Friday, December 18, 2009


With my energy level back to par, I’ve started spinning again for a woman who sells yarn to yarn shops – hence my delay in getting any blogs done. But it won’t be long before I get organized, I’m sure; and I am enjoying working with the wonderful colors this woman comes up with.
It was last year during the Santa Ana winds, when the early morning sun had stained the sky the color of crushed raspberries that I decided to work out in the backyard on my latest handwork adventure (one of way too many undertakings, I’m afraid). This particular piece is being knitted for the Dulaan Project ( – it amazes me that by doing something easy and fun, I might be making someone’s life a little better). The item I’m working on is a child’s turquoise and lavender, knit-from-the-neck-down sweater.
With my bag of knitting gear and my soft wool, I settled onto the swing next to my garden and was immediately greeted by the drifting scent of Rosemary (the perfumed air provided by our cat Skittles as he snooped through the low lying branches of the plant – it seems that cats are always on the lookout for new adventures – too bad their paws are not made to hold knitting needles).
Although my garden takes up a very small area it suits me fine and is easy to care for. Situated at the top of a gully the garden is fairly quiet, considering it’s in a congested neighborhood. And being organic it’s full of bees, ladybugs, butterflies and birds (that is, once I’ve taken our two kitties into the house).
I’ve promised myself that one night I’ll stay awake and find out what leaves tiny, muddy prints around the huge bowl water I leave out for the thirsty creatures who visit the garden during the wee hours. But so far I’ve been too lazy to stay awake beyond my regular bedtime which is early, even by my standards. I suspect the prints are being left by a raccoon; I doubt that the feral cats would leave tracks all over the place (cats being much too proper to tramp through mud). One of the feral cats is a beautiful, slender feline with a very unusual, gray spotted coat and one clipped ear (a sign that some good Samaritan did the responsible thing and had her/him spayed/neutered). And while he (Hubby calls it a she, I refer to it as “he” – consequently it’s called he/she interchangeably by either/both of us) is getting friendlier, there have been days when it seemed terrified to be caught in the yard with Hubby even though Hubby is loaded down with bowls of cat food. For some time Hubby had been complaining that he was spending more time feeding the feral cat than painting and in fact the feral cat was eating as much as Skittles and Sugar (our black and white female) combined. We were both amazed at the amount of cat food that the little guy/gal was packing away until one day when I glanced outside and saw that there were two he/she’s – twins of all things! A perfectly matched pair of beautifully dressed felines – who may/may not be (but probably are) preparing their share of double trouble for our household.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


A couple of weeks ago my granddaughter accidentally left her purse (containing her cell phone and wallet) in a taxi. Not only did the driver deliver her purse to her house and leave her belongings on the front porch, but inside her purse he’d left her a note. The note said, “I lost my wallet one time and when I got it back it was empty. I didn’t want that to happen to you,” – folded inside the note was a hundred dollar bill!
Wanting to do something nice in return, my granddaughter tracked down the taxi driver but all he wanted was for her to pass on a kindness to someone else.
Her experience reminded me of an incident that took place several years ago when my older sister (not older than the hills – just older than me), a family friend, my mom (who’d be the first to say she is older than the hills – age 92 to be exact) went out to lunch. The car we were in was low to the ground and my sister and I were having a heck of a time getting mom out. As we tugged and pushed on her we started to laugh and the laughing only got worse when my mother starting scolding, “Don’t you girls get me started laughing!” We finally extricated the poor woman (without the use of the Jaws of Life) and went in to lunch.
During the meal I noticed that a man at a table across from us kept glancing in our direction (not that I blamed him – we were still chuckling over mom being stuck in the back of the car). The man was well dressed: black slacks and black silk shirt. But the reason I noticed him was because before he sat down I saw that he had something similar to the receiver of an old fashioned phone hanging from his belt by a long black cord, and I wondered what that was all about. Was he in the restaurant on his lunch break? If so what kind of job required that he carry half a phone dangling from his person?
The man left as we were finishing our meal and when the waitress came to see if we wanted dessert, my sister asked for the check.
