Saturday, July 30, 2016




Fifty-seven years ago this week, a twenty-year-old woman, soon to be divorced, was packing to leave her sad excuse of a husband. She had been to her OBGYN earlier that day for her seven month prenatal visit and the doctor had cleared her for the drive she planned to make from South Carolina to Florida, where she planned to stay with her grandmother.

Told that her pregnancy was progressing normally, she looked forward to leaving and having time to settle before her late October due date. As evening lengthened, she began to feel something wasn't right, and by the time she had reached a friend who drove her to the hospital on a nearby Air Force base, labour had begun.

Steps were taken to halt its progress, including she would later claim, being given something that knocked her out. Upon reaching consciousness early on the morning of August 4, she learned that a daughter had been born. Doctors were not optimistic about the newborn's chances of survival and her young mother was afraid of the loss of this, her second daughter, in just under a year...

That young woman was my mother and I think about her a lot this time of year. She is no longer living and our relationship was complicated at best.  I have cheated death on more than one occasion, so birthdays hold a special significance for me. I have learned to be humbly grateful for friends, time and the myriad other things that fill my life.

As I celebrate this week I'll also pause to remember some special folks I've met through blogging. Thanks for all of your kind remarks and concern regarding my back issue. It is what it is, as the saying goes. Be well.

Until Next Time...


Thursday, July 28, 2016


I am very tired today as I was up  all hours finishing the equivalent of a sermon, something in my life as a writer I have never before tackled. Additionally, a chronic low back problem has flared up and I've had both massage and physical therapy this week with more to come, so I may not be around much in the immediate future. The low back problem is the result of an auto accident years ago in which I was rear-ended and is complicated by my Cerebral Palsy and now the need to use a wheelchair, which of course involves sitting. It is not something for which pills or surgery are ever used and I will be spending a lot of time stretching and on ice.

I hope all of you have a lovely weekend and are able to enjoy some time outside before the heat becomes intolerable. Our temperature feels like 106 so I am staying inside and entertaining a bored cat.

Until Next Time...

Saturday, July 23, 2016


Have any of you ever been under the gun to produce a piece of writing and simply felt a writer's version of tongue-tied? That is me today. It isn't that I've nothing to say on the subject, just the opposite. I feel as though I could write a lot if only I knew where to start...

I was on a bus last week and overheard two teens discussing what turned out to be the author Charles Dodgson better known as Lewis Carroll. His books, it seemed were completely secondary to their pre-occupation with his oft-discussed liking of girls. One of the pair referred to him as a "perv" while the other strenuously objected, saying Alice had to have been modeled on someone and if it was a niece or daughter then there was nothing nasty involved...Up flipped the laptop while two pairs of eyes searched Google as the bus lurched to a stop. Turns out there was a wager involved. Neither was completely satisfied, so it was split. I was amused and thought, "Gee, I wonder what Jenny Woolf would say about this?" It was odd because teens these days don't as a matter of routine read Carroll. I wanted to ask, but was not close enough to do so politely.

I have a new reader who is a wonder in her kitchen and whose blog, The Happy Whisk, I enjoy as much for her culinary efforts as her humor. Ms. Whisk, if you are reading this, I've taken your advice to heart and this week produced the fluffiest, unburnt and totally wonderful omelette. I enjoyed every bite. Thank you for reminding me that cooking can be fun.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Anniversary Number Eighteen

Eighteen years ago on July twenty-first, my mother was found dead in her home by a friend who was scheduled to accompany her to chemotherapy. She was fifty-nine and terminally ill with cancer that began in her lungs and metastasized, eventually working its way into her brain and bones. I had just been told she had six months or less to live.

Having begun a job in my city two weeks prior to this, I came home from work on a rainy evening to an answering machine laden with bad news and was reeling from shock when her brother called to say he was on his way to me from another state and that I should pack a bag and await his arrival. The next few hours and days remain a blur, even now.

The complicated relationship my mother and I shared is one all too common amongst mothers and daughters though it often takes a bit of courage to untangle and write about. While I know she loved me, her need of control, security and to be right overshadowed whatever tenderness she felt and while she prized good behavior, obedience and good manners, her elegant public decorum, sarcastic sense of humor, beauty and charm were often lost to private anger or rage which I've touched on only briefly in other posts.

Years of searching for answers has lead to speculation as to why this was so. What I do know however is that she refused to see a mental health professional with me when the subject was broached, adamantly denied she was dying in the face of mounting evidence, brooked no conversation whatsoever of end of life care or personal matters and then demanded forgiveness for "a lot of mistakes."

Her end-of-life belligerence was based in fear, as had been many of her life's decisions, a situation over which I had no control. I remember pausing, taking a breath and thinking," I must take the high road here and accept this," something which though painful, I've never regretted doing. This was, after all, the woman who brought me into the world, fought tooth and nail to provide education and independence for us both, and who, along with her mother, modeled the life of a working woman which I was expected to follow.

A smoker since her earliest adolescence, this and other less than wonderful habits caught up with her in the last fifteen months of her life resulting in a devastating diagnosis. I hope she is finally at peace. Her name was Sarah.

Until Next Time...

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Stuff of Dreams...

Glossy green guinepas, spiny red lychee fruit and bags of salty, dried Chinese plums greeted my gaze as paper rustled under the Chinaman’s tobacco-stained fingers while he watched me move from leg to leg, restless to taste of his garden's bounty.

Mangos from a neighbor’s tree, chayote salted and buttered from the stove, thick tuberous yucca fried golden, plates of chicken and rice cooked with capers, olives, tomatoes and spices in a cast iron pot or empanadas swollen with seasoned meat, the baked dough warm against my hand, a side of Maggi's waiting on the plate.

Kids on the steamy sidewalk, calling to
El hombre raspado, his hands filling
paper cones of shaved ice and syrups, sticky sweet against my child's lips.

Caramel-skinned and sweaty
His short-sleeved rolled up white shirt
Gleaming, along with his smile,
in the afternoon's heat.

Some of you requested"the rest of" the previous effort. The original from which it sprang is sadly no more. As with most creative endeavors, things sometimes take on a life of their own and shift in ways I don't always anticipate. I hope you enjoy this and I appreciate your comments.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Poetic Injustice...

Born in one country
Raised in another.

I am at home

Moving house four times before age ten meant
A sea of shifting faces for a quiet kid
Who preferred the solace of a book
To the whispers of her peers

As a child, I only knew that I loved the sounds of thick foliage rustling, rain, frog song and the constancy of cicadas at night, lilting Bajan, rapid-fire Spanish, and old Jamaican ladies clickety-clacking their way home on the train.

This was originally part of a longer poem condemned as being "too prosaic" by a group of English educators. What do you think? Any suggestions for a title?

Until Next Time...