Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Stuff in my Car

Stuff just in the center armrest compartment! 

I have had a bad habit in the past of leaving my spare cell phone charger in my car. After I get home from work I usually try to grab it and put it in my messenger bag to be used later in the evening either in the family room or kitchen. I usually try to do this but this didn't happen the other day.

John had asked to borrow the spare charger as he misplaced his two chargers. I was amiss as to where it was. It wasn't in the house so I figured I must've left it in the car on the front seat. Or perhaps it fell between them. I did remember grabbing it on the way out of office.

Now my main turbo charger is plugged in behind my nightstand by the bed. It's just annoyingly difficult to reach if I need it so I usually keep it plugged in and use it at night. And there was no way I was giving up my turbo charger for him.

I did offer to go out to the car and look for the spare charger. I guess John could've plugged in his phone on my nightstand for a bit. My brain didn't get that far. LOL 😊

My best gal, my Camry
The charger was not in the car! UGH. I checked between the seats, under the seats, in the back seat, in the center armrest, in the glove compartment and even in the trunk. NOTHING. I was getting annoyed. But then I realized something, I had a lot of random crap, useless crap, and car-related crap in my car. So I forgot about the charger and began just looking and cataloging everything in my car. The list below is the result of that search. And like my usual frazzled life, it is in no particular order.

Now I insist that my car is not dirty, except for the chicken nugget, pretzels and carrot found below the seat. I just have a lot of stuff in it!


Sunglasses which I fit over my regular glasses while driving towards the morning sun and then I look like a complete dork
Wrap around sunglasses which I forget I have but when I wear them, I look like I'm 70.
Hand grip exerciser in the driver's side door pocket
A ball of tin foil
$1.17 in loose change found in both door pockets, in the glove compartment, in the seats and under the drivers seat.
An expired AAA card
A lotto ticket for a free ticket
Several non-winning lotto tickets
Several pens and one disassembled pen. Two of the five pens do not write.
2006 Toyota Camry guide
Extra car bulbs and an expired drivers license
A half dozen store extra value cards
An LA baseball cap in the trunk. I was mocked by my family members because they said no one buys an LA baseball cap when in LA. LOL Probably right.
An old stained and bleached Yuengling Lager beer baseball cap
An Elmer Fudd orange fur hunting cap (in case the case breaks down in the winter)
2 sets gloves
1 set light gloves black
1 set light gloves red
4 sets of emergency reflectors
First aid kit
Cough drops
Reusable grocery bags to save the Earth
3 oil funnels
One moustache-patterned cloth trash bag
1 Gautelmalan worry doll named Consuela
Portable tire inflater
Tire repair goo in a can (which I don't think works)
Various cds: Madonna, 70s disco, 70s rock, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Sinatra
Snow tracks if I get stuck in the snow
Snow shovel if I have to dig my way out
2 windshield covers
Windshield cleaner (as seen on TV)
A can of windshield ice defroster, 2 cans
Keyhole defroster (does a lot of good for me keeping it INSIDE the car)
Tissues, 2 boxes
Chinese-made buck knife
A cross for protection
A Mezzuzah for protection
A car Buddha for protection
Chewing gum, Orbitz
Fresh naps
Old maps
Food menus and a couple aren't even open anymore. For a while I was putting the menus on my friend Jack Ross's windshield to jokingly drive him crazy.
A seashell which was my Mom's
Old hotel lotion
A book of matches from the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood
A chicken nugget
Some pretzels
A baby carrot
2 pairs of scissors
20 ft of rope
Several bungee cords
Books and DVDs I have meant to donate 4 months ago
One dead flashlight
Windshield tool which will smash the windshield
1 burgundy umbrella
Old cell phone charges I won't use anymore because they don't even fit my new phone. I chucked 'em.
Blue shop towels
Regular paper towels
Emergency blanket (the spacey looking one, like you are covering yourself in a huge piece of tinfoil)
An electric portable tire inflator
A can of Fix-a-Flat Tire Inflator
Various Dunkin Donut, bank, and gas receipts
A hammer and a small screwdriver set
Two writing pads and more pens
USB adapters
One good Jabra hands free device
2 old Jabra hands free devices. I chucked 'em too.
car mats

Oh and by the way, after ALL OF THAT, my spare cell phone charger was NOT in my car. It was in the side pocket of my messenger bag the entire time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Different Clothes, Different Times

90s Marc in my favorite club shirt (With Ritz-Carlton besties Grant and Serena)

Do others mourn the loss of a favorite piece of clothing? That favorite shirt gets bleached and we have to toss it. A favorite sweater gets an unmanageable pull and it can't be salvaged. That pair of sneaks which are so old and worn, they may walk away themselves. Or sometimes it's as simple as a favorite shirt getting washed so many times it has shrunk down to where it no longer fits. (Um meee and ma belly! LOL)

I had to "retire" a favorite shirt a couple weeks back. I did so with a bit of sadness as I have enjoyed wearing it these last couple years at work. I tend to favor blues in some form or another. It has sort of become a signature color for me. This one lasted way longer than it should have. It "served me well" you could say. The picture to the below right is it's replacement "blue shirt."

I still have a another fav blue shirt from way back in my Philly days. It's a dark blue button down from H&M clothing store and let's say it's ... WOW almost 20 years old! It is actually in pretty good shape. Some clothing designers are such classic looks that you can getaway with mixing older pieces into your current wardrobe.

The late 70s Glassboro State windbreaker!

In my Favorite Color! (9/2018)
I have a large yellow windbreaker from Glassboro State College which was my Mom's from the late 70s. It's that nylon material which is pretty indestructible, perfect for the Fall or Spring. I also have a t-shirt from my Phi Kappa Psi fraternity college days harkening back to the late 80s. Great stuff. I wore the t-shirt to a fraternity reunion this past May. Still fits, although the Dad-bod beer belly is starting to show prominently. 😊 

From my clubbing days in the 90s I have this polyester skin tight grey shirt as well as a retro flashy bright blue one. They barely fit me these days but still bring me back to great memories ... those that I actually remember from my Roaring 20s! Fun times. I laugh thinking that I actually fit into and wore that stuff out and about.

I have an authentic vintage 60s dark blue Navy pea-coat which I wore for years. I still say it's the warmest winter coast I've ever worn which doesn't make me feel like a bloated snowman! The pockets do need to be sewn. I've been meaning to sew them for a good year now. Whelp, LOL, since last season! I think I'll finally do that before it gets too cold. I love that coat.

I used to have these baggy JNCO brand skateboard jeans I used to wear circa '96 or '97. I don't know what I was thinking. I imagine I looked quite ridiculous but they were in style for the clubs for a bit.