“Your check has been taken care of,” the waitress said. Pointing at the table that the man had recently vacated, she added, “The man that was sitting at that table paid for your lunches and said to tell you to have a nice day.”
The four of us were stunned into silence (finally).
“Who is he?” one of us asked.
“I don’t know,” the waitress answered, “he comes in every once in a while,
chooses someone and pays for their meal. And he leaves before anyone can thank him.”
That guy made our day! And not because we got a free meal, but because it’s so
great to be reminded that there are some really nice people sharing our space on the planet.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


On a shopping trip a few years ago, I met The King. No, not that King - I was nowhere near Graceland. This King was in his early twenties, and lacking the formality that usually accompanies royalty, he casually introduced himself simply as "The King". He showed no shyness in admitting his concern for the welfare of those visiting his Kingdom, and without complaint explained that he kept a careful watch, five days a week, over his domain that started at the pencil aisle and ended at the packing supplies. A man of integrity, he took his responsibilities seriously and quickly helped me locate all the items on my shopping list before being summoned over the speaker system. As he walked away he said that if I needed further help, to call him. I'd barely gotten out the words, "Ohhh Kiiing," when he was back at my side - it was almost a pleasure spending more money than I'd intended.
After leaving all my cash at the check stand, I called for the manager - who slowly slunk from his office.
"I'm the manager," he choked, as if fearing that if he heard one more complaint he’d be compelled to run his head through the paper shredder. His demeanor left me unsure of his sense of humor so without calling The King, “King”, I simply pointed at the young man and said to the manager, "That guy is a great salesman and I wanted to let you know."
Like magic the manager's attitude changed lickey-split and happily he stated, "I'll make a note of it in his employee file."
I always take the time to tell store managers when their employees are really good and I would have loved to compliment another guy that helped me at the hardware store.
The store had just opened on a Sunday morning, and I'd begun to scour the shelves for a light fixture when a nicely dressed fellow started down the aisle. With an eye toward tidiness, he was straightening the area by realigning all the merchandise.
After some searching I found a floor sample of the item I wanted, but there were none in boxes on the shelves. So as the young man worked his way toward me I called out to him, told him what I was looking for and asked if he'd help me find one. He agreed in a gentlemanly manner.
Together we'd pulled down, and put back, every box on the messy shelves before he said apologetically, "I guess there aren't any more." When he saw my disappointment he added quickly, "But maybe there are some in the back." My frustration mounting, I asked brusquely, "Well, would you mind looking?!" "Oh, okay, sure," he replied with some embarrassment.
Ten minutes later, as I was about to walk out of the store in disgust, the young man reappeared. His tie was askew, the front of his black slacks and white shirt were smudged with dust, but in his hands was a large box. "It's not the same one, but it's close," he said with a smile.
Happily I took the box to the check stand and when the item wouldn’t come up on the cash register I was asked the price. I stated that I didn't know and explained that the man who works in the lighting department, or (from the way he was dressed) perhaps it was the store manager, had gotten the light fixture from the back room. The cashier called for the two men to come to her register. When they appeared, both the manager and the man working in the lighting department were dressed in jeans and brightly colored T-shirts sporting the store's logo.
The young man who'd helped me certainly deserved to have my stamp of approval placed in his employee file - if only he'd been an employee.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


After one of my treatments last month, we went to the park to see the ducks. Unfortunately the ducks were on furlough (while their ponds were being refurbished) and in their place was a woman who set her parrot on a big rock for me to photograph him (unfortunately she chose a rock that was in the shade – but you can still see him). And there were also oodles of chubby, gray squirrels.
We watched as a young mother held out a nut to one of the fluffy tailed critters. The squirrel was cautions on its approach, but then sat up on its hind legs, took the nut and ate it right there in front of the woman. Of course her son (a toddler) reached out to touch the little guy and beside me, Hubby gasped, “What if the squirrel thinks the baby is holding a peanut and accidentally bites his finger!” I have to admit, I was getting nervous, too. But the mom, being on her toes, had everything under control and easily slipped in between her son and the squirrel.
