Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceAn elderly couple went to church one Sunday.  Halfway through the service the wife leaned over and whispered in her husband’s ear,

I’ve just let out a silent fart, what do you think I should do?”

The husband replied,

“Put a new battery in  your hearing aid.”

Be pro-something instead of anti-something

Helene Gayle, Care USA President and CEO, learned early on in her adult life that giving to others was a necessary part of her participation in this world.  It makes sense, then, that she heads a major international humanitarian agency that delivers emergency relief and long-term development projects.  This organization is nonsectarian, impartial, and non-governmental.  In my estimation, what could be better than that?  In the book, Getting There by Gillian Zoe Segal, Ms. Gayle had this to say about effecting social change:

Social change is better achieved by being for something (rather) than against something. Growing up, I was part of a protest generation. We protested the war and stood in support of liberation struggles in Africa. Whenever we saw a problem, we were “against” it.

It’s easy to think that by being against something you’re standing up for a cause, but if you want to have a greater impact, you need to ask yourself, “What do I stand for and what do I want to happen?”

Angry personIn this world, there exists a me against her/us against them mentality that causes us to lose sight of where our focus should be. Continue reading

Alzheimer’s caregiving: The Art of Lying

Dad, me (unpaid caregiver) and Jenny (paid caregiver) 2006

Dad, me (unpaid caregiver) and Jenny (paid caregiver) 2006

Alzheimer’s Australia | Therapies and communication approaches. Caregivers have it hard enough without having to crawl through the maze of ethical versus practical when it comes to communication.

The above article provides a clear perspective of the challenges inherent with taking care of someone whose reality doesn’t come close to matching that of the caregiver.

Whether you are an unpaid caregiver – someone who cares for a friend or a loved one – or a paid caregiver providing services for which payment is received, you need to embrace the art of lying for your benefit, and that of the person for whom you provide care.

I feel so strongly about this matter, that over the years I’ve written several articles proposing one engage in the fine art of half truths, omitted truths, and out and out lying to save the day.

Here are two articles I think you will find of interest, articles that might just infuse you with the strength to take the low road from time to time:

Honesty is NOT always the best policy;    and

Caregivers: learning from our mistakes.

Definition of sympathy

I am again relying on Dr. Bernie Siegel’s wisdom, found in his book 365 Prescriptions for the Soul, for this post.  The older I get, the more I’m faced with opportunities in which to witness tragedy in the lives of those with whom I come in contact.  Even after all these years, I have to meditate on what a particular person’s tragic situation may mean to him or her so that when we meet in person or by phone, I’ll do and say the right thing.  Here is Dr. Siegel’s take on the matter which I present verbatim:


Sad gumby figureSympathy is not about feeling pity for the person who has experienced a significant loss or problem.  Being “simpatico” is about being congenial, winsome, and pleasant.  To be sympathetic is to connect with the other person so she does not feel isolated by her problem.  If you fear experiencing the other person’s pain, then you will not be able to be sympathetic.

Just as sympathy is not about pity, it is not about denial either.  It is about accepting and relating to the person.  When you do you will experience a fuller life and a feeling of closeness with the other person.  In the sharing of sympathy we learn, and so we move up, in a sense, as human beings.

Caring gumby figuresBeing a sympathetic person will also attract others to you.  They come not to share wounds and complain, but for understanding.  When we are alone in our world and questioning life, a sympathetic word or touch can change our experience and help us to survive.  To be held in the arms of sympathy is a gift that creates true healing.

Soulution of the Day

Be sympathetic in your words and actions, you never know when you may need some sympathy yourself.

Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceReporter: “So you are 100 years old.  How did you manage to live so long?”

Old man: “Well, son, I got married when I was 21.  The wife and I decided that if we had arguments, the loser would take a long walk to get over being mad.  I suppose I have benefited most by 79 years of fresh air.”


Two elderly ladies were discussing the upcoming dance at the country club.

