Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Are Bloggers Journalists?

In this digital age a lot of people get their information and news from internet including blogs. Blogs are great to get information, but is it journalism or opinion?

It's okay if the blog is an opinon but I see so many stories on blogs that are only minutes old. What have they investigated? How true are the facts? When I write a story for a newspaper (unless it is a feature) I use two or three sources. Two if the sources both agree, and three if there is a descrepancy.

If an event is attended by the blogger and they witnessed it first hand that fine. However I caution people to be aware of where the source is getting there information.

I've noticed more than a few times, bloggers repeat other bloggers blogs. It's a competative crazy world. Getting out fast doesn't always mean it's accurate.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy reading blogs, in particular the themed blogs. They are more like news columns and not breaking news stories.

For the record.... I know newspaper get things wrong too...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nuts and Bolts of Writing

It has been a while since I blogged. The past few months were busy for me. I write for several publications and deadlines and summer… don't mix. Fall is here and I've vowed to write each day. So keep me at my word.

Writing is on my mind as always, it a part of me. When I was in a waiting room, I came across a piece in the AARP Magazine by Elmore Leonard (July/Aug. 2009) titled "Making It Up As I Go Along". It was fascinating reading. As writers, we often live in semi isolation when working on our stories, different thoughts cross our mind about our characters, plot, or method. I don't know about you, but I at times I wish I could turn around and ask a pro "Is it okay to do this? Or use that?" Leonard's article did it for me.

I often take pieces of people I know for my characters. I change them by giving them different occupations, different names and perhaps an added flaw or two. I was surprised that Leonard used one of his friend's real name in "Get Shorty."

If you haven't read the article, you can do so here: http://www.aarpmagazine.org/people/leonard_making_it_up.html

I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Giving Birth

I often get pains when writing a story. It happens when as I start to write a story that for some reason or another I deem significant. It also happens only when I write non-fiction. My anxiety builds gradually, like an expectant mother. I wonder how my new "baby" will turn out? What will its' name be? Can I love it as much as my previous "babies"? Will it be good? Will the readers love it?

The anxiety makes it difficult for me to pen the story. The story that I want to tell. I can list all kinds of facts, figures, and places; however, I want to show the heart. The pounding, racing blood of the tale that compels the reader, and leaves them a bit wiser and glad they read the story.

Now that I got those feelings out of the way, I am ready to write. Does anyone else go through this?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Love is the Wisdom of the Fool and the Folly of the Wise"

This quote started me wondering what Samuel Johnson had in mind when he penned his observation. Samuel Johnson was an English author, critic, and lexicographer. He also possessed a great sense of humor as seen in his feeling about cucumbers "A cucumber should be well-sliced, dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out."  

 Although this quote is listed as a humorous love quote on many websites, I am not so sure. The first part of the quote " Love is the wisdom of the fool" is really sad. A fool's wisdom is love. Wisdom is what helps us make decisions and if a fool is making his decisions based on love it is bound to get him in trouble. It gives too much importance to love.  

 The second part of the quote "and the folly of the Wise" Folly is foolishness which gives love too little importance in the wise person's life.  

 Both are extreme abuses of love, for love should be an integrated part of life. It is only then, we can have a healthy love relationships, whether it is with another person, child, food, drink or money

Thursday, May 14, 2009

All My Pugs

Here are the pugs I have fostered, and the pugs I have.
Starting from the top left corner.

1. Roxi she came from an amish puppy mill in PA and was afraid of everything. She stayed with us from November until February of this year.

2. Buggs, he came from a puppy mill in Missouri and is 70 percent blind. He's three and is full of energy. We picked him up this past Saturday and he is up for adoption.

3. Iris, she stole my heart. I called her Queen Iris. We had her from August until October. She was from a back yard breeder in Maryland.