With my great Fraternity bros in my vintage '88 Phi Psi t-shirt! (5/2018)
Then again, I rocked the Z. Cavaricci's in the late 80s too! I had 6 pairs in different olors. Now those jeans were quite the investment. I spent all my hard earned cash on them at the local men's stores Oaktree and Chess King at the Deptford Mall. I remember spending $75/pair back then which comes to $160/pair in today's money! ( WOW. No wonder my Mom would freak out when I came home with a pair. I even had a Z. Cavaricci suit I wore to a fraternity formal. Hey baby, I was in style! My sister and I also always shopped at the trendy Canadian store Le Chateau. I was obsessed over their ties. Places like that were good for trendy items but not to much for the classics. I then moved onto Banana Republic and Kenneth Cole  (when I could afford them). H&M also became the clothing store of choice for me later in my Philly days.

I will say though that some clothes are worth keeping and get better the longer you wear them. Think about that comfortable holy sweatshirt or that frayed bathrobe. Some people hold onto pairs of Chuck Taylors until the end of the earth! I like a great pair of jeans which has been worn so long the cotton gets softer and just hugs your body. Talk about comfortable.  I wish I still had a pair of those Z. Cavaricci's though just to see if I could fit in 'em.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Building Water DROPPED Into My Eye

I was walking into work one recent Monday and decided to cut across the smoking area of our government parking deck. It's a small triangular shaped overhang area, no bigger than a 10x10 kitchen. No one was smoking at the time, it was just me trying to save a step or two. I wasn't running late, just moving into work at a pretty decent clip.

I diagonally crossed through the area when at that very instant a large drop of water fell from the concrete parking deck and landed exactly between my glasses and into my right eyeball! I screamed to no one, "WHAT THE HELL?"

I quickly took off my glasses and wiped the bong water from my right eyeball as its remainder was dripping down my face. I am sure I caused a corneal abrasion from wiping my eye with my shirt sleeve.

It had rained the evening prior. This large drop had perfectly navigated air currents to drop at the exact space between my eyeglass lens and my eyeball! I was freaking out. I rushed into work blindly scrambling to turn my computer with the use of my one good eye.

I needed WebMD IMMEDIATELY. If only I could've called "Dr. Bombay, Dr. Bombay, Come in please!?" and have him pop in from having tea while on some safari like  he would do for Samantha in that 60's show Bewitched.

But no.... I had to rely on sketchy modern medical science! I was sure at this point that my eye was beginning to burn from some horrible amoebic and bacterial infection which had previously been lurking in one of the crevasses of that 50s concrete behemoth of a parking garage and NOW had taken hold of my eyeball in it's quest to leave me blind!!

I was on my way to becoming blind in one eye and would be forced to wear a patch. They'd call me Officer Patchy from now on. No more Officer Haynes! Coworkers would try and convince me it was OK with the patch. I would wear a themed patch for each holiday. I'd have a patch for Halloween, one for Christmas, and one for Easter. My life would now have me known for wearing the patch.

It seemed like an eternity for my computer to come up. I sat there for ages with my eye now burning and I think I felt a fever coming on. Once the computer was up, I immediately  began searching the web for similar stories and thankfully, I was not the only one this happened too.

There were many, many people that this happened to in other circumstances. Some people were like me, had water drip from a dirty building into their eye. Others, while playing sports usually, got splashed in the eyes with dirty puddle water. And still others had gross eye-encounters with toilet water, dirty sink water, and pond water. I was NOT ALONE!

I always feel better when I can commiserate with other people, even it means with strange internet people with user-names like Reddit user "Nacho-bizniz" or Yahoo users "Die Brucke" or "Justlikesgravy". They recommended flushing the eye with water, washing my hands, and taking eye drops. I did all of those but still was skeptical. I needed statistics!

A user on Yahoo (the aforementioned "Justlikesgravy") stated that if I were not a contact lens wearer, there was a 1 in 10 million chance of contracting an eye infection. I felt a little better with this knowledge from SUCH a trustworthy not to mention noteworthy source.

I did some further research and the consensus did seem to be that I would be OK. Just flush out the eye. The body is pretty well able to handle splashes of questionable water in one's eye without issue.

Well the infection never came and quite honestly, by lunch time, I had pretty much forgotten about it all. The drama was over until I left that day and walked towards that same parking garage overhang.

I cautiously stared up at the overhang 10 feet away. I was going to say Eff-it and charge through, walking underneath with the confidence of someone walking under a ladder. Yeah the drop won that day. I walked around the overhang to my car.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Episode #4 of Podcast Quotes

Here are the quotes associate with my 4th podcast "A Great Friend, Mom, and Career Woman", my interview with good friend Becky Kitchmire. I also included a direct link to the podcast episode.

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.  - Katharine Hepburn (actress)

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to said my ship. - Louisa May Alcott (author, Little Woman)

I have learned over the years, that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. Rosa Parks (civil rights activist)

Favorite quotes from my friend and guest Becky:

Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker. - Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka (actor)

Time is a precious thing. Never waste it. - Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka (actor)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


(Photo by Simon Robben from Pexels)

This is a topic I know many of you can relate to. I know you are out there with me, in the deep dark night. We wonder together who among us, who is awake? I see you online late at night. We commiserate together, sleepless in that silent house on that dark street in that quiet town or city. We send sad and frustrated messages back and forth, "ME TOO!" 😡

I can usually figure out why I can't sleep. Last night, I worked out late but I'm usually OK with that. I can still fall asleep at a decent hour after exhausting myself at the gym. Some people recommend that you shouldn't work out so late, gives you too much energy. I've never had a problem. I sleep like a baby.

Last night was different. I stared at the ceiling for an hour. Closed my eyes for an hour. Opened them and then BAM! It was already 2:30 AM. I got up, hit the head, checked the house, petted the cats for a bit, then got back into bed to try again. I know I dozed off at some point but it was a restless sleep.

My alarm went off at 6:30 AM. Sure... I was in a deep slumber at that point! It always works out that way. You finally fall asleep and the damn alarm goes off. If I had the sick time I would've called off for the morning. Instead, I dragged myself outta bed and hit the coffee hard. And the day drags on...

So why the insomnia last night? I looked at what I drank and there was nothing out of the ordinary. I don't drink caffeine after 5 PM for this reason. I know it keeps me up. Even a soft drink has the tendency to keep me awake. If I am out having a drink at a bar, I won't mix it with a soda other than tonic or club soda due to the effects of the caffeine.

I couldn't figure it out and then it hit me, I took my new gym supplement too late! It was just after 7 pm but was enough to keep me full of energy until late in the evening. I didn't even realize it until I thought back. I hadn't taken it that late before. Again, usually I won't take it after 5, 5:30 at the latest! Chalk one up for the lesson books.

I also get insomnia due to an over active mind or bouts of anxiety. My mind races on things I have to do the next morning, the next week, the next month! I have learned to calm myself down for the most part but sometimes it just doesn't help.

