Freshly Pressed x 3 and What Became of Joe?

Life is good. I’ve got a song in my heart and the world on a string! Joy has come in and asked me to dance. Yes, if you ask me, everything’s coming up roses!  For, this past Friday, I was Freshly Pressed, which means my blog was featured on the homepage. And you know what they say—third time’s the charm.

Yes! I have been FP’d three times! The trifecta of all Freshly Pressed presses! First to receive FP notoriety was my On Notice post, which I wrote on account that I had a bone to pick with Mr. Stephen Colbert.  Then came one I wrote, in which I confessed to re-writing my family history by conjuring up The “Fake” Family Tree. And now, my Broken Hearts & The Road Not Taken post. Being pressed can be addictive, so I better put a reminder on my Outlook not to let this all go to my head.

What do you mean you can't take me out to pee because you've been Freshly Pressed and have to stick by your computer? What about me and my needs?

Best of all, I was pressed on a Friday, and that means my blog was in the spotlight ALL WEEKEND LONG! And that means I’m probably headed for my 15 minutes by now. Note to self: check out Wikipedia tonight and see if I’m in it, because, if you ask me, that’s the truest benchmark of recognition.

So how did I find out, you ask?  Well, I had just posted my story early Friday morning, and was getting ready for work.  I checked my emails for any messages about comments.  There were two from my regular readers.  Nothing unusual so far. Then, as I’m out walking Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, on his morning constitutional, I check my email on my iPhone. Lo and behold there’s a message from Erica, the Story Wrangler at

“Congrats!” she says. Your post has been promoted to Freshly Pressed on Keep up the good work!”

That’s when I start jumping up and down and screaming like a clown who’s oversized foot has been run over by two Volkswagen Bugs.  My brain goes into hyper-drive and my heart skips into a state of complete apoplexy. Suddenly, I’m too excited to walk Henry and plead with him to hold it in. I run to my computer, leaving Henry downstairs, with his leash still on. I shout to him to close the front door, which in my haste I forgot to do. In typical fashion, he ignores my request.

So thank you, thank you.  Thank you, WordPress for seeing something good in my post. Thank you, too, to all my wonderful readers and fellow bloggers who contributed to my more than 9,000 views!  Thanks to the 140 of you who “liked” my post, and to the more than 130 of you who left comments on my blog, 74 of you who became subscribers on a whim–or perhaps on a bet–and 35 of you who took the leap of faith and decided to follow me on Twitter, thus assuming I have something important or even pithy things to say in 140 characters or less.

What Became of Joe?

I loved receiving all of your thoughtful comments and responding to each and everyone of you who wrote. Quite a few of you said you want to know what happened next, and I promise you, you will soon. Others wanted to know what became of Joe.

Well, after I moved to Seattle, I lost track of Joe, but, as a result of this post, I have rediscovered him on Facebook.  Joe’s a published author and a photographer, living in another part of the country and seems to be enjoying a very fulfilled life. I’m happy to say he read my Freshly Pressed post and hit the “like” button! So I’m pretty sure that means he liked my post and is glad we have reconnected. Better late than never, if you ask me. Oh, and Joe has a blog of his own, Long Tale Short.  Check it out! The man definitely has a way with words. But here’s the strangest part of this story: All these years, Joe also has kept a copy of The Washington Book Review (which was the name of the newspaper we worked on together), and had just happened to come across it again, barely a few days before I contacted him on Friday, out of the blue.  A bit freaky Friday-ish, I’d say.

She Writes Volunteer Coordinator

Well, this has been an amazing ride. Best of all, it happened on the same day that She Writes Founder/CEO, Kamy Wicoff, announced that I have been selected to serve as the first-ever Volunteer Coordinator for She Writes, along with Amber Medina West.  Yep, she’s a Medina too, but we’re not related. Just a happy coincidence. By the way, you can visit a post I wrote titled, She Writes! to find out what I think of this resource for writers.

