Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Past

In a week it will be Christmas 2010.

Sometimes it helps to put things into perspective.  Many of us have been hustling around trying to get everything completed before that day.  I remember years ago shopping til I dropped (literally) at the various malls and toy stores to ensure that beneath the tree my family put up was filled with packages.  The best time I think is when the kids are small and still believe in Santa Claus.  The part I loved the best was to shop inside a toy store bringing out the child in me that I'm sure still exists to this day.

For the past several months I have been putting together a project that is comprised of letters written by my parents throughout the years of World War II.  These are letters filled with both hope and despair, and a lot of frustration.  War pretty much not only causes so much mental and physical pain in the lives of families, it can present an everlasting effect on those families.  The more I read my parents' letters the more I now understand what they must have gone through and why their thinking was different from mine and especially from those who aren't torn from their families for weeks, months, years at a time.

Here I will share three letters written around Christmas 1943 that I think show pretty much the state of affair that our country was in in respect to those who were called to duty to serve our country.  The first two are from my mom to my dad, and the third is from my dad to my mom.   I now only wish they were still here so that I could sit down and talk to them more on what they went through during those most difficult years when our country's very existence was at stake.

Sure gifts under the tree are great but spending it with loved ones is probably the best gift that anyone can enjoy at this time of year.

Mrs. Louis Visone
453 Albany Avenue
Hartford, CT

Pvt. Louis Visone
Co A 13 Btn 4 Regt.
Fort Meade, MD  31342377
December 14, 1943
Dear Lou,
Is anything wrong?  Are you all right.  I’m half out of my mind with worry for I haven’t heard from you since you went back.  I am so worried and am in such a nervous state that I asked Mamie to go to the Red Cross for me to find out what happened to you for I am so worried and I haven’t been able to sleep or eat.  Lou, why don’t you write and why don’t you let me know where you are?  I’ve been waiting for you to write but I could stand it anymore so I am writing to the last place you were and please let me know for I won’t be able to rest until you do.  So Lou if you can write to me for I’ll be waiting to hear from you.  Until I hear from you I remain your loving wife.   Betty
453 Albany Avenue
Hartford, CT 
December 23, 1943

Pvt. Louis Visone
Co A Casual Bn
A.C.E. R.D. #1
Fort Meade, Md
Dear Lou,
Did you receive the check I sent for you to sign?  I want you to send it right away because it does not belong to me for I have borrowed all of it for the past few months and the party I borrowed it from needs it very badly now.  I thought I could pay a little at a time from my Gov. check but found it impossible and I had to cash the bonds all I had in the world and now I am left with nothing to fall back on.
So Lou sign it as soon as possible so that I can give it to the party I borrowed it from.  I certainly could use a little of it myself for the Gov. check does not last through the month. 
I feel bad because I can’t send you anything for Christmas except all my love.  And I don’t want you to feel bad either for in our position right now it is impossible.
After all I won’t want anything for I am spending a quiet day at home for as you know I can’t stand noise and excitement.  I am hoping you are well, that is all I want.  Things are the same.  I’ve been kept in with a cold.  How are you Lou?  I miss your letters for that is all I look forward to and now that I only get one a week makes me more miserable and when I do get one it doesn’t say much and I have a feeling you are keeping something from me.
How is your ear Lou?  Does it still bother you?  It’s pretty awful when you are sick and can’t have anything done for it.  I hope it doesn’t get any worse for I worry about it, for I know how you have always had trouble with it, when you were at home.
Well Lou, I haven’t much more to say except I’m wishing you a Merry Christmas and hope the New Year will be a better one for us. I’m hoping we won’t have to go through this much longer.  Well Lou, bye for now.  I can’t write much more for my eyes are kind of heavy tonight and I have one of my headaches.  So until I hear from you I remain your loving wife, Betty. 
PS  I will remind you again about the check.  I do hope you got it and it isn’t lost for if it is I don’t know how I’ll pay it back.  Lou, I had a woman visitor yesterday and I believe is from the Selective Board.  So I believe that things are going to change for me as she saw the condition I am in and how it is impossible for me to work and support myself.
I’ve also heard from Miller and am sorry to hear that he is ill with the flu.  But he has done what he promised and now all we can do is wait and I hope before long we will hear some good news instead of all the bad news I’ve been getting and all the bad luck I’ve been having.
So Lou, behave yourself and have a nice Christmas.  Did you receive the package Rose put it up for you for I have no money until I get my next month’s check.  I hope you enjoy it and I’ll say bye for now.
Pvt Louis
Co A Casual Bn
A C F Repl Depot #1
Fort George Meade, MD

Mrs. Betty
453 Albany Avenue
Hartford, CT  Zone 5
December 25, 1943
Dear Honey,
I do hope that you had enjoyed your xmas very much.  We all were given xmas presents by our company commander.  In a way I tried to enjoy myself, but I always kept thinking of you, wondering if you were enjoying yourself or not.
Just think, the same time last year I was home and very happy about it too.  But I hope that I don’t spend another one in the army or the guard house. 
I sent you the money by Western Union so that you would have it before xmas.  I had my mailman do it for me which I think it was swell of him to go to all the bother.  I had thought that it would cost about $5 which I didn’t care either but it only cost $2.39 which wasn’t bad at all.
I sent it out Friday noon and you should have gotten it that same day, so let me know how long it did take and also if you got it in the first place because sometimes Western Union does make mistakes.
I have the receipt in case it doesn’t get to you.  I still didn’t get the package, but it if does come I may not be here.
We just got mail call but I dill didn’t get any from you, why I don’t know.
Why it is that I only got one letter from you since I’ve been here I don’t know but it’s probably the mail is too slow. 
So honey, I’ll sign off now and hope to hear from you soon,
Love Lou.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who Am I?

