Jun 252016

I was so happy with my bucket garden last year that I am doing it again this year. I started this one last week on Mother’s Day, May 8, 2016, which is a few weeks earlier than last year. We’ve had a few cold nights this past week, so I hope they will be okay. They look good, so far.

To start, I used the four buckets from last year, plus three more. I had such good luck with the Bonnie patio tomatoes, so I bought two this time. My Bonnie Big Bertha Bell sweet peppers didn’t do so well last year, so this time I am trying two buckets of Bonnie Red Bell sweet peppers. I can never find starter green bean plants, so I have a few buckets with green bean seeds. Plus, I added one bucket of sunflower seeds. I also have some smaller pots with starter herbs; garlic basil, chives, curly parsley, and lemon thyme.

Planting my second five-gallon bucket garden – Sunday, May 8, 2016

This year, Lowes has white Food Grade five-gallon buckets that are great for planting vegetables. I honestly don’t know if it matters, but I will eventually change out all of my blue buckets for the white ones.

I had such great luck with the Bonnie patio tomatoes last year, so I bought two this year. The Cherokee Heirloom tomatoes didn’t do so well. My Big Bertha Bells didn’t produce much, only a few good red peppers by the time the season was over. So, this year, I’m trying the Bonnie Red Bell sweet peppers. I also planted quite a few pots of green bean seeds. I hope they do as well as they did last year.

Do birds eat tomatoes?

You bet they do! They just love those juicy, ripe tomatoes. I learned my lesson last year when I would go to pick my beautifully ripened tomatoes, only to find that the birds had been pecking at them. So, I searched for tomato plant netting and found the bird block netting at Amazon.com. It worked like a charm!

This time, I am prepared to guard against the hungry critters. I have the bird netting ready for when my plants start to bear fruit. It will definitely keep birds from eating tomatoes.

By June 12, 2016 I already noticed clusters of tomatoes and one green pepper, and on June 24, 2016, I picked my first two patio tomatoes.

  My first picked patio tomatoes My first picked patio tomatoes My first picked patio tomatoes  

Check out my post, My First Five-Gallon Bucket Garden, where I go into more detail about prepping my pots and plants.

I decided to plant an herb garden this year. I started with four herbs that I commonly use in my recipes – basil, chives, parsley, and thyme.

Pest Control:

Neem Oil:

Neem Oil is great for repelling insects. Apparently, it affects their mental capacity and will sit there confused until a predator comes along, or they simply fall off the plant and die.

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Sal Suds mixed with neem oil allows it to stick to the plants.

  • 2 Tbsp of Neem Oil and 2 Tbsp of Dr. Bronner’s Organic Sal Suds per gallon of water.

*Note: I purchased the Chapin 20000 1-Gallon Poly Lawn and Garden Sprayer, Dyna-Gro Pure Neem Oil Natural Leaf Polish,, and Dr. Bonner’s Organic Sal Suds on Amazon. I’m sure you can find them at any garden center, Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, etc.

  1. In a small jar, mix Neem oil and Dr. Bonner’s Sal Suds with a cup of warm water. Shake or mix thoroughly.
  2. Pour into a sprayer. Fill with water to the 1-gallon mark. Mix well.
  3. Set the sprayer on fine mist. Spray early in the morning or evening, and not during full sun or it can burn your plants. I prefer early evening just as the sun sets. In the morning, it washes off with the first watering.
  4. I spray my plants with neem oil spray once or twice a week.
Diatomacious Earth:

Diatomaceous Earth is a powder made from fossilized prehistoric crustaceans called diatoms. The sharp edges of D-Earth cuts into the insects’ bodies, causing them to die naturally of dehydration. I know this sounds cruel, but it’s one of the best non-toxic solutions to keeping those pesky critters from destroying our plants.

D-Earth is less effective when wet, but can still be used in the garden on Japanese beetles or cutworms. In dry weather, sprinkle D-Earth on the soil where slugs, Japanese beetles, or other pests will come in contact with the soil. Reapply after rain or heavy dew.

Be sure to buy the food grade. I purchased my Diatomaceous Earth on Amazon, but I’m sure you can find it in most garden centers, such as Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, etc.

When using indoors, wear a mask. It is best to use a pest control duster in order to get into small crevices.

I purchased Diatomaceous Earth on Amazon, but I’m sure you could find it at most garden centers, such as Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, etc.