4. Cheeko, what a beautiful pug. Apricot is a hard color to find in a pug. He was an owner surrender from Vermont.

5. Tawny also came the from the amish puppy mill in PA. We adopted her.

6. Sassy. She fit her name. She was adopted last week. I miss her.

7. Jelly was a puppy mill dog, who easily became used to the life of a pampered pug.

8. Porkchop we adopted in 2005 he was an owner surrender from Vermont.

9. Buck we bought when he was 3 months old. He is now 14.

10. Molly came from Arkansas she has a collasping trachea. We adopted her in 2003.

Please adopt instead of shopping for any breed of dog. All breeds have rescue groups. If you are interested in a pug and live in New Hampshire or Vermont contact Green Mountain Pug Rescue..
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Friday, May 1, 2009

How Trish Met Ethan..

Trish is the protagonist in my WIP Bruised Fruit. As in most novels there is a lot of background information that gets left out. Some events are alluded to because the story begins after the event. I will be posting my "out takes" here on occasion Looking forward to your feedback.

"Oh my God.... He is gorgeous!" We commented at the same time. June laughed and I looked

at Pam who had her head out the car window...

"Hey... you... walking ... You wanna ride?" Pam shouted. "Come get in." Pam embarrassed us,

but before we could blush, Mr. Gorgeous walked towards the car, opened up the rear door and

sat down next to me.

"So... what's your name?" June turned her head and asked.

"Ethan Roselli." His voice was low and his face without a smile. .

“Roselin?" I asked.

"NO! Roselli" He spoke louder and added. "I'm Italian."

"You don't look Italian," I said noting his dark blonde hair.

"I'm Sicilian."

"Oh... I'm Trish, this is June, and the screamer is Pam."

He responded with a nod and remained silent. After two blocks, he said, "Let me out here."

Pam stopped the car and Ethan exited.

"Sure wasn't too friendly... huh?" June began to giggle...

"Great looking guys are like that... it's why I turned down Tony Fusco's offer to the prom. I

don't like pretty boys."

"Madonn'! Fusco asked you to the prom and you didn't tell me? He's a senior! Are you nuts?"

June rolled her eyes.

Pam piped in, "And you guys say I'm loony? I'd go with him to the Prom."

"No surprise there, I want an ordinary guy....” I said and believed it, at least for the next three


“Hey girls... where ya going?” A voice yelled from across the street.

“Up Mike’s and down Jakes," I yelled to the figure shouting to us. June and I looked at each


“What’s it to you buddy?” June added.

“Com'on, doncha remember me? I wanna talk to you.”

“You wanna talk to us, you come here. We ain’t dogs.” June said.

When he was closer I said in a soft voice, “June...it’s Mr. Gorgeous, that guy we picked up."

“Ohhh .. So it is,” June said as he ran across the street.

“Remember me?” Ethan asked.

“How could we forget?” I said in my most sarcastic voice. 

"I was just thinkin about you girls," He said.

“Sure you were, bet you don’t remember our names.” June put out the challenge.

“Bet I do. She’s Trish,” he said pointing to me, “and you’re Pam.” Ethan said appearing oh so


“Wrong, Mr. Smarty-pants. I’m Trish and she’s Pam.” June said messing with him. It was one

of her many talents.

“I know she’s Trish, you’re fooling with me. You must be Jane.”

“Wrong again dufus,” June said and we both laughed.

“She is Trish. I never forget a pretty girl’s name... not that you aren’t pretty... I don’t mean

that.. Heck I was only in the car for a block.” Ethan said and I thought I saw him squirm.

“Okay guy, I’m June.”

“Whew... you’re tough.” Ethan said and went on “Nice to see you again June.”

“Same here.”

“Ya want some ice tea?” Ethan asked.

June and I looked at each other and exchanged our secret eye code. “ I don’t think so.” June said.

“Whatta mean, you don’t think so? You don’t know if you’re thirsty. Hey... my sister’s home.”

Ethan said as if he was offering some type of assurance..

“How old is your sister? Five?” I asked.

“No she’s sixteen. Com'on I’m not going to hurt you guys.”

Again, June and I exchanged our secret glance.

“Ahhh sure why not,” June said, shrugged her shoulders and gave me another eye signal. This

one said, “You owe me.”

Ethan opened the door for us and called “John, come here. Here’s the girls I just told you


John poked his head from around the corner... and said “Yup.. you were right.” and then

disappeared back to the kitchen.