I ask this question because yesterday while driving through the next town over for an appointment I found myself on familiar streets.  I hadn't been over in the area for some months.   In fact I really haven't been driving too much anywhere because of the cold winter.  I tend to hibernate.

Yesterday before getting to my appointment I had a little time and decided to stop in at a health food store - Supernatural -- for a quick snack.  One of the streets I took was close to a house my late husband and I used to own, a rental property actually.

It amazes me how somewhere in our subconscious minds we react to things in such a way that it is beyond out control.  That is what happened to me yesterday.

I felt myself pushed back in time, well over ten years ago when my late husband and I and a partner of ours were involved in rental properties.  I actually became a little disoriented because the person I am now is different than who I was back then.  Emotions flooded over me and that started a panic attack that I quickly brought under control by simply bringing myself back into the present.  Yet it was enough to let me know that memories from our past affect us in ways that we might need to be careful, especially when they hit us like a huge snowball, which is how I felt had occurred as I pulled into the parking lot.

Quite a few people have disappeared from my life over the last eight years since entering widowhood and the fact that I live alone with a small dog only brings that fact more to light.  At one point I was employed, had many friends, kept in touch with relatives, my parents and my  in-laws still around then but all have passed since.

This time of year was always a busy and fun time for me as I prepared for the holiday season.  There was never enough time to do it all but we managed, wrapping presents for the kids way past midnight so that beneath the tree the next morning they would find a slew of bright colored packages.

One of those fiber optic trees sits in my bay window.  That's about the extent of my decorations.  Better than last year as I didn't bother to even put that up.

Today I wrapped a dozen packages for family and friends.  That's about the extent of it.

I do miss those hectic busy times; the parties, the gaiety, the wonderful anticipation of seeing the look on family and friends' faces when they opened presents.

Some of those memories also came to me yesterday while driving through the streets past the house we once owned.  It was like stepping over a threshold from present into past and back again, which is probably what caused my disorientation.  Then again at my age vertigo is more common than not.  

I am grateful I have good memories of past Christmases, and hope to make more of them for the future so that eventually when I'm sitting alone without even a pet by my side I can step over another threshold and realize that at one point in time my life was all there in place for me to enjoy.

I think my more simpler life serves to remind me why I am celebrating this holiday.  Each night I read a chapter of Leith Anderson's book Jesus, which chronicles His life in a way that helps me understand more of not only the man but His purpose here on earth.  Each night when I slip into bed ensuring my dog is snuggly warm on her own blanket, I reach for this book and pull myself into another world, one that occurred so many years ago yet continues to affect the lives of many here on earth.

We celebrate His birth, and rejoice, and know that no matter what happens in our own lives we are never alone for He is always with us to help us through whatever difficult times we may have.

I look forward to the end of each day when I can transport myself back to those simpler times where life I believe made a bit more sense in terms of knowing who we are and where we are going.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Boots Are Out

Yep, my I took my snowboots out this morning and put them on.  I'm ready to venture out today after a light snow fell here last night. 

I'm lucky though, I have a very dependable young man who plows my driveway and shovels my walks.  Of course I pay him to do this, but knowing that he's out there to do this alleviates worry on my part.

Winter isn't easy especially for those of us who live in houses where we need to do our own thing.  I almost moved into a condo last year but decided against it for several reasons.  I think because I am comfortable where I am, know my neighbors, and frankly it's quiet here and offers the kind of retreat that is not found in most places.

One year I stayed at my sons who lives in a very nice area, but the Interstate is not far from them and at night I could hear the trucks driving through the Connecticut roads, even with windows closed.

Here I don't have those kind of noises and in fact at night there is very little traffic that goes by again offering a retreat from the hustle and bustle common in most communites where traffic noises are steady and constant.

My backyard also offers some nice scenary in all seasons.  The first snow is always special and reminds me that indeed we do move from season to season and nothing ever stays the same.

In our youth we may be fooled to think that it's always going to be the way it is but as we grow older we soon discover that it all changes, and the changes are probably the one thing that we can count on.

Nothing stays the same.  Each new season brings forth its own special "thing."   This season is my eighth season without my late husband and so I am quite used to celebrating a Christmas without the traditions that we had established throughout the years I was married.

In fact I don't really do much anymore.  I did my thing...decorating a "real" tree, putting out all the other decorations around the house, baking cookies, and getting ready for the various parties that take place during this time of year.

Of course I've cut back a lot now.  It's easier for me.  I think it actually helps me to accept more and more that as life changes, traditions are changed as well.

The one thing that doesn't change is getting out those snow boots, putting them on, and feeling quite empowered to get out there and make my way over an icy driveway or  a partially snow covered walk way, or through a parking lot that hasn't yet been plowed.

Yep, I really like my snow boots.  They are one of the things that tell me yes, Marie, you will get through another winter just fine as long as you wear snow boots.

Friday, November 5, 2010

LETTERS - A Great Love Story

Most every night I have had the opportunity, actually a unique opportunity, to be with my parents in a sense who have both passed on.  Mom died April 6, 2003 and my dad followed shortly behind on June 13, 2003.  Those two days are of course embedded into my mind and will follow me when it comes my time to cross over.

So far I have typed into the computer (and saved on a flash drive) 60 letters from my mom to my dad during the period of 1937 thru 1944.  And now I'm doing the same with my dad's letters.  There are more letters from him at least 40 more, in fact last night I typed letter 43.  I will eventually put them into a book format (both ebook and hard bound) for my kids and grandkids.

