Family: a constant in my life

I have always valued my family, but maybe it’s my getting older – not ancient, just getting older like the rest of you – that causes that value to increase exponentially.

Irene & Jerry cocktail timeBetween my husband and I, we have three daughters and two sons-in-law, with one grand baby to make his or her appearance early May 2017.


Erin & he

Irene’s daughter, Erin & her husband Kirby Green

Lainey & TJ Piland

Jerry’s daughter, Lainey & her husband TJ Piland

Lainey, Jerry, & Jerry’s daughter Kirstin

Between Jerry and I we have three brothers and four sisters, plus all our siblings’ spouses (I apologize for not having photos of Jerry’s oldest brother, Leonard and his wife, Libby)

Irene, Don, & Mary

Irene w/her brother and sister: Don, & Mary

Tricia & Ed Hamman; Sherry & Brad Menz; Jim & Wendy Junger

Dave Olson (also see below); Tricia & Ed Hamman; Sherry & Brad Menz; Jim & Wendy Junger

Gayle & Dave Olson

Gayle & Dave Olson

And lots of nieces and nephews (and grand nieces and grand nephews) because that’s what happens when your brothers and sisters get married and have kids.

There’s really no grand purpose in posting this family portrait, other than to express gratitude that I have so many family members in my life.

I am so rich as a result and I value every moment I spend with them.



Lighten up Mondays

landscape-536173_1280Christmas and Hanukah are right around the corner. As such, there will be shopping to do. Whether you shop much or very little, I hope the following humor tickles your funny bone.


Fun things to do at a department store:

  1. Set all the alarm clocks to go off at ten minute intervals throughout the day.
  2. Tune all the radios to a polka station, turn them all off, and turn the volumes up to 10.
  3. Try on bras over the top of your clothes.
  4. Walk up to an employee and tell him in an official tone, “I think we’ve got a Code 3 in Housewares” and see what happens.
  5. Walk up to complete strangers and say, “Hi! I haven’t seen you in so long!” See if they play along to avoid embarrassment.
  6. Leave small sacrifices or gifts in the hands of the store mannequins.
  7. As the cashier runs your purchases over the scanner, look mesmerized and say, “Wow, magic!”
  8. Move “Caution: Wet Floor” signs onto carpeted areas.
  9. Play with the calculators so that they all spell “hello” upside down.
  10. Take up an entire aisle in Toys by setting up a full scale battlefield with GI Joes vs the X-Men.
  11. While handling guns in the hunting department, suddenly ask the clerk if he knows where the anti-depressants are.
  12. Dart around suspiciously while humming the theme from Mission Impossible.
  13. When an announcement comes over the loudspeaker, assume the fetal position and scream, “No, no! It’s those voices again!”
  14. Ask other customers if they have any Grey Poupon.
  15. Relax in the patio furniture until you get kicked out.
  16. Challenge other customers to duels with tubes of gift wrap.
  17. Ride a display bicycle through the store; claim you’re taking it for a test drive.   and last and certainly least …
  18. Grab boxes of condoms and randomly put them in peoples carts when they’re not looking.

Donald J. Trump: public servant

donald-trump-1332922_640Mr. Trump works for you whether or not you voted for him.

The supporters to which he spoke during his campaign – and those he spoke down to – are his boss.

We are the collective CEO of Donald Trump, a public servant who will occupy the highest office of the government sector. As such, he must serve us; all of us.

He must serve me.

He doesn’t have the liberty to serve a select few. Oh, he may try – which no doubt some past Presidents have endeavored to do –  but as an employee of the United States he will be held to task. If he doesn’t do his job well, he will be fired and we’ll be the one firing him. As a matter of fact, I would imagine right about now many of his supporters are feeling jilted as Mr. Trump pulls back on many of the campaign promises he made to them; campaign rhetoric designed to get elected that did its job and is no longer pertinent. Perhaps his supporters will become his most vocal critics.

One of the promises he made to the citizens of our country is that he would never go near his company once he became President of the United States because the job of President requires and deserves all of his attention.

All of his attention?

  • According to a few of the latest news posts, he’s already talked about using the White House to run his businesses, and he also appears to be involving his children in the running of yours and my country;
  • His son, Donald Trump Jr., executive vice-president in the Trump organization, traveled to Paris last month to hold private discussions with diplomats, businessmen and politicians that focused in part on finding a way to cooperate with Russia to end the war in Syria, even though the current President of the United States terminated talks with Russia that same month due to a Russian-backed bombing campaign in Aleppo; (WSJ, 11/23/2016)
  • Ivanka Trump, another executive vice-president in the Trump organization, has sat in on her father’s meetings and phone calls with several world leaders since his election; (WSJ, 11/23/2016)
  • Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, is one of the president-elect’s most trusted advisors, as he was during candidate Trump’s campaign. Because of Mr. Kushner’s loyalty, president-elect Trump is considering giving him the highest level of security clearance.