I go through the motions of relaxing my body, regulating my breathing, and meditating. I learned this waaay back in school from my teacher and mentor, Elaine Arbo. I still use it this technique today. I start at the tips of my toes and tense then up as much as I can for a good 5-10 seconds. I usually can't get past 5. I then release the toe muscles. I move on to my feet, then my ankles, then my calves.

I keep going up throughout my body, tensing up each muscle and then relaxing. All the while, I breath deeply in and out. I focus my breathing, regulate it. I mentally focus on a small pinpoint of light inside my mind. All the while, tensing up and relaxing, moving up my body. Whatever is weighing heavily on my mind eventually subsides. It definitely helps me. Hopefully it can help you if your try it..

Last month I was up at 3:30 AM and just couldn't fall asleep. So what did I do? I got up. I figured as I had off the next day (weekend) I might as well be productive. I folded two baskets of laundry. I swept the hallway floor. I wrote for awhile. I washed the dishes. Got the coffee ready for the next morning. I basically tried to wear myself down. My cats Max and Moxie followed me from room to room wondering "What the Hell is going on?" I got more done in that hour and half and by 5 AM was ready for bed.

I slept until 11 AM that Saturday and that was the best morning sleep I ever had! The cats slept the entire day away. Lucky pains in the butt!

*** I did not even realize this but this is my 400th PUBLISHED BLOG POST! THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for reading my blog! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Driver Criticism vs Concern

(Pic courtesy of

I want to comment on something that I see happen fairly often. I was riding as a passenger in my buddy's car this past weekend when he was inching out to zoom across a busy intersection where there is no stop light. Friends from Schuylkill County will know this intersection. It's the one with Ken's Tires and Hoss's Restaurant on the corners at the Cressona Mall. You have to pretend you are in the 80s video game "Frogger" and zoom across the busy road to the mall area. I HATE this intersection.

It's rather nerve-racking on an average day. You look right and left and repeat several times to avoid traffic driving through as well as traffic from ALL directions turning in and out of the shopping complexes on both sides of the roadway! If you get a time where there is no traffic coming from anywhere, consider yourself lucky because that is a rarity.

He had inched out, looking to make his move. Someone was driving up to make a left hand turn into the Cressona Mall complex where we were trying to cross into. Suddenly, some dip-shit zoomed around the turning car and narrowly avoided T-boning my buddy's car.

I SCREAMED "LOOK OUT!!!!!" I slammed on my imaginary passenger brake and braced for impact. The young idiot zipped around amid cursing and horn honking from my buddy.

He barked at me, "I SAW HIM!!!!"

Now to be fair, yes ... yes ... I did freak out in the manner that a Frazzled at Forty guy would. And then I thought about it. I would've reacted the same way as he did to passengers in my car.

Whenever my sister Sheryl slams on her imaginary passenger brake and yells, "Watch out!!!" I bark back at her, "I SEE THEM! I DON'T NEED YOU TELLING ME HOW TO DRIVE!"

Why is it that we take such offense to someone who is just trying to help us avoid a potential accident? We all do it. The driver goes immediately on the defensive basically accusing the passenger of not trusting their driving ability. I've been on both sides and reacted the same way.

Why is it that it is so hard that we cannot accept someone's honest concern that we may get into an accident and instead interpret their observation as hostile criticism. And then, hostility meets hostility. Your thoughts?

What we SHOULD learn to do is to recognize that our passenger is acting as a second set of eyes in the happenchance that an oncoming accident may occur. And if you are the passenger, realize that if you alert the driver to avoid an accident, he or she may already be aware of the situation and may find it offensive that you are questioning their judgment driving. Either way, a little patience in understanding the differences and similarities of concern versus criticism could prevent the issue from evolving into a screaming match!

Food for thought.  ðŸ˜‰

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Winston Churchill Quote

If you are going through Hell, keep going.

Sir Winston Churchill

"Alice in Wonderland" Quote

Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "One can't believe impossible things."

"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Saturday, August 11, 2018

From Porsche to Toyota

1988 Porsche 911 
1988 Porsche 924 GT

1988 Mazda Miata 

When I was younger, I used to dream of driving a Porsche 911 or a Porsche 924 GT. I ended up with a Nissan Sentra and went happily on my way. In college, I loved and wanted a Mazda Miata. I test drove one in 1989 with my fraternity brother Steve. It was like driving a bucket of bolts, felt every bump! But it was really fun to ride. I went home from college and still drove that Nissa Sentra. BUT I had those posters of the Porsches on my walls throughout college!

1987 Nissan Sentra 

Mom always LOVED the Honda's. She had an Accord for years and then when that died, got herself a brand new Civic. When she passed, she left the Civic to my sister Sheryl. Love that. 💖

1987 Honda Accord 

I moved into Philly and didn't have a need for a car so I didn't get one until my late 20s. I've since owned mostly economical vehicles for work: a Ford Escort, a Saturn station wagon, a small Toyota Tacoma, and now a Toyota Camry.

My 2006 Camry, still going! :)
I've had the Camry for years. It's a 2006. I love her. She still has pep but is getting up there in years. I recognize how lucky I am to keep driving her. I am coming up on 300,000 miles. I just wanna keep her running. I don't push her so much any more. I am cognizant of taking her above 70 MPH. It's funny how you refer to cars as "her" or "she". For me, it was never anything other than admiration for my Camry. I don't consider it sexist, maybe just a fond tradition. PLEASE don't get all PC on me! :)

Now is the time I have to start saving that $100.00 a month towards a future vehicle. I need to be honest with myself. It's gonna happen one day. She's gonna run her last ride. Repairs are still few and far between but I just found out that she will need a new converter pipe. UGH. Luckily, it can be held off for a month or two.

2018 Toyota Camry
I just love the expenses that come with owning cars! So I am looking at a several hundred dollar repair on a vehicle with a trade in value of $1300-$1700. Weighing the options is tough. I have not had a car payment in YEARS. And no major car repairs in that time as well. I'll still keep and work with her.

When I look for a new vehicle, I really wanna look for something I want. I'm 48 and have never bought a vehicle on what I wanted in terms of style. I have picked ones which were economical. I mean, sure... I'm not gonna be dopey and still take gas mileage and commuting into account as factors. But honestly and truly, I want to buy one in which I say, I've ALWAYS wanted that car!

2018 Toyota Tacoma 
So who knows. I may surprise y'all and get that Porsche. LOL Um nope. I love the Camry and may upgrade to a 2018 in red. Or maybe even go back to the Tacoma. I loved that truck. It'll suck up the gas though! It's about a 10-15 MPH gas difference.

I also go back and forth about a 4WD or AWD vs 2WD. Living in Skook County, ya really need something for the winter snow to get around. I may settle on that Tacoma just yet!

