Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head! Such a lovely couple although the mister’s bow tie is a bit starchy.

I remember them as a kid. Do you? Back then they were the real deal – or perhaps I should say “the raw deal”.

Our moms always scolded us about playing with our food and then Hasbro messed with our heads by telling us to do just that. No wonder so many Baby Boomers are now in therapy!

Oh, the irony!

These days The Pot Heads are made entirely of plastic. I admit they’re much less messy but where’s the charm, the appeal, the joie de vie?

Such sweet memories but troubling ones, as well. Whenever we played with the real Potato Heads, there was always a side of mash with dinner that night. When I finally made the awful connection that I was eating my playmates, it was too late.

Oh, the humanity!

RIP, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head. You gave your all for a tasty cause!  🥔

NAR © 2023


Rob and I decided early in our marriage not to have children. We were late bloomers; he was 42 and I had just turned 38. We were happy being a couple without the responsibility of kids or pets. 

That all changed when my widowed great-aunt Madeline passed away. Aunt Maddy was my late mother’s aunt; the last time I saw her was 11 years ago at Mom’s funeral.

Last month Aunt Maddy fell while out for her daily walk. She hit her head on a stone wall and suffered a concussion. She lapsed into a coma. When she awoke, she was in a very weakened state and unable to leave her bed. She spent her final days in the house she loved with her caregivers around her. I found out about my great-aunt’s passing when her lawyer contacted me.

Being Aunt Madeline’s only relative, I was named the sole beneficiary in her will. I was in shock when I learned that she left me her Victorian estate in Rhinebeck, New York and the staggering amount of $2,000,000 with the stipulation that I agreed to the terms stated in her will: to immediately take occupancy of the estate and make it my permanent residence, maintain it in the same meticulous manner as she and to take on the responsibility of providing a nurturing home for Frankie and Johnny – Aunt Maddy’s beloved scarlet macaws.

Rob and I lived in a small brownstone in Brooklyn; we didn’t know anything about caring for birds. However, for the incredible amount of money and the gorgeous home I inherited, we would learn. How difficult could it possibly be?

It had always been our dream to manage an art gallery; the closest we came was our photography studio in Battery Park. Now we would be able to pursue our dream in Rhinebeck. In recent years, the once quiet historical town in upstate New York had become a cultural mecca boasting museums, performing arts centers, galleries, etc. We packed our bags and headed north to meet the birds and make Aunt Madeline’s home our home. It was all quite intoxicating and a little bit terrifying.

On the drive upstate, Rob searched for info on scarlet macaws. “Hey, hon. Listen to this” and he read from his phone:

“Scarlet macaws are stunning birds and popular pets.
They are excellent mimics with an average repertoire of 20 to 30 words.
*Hm … that’s kinda cool.*
They use their incredibly loud squawks and screeches to communicate.
These calls are intended to carry over a distance of several miles.
*Miles? Whoa, these are some loud birds!*
Scarlet macaws prefer humid evergreen forests and their diet consists of
nuts, leaves, berries and seeds and weigh about 2 to 3 pounds.
*Good, they don’t eat rodents and they’re lightweights.*
They are the largest parrots in the world with a wingspan of
44 to 47 inches and are 32 to 36 inches long.
The average lifespan of a scarlet macaw in captivity is 75 years.
*Wait. What?*

As Rob read those last couple of lines, his voice got louder until he was shouting.

“Holy crap, Lucy! Did you hear what I said? That last part can’t be right!”

“Yes, Rob. I heard. I think everyone in a five mile radius heard what you said.”

“For Christ’s sake, Luce! These birds have a wingspan of 4 feet. Four feet!”

“It’s not like they’re going to be flying around the house, honey. Besides, Aunt Madeline had them for a long time; they’re probably not going to be around much longer.

“Babe, it says here they can live for 75 years. Let that sink in.”

“You make an excellent point. Well, we’ll just have to be positive about this. Let’s try to relax for the rest of the ride.”

“Oh, I’m positive alright” Rob replied. “I’m positive I’m not gonna like these birds very much.”

And we drove the rest of the way silently obsessing about our new-found knowledge.

As we turned onto the long gravel drive leading to my aunt’s estate, all thoughts of scarlet macaws and 47 inch wing spans vanished. Our new house appeared before us and it was beautiful beyond our dreams. We had seen a lot of Victorian painted ladies in Brooklyn but none were as spectacular as this. We decided to walk around the exterior of the house before going inside; everywhere we looked were weeping willow trees, evergreens and fields of wildflowers. At the rear of the house we came upon a glass-enclosed room – obviously a solarium. The beveled glass was a pale shade of green and there appeared to be large potted palms inside. We inched closer and our jaws dropped; this was the enclosure for the scarlet macaws.

Rob and I stood transfixed; we were looking into our very own Jurassic Park and the two intimidating inhabitants were staring back at us. They were a living Jackson Pollock painting, a startling shock of magnificent colors. They were huge, intimidating and majestic. They didn’t move a muscle and their cold black eyes were locked on us.

I see you’ve found the birds!”

A voice called out from behind us and we screamed like two little frightened kids. We whirled around to see a tall silver-haired man in an incongruous safari outfit.

Jeez, man! Don’t ever do that again! You scared the daylights out of us!” Rob shouted.

The man laughed and apologized. “I’m sorry, folks. I thought you heard my Jeep pull up.” He extended his hand and introduced himself as Douglas Farrell, a friend of my late aunt and the manager of the nature center in Kingston. “I wanted to be here when you saw the birds for the first time. Impressive, aren’t they? I figured some explaining would be helpful. Shall we go inside?”  and he reached for the large sliding glass door of the aviary.

I noticed the glass panes were hinged and would fold like an accordion when opened. “Hold on a second. Won’t the macaws fly out when you open up the room?”

“I assure you they will not. Please, follow me … and there’s nothing to fear. These scarlet macaws are harmless.”

Douglas slid open the panes and strode inside; the birds were undeterred. Still, with great care Rob and I followed closely behind. When we were within arm’s reach, I whispered in awe “So, this is Frankie and Johnny.”

“Actually, no. It’s not” replied Douglas as calmly as you please. “You see, shortly after your aunt’s accident, there was a delivery of new plants and trees for the aviary. The people from the nursery inadvertently left the glass doors open when they were done. Frankie and Johnny, doing what comes naturally, flew out the large opening, took off into the wild blue yonder and haven’t been seen since. Surprisingly, it’s rather amazing a macaw sighting was never reported; they are not common around here. It was agreed upon by me and everyone who works at the house that, given your aunt’s failing health, it would serve no purpose telling her about her beloved birds. Instead we replaced Frankie and Johnny with life-size versions of the stuffed variety and no one was the wiser.”

Rob and I were dumbfounded and we blinked at Douglas in disbelief, allowing what he just told us to sink in.

See, I told you an explanation would be helpful. Well, enjoy your new house.” Slapping Rob hard on the back, Douglas climbed into his Jeep and took off, leaving a cloud of dust in his wake.

“Well” Rob offered weekly. “One problem solved.”

From now on this room stays closed just in case Frankie and Johnny decide to make a return visit” I declared.

You don’t really believe they’re anywhere around here, do you” Rob asked.

No, of course not” I laughed trying to sound convincing.

We retreated into the house while scouring the skies overhead and closed the doors behind us. With feigned nonchalance, Rob took the key and stuck it in the dirt of one of the potted palms. Rubbing his hands together, he said “And that is the end of that!”

But sometimes at night when it’s very still and quiet, I can almost hear the sound of flapping of giant wings.

NAR © 2023

Please join me today
In The Groove.


Reprising a little fantasy I wrote for my granddaughter in 2019.

When I tap my hat with this magic wand and say the secret words you will instantly turn into a Blackbird!” declared my brother, Jude. “Are you ready, Lucy?”

“Sure, Captain Marvel” I replied with about as much enthusiasm as a piece of Norwegian Wood

Ok, here goes. Ob-La-Da!” ZAP! And nothing happened. “Hey, what’s going on? Don’t Let Me Down, hat” wailed Jude, truly stumped. 

Hey Jude! Here’s a wild guess: maybe you got the words wrong,” I suggested. “Take a look at this”, and I produced my cherished copy of the White Album. “See, you got it wrong.” 

“Oh yeah! Ok, let’s try again. Ready?” Jude ceremoniously whirled his wand and said Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da!” ZAP! 

And the next thing I knew I was Flying through the sky, gliding Across the Universe. I gazed in amazement Here, There and Everywhere at all the clouds, the water, the tree tops, Abbey Road, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. I spotted a row of houses below and swooped down, perching on a windowsill. Hopping inside I landed right on top of a bathtub.

“Well, hello little Girl! What have we here? A tiny housebreaker?” exclaimed a voice behind me.

“No, silly! I’m a blackbird. I Came In Through the Bathroom Window” I said and turned around to see the one and only George Harrison! 

Welcome, blackbird!” George said, not at all surprised to find a tiny talking bird sitting on his bathtub. “You remind me of a little ditty John and Paul wrote. Would you like to come with me to visit the lads?” 

“You mean John, Paul and Ringo?” I warbled with excitement. 

Well, actually just Paul and John. Ringo had a bit of an accident and he’s in the hospital. But do try to Act Naturally. Ringo doesn’t always have the most confidence and at the moment is moaning ‘I’m A Loser‘! Poor fellow!”

“Oh no! Now I’m Down! What happened to Ringo?” I asked in Misery. 

 George whispered Do You Want To Know a Secret? Ringo was following the Fool On the Hill and he couldn’t Slow Down. He fell head first, he did, crashing right into a pen with a bunch of Piggies who started nipping poor Ringo all over!” 

“Oh, my goodness! Wasn’t there anyone to Help?” I asked tearfully. 

Just the Two Of Us!” exclaimed triumphant voices in unison. George and I turned to see Paul and John had joined us. “We arrived just in time to drag Ringo out from the pigpen but he had sustained quite a few little bites” continued John.