And that bothers me. How close to the chest is Mr. Trump holding his cards about all the top secret, confidential, and dangerous information he has been given since becoming president-elect? If his children are gathering around his throne and being given their own scepters, how can they be shielded from that which they have no right to know? Will all of his children receive top security clearance, thus enabling them to have information to which most, if not all children of past presidents, have never been privy? How does one contain the dissemination of such information when an inordinate amount of Trump family members conduct their lives amongst thousands of people in their business and social circles?

donald-trump-1818953_640No elected President should assume that he or she can rewrite the job description for the leader of the United States of America. Just because that person has been CEO in the business arena, doesn’t mean he can be CEO of our country. I have to wonder if someone with that much power in the private sector is capable of being the true public servant required of our country’s President. That remains to be seen, but the evidence collected thus far makes such a task appear difficult at best, and in the worse case scenario, utterly impossible.

On June 14th, 2006, Senator Barack Obama delivered what has been characterized as the Take Back America speech. The following excerpt, towards the very end of his speech, encouraged me then, and now serves to be the foundation upon which I base my prayers for our country:

barack-obama-1174489_640Ladies and gentlemen, this is our time. Our time to make a mark on history. Our time to write a new chapter in the American story. Our time to leave our children a country that is freer and kinder, more prosperous and more just than the place we grew up.

And then someday, someday, if our kids get the chance to stand where we are and look back at the beginning of the 21st century, they can say that this was the time when America renewed its purpose.

They can say that this was the time when America found its way.

They can say that this was the time when America learned to dream again.

Our country is only as good as the people who live in it – not just those who govern it. It is my sincere hope and prayer that kindness and love trumps hatred, that community drives out divisiveness, and that doing what is best for our nation is Priority Number One to those who have a say in the matter.


Lighten up Mondays

landscape-536173_1280Tis the season to do lots of festive things, one of which is eating.

A professional dietitian was lecturing in front of a group of people who wanted to lose weight.

“The food we eat is so bad for us, that it will still hurt our health several years down the road,” she said.

“Sugary drinks eat up the lining of our stomach, processed food is full of chemicals, meat is full of preservatives, and even our water is filled with germs. And I haven’t even gotten to fatty foods yet! Do you know which type of dessert will give you the most troubles and suffering for many years after you’ve eaten it?”

The whole group fell silent, until an 80-year-old man sitting in the back stood up and said: “A wedding cake…”


A wife left a note on the fridge door saying: “This isn’t working, I’m leaving.” The husband opened the door and the darn thing was working just fine!


The reason animals don’t need to diet is that it’s hard to keep tabs on their eating habits. Imagine for a moment, what your dog’s food journal would look like:

Dear diary, today I ate the food in my bowl, half of the cat’s food as well as some poop nuggets from its litter box, the crust of two sandwiches that were in the sink, one tea bag from the trash, three flies, and a green rubber ball. How many calories is that?


Good news and not so good news

Caution Speed BumpA writer’s journey frequently contains many potholes, speed bumps, hairpin turns, and dead ends. For those who have yet to be published, what it rarely contains are successes and affirmations.

I received some not-so-good news the other day, and some good news.

The not so good news is that an agent I had hoped to secure contacted me about my second novel with a rejection. Wait, that’s not exactly true, he said he could not represent me at this time but he wanted to help me.

For those of you not familiar with the publishing business, 99% of all queries sent to agents are rejected. They receive thousands of queries (letters with sample pages) per year. Many are rejected because the writer didn’t thoroughly research an agent and therefore sent him or her sample pages for a genre the agent does not represent. An overwhelming amount of writers are rejected because they can’t even write a one-page query letter without mistakes that certainly might characterize what the writer’s entire manuscript may be like. And others are rejected because it just wasn’t a good fit for the agent or the agency … whatever that means.

magnifier-424567_640Before I contact an agent I research him or her like a detective looking for a stray hair of evidence. I read interviews they have given, I follow them on Twitter to see how they conduct themselves on social media, I check databases for the titles they do represent, I do Google searches to learn of any hidden matters I should know that may make this agent someone I could work with, or someone I wouldn’t even want to stand in line behind at the happiest place on earth, Disneyland.

Eric is an agent I felt I would be honored to work with and I was right. He proved it that day when he e-mailed me, asking me to call him at his office in New York. I contacted him one and a half hours later – I had to ground myself before jumping into that conversation.

