I read that horoscope, it dawned on me that there was no “By accident” about it. Mom knows exactly what she's doing when she cuts off the dates. I called to confirm. Her response: 

Keep the good ones and throw away the bad. After all, who needs bad advice!

I’m thinking she’s onto something. After all, who says, just because history or horoscopes are written one way, we can’t rewrite it?

How about you? Ready to choose your own horoscope? 

And that’s the way it is…or can be!

Pick A Winner Playlist:


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Thanksgiving Playlist

So easy picking my playlist—song, actually—for this Thanksgiving. I’m counting my blessings ala Bing and Rosemary as I prepare our Thanksgiving Feast.

As I dice and slice and whip and bake, I am keenly aware of how blessed me and mine are to have all we have and live as we live.

That first Thanksgiving, a 3-day long feast which included fowl, 4 deer, shellfish, cranberries, maybe, but no mashed potatoes and definitely no pie as potatoes hadn’t been introduced to the New World yet, as the Pilgrims lacked butter and flour for crust, was a celebration of a successful 1621 harvest. It did not mean the end of hard times for the Pilgrims. Even as they feasted, I’m sure the Pilgrims were keenly aware, as am I, that one certainly of our uncertain futures is that there will be difficult times ahead. Knowing this makes me even more grateful to be able to celebrate our harvest today.

Happy Thanksgiving! And thank you.

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