“We’re supposed to wear something that matches our husband’s hair so I’m wearing black,” said Mrs. Smith.

“Oh my,” said Mrs. Jones, “I’d better not go.”

Good citizenship starts young

Operation Good Citizen: Teaching Kids to do the Right Thing in 2015.

Colorful hands of helpA recent article in Parade Magazine spotlighted the efforts of older adults mentoring children on how to be good citizens.  Specifically, Veterans and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients volunteer as mentors in schools across the nation.

The article emphasizes the point that parents and other adult family members should be the main source of such teaching – teachers have enough work to do just getting our children educated – but with a little bit of reinforcement at school, the lesson becomes that much more vital to the young learners. Continue reading

Single ladies, this one’s for you

Fireworks 2What do you look for in a man?  I did a wee bit of internet research and gleaned some listed qualities from websites such as Ask Men, Men’s Health, and Psychology Today.  Here are a few of the qualities listed:

  • passionate
  • humorous
  • faithful
  • dependable
  • mysterious
  • exciting
  • kind
  • generous
  • confident
  • good job

All but two of those qualities were on my list when I was looking for a husband.  Maybe it’s just me, but a man who’s mysterious seems to cancel out a few of the other list-worthy qualities above.  Additionally, I think exciting is completely overrated.

I hit the jackpot when I met my husband.

I don’t wanna brag … who am I kidding, I really wanna brag about my choice in life partners.

Continue reading

Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceTwo elderly women were out driving in a large car. Both could barely see over the dashboard. As they were cruising along, they came to an intersection. The stoplight was red, but they just went on through.

The woman in the passenger seat thought to herself, I must be losing it, I could have sworn we just went through a red light.  After a few more minutes, they came to another intersection and the light was red again. They went right through it. This time, the woman in the passenger seat was almost sure that the light had been red and was really concerned that she was losing it. She was getting nervous and decided to pay very close attention to the road to see what was going on.

At the next intersection the light was definitely red, and sure enough, they went right through again. She turned to the other woman and said, “Mildred! Did you know we just ran through three red lights in a row? You could have gotten us killed!”

Mildred turn to her passenger and said, “Oh my, am I driving?”

Hot and Cold signals

Hot and cold thermometersThe title of this article refers to a game in which temperatures provide guidance for the searcher to locate a particular item or to guess an answer to a query. This concept can also help us pursue appropriate paths on our life journey.

That concept is spotlighted in Dr. Bernie S. Siegel’s commentary provided below, word for word from his book, 365 Prescriptions for the Soul. Continue reading

Getting There – the road to success

This post celebrates my sister, Mary Riesche, of Mary Riesche Studios.

In current society where instant everything is perhaps more coveted than endurance and consistency, it’s a joy to write about success that comes only after many years of hard work and relentless effort.

When you know what turns you on and gives your life purpose, you’ll stop at nothing to fulfill that purpose.

11 Three kids portrait

My sister (on left), my brother, and me

My sister has drawn or painted since she could hold a crayon. She’s just a wee bit older than me so those of you who know how old I am can surmise that my sister has stuck with her artistic endeavors for quite some time.

Perhaps at first, neither Mary nor our parents figured the early talent she exhibited would be more than a passing fancy. (Let’s face it, children change what they want to be when they grow up just about as often as they change their underwear … maybe more frequently.)  Once Mary started to dig in, however, and was enrolled in classes at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, it was obvious to all of us that she was in it for the long haul, in it to win it, full speed ahead … you get the idea.

Courtesy of Mary Riesche Studios

Courtesy of Mary Riesche Studios

I’m currently reading a fabulous book, Getting There, by Gillian Zoe Segal, that follows the sometimes hard luck but always rewarding success stories of several business and entertainment professionals.  Matthew Weiner, Mad Men creator, didn’t become a successful writer with his very first story idea – that would be way too convenient and certainly not a very interesting read.  Getting There spotlights the various roads to success on which men and women have traveled, roads that contained many rejection speed bumps along the way.  He had this to say about overnight success, and I quote verbatim from the book, Continue reading

Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceAn old woman was arrested for shoplifting at a grocery store.  When she appeared before the judge, the judge asked what she had taken.

