True stories with a twist!

In this holiday season filled with good thoughts, happy music and busy shopping I wistfully remember taking our first grandchild shopping.

He loved going to the toy store in town and gazing in wonderment at the colorful displays of toys set out for young children. We meandered through aisles filled with children’s books, stuffed animals and pull toys. He marveled at the mechanical toys and loved pushing the small wooden trains along the wooden railroad tracks.

When the time came to go back home he was content to leave the store with us. No begging to take a toy home, no crying tantrums for being forced to abandon a favorite object. He simply came willingly and unquestioningly  with us.

I wondered about that; I couldn’t understand why he left the store so easily without a single protest about buying something.

Then it suddenlyimages-2.jpg dawned on me. I understood. He had no concept of buying. It never occurred to him that going to a store filled with toys of every kind could mean bringing some of them home. This innocent child enjoyed playing with the toys in the store. There was no connection yet of seeing something you like translating into having to own it.

I often think, my heart full of love, of the innocence of a small boy happy and content to play with no need to own.

When did it all end?


It probably was the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Washington, D.C. Hearing his name causes most people to remember his famous speech, “I have a Dream.”  

imagesIf that’s not the reason for people suddenly telling me their dreams and hopes for the future it must have been sheer coincidence. It was so strange; it all happened in the space of a single week. Everywhere I went, everyone I spoke to, the conversation centered around their dreams. In fact, it seems to encourage people to express their dreams and discuss their ideas.

There I was, minding my own business, ordering new checks at our bank in Morristown. I’m trying to put the film in my mind on “reverse” as I ask myself, “How did this subject get started?

A young bank officer, sitting across from me at his desk in his small cubicle suddenly came up with: “I’ve been thinking about professions to consider for myself. I have a good idea about starting a new business. It’s on the same order of the Zagat Guides, but instead of restaurant reviews I would write about night life for people my age. There are lots of social places we can get together to talk, dance, have a few drinks and meet new friends. What do you think of that?”

In situations like these, where I haven’t had time to study the facts I came up with my usual safe  answer, “That’s an interesting idea.”  images-1

He must have thought that my answer didn’t sound too enthusiastic, because he was prepared to float another idea by me: “How about a laundromat?”

He might have kept on tossing ideas my way if I didn’t excuse myself to get to “another appointment.”

So, on to my hairdresser’s appointment, where out of the blue, Joanne said, “I don’t want to stand in back of a chair for the rest of my life.” I’ve got too many ideas: creative ideas.” Then she described her dream: “I want to own my own party planning service. I can hire out the work to people like hairdressers, makeup experts and fashion consultants. Imagine planning a wedding and having one stop for all your needs.”People have dreams; people have ideas. I encourage people to keep an open mind; keep them coming.

As the comedian Stephen Wright says, “If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.”


What’s the first association that comes to mind when you hear the words, “Airline food?”

How does the thought of eating airplane meals make you feel? Here are some considerations about airline food feelings:

  1. Bursting with Enthusiasm
  2. Pre-gastric Apprehension
  3. Reason to Prepare your weight loss program NOW.


If good health, good intentions and good feelings are what we expect and hope for in pilots, what do we feed them before we put our lives in their hands? We want them to be well nourished, free from nausea, stomach cramps or the need for frequent runs to the lavatory.

As I ponder this question I wonder, “What DO Airline pilots eat during a flight? Do they chow down on the universally criticized Airlines food? Do they succumb to the Airlines food and insult the taste buds of their well-travelled tongues?

I have noticed the official appearances of pilots trekking through airports with their pull-luggage rolling obediently and silently behind. What contraband is concealed in there? Since their their roll-on luggage must pass through security, the contents of their bags must appear innocent to the X-Ray machines. Are Meals on Wheels tenderly and lovingly arranged? Are home packed brown bag lunches concealed under shaving kits? Are pilots sneaking in some of grandma’s home made soup to replace chemical-filled concoctions being offered (for a fee) in coach class?

Do the pilots secretly snicker at the sight of the prepared food truck parked aside the airplane as they smuggle in their edible meals?

The airline personnel awaits its cargo of eight inch rectangular microwavable dinners of a slab of this, a scoop of that and ample gooey gray gravy blanketing, effectively concealing what lies underneath.

Or do pilots revert to the comfort foods of their childhoods? Do they lock cockpit doors so nobody will see them gulping down large bowls of Fruit Loops with cold milk? Do they gauge their airborne sweet tooths (sweet teeth?) with boxes of chocolate covered, marshmallow filled Mallow Mars? 

Think of them; the heroes of the sky, eating mysterious dinners behind closed cockpit doors and silently wish them luck in their next airline flights and medical exams.


She marched toward me determinedly and forcefully, scowling as she approached. One look at her warring demeanor signaled danger. News headlines of random attacks around the world entered my mind as I warily watched her approach. She advanced and came closer, glaring into the mirror. She dared it to reflect an image of a young model posing in magazines. She didn’t want to see the image she saw of herself in the dress as it maneuvered its way around her bumpy, untoned body.

Then I realized that his woman was no terrorist; she was a frustrated soul trying to look her best, and her reality was not helping her cause.

The indifferent mirror patiently awaited the next image seeker. A timid woman approached, squeamishly raising her eyes to see the transformation she hoped for. She approached the mirror as Dorothy approached the Wizard of Oz, full of hope that the image would be a flattering one. As she pleadingly reviewed the results, the mirror reflected the cruel truth. With a breath of disappointment she turned back to her dressing room to try on the next dress.

 Did each woman in that shop looking at her own image wish she could hit “Delete?”

