Last Time I Checked

My sweet brother,

May 11, 2019
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I just want to let you know the Orioles are back again! Two males and two females. The year before had been the first time they came the whole season after all your encouragement. Five years in the making! What an adventure with you, with all the silly texts and phone calls and visits to get these sweet little beautiful busy birds to bring me such joy.

Last year, after you were gone, I didn’t want to put the feeder out.  Denny nudged me to get the feeder out.

My tribute to you was a poem I wrote after a male oriole majestically perched on our copper beech tree and sang like no other bird as I watched.

After the Oriole’s Song May 24, 2018

Let me help you read a poem

It’s not what you think

For example

Just stop and listen to the Oriole’s call

It’s beautiful

I will think about my brother and my loss

You know he helped me get to this point in time

Even though he’s gone

I truly see his gift to me

As much as I resent his absence

I suddenly think that maybe I can learn

After all, he taught me

He helped me to get this beauty here

He must have had something in mind when he did it

And even if I didn’t realize it was me at the time

I know it now




Posted in Family

Let’s see if I can finish this

January 2, 2019
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before midnight. It’s currently the second day of the New Year – 2019. My New Year’s resolutions are written in a neat book I found at, of all places, Joann Fabrics. “Five-Year Memory Journal: 366 Thought-Provoking Prompts to Create Your Own Life Chronicle” I hope I live five more years (I think?).

I’m committed, as always, to finishing things but always fall short of finishing things. So this year in this book, I wrote among my other resolutions, “complete projects.” My blog (my journal in many ways), is one of those projects.

I never should have stopped. I never should have taken time off.  Instead, I’m left with notes on scraps of paper, on envelopes, in notebooks, on my computer, and who knows where the hell else I’ve left things?

I’ve always been good at meeting deadlines but am no longer willing to meet the stress that goes with meeting them at their terms (other people’s terms, that is). This past Christmas was a good example of my choosing to go minimalist and get the house just ready enough, all things considered.

Math: Minus one son-in-law + one new ?boyfriend of my daughter. A scary math equation was almost minus one daughter-in-law, but she may just have more emotional intelligence than my entire immediate family combined, and she came anyway after my son had just informed us of their December 1 separation one week before Christmas. To think he was going to tell us on his dad’s birthday – December 7. I guess I should be grateful he waited until after our December 15 50th wedding anniversary. What a thoughtful gesture.

OK, I made the deadline.



My Brother Mike

January 2, 2019
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December 2017

There’s no way to capture in a eulogy what losing your younger brother feels like; someone you thought of as so delightful, meant-everything-to-you, your to-go-to-guy, essentially the most important person to you and you to him, suddenly departing from this life. There’s no word to describe the ultimate shock factor of getting the call that said “Mike passed last night.” Head wouldn’t wrap around that, so I just crawled upstairs to be with my husband and cried and sobbed all night long.

The memorial service was almost a month ago. The holidays have passed. I can’t imagine not missing him everyday.

I could almost

December 23, 2018
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throw this wine glass from my hand if it were not for the mess it would make and the glass it would shred on the floor and the blood that would transpire as I almost walk out the front door and never come back but for the pain it might leave behind.

Who’s there? Witnesses, poets, writers, readers, philosophers, artists, students, wannabes? You wannabes are the worst. Speak up, stand out. I relate. Sylvia Plath.

She’s gastly.  Pun intended.



Large gaps

December 1, 2018
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may create the space you need to recover from life. Don’t beat yourself up over them. Others were living, going through their motions, making their own mistakes while you were existing and struggling and hopefully finding ways to get through what seemed like spaces where no one was there for you.

They likely were there, but you weren’t ready to cope or reach out or interact. Give yourself some slack.

You’re here now. You’ve used that space to recover, to breathe, to learn, to live.

Feels good, doesn’t it? Just to be sure – there’s no miracle here, just life a little bit and sometimes a lot improved.

