Gratitude · Life Lessons · My Thoughts

2023 is Here, Thank God!

2023 is here!

2022 is gone, and I’m glad 2023 is here!  2022 has been a hard year for me, but I always believe in the positives amid trouble.

2022 is gone-2023 is here!

In 2022, I faced shingles in April and ended up with postherpetic neuralgia (nerve pain on face, scalp and ear) ever since—still nine months later. Because of the ongoing pain, I have had to continue pain medication, gabapentin. At first, I took higher dosages but recently have continued taking it three times a day at a lower dose. I hate the side effect of a fuzzy mind. This last week, I changed to Lyrica because my doctor thought it might help with the fuzziness.

Because of the fuzziness and pain with the neuralgia, I had to stop my next book, along with the audiobook of Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? I was recording. Before the shingles hit, I had recorded the entire book, but working my way back through chapter by chapter required concentration I didn’t have. Also, when I sat down to work on my next, I Said Yes, a how-to write a biography book, I stared at the screen and struggled to even get a sentence written. In fact, I sat that as my goal—write just one sentence a day, and I couldn’t do it!

When we returned from our second cruise on December 8, Lin and I were diagnosed with COVID. I experienced worse symptoms than Lin and ended up with a sinus infection, so my doctor prescribed a strong antibiotic that bothered my stomach. Also, the COVID intensified the neuralgia pain on my face, so my recovery has been slow!

Also, last month, my sister passed away unexpectedly. She had some health issues, but I had just talked to her and was expecting an update on her health.

So, yes, 2022 hit me hard, but I want to focus differently with you, my friends.

Group looking at a tablet-2023

Positives I Experienced in 2022

  • Because I got to Urgent Care quickly after I suspected I had shingles, I got the antiviral medication quickly, so the break-out on my head and face were reduced.
  • Also, my eye doctor demanded I receive a second week of the antiviral medicine when I saw him that first week, and I’m sure that helped.
  • Regardless of how I felt, I wrote this weekly blog.
  • Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? won the 2022 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Body, Mind & Spirit category.
  • I joined an international meditation group in April and have taken part regularly. I have also led the group a few times, which stretched me completely.
  • I wrote haikus after my meditations. They came so easily from the meditations.
  • I stayed dedicated to my daily Quiet Time and Morning Pages almost every morning.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed Lin’s garden, and we hosted a garden party in July and had 25 attendees come and celebrate his garden.
  • I had a lot of quality time with my 19-year-old cat, Jesse. Any time I sat on the loveseat, he thought he should sit on my lap.
  • I had several trips to our ranch in Colorado and spent time with my brother.
  • Yesterday, I finally became the winner of the Cribbage tournament Lin and I enjoy each year. He has beat me for 11 years! I won by one game!
  • Two wonderful cruises
    • 1st cruise Lin and I started in Barcelona, Spain. We traveled to France, Italy, Greece and then back to Rome, Italy. You can read about this cruise in my previous blogs.
    • 2nd cruise, Lin and I started in Rome, Italy. We cruised to Italy, Spain and Portugal. We ended up in Lisbon, Portugal, and I will write about this cruise in the coming weeks.
    • I had the joy of cruising with my husband, Lin, who makes every trip an adventure.


As another year ends, I often sit and ponder what the past year held, and I’ve learned to look at all of it—both negatives and positives. As I face 2023, I also have high expectations for this new year—it’s a clean slate with all kinds of possibilities. However, I’ve learned in recovery an expectation is a premeditated resentment, so I’m careful with too high of expectations. I look forward to what 2023 holds for me and you!

What are your expectations for 2023?

News, News, News!

~2 Big Sales to start the new year!

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”:

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~My new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? WON the 2022 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the Body, Mind & Spirit Category. Have you bought your copy yet? Vist my website:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: or at Amazon.

Life Lessons · My Thoughts

Shingles: The Result of Procrastination!

Asleep on the couch - shingles

I have shingles, diagnosed seven weeks ago and the pain, itching and burning continues. I meant to get the vaccine many times, but kept procrastinating. So now I suffer!

On Friday afternoon, April 1, Lin and I colored my hair, getting ready for our first square and round dance festival in two and a half years. I wanted to look good, and I hadn’t colored my hair in several months.

After Lin rinsed the color off, I jumped into the shower to rinse more thoroughly and take my shower before the evening dance. In drying off, I noticed some red bumps on my forehead, but I didn’t notice they were only on the right side. I wondered if I had gotten allergic to the hair color!

We had a delightful time at that festival (I wrote about it on April 3 for my blog), but I didn’t feel right—just off. We danced Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening, and Sunday morning. After the festival on Sunday afternoon, I attended the funeral of the wife of a dear friend and met another friend from out-of-town there, then we spent the rest of the afternoon together. As time went on, I felt sicker.

When I got home, I slept for two hours. After that nap, I looked in the mirror and the rash on my forehead had worsened. Deep in my heart, I feared it was shingles because my dad had them in 1988 when he turned 70 years old, and it looked similar. Now I noticed it appeared only on the right side.

Back then, the medical world thought Dad needed to be in isolation because shingles were highly contagious. So, we had to don medical clothes, and it was horrible. He looked like someone had painted half of his bald head red! He suffered with his eyebrow hurting until he died.

You would think that experience would have convinced me to get the shingles vaccine, but no, I kept thinking, “Next month, next year!”

The other reason I didn’t rush to get the vaccine is I thought I had not had the chickenpox, and I had read you had to have chickenpox to get shingles. I had never broken out with chickenpox; however, when my mom’s best friend’s baby got chickenpox, Mom put my brother and I in her crib so we’d get them as children. They did that back then as preventive measures—children suffered less with the childhood diseases than adults did.

I never broke out! However, during my teaching career, we had a chickenpox epidemic at one school I taught at, and I never got them. I always thought that curious! So, I probably had the chickenpox as a baby and was asymptomatic (I’ve learned the meaning of that word since the pandemic).

On Monday, April 4, I went to Urgent Care, and the doctor confirmed what I feared—I had shingles on the right side of my face: my scalp, forehead, eyelid and under my eye. He prescribed ValAcylcovir, an antiviral medication. When I got home, I messaged my primary care physician about the location of the shingles and he immediately responded, “Get to your eye doctor this week!”

