I Can’t Shut Up Anymore!

I know, most of you are saying, “Wait, when have you ever shut up?” But I do sometimes edit what I say here for fear of offending some readers, but I just can’t worry about it anymore!  I just watched “Chasing Coral,” a multi-award winning documentary on Netflix and was so affected witnessing the devastation of our coral reefs, I whipped into action. I am not a diver and I’m a barely capable swimmer, but this isn’t about saving coral reefs just because they’re beautiful to look at, the death of coral reefs is a very serious threat to our planet and it’s been going on for decades.

“Chasing Coral,” is all about the impact global warming is having on our coral reefs. They’re dying because the temperature of the ocean is rising. Some sources say the earth has lost half of it’s coral reefs in the last 30 years. The documentary was created and researched with the help of some outstanding scientists and marine biologists and they all agree, coral is a fundamental part of a huge ecosystem.

If there’s one thing science teaches us it’s that all life is connected. If you get rid of one thing “you” might not consider important, it affects everything else.  I’ll pick something annoying like mosquitoes. Everyone hates them. Let’s say we eradicated all mosquitoes — then what would creatures like birds and bats eat? Pretty soon all sorts of species would die, just because of stupid annoying mosquitoes. That’s the way it is with coral reefs, which are neither stupid,nor annoying. They are gorgeous and they’re home to an amazing number of fish and sea animals. If you think their death isn’t going to affect sea life, and you, you are badly mistaken. Continue reading

Tomato Fever

Summer in Pennsylvania meant stepping downstairs to a kitchen table overflowing with tomatoes.  It taught me to both love tomatoes and wonder when they were going to take over the household and squeeze me out of my room.

My father could never plant less than 20 tomato plants. Our cousin Tony would start seedlings and bring them over, then dad would go buy plants, then someone else would bring plants, so every August, tomatoes covered the basement kitchen table. Yes, basement kitchen table, because in our Italian household, one kitchen was never enough.

Even in the last two years of my dad’s life when he couldn’t plant tomatoes or dig anymore, he supervised. He wasn’t strong enough to help, so he stood in the living room’s picture window, looking out across the grassy backyard, watching me digging in his garden. I remember my hands wrapped around the wooden handle of the hoe on a sweltering July afternoon. I felt compelled to weed around all the tomatoes –grabbing the clumps of weeds with my hands and tossing them aside. I was hot, sweaty and exhausted. I  looked up and he was standing there giving me the OK sign with his hand. Nothing pleased him more than seeing his kids work their guts out. Continue reading

Life’s Magic

I spent the Fourth of July having lunch with a friend, then responsibly cleaning, doing laundry, and ironing the fat pile of clothes that sits in my room staring at me every day. I could have gone to a party, but decided to stay home and get things accomplished.

If I was any more boring, I would have to be dead. Going out would have been fun, but I told myself the same thing my ex-mother-in-law used to say, “Oh, I’ve seen lots of fireworks in my life, I don’t have to see them tonight.”

As the evening wore on, I ironed, watched a movie and a few episodes of Frankie and Grace, then heard the boom of fireworks  and regretted not going out because no matter how old I get, I never get over the thrill of seeing those cascading sparkles against the navy sky. To let in some cool night air, I flung open the short casement window at the top of the stairs and noticed, that if I stood on my tiptoes, I could see flashes and sparkles in the distance. Continue reading

The Audacity to Bloom

Jamal:name.JPGA few months ago, we had some really windy days –the kind that knock down power lines and blow my casement windows open — and a tragic thing happened. Jamal got knocked off our back stairs.

Jamal is a cactus my daughter bought years ago at Ikea. He’s one hell of a cactus. He sat ignored in my daughter’s room for about a year, then got moved to the outside stairs, where he was even more ignored. Occasionally I watered him when I remembered he was even there. But mostly he was forgotten.

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Jamal’s first bloom!

Until one day when I walked past and he had a glorious yellow bloom bursting from the top of his prickly little head. I couldn’t believe it. I took a picture, told my daughter and we were in awe of him for a few days. Then Jamal’s bloom faded and we went back to forgetting him. Continue reading

The Days of Spatula Licking are Almost Over

This week, I baked cookies because someone at work asked me to. I’m pretty easy. All you have to do is flatter me by telling me my cookies are the best you’ve ever had and I’ll bake for you too.

I also baked because one of my young co-workers lost his dad to a sudden heart attack a few weeks ago and the pain is still so raw for him that it breaks my heart. So, baking his favorite chocolate chip cookies couldn’t hurt.

Miss Milena

She had the whole thing licked clean before I could even take the picture.

As I was in the kitchen baking, my daughter was on the comfy, sage colored couch in the living room working on a paper for school. I was cleaning off the beater, wondering if she’d want to lick it like she used to when she was a kid. I hesitated, thinking she might not go for it, then offered it to her. She happily took it like she did when she was three. Continue reading

Women Always Find the Good in Each Other — Garlic helps

Theresa is the first wife of my ex-husband.

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Fran and Theresa the only two members of a very exclusive club.

She rocks.

But for years I didn’t realize that because I was married to my then husband, and his characterizations may not have been completely accurate because pesky emotion was involved.