So, if you ask me, it’s like I won the lottery. Fame, fortune and the paparazzi surely must be just around the corner!

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

I’ve figured out a way to get more traffic to my blog.  Turns out it’s all in the search engine terms. Paul, my award-winning blogger pal of The Good Greatsby fame, gave me the idea.

Here’s all I need to do to make this happen. Write a post, chock full of popular search engine terms, and the visitors will flock in.  They won’t even know what hit them! They’ll be perusing my blog in search of the information they just need to have and, before you know it, they’ll be so intrigued by what I’ve written, they’ll forget all about their search.  It’s that simple!

So forgive me, if this post doesn’t make any sense, but I have to ask, what’s the worst that can happen? I’ll be like Lindsay Lohan and the judge will send me to jail? No way. Or maybe I’ll get assassinated like Gadafi’s son just did?  Fat chance. You know people will be going crazy wanting to know more and that will lead them to me!

Which reminds me, why is Trump cursing these days on his pseudo-presidential stump?  Did you hear him the other night? He dropped one heckuva curse bomb, if you ask me. Maybe he was thinking, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Guess he forgot it was being recorded just like everything else is nowadays.

Anyway, has The Donald given up on the whole birther strategy? I mean, come on, just because President Obama, finally released the long form of his birth certificate (which is actually shorter than the short form, according to the talented Comedy Channel host, Stephen Colbert), I’m sure this conversation isn’t over. So, by all means, Mr. Trump, keep the investigation going! I know you and your Trump hair will get to the bottom of this birth thing.  It’s the only way to keep the media interested in your fake run for the presidency. Remember, the 2012 elections are just around the corner.

Of course the biggest news of the week trumps anything Trump is talking about. I’m talking about the fate of Osama bin Laden. And how about them Navy Seals? Thank goodness they didn’t ask me to help because there’s no way I could have kept that a secret for so long. Those Seals are like Nancy Drew. She, too, knew how to keep a secret.

As the president said during his speech Sunday night, “Justice is served.”  Amen, to that. Though it’s worth noting that if you visited Sarah Palin’s Facebook page Sunday night, when the news broke, you would have seen how her page was abuzz with her fan base thanking the president. President Bush, that is.

Trending: Royal Wedding couple and one miserable flower girl.

Oh, this is so much fun! It’s making me think of all the current events I know.  It’s making me wonder whether Kate and Wills went to the Bahamas or Bahrain for their royal honeymoon. Who knows? And who really cares? I mean, aside from Elton John and the Beckham’s, that is.

Wherever the royal newlyweds are, I bet they haven’t yet heard the rumors about the Apple iPhone 6. Yep, you heard me right. The iPhone 6 is all the buzz, despite the iPhone 5 having yet to be released. It’s the iPhone 6 that is trending on Twitter.  I’m still on the iPhone 3 and was planning to replace it with the 5, but now I better wait until next year for the 6.  Or should I wait for the iPhone 7? I like to be on the cutting edge, after all. Don’t you just love Google?

Rick Springfield, trending on Google after his arrest for a DUI on same weekend of killing of Osama.

Visitors to my blog have already been finding my Tangled Web by using Google’s search engines.  Here are some of the search words that have brought them my way. Some make sense, as they relate to posts I’ve written.  Others, well, see for yourself:


Boardwalk empire sets

Fake family history

Colin Firth pride and prejudice

Henry Ford’s siblings

Rocky Balboa stairs

Tangled Chargers

Grumpy sweatpants (What’s this about? Have they seen what I wear on the weekend?)

Screaming fans in the stands for Cincinnati Bengals

Mexican fugitives (huh?)

Tangled hidden Mickey

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel always sleep

Watching a murder outside window (What the–?)

So I’m pretty sure I’ve thrown in everything but the kitchen sink into this post. Now, I think I’ll just sit back, relax and rest on my laurels, as I watch my WordPress site statistics skyrocket from visits by all those lost souls searching for information on Google. And all I can say is, Gentlemen, start your search engines!