“You’ll be happy to know we got Ringo to Doctor Robert straight away and he’ll be right as Rain very soon. He had a Hard Day’s Night but he’s Getting Better All the Time” added Paul.

“So tell us, Little Child. Do you have a name?” asked John

Paul spoke before I could answer. Something tells me, Johnny, her name is Mother Superior. Can’t you see this little Baby’s In Black, just like a nun’s beautiful habit? Oh! Darling, am I right about you?” inquired Paul. 

“No, my name is nothing quite as impressive as that Because I’m just plain Lucy”. 

“Just plain Lucy!? Rubbish! Let’s see – I’m sure your name is much more modern than Eleanor Rigby, definitely easier to pronounce than Semolina Pilchard but every bit as pretty as Dear Prudence!” exclaimed John. 

George reached into his pocket and took out a teeny pair of pink glasses. He delicately balanced them on my little beak. “Perfect! The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes! Let’s go introduce you to Ringo and we can’t forget to bring the Honey Pie! Ringo loves it so!”

And off we went to catch the One After 909, singing Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds. And A Splendid Time Is Guaranteed For All!”

Suddenly I was in my bed and I wasn’t a blackbird at all. The Lads weren’t here either. Yesterday was over and it had all been a wonderful dream. I knew I had to carry on and Let It Be.

But when I looked over at my nightstand I couldn’t believe my eyes; there sat a teeny pair of pink glasses. Imagine that!

NAR © 2023

Please stop by The Rhythm Section today
and check out my post At The Movies.


“These aren’t my panties, George.”

“Whatever do you mean, Carla?”

“What could I mean? I think you know, George.”

“I have a confession, Carla.”

“I knew it!”

“Those panties are mine.”

“Say what?!”

NAR © 2023


One of the best things about being empty nesters is not having to cook full meals every night.

Bill’s easy, always has been; he’s not the meat and potatoes kind of guy. We’re happy with soup, BLTs, burgers on the grill, my sensational ham and cheddar omelets … you get the picture.

There are some days when I feel the urge to cook and will prepare a lovely risotto or perhaps seared sea scallops over a lentil ragù. Rare but it does happen. I’m very content taking it easy these days.

But I have to draw the line at one thing: Chef Boyardee ravioli in a can. Six words that never should be put together. It’s a travesty; it’s also one of Bill’s favorites.

I was raised on pure, natural homemade Italian food. “Pasta” in a can is not food. Correction – it’s food: bad food, eye-averting food, gag-inducing food. It’s a treat for Bill to eat this staple from his childhood. He gets practically giddy buttering his bread and dipping it in the (dare I say) sauce in anticipation of that first mouthful. That, my friends, is a scene that once seen cannot be unseen.

Me? I won’t even open the can.

Gag me with a spoon!

NAR © 2023


“Course One: Escarole Soup. Course Two: Manicotti and Salad. Gina, what is this – Sunday dinner or a reception for the Pope?” 

My girlfriend Gina showed me a copy of the menu her mother had planned for dinner. It was a seven course feast! “Do you eat like this every Sunday?” 

“No, silly – only when we have company. This week it’s my dad’s side of the family. There’s a lot a people and mom always says it’s better to have too much food than not enough.” 

“Wait a second. There’s going to be other people besides your parents? Like how many?”

Gina started counting on her fingers.  “About 18, maybe 20.” 

“The first time I meet your parents I’m also going to meet 20 strangers and you didn’t think to warn me??” 

“Oh, don’t worry. They’re gonna love you.” 

“No. They’ll be employing Sicilian interrogations tactics. They’ll chew me up and spit me out. I’m Irish with blonde hair and pale skin. I don’t stand a chance!” 

Gina laughed. “Oh stop exaggerating. We’re not The Mob, ya know. Just mob!” 

And she was right. I couldn’t believe the number of people that descended on her house. They were loud, funny, loving and very welcoming.

Gina’s mom set the table extravagantly, using her best dishes, utensils and glasses. And the food was incredible. Besides the soup, pasta and salad there was fresh baked bread, an antipasto, a huge platter of meatballs and sausages, two roasts, a bunch of vegetables, fennel, fruit, nuts, a slew of desserts I couldn’t pronounce and coffee. Gina’s uncles and male cousins ate like there was no tomorrow and no one stopped talking the entire time – except for Gina’s grandmother who didn’t utter a sound and stared at me with beady eyes the whole day. Honestly, that tiny woman dressed in black from head to toe scared me to death. 

As the woman cleared away all traces of dinner, Gina’s dad got up, went to the cupboard and returned with a beautiful box made of highly polished wood with the finest Italian marble inlay. Placing the box on the table, he opened it to reveal an assortment of expensive imported cigars. The men lit up and a bottle of anisette appeared out of nowhere.

Gina’s Uncle Vito produced a deck of cards from his vest pocket. “Ya know how to play Red Dog, Phil?” he asked me.

Um … it’s Bill, sir. And no, I’m not familiar with the game.” 

“Hey, no problem, Irish. We’re gonna teach ya. And don’t look so nervous. We may rob ya but we ain’t gonna kill ya. For some reason our Gina likes ya and if she likes ya, we all likes ya.” 

While we played cards, Gina’s cousins Louie and Frankie played their accordions and the women danced; it was the most surreal and unforgettable experience of my life. 

I watched as Gina’s grandmother rose from her chair. Slowly she walked over to me and looked me square in the eyes. She grinned and pinched my cheek till it was beet red. And la famiglia howled.

I swear – 53 years later her stamp of approval is still on my face. 

NAR © 2023
Originally posted in 2019

Join me today At The Movies
for another interesting post

and a great music video.


“Walnut, definitely walnut” declared Sylvia Klein. “Look what is says in the brochure”: 

Honor your loved one by choosing an exquisite solid wood casket.
The strong, stately Elite Walnut is a timeless casket that comes with
beautiful platinum swing bars and a secure locking mechanism.
Like most of our funeral caskets, the Elite Walnut features
an Eternal Rest Adjustable Bed and matching pillow.
The luxurious silk velvet lining makes this casket an excellent choice
at the remarkably low price of $17,000.

“Doesn’t that sound ideal, Lenny?!” Sylvia exclaimed to her husband. 

“$17,000?! What else is in there – the Crown Jewels?! Who pays that kind of money for a casket?! Sylvia, for that amount we can give our grandsons a bar mitzvah feast fit for a king!” 

“Did you see the part where it says ‘adjustable bed and matching pillow’? Oh, Lenny, think how comfortable I’ll be.

Comfortable?? For crying out loud, Sylvia, you’re gonna be dead. D-E-A-D dead! This isn’t a week at the Ritz Carlton! Adjustable bed my ass!” 

“Lenny, why are you acting like an old tightwad? You always said money is just a number. This means a lot to me!” Sylvia exclaimed tearfully. 

“Sylvia, calm down. When have I ever been a tightwad? Our daughters had extravagant weddings. You wanted that chandelier for the dining room which, I’ll remind you, cost a pretty penny. Then there was the Steinway mahogany baby grand and you don’t even play the piano! Let’s not forget the Jaguar with all the bells and whistles and more cruises than 10 seasons of ‘The Love Boat’! Everything you ever wanted I happily gave you but this – this is just a big waste of money!  

“Leonard Klein, how can you say that?! My final resting place and you’re calling it a waste of money! Sylvia wailed.

“Sylvie, I’m sorry. Calm down. Can we please discuss this later?” Leonard pleaded

“Wait, Lenny. You haven’t heard the best part. This is a special for Rosh Hashanah – buy one, get one at half price. That’s only $25,500 for two – one for me and one for you!” 

Leonard sighed deeply. “Oy vey, Sylvia, I don’t need all this stuff! Put me in a plain pine box and toss me off the yacht. You can even write on it ‘Leonard Klein sleeps with the fishes’!” 

Sylvia started sobbing. “Oh, Leonard, how can you say such a horrible thing? The thought of you being nibbled on by fish and crabs and God knows what … I could die!” 

Sylvia, please stop crying. I was just making a little joke. If you want this ‘Elite’ whatever, we’ll get it. Ok? You feel better now?” 

Sylvia sniffled and nodded her head. “Oh yes, Lenny! You’ve made me very happy! Now one last thing: I can’t be buried. I’m terribly claustrophobic. The thought of being underground – I’d die! I want to be cremated.” 

Cremated?!” Leonard yelled, running his fingers through what little hair he had. “Now you want to be cremated? Are you meshugenah, Sylvia? $17,000 for a piece of firewood?!” 

“$25,500, Lenny” Sylvia replied

NAR © 2023

Check out my new
Name That Tune
post today in
The Rhythm Section


Originally, the Chelsea Piers evening boat tour was scheduled to depart at 6:00 PM but was cancelled due to dense fog. Disappointed, Emma consulted her tour guidebook for something else to do. She read:


“Hmm. Now that’s intriguing” Emma thought “and it’s nearby.” 

Just a short walk later and Emma arrived at The Vortex, a secluded and rather alluring place. Finding a seat at the bar, she ordered a dirty martini. Reflected in the mirror behind the bar was the image of a retro-looking poster. Sliding off her barstool, she casually walked up to the poster for a better look. She snapped a photo and returned to the bar.

More people were coming in now – an intriguing and diverse patchwork of ethnicity, race and sexual orientation. Emma found it all so exciting and very New York! When the bartender brought her drink, she commented on how electric yet relaxing the atmosphere was and asked “Can you tell me something about that poster?”

“Sure! It’s a beauty, isn’t it?” he replied. “The Vortex is an edgy and somewhat somber play written by the literary giant, Noël Coward. It premiered in London in 1924 garnering Coward great critical and financial success. It’s a story about a nymphomaniac socialite and her cocaine-addicted son. Many thought the drug was a cover for homosexuality. As you can imagine, it was considered pretty shocking back then. Rumor has it that Princess Margaret owned the original poster for a while. She was a free spirit and loved a good lampoon, especially those directed at the upper classes and British aristocracy.”

