What To Read 2

“When the Stars Go Dark”, by Paula McLain, was a good read.

She wrote, “The Paris Wife”, which I enjoyed even more. Both books draw upon facts. The Paris Wife  is the story of Ernest Hemingway’s life with his first wife, Hadley in Paris, and gives Hadley the credit she deserves as a spirited loving woman.

The idea for “When the Stars Go Dark” was sparked by an incident in California, the kidnapping of twelve-year-old Polly Klaas. The story is plot driven and compelling with insight about trauma along the way.

Both books, although based in fact, are categorized as fiction because facts might be embellished.

Please let me know if you read either, or both.

. . . just saying

 

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Have Your Heard About The Watergoat?

The Watergoat

Have you heard about the Watergoat? Is it a new surfing expression, meme or logo? The term certainly creates a strong visual picture. come to find out its better than all of these. Our local newspaper, News- Journal touted its benefits in a recent article. The Watergoat is a simple relatively inexpensive device that collects waterway trash before it gets away was developed by Mark Maksimowicz.

A follow up article by guest columnist, Donna Craig, in the Sunday’s Community Voice section, elaborated on the device and the efforts of Dream Green Volusia, a grassroots Florida nonprofit group that works on environmental issues throughout Volusia County.

Their objective is “to promote the mindset of taking pride in the community and reducing litter.”

Dream Green partnered with Surfing’s Evolution and Preservation Foundation to secure grant money for Watergoats in Holly Hill, Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach.

The Watergoat effort is only one of several endeavors, adopt a drain, painting murals and trash cans are more.

Donna Craig, the director of Dream Green, suggests emailing her (dreamgreenvolusia@gmail.com), phoning (386-212-7721, or visiting DreamGreenVolusia.com to learn more.

Now, have you heard about “goat scaping”?

This time the goats are real.  

. . . just saying

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Hacked

Computer Rage

I was hacked on Thursday.

 I’ve been hacked before but this was different.

I was lured by the hacker. He was a member of a Facebook writers’ group and posted a need for a beta reader.

I’ve been hiding under a rock, bah humbug over social media, and busy working on a novel, which I finished. The next step is to have Morningside Drive read by people who don’t know me for objective opinions. This is called beta reading.

That’s how I came across Adr lan. I offered to beta read his short story and he sent me the document in FB messenger.

But something was wrong from the start.

It was a legitimate story with markups from other critiques. However, FB messenger had a warning, if you respond Adr Ian would be able to phone you.

I didn’t want to talk with him. Instead, I commented on the writers’ group page saying I would return the critique document only in an email.

I never heard back.

Then, a friend phoned. “Did you send me a friends request and a poorly written covid message?”

“It’s not me!” I said, and spent the next three hours remedying the problem.

I pulled my hair out watching a Facebook video on how to report the incident. Nothing was easy.

The next day I visited the hacker’s page and found numerous requests for beta readers on a variety of different stories. It felt like aliens were reading my mind. The reality is hackers can’t read our minds but they must have access to computer searches.

What do you think?

Although I had been lured, I had a sense of complicity. Like I’d left the front door open and invited them to searched my underwear draw. Nothing was taken, just disrupted and I spent hours righting their wrong.

Now I’m experiencing what my friend Pat called . . . Computer rage.

 

. . . just saying

 

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Flash Fiction

(The word pearl was a prompt given at a writing session. A strong female character came to mind and her story enfolded.)

Pearl

The last time I saw her, she was young; youth sparkled in her eyes. Now the sparkle is gone, the jade blue color diminished by time; her convictions etched in lines across her face. Her once narrow nose is broader, broken from standing up for others. Her chest sunken with anger, not there the first time we met.

“Pearl is that you?” I inquire.

She strains to turn towards me, her range of motion greatly compromised.

“Yes, I’m Pearl,” Her voice recalls dignity, and she pauses to ask, “Have I had your acquaintance?”

It was 1971; we got on the Concourse Avenue bus in the Bronx, each with a child in hand. She took notice of my bruises and we became friends.

I take the seat alongside her and gently touch her forearm, “Pearl, it’s me Rosa . . . . Rose, remember. . . .” I expect her to ooze with gladness, say, “Lordy, Lordy, Rose, how are you?”

Instead, she says “Rose? Can’t recall a Rose, refresh my memory child.”

If she remembers me, she would never mention beatings, and hiding in safe houses. I remind her of Bainbridge Park; how we would meet after lunch, let the children play in the sand box then walk them to sleep in strollers.

“I remember sunshine and playgrounds, how is your boy . . . ?”

“Danny, Dan, he’s at Fordham University; studying to be a lawyer.

Danny was five when I made the decision to leave the morning after a beating. I phoned my sister, asked her to get him from school, and left a note for John saying I didn’t want a divorce, and wouldn’t fight him for our son.

I worried about leaving Danny behind. Pearl said, “Don’t fret; your boy be fine,” and hooked me up with people.

John was a New York City Police officer and protected by his brothers, but the force would not ignore his beating a child.

Sill, I moved every four months with a new identity.

Three years later, the Richmond Virginia Newspaper reported the hunt for the killer of John McGill, a NYC Police Officer shot in the line of duty. I went home; stood next to his coffin, widowed with a pension; my eight-year-old son at my side.

John had never mentioned I was gone to anyone on the force.

Now Pearl dozes next to me, and her head bobs from side to side startling herself. “What was I saying?”

