A Budding Blog…

Budding Flower_01

Well, it is with a fair amount of fear and trepidation that I’d like to make an announcement.
Before your mind starts to wander too far, I am not pregnant. That would cause mind-boggling fear and trepidation, and would, in fact, be a miracle.
This is “Not That Big a Deal” which is also the name of my new blog. Yes, friends I have “bitten the bullet, jumped in with both feet, leaped into the breach” and it scares the crumbs out of me. But, I enjoy making people smile and laugh and forget, even if just for a little while, their troubles. I think it’s something we all need now and then. I really do believe that “a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” So, here I go…
My blog link will be posted on facebook and twitter tomorrow and, hopefully, every Friday after that. I hope it does its job. I hope it makes you smile. 


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Where Do You Think You’re Going?

When I was a teenager, this is a question my parents, particularly my Mom, used to ask me. When asked it sounded something like this, “Where do you think you’re going”? The inference was that either a.) I was not supposed to be going anywhere, b.) I was not wearing enough clothing deemed essential to leaving the house, or c.) I was trying to leave without finishing my chores. And, when that tone was used, I usually got the not so subliminal message that I wasn’t going anywhere.

But, there can be other meanings to this phrase and so I’d like to ask, when this life is over, my friends, “Where do you think you’re going?”

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Posted in Death, Eternity, Faith, Faithfulness, Family, God, Heaven, Humor, Life, Love, Memories, Tragedy and Triumph | Leave a comment

Shadow, A Dog Story

I have a confession to make, though it seems impossible to believe I did not always love dogs. In fact, there was a time in my life that big dogs scared me…really, really badly! Just ask my best friend, Cheryl. Way back in the day, I can’t tell you which day because Cheryl is not fond of certain ‘numbers’. But, way back when little girls were sent out to risk their lives…I mean sell Girl Scout cookies…door-to-door; I was sure that the dogs would lay in wait to pop up at the window and bark at me. As I got older and taller (it helped that they were no longer eye level) I came to love big dogs and realized that, for the most part, they seemed to love me, too. All but one…

Once there was a dog named Shadow. She belonged to close family friends of ours. Ones that we visited…often. Shadow was a black dog, hence the name. She had a bobbed tail though it was unclear exactly why it was bobbed. She was a mutt, fairly good-sized but not huge. She was very protective of her family, and her food and she did not like people walking near her food dish. I forgot this a lot and was  barked at as a reminder. I did my best to make Shadow like me, but she would have none of it. The nicer I tried to talk to her, the more she barked at me. It soon became obvious that she hated me and I gave up trying to change that fact.

A little background…

We always drove on our visits to Ohio. It’s not really that far, just a very boring ride through Pennsylvania on Route 80, which I’m sure is still under construction. We drove in our little Nissan Sentra. A small, light blue, station-wagonish vehicle that scared the crumbs out of me one day when it asked me to, “Please turn off the lights”. I always loved how wide the windows were on that car, lots of viewing area, hardly any blind spots; nice, w-i-d-e windows.

On one of our visits to Ohio, after I’d stopped trying to make Shadow like me, I was unloading our things from the car. Shadow was on a chain in the front yard barking and pulling at her chain every time I walked out of the house. I finally told her, not very nicely I might add, to be quiet. I think the words I used were more along the lines of, “Shut UP!” She ignored me and kept barking and pulling. It was hard to tell if she was just trying to protect her home or if she really wanted to do me bodily harm. The answer was soon apparent.

I had just exited the house and was on my way towards the car. Shadow was barking, I was rolling my eyes at her, confident in my safe distance when we both heard it. The clinking sound of a chain that’s been broken. I stared at Shadow, Shadow stared at me and then we both ran. Shadow for me, me for the car. There was no time for the door, Shadow was not that old and plenty fast, so I dove. I dove like a great Olympian entering the water. I dove right through that w-i-d-e front passenger window, thanking God that it was down. I banged my shins trying to get my legs inside, but I made it. Shadow almost did too. I was on the drivers side, beeping the horn; Shadow was jumping up and down on the passenger side looking like she was out for blood. Cujo had nothing on this dog.

