Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Skeletons in the Closet

Since it’s the day before Halloween, I felt inspired to tell you two TRUE humorous stories about skeletons Hope these bring a smile to your lips

I always loved Halloween, I loved the dressing up, the laughter, and of course, the bounty. (My dad always had to inspect the candy and then took his “fair” cut of the profits, LOL).
By the time I reached my teens many of my friends and I thought we were too old for such shenanigans, but I didn’t quite want to give it up. Each year my parents allowed me to decorate the apartment hallway so that when I opened the door to the kids, I was also in costume, they would get a thrill as well as a stuffed Trick-or-Treat bag. My prize decoration was when I hooked up a pulley so that as I opened the door a (paper) skeleton came flying down the hallway towards them. Their screams and laughter were so rewarding!
Each year I saved as many of the decorations as I could so that I didn’t have to spend too much each Halloween. When I met my husband-to-be (Mark) it was a whirlwind courtship and since I was always busy with my own brand of haunting, he never saw my creativeness on Halloween.
Early December, the year we got married, he was sitting in my bedroom while I packed my belongings to move into the apartment we rented to start our marriage in. Mark decided to joke around, we were still learning about each other.
He asked me, with a smirk on his face, “So, do you have any skeletons in the closet you should tell me about?”
I looked at him puzzled, I really didn’t think he was joking. Then I looked at my closed closet door and without a word I went over and opened it. He literally fell off of the bed laughing when the paper skeleton I had hung in there for safekeeping presented itself to him!
He married me anyway.

I recently posted this story (again, TRUE) on my Facebook page
Mark and I were out today getting some errands done, on the way home I stopped and bought a cute little skeleton to use for a decoration on Halloween night.
I was in a goofy mood and sat the thing in the backseat with the seat-belt on. When we got home we drove up our very long driveway and pulled the car into the garage.
Still giddy I said "Ok kiddo, we're home!"
Mark says, "Who are you speaking to?"
I explained, "The skeleton I buckled in the backseat."
Mark starts shaking his head... just then we hear a voice behind us, "How ya' doing folks?"
Startled the #### out of Mark.
I turned around and we quickly realized that neither of us had heard the FedEx truck come up the driveway behind us!
The poor guy couldn't understand why we couldn't stop laughing.

Have a Happy and Fun Halloween!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Oh my, that word sounds so ominous! Dead… line, it almost sounds like “you will hang at dawn”. It is so final, just like there is nothing beyond. A deadline is a noun and according to, there are three meanings to this formidable noun: “(1) the time by which something must be finished or submitted; the latest time for finishing something: a five o'clock deadline; (2) a line or limit that must not be passed; (3) (formerly) a boundary around a military prison beyond which a prisoner could not venture without risk of being shot by the guards.”

No wonder the term strikes fear in students, masses of office workers watching the clock, and writers. Missing that deadline could mean a failing grade, an angry boss, or a lost contract. Sometimes life interferes with the assigned deadlines, (a party, an emergency, an illness) but most times that won’t make a lick of difference to the person waiting for that finished product. “The dog ate my homework” just won’t work anymore. It’s truly anxiety producing.

As a creative sort, otherwise known as a freelance writer, I’ve learned the importance of deadlines. In all my years of professional writing I have truly only missed one deadline, I honestly can’t remember the reason why, but it certainly didn’t go well. Now creative people are not usually known for routine or well-controlled organization, but when it comes to a deadline, oh boy! In addition to my paid writing gigs I sometimes offer my services in a volunteer situation, and I treat these voluntary pacts the same way I do my business dealings, as professionally as I can muster.

This past week was a challenge on a voluntary gig. I had to wait for input from another individual who does not live by the golden rule of YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE DEADLINE. I am not sure what her business is but I do know that she controls her hours and her work output. So I finally got her input and set about to editing it and then placing it in the item that was due for publication just four days later. And I sent it (via email) to the next step, the person in charge of distribution — only that person, unbeknown to me, had a family event and was away for the weekend and so my finished work sat unattended. As the date of distribution came without any progress I do admit feeling some (minor) palpitations.