Can Diatomacious Earth hurt honeybees?

I have read conflicting opinions about the effect d-earth has on bees. The furry hairs on the bees help protect it, but thicker layers of d-earth can harm them. Now that I know it could be harmful, I have decided to use it with caution, and only for serious infestations. After application, it would be best to cover plants with a sheet so the bees can’t get to the plants. Then, uncover the plants and wash the D-Earth off with a fine spray of water.

Sep 162015

Eggplant is my new vegetable. In fact, I love it so much it’s more like dessert. I don’t know why I had never tried it before. Now that I eat low carb, it is one of my favorite vegetables. The other two favorites are cauliflower and zucchini. They make great substitutes for cauliflower mac & cheese, pork fried rice and zucchini spaghetti.

Version #1 is a meal that serves 8. It can be adjusted for fewer servings.

Versions #2 and #3 are for a simpler snack or side dish. Version 2 tastes great, but Version 3 with egg is so much better!

Version #1 – The Real Eggplant Parmesan

This will serve 8 people, so adjust for fewer servings.


  • 9″ x 13″ casserole
  • 1 or 2 eggplants, depending on size. You would need 2 slices per serving.
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 or 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 26-oz. jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (I prefer whole, but you can use low fat)
  • Italian spices (Italian seasoning and/or oregano)
  • salt and pepper
  • Peel and slice eggplant in 1/2″ slices, dip in beaten egg, then dip both sides in grated parmesan cheese. Lay out in a single layer on parchment paper on a sheet pan. Roast at 400 for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
  • Meanwhile, brown ground beef in skillet, drain.
  • When eggplant is finished, remove from oven and lower oven temp. to 350.
  • Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with cooking spray. Put a small amount of spaghetti sauce on bottom of pan, then layer with half of the roasted eggplant slices. Top with half of the spaghetti sauce, then spread the ricotta evenly over the top of the sauce.
  • Spread ground beef over the ricotta. Hmm, I might just add the meat to the sauce and layer like I do lasagna. Your choice. 🙂
  • Then layer with remaining eggplant, top with remaining spaghetti sauce, then mozzarella.
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Let set for 5 minutes.

Version #2 – Simple Roasted Eggplant Slices with Parmesan Cheese

This makes a great snack or side dish.

Peel and slice eggplant in 1/2″ slices, lay them out in a single layer on parchment on a sheet pan, spray with either spray butter or olive oil, and sprinkle with grated parmesan. Bake at 400 for about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on thickness of slices. They came out a bit thinner in the photo below, but they were delicous!

Baked Chicken with Green Beans and Sliced Eggplant

Baked Chicken with Green Beans and Sliced Eggplant

Version #3 – Roasted Eggplant Slices topped with Tomato and Mozzarella Cheese

These are like small pizzas. You can add any toppings you like, such as pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, mushrooms, etc.

Peel and slice eggplant in 1/2″ slices, dip in beaten egg, then dip both sides in grated parmesan cheese. Lay out in a single layer on parchment paper on a sheet pan. Roast at 400 for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Then, top with sliced tomato and shredded mozzarella. Lower oven temp to 350 and roast for additional 10 to 15 minutes until cheese is melted.

Roasted Eggplant with Tomato and Mozzarella

Roasted Eggplant with Tomato and Mozzarella

Roasted Eggplant Chips

Eggplant chips make for a really nice low carb snack, or as a side dish with any meal. This time, I sliced the eggplant as thin as I could, approximately 1/8″ thick, using my Deli-Pro Slicing Knife. I love this knife because you can slice most things evenly, such as lunch meat, tomatoes, bread, and eggplant. Just set the dial for the thickness you want. I would have used a mandoline slicer but the eggplant is a bit too big for it.

Roasted Eggplant Chips, thinly sliced

Pork Loin Chops with Green Beans and Roasted Eggplant Chips

Jul 212015

I started my journey to a healthier low carb way of life 21 days ago. Yes, I can count the days, minutes and seconds since I started my diet. My last meal the night before I started my diet was on June 30, 2015, at approximately 7:30 pm. Oops! Let’s not forget the mini Mounds bar I had as a bedtime snack around midnight.

I should mention that I have Type 2 Diabetes.