The lady replied, “A can of peaches.”

The judge asked how many peaches were in the can, she replied, “Nine.”

The judge said, “Well then, I’m going to give you nine days in jail – one day for each peach.”

As the judge was about to drop his gavel, the lady’s husband raised his hand and asked if he might speak.  The judge granted him permission.

The husband said, “Your honor, she also stole a can of peas.”


Valuable acts of kindness

NEVER Underestimate What a Little Kindness Can do.

Caring gumby figuresI’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: every act of kindness we extend to others; every bit of care we provide others, is extremely valuable.

My post Do Little Rather than Nothing suggests that we have the ability to change someone else’s life, 365 days of the year.  The attached article at the top of this post reveals how important one person’s generous act was to someone whose life was about to change forever.

Why do we wait until we can do something grandiose to exert a positive imprint on mankind?  Why do we ignore the multitude of small opportunities presented to us in which we can impact a person’s life for the better?  Whether that opportunity requires we spend 30 cents or 3 minutes on someone in need, we always have a choice of whether or not to allow a momentary inconvenience to be a part of our day – a miniscule inconvenience that nonetheless greatly benefits others. Continue reading

Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceA husband and his wife were sound asleep when suddenly the phone rang.

The husband picked up the phone and said, “Hello? How the heck do I know? What do I look like, a weatherman?” He then slammed the phone down and settled into bed.

“Who was that?” asked his wife.

“I don’t know. It was some guy who wanted to know if the coast was clear.”


As George got out of the shower he said to his wife “Honey, it’s too darned hot to wear clothes today, what do you think the neighbors will say if I mow the lawn naked.”

“That I married you for your money”.

Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceGrandpa was telling his young grandson what life was like when he was a little boy.

“In the winter, we’d ice skate on our pond. In the summer, we could swim in the pond, and pick berries in the woods. We’d also swing on an old tire my dad hung from a tree on a rope. And we had a pony we rode all over the farm.”

The little boy was amazed and sat silently for a minute or two. Finally he said, “Granddad, I wish I’d gotten to know you a lot sooner!”

Research: create a world without Alzheimer’s


Brittany Mosser, from the Washington State Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, summarizes her attendance at the Alzheimer’s International Conference in this Part 1 segment and Part 2 which can be accessed to the right of the page once you’ve clicked on the full version of her article.

Originally posted on ALZWA Blog:

By Brittany Mosser

aaic2012_2The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) is the world’s largest forum where researchers and practitioners from around the world come together to share research results, discuss theories, and collaborate. Last year, AAIC saw exciting announcements about studies suggesting that changes in the sense of smell may indicate the presence of dementia and updates on clinical trials for new medications. This year, AAIC will be held in Washington, D.C. and includes the Dementia Care, Research, and Practice Track to focus on how we currently treat Alzheimer’s, care for caregivers, and respond to the impact of dementia on our broader community. This portion of the conference will explore what are we doing to address the impact of Alzheimer’s now, how well are we doing it, and how can we do it better.

I am incredibly excited to be attending AAIC this year because I feel the urgency for these…

View original 343 more words

Tree of Life

I’m going to once again look to Dr. Bernie S. Siegel, and quote directly from a page in his book, 365 Prescriptions for the Soul.

Tree of Life CStand tall and proud.  Remember your roots!  Be content with your natural Beauty.  Drink plenty of water.  Enjoy the View!  – Illan Shamir, Advice from a Tree

If we are busily performing deeds but never stop to reach up for knowledge and wisdom, our tree of life will have no branches and many roots.  Without branches, how can it move and respond with the winds of life?  Or if we accumulate great knowledge but perform no deeds, then we are like a tree with many branches but no roots, and we will be blown over by the winds of fortune.

