Wednesday, September 21, 2022



“Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.

    Watch a young child play, he/she creates imaginary friends, makes up stories, and plays them out (like a spaceship landing...), and wonders about things beyond the door and out of sight. It is actually marvelous to enjoy that FREEDOM.

    But lately, SOME people seem to seriously want to limit free thought. Censorship is one way and while we all wish we could hide from some ugly facts of life, isn't awareness and the ability to decide things for ourselves more important?

    "Between 2021 and 2022, there were a considerable number of books banned or challenged in the United States. Most of the targeted books have to do with racegender, and sexuality. Unlike most book challenges in the past, whereby parents or other stakeholders in the community would engage teachers and school administrators in a debate over a title, local groups have received support from conservative advocacy organizations working to nationalize the efforts focused on certain subjects. They have also been more likely to involve legal and legislative measures rather than just conversations in local communities. Journalists, academics, librarians, and others commonly link the coordinated, often well-funded book challenges to other reactionary efforts to restrict what students should learn about systemic bias and the history of the United States. Hundreds of books have been challenged, including high-profile examples like Maus by Art Spiegelman and New Kid by Jerry Craft."  (Wikipedia)

    Just today I read about a teacher who was fired for sharing a QR code to a public library! Not only was she fired from that school, but now there is even a movement to remove her teaching license and remove her ability to work in her field! The QR code in question was for the Brooklyn Public Library which did allow students across the country to take out e-books that are not available in their own school district. (This service has since been suspended) All this is because she encouraged her students to learn.


    As a much younger version of myself, I remember the first time I read Ray Bradbury's book FAHRENHEIT 451. It was chilling. The book, written in 1953, depicted an American nation where books were outlawed, burned if found, and freedom of thought was severely discouraged. Even more disturbing than the book's premise is that the picture above (on the left) is NOT from the book — it is from a book burning here in an American town, in February 2022!

    A few Romance Lit titles that have been banned or challenged through the years include works such as Lolita, 50 Shades of Grey, Gone With the Wind, A Farewell to Arms, and more. Some of the reasons that books are challenged, and possibly banned, include sexual content, alternate lifestyles, interracial involvement, and even historical stories that blame racists. 

    Why not take a trip to your local library and find out which books are challenged/banned, and then use your library card to check them out and read. Keep your minds open, read and learn, and learn not to sit idly by while your Freedom of Thought gets "hogtied".

ALA's Top Ten Challenged Books of 2021

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin

Sept. 18 - 24


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

This Time of Year


In Judaism, as in many other religions, there are times to “repent” for our wrongdoings and make SINCERE promises to try to do better in the coming year, months, and days. At the time that you are reading this, we are about twelve days away from the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the 2-day festival of our Hebrew New Year, 5783 (sundown on September 25, 2022)

Just like the “Lord’s Prayer” (forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us), we ask for forgiveness in a prayer called “Avinu Malkeinu” (For our sinful actions which we have committed in Your sight… bring us back to You in perfect Repentance).

Rosh Hashanah is followed by Yom Kippur (25 hours beginning at sundown, October 4, 2022), at which time the “Book of Life” is sealed for the year, and we are judged by G-d based on our intentions, our repentance, and the changes we make inside our hearts to be better, to do better. We ask for forgiveness from those we have hurt, as we forgive those who have hurt us.

Sometimes we cannot physically ask for or give understanding, but it must be in our hearts and minds. The hurts we may have inflicted, if done intentionally, are not forgiven… if accidentally, they can be. That doesn’t mean there is no hope for the future, it means we must try harder.

As in the secular new year, this is a time to look forward, to appreciate what we have, and who we have in our lives, and hopefully be able to start anew with more kindness and understanding. We try, with all our might, to be better people.

To you I say “L’shanah tovah tikateivu v’teichateimu”; A good year, and may you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life.


Sunday, September 11, 2022

21 years of memories

  On September 11, 2001, 2996 people lost their lives.

the youngest was only 2 years old,
the oldest was 85.