“What’s that about?” I asked...

“Aghhh... he’s goofing on you. Younger brothers, ya know how they are.”

“No I don't.... Where’s your sister? Or did she leave?”

“Nope she’s here. Marie.... Marie... “ Ethan’s calls went unanswered.

“She went next door to use the phone.” John yelled..

“See I do have a sister. Com'on sit down,” Ethan said as he went over to the dinette table and

pulled out a chair.

I moved my head motioning to June to follow, she pulled out her own chair and sat down

across from me.

Ethan walked over the refrigerator and yelled, "John you hog! You drank all the ice tea!"

"So make more..." John said with a shrug.

"You guys want some water?" Ethan asked, holding two glasses in his hand..

"Nah... we're fine." June said.

"Just curious ... what were you thinking about us?" I asked Ethan.

"Oh.... yeah... back to that. I was telling John I wished I got your phone number."

"What makes you think I'd give it to yah? You were like so rude, no... grouchy."

"Umm... I thought you girls were someone else...I was meeting my cousin." Ethan's said.

His excuse was lame, and I didn't buy it..."That's no excuse for being grouchy."

"I'm sorry, didn't mean it.... Thursday's we meet... sing in the alcoves of the stores, after they

close... the echoes make the harmonizing sound sooo much better.. I'll teach you how to

harmonize, if you give me your number."

June and I exchange glances and laugh...

"I can't sing, but June can."

"Ahhhh anyone can harmonize." Ethan said with a wave of his hand and pulled out a pitch

pipe. "Just hum this tone, it's easy." Ethan said before blowing in the pipe.

"Hamm... " I started humming and Ethan motioned for John to join in and then June.. Then we

all busted out laughing...

"I told ya, you could do it. Now give me your number.." Ethan said handing me paper and pen.
I started to write my number 393-869 and before I put on the last digit, a woman and girl

walked in the door...

"Ethan... what are doing? Get these trollops out of my house!" The short stubby woman

I dropped the pen and paper, looked at June and we ran out the door... We could hear Ethan

saying.... "But mom... they're good girls...” as we shut the door.

June and I ran until we reached the cemetery... the short cut we always take home from my


"Boy, was she pissed!" June said.

"Yeah, nothing like making a good impression. June I like him"

"I know you do.." June said.

"I didn't finish writing the phone number. How can he call me?"

"He'll figure it out. He really, really likes you."

She was right, another one of her talents. An hour later my phone rang.

"Hello" I said

"Seven is my lucky number."

"Excuse me? Who is this?"

"It's Ethan... 393-869 SEVEN the number you left off... I called all the other numbers."

"I didn't leave it off on purpose," I said and motioned to June that Ethan was on the phone.

She shook her head and smiled.

"I know, sorry about that... my mother thought something was going on."

"I got that. Do you have girls over often?"

"Only once... and they weren't reputable." Ethan confessed.

"I take it your mom found out."

"That's what I like about you. You're smart."

"You aren't the kind of guy that likes girls for their brains."

"I'm not? What makes you so sure?"

"Name me one intelligent conversation we've had..."

"We haven't had any yet... but we will."

"Like what will talk about? "

"The John Birch Society, the Kennedy Assassination, WWII, I don't know.. Pick a subject."


"You got me... English isn't my best subject."

"And I know nothing about your things.."

"We'll help each. It‘s perfect."

"Perfect? We haven’t gotten off to a good start."

"It's not the beginning, it's the ending, that matters.."

"Ya think so?"

"I know so. We were meant for each another."

"Yeah... sure." I said with sarcasm and tried to ruffle his feather's." Let's set the wedding date

than." I looked at June to see her laughing and twirling her finger by her ear.

"Doesn't the bride set the date?" Ethan loved having one-upsmenship.

That was the day Ethan Roselli took ownership of my heart.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Reading, Writing and what's the Arithmetic?

I'm stuck, trying to find a balance between reading and writing. As a fiction writer it is necessary to do a lot of fiction reading. I have a stack of books on my night stand that I am attempting to read.

