Archive for the ‘New Journeys’ Category

Summer time and the living is easy, but…

July 15, 2016 Leave a comment

The breathing is hard.

summerflipflopsThose of you who know me know that I love summer! I love the hot weather, the long sunny days that don’t end until 9 PM, the awesomely fresh summer fruits including HUGE Jersey tomatoes and blueberries, cooking all kinds of foods on the grill, fresh and juicy Jersey Corn on the Cob, outdoor farmer’s markets, the Jersey shore, and most of all flip flops!

However, in the past 5 or 6 years,  I’ve noticed an increase in my asthma and allergy symptoms starting in late June and not ending until mid-August.

At the end of June, I went to my doctor. Her diagnosis was “Upper Airway Cough Syndrome and Asthmatic Bronchitis” brought on by allergens and environment.

What does that actually mean? It means that I have Post Nasal Drip with a nasty, hacking cough that sounds like the plague.

Her treatment was a new antihistamine, cough medication (the GOOD kind) and an additional bronchodilator. I’m always told, “This will clear up with these medications in a couple of weeks.” Realistically, it’s going to be a solid 6-8 weeks of hacking up a lung and avoiding (quiet) public places.

Last summer, the ENT specialist told me that this environment is not good for asthmatics. My pulmonologist told me that very same thing for a good 15 years. He actually went as far as saying that much cooler, dryer air would be a better environment for me.

Well, here’s the conundrum: I don’t like cooler air. And I definitely don’t like cold weather. Things associated with cold weather like snow, ice, sleet, snow shovels, etc. make me downright depressed and lethargic.

So according the those in the medical profession, I should NOT be living in NJ. I already knew that. Besides, it’s way too damn expensive to live here. Every winter I want to fly south with the birds. Yet, moving to a place like the Carolinas or Florida would not be great for me either because of the environment: ie: humidity and allergens.

Here’s Culprit #1: Unhealthy Air quality Index


Here’s Culprit #2: High Concentration of Mold Spores


Above are the reasons that I suffer every year. I am allergic to Earth. Maybe I am really an alien, and I somehow got transported here. It’s apparent that my lungs can’t handle our air. Sigh. I need to move. I’m thinking Mercury or Venus.









Three years.

January 18, 2016 Leave a comment


That’s how long it’s been since Mark passed away. 1095 days.

So much has happened since that night. Nothing ever prepares you for the death of a spouse. Nothing. Even though he was sick for years before he passed, it didn’t make it easier.

And now it’s three years later. So much has changed. I look around my home, and realize that time has kept marching on. Gone is the color brown. A lighter and brighter me has emerged.

Gone is the deep pain, but what remains are the memories of the 13 years we were together. Some bad. Some indifferent. But mostly good. I used to remember and it cut like a knife. Now I remember and I smile. Yes, sometimes I still cry, but it’s not like it was the first year after Mark passed.

I didn’t think life could or would go on. But it did, and I can honestly say I’m happy. Sure, there is always room for improvement, but on a personal level, life is good.

I don’t think this date will EVER be a happy one for me, but it will hopefully never be one of doom and gloom.

I made it through these three years because of the love of friends and family, but also because I found strength that I never knew that I possessed. I always considered myself a weeny. I never thought I was equipped to handle the cruel world we live in. Mark used to tell me that I was too sensitive and emotional. He said I needed to be tougher and more assertive. That’s never worked for me. It’s not who I am. I haven’t changed in three years. I still possess my “weeny tendencies” but who I am is what made me the person I am today.

I have learned a lot since Mark passed away. I now know that I can function quite well on my own. I admit that I prefer not to because I love having someone around to share life with on a daily basis. I learned that life is short, and money is not everything. It definitely makes life easier when you have it. But it won’t buy you love. That comes from within.

A lot of the things that I learned are deep and very personal. Even I won’t share them with anyone, but the important thing is that I learned.


As I start my fourth year without Mark, I am grateful for our years together. I think about him often. I miss him more than I admit. And a part of me will always love him.

Having said that, I know that he’d be proud of me, and I know that he’s glad that I listened to him. He always told me if he should pass away, I should find love and happiness again. I can be stubborn, but I took his advice and honored his wishes.

I know he’s looking down on me, and I know he approves.

24/7… Outsourcing…You get what you pay for!