A generation of children grew up without one or more of their parents. Husbands and wives were left to raise their children alone. Parents never got to see their children marry or have children of their own.

There have been many losses and illnesses since due to injuries and exposure to the toxic dust at Ground Zero.

As a former Rockland County NY resident, I have always listed those
local residents that we lost on 9/11/2001

Ø Janet M. Alonso 41 Stony Point NY
Ø Calixto Anaya Jr. 35 Suffern NY
Ø Japhet J. Aryee 49 Spring Valley NY
Ø Richard E. Bosco 34 Suffern NY
Ø Sgt. John Gerard Coughlin 43 Pomona NY
Ø Welles Remy Crowther 24 Upper Nyack NY
Ø John D' Allara 47 Pearl River NY
Ø Bernard D. Favuzza 52 Suffern NY
Ø Thomas Foley 32 West Nyack NY
Ø Andrew Fredericks 40 Suffern NY
Ø Robert Joseph Gschaar 55 Spring Valley NY
Ø Dana Hannon 29 Suffern NY
Ø Capt. Frederick Ill Jr. 49 Pearl River NY
Ø Farah Jeudy 32 Spring Valley NY
Ø Joseph Marchbanks Jr. 47 Nanuet NY
Ø John Marshall 35 Congers NY
Ø Patricia A. McAneney 50 Pomona NY
Ø Robert Garvin McCarthy 33 Stony Point NY
Ø Robert William McPadden 30 Pearl River NY
Ø Luke G. Nee 44 Stony Point NY
Ø Gerald O'Leary 34 Stony Point NY
Ø David Ortiz 37 Nanuet NY
Ø Lt. Vernon Allan Richard 53 Nanuet NY
Ø Thomas G. Schoales 27 Stony Point NY
Ø Mohammed Shajahan 41 Spring Valley NY
Ø Gregory Sikorsky 34 Spring Valley NY
Ø Catherine T. Smith 44 West Haverstraw NY
Ø Robert W. Spear Jr. 30 Valley Cottage NY
Ø Loretta A, Vero 51 Nanuet NY
Ø Benjamin Walker 41 Suffern NY
Ø Weibin Wang 41 Orangeburg NY
Ø Steven Weinberg 41 New City NY
Ø Capt. David T. Wooley 53 Nanuet NY

It is so hard to realize that 21 years have passed since that dreadful day. 

My husband and I were home that day, together, when my sister called me. She had been watching television when the news broadcast came in that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center Towers. Ironically my husband had been working down there the day before on an Audio-Visual event, it was scheduled for 2-days, but one of the presenters had a prior commitment, so it was scheduled for the 10th and the 12th instead.
Two planes had crashed into the North and South towers of the WTC. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers tried to take the plane back from the terrorists behind this horror. There were 19 terrorists on the 4 planes in this suicide mission.
I remember the panicked calls from my son, in high school at the time, and my daughter, away at college. They wanted to know where their dad was.
Being members of our local ambulance corps in Rockland County NY, we responded to the building. No one knew what to expect next. There had been futile hopes that there would be many survivors who needed medical help and our local ambulance corps made preparations to help unload victims for transport to local hospitals. Sadly, that need never came to be.
Rockland County ambulance corps sent rigs to the scene that evening to try to help. My husband was on one of those rigs. Our son, a youth corps member at the time, helped to stock the truck and watched as his dad and crew drove away. My husband returned home very early the next morning — there had been no survivors to treat or transport. He cried at what he had seen.
Our daughter came home from college to help in the ambulance building. We did have several local residents walking around dazed, some of them were still hoping to hear from loved ones who had been in the buildings. They came in for comfort, for blood-pressure checks, and just to be able to sit and cry in someone's arms.
Rockland County had lost more than 30 souls that day, I knew a few of them, and I knew a few of the families. Some who died had been at jobs, some were passengers on the ill-fated flights, and others were 1st responders, firefighters, police, and EMS, who tried to save as many as possible. Even days later, no one was able to fathom what had just happened. 
The NYC Medical Examiner's office states that more than 1000 people have yet to be identified and possibly never will be. There have been more than 1500 deaths from various cancers among Ground Zero responders and those who lived or worked in the area. Many more are fighting Certified WTC-related illnesses. A few, very lucky ones, received treatment as doctors learned what to look for. 
Today, September 11. 2022... the heart still aches for all that we lost.