He started out by saying that I am well-loved by many people in New York. (I follow lots of New York industry people on Twitter and they follow me and apparently they like what they read on my blog.) He provided a genuine invitation to New York, saying should I visit his city, he would love to see me.

He then told me that he never calls writers he has chosen to reject. He doesn’t have the time or inclination to do so. But I was different.

“You have an excellent writing voice … You are an excellent writer, and because of that, I want to help you.”

He then provided substantive suggestions on how I may improve on my character development, point of view (writing in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person), ways to improve the dialogue so that it is less expository and more descriptive. He said if I work on my second novel incorporating his suggestions he would like me to resubmit that novel. When I asked if I could submit my third novel when it’s completed and submission-worthy, he said, “Absolutely.”

A couple hours later, I wrote him an e-mail letter, thanking him for providing constructive editorial suggestions, and almost more importantly, for affirming my abilities. He replied that it was a pleasure and an honor to do so, and that he looked forward to speaking with me again.

Maya Angelou is quoted as saying,

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

I’ve considered those sentiments as applying to the way I conduct myself in this world. I am a work in progress. I learn from my mistakes and nine times out of ten, I do better the next time. When I make mistakes and am not aware of them, however, I have no choice but to keep repeating those errors until either I discover the errors on my own or someone makes me aware of them.

I have queried two novels thus far and have received close to one hundred rejections, rejections that gave me no clue as to why those novels didn’t appeal to an agent; absolutely no input as to what I might do differently. So I kept writing and editing, and querying.

Thanks to Eric I can do better because I know better. And although I am seriously disappointed in not being someone he can represent at this time, I am encouraged because according to one agent who took the time to speak with me, I have what it takes to get published.

Color me grateful. Color me blessed. Color me proud.

I'm not done yet!

I’m not done yet!


Lighten up Mondays

landscape-536173_1280Happy Thanksgiving 2016 one and all. Here’s to hoping it won’t take you long at all to think about that for which you are grateful.

“Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes. Football game half-times take 12 minutes. This is not coincidence.”—Erma Bombeck

“If you wish to make an apple pie truly from scratch you must first invent the universe.”—Carl Sagan

“You can tell you ate too much for Thanksgiving when you have to let your bathrobe out.”—Jay Leno

“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”—Jon Stewart

“I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.”—Erma Bombeck




Lighten up Mondays

landscape-536173_1280A wife sent her husband, who was pulling the late shift at work, the following text: “Windows frozen.”

The husband responded, “Put some warm water over them.”

A few minutes later, his wife sent this text: “Okay, the computer is totally messed up now.”


A truck was traveling through town when the driver stopped at a red light.

A woman jumped out of her car, ran up to the driver of the truck, and said, “Mr. you’re losing part of your load”. She jumped back into her car and followed the truck to the next light.

She jumped out of her car again and ran up to the driver’s window, “Mr. you’re losing part of your load.”

The same thing happened for 7 stops, finally at the 8th stop, the woman ran up to the truck driver’s window, but before she could say anything, the driver said,


Loving kindness encounter we all need to witness

“…on my flight back to Georgia I saw this man, who was a stranger to this woman, offer to help her because she was pregnant and alone on the flight and her son was upset and fussy. He did not complain, he just told her that he was a DAD, and wanted to help her […]

via “Big UPS to this DAD and all the DADS out there”… — Kindness Blog

Lighten up Mondays

landscape-536173_1280You know what today is: the day before we all praise the heavens the election is over, and curse the results if they don’t go our way. Hope these humorous quips help you through the process.

Two friends with radically different political views are on their way to the polls on election day. One guy turns to the other and says “You know, we’ve argued about this for months, and we’re obviously going to vote for different candidates. Our votes will cancel each other out anyways, so why don’t we just call it a draw and go home instead?” Other guy agrees, they shake hands and part ways.

Another guy who overheard the conversation approaches the dealmaker and says with admiration, “That’s a real sportsmanlike offer you just made!” “Not really,” the guy says, “I’ve made that offer three times already today.”


“Daddy,” a little girl asked her father, “do all fairy tales begin with ‘Once upon a time’? ”

“No, sweetheart,” he answered. “Some begin with ‘If I am elected.'”