Large gaps may serve as recovery for losses, huge losses that feel unbearable and in fact are almost unbearable. Or so it seems. (Really, they are.) So you’ve gotten through the gaps (gaping holes in life) and here you are. Wiser, settled, sadder but in a kind of accepting way that’s just how it is. The shock of it all and the drama of it all has just kind of lifted or dissipated in a slow and painful way and you’re now able to get up each day without so much pain that you don’t want to, see the day without so many tears, move without so many breaking breakdowns, and slowly forge and move and live.

Steadier, some intentions, laughter, humor, a bit of sarcasm, reaching out. Still guarded, but that’s a good thing.

Don’t go back there. It’s not a good place. Forge or move or charge ahead.

2010, a bad year to be a volunteer

February 3, 2014
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I did my job and I did it well
But you took my life and made it hell
You won the battles but lost the war
You wounded me, but what for?
Your ego is bigger than your soul
Your pettiness has taken its toll
I leave with my self intact
And give you the last fact
You are mean as can be
Under the guise of a see
I will be working on forgiving
And doing my living
Away from your insignificant reaching
I’ll be teaching and preaching
Away I go
To where I don’t know
Just yet
I’ll get
What I need
I’ll be freed
From the constant source
Of your unwelcome force

Goodbye Dear Sister

December 28, 2013
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The goodbye was left unsaid before my sister Sandy Kreiman died on November 6, 2013 at 1:30 am at a Phoenix Hospice facility where I hoped my brother and other sister would be – desperately hoped they would be and begged them to be – before she left us. They just barely made it after my urging. My goodbye was left unsaid, sad I am to say, long before I ever knew how much pain she was in, how lonely she was, how much she needed her family, and other support. The goodbye was left unsaid because I did not know she needed more contact with me, my family, and probably other loved ones in her life. The goodbye was left unsaid because there was not enough time between the time she was diagnosed on September 10 with stage 4 cancer and the time she died on November 6.

I’m reeling with the pain of losing my sister – my barely eldest sister, just 13 1/2 months older than I. I’m still reeling with the pain that we went through after our mom died, such a terrible ordeal, such an unexpected death – our mom was only 68. My sister was only 62! How can it be, I ask, that you lose a sibling younger than your own mother? How can it be than your sister dies, just barely older than you are? How can your sister leave you without saying goodbye?

I like the idea

September 6, 2013
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of cooking, baking, making things.  Doesn’t mean it happens very often.  I’ve become overly dependent on my DH to feed me, and that means very late dinners.  Lately, I barely finish what’s in front of me because I’ve been snacking and am just not very hungry by the time this good guy finishes grilling.

However, I may be developing a renewed interest in preparing food – at least for the next week or two – because I made something that was SO appreciated by my recent guest and later by her husband that it made me feel like a gourmet cook and super star!

So here I’m sharing a neat recipe for her should she decide she wants to make it in the future.  It’s actually my revised version of a recipe from a gourmet cookbook C 1976.

Basic Bread Stuffing

Huge bowl

Tear 2 loaves of store brand white bread into bite-sized pieces, crusts and all while the 1 C of diced white onions to two 2 Cups of THINLY diced celery are on very low  heat with at least 2 sticks of butter melting over them.

The kitchen starts to smell really good once you start pouring the melted butter with the onions and celery over the large bowl of torn bread . . . especially after you grind the pepper and add the tarragon over the stuffing . . . and sprinkle with regular salt – all to taste.  If you’re lucky to have helpers Thanksgiving morning like I am, you’ll get a lot ooohs and no complaints.

Be prepared to melt more butter as needed.  You don’t want a soggy stuffing, but you don’t want a dry one either.  Use the largest bird you can, and stuff it as full as you can.  Even if it means you’ll have lots of leftover turkey . . . you’ll have very little leftover stuffing.

Posted in Cooking


April 13, 2013
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is almost here if I go by what’s coming up in my garden beds.  If I go by the weather it’s still winter.  I need to be outside.  I need to garden.  I need to dig in the dirt.  This year – and I mean it this time – I am going to garden my ass off.  I am going to rip out, or hire someone to rip out, what I don’t want, what’s taking up too much space, what doesn’t look good enough.

