Category Archives: musings

Puzzling musings


Whenever I have some “down” time I feel guilty, like I have to fill the minutes with
some important chore. Even as a child, I felt compelled to always be doing something
productive. I remember once (I was a pre-teen) my parents had a party and they had
about 40 guests. When the party was over, it was late. My mother took one look at
the kitchen, with its dozens of dirty plates and glasses, sighed and said she would
clean up in the morning. I don’t know if I imagined it or if it was true, but when the
morning arrived, Mom was pretty upset by being confronted by the mess! We did
not have a dishwasher yet and although she never said it, I suppose part of the reason
she was cranky was that she might have been suffering from a hangover!

My parents enjoyed entertaining so that parties and social gatherings at our house
were common. Mom’s reaction after guests left was always the same: she would take
care of the mess in the morning. I don’t remember when I actually began to clean up
the kitchen so that when she woke up the next morning, all was in order. I do remember,
however, that my life was always that much more pleasant as I didn’t have to deal with
her “whine” which was worse than any yelling she did. I’m not sure where my Dad was
in all this, though I do recall that before the parties, he would be the one vacuuming the

In those early teenage years, I established a personal habit that requires my kitchen
sink to be clear of dishes and the kitchen itself to be clean. Since my parents both worked
outside the home, we had our “chores” to make sure the home was functional. I don’t know
when it became my self-appointed responsibility but as long as I lived at home, no one had
to deal with dirty dishes or greasy counters or tables full of crumbs. I remember my older
sister referring to me as “Cinderella” more than once in her inimitable sarcastic manner.
My parents purchased our first dishwasher during the days that I found myself recovering
in the hospital after an operation. I have never believed in coincidences!

As I write these musings down, I am filled with frustration and confusion. When and why
did I decide to take over management of the house? Was the fact that I was such an affable
take-charge individual the reason for my elder sibling’s jealousy? I learned early on that my
sister was not on my side, so I did everything I could to keep her from physically harming
me. I would do my chores and hers. I would give up my “leisure” time in order to get her
out of the many scrapes she got into. I would save my allowance to have it taken away from
me by her because she spent hers quickly. I would not refuse my mother’s requests that my
older sister go with me places because my mom convinced me that I was the lucky one who
made friends easily and had to be the “good” sister. It took getting to age 60 before I accepted
that my sister and I have no real bond. It was a sad realization, one that I still have trouble
coming to terms with, after all, aren’t sisters supposed to be friends and have each other’s
best interest at heart?

Going off into these stream of consciousness reveries have become very cathartic. I feel I
can only heal by writing and more importantly by writing publicly. My sister and I have been
estranged on and off several times over the years. The estrangements have always been a
source of great peace and tranquility for me and have lasted as long as she has had no need of
something only I can provide. I feel in my heart that there won’t be a next time, that she can
now enlist the help of one of our two younger siblings and I don’t know why I didn’t think of
that years ago. It feels good to get it out and down on paper…and out into the ether to see
where it lands. I am sure I am not the only one in the universe who has a less-than-stellar
relationship with an older sister, but I can bet it didn’t take others as long as it did me to
finally give up and move on! public domain graphic


St. Patrick’s Day


My middle name is Patricia and my mom always celebrated
the day by calling me or sending me a card. When her Alzheimer’s
took over, that was the end of that but now that she is up in heaven
I feel she is probably looking down on me and wishing me a good day.

I just spoke with my Dad and remembered with him. I am nostalgic for Mom today and I can only imagine what it must be like for him to have been married to her for so many years (65) and now being alone. Of course, he has his health and lots of great memories but still

What I have learned in this life is that time really does fly; that family can be or might not be everything to one but that those we hold dear should know we love them. We never know when the day will come that we will not have the chance to do it for one reason or another.