Currently I have "The Notebook" and "Dear John" by Nicholas Sparks, "White Sister" by Steve Cannell, and Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver. Those are just the ones on my nightstand. There is a barrage of other fiction books on my living table, waiting to gain entrance into the bedroom.

I also have non fiction on my night stand "The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and "Don't Kiss Them Goodbye" by Allison Dubois,"Expect the Unexpected" by Roger von Oech, "The Hanging of Arthur Hodge"by John Andrew, "Tears of Fears...Behind Closed Doors." by Lyn-Dee-Eldridge and "Finding Your Voice" by Less Edgerton.

Then there are the books on CD I have yet to listen to......

So my question for writers is this..

How much time do you spend a day reading?

How much time do you spend a day writing?

How many WIP do you have at the moment?

Do you edit one WIP while writing another?

In general what is your typical day like?

Should you devote 33 percent to writing, 33 percent to editing? and 33 percent to reading?

I do read when I am in the car and my husband is driving, and when I am driving I listen to books on tape. I try to remember to take a book w/ me when I go someplace where I might have to wait like the doctors etc..

Right now I am trying to find a balance... between reading and writing.. any tips are greatly appreciated...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fan Mail

I'm not famous, but every so often I get an email, or a card from a reader. It always makes me feel wonderful. That someone whom I never met, takes the time to jot a words of appreciation.

I've been writing a weekly column for about 8 years (if you combine them). Often I will get feedback from folks on the street, but the notes and emails are special.

Being a writer often finds you alone at your computer and pondering.. Should I do this? Or should I put this in, or maybe take this out. So it's heartwarming to know that someone reads and appreciates your work.

So if you have a favorite columnist, writer, etc. drop them a line. They will appreciate it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Poem In A Pocket - Contest

April is National Poetry Month and April 30, 2009 is the second annual
"Poem in Your Pocket Day."
The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then
carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends on April 30,

In honor of "Poem in Your Pocket Day" I would like you to submit a poem no
longer than 10 lines to me at novelistatwildbluedotnet with the words Pocket
Poem in subject line.

Put the title of the poem in the body of email above the poem. Please do not
send attachments.
Deadline is April 28th and poems will be posted on April 30th at: Poem In A Pocket Contest without names
and winners will be announced on May 8. Prizes will be awarded for 1, 2, and
3 place.

Poems must be G rated... no erotica or X-Rated Poems.

Now stop reading and get on with writing your poem..

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Starbucks Instant Coffee - A Review

Coffee is my drug of choice; the only other beverages I drink are water, milk and an occasional beer. I drink coffee before bed, when I wake up and throughout the day. I don't like instant or decaf and yes I can tell the difference. You could say I am a coffee snob.

A while back Starbucks was offering free samples of their new instant coffee and because it was Starbucks I requested a sample. It arrived yesterday one packet of Colombian Roast and one packet of Italian Roast. For this review I am using the Colombian. If anyone can make a good instant coffee it is Starbucks.

It smells good, more like real coffee than instant. However it still has that "instant coffee foam" on the top, but it dissipated after a few moments. The color is deep and dark and looks like real coffee in the mug.

A teaspoon of coffee sans cream, sugar and it tastes more like real coffee than instant, but I need sugar and cream.. The color looks good with cream, the taste is good, but not as good as home brewed.

This is a great instant coffee for those that drink instant. It would also be good to have on hand for coffee emergencies or if going backpacking or camping.

Overall I give this coffee 4 stars out of 5.

Starbucks did a good job, but it is still instant coffee.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blogging or Writing?

Today I received a DM from one of my twitter friends and she commented that she liked that I was a blogger who took my writing serious.   I never considered myself a blogger who writes, I am a writer who blogs.  Blogging is extention of my writings and not the purpose.  

In truth I find blogging difficult at times.  To spend time writing about about my opinions of the day or insights learned seems to me anyway a waste of time.   Mostly I post things I've written already. Not that there is anything with blogging opinons, insights in fact I enjoying reading blogs of that type.  

However, currently I am editing and rewriting my first novel, working on a biography, and several shorter pieces for different magazines.   There is also  the weekly news column I write. Every extra moment is devoted to writing or activities around writing, like online and in person critique groups and of course reading.    

