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

Monday = Laundry Day!


It’s Monday. The day I do laundry and wash my hair! I have a lot of laundry
to do today because I was away for a good part of last week and I brought home
some of my mother’s clothes so I could wash them and decide what will become
of them. My mother was not too fond of domestic chores: it was my Dad I remember
cleaning our shoes for school and pressing his own clothing, to this day he irons just
like I do.

I remember once commenting to my mother that I enjoyed ironing because it was
a bit therapeutic for me…having all those wrinkles disappear from the clothing and
having a lovely, pressed item hanging in the closet waiting to be worn. She laughed
and told me that she couldn’t think of a bigger waste of time so she always made sure
the labels on the clothing she purchased said “Permanent Press”! I remember how I
chuckled that day, silently scolding her for “believing” everything she read on a label!

My mother was a very liberated woman I do have to admit, and although I never
subscribed to her short cuts in home-keeping (no Martha Stewart complex there!),
I admired her lack of self-consciousness when it came to her “social worker”
personal style of wardrobe. My mother only wore compact powder and bright
lipstick. Her hair was short, and she let it go grey naturally at an early age. She used
Vitapointe hairdressing cream to make her hair shine…I can almost smell it…

Miss you Mom! public domain picture

A slow journey


I went to get a massage for the first time this year. I have been doing so regularly for
the last 10 years or so but since I haven’t been home until this week, I was unable to do
it. It was wonderful. I allowed myself to just drift away under the skilled hands of my
masseuse who has known this wonderful body for the last 10 years. It felt relaxing and
totally necessary.

While I was away taking care of all the necessary documentation after my mom’s passing,
I somehow managed not to eat very much and lost 3 lbs. It is unusual for me to lose that
many lbs. in a matter of days and I was elated when I stepped on the scale after so many
days away. Naturally, this week I have been back to eating more or less “normally” which
means adding the odd chocolate, the extra 4 oz. of wine or being a little more relaxed about
tracking. What has happened is that the scale is not showing any loss, just staying where it
is. I have today and tomorrow to curb the appetite in time for weighing myself on Monday
morning. Although I would love to say that the long-term goal is what matters, the days can
become l-o-n-g when snacks become boring and cooking is on the agenda.

For today, I have logged onto the Weight Watchers Connect section of my on-line Plus
program and I am inspired by people who have to lose so much more weight than I do
and who are not daunted by the sheer numbers. I have downloaded an app (Happy Scale)
which seems like it will allow me to add another dimension while I lose. I know if I work
the program, the program will work for me, as it has done in the past and continues to
for all who really apply it.

My goal is not only to lose weight but to get back on track with my writing, decluttering,
and preparing myself for a television debut in 2019! Best wishes to me, and may I continue
to do this just for me because I know that my health deserves it and that my family can do
with a good example to follow. image

My first post of 2018!


It’s kind of ironic! My last post was on the 30th of December, posting about the birthday
celebration we had for my father. I was excited about the end of 2017, a terrific year for me.
I ended that post by saying that I had my three priorities in a row for 2018 (lose weight,
concentrate my energies on my writing, and tackle my weed-filled small area and turn it
into a beautiful garden.

All plans are made to be changed, and mine were no different. On January 1st, my mother
passed away. Although it was not unexpected since she had been in the last stages of her
very long illness, it was a shock that she died on the first of 2018. It was almost as if she said
to herself “Let my daughter enjoy the end of 2017 since it has been a good year for her, and let
her realize that she has only so much control over some things.” It was so like my Mom.

In any event, we took care of everything related to this life event and after two weeks, I am
finally at home and ready to begin my year anew. It is wonderful to share with you all that
in the last two weeks, I have been careful about what things I put in my mouth and I happily
report that I have lost almost 9 lbs. since the beginning of December of my Weight Watchers
journey. I am thrilled with that number and have already seen the benefits of the weight loss,
not only on how clothes fit me or how I look in the mirror, but also in terms of my self-esteem
and the physical endurance I seem to possess right now.

My mother was my world growing up. I stayed close to her, despite our different perspectives
on many things, for my entire life. Although her illness was hard to watch, I did not ever feel I
would be prepared for her passing. Back in August, I broke down when talking to my daughter
and I shared that I didn’t know how I would face a life without her. But I believe in God, and
God gently nudged me in the direction of acceptance. Seeing my mother’s peaceful countenance
confirmed that she had gone quietly and hopefully without any pain.

I am now the second oldest of the many cousins I have. I might as well be the oldest since my
older sister has more or less abandoned the family. I feel it is a tremendous responsibility but
also a great honor to be the “matriarch” of our tribe…

Happy 2018 to us all.

image: free to use and share

A slow road ahead but doable!