So, I saw my eye doctor on Wednesday to make sure my eye was okay and it was, but he prescribed another week of the ValAcylcovir. Lin got his first shingles vaccination that day because he didn’t want to go through what I was!

For the first few weeks, I used calamine lotion on the rash—it helped so much with the itching and burning. Then a friend on Facebook suggested using CBD oil because her husband had been relieved when he used it when he had shingles. I had so many suggestions on Facebook, but I couldn’t try them all.

During the first four weeks, I had a leisure morning, tried to work on the computer for a couple hours in the afternoon, then I had rested for a couple hours—so unlike me!

Last week, I saw my primary care physician for a checkup for the shingles. He prescribed Gabapentin for my pain. The Tylenol didn’t help with the pain anymore. As I faced the fifth week, my doctor said I had postherpetic neuralgia, a complication of pain, burning, and itching that can last an indefinite amount of time.

Then I faced chairing a square and round dance festival the second weekend in May, so I did it last weekend, but it took its toll on me. I tried to catch up this whole last week. Then I helped minimally at another festival this weekend. I just didn’t have the energy to take part the way I’m used to.

Last night, I suffered with severe stomach cramps when I got home from the dance. I slept with a heating pad and went to sleep, but the severe stomach pain woke me at 4:00 am and continued relentlessly until 6:00 am.

I’m afraid my pain medication is clashing with my stomach medication and that may cause the stomach cramps! What to do???

Shingles are horrible, and I didn’t break out as severely as many people, primarily because I got the antiviral medicine so quickly.

This is my personal PSA (Public Service Announcement): if you are 50 or older, get the vaccine even if you don’t think you had the chickenpox! After seven weeks and facing my eighth, I do not know when this will end. I had many plans canceled (an audiobook put on hold, my seventh book put on hold, life put on hold!). Don’t take a chance!

~NEWEST PODCAST to be released Thursday, March 17, 2022, discussing my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? : Live on Purpose Podcast at

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”:

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks:

Life Lessons · My Thoughts · square dance

Our Ten Year Anniversary—Really?

Lin & Larada - wedding picture - ten years ago
Lin & Larada, Wedding Day, 2011

Ten years of marriage—how time flies! On Friday, October 22, 2021, Lin and I celebrated our tenth anniversary. That number shocks me—it’s hard to believe it’s been ten years!

How We Got Together

In 2008, I divorced my third husband and adjusted to being single again. I jumped into Single Square Dancers USA (SSDUSA), becoming vice-president in 2009, president in 2010, and past president in 2011. When I signed on in 2009, I knew I had made a three-year commitment. My renewed involvement helped me handle my recent divorce.

In 2009, Lin’s wife, Kathi, died from reoccurring cancer. She was my best girlfriend in square dancing. She and Lin and my ex and I had danced, traveled and played card games together for several years.

After Kathi passed away in November, and in December, a friend of ours set Lin and me up to dance together at a holiday dance. After the first of the year, Lin called and asked if I’d like to dance with him at the weekly dances in Albuquerque. At this point, I was tired of dancing by myself round dancing (cued ballroom dancing) or dancing the guy part in square dances, so I agreed to it.

As time went on, we enjoyed the dancing and our time together, and realized there could be more. Cautiously, we moved forward and our relationship grew. So, Christmas Day 2010, Lin proposed to me in front of my mom and my aunt Willie, and I readily accepted with, “Yes!”

How We Scheduled Our Wedding

In 2010, I held the position of president of Single Square Dancers USA and faced being the recent past president in 2011. SSDUSA held their yearly festival and business meeting annually over Labor Day weekend. So, when we started talking about a wedding day, it had to be after Labor Day, 2011, so I could finish my three-year commitment.

To give us some breathing room, we set our big day for October 22, 2011, and it had to be a square and round dance event!

How We Ended Up with over 250 Attendees

So, for the entire year of 2011, after Lin proposed, Lin invited everyone to come to our wedding at any square dance we attended around the country. We did not know how many to plan for when we finally got down to ordering our cake and reception supplies. The Albuquerque Square Dance Center limits its attendance to 299. We hoped we would stay within that requirement, and we did!

How Our Wedding Unfolded

Lin, Marya (minister who married us), Larada, 2011
Lin, Marya (minister who married us), Larada, 2011

Lin and I both had been married before, so my Episcopalian priest couldn’t marry us, but he offered to do our pre-marriage counseling. So, we searched online and found the perfect person to do the ceremony, Marya. She encouraged us to help create the ceremony and our vows. I included some recovery verbiage, and it became our own. We wanted a brief ceremony, leaving the rest of the afternoon for the reception, party and dance time.

The Bridal Party, 2011 - Ten years ago
The Bridal Party, 2011

For Lin’s best men, he asked two dance friends who were like brothers to him. I asked eleven women to be my maids/matrons of honor, women from all the different areas of my life.

When it came to my dress, I wanted only one woman to make it—Mary Jo Smith who had made our catchy Hot August Nights’ outfits, and me several other outfits. I bought the material here in Albuquerque, sent it to her in Virginia and she did her magic!

We selected Pastian’s Bakery for our wedding cake, another “must.” What a gorgeous cake they made, and Sheri, the owner’s daughter and dear friend, helped create a fun sports focused groom’s cake.

Another friend, Nicole Tagart, took the gorgeous pictures for us, and Sharon McCafferty agreed to video-tape it at the last minute.

How Our Wedding Day Went

My brother, Lin, Larada & Mom, 2011
My brother, Lin, Larada & Mom, 2011

My mom and brother gave me away, and we walked in with Train’s song, “Marry Me” playing. I wrote a poem for Lin and shared it, and he played a George Strait song, “I Cross My Heart,” for me. Afterwards, we cut the cake and did the traditional cake eating and drink exchange. Then the dancing began.

Lin & Larada Round Dancing, 2011 - Ten years ago
Lin & Larada Round Dancing, 2011

During the reception/party, we had square dancing, round dancing and country western. What a grand party it was! We had three square dance callers: Jerry Gilbreath, Joey Solis and Art Tangen. Shirley and Don Underwood did the rounds for us, and Scott Amspoker played country and western dance music.