Blogger's note: I claim no ownership of these pics! They are borrowed from online and are for representation purposes ONLY. Thank you, The Management...

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Blues vs Depression

Just this past week, a young friend on Facebook was contemplating taking his own life. I had seen the post 2 hours after all of it started to go down. He had posted a "good-bye" message which had understandably freaked out and scared many people. His close friends began immediately reaching out to him. Luckily, and happily, his friends got in touch with his family and talked him out of it.

It was shocking and saddening but became heartwarming to see all of these people (most that I don't know) come together and work together to try and save this man and get him some emotional help. It worked, they contacted his family, and he is here today. Hopefully he is getting the emotional support he needs and deserves. Today, he started his day off with a message on Facebook:  "Good Morning." I liked it and thought to myself, Yes it is, because you are still with us today my friend!

Most people have difficult weeks here and there but no where near what this guy has been going through. Blue periods stem from insecurity, inadequacy and the fear of failure. One gets withdrawn and pulls into themselves. Those weeks, you begin questioning what you are doing and can become rather reclusive.

One still gets up and goes to work. Gotta pay the bills. You avoid people at work though. You wait to walk in so as to avoid contact. Go to lunch 5 minutes later, again just to avoid contact. But you get through it. And soon enough one gets through it and you are back to having good days.

But those with clinical, or major depression don't have many good days if at all. They hurt emotionally. It just isn't a blue period. It affects their mood, their sleep, their appetite. One may have significant weight loss, lose  interest in activities which they once loved, and have feelings of hopelessness and feelings of suicide. Learn to recognize the symptoms and signs in yourself as well as others.

My young friend had so many people who reached out to him. He acknowledged appreciatively how many people cared. Sometimes you just need those affirmations to get through it to the next day. But he may need more help than what people realize. And there is nothing wrong with that. Now I don't know his exact situation except for his public hurt. I am generalizing as I feel we need to be aware that there are people around us who are in emotional pain and need help.

As states, "treatment with counseling, medication, or both is a key to recovery." Recovery and treatment from clinical depression does not happen overnight. It may become a life-long commitment to dealing with it.

When I have blue periods, I know I'll get out of them. Usually it just takes cuddling from one of the cats, a beautiful drive, or something which makes me laugh. It may just be a bad day and tomorrow will be better.

Others may be having more than just a bad day. If you see someone who is struggling, don't blow it off. Maybe they do need just a little pep talk to lift their spirits but maybe it is something more and they need a more professional type of help. But in the meantime, a hug or kind and reassuring words do wonders.

Other numbers which may be helpful:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:   800-273-8255
Depression Hotline:  866-236-5127
National Hopeline Network:   800-SUICIDE

***Blogger's note: Not my pic.

Monday, July 30, 2018

My Shortest Job: Part Two (the Stars Wars Trilogy)

(LINK Suncoast Pic)

My second shortest job lasted just shy of one week. It was at that extinct dinosaur of a video store, Suncoast Video at the old Echelon Mall in Voorhees, NJ.
The year was 1990, I was 20, and the Star Wars Trilogy 3 VHS tape collection was just released. I was and still AM a total Star Wars fan! I was in a word, ecstatic!

Being a poor college student, I could only wander between Sam Goody and Suncoast video and dream of what movies I wanted to buy! The Star Wars Trilogy was at the top of the list. But how to get it? I had finished my sophomore year at Rutgers with just barely enough gas money to get me from New Brunswick, NJ back to my hometown of Wenonah, NJ.

Back from college for the summer, I immediately plotted on how I would be able to purchase the Trilogy. Dad asked me if I was going to get a summer job and I was said, maybe, I'm not sure, perhaps, something easy with lots of money. It was the summer after my sophomore year and honestly, I just wanted to chill and enjoy myself.

OK back to the plotting... how to get a summer job and buy the Trilogy. I considered doing yard work for money, NOPE. I wanted to work in a fun place with people my own age in AIR CONDITIONING! Suddenly a bright light bulb went off above my head. Why not get a job where I was could get the Star Wars Trilogy, get an employee discount on the Trilogy AND work in air conditioning? The local mall!

I immediately drove down in our 1987 red Nissan Sentra to the Suncoast video at the Echelon Mall and applied for a retail position. They called two days later and scheduled me for an interview. I met the manager, a very tall and pretty gal in her upper 20s named Daniele. She was gung-ho and 100% Miss SUNCOAST VIDEO. OK I thought, I gotta shmooze this gal...

(Not my pic) 
The shmoozing was pretty much the easy part. I was always good at that. Being the baby child in a family with my older brother and sister, I developed the skill of winning over people to get what I needed. I was soon hired and had a start date the next week.

Daniele met me the first day and brought me around the store. After a 30 minute meaningless tour of where the horror movies were, the drama, the comedy, the romance, and also something called the classics, she put me on the floor to begin just helping people.

30 minutes later of me hiding behind the fantasy/sci-fi videos just drooling over the Star Wars Trilogy VHS box set, some kid walked up, "Where are the horror movies?" "I dunno, over there," rolling my eyes and pointing towards the musicals. "OK, thanks man."

After another couple minutes, someone else needed help! UGH! Such needy people!!! It was some older lady. "Young boy, can you tell me where the documentaries are?" I replied, "I don't even know what those are!" I shuffled her off to the classics.

Daniele came over an hour later and asked how everything was going, "Great!" I exclaimed. "I'm helping lots of people!" "OK," she replied. I knew she didn't buy it. I really didn't care because my next question was the all important one.

"Um, Daniele, I have a question. What's my employee discount? Do I get one?"
"Yeah, of course! 30%. Do you see something you want?"
"Uuuuh, I dunno, I'm just wondering," (knowing full well that I was gonna get that VHS box set on my first paycheck.) "And when do we get paid?"
"Well Marc, you'll get a smaller paycheck because it's not a full pay period, but we'll pay you on Friday."
"Oh that's OK, I was ... just wondering about that too."
"OK, if you have any questions, lemme know." Daniele retreated to the office to work on something involving boring paperwork.

Someone else came up and asked if I knew if they had any movie posters and I replied that I didn't work there. He pointed out that I had a name-tag on (damn that name-tag) and I told him that I kept forgetting that I worked there since it was my first day. I directed him over to the movie t-shirts instead.

The week passed so slow with me each day constantly misdirecting people in the store. I finally worked that Friday eagerly awaiting my paycheck. When Daniele gave it to me, I noticed it had been written on a bank in the mall. She confirmed that I could cash it on my break if I wanted to. As soon as that clock hit 3:30pm, I bolted out of the store and hit the bank for some cold hard cash.