“Wow! You certainly know a lot about that poster! It’s all very fascinating!” Emma exclaimed. “Something tells me there’s more to the story.”

“Oh, there is” the barkeep agreed. “During the run of “The Vortex”, Noël Coward met an American director and producer named Jack Wilson. They ran with the same crowd where drugs, booze and same-sex relationships were prevalent. Wilson became Coward’s business manager and lover. We thought ‘The Vortex’ was a cool name for the bar. My mother recently brought that poster to me; it looks great there, doesn’t it?”

“It does! Sounds like you might have a personal connection to this story” Emma suggested.

“Yeah, in a circuitous way I do. My great-great-grandmother was once a chorus girl and she got on famously with Jack Wilson – so much so that she and her husband named their first baby Jack Wilson Morrow and asked Jack to be the baby’s godfather. The tradition continued through the years; lots of my relatives were named Jack Wilson so-and-so. In fact, my name is Jack Wilson Connors.”

“Pleased to meet you, Jack Wilson Connors” Emma laughed as she extended her hand. “I’m Emma Peterson Kennedy and you have officially blown my mind with that great story!”

“I like you, Emma Peterson Kennedy! Always nice making new friends. How about another drink – on the house?”

Emma blushed a little and said “Yes, I’d love one.” 

While Jack was preparing Emma’s drink, all sorts of thoughts were running through her head … ‘He’s cute, friendly, great personality and no wedding ring. It’s been far too long since I went out with a really nice guy who didn’t have a lot of excess personal baggage. He likes me, he seems interested. I wonder – should I? What have I got to lose?’

“For my lovely new friend, Emma. One perfect dirty martini” Jack said with a flourish. “I hope I get to see a lot more of you.” His engaging smile revealed two incredibly delightful dimples that melted Emma’s heart on the spot.

Trying to sound nonchalant, Emma said “You know, Jack, it says here on the poster that there’s a performance of “The Vortex” tomorrow night. If you’re not working, how about we make it a date?” 

“I’d really love to see the play with you, Emma” Jack said “but my husband and I already have plans for tomorrow night.”

“Husband!? Oh my God, Jack! I’m so sorry! This is so embarrassing. I didn’t realize………”

“That I’m gay? No worries, Emma. It runs in the family.”

NAR © 2023

I have a brand new post for you today
At The Movies in The Rhythm Section.
Why not stop by a take a took?


DAY 1 – Today, as I walked the hills, God spoke to me. We’ve had many talks before but today was different.  There was a certain unhappiness in his voice and he didn’t say much. Later, right in the middle of dinner, I heard God calling: “Noah? NOAH!” Oh, for Christ’s sake! Always when I’m eating! I got up and went to our usual spot. God said that he was going to start a torrential rain that would flood the earth, essentially killing everyone. Then he told me to wait for instructions. OMG! This is heavy duty. I totally lost my appetite.

DAY 15 – Two weeks later God called again and said he wanted me to build a boat … actually, he called it an ark and it had to be a certain number of cubits (Note to self: Google cubits). After it’s built I can bring only my wife Na’amah, our sons and their wives. In truth I did ask if I could leave the women behind but God just laughed and laughed. He said there was a method to his madness and I’d thank him later. Now, here’s where it gets really m’shuge: God told me I had to bring two of every animal, male and female, and enough food to feed every living thing for forty days and forty nights. I don’t think even He knows what a monumental undertaking this is.

DAY 18 – Tonight I told the family what we had to do and they looked at me like I was from Mars. I said “I know, I know! Enough with the looks already! As nuts as it sounds, that’s what He wants so that’s what He’s gonna get.” My sons began helping me build the ark while the women baked plenty of unleavened bread, cured meat and picked legumes, vegetables and fruit. 

DAY 318 – Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we finished the ark. You should have seen the crowd we attracted! I guess these people have nothing else to do all day except watch us work and crack jokes. “Just wait; you’ll see” was all I could say. So now came the major task of collecting the animals from their holding bins and loading them all onto the ark. Just as we got the last of the animals on board, the skies opened up and it started to pour. Rain like I’ve never seen before came down in sheets. The water rose quickly and we pulled up the plank, making sure everything was totally secure. We could hear the people outside; they weren’t laughing at us now. We felt the support beams fall away and the ark was afloat. Soon we were far enough away and all was quiet except for the sound of the rain. It was not easy and the women were very upset but I knew I was doing God’s will.

DAY 358 – Let me tell you, these last 40 days were no pleasure cruise; I don’t remember ever being locked up with four women and no means of escape. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. Today we opened the hatch and discovered the rain had stopped. We released one of the doves; after a while it returned with a branch and we knew the waters had started to recede. Things looked promising; we even saw a rainbow. Then out of nowhere my wife says “Noah. There’s a problem. Nobody noticed we forgot the unicorns.” Well, I sure had a good laugh over that one. “You believe that fairytale??” I guffawed. “Next thing you’re gonna tell me is someone’s gonna write a book of biblical proportions about us. Maybe they’ll even make a movie. Na’amah, you crack me up!” 

NAR © 2023

Please join me today
At The Movies
in The Rhythm Section.


“Did I look at them?! Are you kidding me? Of course I looked at them! They’re phenomenal!! I thought my eyes were gonna bug outta my head!” my brother Paul jokingly remarked to his twin Patrick. I obviously walked in on them in the middle of a private conversation – probably about girls or sports – two subjects constantly on their 15 year old minds. They quickly shuffled the books and papers on Dad’s desk into one big pile, their faces turning red.

“What are you doing here, Penny? Aren’t you supposed to be at math club?” Patrick asked nervously. 

“Yes but today’s session was cancelled because our math teacher had a meeting. But what I’m doing here isn’t nearly as interesting as what you’re doing here in Dad’s study.” 

Paul and Patrick both started talking at once, turning even brighter red and getting more nervous every second while fiddling with the mound of papers on the desk. “Who, us?” asked Paul. “Nothing much – just the usual. We were talking about some of our favorite ball players … you know like A-Rod, Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken, Roger Clemens.” 

“Yeah, that’s right” agreed Patrick. “We were looking at our baseball cards and magazines and comparing stats. No big deal.” 

“Oh, is that so?” I challenged. “Then explain to me why you sounded so excited if it was ‘no big deal’ and why you’re here in Dad’s study using his desk – which you know is off limits – when all your baseball cards, magazines and what have you are upstairs in your bedroom?” 

My brothers started squirming as I continued. 

“I know you boys and I’m sure you’re up to something. Where are all your cards? Where are all your magazines? I don’t see anything baseball related at all. So you see by this simple matter of deduction, your lame answers are wrong and my reasoning is right!” 

The boys looked at each other, quickly gathered their piles of papers and books and began running to the stairs and the safety of their bedroom. In their haste to get away from me, everything they were holding slipped from their arms and fell to the floor. 

And there it was – the thing they were so desperately trying to hide – a copy of Playboy with Farrah Fawcett in all her glory on the cover. 

I gasped in righteous indignation. “I’ve never been more ashamed of you two! That’s a filthy sex magazine! Do you know what she is??” 

Paul sighed deeply and whispered “She’s a goddess.”

“Yeah, a goddess” repeated Patrick breathlessly. 

“She is not a goddess!” I yelled. “She’s a Hollywood bimbo, a floozy … at least that’s what Mom says.”

“I don’t think Dad would agree with that” replied Paul. “After all, it’s his magazine. He’s got quite a collection!” 

Dad’s?!?” My hands flew to my face in shock and all my books fell to the floor. 

“Well, what have we here?” quipped Patrick. “Playgirl magazine, Penny? I’m appalled!” Paul pretended to faint. 

“Oh, you two think you’re real funny. I bet you won’t be laughing when I tell you it’s Mom’s magazine!” 

Mom’s?!?” the boys shouted in unison. “But she’s … Mom!!” 

“Looks like we’re at a standoff, wouldn’t you agree, boys?” I said conspiratorially “Let’s put both these magazines back in the desk where we found them.” 

“And no one will be the wiser” agreed Paul. 

Just then we heard a loud AHEM” and spun around to find our parents behind us

Dad was angry. “Well, it’s obvious you little snoops can’t be trusted. You were caught red-handed and now you’re going to have to pay the price. I’m very disappointed in the three of you. You’re all grounded for two weeks.” 

On my way upstairs to my room I heard my parents laughing and Mom teasingly saying “Could you imagine if they found our stash of VHS tapes? Good thing I keep them well hidden!”

“Oh, you are so right! Come here, my little vixen” Dad replied in a voice that sounded strangely like Ricardo Montalbán.

Ew! Gag me with a spoon! 

NAR © 2023

Don’t forget to join me today
as we get In The Groove
at The Rhythm Section.


Remove everything from the waist up and put on a robe, opening in the front. Place your belongings in a locker and make sure to take the key with you.” 

Securing my faded grey robe, I walked out into the pleasantly decorated waiting room. There were comfortable chairs, tables with magazines, and a coffee maker with a variety of coffee, tea and a tin of cookies. Four other women were waiting their turn, flipping through magazines or simply resting, arms folded protectively across their breasts. One woman wore a distraught look, hear eyes terrified and pleading “Please, not again!”

I made myself a cup of decaf, choosing a delicate butter cookie as well. I sat and reflected on the number of times I’ve waited in this room. Once a year for the past 17 years I’ve made this dreaded trek, making outlandish promises and bargains with God which always proved to be superfluous … so far. 

After about ten minutes, a perky brunette in carnation pink scrubs and matching Crocs came in the room and called out “Mrs. Thompson?” I rose from my seat and the brunette continued, “Hi. I’m Kelly, your radiology technician. I’ll be doing your mammogram today. Just follow me and we’ll be done in no time.”  

We entered the brightly-lit exam room, coming face to face with Darth Vader … my nickname for the massive mammogram machine … a sleek black, chrome and glass monolith standing like a sentinel in the middle of the room. Now here’s where two women who are complete strangers instantly become bosom buddies, so to speak. 