Afterwards, a group of us went out to dinner at Monroe’s on Osuna. We noticed the absence of Tom and Dottie Doherty, dance friends from Colorado, but figured they decided not to come. Afterwards, we brought the group up to Lin’s house in the mountains to see his mountain hideaway.

We gathered our bags and drove to the Bottger Mansion, a bed-and-breakfast in Old Town, for our wedding night. What a memorable time we had. After a delicious gourmet breakfast the next morning, Lin drove me to my townhouse to see my brother off to the airport, and we planned to pick up my mom and go out to his house.

Suddenly, our plans changed. Tom and Dottie, who were supposed to join us for dinner, were t-boned in an accident, coming to the restaurant to join us the night before. Dottie’s injuries weren’t too bad, but Tom was severely hurt. So, we took my brother to the airport, then picked up Dottie and took her to the hospital to see Tom. Mom and I ended up staying at my townhouse for two weeks to help Dottie get to the hospital to take care of Tom and provide emotional support for her.

How We Filled Ten Years

After that glorious day, Lin and I filled the following precious ten years with dancing around the United States, traveling here in the United States and abroad on cruises, tours and with friends. At home, Lin created a gorgeous flower garden, dedicating many hours to it. I have self-published six books and three cookbooks. We savored our full rich life, and time quickly passed.

Ten Years Later—How We Celebrated our Tenth Anniversary

On Friday, October 22, 2021, the actual date of our wedding, we had photos taken to commemorate the day like we did for our fifth anniversary on our Panama Canal cruise. After the photo shot, we had dinner at Chili’s and came home and watched the video of our wedding—I shed a few tears.

Then on Saturday, October 23, 2021, because the Bottger Mansion was so special to us ten years ago, we spent the night there to celebrate our tenth anniversary. We wanted the 22nd, but it wasn’t available. To enjoy the area, we drove to Albuquerque about 2:00 pm to check in early. Then we shopped around Old Town, enjoying our favorite old haunts and seeing the sad effect the pandemic has had on restaurants and shops there. For dinner, we ate at the Church Street Café. A Mexican music group serenaded us while we ate. To end our time at the Bottger, we enjoyed a gourmet breakfast and came home.

Whew! Ten wonderful years later, we looked back and relished our time together. Now we look to the next ten and the adventures ahead of us.

How long have you been married? How do you celebrate those milestone anniversaries? (Scroll below to share your comments!)

Recent Blog Posts You Might Have Missed:

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?
Read, reflect and respond on the beach!

My new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?, is now available:

Just Another Square Dance Caller; Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo
Add Flippo’s biography to your bookshelves!

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there:

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”:


~Stop by my website for all the information you need about me & my books:

~Drop by my Amazon Author’s Page:

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces:

family · Life Lessons · My Thoughts

A Graduation Address to My Two Girls!

Graduation cheers!

Across the country, it is high school graduation time which takes me back to my graduation fifty years ago. There were four in my graduating class, and I felt grown-up, scared, and not prepared to face the world before me. Fast forward fifty years, and I have two graduating seniors I love, but I am sad to say I wasn’t able to attend one great niece’s graduation on May 20 in Floydada, Texas, and I will miss the other one’s in Yuba City, California on June 4. I love these family get-togethers filled with storytelling, laughter and love. I have had the pleasure of participating in my two great nieces, Kaylea and AnnDeeClaire’s lives for eighteen years, so I want to share a graduation address with you.

Have the courage to follow

Your heart and intuition.

They somehow already know

What you truly want to

Become. Everything else is


-Steve Jobs

My two lovely graduates of 2021, you just experienced one of the worst tragic years we have ever faced, and here you are. You survived seeing the tumultuous end of one phase of your life and the joyful beginning of another.

Behind you are twelve years of education at the hands of many teachers, principals and educational assistants who helped form you. Both of you actively took part in extracurricular activities that broadened your perspective and enriched your lives. Remember to thank as many of the major people who influenced you as you can.

Graduation - tools
Photo by Adonyi Gábor from Pexels

Now, before you is your world! It might be daunting at this moment, but you have an arsenal of tools to help you get started now and for the rest of your lives. You come from a family who loves you dearly—parents who have stood beside you through thick and thin. You have extended family support from grandparents, aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, and cousins galore! Also, you are supported every day you live by those who have passed away. Never forget your family.

On that note, a couple wise sayings from your great granddad who would have been so proud of you two. I’m sorry he died before you were born, but his advice is timeless:

  • “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
  • “Stay in there in and drink a lot of ice water.”

I’m so glad you knew, my mom, Grannie Horner and her quick wit and love of jokes. You were about ten years old when she died, but I know you have fond memories of her in California, Branson, and on the ranch. You may not have known a deep spiritual gift she would have passed onto you, so I’m sharing it with you: an acceptance of all ethnicities and beliefs, enjoying the diversity gifted you with a variety of friends. She grew up in Raton, New Mexico when it was a melting pot of immigrants working in the coal mines, and she celebrated the multicultural life she lived. When she was in high school, she worked for a Greek family at the Sweet Shop and often spoke of their dancing and food—adopt an open, loving heart like Grannie’s.

You two have faced loss and difficulties in your short eighteen years but have chosen to not let that hamper your dreams. Often, hard times make you bitter or better, and the choice is yours. I see you have both chosen the positive route and am excited about your choice of study.

You lost your grandmother, Grandma Lela, when you were young, and she cherished her grandbabies. I remember her infectious giggle and twinkle in her clear blue eyes. She had a deep religious faith, so I know she prays for you daily.

Your Poppa loves sharing our family ranch with you any time you come, and he celebrates the uniqueness of each of you.