Now this was a challenge. I had no way of getting this item out to the people who were promised its receipt. What to do???? Well to make a probably boring long story short, I did manage to get the item posted on a substitute site and the item was emailed from another source a day late. I had posted an apology to those waiting for it and promised delivery as soon as possible. In the end it was no harm no foul, folks appreciated being kept in the loop as such. Within three days of the original deadline everything was back to normal and I got to breathe a sigh of relief.

Of course now I am sitting here wondering, just where did my once fun-loving, free-wheeling self go? And when did I become so rigid? I don’t want to have an anal personality! I am NOT reserved and meticulously neat. A long, long time ago a teenage boyfriend once dedicated the song Wild Thing to me and everyone agreed it fit. I’m fun-loving and wild and unpredictable… or so I thought.

Sigh, is this what it means to be a grownup?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


Seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person, to engage in a relationship, to lead astray,
as from duty, rectitude, or the like
;” (Wikipedia)

Although it’s often been used as a sexual-conquest tool seduction can also apply to so many aspects of our lives. Marketing gimmicks attempt to seduce the consumer, politicians seduce their followers into voting for them, realtors seduce their clients into homes beyond their budgets, and even some job hunters are seduced into taking relocating for jobs that sound a whole lot better on paper than reality. Seduction is a tease, a front of only selected facts which may be far from the whole truth. Seduction is a way to entice someone to do something they might not have if they had the full story in front of them.  

Most sexual seduction is NOT sexy — it’s one partner tempting the other to engage in sex based on promises and conditions that (intentionally) might not be accurate. Seduction is trickery. Please excuse the metaphor, but seduction is something a “snake-oil-salesman” would do. In the instances where seduction is used in a true romantic setting, it is a way of using sensuality to tempt, not lies and half-filled truths. The seduced comes out of the encounter feeling cheated. Sexual seduction has frequently been used in romance novels in very “hot” scenes in order to grab a reader’s imagination and interest. Seduction has also been used in instructional guides telling men AND women the various techniques they could use to “win” their way into bed with a partner. Face it, alluring is sexy, trickery is just a lie.

Television commercials try to seduce the viewer every 8-to-10 minutes: “Come buy this product”; your clothes will be so clean it’s almost as if you didn’t even have to wash them; how about the more blatant sexy female model who shows up to help you decide which soda machine to choose for your cola or the housewife who is bored by her husband’s sloppy loungewear while she eats yogurt and suddenly she is facing a very attractive male actor. The possibilities seem like dream come true, but they really aren’t.

Cynical or not, most politicians will tell their would-be constituents what they want to hear and not necessarily the truth (even if it is just a few unmentioned facts). Folks go off to the polls believing in what they heard only to find in later years exactly how much they were never told and may even regret being led astray from the “other guy” they had planned to vote for. And even that job offer you received that came with a salary at least 25-percent higher than what you earn now is certainly enticing, but what the offer fails to tell you is that the cost of living where you would have to relocate to is a minimum of 38-percent higher than where you are living now.

Be wary of being seduced. Don’t be coerced or shamed into doing anything you might not have considered. Truth is a heck of a lot sexier and certainly more rewarding than deception.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019


We are on this planet but once, and to spend it holding back our gushing appreciation of the things that light us up is a shameful waste.” ~ Jen Sincero

          Some people find it very easy to say the word “Thanks” whether they truly mean it or not. For many it still is a welcomed word to hear, others may hear a “Thanks, but…” when it isn’t sincere. Perhaps we should be grateful for the speaker’s civility and the attempt to acknowledge our efforts, after all there are far too many times when our extra efforts are just, expected.

Although most people do a job well out of self-pride, or hold a door because that is how we were taught to do, or give a thoughtful gift just because we want to bring a smile to someone’s face, it still is wonderful to know that our actions are appreciated. I recently read an acknowledgment page in a fellow author’s book (Brenda Hill, With Full Malice) and upon seeing my name listed it filled me with a nice feeling that I was thought of and remembered for simply answering a (medical) question.