... 21-years later.

Rockland County FTC, NY

9/11 Memorial "Tear Drop"
in Bayonne New Jersey

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial
Arlington Virginia

Flight 93 Memorial
Shanksville Pennsylvania

Wednesday, September 7, 2022



Few things scare us more than going to the doctor’s office. And yet, you can’t help but be paranoid about every little ache and bruise you have. Oh my Gawd… why isn’t that bruise gone already? Maybe that ache is more than just a muscle strain? I sneezed three times this morning… how sick am I?

It’s no wonder that some avoid seeing their doctors. We fill ourselves with angst every time we (women) go for breast exams and (men) go for prostrate exams! I’ve heard that SOME high blood pressure has been labeled “White Coat Fever”.

Generally, as we are younger, so many of us tend to erroneously label our friends who have constant doctor appointments as hypochondriacs. Even some folks who have confirmed “invisible diseases” like Epstein Barr, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chron’s Disease, Ehlers Danlow Syndrome, and others are treated rather unfairly and hear comments such as “But you don’t look sick!” all the time.

However, there are so many of us, as we age, who begin to have our own complaints of aches and pains and we begin to demand answers. When you consider how many of us, even with our chronic complaints, are living into older “old age”, of course many other health problems start to haunt us. They say it is common for folks in their 60s and older to develop Atherosclerosis, after all, most of us have been eating the WRONG foods for a lot of years. And just like any FINE machinery, our parts do show their wear!

Sure, sure, we can blame it on the genes and that does affect SOME of it. Our lifestyles may also contribute to our current state of worn-down. And who can really blame us? After all, how many years did we hear that butter was too fatty and margarine was better, and then, then we were told that margarine was no good for our arteries and butter was healthier!!!!! We can’t reverse all of those years that we thought we were doing the right thing.

So instead of complaining and putting it off, make those doctor appointments and start to take care of yourself. If nothing else, think of how you will be able to brag about your “social life” with all those professionals in your old age!


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Living in 2022?


…and feeling like a Pioneer!

Okay, I am exaggerating. When our well pump “crapped out” on us a couple of days ago, well, it has truly been an experience!

Last week I had a problem with our electric account, and I wanted our meter checked. Unknown beforehand (to me), that meant that a tech had to come out and replace the existing one. While he was here, I talked with him, and he was helpful enough to make some suggestions about what energy we use; he mentioned items that use more than the standard household appliances.

One of the things he mentioned was to have our well pump and septic checked periodically. I looked at him like he had just landed from out-of-space! Until three and a half years ago, we had always lived in places with municipal water supplies and municipal sewage. His response to me was “Well, you’re a country girl now.”

We are connected to a power supply company, obviously we are NOT living “off the grid.” I was told a while ago, by one of my neighbors, to have the septic serviced/emptied periodically, so that was not particularly surprising. I also knew that because we have our own well and the water is conveniently pumped into our home, that if the power went out, so would our water supply. But…

Anyway, my husband quickly called our favorite plumber (this scope of plumbing is one of the few household maintenance projects he would not think of tackling). The plumber came by and told us that the pump was “on its way out” and needed replacing. The repair was scheduled for five days later. Since I already knew about losing water during a power failure, I had prepped a few gallons of water to keep under each sink (we purchase spring water for drinking, our stomachs do not do well with the high mineral count; neither does the cats).