Two weeks from today we leave for California.  I hope we have even just a few days of nice weather so I can at least do some preemptive weeding before leaving for ten days.  Ten days!  It’s been a long time since we’ve been away from home that long.  For me, that’s too long right now.  Alita is only 18 months old and I see her several days a week.  And I’m really attached to my pooch and she to me, and I know she will miss me so much.  I am grateful that her former foster mom is going to watch her.

If the weather continues to be poor here, then I think I might not get that homesick in California.  At least not for several days.

Posted in Let's Try This

Post-election coverage

November 4, 2010
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has brought good news and bad news.  The good news is that the money I’ve spend in the past for my HP printer and my ebay auction items didn’t help elect Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina.  And it’s good news that wrestling fans’ investments in the sport didn’t support the win of Linda McMahon.  The bad news of course is the we Americans are so caught up in the hype, rely too much on Fox News input, and lack a basic education in our system of government to understand that it’s a politician’s job, his/her only job, to get elected!  

My top dreams for this country:

  • Campaign reform that includes truth in advertising, limits on spending, public disclosures on contributions from corporations, PACS, and individuals, campaign time limits, and a prohibition on the use of public resources under the guise of outreach to voters (i.e., mailings to constituents) in an election year
  • More campaign reform that includes strict time limits for broadcast and requires equal access to the opposition candidates 
  • Get lobbyists out of Washington and require legislators to meet with them in their home office; this will be a stimulus to local economies and eliminate the unfair advantage in access that lobbyists have to our representatives 
  • Ethics in politics: censor false statements and punish extreme hyperbole made by office holders at all levels
  • Transparency that gives the public adequate opportunity to review proposed legislation and requires congress to report back to constituents via a radio, TV, web-based, or town hall meeting on the legislation in an objection fashion
  • More coverage of legislators on C-Span (thanks to the House Majority speaker for this idea and for suggesting greater transparency)
  • Health care insurance for all Americans, paid for by both the public and private sectors, with provisions to eliminate waste, fraud, and restrictions to women’s reproduction medical procedures (if the pubs say they want less government, let them start by getting out of our bathroom, bedroom, and doctor’s office!)
  • Enforcement of the separation of church and state
  • Taxation on large corporate and individual contributions made to 501 (c) (4) organizations (this would include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other member-based organizations)
  • Elimination of many of Bush’s tax cuts, especially to individuals earning, say, $300,000 or more, but certainly those earning 6 figures
  • A more simplified tax structure but an increase in deductions for middle-class wage earners
  • Elimination of the ceiling on Social Security taxes so that we do not have to keep increasing the retirement age and do not have to worry that cuts will have to be made in the future
  • No more tax credits for oil companies 
  • No more tax credits for overseas companies unless – perhaps – there is a proven and direct connection that benefits the United States economy
  • Re-define what constitutes a small business
  • Public supported K-12 education that requires knowledge of U.S. history, the constitution, and our political system in order to get a diploma
  • Set a goal to bring back manufacturing jobs from countries like China that risk our national security and health (food and drugs for example)
  • Research the impact of immigration to our economy – the benefits vs the drawbacks economically – and give the facts to Americans
  • Stop wasting money building border walls
  • Decriminalize drugs and if we’re not going to eliminate privatized prisons, make them fully accountable and keep them from influencing legislation like they did in Arizona which is a huge conflict of interest
  • Reinstate regulations of the banking and investment industry to protect Americans from ever having to go through a financial crisis like this one again!
  • Change the Department of Agriculture subsidies to benefit local farmers instead of large corporations

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About author

These days, I am mostly happy. Not wildly happy. Happy as in feeling very content with my life. Happy with my darling husband and wonderful family. Happy I have a pooch to keep me company. Happy that I pretty much get to choose and do whatever I want. That kind of happy.