Kelly instructs me to slip my right arm out of my robe and reach up to grab the handle on Darth Vader’s side. “Now step in as close as you can,” Kelly says while lifting my right boob onto the flat glass plate emerging from Darth’s chest. Pulling and kneading my breast into the perfect position, she then pushes a button which slowly lowers another flat glass plate on top of my breast. I watch in morbid fascination as my once round and ample breast slowly flattens, spreading out and taking on the appearance of a water balloon about to burst. Satisfied with the positioning, Kelly ducks into a tiny protective glass booth on the other side of the room. 

“Take a deep breath and don’t move, Mrs. Thompson. Hold it, hold it, keep holding … now breath.” Kelly emerges from her protective booth and we repeat the process on the left side. 

“Ok, we’re all done. Just have a seat while the doctor looks over your images. Hopefully the wait won’t be too long.” 

Finally Kelly returns and says the doctor will see me now. More girl-on-girl time as the doctor manually examines my breasts with impossibly cold hands. 

“Everything looks perfect, Mrs. Thompson. Keep doing your self-exams.” I thank her, refraining from saying my husband enjoys examining me regularly. 

Dressing, I frown at the red bruises on my chest, then quickly smile and say a little prayer of thanks knowing the “girls” are ok.

I pass the front desk with a cheerful “Ta-ta, ladies. See you next year!”  

NAR © 2023


If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee. ☕️
(Hardly seems worth it.)

If you farted consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb. 💣
(Now that’s more like it!)

The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet. 🫀

A pig’s orgasm lasts 30 minutes. 🐷
(In my next life, I want to be a pig.)

A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death. Creepy. 🪳
(I’m still not over the pig.)

Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour. 😖
(Don’t try this at home; maybe at work.)

The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male’s head off. 🦗
(Honey, I’m home. What the ….?)

The flea can jump 350 times its body length. It’s like a human jumping the length of a football field. 🏈
(30 minutes. Lucky pig! Can you imagine?)

The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds. 🐟
(What could be so tasty on the bottom of a pond?)

Some lions mate over 50 times a day. 🦁
(I still want to be a pig in my next life – quality over quantity.)

Butterflies taste with their feet. 🦋
(Something I always wanted to know.)

The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. 👅

Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people. 🤚🏼
(If you’re ambidextrous, do you split the difference?)

Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump. 🐘
(Okay, so that would be a good thing.)

A cat’s urine glows under a black light. 🐈‍⬛
(I wonder how much the government spent to figure that out. Why doesn’t the government spend as much $$ figuring out how to cross a pig and a lion??
Then in my next life, I could come back as a lion pig!! Not a lying pig; we already have them. They are called politicians!!)

An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain. 👁️
(I know some people like that.)

Starfish have no brains. 🧠
(I know some people like that, too.)

Polar bears are left-handed. ✋🏼
(If they switch, they’ll live a lot longer.)

Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure. 👫 🐬
(What about that pig? Do the dolphins know about the pig?)

Aren’t you glad I’m here to provide you with all this vital information? Hey, you never know when it might come in handy.

NAR © 2023

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“Say the name of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory” the robotic voice of the automated answering system at Titan Industries politely instructed me. 

Neville Carter” I replied. For some reason I always felt silly talking to robo machines. 

“Devil Carter. One moment please.” 

Before I could repeat the correct name, I heard a click and the on-hold background music started – a dramatic instrumental arrangement of Climb Every Mountain. About two minutes later the music stopped. 


“I’m sorry. There is no listing for a Devil Carter. Say the name of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory.” 

I cleared my throat. 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t quite get that. Say the same of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory.” 

NEVILLE CARTER” I annunciated as clearly as possible.

“One moment while I try that party.” 

Click. Classical music.

Ok” I said to myself. “Hopefully we’ll get it right this time.” 

“I’m sorry. There is no listing for a Neville Carver. Say the name of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory.” 

CARTER. NOT CARVER” I said slowly and loudly. I was getting impatient. 

“One moment please. 

Click. Jazz music. 

“I’m sorry. There is no listing for a Carter Not Carver. Say the name of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory.” 

“What the freaking hell! This is ridiculous!” I bellowed into the phone, all the while hearing the same monotonous speech in the background. In complete exasperation I hung up. Then I had an idea: if I call back and press “O” for operator I might actually get a real live person. 

Here goes nothing” I thought as I dialed the number. One ring, two rings. 

Upon connecting I immediately pushed “O” while gleefully shouting “Take that, you robotic bitch!” 

Then I heard the most beautiful words ever – “Titan Industries. How may I help you?”  

“Neville Carter, please” I requested. 

“Right away, sir.” 

One ring. Two. Three. I started feeling nervous. Finally my call was answered: “You have reached the office of Neville Carter. Your call is very important to us. We are experiencing extremely high caller volume. You are currently caller number 17. Your wait time is approximately 90 minutes. You may continue to wait or call back at a more convenient time.” 

Click. Country music. 

Damn insufferable machines! I decided to go to Titan Industries in person. I stowed my dog eared copy of How To Make Friends and Influence People into my backpack and headed for the train. 

Finding a seat, I took out my beloved book. The train started then stopped. The lights went out and a recorded message crackled through the speakers: 

“Attention passengers. Due to mechanical difficulties all service is indefinitely delayed. We apologize for this inconvenience. Thank you for your patience.” 

“WONDERFUL!! JUST FUCKING BLOODY WONDERFUL!!” I screamed into the darkness. 

NAR © 2023


If there’s such a thing as a “religious mutt”, that would be me:

• Born and raised Presbyterian (totally laid back)

• Attended Lutheran school for 12 years (spiritually ardent)

• Married a great Catholic guy and converted to Catholicism (not a huge leap from Lutheran but a billion light years from Presbyterian)

I now think of myself as a Christian; it’s a long story for another time.

Though diverse in many ways, one basic tenet these three denominations espouse is the existence of heaven and hell. 

As a teenager at our quaint Presbyterian church, I taught Sunday School to kindergarteners. We read Bible stories, watched animated videos about the Old and New Testaments, sang songs, did religious arts and crafts. It was uncomplicated – until one of the children asked what happens when we die. 

“You go to heaven, unless you’ve been really bad” one girl adamantly answered.

“Yeah! Then you go to H-E-L-L!” another kid chimed in, spelling out the bad word. 

“That’s right but only the girls get turned into angels and then God tries to do the best he can with the boys” claimed an intrepid little girl.

That’s not true” yelled the boys. ”Everybody in heaven is an angel and God is the head angel!” 

Suppressing a laugh, I figured I better take back control of my class and start asking some questions.

“Who thinks they know what heaven is like?” I asked.

The girls all agreed that “there’s lots of singing and dancing to harp music and everyone wears flowers in their hair.” 

But the boys had different opinions, especially about wearing flowers in their hair. “Boys have halos just like Jesus and they help feed the animals in heaven.” 

One boy raised his hand and answered very seriously “There are no doctors or lawyers in heaven because God does all the healing and arguments aren’t allowed.”

“There’s always angel food cake – not devil’s food cake” giggled a blue-eyed tyke. 

A little girl was next to answer the question. “God sits in heaven but he isn’t on a throne or anything like that. He sits in a garden playing with the children, puppies and kittens and lets them climb on him. And the grownups just do stuff like they used to do at home.” 

I asked another question: “How did heaven begin?” 


Then one timid, diminutive girl answered quietly “A really long time ago a lot of kids were crying because their grandmas and grandpas were dying so God said ‘Don’t cry. I’m going to make a beautiful place way above the clouds where all the grandparents and parents and pets can stay forever’. And so he made heaven.” 

I felt a lump in my throat, perhaps thinking of my own grandparents, but in all honesty I’m sure it was the simple yet poignant answer of that sweet girl. I coughed a bit to mask the emotion in my voice and asked another question. 

“Is there a special test to get into heaven?” 

I was rewarded with a resounding “NO!”

I countered with “No? Well if there’s no test how do we get into heaven?” 

An adorable red haired boy covered with freckles quickly raised his hand and said “When you get to heaven God whispers one question in your ear.” 

“He does? What’s the question?” I asked

 “He asks ‘Do you love me?’ It’s really not a hard question. And when you say ‘Yes’, God kisses you and says ‘Come on in!” 

Intrigued by that answer I asked “And how do you know this?” 

Displaying a toothless grin he declared “My grandpa tells me every time I talk to him. That’s what God asked my grandpa when he got to heaven and he said ‘YES!’” 

And all the kids shouted “YES!!” 

I think I’m ready for my final exam. Are you?

NAR © 2023


“How do, ladies and gents? Allow me to introduce myself. I am Dougal James MacTerrier, but everyone calls me ‘Mac’. I’ve been top dog at Barktower Manor for ten years now. You see, his lordship, Hound Ruff Branan saved my life one night after that fleabag Angus ‘Scotty’ Montgomery caught me sniffing around his bitch and nearly tore me apart. In my clan, when another saves your mangy life, you’re beholden to them forever. Truth be told, I’ve had a good life here. 

Tonight I’ll be donning my vest and tam as I’m the greeter for the weekly poker game. Sir Ruff and the boys always have a great night playing cards, drinking whiskey and smoking cigars. Well, there was that one game a few weeks back that didn’t turn out so well. 

That particular night started out like any other. Sir Ruff, his four cousins the Hounds of Baskerville and the two Boxer Brothers were having a grand time. M’lord’s sweetheart, Madam Pompadour, owner of the fabulously successful pup salon Shampooch, and her saucy poodle assistants were there to cater to everyone’s needs. They looked extraordinarily fetching in their French maid outfits. Tails were wagging, for sure! 