So, here’s Auntie Mato’s (for AnnDeeClaire) advice to you today from my life experiences:

Graduation advice
  1. Spend your lifetime looking for you. Trust yourself—sometimes I hide from myself and it takes a conscious effort to keep looking, but look you must. The world tells us happiness is finding a partner. First, find yourself and then you will have something profound to share with a life partner. One of my favorite quotes about this topic is from Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
  2. Find a spiritual home to grow in. Lucy Prichard, my first mother-in-law and spiritual mother, told us newlyweds, “Find a church, any church. Hang your hat somewhere.” Find a place where you can flourish spiritually and life will unfold much easier for you. In doing that, you will create a support system and have wise counsel if you need it (I guarantee you will need it).
  3. Be curious. Don’t be afraid to question the status quo. The curious mind sees possibilities everywhere instead of problems. In being curious, you become a part of the solution instead of the ongoing problem. Wonder and be in awe of what this world offers you.
  4. It’s never too late to embrace your passion. When I was in high school, Uncle Tanky read an essay I wrote and encouraged me to pursue my writing. Margie Miller, one of my teachers, told me in my late twenties at one of the Branson-Trinchera reunions on Mom’s front porch, “I want a copy of your first book.” Thirty-plus years later, I published my first book at 60 years old and sent her a copy. I loved teaching, but writing feeds my soul. Chase your passion for all you are worth, either now or later. It doesn’t matter, just identify it and go for it.
  5. Spend time in nature—the ranch. I know both of you have an attachment to the Horner ranch, and I thank you for your interest. It’s one of the best places to connect to God and myself. How can anyone look at Saddlerock silhouetted against a purple sky and not stand in awe? How about a laughter-filled ride around the ranch in the Bronco during the evening to celebrate being alive? A bumpy ride in the Mule and the chance to drive it, even when you were too young to drive? Obviously, I would recommend nature anywhere, but the trick is to be mindful of it—the birds, the trees, the horned toads and a Creator God who gifts us with such treasures.
  6. Ask for help. I wish I could guarantee you two lovely ladies a life free of pain and stress, but that doesn’t happen, as you already know. When troubles come, remember all the people who love you, pick up the phone, send a text or call, because we are all perched, ready to help.
  7. Failure to cry is a failure to live. As emoting human beings, we feel and sometimes feel strongly. A wise friend once told me that tears are liquid prayers, so don’ ever be ashamed of your tears.

This morning I asked Uncle Lin for his words of wisdom for you two, and this is what he said, “It is ALWAYS in your power to eliminate negative forces from your life, and my hope for you is that as you go through life, you are successful in doing that, as it will enhance your life experience immensely.”

In conclusion, I leave you with one of my favorite sayings which includes one of my passions:

Graduation message - Lin and me dancing


As though no one is watching you,


As though you have never been hurt before,


As though no one can hear you,


As though heaven is on earth.


Congratulations, Kaylea and AnnDeeClaire on a job well done, and I look forward to the futures you created! I will be a witness to your endeavors, one of your cheerleaders for life. World, get ready for these two!

Graduation - I'll cheer you on!
Your cheerleaders are ready!

Do you have someone graduating this year? What is your best advice? (Scroll down passed the items below to the Comment section.)

Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Cover for Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there:

~Pre-Order My New Book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? To be released mid-June

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”:


~Stop by my website for all the information you need about me & my books:

~Drop by my Amazon Author’s Page:

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces:

Coronavirus · Life Lessons · My Thoughts

Waiting for the Vaccine?

Photo by destiawan nur agustra from Pexels

Are you waiting for the coronavirus vaccine? I am but not very gracefully! I want it NOW! My nerves feel frayed. I vacillate between understanding the delay and wanting mine now, no matter what!

Because of a suggestion of an older friend, I registered at the New Mexico website and received my number several weeks ago. My husband drug his feet, thinking he’d wait for the Johnson & Johnson one shot treatment.

Then he had a phone call with his primary care physician on another issue, and the doctor quizzed him, “Have you gotten the vaccine yet?” He questioned him because Lin has been reluctant to take any of the vaccines until this doctor convinced him of the importance of the flu shot, specifically.

In response, Lin said, “No, I’m going to wait for the Johnson & Johnson shot.”

Our doctor responded sharply, “New Mexico has bought the two vaccines. There’s no guarantee they’ll buy the third one. Sign up!”

When he got off the phone, I signed him up. He’s eighty years old and within a few weeks he received a text to set up a time. He did and has taken the first shot at the Pit, the basketball court for the University of New Mexico.

When he went to get vaccinated, I rode with him, just in case he had any reaction. He didn’t and was really impressed with the efficiency of the operation there. They set up his second shot for mid-March, so he sees a light at the end of the tunnel!

As always, I turned to poetry to express my exasperated feelings:

Waiting for the vaccine
Photo by Serkan Göktay from Pexels

I Hate Waiting!

February 28, 2021

 Here I sit
                                                 For the coronavirus vaccination!
 I’m 67 years old
             Old enough you’d think
                                     In a nebulous zone
 Caught between
             Not old enough
                         For the first priority group
             Not young enough
                         Not to worry
Shortly, we face a year’s anniversary 
             Since this pandemic started.
Quickly the talk of the vaccine began
             Questions arose
                         Too soon?
                                     Too quick?
                                                 Too everything?
 Tests held
             Thousands of willing guinea pigs
 More questions
             More waiting
 Then the day came!
 The vaccine roll-out started
             In the UK
                         December 14, 2020
             In the USA
                         January 14, 2021
             Yet I had some misgivings
                         At first
             Total acceptance
 And I keep waiting!

 I’ve been obedient
             Watched my P's and Q's!
                         Social distance
                         Wash hands religiously
                                     After trips to Colorado
                                                 To safeguard Lin 
At first,
                         Against my gregarious nature
             Tired and exhausted
 I see the vaccine
             As the pathway
                         To normalcy
             As the pathway
                         To perhaps
Instead I sit here
                         Is it tomorrow
                                     I get the long-awaited text?
                         Is it this week?
                                     Or the next?
 Waiting to go back
             To go forward
                         To do something proactive
                                     To undo what’s been
                                                 Ongoing a year!
 I realize
             The vaccine is not a panacea!
 We still have to be cautious,
             But when we both are vaccinated
                         We can think
                                     Of possibilities
                         We can dream
                         We can stretch
                                     Our shrunken imaginations
                                                 To venture forth.
 Will the new world
             Demand I show
                         My vaccine card
                                     At dances?                 
                         For sure on airplanes
                         For sure to travel
                                     To foreign countries
 Is this new sought-after card
             My entry
                         Back into life?
 I’m waiting
 A possible silver lining
             For my wait!
                                     Johnson & Johnson
                                                 Will be available
                                                 When my time comes—
 That means one shot
             Instead of two!
 So, the waiting
             Once again,
                         As is so often,
                                     Maybe the reward!
 I’ll wait and see! 