This journey didn’t start out as a way to lose weight. My blood glucose (BG) levels were out of control and I needed to do something. My blood glucose was 230 the morning that I started my diet, and that was with medication and insulin. A normal blood glucose reading should be between 70 and 105, and no higher than 180 two hours after a meal. Those are the ADA guidelines, which I believe are old and outdated. From what I understand, it is when the blood glucose reaches 140 that it begins to cause damage to organs and nerves. This is why I have neuropathy in my hands and feet, and probably why I have had cataracts and have to get the pressure in my eyes checked every year for fear of glaucoma. I know many of my ailments come with age, but I also know Diabetes has been the cause of many of them.

It had been a real struggle trying to keep my diabetes under control. Over the years, my doctors have gradually added more and more medication until, finally, it wasn’t enough and I had to take insulin. I hated it! Having to prick my fingers three to five times a day, shots in the morning, evening, and before each meal. The more I ate, the more insulin I needed. My doctor told me I was just feeding my diabetes.

I had no will power. It was foods like fried rice or spaghetti that made it very difficult. I would outdo myself when it came to pasta, potatoes and rice. Now, they are not even in my repertoire of recipes when I cook for myself. I do still cook them for my family on occasion, but most of the time they can do without. They are much better off making healthier choices, even if it is me that is making the choices for them. Otherwise, hey, they can cook for themselves, right? I can’t even get my 21-year-old to make his own grilled cheese sandwich. I know, I enable and indulge him. I’m a mother, and that’s what I do. I enable and indulge.

When I do cook high calorie/carb foods for them, I can usually do without and add something I like instead. For example, they love spaghetti and I would never deprive them of my spaghetti and meatballs. So, while the sauce is simmering and the spaghetti noodles are boiling, I spiralize a zucchini (I call them zoodles) and saute it in a little EVOO and garlic. I then have the zoodles with a little sauce and meatballs. It is so good!

zucchini spaghetti and meatballs

Zucchini Spagetti and Meatballs – 291 calories, 15g net carbs

I started with a 3-day fast so that I could try to get my insulin dosage where it should be, without food. I then began to add carbohydrates back into my diet. I soon found that my body cannot tolerate too many carbs without spiking my blood sugar too much. So, I settled on a less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day (that’s right, not per meal, PER DAY!), preferably less than 30g. Now, instead of seeing BG readings in the 200’s, I’m seeing consistent readings in the 80’s and 90’s. I couldn’t believe it!

I have about 50 pounds to lose, so I decided to try and restrict my calorie intake as well. Believe me, calories do matter. It takes quite the balancing act to lower carbs and calories at the same time. So, in addition to lowering my carb intake to less than 50 grams of carbs, I now stick to a 1200 calorie diet. It’s not always easy, but it’s doable. I actually get to eat a lot of low carb food, so I’m not feeling hungry all day like I did with high carb, low fat diets. This diet has changed my life! In fact, to me, it’s not a diet at all. It is a new way of eating, a low carb way of life. Hmm, NWOE and LCWOL. Not Low Carb, High Fat (LCHF), exactly, because I’m not comfortable with eating a lot of fat. It makes me feel queasy when I eat too much fat. Besides, I read that too much fat can spike my blood sugar because it contributes to my insulin resistance. However, I don’t eat low fat, either, because I feel that some fat in my diet helps me feel full and satisfied. Like I said, it’s all a balancing act. Anyway, there are plenty of pros and cons out there about the LCHF diet, but I’m not going to get into that. I just want to write about what works for me and, hopefully, give others some ideas on making healthier choices. I know it’s only been three weeks, but I honestly feel that I’m in this for the long haul.

This is not about physical fitness, although I definitely plan on becoming more active as I go along. For now, a trip to the grocery store once a week, running a few errands, working around the house, and tending to my vegetable garden is about all I can handle for now. I look forward to the days when I can hop in my van, go from store to store, and shop ’til I drop.

This isn’t a recipe blog, but I do have quite a few of my favorite recipes. I have to admit, not too many of them are low carb or calorie. However, you can adjust many of them by excluding the potatoes or rice, or by replacing them with cauliflower. Just look at the drop-down categories under “What’s Cooking”. As I gradually add more low carb recipes to my blog, I will include a link to those pages.

Some of my favorite low carb foods:

Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken
Pork chops with cauliflower pork fried rice
Zucchini spaghetti and meatballs
Oven Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings
Sauteed chicken and green beans
Sausage and sauteed cabbage served over cauliflower rice
Oven baked cod and broccoli
Corned beef and cabbage
Romaine lettuce wraps with ham, roast beef, tuna, turkey and chicken salad.
Roasted asparagus, cauliflower, eggplant
Snacks: mozarella sticks, peanuts, cucumber chips, strawberries and whipped cream. I also found a mock danish that was pretty good.