1. The problem with political jokes is they get elected. —Henry Cate, VII

2. I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them. —Adlai Stevenson

3. Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you. —Author Unknown

4. George Washington is the only president who didn’t blame the previous administration for his troubles. —Author Unknown

5. If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it. —Mark Twain

6. Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. —George Carlin

7. There are always too many Democratic congressmen, too many Republican congressmen, and never enough US congressmen. —Author Unknown

8. We stand today at a crossroads: One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice. —Woody Allen

9. If you put your politicians up for sale, as the US does … then someone will buy them — and it won’t be you; you can’t afford them. —Juan Cole

10. When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators. —J. O’Rourke

11. In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem. —George Carlin

12. The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. —Winston Churchill

13. Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge. —Isaac Asimov

14. Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half. —Gore Vidal

15. A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election. —Bill Vaughan

16. If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side. —Orson Scott Card

17. A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation. —James Freeman Clarke

Shouting emoticon

Lighten up Mondays

landscape-536173_1280Happy Halloween y’all!

Why did the mummy not have any friends? Because he was all wrapped up in himself.

What road has the most ghosts haunting it? A dead end.

What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter? Pumpkin pi.

What breed of dog does Dracula have? A bloodhound.

What do you get when you cross Bambi with a ghost? Bamboo.

What happened to the guy who didn’t pay his exorcist? He was repossessed.

What do you get when you cross a teacher and a vampire? A blood test.

halloween-1743226_640And finally …

Why is a cemetery a great place to write a story? Because there are so many plots there.



I miss getting high

I got REAL high on this hike

I got REAL high on this hike

It’s true. I haven’t experienced the high I get while hiking in the Pacific Northwest since our end of September hiking adventure. Shortly after that hike we traveled to Hawaii for a couple weeks and the two hikes we had planned to complete there were a bust.

On the Big Island of Hawaii the heat and humidity were the hike-spoilers for us. We’re not fair weather hikers – we’ve hiked in the rain and extremely cold temperatures before – but heat is a deal breaker for us. Even in Washington state we hike early in the day or not at all if temps on the trail will be 80 or above.

img_0151Then on the island of Maui – where temps near Haleakala crater were guaranteed to be in the 50s – we gathered our gear, climbed into our rental car, drove up eight miles of a single lane, severe hairpin-turn paved road, only to arrive at the dirt road that would lead us to the trailhead and find it was only traversable by 4-wheel drive vehicle. We’re veteran hikers so as I always do before a hike, I checked the trip reports and the State of Hawaii hike descriptions for any pertinent info we might need for that day’s adventure. There was no mention of the hazards requiring a 4-wheel drive vehicle and we sure as hell didn’t want to place our rental vehicle in jeopardy so we turned around.

That's Mt. Rainier, folks. Our early August hiking destination.

That’s Mt. Rainier, folks, where we hiked early August

Disappointing, but at least I knew the week after we returned from our vacation we’d be scheduling a hike that would once again expose us to the expansive beauty we’ve grown to appreciate during our weekly hiking adventures.

Me & my hiking partner/hubby, on the Lake Twenty Two hike.

Me & my hiking partner/hubby, on the Lake Twenty Two hike.

Fast forward to the morning after our late night return when yours truly missed the last stair as I ambled down to the first floor of our house and twisted my left ankle. Mind you, this is the same ankle that has managed to climb over rocks and boulders with nary an ankle tweak; an ankle that has even managed to jump off said boulders victorious and proud to be alive!


Kendall Katwalk that was NOT a cake walk

And let’s not forget THIS adventure where I conquered massive challenges and came out smelling like roses – or at least without any mangled body parts.

Alas, I accept my lot in life – knowing it’s only temporary – but not knowing how one might define “temporary” is a bit troubling for this Rocky Mountain High-kind of person.

img_0199Yep, I miss and crave the hiking high I’ve grown to love this past year, but there’s no need to feel sorry for me. My current situation has forced me to finalize the preparations leading up to writing my third novel in the 2016 NaNoWriMo month-long competition that begins November 1st.

I guess this is what was supposed to happen in order for me to write that bestseller over which publishers will surely clamber! If that’s the case I can be grateful that it will be awhile before I can satisfy my addictive cravings.

My vote counts

My vote does not count because I am a woman.

My vote does not count because one candidate for US president, of two, happens to be a woman. 

american-flag-fieldFortunately, I have a brain that is independent of gender issues, such as, if you’re a man, you most certainly vote for a male candidate and if you’re a woman, you most CERTAINLY vote for the female candidate.

I watched NBC national news tonight where an inference regarding women voting for the candidate with a vagina was a done-deal.

Seriously? So we’re voting with our sexual organs now?

Not me.

Not ever.

Please, give me more credit. Because if I vote for a candidate, I’m doing so because that person most-accurately represents what I represent. That person, more or less, speaks for me.

That spokesperson could be a candidate with a penis.

That spokesperson could be someone who doesn’t have a penis.

This year, that person doesn’t happen to have a penis.