I do know while reading these letters I am getting glimpses into the man and the woman that I did not know while growing up in their home.  The dad I know worked a lot of hours painting, roofing, and putting on siding.  It was not an easy life for him but I can now see why he needed to be his own boss.  During his service in the military he was not happy with the system.  Probably because he should have been one of the higher ups giving the orders rather than taking them.  My mom on the other hand was quite fragile, and from the bits and pieces of her life she did not have it easy from the time she was four years old up until my dad was finally discharged from the service.

It was not easy for anyone during that period when our country was at war.  Rationing of much of what we take for granted: gas, sugar, flour, oil, etc., was not readily available for the folks on the homefront.  A couple of my dad's letters had him spending Easter, Christmas, and his birthday alone, or in some cold unfriendly barracks, wishing for what he called my mom's "home-mades," namely homemade pasta.  He loved his pasta!

My mom did not work outside the home.  She stayed in a small apartment in Hartford (Albany Avenue) and often would go over to her sisters for both company and meals. Only a month before her death did my sister and I learned that she had spent time in an orphanage.  We knew both of my maternal grandparents died within a year of each other; my grandmother from TB, my grandfather from the 1918 influenza that hit the world hard. We did not know she spent her childhood into adolescence inside that orphanage, explaining so many things to us why she lived in a state of anxiety, depression, and fear through our own formative years. 

Yet from these letters I can see my dad and mom truly wanted to be together.  Yes, there were problems in their relationship, especially after my mom's breakdown when my sister and I were only four.  She disappeared from our own lives for a time and of course that has probably affected our own sense of an abandonment issue where we needed to deal with our own bouts of anxiety, depression, and fears.
But in the whole scheme of things mom and dad truly loved each other.  They were married in 1938 and they passed on in 2003...65 years together.

I call this a true love story.  They had very little while my dad served his country.  Yet in his letters he promised her the house with the white picket fence, and whatever else she wanted.  I remember growing up on the corner of Berkshire Road and Litchfield Place in Rocky Hill, Connecticut inside a small five room yellow ranch house (called tract housing.)   And yes there was a pristine white picket fence that surrounded the small yard.   Also what they called a wooded stockade fence covered in beautiful red roses.

I feel their presence quite strongly at times, and for me it comforts me especially knowing that they are together still.  I'll continue to finish typing all of these letters and as I do they will continue to provide a great love story; a love story that many never get to enjoy because I think many quit on each other too soon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November Already!

I can't believe October 2010 has passed and I'm wondering where that month went.  These months go by so fast, too darn fast  for my liking.  I was no sooner celebrating the Fourth of July when I find myself this past weekend removing make up after attending a Halloween dance and voila now we're into November 2010.

Now I'm having to think about Thanksgiving, and the rest of the holidays that follow, plus start to worry about the cold weather, and the elements of sleet, snow, and ice that come along with at this time of year.

I've found by taking it one day at a time is probably going to be the best route to take.

Last night I enjoyed a great meal of Baramundie fish, steamed veggies and a nice glass of wine.  Well there were two glasses except the first one found its way on to my hardwood living room floor, the glass breaking into a thousand pieces.  For me it was almost a forewarning of things to come.  Not sure what that's going to be but sooner or later I'm sure I'll find out.  Back problems, an unfocused mind, plus other distractions has prevented me from focusing where I should and want to focus, namely my stories. 

I have this thing about premonitions.  I used to freak out relatives back when I was younger, experiencing dreams or so-called visions stemming form simple thoughts inside my mind that were more or less right on the money.

Sometimes they were good, sometimes there were not so good thoughts.

I picked up the pieces of glass last night and thought this is pretty much what we all find ourselves doing at one time or another, which is picking up the pieces of our lives when at times we don't see too clearly where exactly that life is headed or perhaps more so where we might want that life to go.  It's always a good thing to have a plan, except even with plans in place, things go awry.

One things I've learned over the years especially the past eight years is never to hold high expectations about most things because it prevents experiencing those disappointments when life can suddenly take a different course.

Still, predictability, especially after a certain age is not so bad in the whole scheme of things.  

Predictability, or the certainty of knowing things are okay allows me to focus back on the creative process.  Unpredictability in life distracts me to the point that my mind can't wrap itself around any of my latest projects.

And lately my writing life has left the tracks so to speak.  Plus I haven't been as disciplined in getting my stories written,  stuck somewhere inside my head waiting for their release.

There's always one other more thing to do; cook meals, clean up, walk the dog, attend a dance, spend time with family and friends, make another chiropractor session, etc., etc.  Things that all writers are faced with when making that decision to simply sit in front of a computer and write.

One of the plusses of winter I guess is the weather will keep me indoors more than outdoors.  I don't do well in the cold.  Except for bundling up once a day to take my dog for her walk, I will hopefully find myself sitting here at my computer cranking out the necessary words and pages that eventually comprises my next story.

Meantime, I'm going to go get another Snicker bar from the plastic pumpkin sitting on my dining room table.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I read this today on Yahoo. 

ATLANTA – As many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults could have diabetes by the year 2050, federal officials announced Friday, in a dramatic revision of earlier projections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 10 have diabetes now, but the number could grow to 1 in 5 or even 1 in 3 by mid-century if current trends continue.
"This is alarming," said Ann Albright, director of the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation.
The agency's projections have been a work in progress. The last revision put the number at 39 million in 2050. The new estimate takes it to the range of 76 million to 100 million.
An estimated 24 million Americans have diabetes currently.

Anyone out there heeding this warning!  

Okay then, why is this occurring  in these numbers.  I'm always concerned because the cost of healthcare goes up when Americans get sick.  And since I pay for my healthcare, my healthcare has more than doubled since 2002. 

