Yeah, yeah…I know everyday is a gift, but some days are giftier than others.

65*F and sunny on Jan. 31 is a gift the dog and I accepted wholeheartedly, and out the door we went.

Shasta and I went for a walk at Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park.

While walking the nature trail, I was trying to smell something.

I crumpled a handful of leaves.

Then it dawned on me that I had a better smeller than me along.


I got down on my hands and knees.
“What is this trail like for Shasta,” I wondered.



If snorting, slobbering and panting have any bearing on the degree of olfactory sensitivity, well, then, Shasta has it going on.

I sniffed.
I tried not to snort or slobber.
I still do not know what sort of scents she may have encountered on the trail.

Yet I do know what she smells right now…home.


You Know What I Found?

There is no replacement for hard work. dedication, commitment and determination.

Last night I googled “motivational quotes.”  I am training for a half marathon and a long run was scheduled for the morning.  What I really wanted from those quotes was not motivation, but an excuse to not run.

You know what I found?

There is no replacement for hard work, dedication, commitment and determination.


At 5:45 I ran.
It was dark.

At 6:55 the sun came up.
I was still running.

Honestly, I was not feeling hard, dedicated, committed or determined, but I finished my run.

Some days are just like that.
There is no replacement.




We filter water

To be cleaner

Homogenized mass


What if I want some
Where do I go then?


10 across/10 down

NY Times 12/18/16

reliable profit source

after 28 years
pencil him in

not right
does not fit
erase him away

10 d
king of pop

got this
the earth moves under her feet

cash cow
my husband replaced by
a bovine


Oversee Joy


Women’s March Memphis, TN

There was a sign on Saturday that read “Our Daughters are Watching.”

My daughter is an adult now, 21 yrs. old, but what do I want her to see?

That equality, no matter your race, gender or religion is a fundamental human right that should be tended and cared for.

That kindness and patience can be cultivated not only by setting an example with your own actions, but anticipating respect in return.

That peace is overseen by all of us as we take on the responsibility of tolerance for our neighbors and forgiveness for those that may trouble us.

And that there can be joy and optimism in unity,  resolve and with the start of each new day.

What do you want to see?

Camelot at 3 am

I woke up at 3 am and this is what came out:

Success is not a Camelot
Dreams can’t make it so
Failure is not some great big blot
Don’t treat it like a blow

I typed it into Notes on my phone, because I didn’t want to fumble around in the dark for a pen.

Huh.  Hmmm.  Honestly.

I generally do not rhyme…
at anything.

Distilled Marathon


Saturday morning was spent in my pajamas drinking coffee and eating a pecan praline cupcake given to me by my daughter’s best friend as a thank you for doing alterations on 4 pairs of jeans given to her by her grandma as a Christmas gift.

I embarked on a marathon session of reading many weeks of the New York Times magazines and Book Reviews.  Since Sept. 25 I had neatly and chronologically stacked the inserts, promising myself I would thoroughly and methodically (is there any other way for me?) peruse through them.

I can not just glance through the book reviews.  I can not “glance” through these reviews any more than the tide can cease from rolling in, Trump can stop tweeting or my dog can stop herself from chasing a tennis ball.  I read every word, even the ads, and I cut out the reviews of books I would like to read.  I have started to limit myself to 3 cut outs per week, as like my mother longingly said at the Elmira (NY) Public Library when I was a girl, “It makes me sad to realize I can not possibly read every book here.”

On Jan. 1, I had a car accident (that day was a marathon!).  “The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis was tucked under the passenger seat along with an umbrella and first aid kit.  My Nissan Murano was deemed “an obvious total loss,” yet I am mourning the loss of the book.  The book was left with my umbrella and the first aid kit, which somehow seems symbolic, as books can do both, shelter and heal.

Here are the distilled book reviews.  4 hours and 10 minutes later, and there is a baked pear recipe in there, too.  I had to stop at the Nov. 6 editions as the morning had passed.  Another Saturday, perhaps…

“Oh, hmm, tomorrow is Sunday,” I say to the dog.  The marathon will continue…

Not Someday…Everyday




I imagine that everyday, pretty much everywhere, there are parents helping children get ready for school.
There is breakfast to make,
Coats to zip up
And hugs filled with optimism to push us out the door.

I imagine that everyday, pretty much everywhere, we are all the same, really.  We long for:
Safe shelter,
Wholehearted love
And enduring security to push us out the door.

I imagine that everyday, pretty much everywhere, there are bankers, brokers, analysts, teachers, nurses and assistants riding a train, a cab or a bus,
Trying to make a difference
Or a contribution to push us out the door.

Push us out the door
To each other
To peace
To grace
To understanding,
Because everyday there is hope, not just someday.


Reindeer Are Evil

Not Santa’s reindeer, silly!

I am referring to those white, wired sculptures with lights and small motors attached.