I would love to hear your story, or any tips or words of encouragement that you might have. Please add your comments below. Thank you! ~Susan

Sep 252014

We just started the new Fall Season for many popular TV shows. I’ve put together a list of my favorite shows and their time schedule, along with quite a few new ones that I’m looking forward to watching. Some started already, so I added those to the list as well. Please note that programming is subject to change.

2 Broke Girls (CBS) – Monday, 8:00 PM (Premier 10/27/14)

20/20 (ABC) – Friday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/26/14)

48 Hours (CBS) – Saturday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/27/14)

60 Minutes (CBS) – Sunday, 7:00 PM (Premier 9/21/14)

A to Z (NBC) – Thursday, 9:30 PM (Premier 10/2/14)

About a Boy (NBC) – Tuesday, 9:30 PM (Premier 10/14/14)

America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) – Sunday, 7:00 PM (Premier 10/5/14)

Arrow (CW) – Thursday, 8:00 PM (Premier 10/8/14)

Bad Judge (NBC) – Thursday, 9:00 PM (Premier 10/2/14)

Black-ish (ABC) – Wednesday, 9:30 PM (Premier 9/24/14)

Blue Bloods (CBS) – Friday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/26/14)

Bob’s Burgers (Fox) – Sunday, 7:30 PM (Premier 10/5/14)

Bones (FOX) – Thursday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/25/14)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox) – Sunday, 8:30 PM (Premier 9/28/14)

Castle (ABC) – Monday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/29/14)

Chicago P.D. (NBC) – Wednesday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/24/14)

Chicago Fire (NBC) – Tuesday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/23/14)

Constantine (NBC) – Friday, 10:00 PM (Premier 10/24/14)

Criminal Minds (CBS) – Wednesday, 9:00 PM (Premier 10/1/14)

Cristela (ABC) – Friday, 8:30 PM (Premier 10/10/14)

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS) – Sunday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/28/14)
Spinoff CSI: Cyber Moves into the Time Period in Spring 2015

Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars (ABC) – Monday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/15/14)

Dateline NBC (NBC) – Friday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/26/14)

Elementary (CBS) – Thursday, 10:00 PM (Premier 10/30/14)

Family Guy (Fox) – Sunday, 9:00 PM (Premier 9/28/14)

Forever (ABC) – Monday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/22/14)

Glee (Fox) – TBA Midseason

Gracepoint (Fox) – Thursday, 9:00 PM (Premier 10/2/14)

Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) – Thursday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/25/14)

Grimm (NBC) – Friday, 9:00 PM (Premier 10/24/14)

Hawaii Five-0 (CBS) – Friday, 9:00 PM (Premier 9/26/14)

Hell’s Kitchen (Fox) – Wednesday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/10/14)

Homeland (Showtime) – Sunday, 9:00 PM (Premier 10/5/14)

How to Get Away With Murder (ABC) – Thursday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/25/14)

Jane The Virgin (CW) – Monday, 9:00 PM (Premier 10/13/14)

Last Man Standing (ABC) – Friday, 8:00 PM (Premier 10/3/14)

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC) – Wednesday, 9:00 PM (Premier 9/24/14)

Madam Secretary (CBS) – Sunday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/21/14)

Manhattan Love Story (ABC) – Tuesday, 8:30 PM (Premier 9/30/14)

Marry Me (NBC) – Tuesday, 9:00 PM (Premier 10/14/14)

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) – Tuesday, 9:00 PM (Premier 9/23/14)

Mike & Molly (CBS) – TBA Midseason

Modern Family (ABC) – Wednesday, 9:00 PM (Premier 9/24/14)

Mom (CBS) – Monday, 8:30 PM (Premier 9/29/14)

Mulaney (Fox) – Sunday, 9:30 PM (Premier 10/5/14)

Nashville (ABC)j – Wednesday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/24/14)

New Girl (Fox) – Tuesday, 9:00 PM (Premier 9/16/14)

NCIS (CBS) – Tuesday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/23/14)

NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) – Monday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/29/14)

NCIS: New Orleans (CBS) – Tuesday, 9:00 PM (Premier 9/23/14)