Yet, I do not have diabetes.  But I have noticed with the increase in my premiums every year my blood pressure is rising instead.  Why is my blood pressure rising?  A few reasons I can point out.  First, I did have a personal trainer at one point but as my healthcare rose, I could no longer afford the trainer.  I did have a gym membership at one point, but as the cost of my premiums for healthcare rose, I could not longer afford the monthly membership at the gym.  My blood pressure at one point was perfect, now it's in what is referred to as "white coat" numbers.  And yes my weight has gone up as well.  

I'm blaming it on myself because I am not a disciplined as I once was and I'm older.  No excuse.  Whether I have a personal trainer or a gym membership or not is no excuse for my numbers to rise.  This is what I am now telling myself today.  After all each day is the first day of our lives. 

Still, what is wrong with the over all picture of the state of health of Americans?  

From this report, not good.
And so much so that for most of us I'm sure no one really knows where to begin to turn it around anymore.   Yet the information out there is plentiful, and we all know as I do the only way to remedy this situation is to simply eat the right foods and "move our butts."  

Yes, it's as simple as that and sometimes I have to shake my head in utter disbelief because of the solution. 

Mindful living, mindful eating, a mindful existence of what we are doing at any given point in time in our daily life.

In other words, watch what we put into our mouths at any given moment, watch what activities we embark upon at any given moment, and if things aren't feeling right inside (fear is always a hindrance) then try to act upon it before it can grow into something that has reached a point where only medications will keep it in check. 

If we know our numbers whether it's blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar and we see that they are rising, then we do need to get off our behinds and actually do something to counteract what is happening inside.   Although a high HDL is good, and that is one number we want to see rise.  Mine at last count was 71 only because I made a concerted effort to eat those foods (fish, nuts, seeds, veggies, fruits, etc) that would bring that number up.  And by golly, it worked.  71 is a high number for HDL but it is telling me the cholesterol I do have in my body is protecting me and not clogging up arterial walls. 

Again, all it takes is a simple mindfulness attitude that could probably eradicate 75% of the illnesses occurring in our nation. 

When I go shopping I often watch what others buy, and often I am tempted to tell the person behind me if they really should be drinking those oversized bottles of soda?  Maybe instead they could opt for something like ... plain old water...or flavored water.  

Or maybe that Sunday pot roast could instead become a Sunday chicken breast (no skin, no fat) or a nice fish fillet, preferably salmon or what is becoming more popular baramundie.  How about filling up our plates with veggies and whole grains?  If we need to eat something sweet, dark chocolate (65% and above) is going to do us a lot more good than that bag of Fritos.  Even a nice glass of wine occasionally during the week will add to our overall health (reservatrol for the heart) rather than that sugary fruit juice or sugar laden soda. 

Mindful shopping is something every American needs to adopt when they shop!  There's is so much to be found in the vegetable and fruit sections, and simply keep away from the middle aisles where all processed foods are located.
I'm opting to turn these numbers around for America...because well it's kind of embarrassing to say the least that we Americans are getting a reputation for not being smart enough to stay healthy when all it takes is a little mindfulness. 


Monday, October 18, 2010

Did I See Dead People?

There are some things that cannot be explained, reasoned out, or rationalized.  Well, maybe so but after yesterday's occurrence I'm still trying to figure out how things happened in the way they happened, and I still can't figure it out.  Especially since someone who was with me and is quite logical, rational, and practical is having the same difficulty, i.e. coming up with an explanation that  makes perfect sense.

My friend and I took a nice drive through the Connecticut countryside, specifically toward Bethlehem, Connecticut.  I wanted to visit a place called The Abbey of Regina Laudis, which is located in that town.  I wanted to show my friend this place knowing how he enjoys places with a lot of history, and also that he enjoys anything that falls within a spiritual context.

The Abbey of Reginas Laudis is not difficult to find....take Route 6 then Route 61, then a left off that road and in less than five minutes down that particular road take another left and you're there. 

For more information and background on this location just CLICK HERE

We drove up into the parking lot which is on top of a hill.  We exited the car, with my PeekaPoo on her leash we began to walk down the hill toward the chapel.  I had been here before many years ago and wanted my friend to see this chapel which when one enters takes you back into another time period.  

We were only a few feet from the car when we saw three people coming up the hill; two women and a young girl and they were walking toward what we presumed was their car to leave.  

They smiled at us and at my dog.  There was something about the little girl who could have been no more than ten or eleven that caught my attention.  She did not look well.  On one wrist she wore a bracelet but it looked like the kind of bracelet patients wear when admitted for hospital care.  Also, there was a very dark black and blue mark around her left eye.  She smiled at my dog but raised her hands in the air ensuring she would not touch her.

We said hello to them and then proceeded down the hill, and into the foyer of the chapel where we stayed no more then ten seconds, then proceeded through an opened doorway leading into the chapel area. 

As soon as we entered I noticed three people sitting in the front seats.   I held my dog tightly in my arms, and I sat two or three rows in back of them.   

The middle one turned and I recognized her as the young girl, and then recognized the two older women, the same people who moments before we had greeted in the parking lot at the top of the hill.   

To myself I said how did they get here so fast, in fact how did they get ahead of us?  It appeared they had been sitting there awhile because they immediately got up and left.  

We left as well and once outside did not see them anywhere on the grounds, as if they had vanished into thin air. 

At this point I did not make any comments about what I had seen.  It was when my friend made comments about them that it reinforced inside my own mind that what I had processed, which was their presence inside the chapel when seconds before we saw them heading for their car that this wasn't any figment of my imagination.

Believe me we tried to come up with a sane explanation for this whole occurrence, yet neither one of us ever said outright that this might be something that can't be explained away. 