January 14, 2016 Leave a comment
You-Get-What-You-Pay-ForA typical case of “You Get What You Pay For”….. I joined AARP Roadside Assistance in November. For under $80, I got the Premium Road and Tow Service for myself and George. The new member materials arrived promptly. The package offered 24 hour road and tow service for up to 100 miles, tire change for a flat tire, a jump start for a dead battery, fuel delivery, winching if the car gets stuck, and up to  $120 for lockout service. I was quite pleased, and thought that I had made a good decision.
It was a good decision until George had to use it last night. He got a person on the phone who barely understood English and had an incredibly thick accent. The guy couldn’t seem to understand the information even after George repeated it over and over. He finally got it after it was repeated to him MANY times. George told the man exactly where he was, but the guy on the phone kept asking if he was near Perth Amboy because that was the town that the map showed. He then told George that he didn’t know if he had anyone available at that time of night, but he would call George back. George NEVER got a call back. He finally called 911 who got a local tow truck who was able to help. It was well after 2:00 in the morning when he got home.
Today I called AARP Roadside Assistance. I wanted to get reimbursed for the Tow Truck services and then cancel my membership because I refuse to deal with that kind of poor customer service. I mean, what part of 24 Hour Roadside Assistance did they not get? And to not even call George back is COMPLETELY and TOTALLY unacceptable.
I started off my conversation by being sweet and courteous. The woman on the phone had such a thick accent that I kept having to ask her to repeat herself. I told her that I could not understand her, and asked to speak to her supervisor. She put me on hold… for eight minutes.
Her supervisor got on the phone and introduced himself as “Peter”. His accent was very thick but understandable, but I knew his real name was NOT Peter. I explained what had happened last night, giving all the details that I had, and he said he would look at my account. He said he had NO record of George ever calling their service center. At this point, I was livid. I told him that I wanted to cancel my account and get a full refund. He said that I ordered my membership in November, and he would have to pro-rate my return. Wrong answer!! I demanded that he reimburse me for the FULL amount of my membership plus the cost of the tow truck last night. He told me that he couldn’t do that and he needed to speak to a supervisor. When I said that I thought he was a supervisor, he put me on hold. I held for another 11 minutes until Roger got on the line saying he was a supervisor who was authorized to help me.
I had to explain my story for the THIRD time. He too looked at my account, and he said he had no record of a call from George last night or anytime. He said since he had no record he could not reimburse me for our tow truck services, but he would refund my entire membership. I asked him how it is possible for a member to call in to their roadside number and there be no record of it. He fumbled for an answer mumbling something about linking issues. I asked him outright if the call center was even located in the United States. He said that most of the calls were outsourced. I told him that was the problem right there. How did AARP Roadside Assistance expect someone in another country to help me? I mean, there are towns in New Jersey that I have never heard of, and I have lived here all of my life. How can you expect someone in another country to have ANY clue at all about a small town in central New Jersey?
AAARoadsideAt this point, I just accepted my full refund. I was lucky to get that. I will now go with the choice I should have made. I will sign up for a membership with AAA. I know that they are more expensive, but I want to know that if George or I ever need roadside assistance, it will be there for us — unlike AARP Roadside Assistance who failed miserably.
I have been a member of AAA in the past, but canceled it when my Mitsubishi came with its own Roadside Assistance Plan. I’ve had to use AAA when I was a member, and I was always pleased with their services. I thought that AARP’s program would be a good one. But, as I learned, you get what you pay for.
AAA, here I come.

Are people desperate or just gullible?

January 13, 2016 Leave a comment


As lottery fever hits, and the Powerball jackpot is up to $1.5 billion, I am starting to see more and more lottery scams being posted on social media. It’s amazing what people will come up with to try to elicit false hope from people.

I like to think, actually I know, that my friends are smart people. Yet I see them sharing all kinds of hoaxes on Facebook. For example, do you really think that a random stranger would be willing to share his or her lottery winnings with anyone who likes, comments, or shares their “winning lottery ticket” on social media? Do my Facebook friends think that because this random person claims to have legal documentation that they are really legally bound to share their winnings ( that is assuming that they have a winning ticket).

If I won the lottery, I can tell you that I would definitely not share my winnings with random Facebook people. I have plenty of family and friends who deserve and need a share of my winnings. Should I have so much excess money after sharing it with those I care about, I can still say with certainty that I would not give my money out randomly. There are plenty of things that I could do with it. I would donate to worth while  charities, and I would be sure that my money was put to good use to help others. Let’s be real, with the jackpot being so large, there is no way that I could ever spend that kind of money. Many people think they would pay off their mortgage, buy a fancy car, buy a boat, go on an exotic vacation, live off their savings, payoff the debt of their friends and family, etc. But even after doing that, I can guarantee you’re still going to have money left over.

Think about it… Think about it long and hard… Would you really want to give that money to people you don’t even know who liked your facebook post? And even if you are on the level and we’re going to give your money to these people, do you have any idea how much work would be involved to contact and send money to everyone? Who would even keep track of how many times it was liked, commented on, and shared? Let’s be real, it would be a logistical nightmare!

