Tick But Not Tock

I called my adult daughter, who lives with me, to come have a look. I thought I had a scab on the inside of my right thigh, inches from my crotch. Being naturally curious, especially about anything popping up on my body, I tried to use a mirror to see what it was. I couldn’t. My eyes weren’t good enough, and my mirror didn’t magnify high enough.

With her jeweler’s loupe, she investigated the site. I sat on my walker facing her, with my right leg hoisted on the handle. My daughter was sitting on the bed, facing me, and my left leg was dangling off her right thigh. I was grateful I had donned my underwear minutes before. But I was even more thankful we weren’t being recorded or within view of one of the security cameras in the house.

It turned out to be a tick. A tiny, head-of-a-pin size tick. Now, I don’t know if this particular guy was carrying Lyme disease, but I wasn’t about to let him (or maybe her) stay on my body any longer to see if I developed any symptoms, which I’m told are dreadful.

Since the outbreak of Lyme disease back in the dark ages of the 1960s, no one had ever heard much about ticks or Lyme disease. It wasn’t until 1981 that a researcher, Willy Burgdorfer, who was studying Rocky Mountain Fever and Deer ticks, began to study Lyme Disease. As a consequence, he noted that the two diseases had similar symptoms. After further research, he discovered that a bacteria-carrying tick, spirochete, was causing Lyme Disease. The scientific community honored Willy by naming the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, and Lyme disease became a household name.  

A decade or more ago, I thought I had a skin tag under my left armpit. I picked at that skin tag for two weeks, but it never dropped off. Finally, I asked my spouse (now playing the game of Bridge with Jesus) to take a look. Why didn’t I look? Have you ever tried to take a close-up look under your armpit? Even with a mirror, it is difficult. At any rate, if you are guessing by now that it was a tick, you’re right. Compared to my mini tick on my thigh, this one was about the size of my pinky fingernail. And it seems these little suckers like warm moist places.

I have only acquired three ticks in my 85 years. The other one was on the top of my head. I still don’t know why I get them at all since I don’t go romping through the forest or over the meadows and grasses. What I do know is that when a tick is discovered lunching on my body, it will be removed immediately. No Lyme disease for me.

Starting My Day

I belong to an online writing group that posts prompts three times a week. Today’s prompt was “Starting my day.” I never thought of myself as having a “routine” to start my day. But as I age and have so many small tasks to accomplish in the morning, I find myself planning my entire day around a series of tasks I need to complete before I start my day.

I wake up anywhere from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. I have my alarm set for 8 a.m., but I am usually up before then. This morning, it was 7:50 a.m. My dog, Loki, sleeps with me, and I take him out for his constitutional first. Next, I will make my bed. I hate clutter, and clutter for me is a messy bed.

Then I undress and weigh myself. I suppose I could do that once a week, but weighing myself dictates how much I eat that day for weight control. Next, I shower, blow-dry my hair, brush my teeth and dress. Next, I will get a bottle of warm water and take my medications.

Around 8:30 a.m., I join a Zoom call with Panache Desai, an Indian “guru” of sorts. It is called “Call to Cool, Calm Meditation,” and he shares his wisdom with some 3,000 folks worldwide and ends at 9:00 a.m. It is free and I love to listen to him.

After that, I turn on the TV to “Live with Kelly and Mark.” I love the part at about 9:12 a.m. where a caller tries to stump Mark, who tries to guess a correct situation from two submitted by a phone-in caller. If he guesses wrong, the caller wins a mug and a T-shirt that says, “I stumped Mark.” Stumping Mark has become a symbol of honor and fun.

As I watch that, I am brewing my cup of green tea and opening a chocolate-dipped granola bar for my breakfast. Finally, I break up a quarter of a peanut butter-flavored granola bar for Loki’s breakfast, eat my granola bar, and turn on my computer to play Wordle.

That’s how I start my day, every day, unless I have been careless enough to schedule an appointment before 10 a.m. Have a great day, and I hope something good happens to you today.


In May, I will have completed 85 journeys around the sun. I will hop on the Lewes-Cape May ferry with my daughter and then drive to Tarrytown, NY, to celebrate. We will visit three distinctive homes—one a John D. Rockefeller mansion, one a Jay Gould castle, and one a modest home of Washington Irving. These are my old stomping grounds, where I graduated from Irvington High School a long time ago. I then married and had two children but eventually moved to Connecticut in 1969 when my husband changed careers. I could have stayed there forever.

I spent the first nine years of my marriage living in a lovely farmhouse on South Broadway built in 1735. The farmhouse is the one with the red roof. I wish I had a better photo of it. The larger building was built in the 1930s to house the former owner’s automobile collection.

