Cafe Today | Pop Tarts, A Chance Meeting and The American Family

A well deserved day off after many  weeks.  Finally!   Just a carefree day.  Or, so I thought.

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I am up and ready to run errands before 7am. I always start my day early whether I wish to do so or not. You see, I have a cat!  My adopted furry house-buddy is Milly. Those of you who keep a Cat – after all, no owns a Cat – knows you never ever need an alarm clock.   Milly keeps to her own schedule.  Which of late includes sharing that crazy schedule with me.  She quickly and adeptly took to my personal House Rule #1. If I am up. Everyone else is up.   Before 5:00 am just isn’t good for anyone.  Good thing she’s cute!  Well, that was great for me when life moved at the speed of light.       Now,  Not so much!

Milly My House Buddy ©Cafe Today 2011

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 On this well deserved “Me, Me, Me,  all about me day” I stopped at the local market for the usual Milly Treats and a beverage of choice.  No, silly!  It’s 8 am   Gotta have  my Coffee.  Upon entering the door I spy the gourmet foods section. Trying not to drool, I peruse quickly  and move on. Standing in front of me is a lady staring intently at a box of  Pop Tarts.  She glanced my way  and said out loud with a longing and a bit of wonder in her voice, “You know….when I was a kid… Brown Sugar Cinnamon was good enough for me.  How does one even begin to choose these days?”    “Well, what looks good to you?”   I say “At the moment , everything! ”       We both chuckled.  Two adults talking Pop Tarts!

Chocolate Fudge Pop Tarts courtesy Kellogg’s Corporation

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“Thoughts”  came to mind at that moment.  Thoughts over at  and her Pop Tart  obsession.  Whenever I spy those tasty little treats, she comes to mind.  Sorry!  I digress!

  Anyway….. One thing led to another.  The conversation evolved into quality of snack foods…. kids not being active…… what can we do to encourage adults and kids to consider healthy choices and more.  Well, after all we are busy people and have the need to talk so fast that  ‘short-hand speak’ falls easily into our chat.    We were talking as if we were long time neighbors and just happened upon each other at the grocer.  We were strangers. Yet,  after  only a short time, we were. no longer.  The conversation bounced around to every aspect of life.  Almost.  I discovered she had 3 children, from elementary to high school.  She worries about them and what each passing year brings to their lives.  We all have or have had those fears for our children.

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 Her mother is a recent addition to her household.  Her mother having  recently retired, was diagnosed with the early stages of dementia and can no longer be left on her own.  This has been quite an adjustment as one would imagine.  Everyone is on board, yet it means many changes.  Huge changes.  The family is making sacrifices and it seems the daughter now becomes the “Mother” to her mom.  Not so uncommon these days.   The mother/grandma is very fortunate to be surrounded by a loving family.  I shared some of my experiences with my own mother and family as they were strikingly similar.  For my mother, as the dementia progressed rapidly,  she had to live in a facility that could care for her.  A few months later she passed away.

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Multi Generations Family – The New Normal
via Nebraska Dept of Human Services

We talked a bit longer.  Then she said that “thing” that had quite an impact on me.  I have heard this many times from so many  I knew.    The “thing”…..This lady has brothers and sisters who live close by.  Yet, she is the only one making sacrifices and caring for their mother.  Why?  Her siblings seem to think it is a waste of time to even visit their mother.    “She doesn’t remember if we have been there or not,  so why come around.” The siblings excuse.   “That was not true.  She remembers many things.” The daughter defends her mother, hoping for understanding.  Not  one of them can bring themselves to give their loving sister any type of emotional support, let alone financial support.  She is ignored.  Lonely. Hurt. So very sad.  She is loosing her mother a little each day, her family makes sacrifices each day and her siblings are deserting her.   A family in crisis. 

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This poor lady, struggling to do her best as a daughter and mother to her family, is attempting to give her mother a life with love and dignity.  As her mother had surely done for her and her siblings since the day they were born.   This attempt at “being all” to everyone is great feat.   One can only attempt this  through prayer and surrounded by loving individuals.  The ‘Pop Tart’ Lady feels alone and fearful of what each day could bring.  I understand completely.  The tears are now threatening to roll down her cheek.  She wasn’t crying.  Just brown eyes flooding with tears of frustration.  “We must share the same brothers and sisters”  I added quickly.   Mine were selfish, heartless and uncaring as well!”  OK!  That at least brought a big smile.  Whew!  A crisis averted in the Pop Tart aisle!  