I sit here now as I blog about this and am still trying to resolve inside my mind how these three people had ended up in the chapel before us.  

First, they were headed in the opposite direction, second, they did not follow behind us down the road toward the chapel, and third when we left the chapel we saw no car leave unless there was another exit.   

All quite confusing, as well as curious, and makes me wonder if perhaps I had  seen "dead people."

And of course with a writer's mind I immediately come up with a 'behind the scenes' scenario of what really might have occurred.

The young girl was in the hospital, and had died, and had been greeted by two of her relatives, perhaps her mother and an aunt, or a grandmother and an aunt, both who had passed on and now were showing her soul its way back home. 

En route they decided to stop at The Abbey of Regina Laudis, and what better place for a soul to rest its "weary soul"? 

I'd like to think the scenario has some relevance.  I'd like to think that at times we the living may be privy enough to learn about what occurs on the "other side," or what is in store for us in the hereafter.  Oh yes, I will be going to see Clint Eastwood's new movie,  The Hereafter!

My late husband, my parents, my in-laws,  and all my aunts and uncles have passed on so I'm thinking how nice it can be that I will get a chance to see some if not all of them again. 

And when I do I may just suggest to them as we hopefully make our way back through the pearly gates, let's stop and rest a bit at a place called The Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut.

I think they would all enjoy that visit. 

I know I would.  

Monday, October 4, 2010

Anorher Cold Rainy Day

I have plenty to do but you get to a point you don't know where to start.  First, I need to get my summer clothes into storage, bring out the winter ones.  I know once I get started it'll be okay.  Inertia is the problem.  Or the fact that when I stop to do these things, I'm not productive with my writing.  And if I'm not productive, then there's no monies coming in from that source of income.  I did have a small income from selling books on but that whole system was put out of commission through life circumstances and I'm sure has removed all the books by now.  If I want to do that again, it means going through all the boxes and listing the books and assigning numbers...which took me six months to do in  the place.  Something I no longer have the inclination to do now.

This is probably one reason I decided to have a glass of wine, something I don't normally do when I'm alone.  Wine is for enjoying with others.

If there was a dance tonight, I'd probably go to that only because once I'm on the dance floor I don't have to think about anything other than the music or where my feet are going.  Needless to say I take every opportunity to go dancing, so much better than popping anti-depressants, which for me any my circumstances is not the way to go. 

While driving back from my chiropractor today I suddenly had the feeling of becoming uprooted and not knowing exactly who I was or where I was going.  This sense of disorientation went along with  my morning.  Upon awakening I felt a lot of angst that actually radiated outward to my feet and hands.  The only remedy I found for this was to tighten my body which  helped to dispel these feelings.

Once I'm up I usually busy myself with getting breakfast, doing wash, taking my dog for her walk except today it was cold and rainy and I'm not such a diehard that I can do this especially when my body always remind now how old I am and how old I'm getting. 

One really does have to be in the right frame of mind to be productive I think.  I wish I could do like others simply sit here and create my stories.  Except right now I have my own story that keeps swirling inside my brain and I'm not sure the best way to tell it.

I finished typing in 62 letters written by my mom to my dad starting in 1937 through 1943 possibly 1944.  Most were during 1943.  As I read the letters the slow realization of what happened during those months while my dad served in the Army is now eating at me in a way that I'm not sure what to do with this information.   They've both passed on and there is really no one to ask.  All those mentioned in these letters have also passed on and all I can do now is to make up my own conclusions to why mom was the way she was.

Talk about unlucky stars!  She refers to her "unlucky state of being" quite often in these letters.  Knowing what I do know about her I'd have to say she was right on the money.  Born into a family of 10 plus, orphaned at the age of 4, living inside an orphanage until age 16 she met my dad and married him in 1938 at the age of 23.  Five years later he's off to war, then returns in 1945, and I and my sister are born in 1946.

From these letters my father was discharged based on some medical problems but I think also because he felt my mother could not live without him.  All of her letters reflect this, each letter expressing her downhill slide into a debilitating depression that would peak after my birth. 

At four years old in a way I lost my mother to this a debilitating mental illness known as depression.  One day she disappeared for a while where she underwent the type of psychiatric treatment that in today's psyche world might be regarded as barbaric at best, i.e. the electric shock treatment. 

My mom it seems through these letters was determined and made it her purpose to let the draft board as well as whoever else could help my dad get a discharge know she would have a nervous breakdown if my dad did not come home soon   She actually stopped eating, stopped going out, stopping living. 

It worked.

Except she in fact ended up having that  nervous breakdown brought on by the stress of going through what she needed to do to convince them all so that my dad could get his discharge.

In her letters she could not sleep.    I still remember her telling me one night she had sat up all night looking out at the night sky, unable to sleep.  I was twenty at the time. 

She never freed herself from that depression that would dwell within her up until the day she died in 2003 at the age of 86.

So now I'm not sure what to do with these letters.  I will put them into a book, for they do tell a lot about my dad, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and how life was for them during those difficult times. 

I now am going to go through my dad's letters to my mom which total over a hundred.

Their lives were greatly disrupted by the men of that time being called to serve, asked to make asacrifice; a sacrifice that ensured today we aren'tnot speaking another language and that we live in this country in relative peace and harmony.

Except I now often wonder what kind of person my mom would have become if (1) the flu epidemic hadn't killed my maternal grandfather, and tuberculosis hadn't killed my maternal grandmother, and (2) if the war hadn't taken my dad. 

I'll never know of course. 

Oh yeah, I did discover that at some point I had a stepgrandmother on my father's side.  I have no idea who that was.  Some day I may find out.  Unfortunately, the brothers and sisters on both side feuded quite a bit especially as they became old, ending up most of them not speaking to each other.  The cousins scattered.  No real connection was ever maintained.