Once Upon a Time (ABC) – Sunday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/28/14)

Parenthood (NBC) – Thursday, 10:30 PM (Premier 9/25/14)

Person of Interest (CBS) – Tuesday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/23/14)

Red Band Society (Fox) – Wednesday, 9:00 PM (Premier 9/17/14)

Reign (CW) – Thursday, 9:00 PM (Premier 10/2/14)

Resurrection (ABC) – Sunday, 9:00 PM (Premier 9/28/14)

Revenge (ABC) – Sunday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/28/14)

Scandal (ABC) – Thursday, 9:00 PM (Premier 9/25/14)

Selfie (ABC) – Tuesday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/30/14)

Scorpion (CBS) – Monday, 9:00 PM (Premier 9/22/14)

Shark Tank (ABC) – Friday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/26/14)

Sleepy Hollow (Fox) – Monday, 9:00 PM (Premier 9/22/14)

Sons of Anarchy (FX) – Tuesday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/9/14)

Stalker (CBS) – Wednesday, 10:00 PM (Premier 10/1/14)

Supernatural (CW) – Wednesday, 9:00 PM (Premier 10/7/14)

Survivor (CBS) – Wednesday, 8:00 pm, CBS (Premier 9/24/14)

The 100 (CW) – Wednesday, 9:00 PM (Premier 10/22/14)

The Affair (Showtime) – Sunday, 10:00 PM (Premier 10/19/14)

The Amazing Race (CBS) – Friday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/26/14)

The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – Monday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/22/14)

The Blacklist (NBC) – Monday, 10:00 PM (Premier 9/22/14)

The Flash (CW) – Wednesday, 8:00 PM (Premier 10/7/14)

The Goldbergs (ABC) – Wednesday, 8:30 PM (Premier 9/24/14)

The Good Wife (CBS) – Sunday, 9:00 PM (Premier 9/21/14)

The McCarthys (CBS) – Thursday, 9:30 PM (Premier 10/30/14)

The Mentalist (CBS) – TBA Midseason

The Middle (ABC) – Wednesday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/24/14)

The Millers (CBS) – Thursday, 8:30 PM (Premier 10/30/14)

The Mysteries of Laura (NBC) – Wednesday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/24/14)

The Mindy Project (Fox) – Tuesday, 9:30 PM (Premier 9/16/14)

The Originals (CW) – Tuesday, 8:00 PM (Premier 10/6/14)

The Simpsons (Fox) – Sunday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/28/14)

The Vampire Diaries (CW) – Thursday, 8:00 PM (Premier 10/2/14)

The Voice (NBC) – Monday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/22/14)

The Voice (Results) (NBC) – Tuesday, 8:00 PM (Premier 9/23/14)

The Walking Dead (AMC) – Sunday, 9:00 PM (Premier 10/12/14)

Two and a Half Men (CBS) – Thursday, 9:00 PM (Premier 10/30/14 – Last Season)

* I didn’t list every television show, but you can check out the full Fall lineup at http://www.tvguide.com/special/fall-preview/calendar.aspx

If you’d like to catch up with any of the series’ on DVD – Click Here!

What are your favorite TV shows? I would love to read your comments!

Apr 072014

Gee whiz, it’s April 7, 2014, and we’re still using our heat in the early mornings, and air conditioning by late afternoon. This weather has been crazy! I was beginning to think we would go from Winter to Summer without Spring. What a bummer that would be.

We’re finally starting to see signs of Spring. My husband pulled out the lawnmower the other day for the first time this season. Soon after, the neighbors followed. All weekend I listed to the buzzing sounds of Spring. Lawnmowers, weed eaters, and the sound of lawn sprinklers….ahh, such a wonderful sound!

I wonder if any of those potted plants on the back porch will sprout again. Something tells me they won’t. I do not have a green thumb, and I’m not sure I’m going to try again this year.

This year, I’m going to try my hand at artificial container plants. I know they can be a little bit pricey, but believe me they are worth it in the long run. I spent hundreds of dollars last Spring and then again in the Fall, and they didn’t last long enough. Even my decorative pumpkins from Lowes were turning moldy by the time Halloween arrived.

The following are some of the plants that I found on Amazon. Many of them would be nice in baskets or in containers. I’m sure if you search other stores you’ll find more, such as Overstock.com, Silkflowers.com, or Walmart.com.