It was no secret that the Boxers were in debt big time to loanshark Weezy “Pit Bull” Mulally, and had cooked up a scheme to win back their losses that night.  The game was going strong and the pot was getting bigger when one of the Boxers slipped the other a card under the table. Things were looking good for them and they surreptitiously exchanged a few more cards without anyone noticing. The hounds were growling their displeasure as the Boxers won game after game. 

Just then Madam Pompadour and her delightful maids came in carrying silver trays of bones, kibbles and bits. When Sir Ruff looked up from his paw of cards, he saw on the bottom of the tray the reflection of the Boxers who were passing winning cards back and forth to each other. M’lord began barking and howling loudly, alerting the other hounds who immediately pounced on the cheating Boxer Boys. The two connivers were no match for the five ferocious hounds and things did not end well for the brothers that night … but they did end permanently. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear our guests scratching at the door, eager for tonight’s game. Let’s hope the night goes well. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, you know!” 

NAR © 2023


Out of chunky peanut butter again!”  Bruce had just woken up and all he wanted was a cup of black coffee and toast with chunky peanut butter. Was that too much to ask? Standing in front of the open cabinet scratching his substantial stomach, he began searching the kitchen shelves but there was no chunky peanut butter to be found. Sure, there was creamy but nobody likes that insipid crap except wusses and prissy women like his wife, Betty.

BETTY! WHERES THE GODDAMN CHUNKY PEANUT BUTTER?” He listened closely but got no reply. Probably at her stupid writing club — as if she could ever be an author!”  

“Gotta do everything myself around here”  Bruce muttered as he got dressed and headed out for his beloved chunky peanut butter. First stop – Acme Grocers. No luck. Damn!”  grumbled Bruce. On to Shoprite. Again no chunky peanut butter. Bruce was starting to get really pissed off, a huge headache beginning to pound in his brain. Another stop at Wegman’s; they have everything. There were all sorts of butters –peanut, almond, cashew, walnut, sunflower – and they were all creamy!

“Where’s my fucking chunky peanut butter?” – the words raged through Bruce’s brain. “What is this, a freaking conspiracy?” 

Bruce started frantically searching the shelves, knocking all the jars onto the floor. Broken glass flew everywhere and Bruce bellowed in pain as huge shards ripped into his hands. That’s when he completely lost control. Customers ran from the the store in a panic as Bruce began roaring and morphing into The Incredible Hulk.

Hulk Bruce stormed out of Wegman’s and bounded down the street toward Walmart, ripping the doors off the store in his fury. People cowered in terror as an enraged Hulk trashed the store.

Just as he reached the peanut butter aisle, Bruce woke up in his own bed, sweating and panting. Oh, sweet Jesus! It was just a nightmare.” Slowly Bruce got out of bed, splashed cold water on his face and shuffled into the kitchen. Betty came in through the back door with an armful of groceries just as Bruce poured himself a cup of coffee. 

Then, as though off in a distant fog, he heard Betty speaking in slow motion: “SORRYBRUCE — BUT — THEY — WERE — OUT — OF — CHUNKY — PEANUT —BUTTER.” 

Bruce’s roar and Betty’s blood-curdling screams could be heard all the way down at Walmart.

NAR © 2023


Here’s another fun one.
I changed it up a bit to include one of my friends;
she mentioned me in a poem a while ago so it’s time.
Enjoy this one, my people!

“Where are we going, Charlie? Huh, huh?? Where are we going?” 

“I thought we’d go to the dog park. Would you like that, Earl?” 

The dog park? THE DOG PARK?? OMG! I’m so excited I think I’m gonna pee!” 

“You better not! Now settle down and stop licking my face. I’m trying to drive. And quit running around the car or we’re going home.” 

“I’ll be good, I promise. You brought the frisbee, Charlie? Oh, man, this is gonna be so great! I can fetch sticks and roll in the leaves and if I’m really lucky you-know-who will be there.” 

“Yes, Earl. That cute poodle you’ve been eyeing. What’s her name – Misky?” 

“Yup, yup, that’s it Charlie – Misky! ** SIGH **  Hold on, Charlie, this isn’t the way to the dog park. You gotta turn around. We’re going the wrong way! Charlie, turn around!” 

“It’s ok, Earl. We have to make one stop first. Why don’t you just lie down and rest. We’ll be there soon.” 

“Ok, Charlie. I’ll just lie here on the back seat and save my energy for … hey, why is my crate in the car, Charlie? We never take my crate to the park. Why did you bring my crate?? Why? What’s going on?”

“Earl, sit! Good boy. Look, here’s your chew toy.” 


“Ok, Earl, we’re here. Let’s go buddy.” 

“Hey, I recognize this place. It’s the veterinarian’s office! Why are we at the vet, Charlie? I don’t need shots and my nails don’t need trimming. I don’t wanna be here. I wanna go to the park! Charlie, why are you taking my crate out of the car? Why do we need the crate? Charlie, I got a bad feeling about this.” 

“Come here, boy. Sit next to me and listen, ok? You’re my best bud and I’ve never lied to you but I didn’t tell you the truth today. I’m sorry. We were never going to the park. I only said that because I didn’t want to upset you. We’re at the vet because it’s time.” 

“Time? Time for what, Charlie? Am I sick, Charlie? Am I DYING? That’s it, isn’t it? I’m dying!! CHAAAAARLIE!! I don’t wanna die!” 

“Calm down, buddy. You’re not sick and you’re certainly not dying. You’re here today to get snipped.”


“Yeah – neutered.”

“NEUTERED?!? ** HOWL ** I’d rather be dead! Why, Charlie, why?? What about Misky? That means I’ll never … you know.” 

“Misky? Of course you’ll be able to … you know. You’ll just be shooting blanks.” 

“C’mon, Charlie. Can’t we please just go home? I don’t wanna do this. Being a dog without balls is a bitch, metaphorically speaking, of course.” 

“It’ll be over before you know it, Earl. Get in your crate now, boy. We’ll go to the dog park in a couple of days and Misky will be there waiting for you.”  

“A COUPLE OF DAYS?!? ** WHINE ** This sucks, Charlie! Betrayed by my best friend.” 

“Sorry, Earl. Sometimes life’s a bitch, ain’t it?”

NAR © 2019


Today is my birthday so I decided to give myself a gift
by posting one of my favorite stories from 2018,
my personal little twist on an old beloved nursery rhyme.
It always makes me chuckle. I hope it does the same for you.

May 4, 2000

TO: Mr. Al Bumen, Homeowners Association

FROM: Humpty Dumpty

Dear Mr. Bumen

It is with eggstream distress that I find myself writing to you once again. 

Apparently the situation regarding the eggceedingly narrow wall upon which I often enjoy sitting has gone unaddressed as I have once again eggsperienced a great fall resulting in eggcruciating injuries. 

Usually my mishaps leave me slightly scrambled with a few minor cracks. However, in this most recent fall, all the kings horses and all the kings men were unable to put me back together again. 

As a result, I now find myself an impatient patient in Eggcelsior Hospital, completely covered in horrendous cracks .. some so deep that my yolk is eggscaping like yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye. Do you not understand the severity of this situation? I am the Egg Man, goo goo g’joob! 

The doctors have informed me that once I am healed I am to be hard boiled in an effort to protect my eggsterior shell should such a great fall happen again. This is no yolking matter as I have heard that hard-boiling is quite painful and there are no guarantees that the procedure will be successful. 

In the meantime, I am being coddled in my hospital bed, sharing a room with a severely burned slab of bacon whose incessant sizzling keeps me awake all night. 

Getting out of bed requires a gentle over easy roll maneuver with the assistance of the eggspert nurses on staff, but it is very embarrassing as the hospital gowns leave one quite eggsposed. 

I’m trying to keep my sunny side up but unless the wall is widened, I’m afraid I have no recourse but to bring this situation to the attention of my attorneys Benedict, Deviled, Florentine and Poached. I assure you I will be doing a slow soft boil until I hear from you regarding this eggstremely urgent matter. 

May 6, 2000

TO: Mr. Dumpty

FROM: Mr. Al Bumen, Homeowners Association 

Dear Mr. Dumpty:   

As you are aware, we recently had an issue with a maid who was in the garden hanging clothes when along came a blackbird and snipped off her nose. Wall sitting and clothes hanging are strictly forbidden, according to the Homeowners Policy. While we sympathize with your plight, the wall will remain unchanged. We suggest you try sitting on a cornflake instead. 

NAR © 2023
Originally published 2018


I wrote this story about 3 years ago and was going to repost it for Fandango’s One Word challenge which was “reasonable”. When I read through the whole thing, I couldn’t help noticing Fandango’s “like” at the end and a couple of comments we exchanged. Genius that I am, I quickly reasoned I must have submitted this for another one of Fandango’s word challenges so instead of going that route again, I thought “Why not share it with everyone?”. This is a letter from a mature me to a much younger me. I hope you enjoy what I had to say. PS: You’ll see I mentioned someone named Steven Tallarico; go ahead and Google him. I think you’ll be surprised to learn who he really is.

Top L: my family circa 1961 (I’m the shrimp)
Botton L: me all glammed up, maybe 8 yrs ago
R: me, 1974, Hampton Bays cool chic days

Did you ever wish you could go back in time to when you were five years old? That’s a reasonable age – old enough to grasp the difference between right and wrong yet young enough to be just a kid having lots of fun; not on the cusp of adulthood so it’s probably a good idea to try not to muck it all up.

If I, a seventy-something-year-old woman could write a letter to my five-year-old self, I might say something like this:

“Hey, you!

There’s a ginormous amount of ‘stuff’ that you’re gonna have to deal with in life so listen up:

• Everything you’ll ever need to know you’ll learn in kindergarten so pay attention.
• Follow the Golden Rule, obey the Ten Commandments and listen to the Beatles because life really is about peace, love and understanding.
• Mom and Dad aren’t the enemy; they’re doing the best they can so cut them some slack.

Right now you’re having the time of your young life. Your days are pretty much planned out. Mom does all the work and there aren’t a lot of demands on you. It’s mostly playing, eating, napping, doing a chore or two, sleeping; repeat tomorrow. Life is good and you’re a happy kid.