Being a writer is more than putting words on paper and arranging them to make a interesting story.  It is keeping up with the trends, meeting fellow writers, discipline, reading, brainstorming, research, and submitting. You can't be published if you don't submit. :)        

When blogging, you write your piece and hopefully edit it.  When you write you edit it, show it to your crit group, rewrite, edit, show it to your crit group again and then look for places to submit it. Not that it always works that way, but you get the idea.

Is the art of writing becoming obsolete in this fast paced world?   Do you think there is a difference between blogging and writing?  Or are they one and the same?

Am interested to hear your feelings on blogging and writing.. or writing and blogging..  

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Queen of Say So

Looking back over my childhood, I realize I had the perfect mother for the fifties. There was no way of her or I knowing that the following decade would bring the sexual revolution, women’s liberation, and the culture of doing your own thing. Not that my mother was perfect, no mother is except the TV moms of that era, Donna Reed, Jane Wyatt, and June Cleaver.

My mom had nothing in common with them, except she wore spiked heels like June Cleaver. June. Cleaver wore the high heels daily, to appear taller as Wally and the Beaver grew. My mother wore spiked heels because she had great legs and she was not shy about them. Mom also had a different air about her than other women of the era. She carried herself as if she had the Crown and Title to “Queen of Say So.” It was only later in life I discovered she had skipped two grades in school and graduated at age 16.

She was born Frances Marie Knizikiewicz and possessed a strong identity to her Lithuanian roots. She spoke the language and followed the traditions, though she was born in New York. On Shrove Tuesday aka Fat Tuesday, she would spend the day making homemade jelly donuts for our family to enjoy before Lent. On Easter Saturday, she would take baskets containing homemade, coffee cakes, pickled beets, picked eggs, ham, and a stick of butter molded into the shape of a lamb adorned with a red ribbon on its neck and peppercorn for eyes to the church to for the blessing of the food.

Mom was home with me the first seven years of my life. She cooked, cleaned, and took care of her children. She was not the doting mom that TV portrayed. If any of my siblings or I fell and suffered an injury, my mom would comfort us with “It will be better by the time you get married.” If any of us went to her with a compliant, she would always tell us to “Look on the bright side.” When we like most kids were unable to find a bright side, she found one. Even if it was, “Well you’re not dead.” There was no excuse for complaining about anything.

I was the fifth child in a family of six. My eldest brother Richard died of cancer at the age of three, exactly one month before my sister Judy was born. As an adult, I try to imagine the various feelings mom had at that time. Was it possible to feel the joy of new baby while mourning another child’s death? She commented once that she lost so much weight the month before my sister was born that Judy’s skin sagged over her body.

My mother mourned Richard’s passing throughout her life. We were always encouraged to pray to him if we needed anything. I never knew Richard but I was forever asking him for things. When the anniversary of his death came around, she was saddened for a time, and she was not timid about telling us the reason for the change in her manner. Richard died in the spring, and by the time summer arrived, Frances returned to normal.

In the summer, she gathered an abundance of "Jersey Tomatoes" from our small but efficient city garden and spent days canning. We had plenty of stewed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, and ketchup to last us until the next harvest. After the tomatoes, she moved on to peaches bought by the bushel for homemade jams and jellies. The smells from our kitchen rivaled those of Stokely's the local cannery.

My father came home from work each day about 7 p.m. Each night mom served dinner twice. Often making my father, an entire different meal then we had earlier. Frances hoped my father’s special meal would keep his blood pressure and weight down. It never did.

Many women in the fifties did not have a driver’s license and those who did, had their husband drive them. Frances could never understand why women wanted to be so dependent on their husband, “What if he dies, or gets sick? What will they do?” Although my father took the car to work, my mother would get up early and drive him to work if she needed to do shopping or errands.

When I was seven, my mom returned to work. It was a temporary position that lasted twenty-five years. I remember feeling abandoned. During the fifties like most children, I came home from school to eat lunch. Now I went to the neighbor’s, it was not the same. No more boats made from oranges or having my sandwiches in pretty designs, the neighbor made me substantial food, but it was not the same.