I, the Jury

I am a citizen of the world. At least, I like to think so because I am very interested in global issues. Except, maybe when my favorite soap comes on, and I get distracted. (I’m talking to you, One Life to Live!)

I’m also a citizen of the United States and I can count on one hand the times my citizenship have come into play:

  • Applying for a passport and using it to travel outside the country
  • Starting a new job
  • Buying a home
  • Voting during elections
  • And receiving a jury summons

12 Angry Men: 1957 Sidney Lumet classic starring Henry Fonda.

Yes, friends I have been called to jury duty. And if you ask me, there must be a shortage of people eligible to serve.  In my town the rules of serving on a jury are as follows:  If you are called, you come in for a day. If they assign you to a jury, then you won’t be called again for at least three years. But, if you’re not asked to be on a jury, you’re excused from jury duty, though they reserve the right to call you again the following year.

Well three years ago, I served as a juror.  And now, here it is, almost three years to the day, and my number is up once again.  This is my fifth time being summoned.  Of which, I’ve actually served on two  juries.

I take jury duty very seriously.  To prepare, I polish up on my knowledge of what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America.  I bring in from my garage an old, dusty box filled with high school memorabilia, where I find my civic notes from high school and brush up on the laws of the land (assuming the laws and the process haven’t changed much in 35 years). Finally, I catch up on episodes of:

  • Perry Mason – Don’t you just love how Perry Mason always figures out who’s guilty in the last couple of minutes of each episode?
  • LA Law – Too bad there isn’t a show called “San Diego Law.” That would be too perfect.
  • The Colbert Report – Stephen Colbert is tres patriotic which in turn helps me to get in a very patriotic and judicious mood.

Hopefully, this time I’ll be assigned to an interesting trial.  It’s a crap shoot, if you ask me.  My last two trials were nothing short of dull and duller. In the first one, I had to help determine whether a man of indeterminate wealth had a right to sue the city in the amount of $250,000 for loss of property due to an easement that would expand a city road. The jury took a field trip to the homeowner’s home in order to see the location of the easement. The good news: we determined that the owner had a right to compensation. The bad news: we only awarded him $15,000, far below the amount requested in his lawsuit.

The second trial involved a woman who allegedly walked through a construction site by her apartment building, then fell and hurt her back, consequently experiencing severe pain and emotional stress.  Turns out she had been suffering from back pain for years prior to this incident.  Though members of the jury are not allowed to talk to each other during the trial, I could sense that, like me, the other jurors didn’t seem to have much sympathy for the defense.  Her lawyer no doubt sensed it too, for on Day Two of the trial, the attorneys settled out of court and we were sent home. But not before the judge came out and asked us, if we wouldn’t mind letting the lawyers know whose side we were leaning towards.  We all agreed we didn’t think the woman had a leg—or a back—to stand on. Frivolous lawsuit, if you ask me.

So maybe this time it’ll be different and I’ll get to serve on a trial involving some crime and passion.  Perhaps, the jury will be sworn to secrecy. Maybe we’ll even be sequestered in a posh hotel and get to order in, allowing us to order meals from any restaurant in the city.  Seafood? Italian? The sky’s the limit! I better take a stack of take-out menus with me, just in case.

Maybe I’ll be the lone holdout in the deliberation room.  “But, he’s innocent!” I’ll proclaim with the conviction of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ll even pound my fist on the table for extra effect. Or maybe I’ll be juror #8, the lone dissenter, as Henry Fonda was in Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men. I, too, will hold my own at all costs.

Or maybe I won’t get assigned to any jury at all.  We’ll have to wait and see.  After all, my date with destiny is still a few weeks away.