Living in the small town of Tarrytown was wonderful, where I birthed my children in what is now called Sleepy Hollow, NY. I was active in my church, the Union Church of Pocantico Hills, which the Rockefellers built, and the local community theater, the Beechwood Players. I was even a “Cheery Cherry Lady” volunteer at the Phelps Memorial Hospital which is now condominiums. Most of all, I enjoyed being a young wife and mother. We had many friends, entertained often, and threw a huge party in our home once a year. I always loved putting that together. Sometimes, I think I should have been an event planner.

I was somehow elected President of the Beechwood Players by folks who thought I had a modicum of leadership ability. I really think it was because I had an electric IBM typewriter and wrote a fair-to-middling newsletter. The Beechwood Players were only famous because Peter Falk was a graduate. Us older folks will remember him as Detective Columbo in the popular TV show of the same name. He had quite an illustrious career, and you can Google him on Wikipedia.

This trip will be full of nostalgia as we ride around and see my high school, the church, and the Irvington Boat Club, where we motored around in our 16′ Chris Craft runabout. One year, we even motored down the Hudson River to New York City to watch the fireworks. I’m sure I’ll pass Matheison Park, where, much to my surprise, I won the homemade kite-flying contest. And, of course, I’ll drive by the old farmhouse and recall an abundance of memories.

On my special day, we will celebrate by enjoying a gourmet meal at a fine eatery hosted by my eldest daughter and son-in-law. We will, for sure, toast to the next fifteen years. Why? Because my goal has always been to live to be 100. With only 15 more years to go, I’m beginning to think I might make it.

Breaking Free

After seven years of on-again, off-again writing, my novel BREAKING FREE was published in late December. In April the book, and the cover, were awarded Honorable Mention in the Delaware Press Association Communications Contest. I was pleased with this outcome considering the delicate topic. Locally, the book is available at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, DE and at Bethany Beach Books in Bethany Beach, DE. It is also available on Amazon for $15.00 paperback and $9.99 Kindle.

This novel was written to motivate others to have hope and encouragement in moving through the process of breaking free from abuse. I am available through Revrita23@gmail.com to explore attending your book club for a discussion of this novel. An intimate audience is best.

Here is the blurb from the back cover summarizing the theme:

“Woven into the fabric of ordinary life, which family, friends, and the outside world rarely see or hear, is a demon called domestic violence or abuse. It is the solitary confinement of our society because it is suffered in silence and alone. It is more pervasive in homes than ever imagined and maims or kills those abused. This violence takes the forms of verbal, physical, emotional, or even financial abuse. This novel, based loosely on real events, is a story not focused on the abuse itself but on the journey of one woman breaking free from her prison of abuse into a life of love and peace. It is a story of hope fulfilled.”

If you read it, I would appreciate it if you would leave a review. Thanks in advance.

The Other Side of Grief

My spouse died over three years ago and I was pitched headfirst into the grief mill. His death was sudden, he entered the hospital on a Monday and, filled with cancer, was dead the following Monday. I was in shock, and while I had the time to say goodbye, I don’t remember if I did or didn’t. I know he was so drugged up it was ludicrous to even suggest we plan his funeral. So I sat by his bedside and sang to him, talked to him, held his hand, touched his hair and face, asked if he was in pain (he wasn’t), and told him I loved him as many times as there are stars in the sky. And then it was over.

My first grieving thoughts were like most people, all of the great things about him. Obituaries make saints out of even the worst human being. So I thought about his fabulous smile, twinkling blue eyes, infectious laugh, his adoration of me, his caring for me almost to worshiping me. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for me. I had to be careful not to say I liked something because he would get it for me, even if I was only admiring it for its beauty, but not wanting to own it. In the last four years of our 40-year marriage, he spent as much waking time with me as possible. Even if it was just a quick trip to the ATM or a short walk to get the mail. He kept saying, “We have more time behind us than ahead of us, and I want to spend as much of it with you.” What a fabulous guy. My heart physically ached for months and Niagara Falls swept down my face on a regular basis.

In order to tamp my grief, I decided to recall the time he hurt me by having a year-long affair. I didn’t divorce him. See the second paragraph above. We worked through it and over it. Thinking that would help. It didn’t. It just brought back the pain of hurt on top of the pain of grief.

Then I decided to recall all the things he did to annoy me. Things I can no longer remember in any detail. Stupid little things like he didn’t clean the electric toothbrush as well as I did. Or, he was a paper “stacker,” on his desk and not in any order. His desk was a mess, mine was neat and orderly. Or, he would hang his pants from the top dresser drawer of his tallboy if he was going to wear them the next day. Little, niggling, stuff. That didn’t work either because it only brought back those annoying feelings and who wants that.