Coming back from break, I had 5 minutes left to buy the VHS set. I plunked down the cash and of course made sure I got that all important 30% discount. One of the sales gals put it in a Suncoast Video bag and I deposited it in the employee break room until the end of the day. I couldn't wait for the shift to end! I sped home as quick as my little red Nissan Sentra could take me.

I barely ate dinner and that evening watched a marathon of the first Star Wars: A New Hope, then The Empire Strikes Back and finally Return of the Jedi VHS tapes in one sitting late into the evening. I called Daniele on Saturday and informed her that I wouldn't be coming into work on Sunday. She asked me if I were sick and I stated "Sorry, I misspoke. I won't be coming back into work at all."

We had a brief conversation on the reasons why: I didn't think retail was for me, I bought the Star Wars Triology, and I didn't like helping people. She told me I sucked and hung up on me.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

My Shortest Job: Part One

Image result for united colors of benetton rutgers
"Benetton ad from the  80's UGH"

Those who are adults have each had them. I'm talking about those JOBS where we have lasted a week or less! Maybe it was planned, maybe not. We look back and laugh at those times as adults. Maybe we were assholes and deserved to get fired. Or maybe it just wasn't the right fit of a job for us. That being said, I wasn't fired.

That actually happened once at a telemarketing agency. Another blog, another time. LOL Leaving the job at Benetton was MY decision! :) The second time at Sun Coast Video was actually a calculated event which I writing about in the next blog!

I took the job at Benetton while I was at Rutgers University during my freshman year at college. It was 1988 and I went to work for them at their New Brunswick NJ location right next to the official Rutgers Bookstore. I had no retail experience whatsoever and told them that upon my hiring. They said no problem, we'll train you. My first day I was put on the floor. I tried to wear snappy clothes. LOL Something that wouldn't make me look like the big nerd that I was.       

So I began my first shift and was ordered into the backroom. The manager was this twenty something German accented dude named Karl or Klaus or whatever who proceeded to rip me up and down about the clothes that I wore to my first day. Now REALIZE I was a RUTGERS student. I wore a Rutgers sweatshirt to my first day as I had not been given any other directive and DUH!!!! WE WERE ON THE RU CAMPUS! 

Karl or Klaus directed me rather caustically to handle the front. Um.. what was I supposed to do? He stated in rather blunt English, "Handle the customers!" and walked away. OK, that was specific enough. People came in and I welcomed them to Benetton. NOPE apparently I was wrong. 

Image result for united colors of benetton rutgers

What's his name rushed up to me and said, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" 
I replied, "Well, I am welcoming them into the store...."
The brusque German stated, "You SHOULD be offering them options for clothing!!!!" 
"OK, I will try harder. Um, it's my first day, remember?"
He turned quickly and marched away without saying anything. It was rather sudden and I was a little taken aback. But I still thought, what an asshole!

I stood there for a second and was thought to myself, OK... and went back to the same thing I was doing except I added, "Sweaters are over there and other stuff is over there," pointing to no-where in particular.

K-MAN came back up to me within 5 five minutes and took me away from people muttering something under his breath like, "This just won't do."  He put me on sweater duty. Now what is sweater duty you may ask? I folded sweaters, big clunky sweaters for the next several hours LIKE 5 HOURS!!!

Sweater folding is all that I did. Just go around the store and if a sweater was out of place or disturbed, I refolded it. At one point I was in the back of the store and everyone was up front and I remember screaming, "I HATE FOLDING SWEATERS!!!" People must've done it before because no one paid me no mind.

Klaus/Karl then took me into the back and said he needed to speak with me. "We need to do something about your clothing. It just horrible and is unacceptable. You need to wear Benetton clothes."
I replied, "OK, give me something to wear and I'll change into it."
Karl/Klaus snickered and said, "NO. We don't give, you buy."
"What??? I can't afford these clothes!? That's why I got a part time job in the first place! I can't afford anything!"
"We will allow you to pay for them over time," he brusquely countered.
"But what am I gonna do? Wear the same pants and sweater for the entire semester until I can afford to pay them off?" I exclaimed.
"Well you certainly cannot wear that," snorted KK gesturing to my Rutgers sweatshirt and acid-washed jeans.
"Are you kidding me?! You know what??? I'm DONE! I hate your crappy clothes. They are scratchy, uncomfortable and I HATE folding your ugly sweaters! I'm outta here!!"

The last thing I heard was Karl/Klaus/KK gasp LOUDLY as if he were shocked that someone FINALLY told his ass off! You would've thought I insulted Mother Teresa. I didn't wait for his reply. I marched right out of that store proudly in my Rutgers sweatshirt and my acid-washed jeans, never looking back.

The next week, I got a job in shipping and packing at the official Rutgers Bookstore next door. I worked for some old gay dude Alan in shipping and receiving who ordered me around left and right. I loved the guy. He was an awesome respectable boss and I never gave him props until now. HE WAS AWESOME. I'll never forget Alan. He was just SO GOOD at his job and I'll say it again, an awesome boss!

Benetton closed within the next couple years due to lack of business. I can't imagine why...

Monday, July 16, 2018

Childhood Summer Memories

Family Vacation Pics!

As a child, there are memories which stick with you. Then there are singular memories which stand out, for better or for worse. There also may be the occasional odd memory from a trip in which you remember nothing else. Some are wonderful, like shell collecting during my early teenage years on Sanibel Island and others aren't so wonderful, like getting attacked by green heads (biting flies) at Strathmere Beach, NJ. Each of them cemented into your psyche bring you momentary joy or scarring you for

This is a collection of the truly odd singular memories which stand out from various trips I took as child with my family, in random order, with a little explanation of each. I either chuckle or cringe each time I think of them! It's amazing what makes us up as individuals.

#1.  I was 10 or so years old, snorkeling at the now defunct Holiday Isle Resort in Islamorada, Florida. Behind the hotel, there was a quite deep swimming lagoon and just beyond that, a band of shallow coral reefs. My brother and I would snorkel for hours looking for shells and different species of sea life. I came across a sea sponge and grabbed it.

Holiday Isle Resort, Florida Keys 
So excited with my discovery, I brought it over to my brother and squeezed all the water out of it. Not a smart move. Within minutes, my hands began stinging and burning and then swelled up to resemble cabbage patch kids hands. No one had ever told me I couldn't grab them a sea sponge! I had to soak my hands for hours in vinegar to reduce to pain. Definitely not the highlight for my Florida Keys vacation.

#2.  My family was traveling up to Boston to visit my Dad's friend Larry. We ended up meeting for dinner at a French café. I was 6 or 7. Nothing appealed to me on the menu. I insisted on eating French onion soup. It came out but was way too salty for me. I hated it. My meal that night was just a French baguette. One lonely French baguette.