An optimistic shopper arrived next. As she approached the mirror and smiled at her image she was confident and knew who she was. The woman was not particularly attractive, but had poise and a quiet, elegant appearance. She glanced at herself from the front view, then each side and back views as she appraised the outfit and how it looked. One (out of seventeen customers) people in the shop was happy! Others were sure that the mirror lied or had a secret alternate agenda.

“Does this come in extra large?” came a voice from the dressing room across the hall.

“Can I order this skirt about two inches longer?“ came another.

“I want the same style with more room in the hips.”

Such anticipation. So much hope. The unending search to find something flattering to wear. Something that will fool reality into believing that time has not taken its toll, aging doesn’t create changes in muscle tone, and people don’t shrink.

As for me, I was successful. I found a shawl in a neutral color, a soft fabric and without any size or shape restrictions.

Yes. I am angry.

And incredulous.

And shocked.

OK, I admit it; it was my fault for leaving a cordless telephone outside during a rainstorm. Yes, it got drenched. Soaked. Waterlogged. I admit it. I did it. It was careless. But the phone now has problems. It still rings and it can send and receive  calls. It can even record messages. What can’t it do anymore?

Caller ID drowned and no longer will reveal the identity of the “friendly” voice on the other end of the line. Now I have the hardship of picking up the receiver to know the identity of the intruder trying to gain uninvited access to my home.

How many calls to your home come from salespeople? How many are seeking donations or contributions? Diseases I never heard of need my support for research. Organizations I never heard of need my old clothes. Groups I never joined need my help to survive. These callers never leave voice messages, so only if you answer the call will you have to listen to their sales pitches. It’s gotten to the point that I am almost phobic about answering a phone before knowing who is calling.

But I digress. Why am I so angry? Because of the conversation I just had with the “technical support” person at Panasonic. After all the time it took for me to look for and recite the microscopic print of the model and serial numbers on the bottom of the phone set this is what I learned about the value of Panasonic’s technical support. The technician gave me the outrageous information that I could send the phone back for repair. But the company will charge $9.95 simply for providing the address I need to send it to for repair. Once they receive the phone they will inform me how much it will cost to repair it.

Am I being unreasonable for being so surprised to be asked to pay for an address? It’s not as if I’m trying to get Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep’s addresses, is it? So what’s the big secret?

I hope the IRS doesn’t get wind of this outrageous way to raise money or they may charge us all for the address we need in order to send them our tax payments next April!




What is that? Over there, on the left side of the road. No, not there. Look up. No, look higher. Higher than that; move your eyes up about 30 more feet.

images-2   A drone? Is that what that is? That strange flying gadget is a drone? I’ve been hearing about them for some time now, but never saw one “in person” before.

The young man in the field, seemingly controlling the drone’s movements, reminds me of children we used to see, running across the open fields, flying kites, playing soccer, or controlling battery operated airplanes. They were the playground air controllers of their day. Now rather than children running across the fields they are flying drones. Drones that weren’t even a distant concept when their parents were their ages.

The drone we saw that day was flying about thirty feet in the sky. It was a non-descriptive color, about four feet long, and as wide as an eagle taking flight. A pretty big toy! How much higher must they fly to become a royal nuisance? And danger? How high into space must they go before they interfere with air traffic, bird migration flights or sadly wandering, floating, lost helium balloons?

These drones some day may become tools of people-moving. A drone bus? A drone car pool? Drone day charters to Machu Pichu?

The lower sky will need drone traffic laws,  licenses to operate drones, drone rules of conduct. How would drone operators manage “road rage”? Since there wouldn’t be rage over stolen parking spots up in the sky there could still be “fender benders.” A drone traffic officer would be called. Then Drone Insurance would have to be produced. The officer will fill out forms explaining the accident and fly the report to the “DIC” or Drone Insurance Company. Will drone drivers receive points on their licenses for rule infractions? A whole new court of Drone Controls would have to be established.

Imagine a parent of the future, as a child leaves the house to play saying NOT “don’t forget your sweater,” but “Bring the goggles and helmet for your drone ride.”   images-3

And then off they’ll go, up, up and away, into the future.




How exciting: a dinner party for our adult children, who are joining us here, coming from all over the United States. What fun this is going to be!

I will be super organized and make step by step directions for the meal. It will be as easy as pie, if that were the dessert, which it is not.

First a list of menu items. Then the ingredients in each dish. What does that leave me with? A shopping list with everything on the list I need to put this amazing dinner together.

We’ll start with my famous hot, luscious chicken soup. My grandchildren always love my chicken soup. But, I suddenly realized,  my daughters wouldn’t consider eating the chicken soup. Neither of them would appreciate anything made with cute, cuddly, chickens.

Better leave that recipe aside for a while,plan the main course and move on from there. My wonderful recipe for rack of lamb stuffed with a delectable filling of ground beef, truffles and fragrant spices. I prepare that only for company; it’s too much work to prepare for the two of us.

Oh no! I remember that another guest on the dinner list that would object t my cooking with lamb. “Don’t you know the terrible conditions lambs live under? You must boycott buying lamb to protest this inhumane treatment.”

Maybe a dinner based on read meat is not the way to go. We can have a fish dinner: that way nobody can be offended, put off or nauseated. How about a ciappini or bouillabaisse? Not again: now someone on the guest list is allergic to shellfish. It wouldn’t do to have to call an ambulance for a guest who is experiencing Anaphylactic Shock! OK: no shellfish. I’ll prepare a simple fish stew.

“NO,” my son protests. How can you accept the risk of a small child getting impaled on a fish bone and choking to death?

Undefeated, I try the idea of a fish or meat pie. “NO!” they shout in unison; “some of us have gluten intolerance.”

Close to tears, with my heart in the right place, when the guests arrive I hand each one a printed menu from the local restaurant. The restaurant delivers.

All will be well and I will be resolved of any deaths, allergic reactions or nightmares thereafter.



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