Live, love, laugh and let those you care for do likewise. free to use image

Unabashed places of gossip…


I went to the hairdresser yesterday. My visits there are every 6 weeks to get rid of the gray
and sometimes also include a minuscule trim on my very thick and curly hair. The salon
is modest in size and decoration and not located on any trendy street in our small town.
It is wildly popular nonetheless. My time there is heightened by the socializing that is not
restricted to topics like the weather and activities in town.  The owner/hairdresser gets to
glean gossip from her many clients but to her credit, vicious character assassination is not
one of her objectives and the conversation is always pleasant.

Yesterday the talk turned to politics since we are heading to a second round of voting due
to the fact that neither of our presidential candidates received the required 40% that would
have made him our leader for the next four years. There are so many people undecided and
admittedly neither candidate has won over the entire population but if we are to continue to
enjoy our reputation as a democratic (3rd world) nation, it is imperative we turn out in high
numbers and make the best decision possible for our country.

I made my decision months ago. It wasn’t easy because my original choice was involved in a
scandal, my second choice did not impress me when the debates began, and my third choice
(and current choice) did not win. Matters were not helped by the fact that we had 13 (yes, 13!)
aspiring candidates. Just too many. Our systems needs to be revamped but that is not likely
to happen any time soon.

It has been interesting to read comments on FB from people (relatives and friends) who I
respect, admire and love. I say interesting although I might actually mean “shocking”…some
of the comments have brought to light how people really think despite what their words or
education or traditions have been. To say I am disappointed is to touch on things just lightly.
I have been mortified by the extent to which stupidity runs in my own family. I suppose it
happens to everyone: someone you used to admire says or does something so unwarranted
as to lose your respect going forward. It has happened to me many times over the years and
yet I continue to be so naive. At my age, it is no longer excusable. public domain image


Behind the spyglass…


Understanding the motivation behind a person’s behavior is something that has always
been of interest to me. Rather than just accepting that so and so did this and that and
is now facing the consequences of the action, I spend some time reflecting on what made
them do it. I used to ponder these things out loud but realized that many people in my
circle were impatient and really not interested so I have become a “closet” thinker. I
believe that in order for me to invent a character (protagonist) that is multidimensional,
I need to invest energy in finding out just exactly what makes him/her tick. It has not
been easy or perhaps I should just say I have not had the discipline or courage to let my
mind simply focus on a subject long enough to grasp their very essence and then turn it
into narratives that will work in a novel.

I live in a really small town. It is in a developing country where recent years have found
it attracting all sorts of people who come here to do tourism and go back home, or those
who find it so laid back and beautiful that they actually commit to living here despite all
the obstacles. Some people are wonderful, bringing with them the enthusiasm they feel
for nature and living in peace. They contribute their time, their ideas, their resources so
that the community can benefit. Other people come with the intention of establishing
communities that they would not be able to have in their country of origin.

In the recent past, I have encountered people whose communities can only be described
as “cultish”, and this is scary. The leaders look pretty “normal”; their message is anything
but. It boggles my mind to see how many reasonably intelligent people are taken in by
these reckless individuals whose motivation can only be financial gain or fame. In the past
I would have exposed them at once but that was not beneficial to me so after turning 60 a
couple of years ago, I turned to the pen as my collaborator in unmasking these creatures.

They make interesting subjects for my narratives and provide much entertainment to me,
and I am hoping to capture their essence to develop my villains. Life is often so much more
satisfactory from the point of view of the observer, sitting a distance away in a comfortable
recliner. public domain image


A long day


I am writing tonight just to keep the momentum going for writing in this blog every day.
My day was wonderful, filled with activities but I am now so exhausted that rather than
the glass of wine I was planning to have, I am going to make myself some tea, get ready
for bed and then get into bed and see how long I can read before I fall asleep. Tomorrow
will be a day of leisure mostly as I have nothing planned for the day. Sunday, I get to
attend and work at a fundraiser!