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My heart went out to this lovely woman and I was a bit puzzled as to how to help her.  I could only offer words of encouragement and support.  This is the latest version of the new American family.  The norm for a family unit constantly evolves these days.   Yours, Mine and Ours!  The 2 dad family.  The 2 mom family!  Blended families in any shape or form.  These changes are even reflected in nightly television, movies and in print.  At the turn of the 20th century, it was the standard for a family to include Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, whoever.  It was just one big family under the same roof.  It did not matter the generations.  They were all family.  It was what one did.

We seem to be reverting to a similar version of that family here in the 21st century.  Actually, many versions of a family.  Far too many to list.  Still, I am irked at her siblings.  Nothing, Nada, Zip and big fat zero from them.  Shame on them!  You know that old saying, what goes around………?    

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Lilo & Stitch

Lilo & Stitch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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FAMILY.  In the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch, Stitch fell, literally, into a new family and both human and alien  learned to adjust.  During that adjustment period Stitch reeked havoc on the house , the neighborhood, the family’s relationships and oh so much more.  As part of the dialogue…. there was a line  where the little girl, Lilo speaks to Stitch…

”  ‘Ohana means family – no one gets left behind, and no one is ever forgotten. ”  ~Written by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, Lilo & Stitch.    Very powerful words!

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How does it happen, that writers for an animated children’s movie involving an alien, understand human behavior better than the rest of us?  Anyone can become part of a family.  Example:  My Milly…the “no alarm required”  cat.  Some have ‘aliens’, some have pet snakes.  Eeesh!   Yes, anyone can be part of a family.  I do not have any answers.  Many thoughts, but no answers.  Having asked one of my co-workers these questions, she believes a good slap to the head for the siblings is the best way to deal with them.  Ah, yes!  Ye olde…must get their attention first ploy.   Well, I for one, am all for this.  However, this action may not be completely practical in all instances.  The BIG question is   “Will our families be loving and supportive when we need them?”    It’s a roll of the dice!  Answers are not easy here.  The thoughts – difficult.    I have hope for our future.  Life today is like a  rocky road ice cream cone….. tasty – messy – without the crunchy cone for support.  

  To all of you  ‘Ohana !         May no one be forgotten or left behind.     ~  Barb@Cafe Today

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What would you do if you were in her shoes?     How would you handle this situation?

Could you make those sacrifices?  What could be done to encourage the family to participate? 

Cafe Today| Meet Lily Collins, Kristen Stewart as Snow White

Lily Collins-Snow White via Relativity Studios

Lily Collins looks like a fantasy – real but not real.  Of course, Snow White is a tale of fantasy from the minds of the brothers Grimm.  Ever since Walt Disney animated the story, it was never viewed the same way.  

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The new Snow White Movie is due in 2012.  Tarsem Singh is the director on this one.  This officially untitled family version is due for release in  March 2012.  Much earlier than the December 2012 release date given prior.  Perhaps it is due much in part to the rival studio – Universal – and its race at warp speed to the finish line.  Timing is everything. 

Concept Art for Snow White Movie Poster

Great Concept Art Poster. A sad little Kingdom from what was.  I can sort of get that fantasy feel for this movie.  The studio is taking a while to put a name on this project.  A name people, a name!

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Speaking of names.  Lily Collins as Snow White.  Julia Roberts as the evil Queen, Snow’s wicked step-mother.  Julia also gets top billing.  Armie Hammer as Prince Andrew Alcott.  Sean Bean, Nathan Lane and a host of others to round out thecast. 

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Apparently this movie is not getting a G rating either, as it will have many action scenes.  A dark twist on the classic fairy tale, in which Snow White and the seven dwarfs look to reclaim their destroyed kingdom.  I hear Lily is doing her best to kick some butt in this film.  Her pay back to her evil step mother, Snow White must fight for her legacy and truth.  Cool!   This is a comedic action version of Snow White. I cannot wait for the 7 dwarfs. If Lily, as Snow White looks this great, I can only imagine the dwarfs being very interesting. OK!, OK!  I am a 7-year-old at heart.  Don’t care.  I think Lily is adorable!