My personal thought is that those people who are actually liking these posts are actually hoping that they will come into some money. Do you think they’re gullible and truly believe that a random person would give away their fortune? Or are they so desperate that they think they have a chance?

After standing in line at the 7-Eleven, waiting to buy my lottery ticket, I have to ask myself, am I so desperate to think that I have a chance? Sure, I do have a chance of winning this mega jackpot, but the odds are so slim that I have a better chance of getting hit by a bus while riding an escalator at the Mall of America.

But as I said before, the key word is hope. That hope is what keeps our dreams alive. And if you give up your dreams, you die.

The circle of life… a Space Oddity!

January 11, 2016 Leave a comment


Today I woke up to several news alerts on my cell phone telling me that David Bowie had passed away after an 18-month battle with cancer.

I was stunned, because like so many people, I had no idea that he was even ill. He was 69 years old, and in this day and age that’s not old at all.

I liked his music. He had a very eclectic sound, he was ahead of his time, and he was paired with some of the greatest singers of all time. His duets with Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury, and Bing Crosby were just some of the classics.

He was married for many years to his wife, supermodel Iman. They shared a very touching love story that I only read about today.

The legend of David Bowie will live on forever through his music. While I didn’t know all that much about his life, I still find it sad that he passed away. It’s just another harsh reality that no matter how much money you have or who you know or how famous you are, when your time is up, it’s up.

The circle of life means many things to many people. To me, it’s birth, it’s living, and it’s dying. No one is immune. You can’t beg or plead for more time. All you can do is live each day to its fullest because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Rest in peace David Bowie. You were a man, a genius, a father, a husband, a legend.


To Ziggy Stardust, in your memory, I say,”Let’s Dance!” I think it’s what you would have wanted!

I bought my Hope!!

January 6, 2016 Leave a comment

powerball$500 million!!!  Or $306 million cash value!! I can live with that. Easily. Quite easily!

So on my way home from work today, I stopped at the local 7-11, and I bought 5 Powerball lottery tickets. It cost me $10.

That’s not a bad investment considering that I have hope. It is a piece of paper that could possibly be worth more money than I could ever earn in10 life times. That hope could afford me everything I could ever want or need for the rest of my life. It could allow me the chance to help everyone who needs it.

Could you even imagine that kind of money? I dream about a life completely different from the one I live now. I’d be able to travel the country, or even the world. I’d be able to help rescue dogs and cats in need of homes and medical care. I could help my friends and family who need just a boost to get them through the rough times.

What would you do with that kind of money? In less than an hour, the drawing will go off. I could have a life changing moment. I have just as much chance as anyone else. And for a brief moment, I can experience the “what if” …

What if I won? I have hope. I could be dirty, filthy, stinking rich. I could have more money than I could spend in a lifetime.

I can dream. Wanna know why? Because I bought my hope!

The good insomniacs…

January 4, 2016 Leave a comment


Some people are good insomniacs. I’m the kind of insomniac that you want to share a bed with. With over 25 years of insomnia under my belt, I should be really good at it.

When I can’t sleep, I will usually read a good book until either the Sun comes up or my mind and body give out. I don’t use a light nor do I read with any kind of sound or music.

If I’m restless, I will take walk with Belle and get some fresh air. Most likely that will not help me sleep, but it will take the edge off that nudgy feeling that I often get.

I don’t eat when I can’t sleep, nor will I make tea or warm milk or use any appliance that might disturb others. After so many years of dealing with insomnia, I’ve learned that few things will cure it.

I can take a benadryl, but if I do I will have brain fog in the morning. I can take a xanax, and in most cases, that will put me out within 30 to 45 minutes. It doesn’t give me brain fog in the morning, but with the amount of insomnia I get, I definitely would run the risk of addiction. Over the years I’ve tried warm milk, turkey (for the tryptophan), chamomile tea, melatonin, and countless other insomnia fixes. Few work for me for more than a night or two, and I’ve learned that insomnia is simply something I must deal with.

In the big scope of things, insomnia is not the worst thing that I can have. My schedule affords me the chance to nap if I really need it. I do prefer not to nap, because that just perpetuates the cycle of insomnia . I’ve also learned that I can function quite well on less than 4-5 hours of sleep.

So, after all these years why am I writing about insomnia? Well I’m going to tell you.

My boyfriend George is the worst insomniac you would ever want to meet. When he can’t sleep, no one can. He starts off quietly playing games on the iPad, but eventually as sleep evades him, he will toss and turn, walk around, talk to the dog, feed the dog, and attempt to talk to me while I’m sleeping.

In all fairness, he’s not the first man that I’ve been with who is a bad insomniac. Are men just bigger babies? Are they needier than women?

If men can’t handle a night of insomnia, I can’t imagine that they would handle childbirth very well. So I must ask, are women the stronger sex?