Then I found the other side of grief. It wasn’t about all the good stuff, bad stuff or annoying stuff individually. Not in huge chunks at a time of any one quality. It was about all of it collectively. Just as a life lived. In any given day a trigger will bring to any one of those places. And what is gratifying about those places is that I never have to sit and dwell in them for hours or days on end. They are fleeting. They are rich in their depth and comedic in their silliness. Some linger if I want them to but fade away like a wisp of smoke from a cigarette if I don’t.

The other side of grief is living with the soul of the departed. Pure essence. In puffs and breaths of time.  To cover one like a crazy quilt of his life in the wholeness of the natural life they shared. None to overwhelm, but each to enrich and savor the essence of the one lost to the spiritual realm. To give warmth and comfort when life becomes cold and one has trouble finding the other side of grief.


My true love isn’t both of my husbands or my two children. It was Rip Van Winkle. Yes, the one in Washington Irving’s story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Rip’s the guy who slept for 20 years in the Catskill Mountains. My Rip, the one I love, is a nineteen-inch bronze statue I found in 1968 in an overlooked attic of an estate. Rip sat in that attic for eighteen years before I rescued him. With great enthusiasm, I brought him home to show my first husband, Bob. He wasn’t impressed and hid my beloved Rip in a dark corner of our family room.

When I divorced Bob, I got custody of my true love, Rip. But my second husband, Ralph, wasn’t fond of Rip, either. When we moved to a townhouse, poor, rejected Rip was relegated to an obscure niche on the third floor. At least he had more light than his previous dark corners. Overlooked, my adored Rip sat languishing and humiliated in our obscure corners for years.

Rip’s sculptor was discovered to be Daniel Chester French. You don’t know him? You know his work, I’m sure. He sculpted the statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial. An appraiser gave Rip an unexpected high appraisal. After Ralph found out how valuable and unique Rip was, well, that was another story. The day Ralph learned of Rip’s provenance, he moved him from the third floor to the first floor and put him in a prominent place on a pedestal. Today, my love, Rip, sits on a windowsill by my desk. No longer overlooked.

I told this story to a friend after Ralph died, and she asked me, “Do you know the moral of this story?” “No,” I replied. She said “The moral is husbands come, and husbands go, but Rip stays!”

This Time Of Year

We’re putting the tree and decorations up today (Dec. 5th). I used to wait until closer to Christmas to do this, but no more. Now, I put things up closer to Thanksgiving, so I have more time to enjoy their beauty and remember the meaning of Christmas. I’ve long forgotten why we put up a tree, but I know I give gifts to others to honor Jesus, who isn’t here to get them in person.

So, If I were true to how we celebrate other people’s birthdays, first, I wouldn’t have a tree, then I would buy all the presents, wrap them, and put them in the closet until the day marking the birth. Then, I would sneak out of bed at midnight and put the gifts on the dining room table to surprise the birthday person. Or, in this case, persons. But alas, people would think I was crazy if I did that and put me in the home.

Thus, at this time of year, I now put up a tree, put my wrapped presents under the tree, and wait for December twenty-fifth. While waiting, I hung a handmade Advent calendar I bought at a long past Christmas fair when we lived in Connecticut circa 1989. I also hang up three stockings off the bottom of one of my “frog” shelves, one for me, my daughter, and the dog. And I have three lovely creches that I put up on the mission table opposite my dining table. Just last year, I bought a set of Advent candles for my table that I copied from my friend, Elizabeth.

The sad part of all this effort is that my daughter and I are the only ones who will enjoy them. I used to invite a multitude of friends over at this time of year, but many of them have moved or gone off to join others in the spiritual realm. And, since I no longer cook, lunch or dinner guests for those meals are not an option. I might, however, have a few friends over for tea and/or dessert. My spouse used to say getting old was not for sissies. Well, since I don’t consider myself a sissy, I think I can handle this.
Merry  Christmas All. Until next time…

It is Sunday

It is Sunday. It has been over two years since I attended church in person. My church has very limited parking, being in the center of a historical town. I appreciate the beauty of that setting, but it is also why I rarely go to church except for very special occasions. You see, I have mobility issues and must use a walker if I am going to walk more than 50 feet. Often, people have to walk blocks to park and walk to the church.

For special events, my daughter drives me and drops me off in front of the church. And while she has offered to do that, she also has her own disabilities that make that difficult, so I don’t like to stress her out either.

All of this doesn’t mean I don’t go to church. As a matter of fact, I go to church more now than when I was the Rector (Pastor) of the churches I served. Why? Because of the miracle of modern technology. I attend via YouTube every Sunday from the convenience of my home, as do some 40-50 others. And when YouTube acts up, I am fortunate enough to be able to go to Facebook and tune into the service there.

There are things I love about this arrangement and things I don’t. I don’t like the isolation. There is something visceral about being in the presence of a worshiping community. One doesn’t get this from a computer screen. Or even from my large screen TV when I “Cast” the service there.