#3.  My family was traveling in our Country Squire station-wagon up to Mesa Verde, the ancient Anasazi Cliff Dwellings in Colorado at an altitude of 7000 feet. The road up is was very treacherous at that time. I was 7 or 8 at the time and screaming my head off because there were no guardrails at that time! The road meandered up 7000 feet around switchbacks with the cliffs dropping off only a couple feet off the road! My parents put me in the back trunk area of the station-wagon and covered me in the summer heat with a thick woolen blanket as I continued to scream my head off.

The torture continued through the drive up 7000 feet to the Cliff Dwellings. We made it up to the top of the mesa and I survived. I saw Mesa Verde and apparently stepped onto the "four corners" spot where one goes to step onto four states at once. I don't remember anything about it. ALL I remember is being covered by a hot woolen blanket in the hot summer heat in that station-wagon screaming my head off.

#4. On the same trip, we were in New Mexico driving through the state. We visited Taos and Sante Fe, New Mexico and did all the touristy stuff. I loved it. One of the major memories HOWEVER was the family stopping at a road side rest stop in the desert. My family took a major break for 30 minutes to just relax and refresh when I decided to climb the hill behind the rest stop. Climb and climb as I might. I remember telling my folks I'd be climbing the hill and they were like... "OK see you whenever!" without a care in the world. LOL (times were different).

Vacation Pics 2!
I remember looking down below at the rest stop and I was a good 100 feet above the stop if not more! I decided to pick a beautiful pink cactus flower at the top for my Mom. Unbeknownst to me, picking the flower would result in a good hour in extreme pain! I was stuck with what seemed like a 100 or so cactus spines just for picking the flower for my Mom. Still.... to my day... I believe it was the most romantic gesture I have ever done. Even though I was only 10 or 11 and it was my mother whom plucked out every single cactus spine!. :)

#5. The year after, we spent several weeks at our family's ranch in South Dakota.  We were hunting for arrowheads on the ranch when I leaned back to regain my balance. AGAIN, I plunged my hand deep into a long spine desert cactus. The spines plunged down into my palm. It felt like they pierced right through. They were picked out by my cousin Helen Dreiske over the course of a couple of hours. There were THAT many! The nice end of the story was that I found and still have a Sioux Indian arrowhead from times past.

#6. It was the first time we traveled to New Orleans circa the early 80's during one summer. We were set to see a historical plantation home, the Houmas House, the next day. Mom and Dad made a reservation at the local Howard Johnson motel. After we settled in, we headed down to Bourbon Street to explore and get a bite to eat. Mom was just looking for a pub to grab some sandwiches and a kid's meal or two.

Mom confidently strode into a pub right on Bourbon Street commenting to Dad, "This looks like a nice place Bob ..." and then gasped. I looked up and there was a fully naked woman dancing on top of the bar. Mom had walked us into a strip club!!! I looked up and down the bar and there were breasts all over the place, several sets! With the right hook and speed of a professional fighter, Mom swung her hand down over my eyes and dragged my brother and I out of the bar.

#7. We visited Florida one year in the mid 70's and of course made the obligatory trip to Walt Disney World. I remember from that trip that I fell in love with a young black girl my age, about 7 or 8 in front of a fountain in the Main Street area. It was a short lived romance which remained all of the duration of 30 minutes perhaps. I gave her name was Josephina February after a favorite children's book from childhood. She went on her way, I went on mine. There were no children.

#8. The same year, after Walt Disney World, we visited my Dad's cousin Bob and his wife Aileen in Kissimmee, Florida. They were my Dad's age at that time, in their 50's. Their home was SO modern, lots of Asian antiques. The rooms were arranged around a central courtyard. Very modern, very chic, very sophisticated.

Vacation Pics 3!
Besides that, the ONLY other thing I remember about that entire visit is cousin Bob taking my brother Adam and I out to show us the yard and then pointing out the clouds. He stated that the cloud formations were mammatus clouds because they looked like women's breasts. But Cousin Bob stated he liked calling them "Titty clouds." I was confused and pretty mortified at this description.

#9. Apologies in advance to my sister for this embarrassing story! Love you Sheryl! My family traveled to Nova Scotia when I was 5 or 6. I remember glimpses of rolling hills with long grasses. People often compare it to the rolling hills of Scotland. In fact, it was originally settled by native Scots and therefore took the name Nova Scotia meaning New Scotland in Scottish Gaelic. Now besides the rolling hills, there is only one memory I have of a trip up to Nova Scotia.

My brother Adam, sister Sheryl, and I were in the back seat of the car. I was of course, as usual, stuck in the middle, never got the window seat. We had made a stop earlier and picked up some cherries which Mom had placed in a large bowl. Suddenly, Sheryl got nauseous in the back seat and exclaimed she was about to get sick. Mom dumped the cherries out of the bowl into the front seat and thrust the bowl back to my sister. Sheryl proceeded to get sick into the bowl. I squirmed as close to my older brother's seat as I could, with him pushing back towards my sick sister. UGH. Brothers! My poor sister recovered.

#10. The last memory which triggered the idea for this blog involved a yearly ritual with my Mother down in Ocean City, NJ. We would travel down to the Jersey shore and if we weren't on the beach or visiting my Uncle John in Ocean City, we were strolling the boardwalk. At some point during the trip, we would drive past Princess Grace of Monaco's family home/compound at the beach. My Mom was fascinated with it, I mean here was royalty and they had a beach house right in Ocean City, NJ!!!

Dad would pull over the car across the street and we'd look at the modern mansion with wonder and awe! Sometimes, someone, usually a woman it seemed, would come out onto the balcony and walk around. We'd gasp! Mom would exclaim, "Oh my God that could be Princess Grace herself!" Someone in the family would quip and joke that it was probably just the maid. Mom would shoot us a dirty look and retort, "Just be quiet!" and go back to her gazing and the woman on the balcony. We always stared at the home on the beach, hoping for a glimpse of Her Royal Highness.

Princess Grace's Ocean City home, NOT the one we gawked at!
Recently, I was trying to show a coworker the mansion through Google maps but couldn't find it. So, I looked up the home through Google and it immediately came up through the search. I spied on the map where it was located and then looked at home again. My coworker exclaimed, "WOW, what a beautiful home!". It was a Spanish-style elegant mansion commanding a corner on 26th St.and Wesley Ave. in Ocean City.

I paused, looked at the mansion again and then bust out laughing. Well, apparently, we had been gawking for years at the WRONG Ocean City mansion. The Princess Grace mansion had been across the street the entire time. No doubt Princess Grace was staring at these local tourists staring at her neighbor's home all those years... Oh well! It makes the memory all the more funnier and special now.