Right now, in New Mexico, I have to wait for Phase 1A and 1B, because I’m in Phase 1C—60 years old and older. When I look at the list of people in the two phases above me, I shudder, because there’s many crucial people who should receive it before me. See the document:

So I will wait!

In closing, my turn will come. My life will change when it happens. Will yours? Are you getting the vaccine? Have you got it? Are you impatiently waiting like me right now? I’d love to hear from you.

Did you miss one of my blogs in February? Here’s a chance to see them:

Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there:

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”:


~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me & my books:

~My Amazon Author’s Page:

~ Visit my Etsy Shop for all my books:


~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces:

Christmas · Coronavirus · Life Lessons · My Thoughts

Charles Dickens’ Message for Christmas 2020

Photo by Nicole Michalou from Pexels

Is it “Bah, humbug?” or “God bless us, everyone?” Last night my husband, Lin and I watched Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a tradition we enjoy each year. What message does Charles Dickens have for 2020?

As I watched it, I know the story by heart. I studied Charles Dickens as an English major. I taught it to my sixth-grade literature class each year. We’ve watched each year together. I love its message!

And how does it relate to 2020, the craziest year I’ve ever experienced?

Ebenezer Scrooge, the story’s central character, receives a visit from his former business partner, Jacob Marley, on Christmas Eve. Marley warns Scrooge of what’s coming: visits from three spirits.

The visits from the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come forced Scrooge to face the life he had lived, full of “Bah, humbug,” monetary rewards, and negativity since the death in childbirth of his sister, Fan. This reflected Scrooge’s own life because his mother died in childbirth with him and compounded his pain.

This story has strong implications for 2020: redemption and change.

Our Round Table in Branson, Colorado

Christmas Past

Year after year, my family met at our family home in Branson. I traveled there often in my adulthood. The attendees changed over the years. Years ago, Mom and Dad hosted Mom’s parents, Aunts and Uncles, cousins, and me.

Recently, my niece and our family joined Mom, Lin and I with Aunt Willie and my cousin and her family.

Throughout the years, we ate delicous meals, played lots of games around the round table, laughed and shared gifts. We caught up with each other’s lives—a memorable time.

Our family had its moments where we all didn’t get a long, but the people faced the adverse effects, offered forgiveness and we stayed connected.

Christmas Present

Lin and I will celebrate a memorable quiet Christmas here at home alone because we strongly support all the suggestions the CDC has issued about holiday gatherings. We will play Cribbage, open gifts and celebrate our lives together. It will be good because we have accepted the change we have to do to keep everyone in our family safe.

Many families face drastic changes this Christmas with a strong suggestion to not gather together. Sacrifice yes! Change, for sure! Can you do it?

The Future
What Does the Future Hold?

Christmas Yet to Come

I trust that next year we will again gather in Branson, sit around the table and play games with loved ones. We will visit the ranch we all love, looking for wildlife and reminiscing about all those special places we love. And I will relish next year more than ever because of the loss of time together this year! After this year, I will value my familial relationships more because of the stark lack of time with dear ones this year.

So much is different in 2020! Can we collective embrace Dickens’ lessons from the Christmas Carol?

If you’ve battled the mandates, could you change from “Bah, humbug masks” and rethink this and vow to wear a mask for your granddad or grandma’s sake? Your grandchild’s sake? To alleviate the load on our health care workers? Can you change to Tiny Tim’s prayer, “God bless us, everyone?”

If you’ve railed about everything that was canceled this year like your favorite square dance festival, could you say a quiet prayer for forgiveness and then pray for the families who lost someone to the coronavirus?

If you’ve put yourself in the center of this drama called life in 2020 and been so negative and selfish, could you bow your head and honor the health care workers who have placed their lives on the line for many every day in a selfless way?

Yes, change is possible! Redemption is possible, but the process is awareness, acceptance and action. The action is in the doing!

A Christmas Carol reflected Charles Dickens’ life. Because his father was imprisoned for debt, his life changed drastically, and his writing highlighted the brutal changes in his life. Can we take a breath and learn from Ebenezer Scrooge this Christmas? Not “Bah, humbug” anymore, but Tiny Tim’s “God bless us, everyone!”

~Visit my Christmas blog posts:

Cover for Just Another Square Dnce Caller


~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”:


~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me & my books:

Holidays · Life Lessons · My Thoughts · Thanksgiving

What’s Your Favorite Thanksgiving Memory?

Pictures of Thanksgiving
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Restrictions, stay-at-home suggestions, don’t travel! This year continues to alter our reality with the danger of a traditional large family gathering at Thanksgiving becoming a super-spreader!

I have a possible remedy for what we face this year for Thanksgiving! How about a trip down memory lane to happier times? I’ve had so many wonderful ones, it’s hard to identify my favorite.

During my childhood in my country town, family surrounded me on Thanksgiving Day. We enjoyed the traditional fare of turkey and all the trimmings at noon time. Dad and other sports enthusiast watched whatever football game that came on. Usually the Dallas Cowboy played on this holiday. Dad hated them and rooted for Dallas’ opponent, no matter who they were!

Thanksgiving at this table often
Our Round Table in Branson, Colorado Has Seen Lots of Games!

The rest of us gathered around the round table in my parents’ home for an afternoon and evening of unending games, laughter and fellowship! At times, three to four generations gathered there for some of my favorite holiday memories. My family has always taken pictures, anytime we were together, so that was a part of the ritual, too!

As a young married, I offered to cook my first Thanksgiving dinner in Denver, Colorado with both of our parents in attendance. My parents came up early and stayed with us. I woke Thanksgiving morning sick as a dog, so Mom stepped in and finished the preparations! I wonder if it was nerves? My mom and mother-in-law were cooking giants!

Waiting for Thanksgiving guests

A few years later, my first husband and I moved to Loveland, Colorado and again we invited both parents for the big holiday. A massive snowstorm hit, starting on Monday of Thanksgiving week, and it came down for days. We had feet of snow, and my parents canceled because of the four-hour drive north. My in-laws and sister-in-law braved the hour and half drive from Denver, and we celebrated the holiday with no game playing but an enjoyable time. It was my first Thanksgiving without my parents, so it was hard for me!