When my spouse was alive, we would cast the service to our East Wing TV (we have a long townhouse with two “wings). Then I would set up a TV table with a linen, a chalice filled with a bit of wine, and a paten with two pieces of bread. There would also be two candles and a small cross. Like being in church. At the appropriate time in the service, I would consecrate our bread and wine, and we felt like we were truly a part of the service. Sometimes now, I still cast the service to a TV, but usually not. There is no one here to share it with, and I rarely consecrate the hosts just for me.

But what I do like about this arrangement is the convenience. I don’t have to drive and walk blocks to get to my pew. I don’t have to depend on my daughter, and I can have a cup of coffee during the service. I can also get up and go to the bathroom without a hundred eyes on me as I walk from my usual second-row pew. I can also say “Good Morning” to my daughter as she goes into the kitchen for her coffee. I can stay through the Prelude, or I can leave anytime earlier without anyone knowing. And yet, I still miss the presence of the community. Always will.

Until next time…

Best Friends

I have had several “Best Friends,” in my life, but two came to the forefront of my life recently. When I lived in Connecticut, I had one best friend, Carolyn. We were soul-sisters (SS). However, when I remarried, we grew apart because I believe she thought she didn’t fit in with our lifestyle, which was rather “Preppy.” Some forty years later when her sister was visiting us last June, she suggested I call her. I did, and when I told her it was I, her first words were, “My best friend.” Yes, even after all these years of separation she felt that way. I hoped we could reconnect. But we didn’t have a chance to reconnect. She died last December.

Soul-Sisters (n.) connected eternally, praying and cheering for each other, laughing till stomach hurt, and somehow makes everything all right.

I also had a best friend in high school. Her name was Veronica and we too were sister-soul mates. She was supposed to be my maid of honor when I married and me, hers. It didn’t turn out that way because when I married she was out of state at college. And, when she married we were estranged due to a complicated situation that involved her family and I wasn’t asked to be her maid of honor. We tried to reconnect after she married, but there was still too much hurt bubbling beneath the skin, and it didn’t work. Then I moved to Connecticut and our connection was broken.


Last month, I was visiting my ex-husband (yes we are now friends) and his wife in Florida and he mentioned that he had connected with Veronica who now also lived in Florida. They had a lively conversation he reported. Just before I left, he handed me a small piece of paper that had her name, telephone number, and email address on it. He simply said, “Please call her, she’d love to hear from you.”

This is not her real information

Yesterday, I called her and we chatted for over an hour. Later, I texted her a picture from my yearbook where it said, “This page reserved for Ronnie (her nickname).” It was blank. This morning we were texting back and forth over that since she thought it was 48 years ago and I reminded her it was 65 years ago. She texted back that her math was never good. And so it went that here it is that I have now reconnected with my high school best friend and SS while losing another.

Life is beautiful, amazing, magical, and mystical in an unexpected way.


I remember when my stepfather died, my mother kept saying how lonely she was. She was living in a nice home in California and was active in the community and her church. I couldn’t understand how she could be lonely when she was so busy all the time. About a year after my stepfather died, she married her best friend’s brother. It was a big mistake, but it solved her loneliness. However, after three years of marriage to him, when he tried to kill her, she divorced him. She spent the next five years before she died alone, but she never complained of being lonely again.

Now I get it. My spouse died one and a half years ago of cancer. There was much to be done in the months after he died notifying all those agencies, changing his name to mine, sorting through his clothing, his things, his life, and deciding what went to where. It was exhausting but it kept me busy and not lonely.

I was fortunate that my adult daughter lived with me and shared things like doing the Sunday crossword puzzle, cooking, food shopping, and getting me to doctor’s appointments when I couldn’t drive for one reason or another. We try to always have dinner together, but lately, that hasn’t worked out so well.

2,485 Person Doing Crossword Puzzle Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free  Images - iStock
Grocery shopping Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock132,664 Doctors Office Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Her best friend who used to live one block away has now moved seven miles away. She now spends a lot of time there and also with several other of his family members. I am happy that she is so involved and busy. But it leaves me alone for days at a time when she leaves early in the morning and comes home after I have gone to bed. I don’t think she is avoiding me, I just think she is living her life and that is a good thing.

The problem for me is that I am now finding myself lonely, Like my mother. My mother was sixty-six when she was widowed and she lived for another ten years. I was eighty-one when I was widowed and hope I will have that much time. What I do know is that I am not looking to get married again to solve my loneliness. And, I have plenty to keep me busy. I have a novel to complete, I am active in a bridge club, and my writer’s guild. I have plenty of doctor’s appointments, and I have lunch with friends on a regular basis.

So, why am I lonely. Who knows? I just pray that it is a fleeting feeling that will drift away with the wind and I’ll wake up one day with joy in my heart. Lonely no more.

Give Me Joy In My Heart - Lyrics, Hymn Meaning and Story