Sometimes, though, you’re gonna be so sad all you wanna do is cry and that’s ok; even big people cry. You won’t be sad forever. Other times you’re gonna get so mad you just wanna hit somebody, but that isn’t a good reaction – except if it’s Willie Casa; he’s the bully who lives three houses down. So when he hits you over the head with that plastic gun of his, you’re gonna bop him in the nose. And you know what? He’ll never bully you again.

Speaking of noses, yours is ok right now but in a few years it’s gonna turn into a real honker and you’re not gonna like it. You’ll get teased some and it’ll hurt. But hang in there because the most important guy in your life won’t care about that at all. He thinks you look like Sophia Loren and that’s a good thing. Besides, I know a good plastic surgeon.

Mom isn’t comfortable talking about a lot of personal stuff and you’re gonna wake up one morning to discover you’re body’s changing. It happens to all girls and while some of it is pretty yucky, most of it is really amazing. Let’s just say God knows what he’s doing and you’re gonna turn out ok.

When you’re about 13 somebody cool is gonna enter your life, coming and going for a couple of years. He’s a 16-year-old beanpole named Steven Tallarico – Google him. You might feel like kicking yourself because you didn’t run off with him but your whole life would have turned out differently and probably not for the best. Don’t worry. In 1968 you’re gonna go on a blind date and that guy will change your life forever and in the best ways imaginable.

You’re gonna make a lot of mistakes; everybody does. It doesn’t matter who you are in this giant world – you’re gonna screw up and believe me some of your booboos are doozies. You’re gonna hurt people and when the dust settles all you can do is apologize and try to make things right. The important thing is to own your mistakes and take responsibility.

Responsibility. Accountability. Big words with important meanings and so easy to overlook. They’re gonna be important to you and believe me, kid, there’s nothing wrong with that. People won’t always act the way you want them to; try to remember just because YOU think someone should act a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the right way for them. Let it go because it’s wrong to force people to do anything. And don’t let others force you.

Don’t be afraid to smile and make friends but don’t blindly trust people you don’t know. And if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If somebody scares you, scream your head off and run like hell because there are some bad people out there. But there are also a lot of wonderful people and most of the time you’ll be able to see the difference. Sometimes you won’t and people will hurt you. Shame on them! Cut your losses and move on; it’s their problem, not yours.

Nobody’s life is perfect, not even yours. You can own a lot of great stuff but if you don’t have a loving family and friends then you don’t have anything. You will be greatly blessed in more ways than you can count – not by the wonderful things YOU do but by the wonderful people in your life.

Some things I’ve learned along the way:
• Listen to Mom and Dad; they really do know more than you (especially about Woodstock!).
• Go easy with the blue eye shadow; it’s not a great look. And watch out for sloe gin fizzes; they have a way of sneaking up on you and knocking you on your ass.
• Be a friend, lend a hand and don’t judge; you never know what someone may be going through.
• Be respectful – not only of others but of yourself.
• The popular thing isn’t always the right thing and the right thing isn’t always the popular thing. That’s a tough one.
• If you say you’re gonna do something, do it. Be responsible (see above).
• Don’t be afraid to show your emotions and let people know how much you care; it’s how you know you’re alive.
• Be flexible. Things don’t always go as planned.
• You’re gonna have your heart broken more than a few times and you’re gonna break some hearts, too. It sucks but that’s just the way life is.
• Don’t be late. Period. You can’t control the weather or traffic but you can anticipate it.
• Don’t lie or make excuses. Not only does it show poor character – it’s too hard to remember all your tall tales. The truth always comes out.
• Smoking is not cool so cut it out. It’s a disgusting and expensive habit.
• Listen to the Beatles as much as you can; not only is their music just about the best you’ll ever hear, you’ll learn a lot from what they have to say.
• Just be a decent person; it’s really not that difficult.

And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Love, You!”

NAR © 2020


A couple of years ago New York was hit by a major snowstorm. Wearing thick-padded booties, the snow silently tiptoed in while we slept and when we awoke there was a three-foot-deep crystalline blanket everywhere we looked. It was coming down pretty heavy and we could barely see anything in the backyard as we looked out our bedroom window … almost as if someone was standing on our roof shaking out a king size comforter full of feathers. Bill and I stood there for a while taking in the silent beauty of it all, then shuffled into the kitchen to prepare a pot of coffee and a few slices of my homemade banana bread. 

The instant we were done making breakfast, the lights went out. There was no point in trekking down to the basement to check the circuit breakers; we knew the area had experienced a power outage. We sat in the kitchen by the still-hot radiator enjoying our coffee and warm toasty bread, a pale white glow from the snow enveloping every room in the house. Before retreating to the living room, I poured our pot of coffee into a thermos to stay hot for a few hours.

I went to the closet and brought down Bill’s emergency hand crank radio with LED flashlight, AM/FM stations including the NOAH weather channel, a power bank of phone chargers and USB ports. This baby would serve us just fine until the power was restored. In the meantime Bill ventured out to the frozen tundra of the screened-in porch to retrieve some logs for the fireplace.

Bill got a nice fire going while I set up the radio on the table between our recliners. The phone chargers and USB ports were lifesavers; we were able to keep our cell batteries from dying and my laptop going so I could work on my stories. I was even able to plug in my new electric blanket which used a handy dandy USB port. Bill marveled at the technology of the little red radio and only bemoaned one design flaw – there was no TV.

We were happily ensconced in our recliners enjoying our little haven. All was silent outside except for an occasional gust of wind and every so often we’d spot a blue jay out our front window picking berries off the holly bush. I think we must have dozed off for a bit when we were roused by the harsh sound of steady scraping. We listened for a few seconds, then realized someone was outside shoveling the snow. We peered out the window to see our two little neighbors, six-year-old twins Jackson and Connor, shoveling our front path. At least that’s who we figured they were; it was impossible to tell by the way they were bundled up. 

We sat back in our chairs, sipping our coffee and listening to the steady scrape-scraping of the boys’ shovels. Closer and closer the sound came; now they were clearing the steps leading to our front door. The adagio of their shovels was replaced by a sharp staccato knocking on our front door. I sank deeper into my blanket while Bill went to get some money to pay the enterprising kids, delighted that he didn’t have to shovel our front path himself. He opened the heavy wooden door and stood just inside the glass storm door to settle up accounts. Jackson and Connor stood on the front porch leaning on their shovels; toothless grins, cherry-red faces and sparkling blue eyes glistened in the still-rapidly falling snow which clung to their long blonde eyelashes.

“We cleared your path for you, Mr. Richy!” they proudly declared in unison, looking over their shoulders to admire their handiwork which was now covered by a fresh ½” of new snow. They looked back at Bill, staring up at him for his approval, their faces sporting the goofiest, most irresistible smiles imaginable. 

“I see that, boys, and a fine job it is, too” replied Bill. “So tell me, what’s your going rate?

With furrowed brows and crinkled noses the twins eloquently asked “Huh??”

“How much do I owe you for shoveling our path?” Bill asked in a way they could understand.

Very matter-of-factly with absolutely no sign of embarrassment or regret, the boys announced “Oh, we’re not allowed to accept money. Our mom and dad said we have to do good deeds.”

“Hold that thought, boys, and don’t go anywhere.”

Bill scurried back into the living room. “Are you hearing any of this conversation?” he asked me, clearly incredulous. “A concept like that in this day and age is mind-blowing!”

“Well, what’s your game plan?” I asked, knowing Bill always had a plan brewing.

“My game plan? Why, I’m going to pay those boys for a job well done and toss in a few packs of Pokémon cards just for good measure!” He was downright gleeful.

Bill scurried back to the boys and, opening the door just a crack to keep the cold out, shoved $20 and two packs of cards into their pockets.

The boys immediately started to put up a fuss about taking the money but Bill told them to stash it in their piggy banks for a rainy day and if their dad had a problem with, he was more than welcome to come over and talk about it. With new-found treasures in their pockets, the toothless twosome raced home to show their friends their unexpected booty. Their little friends cheered loudly at the sight of the boy’s riches. Even their dad came out to see what the hubbub was all about.

The big financial deal now settled, Bill sat back in his recliner and sighed contentedly.

“You’re such a soft touch” I teased. “You’re rather pleased with yourself, aren’t you?”

As a matter of fact, I am!” he replied. “Listen, I’m all for good deeds but when I was their age, I was out shoveling snow and I know it’s hard work. Those kids did a damn good job. If their dad objects to them getting paid, I’ll just tell him to think of it as a tip for his two fine sons. I can’t believe he’d have a problem with that.”

Well, it came as no big surprise when the twins soon returned and began shoveling the snow off our driveway – and this time they had reinforcements. Their momma didn’t raise no dummies! You haven’t lived until you’ve seen five six-year-olds shoveling one driveway like their little lives depended on it. 

Better get your wallet out, Rockefeller. They’re back and they brought company” I laughed.

Bill may have unwittingly created a couple of monsters; during the spring the twins started going door-to-door pulling a wagon behind them. They were selling rocks! I’m reasonably certain their parents did not give permission for their budding business venture because it ended as abruptly as it started. Too bad; I’m sure they had the rock-selling market cornered. Very entrepreneurial kids; even Warren Buffett had to start somewhere!

Well, kind of a pity when you think about it. The boys scrubbed those rocks until they glistened in the sparkling sunlight. They really were impressive-looking rocks – there’s no denying that – but they were still just rocks, not exactly a priceless commodity.

Bill bought two. He’s such a soft touch.

NAR © 2023


How many of you know what a pingback is and how to create one? Let’s see a show of hands. 

Wow! Looks like quite a few of you are in on the pingback secret … except for me.