We were not doing anything to tax the system over the weekend… and then WE HAD A POWER FAILURE that affected our area! We have a gas-powered generator, but we figured we would give it a while before revving it up, eventually we had to and used only the absolute necessary appliances (like our freezer and refrigerator). Several hours later the power came back on, and hubs flipped the electrical panel switches to ON; then the power went out again a few hours later. This time though I barely had time to do more than turn on our battery-operated lantern when again the power came on.

But we had a SURPRISE! The well pump NO LONGER WORKED! So, we have NO WATER coming into our home. The stored water is being used sparingly, and, as I said before, we have a supply of spring water for drinking and cooking. As luck worked out, we already had the plumber here and he ordered the part so hopefully, by the time you are reading this, we will be catching up on laundry and dishes (our dishwasher is filling rapidly). I am looking so forward to a hot shower instead of managing with sponge baths from our precious stored water.

A lot of serious preppers would be laughing at us now at how inept we feel without the convenience of tap water. This “Now-Country-Girl” is coping the best she can.

So, folks, even in 2022…




* a quick update... We have a NEW Well Pump!!!!!  Total heaven!

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

An Inhuman World…


My goodness, this automated world is truly unbelievable!

Everything is automated in some form or other… and what is not yet seems to be headed in that direction. From do-it-yourself checkouts to RECORDED customer service assistance! Hey, if I knew what help I needed, I would not be calling customer service!!!!!

I just spent 20-minutes on the phone with my utility company’s automated response system pushing buttons to make selections to try and get some answers about my bill. Some of the questions far into it did accept YES or NO answers. The next message said that if I wanted to wait to speak to a LIVE (maybe?????) customer service rep to press one if I wanted a call back (in 1.5 to 3 hours!) or two if I wanted to wait on the phone (for 1.5 to 3 hours!) … and then the message said, “if you have a rotary phone, please stay on the line and a customer service representative will help you”.

So, yes, I do have a touchtone, which is obviously how I even got to the point I did, but I decided not to push any buttons HOPING for a human voice. Less than 15-seconds later I got the same automated message about pushing one or two! If you wanted a call back, you were told to leave your call back number after the beep. I finally pushed 1 AND I WAS DISCONNECTED! (I did have hope that MAYBE they would use caller ID to get back to me, so here it is 4-hours later and after their business hours and still no response).

I did send an email through their website’s “contact form” – I wonder how many computers it will take to decipher my request?

The other day the hubs and I took a drive to meet up with family at a restaurant and we had a toll bridge to cross. We do have EZ-Pass so, really, no worries there. But as we are nearing the entrance to the bridge, where toll booths once sat, was a big sign reassuring motorists that “If you don’t have EZ-Pass we will just bill you”. NO PEOPLE, just scanners (for the EZ-Pass) and overhead cameras to read your license plates! Aside from the fact that this system has effectively done away with jobs that some once depended on, the thought that your movements are being tracked is a bit upsetting.

Yes, I do have an ALEXA on my desk, which I use to set reminders… and it is very convenient when those reminders pop up on my cell phone or ALEXA’s voice tells me “In person” when I am sitting here. But I will NEVER, EVER put her in my bedroom because SHE LISTENS! And I have found out that she actually “cooperates” with other AI systems. And in ALEXA’s own words, she “is rather partial to all AI systems”. By the way, I also write the reminders on my paper desk calendar!

What a world we are living in where robotic devices are controlling our moves, recording our lives, and replacing human beings who not only did their jobs and got paid for it, but also found time to say a kind word here and there! Just watch any Sci-Fi movie with a plot where there is no more power, or where robots have taken over and it is scary to realize JUST HOW SCREWED WE ALL WOULD BE!

Okay, I have to go now… ALEXA just told me it was time to go fix dinner.


Saturday, April 30, 2022


Hi Everyone!


I just wanted to apologize for my recent absence from my blogs this past month. I've been dealing with an unexpected family medical emergency… things will be okay, but caregiving does require my time.


Please be patient… I will return as soon as I am able.


Many hugs. Wishing all of you happy times, good health, and sunny days. See you SOON!


~ Chelle


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