After I divorced and while I was going to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, I spent all of my Thanksgivings with Mom and Dad, at my home. We started a new tradition. Dad and Mom drove to Loveland or Fort Collins, Colorado (I moved to Fort Collins later), and we had our holiday meal at different restaurants in the area. “The Old Farmhouse” became our favorite with seating in the various rooms of an actual old farmhouse. Then the Saturday night after Thanksgiving, we drove to Boulder to attend the Boulder Dinner Theater. My dad was this old cowboy who lit up with live music and performances! We did this for the four years I attended the university.

After graduation, I taught in Denver, Colorado my first year, then I moved to Raton, New Mexico, and another tradition began for my four years there. Dad, Mom and I drove to Alamogordo, New Mexico to share Thanksgiving with my half-sister and her family. We had memorable times of good food, laughter and lots of games.

When I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, I returned home for Thanksgiving yearly, but the gatherings were smaller. We still enjoyed delicious food and fun game time around Mom’s round table with my aunt and my cousin’s family. The weekend after Thanksgiving, we would go out to our ranch and cut down Christmas trees for Mom, my classroom or friends and me. Our fresh cut trees lasted so well throughout the holiday season. We also cut fresh cedar boughs—I love their delicious smell!

Dad’s last Thanksgiving was memorable yet sad. My nephew, Andy, had come to help Mom with Dad’s care after his recent hospitalization. On the Friday after Thanksgiving and a snowstorm, we drove out to our ranch to cut down trees as usual. As we faced a sizable drift to get to the trees, I told a young Andy, “See where you need to get. Punch it and drive like hell!”

His eyes twinkled with my permission to speed and with a giggled, we plowed through the drift easily, cut down our trees and created a memory we reference often!

When Ted and I got together, he had a Thanksgiving tradition I adopted, with a heavy heart at first. He regularly attended a round dance festival in Dallas, Texas that began the Monday of Thanksgiving week with the local round dance cuers cuing each night and workshopping during the day. The official festival began on Friday and lasted through Sunday. On Thanksgiving night, Ted and I would dance with a square dance club we both loved instead of round dancing.

No family, my Mom alone—the first one I felt horrible, but she consoled me and said you have to live your life! I grew to love the festival but hated missing time with Mom.

After Ted and I broke up, it was Mom and me. We shared the holiday with my cousin and her family. On Friday morning after Thanksgiving, Mom and I drove fifty miles to Trinidad, Colorado early in the morning to take advantage of the Black Friday sales. She absolutely loved the crowds and the craziness!

Then Lin and I married, and the three of us started a delightful tradition: Thanksgiving dinner out at the High Noon Restaurant and Saloon in Old Town Albuquerque. We booked our reservation for dinner around Lin’s tradition of watching football games all day. This restaurant provided a complete meal at our table for our size party then sent us home with all the leftovers! Mom loved this special place.

After Mom passed away, Lin and I continued that tradition for a couple years, but then I decided to cook our meal the last couple years. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and football dominated the day.

As, I stood at the counter to prepare the crust for my pumpkin pies, Mom joined me in my heart because I used her remarkable pie crust recipe given to her by our family’s doctor in 1953! Instead of grieving the loss of so many of my family as I moved around the kitchen, I remembered them all and the great times we’ve had.

Last year, my brother joined us for Thanksgiving, and we had a delightful time, our first Thanksgiving together in a long time.

This year, it’s Lin and me with the restrictions in place. So, yes, I’ve wondered about Thanksgiving 2020, but as I’ve remembered my previous celebrations, I am grateful for my family and the memories I will have forever!

So, my suggestion to you is take the time these next couple days before Thanksgiving, to walk back in time and remember those special celebrations and especially the people who made them so.  Then share them with me!

~Visit my two blog posts from last week:

Cover of Just Another Square Dance Caller



~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books:

~ Visit my Etsy Shop for 25% off individual paperback titles. Good until December 20, 2020. Here’s the coupon link:

Coronavirus · Life Lessons · Mom · My Thoughts · Recovery · square dance

A Safe Birthday Celebration Today—How?

Birthday candles
Photo by fotografierende from Pexels

During the coronavirus, how do I safely celebrate my husband’s 80th birthday in a special way? I have wrestled with this problem as soon as the quarantine began. I had thought about an open house, a square dance in his honor, and a variety of other possibilities. Then the pandemic hit, and I realized I couldn’t do any of these.

I had been raised to go all-out for birthdays and have ever since my Mom did that for me repeatedly as a child and an adult. She felt a birthday had to be celebrated, and I have continued that idea, but the pandemic created a major obstacle.

When my husband, Lin, turned 75, I treated us to an Amtrak ride to Winslow, Arizona and two nights at La Posada Hotel, a restored Harvey House. Many people asked us what in the world did you do in Winslow for two days, and we laughed! We toured all the souvenir stores and visited a remarkable museum. Lin and I spent hours on a self-tour of the La Posada, a Harvey House, enjoying its remarkable history. We savored delicious food in the Turquoise Room at La Posada, unique gourmet meals. Also, we basked in our gorgeous room and balcony.

How was I to compete with that memorable birthday celebration? About a month ago, I had the pleasure of attending a family reunion via Zoom, and that gave me an idea—how about a Zoom surprise birthday party for Lin?

So, I had my plan. I emailed, called and messaged friends about two possible ways to join the fun:

  1. Send birthday cards in the mail
  2. Attend the Zoom surprise birthday party

After that, I scoured a variety of email lists I have. I also went through my Contacts looking for people who don’t do email or Facebook. The list kept growing.

Successfully, I kept my secret. Lin started receiving cards several days before his birthday, and he kept saying, “Wow! I don’t normally get a birthday card from. . .” Then the stack of cards grew a couple days, and he eyed me, quizzing, “What did you do?”

I kept smiling, not disclosing the secret—how obvious it was!

During the week before the big day, we planned his birthday dinner: scallops, baked sweet potatoes and a vegetable. Saturday was his birthday, so I went to Pastian’s bakery in Albuquerque for his birthday cake on Friday afternoon, a delicious carrot cake. I had bought Pumpkin Spice Blue Bell ice cream in the morning.

When I got up Saturday morning, I gave him his cards and gift and looked at the cards he received the day before. He again questioned me about all the cards he received. I almost said, “Well, there’s more to come,” but I didn’t, thank God.