Why I Love My Aunt Elaine

When it comes to the breakup of a marriage, one of the hardest decisions involved is not one that either of the divorcing spouses has to make.  No, it is one that the family and friends of the divorcing couple have to consider, or what I call, “The choosing of sides.” The husband’s or the wife’s.

For some, it can be a painful decision to make, for others, maybe not. All the same, losing the family you’ve come to think of as your own, can be one of the saddest outcomes of a marriage gone wrong. It’s a problem that can break your heart all over again. Which is why I love my Aunt Elaine so much (who’s technically not my aunt but technicalities don’t matter much to me).

Aunt Elaine, with the two Sarah's.

Luckily for me, I have been able to stay close to a few of the family on my ex’s side.  After all, just because the marriage is over doesn’t mean it has to be the end of a relationship with all of the relations.  I am still in touch with my ex’s sister–we sometimes catch up on the phone.  But I’m closest to Aunt Elaine. She’s my ex’s aunt, really, and the youngest sister of my ex-father-in-law. She’s also been through divorce herself–years ago, when divorce was still frowned upon. Which makes her part of a group I call the “50 Percenters.” It also makes her rather empathetic to a divorced woman like myself.

Aunt Elaine is now 78. She always remembers my birthday, as well as the kids’. Phones whenever she can, often leaving messages on my answering machine with her very distinctive, very heavy New York accent.  Or Nu Yawk. I should say. “MAHnica-Love, how ahh you?”

If you ask me, it’s almost as if Aunt Elaine never got the notice about my divorce. Or maybe, she just prefers to ignore divorce protocol—the one that says each family must show loyalty to their side at the expense of the opponent’s. Which is just one of the reasons why I adore Aunt Elaine.  Here are some other reasons:

She is generous of heart: Aunt Elaine is happiest when giving to others. She volunteers at a local hospital, and would like to do more. “I don’t drive anymore,” she admits, “But if I did, I’d deliver food to the elderly, too.”

She has many interests: She’s a big Yankees fan and counts Joe DiMaggio and Phil Rizzuto among her favorites. Never misses a game. She also loves Frank Sinatra and has an extensive collection of his albums.

Aunt Elaine--Number One Yankees fan!

She’s the Pickle Queen. Having worked years and years for a pickle company, she’d bring jars of sour pickles, kosher pickles and sweet pickles to family gatherings, adding her special zest to every meal.

She doesn’t judge: She’s going soon to Las Vegas to visit a friend, explaining, “I’ve known him since he was seven. He happens to be gay but that doesn’t mean anything. I don’t judge. I respect people. He calls me regularly. To him, I’m Mama Laine and he’s invited me to his partners’ 50th.”

She’s a newshound: Aunt Elaine, a self-admitted liberal, watches the evening news and all the cable news networks (even Fox News, she says), switching between them to see how they’re covering the stories of the day.  She’s a big fan of Rachel Maddow (“That Rachel is a smart cookie!”) and also of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (calling him “Cole-bert,” not “Col-bear,” as is his preference.) Some of what she sees in the news gets her fuming, and when that happens, she writes to her senator, to the media and to the National Republican and Democratic parties, depending, of course, on what’s got her peeved.

She has great respect for the president: “I admire President Barack Obama for where he came from and how he got here. Even today, what he’s up against, and I’m not saying he does the right things all the time, but he’s a very intelligent man.”

She calls herself a Dinosaur: When Aunt Elaine looks at kids today, with their mania for the latest technologies, she feels there is a general lack of respect that has been lost along the way. “Kids today, they don’t appreciate. Their values have reached a very low point. I do what I can to try to encourage people to better themselves.”

She loves me: Whenever Aunt Elaine calls she says, “You should come to New Yawk and you should stay with us. You know you’re always welcome, right?” And then, she signs off by saying, “Monica-love, I love you!”

Besides Aunt Elaine, I’m close to Beth, her daughter. Cousin Beth and I also have daughters of our own, both coincidentally named Sarah, who love spending time together whenever they can.  For them, it’s all about family—and for them, I am family!  So, divorce, shi-morse! We’re through with choosing sides!