I forgive my husband for putting my jeans in the dryer

I sprained my ankle a few days ago so my mobility has been a wee bit restricted. My husband, my wonderful husband, has taken over ALL chores that we would normally split.

jeans-564089_640Said splitting includes laundry matters. I ventured out today for the first time in several days, driving and getting rid of to-dos on Irene’s to do list.  Upon my return home, my most fabulous husband had cleared out all the baskets of soiled laundry needing attention and it wasn’t until I pulled items out of the dryer that I discovered he had washed and dried a pair of my jeans.

Now, living in the Pacific Northwest most people  – male and female – own several pairs of denim pants. I own several but fortunately there was only one pair of my denim extremity-covers in the laundry basket. Apparently I own sufficient pairs of jeans that I can go a few days without wondering “what will I wear today?”

Anyway, the good news is that with all the hiking my husband and I have been doing, my jeans no longer fit my svelte body so more likely than not the jeans he washed and dried will fit me perfectly.

As for me? I’m not going to try on the machine-dried pair because I don’t want to discourage my husband’s generosity which pretty much year round – regardless of my physical limitations  – is front and center 24/7.

So, thus said, I abdicate any perceived perfectly good reason to complain about my jeans.

After all, my most extraordinary husband was only doing what he felt would benefit me most. And jeans-fit or not, I’ve already benefitted.

Lighten up Mondays

landscape-536173_1280I’m in a medical humor kind of mood so here’s something to tickle your funny bone if it needs tickling:

Mr. Smith was brought to the hospital and taken quickly in for heart surgery. The operation went well and as the old man regained consciousness he was reassured by a hospital staff person – who was also a Catholic nun – that everything went well.

“Mr. Smith, you’re going to be just fine,” said the nun, gently patting his hand. “We do need to know, however, how you intend to pay for your stay here. Are you covered by insurance?”

“No, I’m not,” the man whispered hoarsely.

“Then can you pay in cash?” persisted the nun.

“I’m afraid I cannot, Sister.”

“Well, do you have any close relative?” the nun questioned sternly.

“Just  my sister in New Mexico, but she’s a humble spinster nun, just like yourself.”

“Oh, I must correct you, Mr. Smith, nuns are not spinsters, they are married to God.”

“Wonderful,” said Mr. Smith, “In that case, please send the bill to my brother-in-law.”

Coming down off the ledge



The ledge to which I refer could be an actual ledge or it could be emblematic of an instance where the “woe is me” reflex actively takes over the peace and calm in which you luxuriated just seconds before.

If you’re like me in these instances – and I sincerely hope you are not – you assume the worst and project a dire outcome. This outcome projection may be somewhere near close to death, or even death itself if your imagination has its way with you. And guess what? If you’re like me – and this time I hope you are like me – you discover you were armed for bear but hunting squirrel.

Translation: your freak-out had no foundation on which to stand.

But we can get caught up in the emotion of it all, or the excruciating pain experience, and we start writing our obituary and wondering which photo should be included therein.

Case in point but definitely not as serious as death: my husband and I came back from a delightful two week vacation in Hawaii last week, arriving very late Wednesday evening, crawling into bed very early Thursday morning, one of us waking up mid-morning Thursday, ambling down the stairs for a cup of coffee, and missing the bottom stair.

Kerplunk!! Ass on the foyer hardwoods, my left ankle disgustingly twisted.

Quick action was required: plop my foot/leg on a pile of pillows and surround the mangled extremity with ice packs, of which we have many. Husband sitting to my right holding my hand – the perfect calming influence for me – me wondering if we’d be heading to the ER posthaste and should I change out of my nightclothes prior to doing so? And what about brushing my teeth? Should I forego such niceties?

Just one hour later having eased into being in the present moment rather than in some future moment, a trip to the ER became just a fantasy element of my creative literary mind. My ankle hurt like hell, but let’s face it, I was able to walk on it and if it were broken such efforts would have resulted in me landing on my derriere yet again because of a compromised bone structure required to prevent such a fall.

I did go to the doctor the following day just to make sure it wasn’t broken because I didn’t want to head into the weekend with that unknown looming over my head. And I’m glad I saw Dr. Liu, had I not, I wouldn’t have been able to add the following fashion accessory to my wardrobe:


I’m doing better with the armed for bear scenario ever since I started living the principles outlined in Ariel and Shya Kane’s many books, including Practical Enlightenment. I have a long way to go toward living in the moment 24/7, but I’m getting there faster than I would have in years past. And that’s a very good thing because where I live, bears and squirrels exist in abundance, and I’d rather not tangle with either of them.

