Saturday, February 29, 2020

The true heart of America

Isn't this about the sweetest picture you've ever seen? I can't believe it's been 2 years since I first posted it and I think it deserves a re-run.

The little boy on the left is Jax, son of Lydia Rosebush of Louisville, Kentucky. She took this picture after her son and his best buddy Reddy got identical hair cuts. “He wanted it buzzed down to his scalp so he would look like Reddy,” his mom explained.

It was all part of a plan the boys hatched to fool their pre-school teacher. They are such close friends that they figured she wouldn't be able to tell them apart if they only had the same hair cut !


President Trump  …  It takes a person with empathy and love to see what this photo conveys so I don't expect you to understand ... but this photo truly does describe the TRUE HEART OF AMERICA .

Monday, February 24, 2020


Sigmund Freud is the man in the picture frame. Ed, the artist who painted this felt it set the mood for the rest of the painting. The girl on the left is his wife and I am the frustrated old gal in the green chair ready to tear my hair out. It is how he envisions (tongue-in-cheek, of course) our once a week, 2 hour AA sponsorship meeting.

A sponsor, by the way, is simply an AA member with longevity in the program who guides a newcomer through the difficult times in sobriety. I guess it IS a sort of therapy session so I can understand the inclusion of Freud in Ed's picture but I needed an explanation for the string hanging from his wife's neck? “Oh, that?, he said, “It's for you. Just pull the string and she stops talking!”

I've never had to do that and just feel good that Ed and his wife have learned to laugh at themselves. It's all uphill from here ...

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The “slip”pery SIGMUND FREUD …

Whenever anyone mentions Freud, (like they did today) I am reminded of this story about my late friends Sally and her husband Tom, a retired psychologist. 

They'd moved south from Ohio and, almost as soon as the neighbors saw they were settled they started talking about their annual Halloween party. It wasn’t even October but evidently this was a yearly couples event that everyone took very seriously. They planned months in advance and just one prize was awarded. It went to the twosome wearing the most imaginative costume

This would have been overwhelming to a lot of people but Sally and Tom had a great sense of humor and it wasn’t long before they hit upon the idea that did, indeed, make them the winners of the coveted prize that year. In order to get the true effect you have to picture Sally. She was quite an imposing female...very tall & slim with lips painted a bright red and a booming voice to match.

Her costume was nothing special, just a long sleeved turtle neck sweater, tights and high heels (all in black) and topped by a simple pink slip. That was it.

Her husband wore a conservative black suit, white shirt and black tie; but he added a little gray fringe beard and a mustache. The headband he wore declared him to be Sigmund Freud.

And who was Sally?         FREUDIAN’s SLIP of course !!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Word play ...


        As promised … I'm going to lighten the mood.               

        Here are some silly one liners. 

        Do you have any you want to share with us?


* "I have a split personality," said Tom, being frank.

* Will glass coffins be a success? Remains to be seen.

* A Buddhist walks up to a hot dog stand and says "Make me one
with everything.

* What do you do with a dead chemist? You barium/

* I bet the person who created the door knocker won a Nobel

* To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

* I read a book on anti-gravity. I couldn't put it down.

* Sausage puns are the wurst.


Tuesday, February 11, 2020


This is a photo of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is awarded by the president of the United States "for especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors".

I've seen it awarded to hundreds of people over the years and, although I did not always agree with the President's choice I was always able to see that the recipient met the requirement of one of those three choices.

Recently President Trump made a mockery of that award. As part of his State of the Union address he bestowed the Medal of Freedom on his friend and radio host, Rush Limbaugh.

I ask you ...where do we see that he belongs in ANY of these choices? (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors". 

My last three Blog entries had a serious tone and I was hoping to lighten it up here, but I couldn't leave this unsaid. I suppose in some minds there is a sort of sick comic feel to this … but in my mind it is an incredibly sad reminder of how compromised our country has become.  

How much lower will we sink before we rise up in protest?  Our country's founders must be reeling in their graves !

Thursday, February 06, 2020

A look at my own AA journey.

As many of you know I published a book about 6 months ago. It is the story of my life beginning in  1943.  World War 11 was in full swing and I had just been given a special gift for my 10th birthday.  I chose the title "My Halcyon Years" because it so aptly described my life from then until 1960. I write in detail of all the many events and exciting people that crossed my path and it was fun and easy to put down on paper.  However my life changed drastically in 1960 and it was far from idyllic

All of a sudden I realized that I'd really boxed myself in by the title.  I had just written the last of my "halcyon" chapters and I was in a quandary.  It didn't seem to make sense to just end it abruptly. but if I took the reader full cycle … from my marriage to Dick in 1958 (the highlight of the halcyon years) to his death in 1990 … it would make it an entirely different book. I finally chose to keep it fairly light because that was the easiest way to retain the basic tenor of the book. I do mention, however, that in1989 Dick and our 3 children held an intervention with me in hopes that I would face my drinking problem and get help. I go on to mention that with the support of Dick, the children and the AA program I now had over 30 years of sobriety. It was all true but it made it seem like getting sober was a walk in the park. In reality it was the hardest thing I've ever done. 