Besides lunch, not much in my life changed but France's life did. Like most fifties families, we had but one car. My mother would wake up every morning; slip her full-length beaver coat over a sheer silky nightgown and drive my father to work. It was a 30-mile trek. My father asked several time for her to put real clothes on. He feared the cops would pull her over and find her wearing the flimsy nightwear. My mother continued driving in the nightgown and beaver coat for years.

After her daring drive she came home made breakfast, dressed and then drove another 20 miles to her job at Trenton State Hospital where she an executive medical secretary. When her workday was finished, she came home, made dinner, feed us kids, and then pick up my father. Upon returning home, she made his dinner. She continued this routine for the next eight years, until our family bought a second car.

My mother was not timid with anyone. She always told us “Might does not make right.” One time at my brother’s Little League’s game my mother approached the Mayor and gave him her not so high opinion him. The Mayor kept smiling while she listed all her complaints and offered her some insight into his reasoning. Although my mother never cared for the Mayor, she did respect him because he addressed the issue.

Mom was no one of the mother’s that made the monthly PTA meetings but that does not mean she was not interested in our education. It was not uncommon for her to march into the principal’s office and expound a complaint against a teacher, or policy. She stated with pride “They don’t want to see me coming into the school.” More than once, we would be afraid to go to school after one of her numerous visits.

When I was in the sixth grade my teacher molested me, and I told my mother. After making certain I was not fibbing, she went to visit all the other mother’s of the girls in my class and urged them to come forward to make a compliant. She was disappointed that none of the mothers wanted to come forward even though their daughter’s also experienced advances by the teacher.

She was appalled at their fear and weakness, but it fueled her mission. Mom went to school and in no uncertain terms told the principle what would physically happen to him and the teacher if the teacher ever laid a hand on me again. Incidences like this did not get the attention in the fifties they do today, but the teacher did not touch me for the rest of the year.

My mother was a role model for me entering womanhood in the late sixties. She taught me to; Question authority, be independent, fight for what you believe in, do not be afraid of your sexuality, and not to care what others think. The most important thing she taught me though her words and her actions was to be a strong woman for that I am eternally grateful.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Getting Twitter

I joined twitter in September and I “ didn't get it“. It seemed moronic to me. Someone was tweeting (what is twitter's word for posting) "Eating a snack" or something else just as mundane. At the time, I was writing for Buzz Prevention and we were required to promote our blogs in 26 places every two weeks. Twitter was one of the places I used for promotion. I would go on and tweet my latest Buzz Prevention Blog.

It wasn’t until Buzz Prevention put the Blog project on hold in December that I really started to enjoyed and understood twitter. The first thing I did that helped was using twitter grader http://twitter.grader.com it was there I discovered I had a very low ranking. Of course I wanted to improve my ranking, but how to go about it?

One feature that grader has is a search function where I entered various subjects I was interested in and it showed me all the twitter elite that were interested in the same subject. I looked for writers, pug lovers, swimmers, etc. I would then click on the person’s @theirname and read their bio. If they sounded like a person I would like to meet in person, I followed them.

I did this whenever I could and looked for chances to have conversations when they were tweeting. I concentrated on building relationship with fellow twitters, stopped the tweet, and run routine.

Since that time, I found a great writing group, found a writing class via twitter and met some fabulous people. Twitter is full of opportunities, but as with most everything in life it requires some work. The rewards are fabulous.

If you joined twitter and are not getting it, try-visiting it an hour a day and try Mr. Tweet http://www.mrtweet.net as well as grader. Oh yeah add me as a friend and I’ll follow you back @jerzegurl

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Heart Day

May love arrive gently
become the passion
a storm within your soul.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I hate you.
With hostility
that erodes
My Christian values

Each day I seek
a quality that
would redeems you,
but I meet failure.

I search for warmth
You possess none.
Just your chill and iciness
mixed with threats.

I'm tired of your
demanding chores.
I don't want to do
them any more.

Where is your warmth?
Do you have any?
You were born
to be cold and harsh.