Probably another reason why after reading these letters I feel quite uprooted and scattered myself.   When I became a widow most of those I had any connection with, those  connections disappeared as well.  I think as we age we find we have neither the energy, the inclination, nor the strength to re-connect to those who once made up our pasts.

Okay, I finished my wine and now I'll go watch Dancing with the Stars!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away!

It goes without saying that I know we need this rain, but c'mon!   Enough is enough.  I need the sun!  Yes, I could take my dog for her walk in the rain, but somehow coming back home with a wet dog is not what I look forward to doing.  

Plus cloudy days cloud up my mind and starts to remind me of the colder months coming, and even colder ones where I will be somewhat housebound because of the weather. 

Maybe, just maybe I need to start thinking about what I should do at this point...stay here in CT where we are never bored by a weather than can affect our moods to the point where we don't know if we're coming or going.  Or move to a warm rather stable environment where I know I can go out 90% of the time and get my required amount of Vitamin D.  Hey, I'm in that age group where bones are actually affected by what I do, what I eat, and even probably how I think. 

I do need to make my way out there today despite the rain, and at least it will get me out and away from these four walls that seem to close inch by inch. 

It's true we can do nothing about the weather, but we can do something about where we experience that weather.  
Mmmm, this morning the Today Show showed sunny (90% of the time if not more) Arizona, specifically Lake Havisu where one can actually cross over the London Bridge.   I remember that area while visiting my son while he lived out there and one of the things I will always was sunny 99% of the time, in fact while I was there 100% of the time. 

I remember all the RV's making their way out that way and thought to myself....someday....someday I'm going to do just that.  

And today is one of those days where that vision becomes clearer and more focused in my mind.  

Lake Havisu....someday I come!

Thursday, September 16, 2010



Hayley Elizabeth’s Connection

Anyone who has ever lost a loved one to death knows that our connections do not end after death, certainly, and synchronistic events sometimes appear as reminders of this fact.  (There Are No Accidents: Synchronicity and the Stories of Our Lives by Robert H. Hopcke)
On Saturday night September 5, 2010 while driving home from a dance in North Haven, CT I suggested to my boyfriend Joe that he change the radio station from Sirius Radio to the night time show Delilah (Pillow Talk) on FM 100.5.  We don’t normally listen to this station when we go out.  In fact my boyfriend has never listened to this station and never knew of its existence. 
We left the dance earlier than usual, before eleven.  Normally we stay for coffee and dessert.  We realized later that we probably would not have caught this particular show or the request/dedication that came on if we had stayed at the dance longer.
While listening to the requests and dedications that were being called in to the show, one particular request/dedication caught our attention.  A young father called in to dedicate a song to his newborn daughter (2 weeks old).  From the tone of his voice we could tell that he was quite exuberant in his joy in announcing that he was the proud father of a baby girl.
Delilah asked him the name of the baby.
He told her the name was Hayley Elizabeth.
My friend noted the first name because his granddaughter’s name is also Hayley.  He told me later he didn’t really catch the middle name.  I did make note of it but I didn’t say anything at the time until also later.  The middle name was the same as my mother’s name, which is Elizabeth.
The following Sunday morning we decided to take my PeekaPoo dog Sugar for her walk.  Usually I would take her around the neighborhood but this morning I suggested that we take her to Norton Park.  I hadn't been to this park yet this year and thought it would be nice to take her some place different.  I live in XXXXXX and I usually stay in my own area for her walks, but I felt strongly on this particular morning to take her to Norton Park. 
My friend and I strolled around the walking paths in Norton Park.  My friend spotted the Canal plaque that gives a history of the canal.  We then sat on a nearby bench to enjoy the beautiful sunny bright morning. 
I was ready to head for the car with Sugar but my friend insisted that we stop to look at the gazebo.  It was then we discovered the gazebo was dedicated to the Petit family. 
We then stepped inside the gazebo where we sat for a moment of silence.  My friend began to read the names inscribed on each of the plaques placed on the benches inside the gazebo. 
One read Hayley Elizabeth Petit and we realized the first and middle names were the same as in the dedication made the night before by that young father for his baby girl.
It was at that moment that I realized the significance of the words expressed above and that such a thing as synchronicity does exist in our world. 
We both recognized that this may not have been a coincidence to first choose to leave the dance early, then choose to listen to the radio station that Saturday night, and then choose to go to Norton Park for a walk the next Sunday morning. 
We believe that we may have experienced one of these synchronistic events Mr. Hopcke speaks of in his book. We may have been destined to listen to the radio on Saturday night and then take my PeekaPoo for her walk through Norton Park and visit the Gazebo Sunday morning.
We were meant to be there so that we could make that synchronistic “connection” and be made aware that Hayley Elizabeth is doing fine and that she wants you, Dr Petit, to know that she is with you during what will be a most tumultuous time of your life as the trial begins.   
My friend Joe and I and all your supporters will be with you as will the spirits of your family while you go through these most difficult times ahead.
Marie and Joe

Donations can be made through The Petit Family Foundation website  -  CLICK HERE


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My battle with a wart!

Yes a wart.  I have never had these and so when I realized that's what I had growing on the right upper portion of my thumb I practically went ballistic.

Okay so exactly what is a war? Every one of my health reference books tells me that a wart is a common skin condition caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and that these come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can occur on the extremities, the face, the genital region, and the soles of the feet.  Harmless, not painful.  Perhaps but oh what a nuisance they are especially when they occur on a finger.