My sister was telling me that years ago the park near her house was full of gray squirrels. She and my brother-in-law used to take their son (a toddler at the time) and go visit them. Their son loved the squirrels and called them all Jimmy Squirrel – nobody knew why, that was just what he called them (like his cousin who stubbornly called his dad, Bill – not dad, not even his real name….just Bill). My sister said her son desperately wanted to feed the squirrels (while in his mind he probably also had visions of catching a few) and in his excitement he’d run up to one holding out a peanut – which of course caused the squirrel to take off in terror. He’d chase after Jimmy Squirrel for a ways, eventually throwing the peanut in the direction of the departing animal. But before long he’d turn and moving as fast as a toddler is able, he’d hurry back toward his parents – and right behind him would by a horde of hungry Jimmy Squirrels.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I saw a street person walk past my house yesterday, which is an unusual sight. It’s not as if we don’t have unusual sights along our street: a woman in pj’s and hiking boots walking a tiny dog down the middle of the road, two very large, very drunk old men who took turns running up every driveway to yell the name Bertie into each backyard before scampering off (that was before the police arrived), a fellow dressed in black (black shoes, black pants, black shirt, black bowler) who quacks (through some kind of portable amplifying system) every so many yards as he jogs along, a guy who roams the area at three a.m. calling for Skippy – but seldom do we see street people. I suppose the man spends his nights in the park (beautiful surroundings, but not a safe place to have to sleep). His hair was a matted mess, his clothes were in tatters and he was filthy (which was obvious clear from inside my house).
There are some that believe a derelict gets what he/she deserves. That they are simply shiftless and too lazy to work – which is undoubtedly true in some cases. But that kind of thinking makes it all too easy to sidestep compassion, a commodity that is sorely lacking.
I have a friend who swears that my way of thinking draws those down on their luck to me. She constantly refers to the time I was on the other side of the U.S., standing with a large group of people waiting for a taxi when a homeless man, riding an imaginary motorcycle, pulled up to me and screeched on his imaginary brakes. As a group, those around me took a giant step backwards.
“Hi,” the motorcyclist said to me.
“Hi,” I replied.
“My friend, Charlie, wants to meet you,” he stated.
Oh boy.
Before I could respond, the man pulled out a plant from a spare shirt he had tucked under his arm (an action, I’m sure, meant to keep him from driving in a reckless manner). The roots of the creeping Charlie, void of dirt, dangled freely yet the leaves looked fresh and healthy (leaving me to believe that it had been very recently ripped from its home to go on this little trip).
“Hi, Charlie,” I said softly, hoping the crowd wouldn’t notice that I was conversing with vegetation.
The man smiled at me revealing toothless gums before revving up his bike and taking off with a loud varoom, varoom.
Aside from the homeless down on their luck, there are those with mental problems living on the street. One in particular was a middle aged man who spent much of each day wandering along the same thoroughfare. His disheveled appearance and loud ranting made him a frightening figure. One day Hubby could no longer stand the man’s tortured out bursts and approached him as the man screamed at an unseen partner. Hubby handed the man some money and over the raving, shouted, “Go get some breakfast.” The words seemed to jolt the man back to reality, at least for a moment.
“Okay,” he replied meekly.
Too bad the problems of the homeless can’t be solved as easily as that.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


It has been suggested to me that I come clean and stop putting in “Fact or fib” - okay, so the stories are true…except for little portions like: I don’t live in a house the size of a crawl space – it’s more the size of a bread box…and I don’t really call the sweetie I’m married to “Hubby”. Now that we’ve got that straight, let me blather on about the new walking spot Hubby and I found. It’s a quiet, secluded area that feels like it’s out in the country, even though it’s nestled in among the homes of a heavily populated area. In fact, when I was in elementary school all of us neighborhood kids would drag cardboard boxes up to this spot and slide down the hillsides – that was before there were any buildings there, of course – we were good at cardboard tobogganing but not so good we could steer around fences and houses at 20 mph.