Goodnight! public domain picture


Stream of consciousness writing


Wow, I just re-read yesterday’s post. I sound angry. It was an honest post though and although
I will be the first to agree that some sentences could have been better constructed, I’ve decided
to just leave it alone.

I am working with a lot of things right now. The first priority in my life is to make sure that my
Dad (two months a widower today) is okay and that all documentation allowing him to secure the
benefits he is entitled to after my Mom’s passing are taken care of. In this country of very slow
bureaucracy, there is not much to do after requesting a document than to sit and wait for it to
be ready. We are good at waiting; we know our part is done.

These last few weeks have found me in good health and in good spirits but every so often I do
feel that my days are lived in a bit of a haze. I feel like I know where I’m going and what I have
to do to get there but I am sometimes frozen in a thought…or worse, beginning a thought and
losing its thread in the middle and not being able to remember what the original thought was.
There is tremendous temptation in me sometimes to believe myself headed toward the forget-
fulness of the Alzheimer’s that diminished our lives when it gripped my mother. It was not all
negative though. The last 6 or 7 years have allowed me to get to know my father in a completely
new manner. I don’t really think I will or want to be another Alzheimer’s statistic. It was sad to
watch my brave and tenacious mom succumb to the illness. She is now resting in peace; I am
fortunate to have been able to spend so many years of good time with her.

My Weight Watchers journey continues positively. With my husband being away for a week or
so, I am able to eat some foods that he does not care for (tofu, brown rice, some exotic fruits,
some lovely Indian fare, etc.) and can keep a better handle on the “treats”. I will never blame
him (or anyone) for the extra 40 lbs. (it was 50 when I started!!) that I carry. No one forced me
to consume the extra food. The program works, any program works really, your mind has to be
in the game, however, for the success to be lasting. I think I shared that this time, I am pretending
to be getting ready for my television debut! It is a lovely fantasy. Last weekend, I spent a couple
of hours with my father going over some clothing of mine in a closet. I was shocked to see the tiny
clothing I fit into 20 years ago! I know I fit into the clothes because I have pictures of me in them!
I will never go back to a size 6…but I am still having trouble getting rid of clothing that I know is
not going to be loved as I once loved it.

All this decluttering has also sent me into the boxes and boxes of pictures and letters that have
accumulated in my drawers and shelves. I ran across a picture of me taken in 1967 just before
I turned 12. In the picture were my three siblings and our paternal grandmother. I examined
our faces closely. My oldest sister’s expression held a slight sneer as she turned to face the
photographer, who I suppose was our mother. My own expression is one of worry although it
could also have been caused by sun in my eyes. My younger siblings have neutral expressions.
The only one who looks like she was talking or about to smile was grandma. I think I will always
remember that about her: talking or smiling!

By the time the picture was taken, I had already decided that upon return to New York after that
summer’s vacation, I would devote all my energies to relearning Spanish. I find it hard to believe
(after all, I was only 11) that I had the discipline or pride to make that decision. A better one could
not have been made and I am glad I did it. Being fully bilingual has served me well.

image: public domain


Sibling musings


I have always had more than a passing interest in astrology, although this post is not going
to be about that. My interest was probably sparked by one of my mother’s comments when
dealing with anyone she didn’t quite understand. For example, if she found something dis-
turbing about a coworker, she might simply say: Well, of course, so and so is a Piscis, so…
I have devoted countless hours to reading about astrology but in a hobby sort of way, now
I am thinking of delving into it more profoundly.

My feelings for my older sister have always been complicated. I have never considered her
a “good” big sister, the one everyone else seems to have, the one that has your back, the one
that is a role model to admire, etc. No, I didn’t get that sister. My older sister is bossy, mean,
narcissistic and manipulative. And that’s just the beginning. We are both in our 60’s now
and have had periods of estrangement throughout our lifetime. Right now, we have not
spoken for over two years and I am hopeful that this will be the status quo for some time
to come. Sibling relationships are so very complex. I have a younger brother and sister also.
Perhaps because my brother and I are the “middle children” and share many of the same
values, we get along fine. My younger sister is also complicated for me but I feel I can handle
our relationship better. This brings me back to astrology. I believe strongly that we are born
into a family that meets all the criteria that we need to work out the various issues we have had
in previous lifetimes. It does not matter that you believe or not believe that, it is enough for me
that I do so otherwise the family that I was born into makes absolutely no sense. But I have
read a little of Edgar Cayce, Rudolf Steiner and others to know that coincidence is just not so.