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And then there is the other movie….

Kristen Stewart - Snow White & The Huntsman via Universal Studios

Based on the poster, it seems more like a “Joan of Arc meets King Arthur, meets Robin Hood” ?  Universal Studios version is titled Snow White and the Huntsman.  Release date is set for June 2012.   This movie has been touted as the  ” dark, epic action film   Snow White and the Huntsman.”   Snow White teams up with the Huntsman, to fight the evil Queen.  Snow learns to ride horses, wield a sword and battle armies of the Queens soldiers.  Boy, this is not Disney!

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The movie is directed by Rupert Sanders, starring Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman and Charlize Theron  as The Evil Queen.   See,  I had written last year that the Kristen Stewart version would be darker, sulkier, etc.  No!  I wasn’t being mean, it is how it is.   SPOILER ALERT!  We will find out in this movie why there are 7 dwarfs—when the movie begins there are 8 dwarfs.  I dwarf dies.   No Yucks here!  On that note… There seems to be a bit of wrangling  for a PG-13  rating by the studio.  Those in the know are saying there is an R rating headed their way.  Humm!  I am beginning to understand a bit more.   So, PG-13 does not seem as quite the stretch for this Snow White and the quarrelsome 7.  We shall see!

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I look forward to seeking out new details and tid-bits as they become available.  Counting Down The Days………

Cafe Conversations |Rescued from Roadside Trash, Pup Now Walks After Therapy

Once Trash, Pup Now Walks After Therapy – Orlando News Story – WESH Orlando.

WINTER PARK, Fla. — Today, Harper looks like a normal puppy, but just weeks ago she was nearly thrown away in a trash can by a breeder.

The pup’s life nearly ended on the side of the road in Seminole County, where a woman says she stopped to check out a man selling puppies for $50.

“She noticed a trash bag on the floor next to him and the bag was making noises. She asked what was in the bag and he declined to answer,” said Erica Daniel with Dolly’s Foundation, a pit bull rescue organization.

Inside that bag was Harper. The seller deemed the pit bull puppy unsellable because she could not stand. It’s called swimmer puppy syndrome. Experts say the dogs usually don’t survive.

“They stay on their chest. Their chest wall flattens out,” said hydro dog therapist Bev McCartt.
Read more:

I found this a great story of a little pup that was thrown out as trash and rescued by an earthly angel appearing at the right moment.

The puppies who are born with this condition have no value as they cannot be sold.  Unfortunately, they do not live long.  This little guy is proving what a little love and time can do for another living soul.

Click on the top link to view the WESH- TV  video report on this cute little guy!

Photo from WESH Orlando News Story – WESH Orlando

Cafe Conversations| Budweiser 9 -11 Tribute Commercial


I went in search of this video after hearing people speak of this one time only commercial.

 Apparently it was shown one time during Super Bowl  XXXVI.  It was meant as a tribute.

 Nothing more.



Cafe Conversations | 9-11 Remembered

World Trade Center 9-11  – NY times

Catastrophic events bring out the best of a nation’s people.

 The best came without being asked.  

The devastation and sorrow experienced was immeasurable.

 The best rose above unthinkable tragedy to show we are not to be defeated.

The best allows us to live, heal and prosper.

The best is who we are.

A Quiet Moment at the 9-11 Memorial

9-11 Memorial Walkway

Photo courtesy of N Y Times.

Cafe Conversations | Honey, There’s a Drunken Moose in Our Tree

Drunken Moose in Tree via AP

This is far too funny to pass up.

An inebriated moose trying to get more fermenting apples apparently lost its balance and ended up stuck in an apple tree in Sweden.  After returning home from work Tuesday evening, Per Johansson of Saro heard bellowing from his neighbor’s yard, The Local reported.

“I thought at first that someone was having a laugh. Then I went over to take a look and spotted a moose stuck in an apple tree with only one leg left on the ground,” Johansson told The Local.

Johansson called the police, he told The Local, but while waiting for a response, he and neighbors began to saw off limbs to try to help the entangled, thrashing moose.