The importance of good neighbors

House with green roofIn keeping with my Friday/weekly posting of articles that celebrate doing good and loving our neighbors, I am reposting this piece from December 2014 that encourages reaching out to those whom we see – however casually – on an ongoing basis in our neighborhoods. We just came back from 10 days away from home and our neighbors not only monitored our house, but when the region was threatened with a storm, they took pictures of the front and back of our house and texted them to us to show our house was still standing. So generous.

I love the fact that my husband and I have a wonderfully supportive group of neighbors in my rural Redmond, Washington location.  The houses in my neighborhood are quite spread out, but within the …

Source: The importance of good neighbors

Lighten up Mondays

landscape-536173_1280Traveling jokes, Part Two:

An airplane was already virtually full and in danger of exceeding its baggage allowance when a last-minute passenger asked for the one remaining ticket.

The clerk was unsure whether to give the passenger a ticket, so he asked him: “Do you mind me asking how much you weigh?”

“With or without the clothes?” asked the passenger.

“Well,” said the clerk, “How do you intend to travel?”


A group of tourists were trapped by an avalanche in Switzerland. After three hours, a Saint Bernard arrived with a keg of brandy tied under its chin.

“Hooray!” cried one of the tourists. “Here comes man’s best friend!”

“Yes,” said another, “And look at the size of the dog that’s bringing it!” Fabulous post. Enjoy.

Lighten up Mondays

landscape-536173_1280Since I’m on the road/on vacation while today’s post appears, I thought I’d provide a couple traveling jokes:

A cop pulls over a carload of nuns. Cop: “Sister, this is a 65 MPH highway — why are you going so slow?”

 Sister: “Sir, I saw a lot of signs that said 22, not 65.”

Cop: “Oh sister, that’s not the speed limit, that’s the name of the highway you’re on!

Sister: “Oh! Silly me! Thanks for letting me know. I’ll be more careful.”

At this point the cop looks in the backseat where the other nuns are shaking and trembling.  Cop:  “Excuse me, Sister, what’s wrong with your friends back there? They’re shaking something terrible.”

 Sister: “Oh, we just got off of highway 119.”

On a rural road a state trooper pulled this farmer over and said: “Sir, do you realize your wife fell out of the car several miles back?” To which the farmer replied: “Thank God, I thought I had gone deaf!”

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

Dahlia flower globeI published this post in June of 2015. I am re-blogging it today as part of my weekly effort to propose – and promote – kindness. Just as we have the ability to recognize happiness in our own daily lives, we can also nurture a better quality of life in others, one small act of kindness at a time.

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, thi…

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

Lighten up Mondays

landscape-536173_1280There’s nothing funny about the government or politics … or is there?

I only watch the History Channel. Their news is less depressing because I know we already survived it.


Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for President and fifty for Miss America?


A foreign visitor was being given a tour of Washington, D.C. one day by an American friend of hers. She was amazed at the size of the monuments, the congressional buildings, and so forth. Finally, she gazed upon the Capital Building and said, “My, that’s an incredibly large building!”

“Yes, it’s pretty big, I guess,” said her American friend.

“Big? It’s huge!!! About how many people work in there?” she asked.

“Oh, about half,” she responded.


A busload of politicians were driving down a country road when all of a sudden, the bus ran off the road and crashed into a tree in an old farmer’s field. The old farmer, seeing what happened, went over to investigate. He then proceeded to dig a hole to bury the politicians.

A few days later the local sheriff came out, saw the crashed bus and asked the farmer where all the politicians had gone. The old farmer said he had buried them. The sheriff asked, “Were they all dead?”

The old farmer replied, “Well, some of them said they weren’t, but you know how them politicians lie.”


A senator is in a restaurant and a waiter brings over the rolls but no butter. “May I have some butter, please?” The waiter gives a slight nod and wanders off. Ten minutes later, still no butter.

The senator catches the waiter’s eye. “May I have some butter, please?” Still the vaguest of responses is given by the waiter, and after ten more minutes, still no butter.

“Maybe you don’t know who I am,” says the senator. “I’m a Princeton graduate, a Rhodes scholar, an All-American basketball player who played with the New York Knicks in the pros, and I’m currently a United States senator, chairman of the International Debt Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee, chairman of the Water and Power Subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.”

“Maybe you don’t know who I am,” said the waiter, “I’m the guy who’s in charge of the butter.”

Examining our gratitude levels

Orange Rose istockphotoIn keeping with my current attempt to re-blog posts of mine that celebrate the act of doing good, here is this week’s article that focuses on gratitude.

By the time you read this article, I hope you’ve already read the reblogged article I posted entitled “Up Your Gratitude,” published in a Parade Magazine article earlier this year…

Source: Examining our gratitude levels

True happiness is in our control

Regardless of our circumstances we are in charge of our happiness.

attractive-19161_640Our happiness is most dependent on how we direct our lives in any given moment, every day of our lives.