I wonder if our parents realized where we were going, since the area was notorious for rattlesnakes. In fact, yesterday, during the walk through this lovely spot, I stayed very alert. Even though Hubby always reminds me that snakes are shy creatures I wouldn’t care to run into one – but that’s just me, I guess; the park workers don’t seem to have that worry. Although the park is full of warning signs about rattlesnakes, I noticed that the door to every building in the place was propped open: the offices, the gymnasium, the restrooms, the utility sheds – are these people a bunch of wackos?! Don’t they know that on a warm day a snake will take refuge in a cool building?!!!!!
I suppose I’m a little overly anxious when it comes to snake encounters. And even though I’ve touched them before, the thought of them touching me sends me into a panic – like the time out on my sister’s property (also rattlesnake country). We had taken her van, containing a huge barrel of water (strapped down where the backseats used to be) to water her trees which were planted out in the brush. Keeping a sharp look-out for snakes, I probably had snakes on the brain.
My sister had just scooped a bucket of water from the barrel when the van began to roll backwards. When she yelled, “Hit the brake!” I could have SWORN she yelled “It’s a snake!” and literally trampled her on my way out. Now logically I know that even if a snake was tall enough to reach the door handle, it probably wouldn’t know how to open the door – but then a fear-crazed mind will believe anything.
But doesn’t that experience substantiate my theory that snakes can be dangerous? – even when they aren’t around. I’m sure my sister would agree.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Not only did all of my test results come back great, but I woke up at four
this morning remembering that on this very date, many moons ago a unique character was welcomed into the world. From day one he was great company – as a little guy, when we’d pass the Kentucky Fried Chicken place, he’d point and in his deep, gravely voice he’d say, “I like that Tucky Turkey” – that was before he became a vegetarian.
He had long eyelashes that always caught peoples’ attention which was a great embarrassment to him (wearing a “tiger skin” beret, wasn’t. Compliments were). As he got a little older, when someone would stop us to compliment him on his long lashes he’d copy his hero (Spider Man). He’d point his wrists at the culprit in hopes of covering the unsuspecting person with webs.
A healthy baby he never had so much as a cold for the first two years of his life. Maybe it was his robust health that caused him to be so active as a toddler (climbing out of windows when no one was looking, for one thing – climbing onto the bathroom counter in preparation for shaving, for another).
As he matured to kindergarten age so did his interest in taking things apart (if you’ve ever tried to wind a heavy-duty metal tape measure back into its case, you know it’s an impossible task). And while in elementary school he disassembled his two wheeler (all of it - every single part that wasn’t welded together). His bike sat in a big pile in front of the fireplace for some time (better there than to have bits and pieces scattered and lost in the yard – and there were lots and lots of bits and pieces). Then one day I came home from work to find his bike restored to its original state. When I asked who put it back together (what I probably should have asked, two weeks before, was why did you take the whole thing apart – but really, I knew why: 1. because he could and 2. to see how it worked). He said, “I put it back together, myself. I couldn’t before because I couldn’t figure out how the brakes worked, but on the walk home from school today I knew what to do.”
From the time he was little, he was always thoughtful (he had an unchanging philosophy of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) consequently for Hubby’s birthday gift, the little guy shouted Happy Birthday and opening his shirt allowed a newly found cat to jump free, and land on Hubby’s dinner plate where it began to devour his pork chop – that was before Hubby became a vegetarian. The next year’s gift came under the same heading of “Do unto others” but at least the cymbal clapping monkey wasn’t a live monkey – we were happy about that. But from then on, Hubby’s birthday gifts took an upswing, like the painting of Dangerous Dan.
There were many adventures of lost snakes in the house, detached hands crawling across the floor during breakfast, and entering a semi-dark room to find a head with wild hair and startling blue eyes staring back ominously. What a time was had by all!
So Happy Birthday to the painter of monsters (one of the sweetest souls imaginable) – we love you, Chet!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What would life be without pets? Sure, mine sometimes drive me nuts with their demands. I guess the ones at my house are spoiled and it’s our fault (well, mainly Hubby’s fault) but to a one they are gentle creatures who insist on comforting either of us if they think we’re under the weather or down in the dumps. Of course the rubbing and ten toed massages they give aren’t always convenient, like when I’m trying to polish my nails, or drink a hot cup of coffee. But they mean well and in my book that counts for a lot.