I look back at these memories and smile. I may not remember which touristy spot I visited but you can be rest assured I remember, for better or for worse, something about each trip! At my age, even the cringe worthy ones make me chuckle!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Midnight Wisdom

I think we need to always reevaluate and remind ourselves what is important in life. Most of what happens is not. Those that affect you positively, touch you, make you smile, are the important ones you need to constantly connect with. Forget those that bring you stress. God I wish I had this wisdom in my twenties. But those stutter steps and emotional injuries in my twenties have made me the strong person I am today. I miss the innocence though. Confidence and strength comes at a price. I wish everyone could gain the strength I have. 
It's tough though. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

I'm Troubled by Recent Events

"Little Spider is there but ya can't see him. :)"

As an unofficial rule, I normally don't comment on what is happening in our world, politically or religious. I will keep this to a minimum and keep it vague enough to satisfy my own viewpoint. I am so troubled by recent events. From the major, what is happening in the US and the world, to the smaller events (not minor, but smaller) like the election at my local Property Owners Association. It gets ugly, we all know this. And it gets me worried as well.

I worry for myself and my rights and I worry for our seniors. I worry for my neighbors and I worry for our environment. I worry for the world my niece and nephew will inherit. We have changed so far from where our parents were, as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

It doesn't matter who you are, things have changed. And by the way, I don't want to hear anyone's opinion on the matter. It's not necessary. I am just commenting on how I've noticed such a dramatic shift. The simple fact is that the world has changed. I don't recognize it anymore. 

I glance just now at the two philodendron plants sitting on my shelf. They are actually the same philodendron plants that my mother grew from the 1980's. Over 20 years ago. They grew so much since that time, almost died, then brought back to life. I received one of them about 15 years ago and then the other after Mom passed, 9 years ago. I love the fact that these plants have been around me as long as my family.

In one of the philodendrons, the one with the faded Florida flamingo given to me by my Mom,  the tiniest of little spiders is building a web. I cannot believe how tiny. He is the size of a pinhead. He won't hurt me and probably couldn't even pierce my skin. He is just going about his way, building his nest, his home. He wants to survive. He means no harm, just wants to survive.

I won't bother him. He'll take out a couple gnats for me here and there. I am mesmerized momentarily by the web he weaves. So intricate and so detailed ... all from instinct. I'll let him live his life out. My Dad used to say having a spider in the house was good luck. Well, "Pinhead", as I'll call him, you are one lucky spider. I'll let you live.

And for that brief moment, my worries disappeared...

Saturday, June 30, 2018

An Awful Allergies Week

"After 10 plus years, FINALLY immune to Max"  

Allergies this week have been the bane to my existence! What a tough week. I had hoped the storms earlier in the week would've washed all the pollen away but I was mistaken. I woke up each morning with swollen eyes and suffered through the nights with sneezing attacks. Each morning, I hit the bottle of allergy medicine even before I hit the shower.

I have lived with allergies throughout my 40 something years but these last couple weeks have been particularly tough. Allergies are a part of my life though. Most of the time, they're just an annoyance. I have eye allergies, asthma, skin allergies, and of course the sinus/nasal allergies. The prescriptions taken for each one arranged neatly in my medicine cabinet. I take what I need depending on what I'm suffering from that day and then go on about my morning.

When I was younger, I went to an allergist in Cherry Hill, NJ. They gave me a skin prick test on my back to test what allergen antibodies I reacted to. Well, I reacted to EVERY ONE (except seafood, thank God). Every food allergy: dairy, wheat, strawberries, peanuts, corn. Not to mention every grass, tress, pollen, dogs, cats, birds. You name it.

My entire back swelled up in one big hive. I was dying to scratch but couldn't until the doctor saw the results. After 15 agonizing minutes, he came in, looked at my back and exclaimed, "What the hell!?" All I wanted to know was ... "WHEN CAN I SCRATCH!?" The doctor replied, "Go ahead" and while my Mom and Dad finished up the appointment, I feverishly contorted my body scratching EVERY inch of my back.

I began taking allergy meds immediately. They put me on allergy shots and I was allergic to the them immediately. They gave me nausea and an upset stomach. After every dosage and subsequent visit, they lowered the dosage because I became nauseous. It came down to the point where the dosage was pretty much nonexistent and wouldn't have helped the allergies anyway! They stopped the shots and put me on allergy pills. I got better. Imagine that!

Years later, I found I grew a resistance to certain allergy meds and then started others. After 6 months, we tried something new. It worked for me. On and on the cycle went. But... at 48 I have survived these allergies. It's no big deal unless it's a bad week and then I need a day to drug myself up and get over them. And please don't talk to me about the homeopathic remedies. Tried them, didn't help to much and I'll pass. Give me my allergy pill!

So another annoyance in life and yet here I am. I have outgrown pretty much all of my food allergies. Interestingly enough, discovered an allergy to white vinegar in my 20s. Starts to close the throat up. But doesn't happen with red wine or balsamic vinegar. I developed asthma in my later 20s so that's a pain in the ass. I also found I'm allergic to erythritol. See my previous blog on that one!

I am still allergic to cats and dogs. There are certain dogs which I am NOT allergic to. I think those are terriers and poodle breeds. And my cats too. I think I have developed a resistance to my own cats, Max and Moxie, after 10 plus years of being exposed to those pains in the ass. LOL. Life goes on and I deal with it.

I don't complain that much about it but decided to write a blog on the topic after suffering a particularly bad week due to seasonal allergies. How are other's faring? Do people take as much allergy meds as I do? LOL It's just a part of my life I deal with. Just don't bring a Shetland pony, a Saint Bernard dog, or a Himalayan cat around or we will have major problems. Unless there is Benedryl and then I'll be OK. But I'll fall asleep on ya. LOL

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Great Proverb about Strong Women

When I was out in San Diego, I discovered a couple awesome things about my Mom. After over 8 years since she passed, I think it's such a blessing when I learn something new. The first thing I learned (I mentioned it in my previous blog) was that my Grandpop Newman called my Mom "Goldilocks" as a child. My Mom's hair was golden blonde. My sister Sheryl recounted this memory for me as well as My Grandpop bestowing her, next, with the nickname "Goldilocks". I love that memory.
The other thing I found out was from  my niece Angelica. During my recent trip out there, one evening we had a great convo about the tattoos which we want done. I was about to get my Sailor Jerry style tattoo honoring my Mom and I excitedly asked her what she wanted for her first tattoo. She confidently showed me the quote below, which I immediately loved. I asked her where it came from and she said that Nana, my Mom, used to quote it to her often in a postcard or two and sometimes when she visited.
There are things you already know about your mother and then there are things that you learn later on which perhaps ... you already knew deep down inside. There were times that I sensed my mother's unhappiness. But she held herself together with true strength and dignity. She had the most positive outlook and always felt things would be OK and work out. She was just so so positive for her children, Sheryl, Adam, and I, if not for the person who needed that the most, herself.
I needed that reminder and I can't tell you how much I admire my Mom for that. One day soon I will tell my niece the specifics of how this quote applied to her Nana's life. Until then, my niece has chosen an awesome quote given to her by her Nana for a first tattoo. 