I recently viewed an episode of Super Soul Sunday on OWN in which Oprah Winfrey interviewed Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. During that episode he spoke highly of his mentor, Ray Chambers.

Ray Chambers is the founder of an extraordinarily successful private equity holding company who walked away from it all – with more wealth than one could spend in many lifetimes – to become one of the biggest philanthropists in the world.

On this particular Super Soul Sunday television episode, Mr. Weiner listed the keys for happiness that his mentor, Ray Chambers, passed along to him. I am committed to these very principles and as much as possible, have applied them in my life, for my own good, and for the greater good of all mankind. [My editorial input is in brackets.]

Five Keys to Happiness

  1. Be in the moment. [This is what Ariel & Shya Kane of Transformation Made Easy have to say about this key: “This moment right now is all there is. Something in the future will not get here until it does, and when it does, it will occur as a moment of now.” If I had a penny for every worry or fear I’ve harbored throughout my lifetime, I could buy a publishing company and publish every book that I’ve ever written or have yet to write. Then with the leftover money, I’d solve world hunger, and every other plight, and have oodles of cash left over. What I’m trying to say is, I’ve been known to worry.]
  2. It’s better to be loving than to be right. [This takes humility – and a whole lot of practice – but it’s so very worth it. Ariel & Shya Kane say, and I’m paraphrasing, You can either be right, or alive.]
  3. Be a spectator to your own thoughts, especially when you become emotional. [I can’t count the number of times my knee jerk emotional reactions have benefited anyone, because they haven’t.]
  4. Be grateful for at least one thing every day. [Some days we may have to get creative in coming up with that one thing but I am absolutely certain that we all can come up with that one thing.]
  5. Be of service to others every chance you get. [Do little rather than nothing. The good we do doesn’t have to be grandiose or noteworthy. What matters is that we wear the mantle of compassion and servitude wherever we go.]

There are certainly many matters well out of our control, so isn’t it fabulous that happiness is not one of them?

That makes me very happy.


Lighten up Mondays

landscape-536173_1280Daylight Saving time ends November 6th. I know I’m way ahead of schedule, here, but wanted to poke fun at the process anyway. Here are some funny Tweets about Daylight Saving Time: (euphemisms have been substituted for swear words)

Daylight Saving started back in 1964 when some guy was an hour late for work and convinced his boss all the clocks were wrong. – by Rob Fee


If we can just manipulate time with daylight saving, what’s from preventing us from saying “screw it, tomorrow is Sunday again.” – by Josh Hara


Been working 25/7 working on some new daylight saving time jokes. – by Ken Jennings


It takes a special person to be late the day after daylight saving time starts. – by Meeting Boy


Salvador Dali’s daylight saving time reminder: don’t forget to melt the clocks. – by Mike Birbiglia


It’s daylight saving time! Don’t forget to shut the heck up for how the time change has really thrown you off for the next two weeks. – by Jenny Johnson

And now this question about matters having to do with months of the year:

How many months have 28 days?

All of them, of course!

As relationships move online, neighbors become more vital

Happy Friday everyone! Here’s this week’s positive encouragement to make a better world for yourselves, and others. Having a sense of community with those who live in the same neighborhood is a very good thing.

Baby Boomers and More

As relationships move online, a dark vision of ‘Pottersville’ becomes real | Editorials | The Seattle Times.

House with green roofLately, it seems everywhere I look I read articles about the importance of neighborhood connections.  In the past few days I wrote two articles specifically addressing that concept: The importance of good neighbors, and Positive community activism.

Snow globeThe attached article above, written by Froma Harrop, compares today’s community with that which existed in the movie It’s a wonderful life, an annual Holiday classic.  George Bailey’s bank customers and neighbors were people with whom he had a connection, “of varying incomes, education, and ethnicity.  Each of them was an individual, not just a useful provider of a good or service.”  Ms. Harrop goes on to say that the middle ring of society – as existed in George Bailey’s life – has been weakened over the years.  Her article outlines her belief…

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Financial help for family caregivers

seniors-1505935_640The longer our lifespan, the more likely each of us will need to be cared for. But one need not be elderly to require such care. Many illnesses strike without thought for a person’s stage in life.

Actor/comedian, Seth Rogen’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in her 50s, an age that many consider to be the prime of life. The successful actor’s finances, plus those of several other family members, supported the care of which his wife’s mother was in need. In time, he, his wife, Lauren, and many others established Hilarity for Charity:

In 2012, Seth and Lauren (along with some amazing friends), created Hilarity for Charity. They later established the Hilarity for Charity Fund as part of the Alzheimer’s Association, through which monies raised are directed to help families struggling with Alzheimer’s care, increase support groups nationwide, and fund cutting edge research. Since its inception, Hilarity for Charity has raised more than $5 million to support these efforts.