Today was my dad’s birthday. In his honor I made a wonderful lunch, gathered some
friends and family and went to his house armed with plastic plates, cutlery, etc. (to save
clean-up) and we had a blast. My niece took some lovely pictures which were later sent
to me…I have said it before, I cannot accept the person in those pictures as being me…
it is just bizzare. I feel like the normal weight person I was for so many years but pictures
reveal something else.

You know how so many people try to make one feel better by saying, Oh the camera adds
ten pounds, you’re not really that heavy
? Well, I look at everyone else in the picture and
can confirm that how they look in the picture is exactly how they look in “real” life…so it
stands to reason that what I look like in the picture is also how I look in real life.

After almost one month of pretty much tracking my food and staying on the program, I have
lost 4.4 lbs. This is wonderful news, I am not taking anything away from that, obviously I
am on the right track. There is no reason to believe I won’t continue to lose modestly but
lose just the same and that by this time next year, I will be that normal sized gal (or close
to it again. I now have to lose 31 lbs. instead of 35 lbs. and I think that’s great. If I lose
4 lbs. per month, I will do it in less than one year…and who knows, I might actually get
closer to what I really ought to be losing (about 50 lbs.) if I stay on track. As I said, there
is no reason I can’t stay on track, the WW Freedom plan is really just that.

Aside from the project weight loss (which is my priority), I also intend to really work on
two other priorities: making real advancement on my writing AND making a proper small
garden to replace the haphazard weed plot I currently have. I think these three priorities
for 2018 are feasible and I am eagerly anticipating being able to accomplish them. Right
now decluttering is also important but it is no longer my priority. I have lots of room and
feel great, one bag at a time to work on is marvelous and I will start with that.

My very best wishes for all of us for 2018. free to use image

Sudden status quo change…



The sudden rain that fell on our tropical paradise was a huge surprise to us all.
It was also a welcome respite from the heat that had been with us since early this
morning. I sat on my terrace and watched (and felt) the changes in the atmosphere,
concluding with the gathering and dispersing of a rather large flock of small, black
birds. It was fascinating to watch and reminded me that life is made of moments,
moments that can be similar but never identical.

My guitar teacher is in the hospital. The sudden onset of Guillain Barré syndrome has
taken hold of his body and he went from being an active husband, father, teacher to
lying in a bed being taken care of. This mysterious syndrome has changed his life and
the life of his family in a minute…hopefully for a short time perhaps for a long while.
I have great faith in natural healing but from what I have been able to read, treatment
should be swift and involves more than teas and ointments.

These kinds of situations always make me glad that for the most part, I tell people what
I need to tell them when I can. He has been more than a teacher for me, he is my friend,
and I know he feels my support even though I am not nearby.

Do what you can when you can where you can and this way you can sleep a good night. free to use image.


It’s Christmas Eve Eve


Every once in a while I think of myself as a writer. I do write in one way or other every, single
day but because my name does not appear on any of the books I see every day on my bookshelves,
I know myself not to be a “known” author. I have writing materials (in the form of journals, books
on the craft, etc.) that go back to grammar and high school. It is what I have always wanted to do:
tell stories my way, because I am the only one who can tell a story my way. I am not sure why the
profession of journalism never occurred to me. There are some modestly famous musicians in my
family and a published writer or two but for some reason, making music and writing were never
really pushed on us as careers that would put food on the table or clothes on our back.

When our children were young, I pushed out of their minds any thoughts of becoming lawyers or
doctors. I reasoned there were too many doctors and lawyers, well we all know about lawyer jokes,
who wants their children to be the butt of those? Instead, I steered them into the arts: music,
painting, writing, photography. Now, I am not sure if I didn’t fall down on the job and should
have instead suggested they study technology or practical things like plumbing and construction!

My kids are doing okay. At this point in my life, when I have lived more years than are available
to me, I sit back and wonder what would have been my life if I had been more forceful as a child
and insisted on spending my “free” time doing the things I enjoyed instead of having to spend my
vacations and weekends doing chores and taking care of things that I had not signed up for. I hope
I am not sounding bitter, I am very grateful really for the kind of life all those lessons brought me
but today, on the eve of Christmas eve, I am feeling nostalgic for my children and hoping that they
are doing well in their lives at this moment.

Since they are all living in New York City, I haven’t decorated any tree, or hung any lights…and
since I am “dieting” there are no aromas of homemade cookies in the air or the fragrance of any
kind of cider…my husband is napping in our room while I busy myself getting extra rooms ready
for visitors we expect in a day or two. I have never had the luxury to sit and think my thoughts as
I do presently and I am having trouble just sitting with the feelings that not reaching for food is
bringing up. I feel like crying but at the same time, I feel joyful! Go figure. public domain image