Nearly Natural 6608 Bougainvillea Hanging Basket Decorative Silk Plant, Beauty

Geranium Silk Hanging Basket by Nearly Natural

Nearly Natural 6610 Morning Glory Hanging Basket Decorative Silk Plant, Purple

Artificial Geranium Hanging Bush by Miles Kimball. Note: Basket sold separately.

TWO Pre-potted 3′ Artificial Cedar Topiary Outdoor Indoor Tree

Petunia Artificial Hanging Bush by Miles Kimball

Silk Azalea Bush by Miles Kimball. Note: Pot sold separately.

Artificial Impatiens Hanging Bush by Miles Kimball

DDI 2378 Silk Ivy and Magnolia Boughs with Feathers in an Oval Metal Planter

Ikea Artificial Potted Plant Allium 13″ Tall 4″ Diameter Lifelike Nature Herb Decoration Fejka

Top Collection Enchanted Story Garden Lover Birds and Nest Functional Flower Pot Outdoor Decor

Mar 192014

I’ll never forget that terrible day, back in 1993, when Mama wasn’t doing so good. She was old, and had had several litters of kittens over the years. I think I had 11 cats at one time, all either hers or her grandkitties. Anyway, I didn’t want the vet to put her to sleep, so I kept her at home to care for her until the time came.

I had just met my future husband, Bob, and he was at work when it happened. She died in my arms while my son cried and helped comfort me. I wrapped her in a towel and place her in a box. Then, I called Bob at work to let him know.

When he answered the phone, I was sobbing and could hardly speak. I told him that Mama died. I was blubbering so much, going on and on, pouring my heart out, until he finally said, “Who is this?”

Mar 172014

Dear Me, You, and Us:

Here I am, writing to you from the future. Wait until you see what the future has in store for you!

My first and most important tip for you would be, don’t quit school! I know Dean K. told you that you should quit, but don’t listen to her! Talk to the school counselor and don’t be afraid to let her know that you are shy and don’t fit in. As it turns out, you are a lot smarter than you think you are. You just need someone to talk to who can help you get back on track. And, no, I don’t mean your mother.

In fact, have a nice long talk with your sister. She’s a very strong woman with a good head on her shoulders. She is very generous and loving, and has a work ethic you wouldn’t believe. I only wish I had known her better when I was your age. We are much closer now and I very much appreciate her. She is my rock.

When you’re 17 you’ll meet an older guy. I know he’s really HOT! He played the trumpet under the 7th Avenue bridge and you waved as the boats went by. He played drums with the Grateful Dead, so he says, and wrote you the most romantic poems. Don’t believe anything he says, he’s going to break your heart. One day you’ll find a book of poems that he copied word-for-word. What a jerk! You’re going to run away and work for a casket company in Cambridge…not exactly a wise career choice but, hey, it’s a job, right?

When you’re, oh, say around 21 or 22, don’t quit your job at the Post Office for a cross-country vacation that ends up in Hawaii. BIG MISTAKE!

Stay in school, go to college, get a good job, learn to play the piano, invest in McDonald’s, Intel, Microsoft, and Google!

Get married, have kids, do some traveling and enjoy your retirement.

Your Older Self

P.S. You know what? Forget everything that I just wrote. Well, except the parts about talking to your sister, playing the piano, investing in McDonalds, Intel, Microsoft and Google.

Every single thing that you do, including all of the mistakes that you’re going to make, is what makes you, well, you. We have a great husband who loves us very much, and two really great sons. We have the best family and group of friends. Sure, we’ve had some tough times but I wouldn’t change a thing. You did good, girl. 🙂

Feb 192014

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. We usually don’t put a whole lot of effort into holidays. My husband is not very affectionate, and over the years I’ve gotten used to it. In fact, I’ve become more and more like him. A card and a box of chocolates will usually suffice, and that’s actually okay with me. It’s the thought that counts, right?

I did my grocery shopping on Valentine’s Day, and I always try to time it so that I’ll get home with the groceries around the same time my husband gets home from work. That way, he and my son can unload the groceries from the van while I put them away. This time, while I was checking out at the cashier, I called my husband. When he answered, I asked him where he was. He said he was in the store picking up a few things. I had a feeling he was there, but I suspected that he was avoiding me so I didn’t bother to look for him. I know my husband so well, after all, we’ll be married for 20 years next month, I figured he was picking up a card and some chocolates at the very last minute. I’m not complaining, though, because I just did the same thing. I bought him some of his favorite Dove chocolates and Wonderful Pistachios. I didn’t even bother to get him a card. He’s just not that sentimental.