In any event, getting back to my complicated relationship with my older sister. My mother
worked outside the home since before any of us were born. She was a woman of great ambition.
She vowed she would never be poor (as she was in childhood) and did everything possible to
guarantee that. She was very successful. When she passed away, she and dad had amassed a
small fortune, some property and with good management my father will be well provided for
until it’s time for him to go, which I hope is not soon.

My parents could not afford child care (indeed if that was even a thing in 1960’s New York).
They depended on their two oldest children, ages 12 and 9 to watch and care for the younger
siblings ages 7 and 4. It was up to us older ones to make sure the younger ones were picked up
from school and did their homework. We also had to start preparations for dinner so that it was
underway by the time our folks got home from work.  My mother went back to college to get
her Masters Degree because having it would move her up a few notches on the success scale
and add some necessary income. She excelled in these activities, unfortunately, she paid the
price in terms of time not spent with her kids.

I somehow always “got” the situation; my older sister (rightfully resentful) challenged every-
thing with senseless arguing (I didn’t ask to be born!) which caused me no end of stress. Since
I was more interested in peace within the family, I ended up accepting her outrageous demands
(You have to pick up so and so today, I’m going to the park with my friends!) and bullying.  These
days, the more I write about it, the better I feel that I made a decision (estrangement) that is at
last serving me and only me!

image: free to use and share




only gets done by sitting down and writing! How true it is. Yesterday I was incredibly prolific,
not sure any of my writing made sense or would be worthy of a pulitzer prize but it was plentiful
and by day’s end, I felt that I had found a nice rhythm. For this week, I would like to challenge
myself to just sit and write without worrying too much about grammar, topic, misspellings,
using words incorrectly, etc. Indeed, it is better to just sit, write and then go back and edit
than to spend a lot of time thinking about a good topic.

In my country, elections are coming up in another 5 weeks (second round). I am nervous
about the outcome, it seems to me that people are focusing more on the personality of the
candidates (neither of which got to this point by being particularly popular with anyone)
rather than their plans to get us out of debt and back on track to celebrating our 200th
anniversary with our Carbon Neutrality in place.

Yesterday I wrote a little bit about our small writers group and how one member suggested
we invite others along. Although I am fine with the status quo, I guess it is not entirely up to
me to decide for everyone else.

I have been reading and watching movies that I would not normally watch. I think getting away
from my “Pollyana-like” choices has opened my eyes to a lot of things. Some of the dark humor
contained in the recent movies I’ve watched (plus the fact that they are foreign) has allowed me
to tap into my imagination the way I used to when I was a child. Hopefully this will translate into
some kind of motivation to write more and to write different and to add those necessary traits
that will allow my protagonist to have some depth.


Here we are again, Monday!


It’s a funny thing about Mondays. Here in my country people have a saying: Even chickens don’t lay eggs on Mondays! I guess I always have so many things to do…and in fact, I often go out of my way to program things for Mondays just so I don’t fall into the trap of letting its reputation as a weekend spoiler beat me!

I actually enjoy Mondays. My laundry gets done, my hair gets washed (yes, just once a week because it is dry, very curly and very thick…), my sheets get changed and every other week, I get to socialize with people that I serve on a board of directors with for our local Senior Citizens Residence. My do-good facet.

My thoughts at this moment are jumbled. I have so many things I want to get done in the next few hours but the writing muse calls to me and I find myself unable to go from task to task without sitting down at the computer to write a few words before the muse leaves me.