We must see that our tree of life contains both wisdom and deeds.  Then our branches will spread and our deep roots will provide support and nourishment.  We will be able to survive the storms and droughts that life presents us.

Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceOn an overseas flight, a lawyer and an older man were in adjoining seats. The lawyer asked the senior if he’d like to play a little game. The older man was tired and told the lawyer he just wanted to sleep.

But the lawyer insisted the game was lots of fun. “Here’s how it works,” he said, “I’ll ask you a question, if you can’t come up with the answer you have to give me a dollar. Then it’s your turn to ask me a question, but if I can’t answer it, I have to give you $20.”

The senior figured if he just got this over with, maybe he could get some sleep, so he agreed to play.  The first question from the lawyer was, “How far apart are the earth and the moon?” Continue reading

Complimentary words from a literary agent

I'm not done yet!

I’m not done yet!

Many of you know I’ve been trolling for an agent since mid-February. Each rejection I receive is a form rejection so said e-mail doesn’t say anything about my writing per se, or the subject matter. The common thread of these rejections is as follows, from a recent rejection I received:

Thanks for sending me REQUIEM FOR THE STATUS QUO.  I wish I could represent every book I enjoy. Because my resources are limited, I can only devote my energy to projects that I feel passionate about, and I’m sorry to say that your book isn’t right for me.  I greatly appreciate having had the opportunity to read your work, and I wish you all the best in finding the right agent and getting published.

I follow many agents on Twitter; one such agent is Janet Reid who also runs her infamous Query Shark site where writers’ query letters are critiqued, criticized, and cut to pieces. Janet runs a flash fiction contest every once in awhile, providing 5 words that must be used within a 100 words or less story. The 5 words can be used in whichever form we choose, but they must be used, and there’s a short window of time in which to submit the piece.  These were the words for the most recent contest posted over the weekend:


Here was my submission:

Gloria never dressed to draw attention; her style was more Quaker Gray than Newfangled Bright, so it was a stretch parading around in a matching orange blouse and pants. A this point, however, she was ready to tear herself away from them.

She looked forward to replacing the wrist bangle she currently sported so beautifully, with a Star Wars-type ankle dongle. Gloria didn’t know how her old man would take to the addition, but he always was kinda kinky; ten to one odds he’d get turned on by her new look.

“Inmate 563214, you’re free to go.”

Okay, now the exciting part. Continue reading

Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceHospital rules state that patients checking out must have a wheelchair.

One day a newly graduated nurse assistant came into the room to find an elderly man fully dressed. He was sitting on the bedside chair with a piece of packed luggage at his side, all ready to go.

When he was shown the wheelchair, he was adamant that he was fully capable of walking himself to the parking lot.  But the assistant told him rules were rules, so he relented and let her wheel him out.

In the elevator, the assistant asked the elderly man if his wife was coming to meet him.

“I don’t think so,” he replied, “It takes her awhile to change her clothes, so she’s probably still upstairs in the bathroom taking off her hospital gown and getting dressed.”

A cure for the workaholic

There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Stack of office papersYour To-Do list seems to grow longer with every passing day.

Your daily or weekly “free” time gets shorter and shorter.

Cluttered office deskYou juggle so many tasks and responsibilities, you’re starting to lose track of the important things in your life.

Take the following test to determine if you’re a workaholic.  Does this scenario, or a scenario like it, sound all too familiar?

If it frustrates you that they don’t allow laptops on a Ferris wheel, you may be a workaholic.  – Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

How’d you do?Ferris wheel

Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceMany weddings take place during the summer months. Here’s some humor for the young and old alike:

A minister was called to a local nursing home to perform a wedding. An anxious old man met him at the door. The pastor sat down to counsel the future groom and asked a few questions:

  • “Do you love her?”                               “I guess.”
  • “Is she a God-fearing woman?”         “Don’t know.”
  • “Then why are you marrying her?”  “She can drive.”