“We were talking about the time we brought the boys to the Bronx Zoo and rode the train around the park ten times. You packed potato salad and fried chicken; a stranger asked to buy your picnic lunch.”

The mention of potato salad crystallizes in her milky eyes, “I remember the day you left, bruised and wearing borrowed clothes; it broke my heart knowing I’d not see you again. How you been?”

“I never got to thank you, Pearl. . . .” She interrupts my attempt at gratitude and explanation of regret .

“Hush, Woman . . . tell me something that will make me smile.”

* * * just saying

(Originally posted on November 23, 2014)

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Autumn

Autumn In New York

Autumn In New York

I missed the first day of Autumn or Fall or the Northern Equinox, whatever you call it these days.

In Florida we don’t experience the typical indicators that cooler weather is coming.

The temperature did drop, but not significantly; it feels cooler because it’s less humid.

What is significant is . . . it’s starting to get dark earlier. A reminder of the darkness that descends starting at 5 PM in the North. At 27 degrees latitude, Florida is not far from the equator. New York City’s latitude is around 40.

Their days will be shorter still.

We know that the Southern Hemisphere experiences Spring when the Northern Hemisphere experiences Autumn, but we forget. However, it was brought to light when I read a blog post featuring flowers springing to life in South Africa. It’s difficult to image we’re in opposite states of nature especially since their latitude 33, is close to ours.

We exchanged comments and she never sees yellow, orange or red colors, either.

I miss New York. We turned on a radio to hear the weather report. I preferred to study how quickly people walked from my fifth-floor walk up apartment window. If it was a rapid pace as they rushed to the subway, I knew to dress warm.

 

. . . just saying

 

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Photos from Italy

Bobbie Soprano In Italy

In 2019 my husband, Bob, myself and neighbors, Joan and Jodie travel to Italy and cruised on the Azama Pursuit. We docked in Taormina, Sicily and took an an excursion to Savoca, The Footsteps of the Godfather, where Francis Ford Coppola shot scenes for Godfather II. The cafe is now a tourist attraction where you can drink espresso and smoke a cigar.

Bob’s last name isn’t Soprano . . . but he’s all Italian.

* * * just saying

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Poetry

A Pity Party

(I write poetry for people to enjoy. In other words, I haven’t a clue where the periods, commas or semicolons belong.

                              A Pity Party

Come to the party.

We’ll stand on the chairs.

We’ll dance in the garden.

Dig our toes in the sand.

Forget yesterday and tomorrow.

Just soak up the sun.

Come without clothes, if you like.

We’ll blow out the candles and talk about life.

We’ll share party platters filled with mistakes.

Eat casseroles from left over dreams and sour grapes.

Dessert will be whipped jealousy, smothered in envy.

Come to the party, we’ll commiserate.

* * * just saying

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Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner

Sunday dinner, the expression twirls around my mind with memories; mingled with fancy dresses that hid crinolines. Mary Jane’s and cuffed white nylon socks decorated our feet. After Sunday Mass, we returned home with jelly donuts and a thick Daily News. Later in the day, some of us watched football while the others played tag outdoors. Dinner was late afternoon. A wooden ironing board placed across two chairs provided additional seating when we had guests. The guests were family who traveled the 40 minutes from the Bronx to Long Island for roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

More recently, Sunday dinner triggers thoughts of Tony Soprano and Sunday gravy. I have the Soprano’s cook book and have made many of the recipes. Some of you may recall my post, The Not Really Italian Bolognese Sauce.

The new movie, The Many Saints of Newark will be released this October. The young Tony Soprano is played by Michael Gandolfini, James Gandolfini son. Michael is twenty-two years old and I’m looking forward to the movie. David Chase lamented when interviewed on CBS Sunday that people are not tired of this story!

This Sunday I made Ziti al Forno (Baked Ziti with Little Meatballs). Vegetable Lasagna and Caesar Salad. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the guests seated around the table enjoying the food. We had a great time.

I miss Sunday dinners. Do you?

* * * just saying

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The Remote Problem

 

 Today’s the Day

Today is the day! I’m going to solve the remote problem. I have six remotes in my home. Only one works. It’s a long story, so I’ll try to make it short.

It was an ordinary day when the bedroom remote stopped working. Spectrum responded quickly and mailed a new remote. After using a magnifier to read the instructions I thought it best to phone and talk to a live representative. She was extremely helpful and concluded, since none of the ten LG television codes worked I needed a different, aka another, remote.   

In closing she asked, “Can you change the channels?”

“Yes, with the living room remote.” I responded and did.

However, when I returned to the living room and changed the channel, the guide went wacky. Yes, I tried rebooting and lots of other stuff. Nothing helped.      

“Described wacky,” said the next customer representative.

“When I press channel number 1060, 1103 appears and a prompt to subscribe or cancel” 

He sent me two more remotes before I could explain one was already on the way.

In the morning the television was magically restored form wacky to normal. I could change channels on both televisions successfully.

Until that evening, when wacky channel suffering returned.

Now I was yelling, “Do not send me a remote.”

After what felt like eternity this representative restored the old remote to normal in the living room and threatened to send a new box.

“Please don’t,” I pleaded.

“Why not?” he asked.

“The last time they replaced the box they had to rewire inside and outside my house.”

That was one week ago and we’re able to watch both TV’s by borrowing.

The first remote is working, the second remote stopped working, the third wouldn’t work and the next three may work if I can find the courage to try.

* * * just saying

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