"She is clothed with Strength and Diginity and she laughs without Fear of the Future."  - Proverbs 31:25

Monday, June 18, 2018

Vegas Virgin


Can you believe this? For all my partying and fun in my 48 years, I have NEVER been to Vegas! I am still a Vegas Virgin!

Well my friends, I plan on going to Vegas with my brother Adam and his family sometime in March or April 2019 to celebrate my brother's 50th birthday and his daughter, my niece Angelica's 21st birthday! WOW. What a double event! I think the family will need a chaperone for those two AND Uncle MARC! (At least always for Uncle Marc.)

Here are two GREAT commercials that I love from One is from a man's perspective and the other is from the woman's and then they meet up in each commercial. It is really a brilliant marketing campaign. The commercials are fun, colorful and playful. My Vegas experience will most likely end up with my in bed by 10 PM but a guy can dream, right? Please, I will do my utmost to have an exciting long weekend in Sin City! (Remember, whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!)

I'd like to see the old part of Las Vegas, Fremont Street, gamble a little, maybe take in a show, and hit the Mob Museum! And of course, the wining and dining. What's Vegas without at least one swanky restaurant or humongous buffet!? I don't do the club thing anymore since my 20s but I am sure there are plenty of bars to hit! Any recommendations my friends? What's your favorite casino to go to?


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

48th Birthday Wisdom


I went into this 48th birthday wondering what wisdom could I offer up to others that I have learned over the last year? Have I learned ANYTHING since I turned 47?  I believe I have and I hope you indulge my random, typically meandering thoughts. If you can believe it ... I am more mellow than last year. 😜  LOL I even chuckled at that statement myself, but I AM!

In random order as usual: 

I find myself just sitting back and observing more before I make a statement or reacting. Instead of flying off the cuff and saying something which I would regret, I take a breath and a moment to collect my thoughts. I make a conscious choice to stand back and formulate a well thought-out opinion before responding. This is probably my favorite nugget of wisdom from turning 48.

Sometimes you think someone doesn't care for you but you are wrong. I don't mind being wrong in that circumstance. For years I thought that this certain person avoided me. But then they approached me and I had the warmest encounter with them. I was kinda shocked, but pleasantly so. We had a really good convo and then reconnected later online. Was really cool and made my vacation. 

It IS possible to become friends with someone after a major falling out. You just take baby steps in reconnecting. You can forgive but just don't forget. You may become more cautious in your interactions but that's OK too. 

I have also found this year that those you were once close with can turn so quickly against you showing the most hateful vitriolic side you wouldn't believe could exist in someone. It hurts but you move on. And you also drop them as quickly as possible. No one needs that. 

I WILL STATE THIS:  If my relationship with you is causing me stress, look for me to avoid contact with you or I will simply cut you out with no apologies. Life is too short for me to be getting stressed out over drama from people that I am not even close with.

I've witnessed a relationship that dissolved badly into divorce. Then the ex took his own life and my friend still remembered him for the man he was, the father of the children he helped bore, the children he helped raise, and she threw a memorial for him. It made me think that we need to come around and even after our relationships dissolve and recognize what that person has given us. I was so impressed with what she did. Maybe it was for her children but it showed the most incredible strength and maturity that I have seen in many years. She is an incredibly strong woman. 

If I see drama happening near me in a social setting, I will move away and avoid it. I've had enough since my youth to last me many many life times.

As one gets older, one becomes more attracted to someone's personality before their looks.

My hope for this world lies in the younger generation of my niece and nephew, not mine or the older generations. I do not have hope that the men and women currently in power will save this world. I just pray that they will not destroy it before the younger generation comes of age.

I have so enjoyed watching my nephew Johnny and niece Angelica grow up. Seeing my nephew graduate was just as exciting and wonderful and emotional as watching my niece graduate two years ago. Love those kiddos more each year.

I am still just as social, if not more, as I get older. However, I love and cherish my alone time.

I am seeing more beauty in simple things. The beautiful sounds of a desert bird. The smells of desert sage. The hot desert sun warming me during a hike.

48 aint so bad! New tatt! 
I marvel at getting older with the changes one undergoes physically: the need for progressive lenses LOL, gray hair everywhere, my crepey thin skin reminding me of my grandparents, annoying morning aches, and that damn bone spur digging in my heel. I complain and I survive.

I tend to savor flavors more. I am drawn to more spicy foods. I also seek out new culinary experiences. This recent trip out to Southern California, I sampled grilled rattlesnake, tasked like chicken ... really! 😊 I tried Mexican tamarind candy. Very interesting, tasted sweet and sour. I also had dinner at the Hawaiian Homestyle restaurant in Lakeside, CA enjoying ahi poke' as an appetizer as well as deep friend Spam musubi! Both were so good. (  In West Hollywood at the restaurant Ago, I also enjoyed a creamy-dreamy Italian Burrata appetizer and a rich savory wild boar ragu over pappardelle pasta. ( I think I fell in love with that meal. Thank you Cousin Bob! 

I try to  live in the moment and realize the important of putting social media and electronics aside.

Sometimes things end badly and it takes a strong person to not fall apart and accept the negative ending. Sometimes you need to do it with a stiff upper lip and move on. It's OK if you get emotional too though. Just get through those emotions the best you can. 

I am still learning things about my mother since her death that I did not know about and that makes me smile. I never knew that my Grandpop called her "Goldilocks" and he called his granddaughter, my sister Sheryl, the same. In addition, my niece showed me a quote from my mother that she would attach to correspondence to her. Just knowing something such as a quote that my mother loved fills my heart. I will post it at a later time. 

I am convinced more than ever that my mother watches over me in heaven and is my guardian angel.

Sometimes it is better to not plan events and let them happen as they man. You will be less disappointed.  Being spontaneous can lead you to the best interactions and experiences with people. I was in Hollywood wanting a nightcap at the hotel bar. I went back and forth on whether I should go down for a drink, driving my sister crazy in the hotel room. I was all dressed up from dinner and wired on two espressos. I followed my gut instinct and went down for a drink enjoying a great couple hours meeting and talking with people at the bar. It was such a fun evening and I'm so glad I did it! 

It's OK to let your guard down. 

I never thought I would love my sister Sheryl and brother Adam more and yet every year I do! Family has become everything. 

I am 48 and proud of my age. Thankfully I am blessed with good genetics (thanks Mom and Dad) and I find that a youthful attitude is key to keep me acting and feeling young. I am also always looking to have fun and definitely don't take myself too seriously. There is nothing special about me and anyone can benefit from this type of attitude. 

Take control of your life and have some fun! I have no major regrets. Well... maybe that Asian tattoo that doesn't mean what it's supposed to... (I'll repost that blog at another time!)