It doesn’t take a huge life changing action to do something to help another person, and it shouldn’t take that huge life changing action to be appreciated. We remember our school teachers that always seemed to fill our learning with excitement. We remember our parents for feeding and clothing us. We might even remember a doctor who helped us through some physical pain. But how often have we really taken the time to say “Thank you” and really mean it? How often have we shared our appreciation with remembrance and even passing along a kindness?

Don’t take advantage of the folks who have made your life better, no matter how minor or major their actions might have been. Get into the habit of letting someone know that they have made even a part of your day a little more pleasant, or your life a whole lot easier. Let your children know the joy they bring to you daily, and let your parents know how much you appreciate every time that they put you first. If you are a boss your employee’s paycheck may be very welcomed, but also letting him/her know that you appreciate the good job she is doing will make her day that much more pleasant.

Showing your sincere gratitude has benefits not only for the recipient but also for you: “Tossing off the half-hearted "thanks" won't cut it; deep gratitude has to come from within and in a meaningful way. This spotlights the highly social aspect of feeling grateful. Gratitude is also getting a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology: Practicing gratitude means paying attention to what we are thankful for to the degree of feeling more kind and compassionate toward the world at large.” (Psychology Today)

And in that vein of practicing sincere gratitude, I am thankful for each and every one of my blog readers and those that follow me on social media. Your support is a great part of why I love what I do.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Happy New Year!

Many of us are not used to hearing those words except at the beginning of January, but there are some cultures who celebrate the changing of our calendar years at different times. Some of these are the Chinese New Year which corresponds to the Lunar months; the Islamic New Year beginning on the first day of the first month in the Islamic calendar beginning in late Autumn; the Thai New Year is a springtime celebration; the Ethiopian New Year is a spring celebration which comes after the “big Rains”; and the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur in the fall. The December 31st and January 1 New Year’s celebration is based on the Gregorian 12-month calendar.

Although each of these merriments may be celebrated in unique ways, they all represent a new beginning. Before January 1st in America many of us make a list of resolutions, things we want to do in the coming year to improve ourselves. Those of us who celebrate Rosh Hashanah ask for forgiveness from those we may have unintentionally hurt, forgive those who hurt us, and we promise to do better in the future; the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the ten days of repentance or the ten days of return. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to celebrate more than one new beginning every “year”, but how many of us truly realize how special an opportunity we are given.

There are several greetings we use for Rosh Hashana, my favorite two are Shanah Tovah Umetukah (wishing you a good and sweet new year) and L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu (may you be inscribed in the book of life). Those who are lucky enough to be surrounded by family and friends often share feasts of good food and sweet delicacies to hopefully signify a good and sweet year. We say blessings over wine or grape juice thanking G-d for giving us the fruit of the vine, and we dip pieces of round challah (bread) and apples in honey thanking HIM for the fruit of the earth and sweetness. We use round uncut challahs instead of the usual twisted versions to symbolize the cycle of life. We listen to the sound of the Ram’s Horn (the Shofar), light candles and read from parts of the Torah as we are commanded to do by G-d. It is often believed that the Shofar arouses us to examine our deeds and renew our relationship with G-d.

 The time between the eve of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish holidays always begin the evening before at sunset) and the end of Yom Kippur allows us time to reflect on our deeds. No one, not even G-d, expects us to be perfect, but we are always expected to strive to do better. These ten days allows us the time to examine our deeds, to be repentant for our misdeeds, intended or not, and allows us to find the peace within us to forgive those who have dealt unfair blows in our lives. The “Book of Life” opens on Rosh Hashanah, this “book” contains pages for each of us and G-d examines what has been written by our “own hands” (our own deeds). G-d judges and decides, by the time the book is closed on Yom Kippur, “who will live and who will die”. Despite the gravity of the words in our prayers, this is really not a frightening time, rather it is a time in which we find peace and self-awareness. We promise to do better, it is not the promise that is weighed by G-d but the sincerity in which we mean it.

Whatever time you may use for self-reflection and whatever belief system you subscribe to, the time you have to truly look inside yourself, to make peace with others and to plan how you can live a happier and better life is a precious thing indeed.

May your new year be sweet with hope
and new possibilities.
Wherever you go...blessings. Wherever you
Wherever you are...peace. L'Shanah Tovah