* * * * * *

A husband and wife were at a party chatting with some friends when the subject of marriage counseling came up.

“Oh, we’ll never need that,” said one of the women.  “My husband and I have a great relationship.  He was a communications major in college and I majored in theater arts.”

My nation’s symbol

Bald eagleHow much do you know about the Bald Eagle? Here are some facts to add to your knowledge:

  • Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson served on the committee that picked the eagle for the national seal. (Franklin wanted the turkey);
  • Bald eagles have few natural enemies and only live in North America;
  • They get their white head and tail feathers between the age of 4 and 5 years old;
  • Bald eagles are not, and never were, bald. The term comes from when “bald” meant “white-headed”;
  • Their maximum speed: 40 mph or over 100 mph while in a dive;
  • They can lift roughly half their body weight;
  • The bald eagle is no longer considered endangered, only threatened;
  • The only other kind of eagle in North America is the golden eagle;
  • Bald eagles mate for life, but if one dies, the survivor will accept a new mate;
  • It is a felony to shoot an eagle.

American flag fieldHappy Birthday United States of America!

July 4, 2015

Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceHere’s a myth to ponder, covered in a parable:

Once, in the 1820’s, a little boy named Sam was playing in the yard behind his house. In the course of his activities, he knocked over the outhouse. Sam was upset and worried that he would get into a heap of trouble so he ran into the woods, not coming out until after dark.  His dad was waiting for him when he got home.

“Son, did you knock over the outhouse this afternoon?”

“No, pa,” Sam lied.

“Well, let me tell you a story,” said the father. “Once, many years ago, George Washington received a shiny new axe from his father. Excited, he tried it out on a tree, cutting it down. With dismay, George realized it was his mother’s favorite cherry tree, and like you, Sam, he ran into the woods. When the young man returned, the father asked if he had cut down the cherry tree, to which the son responded, ‘Father, I cannot tell a lie. I did indeed chop down the tree.’ Since Washington was honest with his father, the son was spared punishment.

“So, Sam, did you knock down the outhouse?”

“Pa, I cannot tell a lie, I did indeed knock down the outhouse.”

With that, Sam’s father put him over his knee and applied the paddle to his rump.

“Pa, I told you the truth, why did you spank me?”

“Because George Washington’s father wasn’t in the tree when he chopped it down.”

How’s Karma treating you?

Dahlia flower globeGood Karma for Mrs. Sherman. If you think what you do – great or small – has little effect on the world at large, think again.  The attached article by author Brad Meltzer tells a story that will make you a firm believer in the theory that the order of the universe isn’t random, it’s prescribed and you are one of the prescribers. (Please read this very brief commentary, then read Mr. Metzer’s fabulous article as a treat for your efforts.)

Here’s an excerpt from Mr. Meltzer’s article in which Brad illustrates the best lesson of all:

When you do something good in the world, it brings out the good in others. And it always, eventually, spreads good elsewhere.

Wouldn’t you rather be an instrument for good, rather than evil?  If you aspire to make an impact on the world, what kind of imprint are you leaving? Are you waiting for the right time to do something grandiose to benefit mankind, or are you doing important deeds on a daily basis, regardless of how small?

You might say, “I always do good things for others but rarely get to see the impact of those good actions.”

Continue reading

Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceSome puns make you wanna scream. I hope these make you laugh:

  • I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.
  • He drove his expensive car into a tree and found out how the Mercedes bends.
  • Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.
  • A cardboard belt would be a waist of paper.
  • He wears glasses during math class because it improves division.
  • Two peanuts were walking in a tough neighborhood and one of them was a-salted.
  • Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now.
  • When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, UCLA.
  • It was an emotional wedding. Even the cake was in tiers.
  • Those who throw dirt are sure to lose ground.
  • When the waiter spilled a drink on his shirt, he said, “this one’s on me.”

Cheers everyone, and have a great week!