Responding firefighters managed to bend the tree down far enough for the animal to slide off the branches, The Local reported.

Drunken moose are common in Sweden in autumn, when apples are abundant on the ground and in trees in homeowners’ yards, according to The Local.

Mr. Johansson surmised the moose had been indulging for quite a while.

The Moose, having gained his freedom, promptly walked a few yards and passed out on the lawn.

This reminds me of a couple of  Bon Fire Parties back in 1978.  Good Times!

Cafe Conversations| Conserve Water Make Your Own Rain Barrel

It’s September.  Why Make a Rain Barrel Now!  Water is Still A Precious Commodity.

Do It Yourself Rain Barrel

For those of us in the mid-west, we still have months of outdoor work and play.   Plus, we will have some of those much awaited cooler days ahead.  Perfect time to do a few outdoor projects —-in preparations for Spring Time!   If you live in a milder climate—year round economic care of your plants.  Here’s why this is a great project for all of us. My Thanks to Better Homes and Gardens!   I now have step by step instructions to share with you.

“Using a rain barrel can save you a significant amount of money in a season. For each inch of rain that falls on 500 square feet of roof, you can collect 300 gallons of water. In most areas of North America, that means you can collect more than a thousand gallons of water a year to use in your containers, houseplantsgarden, or even your lawn. We’ll show you how to make your own inexpensive rain barrel in just a couple of hours.”

I priced a few Rain Barrels at the local home stores and the least expensive was $80.00.  This DIY project is far too good to pass up!     MY HINT:  Just place a few plants or Containers filled with lush foliage to camouflage the barrel.  Or,better yet—go ahead and spray paint it to match your house.  Genius! 

Assemble The Materials


Step 1: Gather Your Materials      

“It’s probably easier than you think to make a rain barrel. Here’s what we used:”

— 1 large plastic garbage can (the larger it is, the more water you can collect)

— 1 tube of watertight sealant or roll of Teflon tape for plumbing
— 2 rubber washers
— 2 metal washers
— 1 hose clamp
— 1 spigot
— A drill
— Landscaping fabric

Step 2: Drill a Hole

“Start by using your drill to create a hole near the bottom of your barrel. This is where you’ll insert your spigot. Use a drill bit that’s a little smaller than or the same size as the spigot.”

Here’s a hint: Don’t create a hole that’s too low — you’ll want to leave space underneath to fill your watering cans.

Step 3: Insert the Spigot      

Dry Fit the Spigot


“Place a metal washer onto the threaded end of spigot, then put a snugly fitting rubber washer over the threads to help hold the washer in place and prevent leakage.”

Step 4: Seal it up

“Next, apply a bead of waterproof sealant over your rubber washer and insert the spigot into the hole. Wait for the sealant to dry, then run a rubber washer, followed by a metal washer onto the threads of the spigot inside the barrel. Secure the spigot in place inside your barrel with the hose clamp. This is important because it will keep your spigot from coming loose from your barrel.”

Here’s a hint: You can also run watertight Teflon tape to seal the spigot hole

Seal the Spigot


Step 5: Make Entry and Exit Holes

“Carefully cut a hole in the lid of your rain barrel. This hole should sit under your home’s downspout so the water runs right into the barrel. Cut the hole so it’s large enough to accommodate the water flow from the downspout.

You’ll also want to drill a hole or two near the very top of your rain barrel. This hole will allow water to overflow.”

Here’s a hint: You can run a short length of hose or PVC pipe, from the overflow hole to another rain barrel to connect them. That way if your rain barrel fills, the excess water will run into the next one and you don’t lose overflow water.

Make Entry & Exit Holes


Step 6: Seal the Top

“Cut a piece of landscaping fabric to sit over the top of your rain barrel, then put the lid over the top of it to secure it. This will create a barrier that prevents mosquitoes and other pests from getting in your rain barrel water.”

Sealing The Top


Step 7: Place Your Rain Barrel

“Now that the hard work is done, all you have to do is get your rain barrel in place. Position it directly underneath your downspout in a spot that’s most convenient for you to use it. Then just wait for it to rain so you can enjoy the water — and money — savings.”

Here’s a hint: Set your rain barrel up on a platform to help give more pressure if you connect it to a hose. It also makes it easier to fill up watering cans.