Right now I am working hard to give more dimension to my fictional protagonist who has been largely ignored by me the last six months. I belong to a small writers group and although I was enthusiastic about the character and the group a year ago when we first formed, now time and life have made me place a hold on my emotions. I know a lot of people who put others on a pedestal when they first meet them, it is not something I am predisposed to do. Perhaps it is because my mother rarely took people at face value and unwittingly passed on those lessons to me by way of direct comment or insinuation. I am not sure where I was going with this thinking, maybe a recent comment from one of our small group that we should invite others to join us made me stop and question some motives.

I have been somewhat instrumental for the creation of the group because I stopped publishing a local e-magazine for which some members wrote. I casually mentioned that we could still continue to write, that perhaps a writers group and blog would be a good idea. A member of the group pounced on this and before we knew it we had five members. We recently took a trip together during which some personality clashes were in evidence because of the amount of time we spent together. So today when the suggestion of adding another (or several) writer was mentioned, I am crediting the trip’s outcome as the driving force. Even though it is not my desire to add more people (the more people the more it takes to do anything), I will keep my thoughts to myself and listen to the reasons, the people being considered and the opinions of the rest of the group. As we are in a democracy, I think the majority should win. I can (and will) continue to be reserved, something I learned at a young age from my dad. I am happy about that being one of my strong traits: the best word is often the one not spoken. image


Another weekend …


They come so quickly, the weekends! On Sunday afternoons, I usually feel the blahs that so
many of us are prone to as we start to make the switch from two days of (mostly) relaxing
to the upcoming obligations of work, school and general parenting.

When I was a young, single gal in “like” with a co-worker, I used to hate weekends and love
Monday mornings! Naturally, it was because my quasi SO would be there to greet me. I am
happy that I have those memories because sometimes I can remember what it felt like to be
excited about Mondays and try to “fool” my brain into thinking all those things that made me
feel giddy will be mine again.

I have not been writing in this blog, although I have been quite busy writing everywhere else.
Ever since I was a child, I have placed many responsibilities on my shoulders, something that
I can’t explain and maybe I shouldn’t try. The reality is that while my siblings were out there
enjoying their allotted 1/3 of the day of “their” time, I was busy doing whatever it took to keep
the home fires burning and the household running smoothly. It was not my job, and in fact
try as I may, I cannot place any blame on my parents for this self-imposed mandate. My
mother worried sometimes that I was not social enough. I never thought of myself as a wall-
flower but I can look back and see that indeed when all my friends were out having fun, I could
be found listening to music in the background while I vacuumed, loaded or emptied the dish-
washer, did the laundry, started dinner, etc. I guess I felt needed in a way and then it just
became a habit so ingrained in me that to this day, I feel I am wasting time if I am not doing
something I consider “productive”.

My life is very different right now. At this moment, my children are grown and living in another
country. We have a wonderful relationship and communicate almost on a daily basis. My husband
in away for the next 12 days or so. We have a dog who is about to turn 8 and of course, I have my
dad who is 89. These are my very strong connections and I love them all. Today, after the cleaning
lady left (my house is spotless for one day!), I realized that I have a very blessed existence. I can
do or not do anything I want after I meet my obligations. I have fed my dog, turned off the water
that is making the lawn a lovely green in this dry weather and am eating a comforting lentil soup
that I made earlier this week. My kitchen is spotless, just the way I like it, no dishes in the sink.
My food plan has been successful this week and for that I am also very glad.

I look forward to this particular weekend because I get to indulge in a massage tomorrow. It has
become a necessity rather than a luxury and I am blessed to be living in a country where household
help and massages are affordable. My writing is coming along and hopefully this weekend will have
me taking out my latest attempt at a novel and begin again to work on it. My protagonist needs to
get some attention, he is so superficial I can’t even fall in love with him, how do I expect my readers
to do so.

Let’s all have a great weekend, and us writers especially! image