On Notice, Part Deux

In my first On Notice post I gave full credit to my father for inventing the On Notice list. (I’m talking to you, Colbert!) Well, friends, today I give you On Notice, Part Deux.

Highway Construction: My life is complicated enough, that I don’t need highway construction to make it even more so. I don’t want to be diverted or have to sit in a traffic jam because there’s only one lane available, all thanks to the never-ending highway construction on America’s roadways. And I don’t want to have to take the back roads, either. Frankly, I’m not always familiar with the alternate routes and that leads to getting lost. At my age, time is money, so finish the construction already!


There's nothing as scary as a toy clown!


Toy Clowns: Has there been any toy that is scarier? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Kids and clowns don’t mix–unless you want to scare the living daylights out of them. There is nothing more nerve wracking then the anticipation of a clown about to pop out of a box. The music alone, as you crank the lever, is enough to make your skin crawl. These clowns were made for one thing only: to taunt you. So, to clowns of all sizes I say, enough!!

Lindsay Lohan’s Parents: And Paris Hilton’s too, for that matter. When are you going to put your daughters in time out? They need help and they need it now. Remember, you’re never too old for tough love. Really. Discipline is what’s lacking. Clearly, Mom and Dad, you were too lax. Set limits. Work it out and help your kid. Oh yeah, that’s right. This is because your parents weren’t there for you, right? Well, I’m putting Lindsay and Paris’ grandparents on notice too!

Airplane Travel: Who likes to travel anymore? Soon, I’ll be telling my grandchildren that once there was a thing called direct, non-stop flights, which are impossible to find now. If I could figure out a way to go from California to New York, that is just as fast or close to it, then I’d stop flying. The airlines hold us hostage and they know it. We have to fly and they have to torture us, not to mention, nickel and dime us. Sigh.

Beanie Babies – These were supposed to be collector’s items. Why else did I buy 200 of them? I never even took the tags off! Curse you, Ty, Inc., for making them cute and for making so many!

Product Recalls: Face it, everything is recalled at one time or another. Can’t we agree to recognize that the quality of goods in America is only so-so at best and call it a wash? No need for more recalls. Just use the products you buy, eat your hamburgers, your veggies too, and think of it as a game called Russian Roulette. This past year, my car’s floor mats were recalled, not to mention the battery in my navigational system, and I for one am going to ignore these recalls. Same goes for you, eggs and tomatoes! Nothing is immune from recall and it makes my head spin trying to keep track.

Neopolitan Ice Cream: Sure, three flavors to choose from but guess which one everyone wants? Chocolate. So pretty soon the chocolate side is gone and you have this big gaping hole and now you can’t find anyone to eat the strawberry because it has that weirdly artificial strawberry taste. And you can’t have any more chocolate until you finish the strawberry and vanilla so you can buy a new carton. My advice: Just buy chocolate ice cream. Problem solved.

Dog Owners: At least those who do not clean up after their dogs. As a dog owner myself, I respect the grass and all the outdoors. I carry little bags in a rainbow of colors so that I can pick up after mine. So why can’t every other dog owner do the same? Might as well be asking, why can’t we all get along?

Stewart/Colbert Restore Sanity/Fear Dueling Rallies: Yes, I know these rallies are the most talked about, happening event of the year. Don’t get me wrong. I’m ALL for sanity. And I wouldn’t mind a little fear mongering. But still, I curse you, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, for not planning these in a place where I can attend—closer to the West Coast, say Los Angeles or, better yet, San Diego! And why must you talk about the rallies on your shows each night? To rub it in my face that I’m too far to attend?! Now, if I could get a direct, non-stop flight, that would be another story. So until then, I’m boycotting the rallies. Which is too bad, because I really wanted to go. Which is why you’re on notice, airline industry!