Directions Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.  Photos Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.

Thanks for the amazing directions.

Cafe Conversations|Garden Tip ~~ Divide Your Perennials Now

Dividing and Transplanting Perennials in Fall


September is a great month for doing a little renovating in your perennial garden by dividing and/or transplanting.

Dividing Perennials - courtesy P. Allen Smith

The heat of summer has hopefully passed, the chances of rain have returned and there is still plenty of time for plants to recover from being moved before the ground freezes.             The rule of thumb for deciding which perennials to transplant or divide is based on bloom time.  Late summer and fall bloomers are suited for moving in the spring while spring and early summer flowering perennials can be transplanted in fall.            There are several signs that can tell you it’s time to divide a perennial when all the growth appears on the outer edges, it doesn’t bloom as well as it used to or the blooms are smaller than usual.  All these indicators are symptoms of overcrowded roots.         Transplanting can be motivated by the desire to change the look of your garden or if you’ve discovered that the perennial needs a different growing environment.

Star Gazer Lilies


          Whether transplanting or dividing you should give the plants about 6 weeks before the first hard freeze occurs in your garden so they can be settled in to their new home and ready for winter.

         Start by digging around the entire clump with a garden fork or sharp shooter (narrow shovel) and lifting the plant, soil and all, from the hole. Then gently break as much of the soil away as you can. If you are dividing the plant, once it is out of the ground, separate the crowns by cutting them with a sharp knife or shovel blade.  You don’t have to be gentle, but try to preserve as many of the roots as possible.

         Keep newly dug and/or divided plants covered and protected from wind and sun while you get their new homes ready.  If you can’t transplant them the same day, place them in the shade, spray the root ball with water and cover them with wet newspapers.  They’ll be okay for a few days, but I recommend getting them in the ground ASAP.

        Prepare the new planting spot or revive the old one by turning the soil at least 8-inches deep.  Remove rocks, roots and debris.  Add plenty of compost and some aged manure.

       Dig a hole that is 1.5 times as deep and wide as the plant’s roots. Build a firm mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Spread the roots over the mound so that the crown sits at or just below the soil line. Gently back fill the hole and pull the soil up around the crown just as you would a container grown plant.

        Water the plant and keep it consistently moist until a hard freeze.  Don’t bother with fertilizer as it will only encourage top growth, which takes energy away from the roots.

       Once the ground freezes, apply a 3-inch layer of mulch and you are done.  Next spring your perennials will emerge with a new lease on life.

        Plants to Divide in Fall

  • Astilbe
  • Asiatic Lily
  • Oriental Lily
  • Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Siberian Iris
  • Japanese Iris
  • Veronica
  • Peony

        ~  Thanks to P. Allen Smith ~

100th Post!! My Garage Door, Show Tunes and Lemonade

          Every morning it is the same old routine. Prepare that last minute cup of Joe to go. Thank heaven for Keurig. Laptop bag, check. Lunch bag, check. Purse, check. Give Milly cat treats, check. (this prevents her from running through my legs, tripping me as she seeks freedom in the great outdoors.) Then on to climbing over bins and boxes of Garage Sale items, hit the garage door opener at least twice, wait patiently while tapping my foot for what seems an eternity as the chain chugs along the track to slowly lift the overhead door to reveal my driveway and thankfully  the escape vehicle  my car.  Man! All I want to do is get out of the house. Getting out is like a battlefield. Yea, I know this is not exciting stuff, huh? However, it is the daily stuff that rules my life and probably yours.  So goes my life for the past few months. Boring, Benign and Bland. Until!  Until, I had my Light Bulb Moment! Light Bulb, I tell you!

My would be "stage curtain". My own little fixer upper garage door.