I was soon rescued and Shadow was brought inside. Once inside, she seemed more at ease, content to just bark whenever she saw me. I avoided her as best I could just in case. For all the years we visited, it was always the same between Shadow and me. Maybe she knew that she was the one dog I could never bring myself to like. Maybe she knew “what evil lurked in my heart and mind?” I’ve heard that “Shadow knows!” Then again, it’s really not that big a deal!








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The Few, The Proud, The Brave…

They weren’t all Marines.

Some of them were a now almost defunct group of young girls called Candy Stripers. Auto correct keeps trying to tell me that “Stripers” should be spelled with two p’s, but that would be “Strippers”. Personally, I don’t think the words ‘young girls’ and ‘strippers’ should be in the same sentence. Anyway…

Years ago, groups of young girls were gathered at hospitals dressed in their finest; white short sleeve shirts with Peter Pan collars, (Yes, that was a thing.) and red and white striped pinafores. We were very chic and I was one of them. Contrary to what you might think, we did not stripe candy of any kind. We did odd jobs around the hospital, pushing carts full of reading material for patients, rolling babies back and forth to the nursery (before they were parked in your room full time), helping with patient care, and working in gift shops and cafeterias. Candy Stripers aren’t allowed to work directly with patients anymore. They have shed their pinafores and Peter Pan collars and now they are simply called ‘Volunteers.’ But, back in the 70’s…


My girlfriend Laura and I joined up when we were in high school.  Our ‘boot camp’ was the little luncheonette in Riverside Hospital in Boonton. They somehow knew not to allow me to care for patients. I’m sure it was Providential.

Interesting side note, years later I would live around the corner from Riverside Hospital and years earlier I’d left a pair of five year old tonsils there, but those are other stories for other times.

As I said, Laura and I were given the job of working in the luncheonette at the hospital. There we waited on the few tables and took orders from people sitting at the counters. My very first waitressing job! I even remember our supervisor, a very sweet young lady named Linda, who wasn’t much older than we were.

On my first day, it was decided that I would wait on tables and Laura, would work at the counter. I didn’t think much back then, and so gave no thought to the fact that I’d never done this before. I just decided it would be fun!

My first guests arrived, a small group of nurses and a doctor. Linda took me aside and warned me that this particular doctor was a very important man. I was fine with that. I went over and took their orders, chatting it up with them as I did. The very important doctor wanted “a tomato stuffed with tuna salad”. Easy! I put his order together myself.

Linda asked me if I needed help. Of course I said, “No”. I stuffed that tomato full of tuna salad, put a piece of lettuce underneath it, and a pickle on the side. I was very proud of myself, and very detrimentally brave. I was having a blast and loving this job, and I wasn’t even caffeinated back then!

I carefully carried my creation to the doctor. The tomato seemed a bit wobbly, so I tried to be careful. I placed it down in front of the doctor and, wouldn’t you know it, the tomato, tuna salad and all, rolled right into his lap, tuna side down. The nurses gasped, the doctor was shocked, and I was kind of stunned. “Oops, I’m so sorry!” was all I could think to say but, unfortunately, not all I thought to do.

Remember when I said I didn’t think much back then?  Well, turns out I’m kind of ‘reactionary,’ too. When something drops my natural inclination is to pick it up. And so, I did what no teenage girl should ever do. I reached into the doctor’s lap, scooped up the stuffed tomato, and put it back on the plate. I then proceeded to scoop up the tuna salad that had fallen into his lap. Yup, I did.

When I brought my now mutilated stuffed tomato to the back, Linda had squelched her hysterics long enough to prepare another. Hers had a little of the bottom cut off so it didn’t roll. I brought the new flat-bottomed one out to the doctor and very carefully placed it down before him. He thanked me and ate his lunch. Because, after all, it really was not that big a deal.