The bad news—I woke up Saturday with a bad stomachache, so I spent most of the day in bed when I wasn’t attending a Zoom Recovery Retreat for the weekend. We enjoyed Lin’s delicious birthday lunch, cake and ice cream. After the afternoon session, I showered and got ready for the evening.

I had put on our shared calendar an evening session for the retreat, so I had a good cover-up, and Lin had the Nascar game to watch. After a light dinner, I went upstairs to my desktop computer to prepare for the party.

I got onto Zoom early, and two people had already signed in. One of the early birds, a Nascar fan too, asked how I was going to pull Lin away from the race. I wheeled his computer chair in front of my desktop computer ready for the birthday boy. Then I waited for a commercial and asked Lin for some help on my computer.

Reluctantly, he came upstairs to our loft to my computer, sat down and truly enjoyed the party. People came and went, and the conversation continued! We had friends from a variety of our interest areas: square dancers, people from a football pool, and travelers we met on our Costa Rica trip. Also several family members joined in the fun.

When the evening ended, I had surprised Lin with a truly wonderful celebration of his special 80th birthday, using the technology available to us today during these crazy times. It was a smashing success, and I continued the Horner tradition of celebrating a birthday!

How have you celebrated birthdays this year during the pandemic?



~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books:

~On Wednesday, August 12, 2020 I wrote my 200th blog post. Be sure and check it out here: 200th blog post

Coronavirus · Life Lessons · My Thoughts

During This Pandemic, Are You Zoomin’?

Photo by Marcus Aurelius from Pexels

The coronavirus pandemic changed so much: shelter-in-place and no more face-to-face meetings. At the beginning, we had no idea how long the pandemic and the restrictions would last, but here we are six months later with limited access. So, early on, Zoom leapt to our collective consciousness as the answer.

            I had attended a couple of Zoom meetings before the pandemic for training for my book promotions, but now I feel like a pro having attended several meetings and hosted some. Here’s my experience with the amazing Zoom app and its connectivity to the world!

            Early in our isolation, the recovery communities jumped onboard and started zoomin’. So, this provided the opportunity to attend meetings all over the world any time of the day—truly taking advantage of technology.

            On April 3 – 5, I attended a Zoom recovery retreat with 450 participants, the first major recovery event during the pandemic for me. The organizers dealt with a few glitches, but what a boost that was! The attendees came from all over the world! Monthly recovery retreats have kept many people connected through Zoom, and I’m attending another one next weekend.

            Weekly I have attended two recovery meetings. I have so enjoyed seeing friends I haven’t seen for months and staying active in my recovery.

            Some of my regular meetings chose to do phone conferencing, but I didn’t like that as well as Zoom. It seemed people talked over each other more, and I liked seeing attendees. I do understand not everyone has internet at their homes, and I think that was reason for this choice.

            As a service for the Albuquerque Square Dance Center, I have hosted monthly board meetings since April. I provided a tutorial for the first meeting for many first-timers, but I still felt some reluctance. So, I scheduled a practice session and several attended, getting their feet wet! Since then, those fearful first-timers show up easily and participate.

Just Another Square Dance Caller book cover

            In the midst of the cancellation of all of our dance events, I faced doing a virtual book launch for my new book, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo. At first, I thought I’d use Facebook Live for this event, but after research, I realized I could have a problem. We don’t have a reliable internet connection at our house, and that might cause an issue. Also, I wanted to interact with the attendees, and you can’t do that on Facebook Live.

            So, I decided to Zoom instead. What a memorable evening we had! About thirty-five people attended, and I relished their participation and stories! We had people from all over the United States and one from Japan.

            Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we canceled our annual square dance festival, Hot August Nights. To keep our supporters connected, I hosted a Hot August Nights Zoom Party. Again, we had great attendance. My husband, Lin, and I were on from 7:00 PM until 10:00 with people dropping by, visiting and then more would come. Many appreciated seeing so many dancer friends.

            Virtual square dances have taken the square dance world by storm during this crazy time. Lin and I attended a benefit dance for a caller who has been deathly sick. We hadn’t danced in six months and had never virtual square danced. We had to pretend we were dancing with another couple. At first, we struggled but improved over the evening.

Here’s a link to see a virtual square dance:

            Again, we saw dancers from all over the USA and the world. Dancers attended from Australia, China, Japan and England.

A Zoom Meeting
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

            There are so many possibilities with Zoom. I reconnected with a roommate who I haven’t seen in thirty years with a Zoom meeting. Then we added another friend we used to hang out with, and we laughed and talked non-stop last Sunday. I had to cut us off after a couple hours to write my weekly blog. After such a successful time, we’ve decided to meet monthly during this crazy time.

            I made another connection with a cousin who contacted me after I did my DNA on last year. We had talked about a face-to-face family reunion in Arizona this summer, but that went by the wayside with all the restrictions.

            So, my cousin invited me to a Zoom Family Reunion last month. Only four attended that meeting, but I loved seeing my cousins. The cousin who organized this fun event entertained us with stories of our heritage, sharing maps and other documents via Zoom with us.

With it being so much fun, we scheduled another session for yesterday, and I invited my cousins and my 92-year-old aunt to participate. We ended up with nine participants this time. I could see how much my aunt enjoyed this celebration of her mother’s side of our family, and she repeated a couple times how much my mom would have enjoyed this. During the 70s, my mom researched both sides of our family’s genealogy—she would have thoroughly loved all the new information and connections to add to her data!

In the future, I have more Zoom meetings planned—I so much more enjoy seeing people’s face instead of being on a joint phone call. If you have any reservations about doing a Zoom meeting, don’t!

To prepare for a Zoom meeting, download the app to your desktop, laptop, iPad or Smart Phone. Then when you receive the invitation for the meeting from the host, it includes all the connection information you need. You have two choices to connect on a computer: the easiest connection is a URL, so click on it and it activates the website and the app. The second option is a Meeting ID and password you input on the Zoom website after you select “Join a Meeting” on the menu bar.

If you’re using a phone, the invitation provides several phone numbers to access Zoom.

Once you arrive in a meeting, you can use the video showing you and your surroundings or you can choose not to show the video but you can still participate.

One caveat when you’ve entered the meeting is muting or unmuting yourself. There’s a button on your window or down on the left of the menu bar at the bottom of the computer’s screen.

I enjoy another Zoom feature, a Chat window where you can type in communication to everyone at the meeting or select individuals.