Some of the reindeer do not have motors, but the ones that do are called “animated”.  Well, yes, they certainly make me animated.  Have you ever tried to put these abominations of holiday cheer back in the box?  Holy son of Rudolph…

On Thursday, Jan. 5, being the well-intentioned suburbanite that I am, I decided it was time to pack up our reindeer back into their cardboard stalls to wait until late November 2017 when they will once again be set free to roam our front yard as purveyors of Christmas-time peace on Earth and goodwill toward men.  Well, they are not exactly “set free”.  They are actually staked in the ground, which if they were real reindeer, would constitute animal cruelty.

Now, let me make one thing very clear, after a morning spent corralling these demons, I assure you, understanding reader, they are not purveyors of any kind of goodwill and they deserved all the cruelty I put them through.

The carnage began at 8:45 am.  11:55 am was my finish time.

3 hours and 10 minutes it took me to lasso these 7 (SEVEN) rangifer tarandus into their boxes and back to the attic.  Our 7 sculptures of frustration will hang out with wreaths, lighted spiral trees and a 10 foot tall blow up polar bear, who, by the way, gave me no trouble at all about going back into his box.

So, here’s to a happy New Year.  Here’s hoping for good health, happy families and a world where peace and grace can expand to reach everyone.  And you know what?  Come Jan. 5, 2018, I hope to do every last bit of wrangling, lassoing and texting all over again.







Little Answers

I am ashamed.  I feel lame and weak.  I am inadequate.  I feel I am not quite a good enough human being.

In June, just after 8 pm, while walking at Liberty Park, I noticed a man with 3 suitcases walking through the park toward a bench.  The man appeared clean, shaven, wore khakis and a clean, pressed blue dress shirt.  The man did not look homeless, yet it was obvious he was going to spend the night on the bench.  He was a black man who seemed to be between 25-35 yrs. old.

Just after 8 am the next morning, the man was at the bench changing his shirt and packing his suitcases.  There was a young woman walking ahead of me.  As we passed by, the man, as he was buttoning up his shirt, said something to her.  I did not hear his words, but I got the impression it was rude or inappropriate by the way the young woman tried to ignore him and steel herself by fixing her gaze straight ahead and tightening her shoulders.

When he was finished packing his items, he slowly walked through the park and lingered in the parking lot.  His lingering apparently made another woman uncomfortable, because she called the police.  By the time the police arrived, of course, the man was gone.

The 2 policeman came near the walking path and told me the woman said the man “wrote down her tag number and was rude to her.”  Maybe so.  I did not see any of that as I was walking the half-mile loop around the park.  “He is not homeless,” one of the policeman told me. “He has a home.  We have had problems with him before.”

The woman who called the police appeared to be a middle-aged lady.  Her car was a white, newer Mercedes SUV.  After a short consultation with the police, she got in her car and drove away.

I have been back to Liberty Park to walk in the evenings many times since this “incident”.  I have not seen the man again.  I have seen many people playing Pokemon Go, though!  Even though I have not seen the man again, I have thought about that evening/morning often.

I suppose I have been trying to reconcile, in my own middle class and middle-aged way, homelessness, mental illness, class, race and equality.  That is a whole lotta issues for one walk in the park!

I do not believe there is one big answer to stopping homelessness, aiding the mentally ill, closing the divide between class or race or promoting gender equality.  I do believe there are many little answers.

When my daughter was in middle school, she participated in Upward basketball.  During the season, the teams would have a food drive for the local food bank.  One year it was macaroni.  Another year it was ramen noodles.  When Anne Marie and I drove the donations to the dock of the food bank building, 2 men quickly unloaded the back of my car.  “That’s it?” she said.  “That’s how easy it is?  No one should be hungry if that’s all you have to do.”

Our drive home was spent discussing how if every household would contribute just a few cans of food, the food bank would always be full and there would be no hunger.  Out of the mouths of babes…  Yet how gratifying would it be if the simplicity of Anne Marie’s idea was all it would take.

Kohl’s Dept. Stores has what I consider a unique and engaging corporate donation program.  The Associates In Action program works like this:  If 5 Kohl’s associates give 3 hours of their time to a non-profit in their community, Kohl’s will donate $500 to the non-profit.

The AIA concept is a win-win for all concerned.  First, Kohl’s associates are engaged in a community event.  Not only will they feel a connection to their own town, they will feel the satisfaction that can come from giving back.  Second, with every Kohl’s store participating in local non-profits, the company is able to touch nearly every area of the U.S. as Kohl’s has over 1100 stores nationwide.  Third, the non-profit gets $500 and Kohl’s gets goodwill and probably some tax write-off, but I do not know a thing about corporate tax code.

Just days after my encounter with feeling lame, weak and inadequate, I called the Salvation Army to see if they needed any volunteers.  I began helping with the weekly food box program.  Each Wednesday, for just a couple of hours, I help fill between 40-70 boxes with non-perishable food that is distributed on Thursday morning.

I believe in the power of the individual.

I believe in volunteerism.

I believe I am still inadequate and not quite good enough.

But I also believe that all the many little answers to all the many big problems of homelessness, hunger or race relations lies in each of us.

We are often insufficient, feeble and failing human beings, but we still wake up to a new day, and we need to ask:  How can I help?