Showing posts from January, 2015

Family Friends Faith and Funerals

During the past five weeks I have witnessed the most incredible combination of grief, loss, friendship and support, all centered around the deaths of two people I don't even know.

A dear friend's ex-husband's mother died in December.  Exactly a month later (yesterday), the ex-husband died.

The timing is remarkable. I don't know if it's God or fate, but the mother (age 96) died before having to see the son (age 64) die, then the son dies a few months before his own son's wedding.  It all seems to have lined up is some cosmic sequence. That whole 'blessing in disguise' thing.

I'm spiritual but not religious, but many people in this family have strong religious beliefs and their faith is helping them get through it. What I do have faith in is the ability of people to come together and help each other solve problems; and I have faith in the power of friendship, family and community. Tears were shed, of course. Most were from sadness, loss and shock. My …

Name Trends and more

Autria, Jacqui and Jummy are the first names of three local TV anchors.All three are female, all three work the same morning shift on the same station and all three have unique names which are non-traditional to those accustomed to American English. Jummy’s heritage is Nigerian and that is probably a more common name in that culture, but I don’t know where the other two got their names or what those monikers mean to their family or heritage.

I am both sensitive and curious with respect to names.How do parents choose the names and what impact do those names have on children through their lives? I’ve lived my whole life with the first name Bernard, which is more familiar than Autria but still unusual.In fact, I have only met seven other Bernards in my whole life and I was related to two of them. The most popular names for girls born in 2014, according to, include Sophia, Emma, Olivia and Emily.I know a 26-year-old named Emma but the only other Emma I ever met was my Mother’…


I took one of those 'quizzes' on Facebook a few days ago; the topic was grammar. There were fifteen questions, each asking the participant to select the correct sentence or phrase from a choice of three. My score: 13 of 15 correct. Not bad.

However, shouldn't a 'writer' score higher? Truth be told, I regularly question my grammar proficiency. Writing a blog such as this is a hobby but I write commercials for a living. Blogs have no rules and my style, described by an old writer friend as 'breezy', is suitable for blogging. Some commercials provide evidence that good grammar is not required for them either.

One grammatical pet leave of mine involves the words fewer and less. I regularly hear incorrect usage of 'less' in conversation and in commercials. I heard a commercial this morning with the line, "and that means less cavities."  Incorrect!  It should read "fewer cavities."  I am also annoyed by the regular misuse of their, the…

One Eighteen and Other Random Musings

As I started to write this post, I noticed it is 1:18 pm on 1/18.  That is pretty random, isn't it?  I have many random thoughts and observations floating around in my brain; some end up in random places on this blog.  Here are a few more random things.

I usually write these posts in a Word doc, make adjustments and corrections, and then copy to the blog.  I have saved all of them with the idea that some will end up in a book.  By the way, this is post # 1153 on this blog.  I've written a few hundred more on other blogs.  Writing is both a passion and a hobby for me, although I sometimes think I'd like to make a living at it.  My practical side reminds me to keep my current day job.  Another random note:  I am writing this one directly onto blogger rather than in Word.  Trying to be spontaneous.

I am engaged in a friendly (and fiendly) competition with another blogger (who also is now one of my best friends) ... last year she wrote more posts than I did, which sort of sta…

Day Eleven

Today is Day Eleven of the new year, the 11th day of my annual 'process', just over a week into my year of embracing 'discipline' to achieve what I want in 2015.
How am I doing so far? Not bad.  I chose 'discipline' as my keyword for the year and I am already making progress in increasing the discipline I apply to my daily activities and goals.  I had hoped to have a more detailed plan for 2015 at this point but I'm a little behind in that endeavor. But the month is young. Stay tuned.

Shop Till You …

For the past several years I have done most of my clothes shopping online or at outlet malls.My last few online wardrobe purchases have been less than satisfactory so I decided to visit an outlet mall recently.The closest one is an hour from home, however, so I took a deep breath and drove ten minutes to the nearest traditional mall instead, for the first visit there in a year.

Some random observations: I forgot how much I dislike malls, even though I do like buying stuff.

Plaid remains popular, although I don’t really like plaid.For me, plaid is a throwback to an earlier time in my life that I’d rather not visit. When shopping, I often encounter decision stress.This color or that?This style or that?And my size seems to be very popular, which means sale items in my size are picked over quickly, before I get there.

Really cool clothes are made for men in their 20s and 30s and look silly on me. The good news about my shopping adventure is that I did find three shirts I like, all on sale, and …

It Doesn’t Take Much

Snow is falling in my part of Maryland this morning.Not much, just a couple of inches.During the first twenty five years of my life, in New Orleans, I only saw snow three times.That’s all, three times, for a total snow fall of less than two inches.You read that right, a total combined accumulation from three separate snowfalls of two inches.Each of those ‘minor’ snow incidents paralyzed New Orleans because that region isn’t prepared for snow.It just doesn’t happen much there.

But here, in the Washington DC suburbs, we see snow a few times a month each winter, with accumulations in each ranging from a couple of inches to a couple of feet.People who live here usually know when the snow is coming, the regional road crews have a century of experience treating roads and removing snow and everybody here has driven in the stuff.Yet the two inches of snow that has fallen this morning is wreaking havoc on the roads.Dozens of accidents are reported, most schools delayed or closed and I’m working…

My Cheers

Why I love my neighborhood hangout ... no two visits are alike. Sometimes we encounter friends, sometimes we know nobody. I met the other half of "we" there, so that's an extra bonus.

This evening I had a long conversation with someone I see there all the time but until tonight I didn't really know. It turns out he is an actor and we both know some people in common. During the same visit I had some beer-infused personal conversations with two female regulars about love, relationships, friendships and, uhhh, 'size'.

I've been a regular at this place for eighteen months; the 'real' regulars go back five to thirteen years. But I feel at home there. Sometimes I can observe, other times I can participate. That balance is perfect for me.

When I first moved to this neighborhood, I wanted to find a bar that had the vibe of the old Cheers TV show. This place is it.

One Hundred Plus

While watching television last week, I channel surfed into an episode of “Growing Bolder” on RLTV.It is an interesting TV show/website/etc. exploring boomers and seniors who have successfully transitioned into a ‘second chapter’ in their lives.The segment of the show that got my attention featured Ruth Hamilton, who started blogging at the age of 109.If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I expect to throw myself a 100th birthday party, so naturally I am fascinated by people who have reached that age milestone.I would like to know what they did to get there and how they spend their time now.I am also curious about their attitude regarding their age.

Another aspect of my personality you might have noticed is that I continue to be self-conscious about my own age.Most of my bosses and co-workers are much younger than I am, leading to a bit of paranoia; do I seem old, am I getting out of touch in any way, am I struggling to keep up?With all that in mind, I rarely say…

Happy New Year

January 1st is my favorite holiday.New Year’s Day.Symbolically it is a calendar point representing the phrase ‘out with the old, in with the new’.We can use this day to shake off old habits and start new ones, rid ourselves of negative baggage in our lives and pack some new bags, free ourselves of self-destructive attitudes and start down a path of renewal.

Or we can eat black eyed peas for good luck and drink plenty of water and coffee to diminish the hangover from celebrating too much last night. I use New Year’s Day to begin the annual ‘process’ I described in my previous post.I wake up with a fresh attitude, a clear look ahead to the coming year.Today, for the second New Year’s Day in a row, I woke up staring into a pair of beautiful brown eyes that make me smile at the possibilities of the coming year.The year 2014 was the best year of my life and I have no doubt that 2015 will be even better.

I love life and I want to live forever.One of the items on my ‘process’ list is to start p…