I should have known better because the son she and my ex had together is absolutely wonderful. You don’t turn out that great if there isn’t someone molding you, and the master molder was Theresa. We only got Brandon a few weekends a month, so we were assistant molders. And I have to say, that my ex was a good dad to Brandon. He loved him completely, Brandon knew it, and that makes a big difference.

But now that my ex is my ex, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Theresa much better. It all started around the time I was getting divorced. I had the massive realization that there were going to be stories out there about me that might be one-sided, colored by emotion and, therefore possibly, not completely true.

I realized then, that for decades, I’d only been getting half the story about her and their relationship.  Much of it was factual, but much was colored by emotion, and we all know emotion is a lousy gauge for accuracy. Continue reading

Six Months of Sitting 8 Hours a Day

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Great Veggie Soup – my vegan friends will be thrilled.

I love my job writing radio commercials. Its’ great because I love writing, and because people at my workplace actually seem to appreciate my work, which will never stop thrilling me. I’ve worked plenty of places where I was not appreciated, so I know this is not the norm.  Being valued makes you shine and want to work really hard.

The tiny downside to this job is that I sit 8 hours a day.  I’m often up and down printing things and I try to walk during my lunch hour, but sitting, not only makes me a little crazy, it’s making me round.  I’ve gained close to 10 pounds since I started. I have the beginnings of what an old boyfriend used to call, “government butt.” Not a very nice term for what government employees develop by sitting all day. Continue reading

Dante vs. Cream of Wheat

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Cream of Wheat with blueberries and candied pecans, drizzled with honey.

I try to be deep, honest I do. I do my best to read classics and ponder life because I aspire to write deep, philosophical blogs. In fact, I’m currently reading Dante’s Inferno — who knew hell could be so icky? But because of the ADHD I keep denying I have, my brain prefers to escape the circles of hell and fixate on something I enjoy more, like food. This week I’m enamored with Cream of Wheat. So,  it’s Philosophy – 0 Food – 1 Continue reading

Saint “Tude” Knocks Me on my Butt…Again.

Dictionary of Saints

This was one of my mom’s books.  I had no idea there were so many saints!

I just consulted my Dictionary of the Saints and there is no Patron Saint of Gratitude listed. Maybe she or he is going incognito, but there is definitely a presence out there because any time I start having one of my self-indulgent, poor-me moments, I am busted by the Patron Saint of Gratitude. I think I’ll call her St. Tude. This happens about once every 1.5 years, like the day I was on my way to the therapist in 2015, and on Valentine’s Day 2014.

Continue reading

EGBOK

A few nights ago I was doing my bedtime ritual of piling pillows around me just the way I like them. I got all nice and cozy, then reached up and turned off my bedside lamp. I waited for sleep to knock me out, which for a Tunno takes about seven seconds. As I lay in the darkness of my bedroom I saw something I hadn’t seen in years.

It’s been like summer here recently with highs in the 90’s, so I sleep with my windows open. There was a little sliver of an opening, where the edge of the window swings away from the window frame and that’s where I saw it. My blazing little star.

The last time I saw it, or its cousin was probably 15 years ago when I was going through the hell that precedes a divorce. I was miserable and either unable to sleep or woke up in the middle of the night.

That night also, I saw the navy sky through the tiny space between the curtain and the window. As I lay there, I could see a small star gyrating wildly, as if it was doing everything it could to get my attention. I watched it flicker and flash for a long time, like a lit fuse. Not only did it make me feel better, but it felt like a message from my mom (a lit fuse of a woman if ever there was one.)

Then in my head, I heard her voice. She told me not to worry, that everything would be OK, and that someday I’d have more money than I knew what to do with. (This was in the midst of some serious financial crap.) I couldn’t imagine things ever getting that much better, but she was always good at making stuff up to make me feel better.

Well the star was back this week, and I waited for her voice, but never heard it. This time the voice came from inside me. It said, Keep working hard and things will turn around, you’ll see. Just keep moving forward. That’s what I’m doing and I think that’s what we all have to do right now.

I’ve talked to so many people in the past few months, who are so discouraged by politics and government and I understand. Politicians on both sides, seem to be playing a game, but to us, this matters. Our daily lives are affected, so everyone wants his or her voice to be heard.  I say write letters, make phone calls and do what you have to do to change what you can. Don’t just complain, do something. I am writing my representatives and asking them to bring back the Fairness Doctrine because I think it will make us less polarized. But we can’t let this stuff make us crazy.

I try to do what my friend Carolyn does. She seeks to understand. She really tries to figure out why people feel the way they do. She may walk away still thinking they’re totally misguided, but it makes her empathetic. And empathy is the gateway to understanding, tolerating and eventually liking others. This is very beneficial since I am the lone Democrat in a family of Republicans I happen to love. Maybe if we just pretend that everyone of the opposite party is family, things could work out.

Plus, here’s some heartening news, Glenn Beck is preaching love and understanding. Check out this article called, Glenn Beck Wants to Heal the America He Divided, One Hug at a Time, and be amazed! If this can happen, what then is not possible?

I’m old enough to know we’ve lived through frightening times before and probably will again and somehow we’ve managed to eke out some progress. I have to believe that with so many smart people in the country wanting to do what’s right, things will even out. So, I’m going to continue to work hard, stay positive and keep an eye out for twinkly stars. I feel fairly certain that if we can all avoid cataclysmic death, everything’s gonna be OK.

Or as they used to say on the Ken and Barkley morning radio show, EGBOK

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