Let me backtrack to the New York City days. Dick and I met there in 1957 and married a year later. He had just left LIFE magazine and was starting his free lance Industrial Photography business.  The halcyon days were still in full swing and we had big plans for the future when it abruptly came  to an end when Dick was diagnosed as an extremely brittle diabetic. Luckily insulin had just been introduced and, although it kept him alive, it was far from perfect and he suffered terribly. His photography days were over and we moved to a small town in upstate New York.  Our doctor there made it clear to me that a calm and supportive life style was extremely basic to Dick's health so I tried to do my best, but with 3 small children, a move to a town where I knew noone and a Mom & Pop real estate business that we were hoping against hope would support us, I found it near impossible to keep things afloat. My favorite time came before dinner when Dick and I would relax with drinks as we talked about the future. I began to rely on it more and more and truly thought that I'd found the answer.

Alcohol, though, is a very clever and sneaky foe. For years it seemed to be the very thing that allowed me to keep a steady hold on the family but what it really did was isolate me from them. As the years progressed we drifted further apart but I honestly didn't see what it was doing and when they intervened it was a shock to me. I agreed to get help and that began the long journey in AA. I found it incredibly hard at the beginning. As a good AA friend describes it "getting and staying sober is not for wimps" and I can attest to that.  I couldn't relate to others who seemed much more in need than I. After all, I'd never had a DUI or been put in jail. I didn't hang out in bars. I still had a job and meals were on time. What I couldn't face was the fact that I didn't have the empathy and the guts to face our new life after the halcyon years without the aid of my best friend … alcohol.  

I joined AA in June of 1989 and Dick passed away in September of 1990.  He died knowing that he had accomplished what he wanted … a sober mother for our children. However I lived on in guilt knowing that he never truly had the benefits of a sober wife during the last 15 months of his life. It wasn't fair and it made me feel weak and heartkess. However I was, literally,  incapable at that time of  doing anything more than attending meetings and trying my best to understand it all. 

Writing"My Halcyon Years" was very cathartic for me and a wonderful thing happened as a result. It brought back memories of my early years in sobriety and reminded me of one of AA's wise sayings. It tells us not to forget the past but to make certain that we don't get stuck in it either! It became clear to me that I had been doing just that ever since Dick died and I realized that it was not what he would have wanted for me. It literally set me free and I was finally able to forgive myself and start anew. I will always be thankful that one of the last things Dick said to me was “promise me you will keep on with AA".  I gave him that promise and have never wavered from it.  My dedication reads:  "For their patience and love I dedicate this book to my children Mark, Matt & Jody and to the memory of their father Richard Dean"

I think of Dick as my hero. He restored me to life and to the memories of when we met in 1957 … truly the highlight of that halcyon time.  I can't thank him in person, but I do so from my heart every day.  #2 in the picture is his pal Thunder. I know that Dick was his hero, too.

ADDENDUM:   Over the past 30+ years I have seen hundreds of men and women who wait too long before seeking help. If you are hiding behind alcohol  PLEASE take heed.  The alternative to seeking help is never good … families are torn apart and the alcoholic's life often ends in jails, asylums and ultimately in death. If you can relate to anything I've written please act on it before it is too late.  AA is world-wide and the doors are open to anyone who wants to enter. We even have a chair reserved just for you!  As our tradition states "the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking".  I can attest to the fact that it's not easy but if you have the courage to stick to it the rewards will be beyond your belief. Please join us. I can't wait to meet you.

(PS: I have no idea why all my paragraphs are so wonky... they look fine when I review and republish it but they are still out of sync,)

Saturday, February 01, 2020

AA ... the journey

I have been blogging since 2006 and I still find it a fun and satisfying exercise. I don't usually  continue on one theme for two or three posts but I am making an  exception here. As you read in my last entry I have experienced a sober life with the aid of the AA program for more than 30 years and it touched me as I read your favorable comments. In this entry I will share what one of you wrote and then the 3rd and final post will concentrate on my own AA story.

One reader mentioned how it was affecting her life and that a family member had just picked up a 2 month chip.  He was starting on the sober journey in the rooms of AA and I pray that he continues. It's not an easy path but the rewards are second to none and I can assure him that every AA member in the room is cheering him on.
I thought of him last night as I attended my weekly AA Home Group meeting. In that room we had approximately 35 members … people that would not normally mix ...from “newbies” of just a few months to our oldest member … a 91 year old with 48 years of continual sobriety.

AA is like nothing I've ever experienced before. We have traditions and 12 Steps to aid us but there is no dogma and we keep no statistics. Our doors are open to all in need and there is no charge to attend. Our members simply put in what they can when the basket is passed. If we are criticized we readily admit that there are other ways that people find sobriety and we wish them well.  But AA has worked for me and for that I am eternally grateful.