Test your ice cream knowledge

Ice cream coneWith summer upon us, we’re sure to stock our freezers with some sort of frozen confection: ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, ice cream bars.  My oh my, the possibilities are absolutely astonishing!  The latest issue of Food Network Magazine provides some tasty statistics for your educational entertainment.  The next time you have a family gathering, test your guests’ preferences; see how close they come to the Food Network fans’ tastes:

Casual vs addictive ice cream eater: 74% have at least one carton of ice cream in their freezer right now … 6% have at least four!

Ice cream sundaeFavorite toppings: fudge at 57%; caramel at 20%; other (?) at 18%; and butterscotch at 5%.

Types & cones: scooped ice cream 74% and soft-serve 26%; waffle cone 61%, sugar cone 28%, and cake cone 11%.

Plain or fancy: 55% prefer ice cream with stuff in it (like chocolate chips); 45% like it unadulterated.  Continue reading

Caregivers: take a bow

1st place ribbon - CopyApplause. Please, please, please read the attached mini-article written by a 30-something year old blogger who is taking care of her mother who has Alzheimer’s.

I’ve written about how important it is to do good things, say nice things, and appreciate the people around you. There’s a group of people out there that could really use some of those good vibes: family caregivers. You encounter them everywhere you go. You may not know they’re caregivers, but believe me, if you build them up, rather than tear them down, you will have done a very good thing.  You might be just the person she/he needs to get through a very trying day.

The next time you leave your house, set out to make someone’s day. Don’t rely on some other stranger to do it; it’s up to you. 

Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceMeanings of some commonly used words that have a cynical bent to them:

  • Cigarette: A pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire at one end and a fool at the other.
  • Divorce: Future tense of marriage.
  • Lecture: An art of transferring information from the notes of the Lecturer to the notes of the students without passing through the minds of either.
  • Conference: The confusion of one man multiplied by the number present.
  • Conference room: A place where everybody talks, nobody listens, and everybody disagrees later on.
  • Compromise: The art of dividing a cake in such a way that everybody believes he got the biggest piece.
  • Tears: The hydraulic force by which masculine will-power is defeated by feminine water power.
  • Dictionary: A place where success comes before work.
  • Classic: A book which people praise but do not read.
  • Smile: A curve that can set a lot of things straight.
  • Office: A place where you can relax after your strenuous weekend.
  • Yawn: The only time some married men ever get to open their mouth.

I told you they were cynical.

What are you: a builder-upper or a tearer-downer?

Every day, and every encounter during each day, we have the opportunity to do good, or to do bad; to improve upon someone’s day, or ruin it for them.

Right now, or at the end of this day, think about the opportunities presented to you.  Now think of what you allowed to come forth.

Did you let a car get into your lane when a person was trying to get out of a business parking lot on a very busy street while you were in a hurry, and perhaps running late, and therefore had every reason not to stop for five seconds to allow that car into the flow of traffic?

Depending upon how you acted in that situation, the driver of that car felt this way:

Happy man

or the driver of that vehicle felt this way:

Sad manHe may even have felt this way: Swearing man

which would eventually make him feel this way:

Depressed man

How did you fare today?

  • Just for today, let go of anger.
  • Just for today, let go of worry.
  • Just for today, give thanks for your many blessings.
  • Just for today, do your work honestly.
  • Just for today, be kind to your neighbor and every living thing.

And do it again tomorrow and the next day.

Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceYou might notice this time of year that policemen are being more attentive and good and ready to hand out tickets to offending drivers.  Check out these two instances:

A driver tucked this note under the windshield wiper of his automobile.  “I’ve circled the block for 20 minutes.  I’m late for an appointment, and if I don’t park here I’ll lose my job.  Forgive us our trespasses.”

When he came back he found a parking ticket and this note: “I’ve circled the block for 20 years, and if I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll lose my job.  Lead us not into temptation.”   And here’s another one … Continue reading