Last month while slicing strawberries I knicked  the tip of my left thumb.  I noticed when this happened a tiny black speck being sucked into the wound.  I immediately washed my hands with an antibacterial wash.   Still, over the next few weeks what I thought was a simple callus had started to grow and as time went by it got harder and harder.  Beneath the callus the skin was sore and something just wasn't right.

My research showed this this callus was probably one of those pesky warts that kids get.  I never had one even as a kid.  I don't know why this one occurred except to say the open wound allowed the HPV virus to enter.  Further research showed that sometimes our immune systems don't t do what it's supposed to do, which is to fight off these invading pathogens.

I took the bull by the horn and started treatment.  I didn't run to the doctor.  Instead I decided to try it alone.   I opted for what is recommended with a holistic approach.  I used duct tape along with apple cider vinegar soaking a tiny piece of cotton, and then applying it against the hard skin, and then wrapping the tape around my thumb.  Then I decided to use a better brand of tape, as well as small cotton fingers and finger cots, which look like teensy weensy condom, and provides a nice waterproofed area.

After about three days the wart itself dies.  This is evident by the blackness that fills the holes.  Yes there are small itsy bitsy holes in the skin.  (Ugly...yes...gross, that's a given.)  Why I keep it bandaged when going out in public.

I'm still continuing the treatment and eventually will go to the next step which is to gently remove the hard skin.  Not sure how that's going to go.  The thumb isn't as bad now and some of the hardened skin has disappeared.  Yet the blackness remains and looks weird. 

I've also gone back to making my immune boosting soups which will hopefully help my immune system fight off future warts if any more occur.

I think there is so much we all can do when fighting these battles with these invaders.  It produces a microcosm of what I can do for myself in terms of making my system whole and stronger to ward off larger invaders.

I said to myself if everyone took this approach with their bodies, which is to eat those foods that boost the immune system, just think how something as small as taking up battle with a wart can improve the total cost of health care in our nation.

This is one reason I will continue to watch shows like The Doctors and Dr. Oz mainly because they educate us to not only take care of ourselves but also our kids.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Order No More Secrets No More Lies

from THE WILD ROSE PRESS (either in an Ebook or Paperback) and find out what actually happens to poor Augie. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010


This will be brief but needs to be said somewhere and what better place than a blog!

Why do people insist on going to the movies where they pay good money to watch a film and then spend the time "texting" on their cell phones.

It makes no sense.

Do they not realize that when they put those phones on the screen on that cell phone is brighter than the screen on which I'm trying to watch the movie that I also paid good money to watch. 

This past Friday my friend and I went to the movies to watch the new Julia Robert film, Eat, Pray, Love. 

At one point I did not know what to watch, the flickering screens of the distracted movie goers as they text their friends, or Julia Roberts. 

It is sad. 

Are some members of this newest  generation so self-absorbed, selfish, rude, and downright stupid that they actually believe they can do texting thing inside a movie theater? 

It's downright scary because this can be an indication of a world of the self-absorbed, as well as the selfish, and rude demonstrating stupidity a that in coming years may be prevalent among those who fill up positions requiring not only intelligence (doctors, lawyers, airline pilots) but also common sense.  

To sit inside a movie theater with an Iphone on or  whatever type of phone and knowing or just plain ignoring the fact that the screen on those phones is very bright and is going to bother, irritate, and downright affect the pleasure of those other moviegoers sitting to the side or behind is arrogance in its most purest form.
When I sat in that movie theater to the left, to the right, and in several rows toward the front of me these inconsiderate, stupid, clueless moviegoers were turning on cell phones.  They  had me wondering if I wasn't in some backwoods instead with fireflies lighting up around me.

Using a cell phone for whatever reason inside a move theater is disrespectful to every movie goer who came to watch the movie.  What if I decide to bring my digital camera and started taking pictures using a flash of course inside a movie theater?  What if I brought a small portable battery operated TV and decided to watch other shows while watching the movie?  All this is

Get real folks! 

Cell phones need to be turned OFF inside movie theater!  Before each movie this RULE is flashed on the screen in letters large enough so no one misses the warning! 

God help us all if these cell phone distractors are the future leaders of our world.   Maybe just maybe there's something to be said about December 21, 2012 when the world as we know it will be no longer.  In fact that's happening right now in movie theaters with patrons who defy the rules.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Hurricane Earl is coming up the East Coast tomorrow.  Depending on how it will hit the coastline, some may become stranded for the duration just like my characters do in my story STORMBOUND. 

Storms like this have a way of reminding us we are not always in charge.  In fact storms like this tell us it is Mother Nature who always steers the ship. 

Some of us might be misguided into thinking we can fool Mother Nature, except she's going to do what she wants to do regardless of whatever plans we make. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Animal Rescue Foundation

A little over two years ago a terrible fire destroyed a local no-kill animal shelter, ARF.  Originally this place was called Charwood Kennels and has been in existence for over 30 some years.  They are now rebuilding and will have a new and better place in which to place animals who have been abandoned.  Personally I don't see how anyone can do this to a pet.  The thought of my own dog being out there in what can be a somewhat unkind world to these creatures is frankly unthinkable.

I'm placing at the right of this blog a link directly to the Animal Rescue Foundation's website so you can see what a great place this was and will again be where it will offer a safe haven for God's unfortunate animals. 

This morning I had a nice doggie grooming session with my own puppy. 

I love to play doggie beauty parlor 

with my   PeekaPoo ...  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We're in Hurricane Season

The Great Hurricane hit the New England coast on September 21, 1938.  

A week or so later my mom and dad were married - October 1, 1938.  Often through the years they shared recollections about that storm.  They lived in Hartford, CT at the time.  The photo on the left shows Hartford right after the storm.  

I know my mom was worried that they might have to call off the wedding.  Fortunately, that did not happen and they ended up celebrating sixty-four years of marriage.  