Now, I am not a stupid woman and I’ve learned a lot about computers since I started my site in 2017. I’ve also wiggled my way out of some tough jams and solved problems the Happiness Engineers at WordPress were unable to do. Hell, I even found the solution to an issue that an Apple technician couldn’t help me with. I also taught myself to record and upload some of my stories for a prominent UK radio station – something I’m very proud of. I can figure out most things on my computer or learn something by seeing it done once or twice but this ornery pingback mosquito keeps evading me.

Some of my fellow septuagenarian friends on WordPress who still split logs and milk cows know how to create a pingback. I cannot. What’s the secret? And while we’re on the subject, what purpose does a pingback serve? Why is everyone pingbacking all over the damn place? 

So, to recap, the questions on the table are 1) what is a pingback; 2) how is a pingback created; 3) what purpose does a pingback serve?

Just for fun, let’s see how the dictionary defines pingback: “an automatic notification sent when a link has been created to a person’s blog post from an external website, allowing a reciprocal link to that website to be created”.

Hmm. Ok, what does Google say about pingbacks on WordPress? “A pingback is a notification WordPress sends to other blog owners when linking to their content. It will appear in a comment and only bloggers who activate the pingback feature will receive the notification”.

Confused yet? Me too. Try this on for size:


When I told one of my friends I thought I didn’t do a pingback correctly, he asked me if I remembered to “lock it in”. No, of course I didn’t! I wasn’t even sure what I was supposed to “lock in”. Another friend explained creating a pingback like this: “To do a pingback: Copy the URL (the https:// address of my post) and paste it onto your post.”  Yet another friend posted a similar message: “To execute a pingback, just copy the URL in the address bar on this post and paste it somewhere in the body of your post.”

Now, those explanations sound pretty clear and easy and in my head I know exactly what they’re saying; however, when it comes to actually copying the URL, I can’t find it and when I think I’ve got the right URL, it turns out to be the wrong one! So far I don’t think I have successfully completed one single pingback. Pretty dismal, isn’t it?

I need someone to explain to me in easy-to-understand language how to do a pingback and show me where to find the elusive URL address I’m supposed to copy and paste. Speak to me in one syllable words if necessary. Observe the KISS Principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid. I promise you; I will not be offended.

Somebody help. I’m terribly confused!

NAR © 2022


Here we have a pic of a rather disgruntled baby. Our challenge is to take 6 minutes and write a story inspired by this pic. Sounds like child’s play? Let’s see!

Ok, she said she was coming right back to read me a story. That was at least 10 minutes ago. I can hear her voice so she must be on the phone again cos I don’t hear anybody else. I’ve been laying here with Teddydeer waiting for that story and it better be the one about the snail crossing the road. If she tries to cheap it off with Goodnight Moon, I’m really gonna have a fit. I mean, it’s not fair. I can’t TELL her what story I want and when I cry she thinks something’s wrong and the whole story reading thing gets delayed. I don’t ask for much: milk, a clean diaper, cuddles and tickles, my blankie and Teddydeer. Is that unreasonable? I don’t think so. Ooh, I think I hear her coming up the stairs; and speaking of clean diapers, now I have a poopy diaper which she’s gonna want to change before we read. And boy is it stinky. Must be the kale nuggets she tried passing off as sweet potatoes for lunch. Well, serves her right for taking so long. Parents!

NAR © 2022

187 words

Simply 6 Minutes


This week’s challenge asks us to share a period in our lives
when we seized the opportunity to try to get away with something.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” That phrase by the famous author Sir Walter Scott is so very true, especially in this scenario.

It all began when my boyfriend Bill (now husband) and I along with his brother Jim and girlfriend Lynne (now wife) came up with the idea of going away for a little weekend of hanky panky. Why we felt the need to get away is a mystery; I suppose being away from home made it exciting and naughty. We were doing just fine in the hanky panky department at home but we were rebellious teenagers who acted first and thought later.

We told our parents we were going skiing in Kingston, New York – about a 2-hour drive from where we lived in The Bronx. The first blazing red flag for my parents should have been the fact that I did not ski. If they had any doubts at that time about the validity of our story, they said nothing; I probably told them I was going to take ski lessons since Bill, Jim and Lynne all knew how to ski.

The brilliant plan we came up with was to tell our parents that Lynne and I would share one room while Bill and Jim stayed in another. In hindsight I can’t help but wonder why my parents would believe such a flimsy story. What’s even more incredible is they let me go! Maybe they just relaxed a bit after already raising one daughter who was a saint compared to me.

When the day of our get-away finally arrived, we drove up to Kingston and checked into our hotel. After a bit of alone time in our rooms to unwind from the drive, we all went out to dinner. I remember ordering a sloe gin fizz cocktail and a ridiculously rich steak dish smothered in a creamy mushroom gravy.

*At this point it’s only fair that I inform you, dear readers, that rich and creamy gravy goes through me like a freight train. TMI, I know, but it’s necessary info for this story. I can feel my stomach churning as I write this.*

After dinner we returned to the hotel and all hung out together in Jim and Lynne’s room for a while before heading off to our own room. A couple of hours later I woke Bill up complaining of intense stomach pains. I was in a bad way and he decided to take me right to the hospital. Not wanting to disturb Jim and Lynne, Bill and I went alone. If only we had stayed in our room and let nature take its course. These things have a way of resolving themselves but at the time it seemed more serious than it was and our impulsive nature took over.  

After arriving at the hospital and explaining the situation, I was politely but sternly refused treatment because I was underage and there was no adult present to sign any necessary forms. Sick as I was, I was cognizant enough to realize this could be problematic. In other words, we were up the creek without a paddle. There was even talk of notifying my parents. This meant trouble.

DUM DA DUM DUM!! The tangled web was becoming a knotted mess.

Well, this is something hospital personnel see all the time – kids out for some fun without their parent’s consent – and they cut me a little slack. Determining I had nothing more serious than a bad stomachache, they still refused to treat me but they gave me access to a private bathroom. Bill managed to get his hands on some Pepto Bismol at the drugstore across the street and after a while I started feeling better. We returned to the hotel a little while after Jim and Lynne had woken up; they were very surprised to find out I had gotten sick.

Even though I was feeling better, I wasn’t up to our weekend get-away and we all reluctantly agreed to return home. There was no need to come up with an excuse; we would simply tell our parents the truth – that I wasn’t feeling well and we came home early; however, we left out the little bit about the hospital.

Our parents were surprised to see us but agreed we did the right thing by coming home. Everything was going smoothly until later that night as we sat in Bill and Jim’s kitchen talking about our abbreviated weekend trip. Lynne inadvertently said “Yeah, Jim and I were surprised to find out Nancy had gotten sick; she looked fine when we left Bill’s room last night.”

Liar, liar! Pants on fire! The knotted web now had us in a stranglehold.

Of course, Lynne immediately realized her gaffe but it was too late. She sat in horrified silence, a nauseous feeling coming over her. Bill and Jim’s mother realized we had not been in separate rooms and the disappointed look on her face was too much for Lynne to bear; she quickly got up and went into another room. Bill managed to come up with an explanation to cover what Lynne said but we’re sure his mother only pretended to believe it.

I don’t know for sure if my parents ever found out about that night in Kingston; I have to believe they didn’t because I never would have heard the end of it if they knew. But was it just a coincidence that I was forbidden to attend Woodstock a few months later? That was never, under any circumstances, ever going to happen. There was no getting around that one.

I learned a lesson that weekend how quickly things can go wrong and how easily someone’s trust can be lost, even if temporarily.

It took me a hell of a lot longer to realize there are certain foods I couldn’t eat and drinks I couldn’t drink. After too many years of ‘discomfort in the lower tract’, I finally wised up and changed my crazy eating habits but I never lost my rebellious and daring spirit. I just learned to temper it.

NAR © 2022



One day my mother and I were home alone; I think I was about 9 years old. I was doing my homework and mom was cooking dinner when we heard someone knocking on our door. It was our neighbor Dotty Pessin who lived a few houses away with her husband and two teen-age sons. Dotty hardly ever stopped by so we were curious about her visit. 

She and my mom made small talk for a little while then Dotty said in that whiney voice of hers, “So Nancy, I brought this record album over; I don’t know much about little girls so I hope you like it. It’s a record of kid’s songs. Why don’t you play it on your record player?”

Now this came as quite a surprise to me; it wasn’t my birthday or anything so I couldn’t understand why Dotty was giving me a gift. Even my mother was perplexed and said something like “That’s very thoughtful of you, Dotty” but Dotty just stood there smiling and watching me which was very surreal. Between you and me, I think she was a little simple-minded.

I removed the album from its jacket and placed it on my record player. I carefully lifted the arm and gently lowered the needle onto the record, then the three of us stood around listening to kid’s songs. I liked the record; I was 9 and they were kid songs. What’s not to like? After about four songs Dotty asked me what I thought of the record. I told her I thought it was very nice; I liked it a lot and thanked her for the gift.

I expected Dotty to say “I’m so glad you like it”, You’re welcome”, “Enjoy it” or “You’re just the sweetest thing ever”  – something along those lines. That’s not exactly how it went down. What she said was “Oh, it’s not for you! I bought the record for my friend’s 10-year-old daughter and I just wanted to see if you liked it. I figured if you liked it then she’d probably like it.”

Well, I may have been only 9 years old but I knew jive talkin’ when I heard it and I felt this whole scenario was pretty fucked up. My mother thought what Dotty did was rude, mean-spirited and misleading; I was just a little kid and mom gave Dotty a piece of her mind. My mother could really get medieval on someone’s ass when necessary. Dotty was bewildered and couldn’t understand why we were so upset. In a huff, she took the album and left. I think I may have cried; how would you have felt?

From that moment on Dotty Pessin became known as “Dotty Pessin, that Indian Giver” (which I realize today is totally un-PC and not acceptable).

But, come on; I ask you: who does that? After all these many years I remember that day like it was yesterday. Dotty-freaking-Pessin!


NAR © 2022


Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.
Linda’s prompt is to start our post with “why?”

Why do I always choose the public bathroom stall which has no toilet paper?