As you can see—it’s straight-forward. After a couple Zoom meetings, celebrate your newfound skills and partiicipate!

Have you zoomed yet? If so, how do you feel about zoomin’?

Cover of Just Another Square Dance Caller



~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books:

~On Wednesday, August 12, 2020 I wrote my 200th blog post. Be sure and check it out here: 200th blog post

Coronavirus · Life Lessons · My Thoughts · poetry

Coronavirus Reflection: Bitter or Better?

Bitter or better? Life hands us a curve ball every once and a while. Then we have the option of how we respond. I have had several of those opportunities in my life, and sometimes I grew bitter, but more often than not I became better because of the difficulty.

Bitter over when it ends

The coronavirus’ impact continues to affect our lives six months later. Normal life activities came to a screeching halt. Yes, it’s been horrible for those 193,000+ who have lost their lives or families who have lost loved one. Also, people have lost jobs, and businesses have suffered extreme losses. For many, it’s been a psychological affront causing depression and anxiety. I have been one of the fortunate ones, not experiencing the extremes of the pandemic.

But many, like me, who have not experienced the dire side of this catastrophe have been impacted in our own ways. It seems people have reacted in two ways.

Some have become bitter over mandated requirements like social distancing and/or masks. People dubbed as “Karens” or “Kens” have violently erupted at various store clerks asking compliance to safety measures.

Bitter about wearing a mask

Many worldwide bitter rebels have actively protested like one organized event on September 15, “World Antimask Protest.” Others continue to believe this is a hoax and vehemently denounce the virus and any of the safety requests.

Others have decided to look at this respite as a time to stop the crazy pace of a busy 21st century life, slow down and go deeper on a spiritual quest. That’s what I decided to do early on. Because I was fearful and anxious, I processed my feelings through poetry. I became proficient at Zoom and participated in and hosted a multitude of Zoom meetings which helped ease the isolation.

As the pandemic has lingered, I’ve written more and more poetry, and a friend specifically asked me to address the positive outcome this slow-down provided for me, so here it is:

Reflections on Coronavirus
Coronavirus Reflection: Bitter or Better?

September 5, 2020

For six months
            The coronavirus rages
                        Ebbs and flows
Never have I faced
            Anything like this!
I remember
            The polio-scare
                        As a child
                                    But nothing like this.
Who do you believe?
My life style drastically altered
            NO dancing
                        NO traveling
                                    NO interaction
                                                With people
But the good news:
            I’ve stayed healthy
                        My family has, too!
It’s reflection time
            Has this focused time
                        Made me
                                                Or better?
            Of normal life
                        And activity,
I sat quietly
I watched my husband
            Gather his strength
                        In his garden
                                    Working with his hands
                                                            His mind
                                                                        His soul 

Lin and I shared Cribbage games
            Numerous TV nights
                        Watching mysteries
                                    Each trying to solve them
                                                           Comparing our suspects
I celebrate this man
            Who I was quarantined with.
I focused on
            The Flippo biography
                        Which helped alter the horrible state
                                    Of our world
I gathered strength
            In words
                        Working with my hands
                                                            My mind
                                                                        My soul
In this forced respite
            I reconnected with
                        My God
                                    In a time of needed solace
                                    Exploring reactions and feelings
                                                To this fearful situation.
                        My husband
                                    A good person to
                                                Be quarantined with
I cleaned out age old belongings
            I connected with people on Zoom
                        I wrote poetry
                                    Diving deep!
                        I had weekly phone dates
                                    With hurting friends
Yes, I missed
            Monthly visits to our ranch
                        And my brother
            Family gatherings
            Square and round dances
But today, I relish all of those much more
            Hungry for their return
I savor what they
            Brought into my life,
                        How they enriched me.
I had moments of bitterness
            Hot August Nights weekend canceled
                        So, I scheduled a Zoom party
            Labor Day square dance weekend
                        So, I scheduled a Zoom meeting
                                    With long time friends.
I have flirted with bitterness
            The vile taste of bitterness
                                    My lingering there long.
When this time of trial is over,
            I will step up and say
                        It made me better!
                                    And that feels good!
I savor this capsule of time
            That I used to benefit
                        My growth
Bitter or better
            The choice is yours!

Yes, I do have a choice anytime life deals me a blow—will the experience make me bitter, resentful and angry? Or will I take advantage of the opportunity present and plunge into a deeper relationship with myself and my God?

I choose better!

Here’s a poem to end on that is light, frivolous and courts with a genre of literature I love, magical realism, “. . .a style of fiction and literary genre that paints a realistic view of the modern world while also adding magical elements.”

Salmon-Colored Rose in Lin's Garden
I Sunbathed in the Roses

September 5, 2020
A petal floated on the breeze
                        Settling on my forehead
Another landed on my stomach
            Bright red in color
                        Matching my sunburned skin
A plush cushion of white rose petals
            Gathered as my supple pillow.
Ivory-colored roses climbed
            The trellis
                        Near my feet
                                    And tickled my toes.
Salmon-colored roses
            Guarded my heart
                        And created a
                                    Vibrant crown for my brow!
Bright golden ones kissed
            The sun
                        As their next-of-kin
                                    And brushed my cheek
                                                With their satiny lips.
Peach roses danced
            In the gentle wind
                        A soft waltz
                                    In a lavish gown
To sunbathe
            In the midst of roses
                                    Every ache
                                                Every pain
                                                            A galaxy of color
These flower friends lift me
            To the heavens
                        A multi-colored celebration
                                    Of life and love
                                                Surround me by a deep connection
Hummingbirds dive bomb my head
            Enchanted with the color
                        And the nectar
                                    I’ve invaded their sanctuary.
Lay still!
            I can’t!
                        I feel the prick of. . .
Yes, thorns
Careful where I lay
            But one foot strays
                        A little
                                    And I jerk it back
A reminder
            Sometimes pain hides in beauty
                        But mostly
                                    A restful soul
                                    A quiet spirit
                                                Surrounded by
                                                            A circle of roses
                                                                        My friends!

Did you giggle? Absurd—sunbathing in a rose garden! Let loose and laugh!

I hope I leave you better today for the reading of this than when you came!



~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books:

~On Wednesday, August 12, 2020 I wrote my 200th blog post. Be sure and check it out here: 200th blog post