I wish you away
Far from me.
But you’re here

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Love Everlasting

"What the hell..." Carol mutters as a figure appears in the heart of the road. Like a statue, it stood still, not attempting to move out of the path of Carol's Toyota. Carol slams the brakes and the quick stop, sends the car spinning into a snow bank. Her car sits 180 degrees half buried, parallel to the frozen lake. She steps down from the car and looks for whoever was standing in the road, but no one is there. Carol kicks the back tire that sticks up in the air curses, and releases her tears.

The snow changes to ice and it stings her face, she tries to get back in the car. After several attempts, she opens the door, climbs in, and reaches for her purse. "Shit!" she cries out, "no freaking reception!"

A sudden shadow appears on her left and a woman is standing in the road, feet from her car. Her heart jumps along with her body, until she realizes it is Mrs. Borelli, Tony’s mother. Carol rolls the window down. "Hi, Mom! What are you doing here?" Mrs. Borelli is the only person Carol called Mom, beside her own.

"I work at the inn around the bend saw the car go into a spin, didn't know it was you. Come with me and I’ll heat up some soup. Were you going to the cemetery? Tony wouldn’t want you traveling in this weather, come with me. ”

Carol gets out of her car and embraces the woman and the two walk the road with arms intertwine keeping each other from falling as they reminisce.

“Carol I was crushed when you broke up with Tony. What happened? He didn’t say much, I'd always hoped the two of you would marry.”
“Me too Mom, however I couldn't compete with his mistress."
"Mistress? Tony wasn't seeing anyone that I know of. Who was she?"
Carol strains holding in tears and attempts to swallow the lump in her throat. She is about to start blubbering, when they reach White's Inn. The door of the inn opens to the kitchen and a myriad of aromas saturate Carol's nose, yeast from fresh bread, onions and beef from stew, apples from a crisp, and the unusual scent Carol couldn't place, but knew well.

"Take off that wet coat, I'll get you some soup." Mrs. Borelli continues to talk "I can't believe you're here! How long has it been?”

"Twenty years? I'm not sure, but it seems like yesterday." Carol thought back to the time she spent with Mom while dating Tony. Mom and her would prepare meals, go to the hairdressers, play hearts, and other mother/daughter activities. "How long, have you been working here?"

"Years, live here too. My house was empty without the kids or Jerry and this job was perfect. I make the breads, soups, desserts, and salads. Guess it has been 15 years give or take a few. I love the work and I can see Tony’s grave across the lake. Can you see it?” Mrs. Borelli points her index finger towards the window. “What about you Carol; Married? Kids?" Mrs. Borelli keeps chatting and places a bowl of minestrone in front of Carol. "Mangiare!"

"I’ve been divorced ten years, no children. One of my many regrets, I never could find another love like Tony." Carol stops and takes a spoonful the soup. "This soup is wonderful."
"It was one of Tony's favorites. Remember? You mentioned a mistress of Tony‘s. Who was she?"
"It wasn't a woman, it was...drugs. I'm surprised you didn't know."
"Oh sweetie, I knew. However, I'd always thought he started using because you left him. God, I wish I'd known. You should've talked with me, honey."

"I know, but I was scared, it never occurred to me to talk with you. I did everything else, threatened, screamed, and broke up with him. I thought that he'd come to his senses, but he didn't." Carol takes another spoonful of soup. "You are a wonderful cook, always were. Did Tony die from a drug overdose?"
"That’s what they say, but I say he died of a broken heart, he was lost without you. He stopped using drugs for long time... and then one night he...slipped. I never told him."
"Told him what?"

"Tony was doing well, but he was lonely. He dated some, but he never found the one. He mentioned, finding you and trying to work things out, but he didn't know where you were. One day I ran into your friend Trish, she told me you were living in Boston. I never told Tony. I thought you would hurt him again. I feel so guilty." Mrs. Borelli wipes a tear with the back of her hand. "I'm so sorry Carol."

Carol gives her a hug. "I'd run back to him barefoot in a snowstorm, if I only had the chance."

"I know that now sweetie, I need to let him know."

"Let him know?"

"Prayers, I talk to him everyday, hope he forgives me."