Why does a toothache always flare up on a holiday or a weekend?

Why does someone leave their shopping cart right next to my car in the parking lot? 

Why does someone have to tailgate me when we’re the only two cars on the road?

Why can’t I wear white after Labor Day?

Why do people sit on their horns and blast you the second the light changes?

Why don’t Twinkies ever go bad?

Why do people race to get into the express lane only to drive 50 MPH?

Why do people drive around with their radio volume turned up to “Bleeding Ears” level?

Why does the pizza place cram a large pie into a small box so all the sauce and cheese slides to one side?

Why does the guy sitting next to me on the bus smell like he ate a raw onion for lunch?

Why does the coffee at Starbucks taste like it was brewed three days ago?

Why do our driver’s license photos look like we just came off a three-day bender?

Why is there always someone in the audience at a rock concert who yells out “Free Bird!”?

Why is every other guy in England named Mick, Ian or Nigel?

Why is there always a kid kicking the back of your seat at the movie theater?

Why do pencils either have dried up erasers or no points?

Why do people recite their phone number at warp speed at the end of a voice mail?

Why is my favorite show always interrupted by some lame news report?

Why didn’t anyone ever call Kramer by his first name?

Why did The Beatles have to break up?

NAR © 2022


What does this picture inspire you to write? Another challenge from my friends at “What Do You See?”.

“Hey, Charlie! Phil! Get a load of these jackasses!” neighed Daryl as he stared over the fence onto the country road. “Do they really think they’re capable of winning a race? On two legs?? This takes the cake!”

“Daryl, I’m pretty sure they’re not actual jackasses” whinnied Charlie. “They just look like jackasses!”

Phil kicked up his back legs and snickered loudly. Tossing back his glossy black hair, he gave out a hearty laugh. “That was hysterical, Charlie! ’They just look like jackasses!’ Absolutely priceless!”

“Well, they’re sure acting like jackasses! What the heck are they doing?” asked Daryl.

“They’re jogging – people run around all bandy-legged with arms flailing getting all sweaty going nowhere in particular and looking pretty dumb while doing it.” Charlie explained.

Phil trotted over. “Yeah. I read about these idiots in Horse Beautiful. It’s some kind of craze, far as I can tell .. some sort of asinine exercise routine.”

“Yeah” agreed Charlie. “What a total waste of time! And there’s even more of them running around the city.”

“OMG!” laughed Daryl loudly. “Check out these two in their matching his-and-hers outfits. Look at the shape they’re in! They gotta weigh 600 pounds combined. Can you imagine them riding us? Oh, my aching back! My screaming knees!”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Look at what we got here, boys. Now that’s some fine-looking little filly!” exclaimed Phil as he moseyed nearer to the fence. “Oh yeah. I’d like to see her in a wet t-shirt contest!’

“She sure is something else, alright” Charlie agreed. “Check out those tiny shorts she’s wearing. She can ride me bareback any time she wants!”

“Man, now that’s one stacked number! I could watch her jog and bounce around all day!” Daryl smacked his lips.

“Hey! What are you three flea bags doing all this way from the barn? Farmer Brown’s gonna have a cow if he hears you jumped the fence again!” It was Barkley, the yellow lab who lived on the ranch. “Best get yourselves back home before someone notices you’re gone. C’mon! Giddy-up!”

“Race ya!” snorted Phil and the trio took off leaving Barkley in their dust.”

“Bunch of jackasses!” Barkley yowled indignantly. “Well, good riddance to them and woof to you, sexy lady. You jog by here often? Have I got a bone for you!”

NAR © 2022



Just like the bighorn sheep of North America who shed their wool in the summer, I’m about to do a bit of shedding of my own. I’ll be lightening the load, taking out the garbage, so to speak.

Does anyone else think there’s a whole lot of crapola on TV these days? Seriously – what do people watch all damn day long? I have to be sick as a dog in bed to even think of putting the TV on during the day. 

I know some people love to watch their game shows and others are hooked on the news. That’s fine. They can have it! I can’t take more than 30 seconds of that Mike Lindell guy screaming about his freaking awesome pillows or the endless stream of bobble heads on 24/7 news yelling at each other nonstop. They’re literally sitting two feet away from each other; why all the yelling?

And that’s just daytime TV; prime time is even worse, especially if you have to put up with commercials. Why is it everyone on TV ads has “moderate to severe plaque psoriasis” or “suffers from the embarrassment of IBS”?

By now you’ve probably figured out I don’t watch much TV; I’d rather write stories, listen to music or work on my plants than sit in front of the TV while my brain cells shrivel up and die.

Now I’m not talking about ball games or movies; they are the exception to the rule. I enjoy kicking back to a good move and will watch just about any baseball game that happens to be on but in my opinion everything else is garbagio.

I know nothing about Game of Thrones, The Good Doctor or La Brea. And what the hell is the point of Naked and Afraid? Why do the people have to be naked AND afraid? Can’t they just be afraid? I know I am!

I’ve never seen one minute of any reality show such as The Karadashians (gag me with a spoon!) or The Bachelorette (kill me now!). I watched about ten minutes of Jeopardy! with the new host whose name I can’t pronounce … you know, the one who loves to tell anyone who will listen that she has a doctorate in neuroscience. Who gives a rat’s ass? I’d rather watch Naked and Afraid.

Let me give you a rundown of the shows I watch:

  1. Days of Our Lives (which Bill and I record and watch in the evening)
  2. General Hospital (which Bill and I record and watch in the evening)
  3. America’s Got Talent (I like talent shows despite the over-the-top Terry Crews)
  4. Grantchester (a fantastic BBC show)
  5. All Creatures Great and Small (another fantastic BBC show)
  6. Outlander (yet another fantastic show from the UK with lots of men in kilts as a bonus)

NB – Quality shows like 4-6 usually take two years or more between seasons; why it takes that long to film 10 episodes is beyond me but we patiently wait for their return because they are bloody amazing shows. They’re also commercial free; gotta hand it to the Brits!

That’s all folks! Pretty short list, I know.

So, what did I mean about taking out the garbage? After way too many years of watching the mind-numbing Days of Our Lives and General Hospital, I have cut the “soap on a rope”. Why? Because they are stupid, insipid, a huge waste of time and an insult to my intelligence. My 13-year-old granddaughter could write better storylines. And you know what else? I won’t even miss them.


One thing’s for sure: in the world of soaps very little changes. If I decide to tune in to either of those soaps five or six years from now, Lulu will still be in a coma and somebody in Salem will be possessed … again. Oy! Now that’s just stupid!

NAR © 2022


How can such a little thing
Be so damn annoying?
Flying round my arms and legs
It’s bothersome and cloying.

Who would think that little guy
Could be such a bloody sucker?
When he sticks his fangs in me
I scream “You Motherf*#+er!”

Go away, you vile thing
I’ll swat you with a stick.
You’re not welcome in my home
You nasty little prick!

You get me every time I’m out;
My blood is extra sweet.
Come and get me, little twit!
Tonight I’m packing DEET!

The end. 🦟

NAR © 2022


Lucan then, Lucan now.

We all grow up. We age. It’s inevitable, a fact of life.

Over the past few months I’ve watched all my grandchildren blossom into bigger versions of their mini-selves. They are a beautiful batch, every single one of them.

But this kid, my second oldest grandchild. Lucan, age 11 going on 21. Ah, how I remember those early days with his Norman Rockwell all-American look. A little fuzzy towhead with bright blue eyes and a cute-as-can-be babyface.

Now his eyes are beguiling with crazy long eyelashes. His face is chiseled, full lips. And that pin-straight blonde hair with his own unique style. This kid’s a real looker, a charmer.

I just have one question: when did my grandson turn into Jonathan Rhys Meyers? 😎


NAR © 2022


Story challenge by my friends at NopeNotPam  – Letter of the day: S

SALVATION!! Can you say it along with me, brothers and sisters?


Since venturing out on our long-anticipated vacation, I have discovered so much more than the sultry sun, the salty sea, the scrumptious seafood and the sinfully sleek and sensual satin sheets.

I have found salvation from stress, suffering, stiffness, strain, stenosis, sciatica and sleeplessness. And contrary to what our dear Sir Mick sings while strutting sexily on stage in all his sartorial splendor, “I CAN GET SOME SATISFACTION!”

“How?” you inquire suspiciously? Well, at the risk of sounding like a super-store salesperson, it’s all due to the soothing stress-relieving qualities of the Sidney Slider Power Recliner. 

Seriously. I shit you not.

Since we arrived at our secluded, solitary and secret get-away location, I made a startling discovery: I am living a pain-free life for the first time in several years! Yes, I’m de-stressed simply being on sabbatical but I know without a scintilla of doubt my pains have subsided significantly because of this sensational sprawling supersonic seat at our seaside suite. Keep your sardonic comments to yourself; as a self-proclaimed scholar of recliners and a reclining specialist, I know what I’m talking about and speak nothing but the truth, so help me Stickley Furniture World.

How can something so simple as this recliner make me feel like a new woman, a renewed and improved supple design of the feminine species? I have no idea! Someone seriously smarter than me designed a lounger with superb supine capabilities. All I know is something shocking happened, something so spectacular that I am singing its praises while simultaneously shedding tears of shear joy. I am in seventh heaven – so much so that I have placed an order for my very own Sidney Slider Power Recliner (since I cannot bring this one back with me). Sadly, it’s not in stock at the moment BUT in less than two very short weeks it will be on its way to my home. Stupendous!

This is no small thing and I mean that literally. Sidney (we’re already on a first name basis) is a big boy, significantly larger than what I’m accustomed to.  I shall have to find a way to make him fit but make no mistake – this scintillatingly smooth suede stunner will fit! The only question I struggled with was which color I should select – the sensual sable or the shimmering sand?

I’ll have to wait just a scant few days after my return but it will all be worth it. If you could only see the sheepish smile of satisfaction on my face.

Ah, Sidney! How sweet it is” she sighed.

NAR © 2022