Except in their sixty-fourth (2002) year both were suffering failing health and both passed on the following year (2003.)

Forecasters are telling us we are in hurricane season and to be prepared. 

Storms have always held a fascination for me.  I think because my sister and I while growing up heard the relatives talk about the Great Hurricane.   They told us it was as bad as it could get.  

This photo shows East Hartford, CT.   It shows the Travelers Tower, a place where my sister worked in the mid 60's.  It shows houses submerged under water.  Yet, I spent many summers there at a soda shoppe where my Aunt Mamie worked.  My sister and I stayed with her for a time when my mother was very sick.  This occurred in the early to late 50's.  I remember the old fashioned paddle fans whirling above the formica covered counters.  I remember the red stools that we often played on, twirling around in time with the fan.  My sister and I would tuck ourselves into one of the dark oak booths, enjoy the sundaes my Aunt Mamie made for us.  When we reached the age where we could read, along with those sundaes we also enjoyed all the comic books that filled one wall of the shop.  We had to be careful though.  Couldn't get any ice cream on the pages so that all could be returned to their respective slots after having been read.  Our favorites were Archie and Veronica.  Remember Betty, Jughead?  Also, Superman comics, Little Lulu, and many others.  We did end up buying more than we returned.  
I look at the photo of this bus with people trapped inside.  I heard about this story and thanks to the internet was able to find it and post it here. 

I remember taking the bus often from Windsor Locks where my Aunt Mamie lived to East Hartford where she worked.  I remember the smell of diesel fuel, and something else, I think pop corn.  I'm not sure why the pop corn.  I think because she would take us to lunch as Kresge's and there they had a huge pop corn machine.  Or maybe the recollection comes from those times Aunt Mamie took us to the theater (The Strand) where we watched the latest flicks and enjoyed that popcorn.  

I can only imagine the fear these people felt trapped in that bus with the rising waters swirling around them.
Yes storms hold a particular fascination for me perhaps because of these stories of people getting stranded, trapped, and eventually becoming rescued. 

When I started to write my story Stormbound at first I tentatively titled it Christmas in July!  Somewhere in my subconscious the story instead headed into a slightly different direction.  I had this cast of characters who become stranded inside a farmhouse.  (Did I mention the house my Aunt Mamie lived in we called, "the Farm!")   Each characters added to the story through their own quirkiness, flaws, and of course a few redeeming qualities.  

Storms test the spirit, as well as our ability to survive what they can throw at us.  I cannot look at photos of those who endure Katrina's wrath without wondering how they ever endured all those days not only during the storm but afterward. 

Storms remind us that we are not always in control of our destiny.  Storms come in many forms as well, not just those caused by meteorological occurrences.  Every person will at one time or another experience some form of storms within their lives. 

One of the things I came away with after writing my story STORMBOUND was that we can react like an oak tree, straight and strong, yet we may still become broken by the heavy effects of the winds.  Or we can allow ourselves to bend, to become pliant, enough so that whatever strong winds blow our way we in fact do survive.  

Hurricane seasons reminds us of that fact.  

The sun is finally back out!

Getting Old Is Not For Wimps!!!!
Wow, I really missed the sun this week.  After this posting I'm getting myself out there with my dog for our daily walks.  We look forward to them every day.  Yesterday I did manage to get her out there.  She's waiting for me now.  I'm a bit slow in the mornings.   I think it has to do with the fact that I'm not getting any younger, and this aging does not allow me to move all that fast in the mornings.  

I remember my mother telling me about the stiffness on getting up.  And now I'm experiencing that same stiffness and find myself shuffling more, and taking my time because I can't move as fast. When that happens out comes the therapeutic heat packs, the sports cream and these pain patches that you can put on the area that is hurting the most. 

Yep, getting older is not for wimps and each year becomes a test of wills.  I try not to let it stop me because I always figure once I let it dictate what I can or cannot do, the game is over. 

This is one reason why I continue to go dancing.  Dancing involves a lot in terms of processing both the physical and mental.  

Maybe that's one of the reasons that some say it even helps those with Parkinson's disease.  They noticed those who have this affliction once they're on a dance floor and are  moving to the music, the tremors stop and they can actually move about quite freely.  

I find the same happens to myself although thankfully I don't have Parkinson's.  

Except the other day I lifted and moved a couple of boxes of books and thought nothing of it.  But later that evening as I rose from the sofa to answer the phone my legs almost went out from under me and I had to grab on to a table.  From that point on out came the special heat wrap, the sports cream, and I limped around the house for the rest of the night.  

The next morning I felt better and was able to take my dog for her walk.  I'm okay once I'm standing, but it took several days before I could empty my dehumidifier simply because I could not bend down for the life of me to take the damn bucket out.  All was a reminder that as times passes, my poor body is now engaged in a downward spiral, a deterioration that comes with aging. 

I'll not give in so easily.  In fact I'm determined to do all the stuff that needs to be done around here mainly because I can't let any of this get me down.   

The whole idea of being unable to do this stuff affects my mental condition in a way that I don't become as productive in the writing.  I'm working on a series of stories, and I was going full speed ahead.  

I've come to a dead halt and need to regroup.  

Many believe a writer's life has to be the best on earth.  At times it is when the flow is there.  When it's not, and we don't produce, we not only become depressed by our situation, in turn we may hamper our ability to earn any monies at all. 

 Luckily I'm stubborn and simply won't give in to these aches and pains that are trying to tell me to slow down.  It's not feasible for me to do so.  Once the cooler weather gets here I'll do what I did last year, get out into that garage, fill up that Subaru for Goodwill, and get everything back on track.

Then I'll continue on writing my stories.