Posted in Candy Stripers, Childhood, Courage, Embarrassing moments, Friends, Hospitals, Humor, New Jersey, Uncategorized, Volunteers, Women | Leave a comment

The Pledge

I think The Pledge of Allegiance is important and so on my Student Questionnaire this year I asked, “Do you know The Pledge of Allegiance?” Just about half of my students answered, “I don’t know.” I was more than a little horrified.

And so, like any other teacher who is slightly-neurotic-and-minimally-anal-about-certain-things, like grammar and the Pledge, I had them memorize it for a quiz the following week. I didn’t realize the trauma this would instill. I told them the quiz would be written, which almost all of them were happy to hear…almost.

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Posted in America, Childhood, Children, Courage, English Teacher, Humor, Pride, Students, Teaching, The Pledge of Allegiance | 2 Comments


Last week I told you about my Room Without a View, which is my classroom where I teach on Tuesdays. This week I’m actually writing to you from my new “office,” my room for school preparations and corrections, my writing room, my very own, personal room with a view!

Our home has undergone a “few” transformations recently, not the least of these being my new office, but I’ll get to that later. Family that was with us has found a home of their own and Cliff and I have been working…hard…together. We now have three extra bedrooms in addition to my office. One will be worked on next year, one is for our out-of-town or out-of-country guests (hint, hint to our friends near and far); and the last one is for our 7 little curmudgeons for sleepovers.

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Posted in Compromise, diversity, Family, Friends, Home, Humor, Irish Roots, Italian Roots, Life, Love, Marriage, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Room ‘Without’ A View


I have a thing for windows. I love them big, small, curtained, shuttered, and naked. I don’t even mind them dirty, as long as I can still see out. In the summer in NJ, I loved them open so almost all of my senses could be fully involved. Here in Florida we open them in the winter for the same reasons. A little confusing at first, but I’ve gotten used to it. I just LOVE windows, which has brought me to this conclusion…I am a ‘windoholic’.

In case you couldn’t tell, I made that word up. I had to drop the last ‘w’ because it just looked weird, but I digress…

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Posted in Children, English Teacher, Florida, Humor, New Jersey, Teaching, The Human Spirit, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

He Hears His Father’s Voice

I was never very good at basketball. I was almost always the last kid picked. The one standing there after everyone else had been chosen. The one the captains of the teams complained about saying, “I had her last time. It’s your turn.” Yes, I was that kid. Since I did get picked fairly regularly for other sports in gym class, I decided it wasn’t personal and I didn’t let it bother me. I was short, and basketball is not a game for the vertically challenged or so I thought.


We have 6 grandsons. Among them are two who are named Colby and Jack. I call them my Cheeseboys. This year the Colby half of the Cheeseboys decided to play basketball and, like any good grandparents, we went to some of his games. May I say, for the first time in my life, I paid attention to a basketball game. Not only is this not a game for the vertically challenged, this is not a game for the easily confused, which I am.

Offense at one end, defense at the other, and it all changes in seconds…Seconds! I had no idea who was playing what or why. They ran back and forth a bazillion times dribbling, traveling, passing, and shooting. And, they all seemed to know what was going on. Of course the parents helped.

“You’re on defense! Defense! Good job! Who are you guarding? Where’s your man? Number 7, number 7! Good job! Get between your man and the basket! Get between him…Get between him! You’re playing offense now! Offense! Good job!” And this was just from my son to Colby! Of course most of the other fathers, and some of the mothers, were doing the same thing. As any coddling, non-athletic Nana would agree, I thought the constant barrage of instruction was too much for these little boys. After all, they’re just babies! I made a decision. I’d see how things went at the next game and then speak to my son about it.

At the second game it was more of the same, the ongoing instruction, the barrage of direction. But, it was also something else. Something I hadn’t noticed the first time. Colby  was looking for his Father’s instruction. He was listening for his Father’s voice. It made me think…maybe I should do the same…maybe we all should. After all, it is a very big deal.

“For He is our God…today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” 

~Psalm 95:7












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