One of the ways in which they provide this support is through caregiving grants that provide hours of home care for those struggling to survive the demands of a disease that is always fatal. Could you, or someone you know, benefit from such grants? Please avail yourself of the information provided on the Hilarity for Charity website.

See the following link for further support: Caregiving 101 through 1001

Lighten up Mondays

landscape-536173_1280The autumn season begins this Thursday, September 22:

Child asks his mom, “When is the first day of fall?”  Mother, “Honey, everyone knows it’s when Starbucks starts serving pumpkin spice lattes.”

The squirrels must be gathering nuts. Three of my neighbors have disappeared.

Tips for autumn: canning fruit and vegetables is a great way to preserve food if you think you’re too good to go to the grocery store.

Think of raking leaves as Mother Nature’s way of getting you in shape for shoveling snow.

If it got dark any earlier we wouldn’t have to get up out of bed at all.

Be pro-something instead of anti-something

For the next few Fridays, I am going to re-blog articles I’ve written over the years that address being a positive influence on the world around us. My about-face, (see my post Good Starts with Me) got me thinking about whether or not I’ve sufficiently addressed topics that provide encouragement to all of us, to live a life centered around acts of kindness for others.

Turns out I’ve written 216 posts on this subject. But have no fear, I won’t post all of them, but I will select a few to offer you on a weekly basis for awhile. I hope you enjoy them.

Baby Boomers and More

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 support for 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…

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Lighten up Mondays

landscape-536173_1280If you’ve already read my earlier post Good Starts with Me, then you may already know where these funnies may be going: destination happiness.

Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy Snickers Ice Cream Bars [substitute chocolate, a good bottle of wine, an excellent cup of coffee … ] and that’s pretty close.


Happiness is when someone says to you, “Gee, you’ve lost weight!”


Some people bring happiness wherever they go; others bring happiness whenever they go.


Happiness is seeing a photo of your crotchety ol’ neighbor on the back of a milk carton.

And closing with a joke:

Two dogs are walking along a street; they’re passed by a third dog driving a trailer load of logs. One dog turns to the other and says, “He started fetching a stick and built a business from there.”


Good Starts with Me – Irene’s about-face

I follow a gentleman on Facebook, Prince Ea, a twenty-seven year old poet, filmmaker, and speaker who, according to his website, “has touched the hearts and souls of millions of people worldwide.” I can’t vouch for the millions, but I can vouch for myself: what he has to say has been inspirational and life-affirming.

Angry womanThe end of August he posted a video encouraging Facebook users to stop spreading hatred and anger in the stories they post; stories that might further enflame others. (Political news stories come to mind, and I’ve been fairly actively posting said stories.) Additionally, he talked about the domino effect of reposting flaming news stories or other flaming social media.

Let’s look at how this may work. Let’s say I read some story in the news, or even on other FB pages, that inspire me to repost that same story on my own FB page. Now, by inspire what I really mean is incite. Maybe if I hadn’t posted that story on my timeline, none of my FB followers would have been exposed to it. Now they’re inspired/incited to repost that same post and then more and more and more people have the opportunity to get p*ssed off just like I was p*ssed off when I first read it.

Yuck. Now I’m responsible for inciting hatred and anger from innocent people who had the misfortune of having read my posting.

The flip side of this process is that a positive domino effect proceeds from Facebook posts that are less about the sh*t that makes us mad, and more about the good stuff that makes the world a softer place.

attractive-19161_640So enough. From now on – and this is gonna be difficult during the final weeks of this election season – I’m only going to post or repost stories on Facebook that might have the effect of affirming others; of lightening someone’s mood; of making others feel glad they woke up that day.

And where my blog is concerned, when writing new articles that my followers have the opportunity to read, I will make sure that regardless of the topic, there will always be a redeeming element that provides positive direction and hope in the midst of the life-topics that inspire me to spend hours providing content – over 750 blog posts thus far – to my followers on WordPress, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

And now that I’ve announced this about face on my part, I’m gonna do my level best to adhere to it. I’m only human . . . and I’m just as sensitive as the rest of you . . . but I’m still gonna give it the ol’ college try.

Mike Ditka, Hall of Fame NFL player, coach and TV analyst recently had this to say when asked what he would do if he were President of the United States:

“I’d focus on being a leader, not a reactor. We have too many reactors in this world.”

Wise words.

For those of you on Twitter, with this post, I’ve started a new trend: #goodstartswithme