When I got home, my son started unloading the van and my husband came in a few minutes later. I got the groceries put away and preheated the oven. It was after six o’clock and too late to start cooking, so I figured I’d just throw a frozen pizza in the oven. My son loves any kind of pizza.

So, when I went out to the living room to relax, there was a Valentine’s Day card and a heart-shaped box of chocolates on the coffee table.

When I picked up the card, I was taken by the one he had chosen. It was a beautiful card and brought tears to my eyes.

The card reads:

When I said “I do” that first beautiful time,
it meant I wanted to say “I do” every day of our life together.
And especially on Valentine’s Day, I want you to know…
I do think about you all the time.
I do call just to hear your voice.
I do hate arguing.
I do love making up.
I do think you’re smart
and desirable and wonderful.
I do feel lucky you married me.
I do want to hold you forever.
I do love you with all my heart.

Love Bob

I said,

Oh, Honey, this is a beautiful card!” I kissed him and said, “Thank you!”

Well, my husband should have left it at that. However, he went on to add:

I’m glad you liked it. I didn’t have my glasses with me, so I had no idea what the card said.”

Good grief!

Now, you might think this would upset me, but it didn’t. I love my husband, and it was still more than I would expect from him.

So, I went on to read the card out loud, making it a point to emphasize the really good parts. The whole while, he’s saying, “Yup, that’s right.” “Uh-huh.” “See, I picked the right card.”

*roll eyes*

I really, truly do love this man. And I know he loves me, too. He may not always say it, but he shows it in so many other ways.

Care to share some of the sweet nothings you get from your other half? I would love to read your comments. 🙂

Feb 022014

I don’t understand how 95% of the entire world can say they believe in God.

How can anyone believe in a God that allows famine, disease, violence, hatred, and poverty, when it would be so easy to change the world for the better if there were a God? I don’t understand it. It’s more like God playing a cruel joke on us, if he truly exists.

Why do people pray to God for healing or good fortune? But when someone dies, they say it was God’s will. God willed them to die? Why let one child die and not the other? Why my friend and not me?

Then there’s free will. We make up our own minds based on the temptations we face every day. This makes us accountable for our own actions. God does not interfere with the choices we make. We certainly can’t blame God for the bad choices we make, right? No, but we can pray for him to save us, heal us, make things right. If he doesn’t, then it was God’s will.

So, God can will people to live or die, but he doesn’t will us to make better choices. I still don’t get it.

When you die, your dead. It’s like going into a deep sleep. I love to sleep. I look forward to it every night. Of course, we really only appreciate how great we feel after a good night’s sleep when we wake up, after.

Problem is, when you die what if there is no after? There’s the number one question of the universe. Is there life after death? Is there a Heaven. Is there a Hell?

I think it is about fear, what we all fear. I’m afraid there is no life after death, but I also fear that I’m fooling myself to believe there is.

So, why do I say my prayers at night? Why do I pray to God that my family be healthy, happy and safe? Why do I feel like there is an afterlife? This feeling doesn’t come from my brain, it comes from my heart and soul. Maybe because I want it so badly, no matter how illogical it sounds. I want to see my loved ones again. There has to be a hereafter.

My brain tells me that there is no after. Science argues there is no after. My senses tell me there is no after.

But there are so many times in my life, experiences that I’ve had here and there, that tell me there must be a God, or at least an angel on my shoulder. I can’t be any more specific than that. I can’t really put my finger on it; I can’t prove it. There are some things that are just too personal for me to discuss here. But it always brings me back to the question, why me? Why would God listen to me or watch over me and not someone else? Maybe it’s just luck. Is there such a thing as luck? Here we go again. God or luck, either way it’s illogical.

Heaven and Hell. Well, I guess if there is a Heaven there should be a Hell. One balances the other. Isn’t it the threat of Hell that makes most people strive to make it to Heaven? Hell and damnation. The wrath of God. Sounds like a pretty good reason to keep people in line, wouldn’t you think?

Lord Henry Wotton: Life is a moment, there is no hereafter. So make it burn always, with the hottest flame.” –Dorian Gray (2009)

So, what do you think?

 Posted by on February 2, 2014
Sep 232013

 Posted by on September 23, 2013