          That particular  morning I am taping  my foot, waiting for the garage door to rise, which takes forever, anticipating the ever present Glow of the Gigantic Golden Orb directly in front of me. I smile as I am about to greet the new day.    Man! That is bright.  It’s like looking into the sun.  Oh wait.  I am!    I’m blind!  I stumble my way down the drive,  seeking my faithful set of wheels to whisk me away!  As with Milly, this is my moment of freedom. Grabbing my shades and carefully tucking the cup of coffee into the holder, not a drop will be wasted here.  Wait a minute.  Hmm!!   Would Keurig pay $2 million for a spilled cup of Joe?  Nah!  The engine roars to life as I turn the key and rev the engine again. Ahh!  Feel the power!   All that horsepower begins to settles down to constant purr.   Well, maybe not really purring, unless your cat has a horrific case of hairballs. Honestly, it’s more like a cross between a Briggs & Stratton lawn mower and a 1975 Kawasaki dirt bike.  Anyway!  After a few of those migraine inducing Golden Orb mornings, I learned to put on my sunglasses Before opening the garage door. Duh!

Sun - Courtesy of God. Image courtesy of JPL Nasa.

          I Know, you are probably thinking…perhaps another door would end my daily bought of blindness?  Well, you see the only other door I have is the north facing service door. Yes, this would be much less sight debilitating than the overhead door. Therein lies the crux. The service door is adjacent to my neighbors yard.  Exiting in this manner would consist of a step down that is quite low, much lower than the threshold and for some reason I always stumble and appear on the verge of self induced bodily harm.  The other being, I often run smack into my neighbor.  He is not a bad sort, just not always sober.   Or happy. Or, normal? He has this sappy look on his face.  No, not Freddy from Elm Street freaky looking, odd.   And, why is he always digging and moving things around in his yard?  Thankfully, I do not recall any missing persons in my area of late.  I know what you are thinking.  My house in this neighborhood are the envy of all you readers right about now!            I know!  I know!

Dead Ringer for my neighbor. Courtesy Pee Wee Herman

          My Light Bulb moment!  The moment came one morning as I  was standing in front of the overhead, listening to the chugging links in the chain.  The door was going up and I had this vision come over me of a stage as the curtain rises and music begins to play. There I am standing in front of a packed audience, smiling faces looking back at me.  Wow!  In real life it was probably my resident bunny and a couple Sparrows.  You get the picture.  As the brightness of early morning revealed itself, I threw wide my arms and began to sing:

” You’ll….. be…… swell!    You’ll be great!   Gonna have the whole world on the plate!   Starting here, starting now,  honey, everything’s coming up roses!   ……. Everything’s coming up roses for me and for you! “

My Girl Ethel Merman as Gypsy Rose Lee via EMNBT

          What the hell was that?  Show tunes?  Broadway?  Where did that come from?  Hearing my voice out-loud is quite disturbing even to me, as I could not carry a tune. Tone Deaf?  I quickly looked around, eyes darting to and fro to see if any lives had been lost.  Human and animal carnage could be at an all time high!   Sorry world.   Still in shock, a lyrical sort of daze,  I ran to my car,  fired up my gas hog on 4 wheels and set out for the day.  A bit bewildered as to the cause of this bizarre  Ethel Merman moment.  Smack!  Oh no!  “I’ve gone round the bend”  haven’t I?  

Having survived my first attempt at Broadway, the following week I tried out the perpetual favorite….. “The sun will come out tomorrow. So ya gotta hang on ’til        tomorrow   Come what may   Tomorrow   Tomorrow  I love ya  Tomorrow is just a day away”       My apologies to Annie!   Then I promptly destroyed a few Rock Songs.  Bon Jovi would not be pleased!      

           What song should I choose next?  Oh, and do you think Red or Deep Blue curtains for each side of the garage door?  Lighting. I totally forgot the lighting. How many?  What should I do?

          It was not until much later I realized why this momentary madness overcame me.  First:  Yes, it was definitely a light bulb moment in conjunction with my smarty pants sense of humor.  My  warped sense of humor coming from being the last born of 10 children.  That in and of itself pretty much explains everything you need to know about me.  (There is a story for another time)   Years ago, I embraced my  humor and sarcasm for what it was.  Second:  Finding humor in almost everything can and does create sticky situations at times.  Thus, unconsciously I make Lemonade out of that daily fat ass bag of Lemons.  Tammy Faye Baker would be proud.   Now, if that were true of money.  Boy, I could make millions out of a dollar?!  I need to  work on that!

          Sneak Pick at My next Performance………

***I am seeking suggestions, ideas  for my repair or replacement of the garage door.  Anyone?      Anyone? ***