"He'll forgive you, Mom." Carol kisses Mrs. Borelli’s cheek. "But will he forgive me for moving away?" Mom, I have to go to the cemetery.”

"Wait, the storm will be over soon."

"No, I must go now. He's waiting for me."

"Carol, you need to wait, now is not the time." Mrs. Borelli's pleads.

Carol runs out the door before Mrs. Borelli gets up from her chair.


"Miss, do you know where you are? Dr. Pulio’s voice stirred Carol.

“Yeah, I am in a hospital, or God looks a lot like a Doctor.”

“Glad you have a sense of humor. Why did you try to kill yourself?” The doctor asks and touches Carol's hand.

“What kind of question is that?” Carol's brow crinkled and her eyes meet the doctor's.

“Your car was in a ditch with the tailpipe in the snow, and your engine was running. Carbon monoxide. What were we to think? What were you doing on that road?"

“I was going to St. Mary’s Cemetery and made a wrong turn. Someone was standing in the road when I hit the brakes; my car spun and went into a snow bank... I went to White's Inn with ...”

“Can't be, White’s Inn closed 17 years ago, it’s in shambles, if it's still standing." The doctor tone is stern and no nonsense.

"Maybe I imagined going there, while I was out." Carol wonders how long she's been unconscious.

"You've been in here for two days, lots of time for dreams. . . An admirer sent you some flowers.”

Carol’s turns and sees the largest bouquet of vibrant red poppies she ever witnessed. "Is there a card?"

Dr. Pulio checks the flowers, grabs the envelope and hands it to Carol.

Neither death nor distance will destroy our love,
It is living and everlasting.
Stay here my love until the time is right,
And I’ll carry you in my arms to heaven
Where we will share our love forever.
Happy Valentine’s Day
Love T.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Helping Your Dog Heal

My husband and I currently have four pugs and take in foster pugs for a local rescue organization. Most of the dogs come to us with health problems. One foster pug, Porkchop’s fold was raw and bright red. A vet even suggested plastic surgery to reduce the beautiful deep wrinkle gracing his nose. The rescue organization asked us to take him and see if we could help him, before opting for expensive surgery. They knew of our success with sick dogs.
After an anti-allergy diet we put Porkchop on a human grade dog food Canidae. Within 2 weeks, there was a noticeable improvement. After six weeks, hair began to grow back in his fold, and his ears were no longer hot and itchy. Of course we adopted him.
We are life-long dog owners and fed our dogs’ commercial food for years, until they started having health problems with hot spots, ear infections, and lethargy. After numerous vet trips and bills I started to investigate the ingredients in our dogs’ food a popular lamb and rice formula. I was surprised and puzzled to see the ingredient animal by-product.
I called the company’s 800-number and questioned a representative about animal by-products. She informed me that animal by-products contain various parts of many animals even chicken. What? I fed our dogs lamb and rice because of their allergies to chicken.
Further investigation revealed levels of sodium pentobarbital in commercial food. According to the FDA the drug entered the animal digest from euthanized animals. Another troublesome ingredient is Animal-digest: "Material from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue.” I was now aware of the toxicity of many commercial dog foods.
The first three ingredients in dog food represent 75% of the dog food. It should list Beef, Chicken, and Lamb etc to show it is pure. The ingredients listed after are contained in the additional 25%. For example, corn listed as one of the first three ingredients is less desirable than if listed as the eight ingredient. Corn is hard for dogs to digest.
Common ingredients present in most commercial dog food to avoid.
Poultry, Beef, Lamb, or Meat Meals: ground up clean tissues.
Brewer's Rice: Extracted residue of rice after the manufacture of wort (liquid portion of malted grain) or beer.
Corn gluten meal: Residue from corn after removal of starch, germ and the separating the bran when manufacturing cornstarch or syrup.

Animal Fat: Fat source often made up of rendered animal fat, restaurant grease, or other oils too rancid or deemed inedible for humans.
Digest of Beef, Chicken or Meat By-Products: Material taken from the undecomposed tissue from non-rendered clean parts of the animal including, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue, stomachs and intestines freed of their contents.
We pay a little more now for our dog food, but it is less expensive than the vet bills, and our dogs are healthy