Then there is that other side of them which is a different matter entirely: throwing themselves at the bedroom door if someone is napping and they suddenly decide the bed is really their property, sitting on the checkbook as I’m trying to quickly get a balance so I can write a check for a delivery person waiting at the door, cleaning a person’s plate when they aren’t looking, drinking from my glass of water that I keep next to the bed at night (when the slurping noise woke me I had to wonder how many years we’d been sharing the same glass – ahhhh!) And they’ve even been known to try and trip a person if they want to get a point across. Undisciplined? I’m afraid so. And worst of all is the new addition, Fang who bullies everyone else. Once he’s let out in the morning he tramps around the yard checking things out and you can almost hear him saying, “Fe Fi Fo Fum…Someone stepped in my yard and boy was that dumb!”
If only ours had the manners displayed by a little Chihuahua I saw. He was sitting with his owner who was wheelchair bound. The chair had been rigged so that a board formed a small platform between the man’s feet. Dressed in a straw sombrero (the dog, not the man) with danglies hanging down and tiny, tiny sunglasses the Chihuahua proudly shared his owner’s pleasure in watching the traffic go by.
But I have to admit our pets are not as spoiled or outlandish as some. At least they don’t rip things up if Hubby and I have to leave the house (well at least they don’t any more). Nor do our cats use the toilet as a litter box (which sounds like it should be a good thing, right?). I know of two cats that do that – unfortunately neither knows how to flush, and one only uses it when company arrives – the cat’s owner admits it’s imperative she stay sharp in order to check out the facilities before her guests have need of them.
It’s true that ours will only eat what they want to eat (which changes from day to day and is kept a secret from us until the last minute and then only revealed after numerous brands and flavors have been dished up). Still, when they’re sleeping they look so sweet! – even though the place they’re taking up is the exact spot you’ve vacated only seconds before to reach across the coffee table for a magazine.
Perhaps, like children, a pet’s main job is to keep the people they own on their toes.

Monday, November 9, 2009


My first encounter occurred many years ago. I’d locked my keys in the car (the one and only time I did that) across the street from the post office and in front of a rough and tumble kind of park (full of rough and tough kind of folks). Having heard that it was possible to pop up the door lock with a coat hanger, I ran to the post office and begged one off of the man behind the counter. Evidently I wasn’t the first postal visitor to lock their keys in because the hanger was already prepared for its new job.
Unaware that I had an audience, I tried to get the straightened hanger beyond the closed window and into the car. On about the third attempt I heard a man loudly moan, “You’re going to rip the gasket!”
I looked behind me as a tall, dark man appeared at my shoulder.
“Give me that!” he demanded, ripping the coat hanger from my hand.
It was miraculous; in less than five seconds he had the door open!
But before I could thank him he dropped the hanger to the sidewalk and took off like a Jack rabbit with his tail on fire. For anyone who has read my novel, SCREAM ONCE FOR HELP, yes, this scenario was included (sort of).
I watched in amazement as the good Samaritan (with lightening speed) disappeared down a hillside. Stunned by his quick departure I was staring like a goofus at the empty hill when I heard my name being broadcast. I turned back toward my car and saw that a patrol car had pulled up, and a patrolman was climbing out.
Upon approaching me he demanded, “Do you know that guy?”
“No, I locked my keys inside and he was helping me get in,” I stuttered nervously.
Glaring ominously, he snarled, “He’s a convicted car thief!”
Like that’s my fault?
“Show me some identification,” he ordered.
The patrolman was obviously angry, but I was getting a little hot under the collar, too. It was bad enough that I’d locked my keys in, now I was being treated like I’d broken the law!
My hands shaking, I handed over my driver’s license.
“See how nervous you’ve made me!” I blurted out.
But honestly? I don’t think he cared.
The latest encounter occurred more recently when I received a call from a police sergeant asking if he could use my backyard for a stake-out. I agreed (contrary to the patrolman’s opinion, I am a law abiding citizen – besides who wants a ring of potential thieves working in the area).
The sergeant arrived that afternoon and upon scoping things out decided that the best place to see what was going on was behind my yard in a small plot being used as a vegetable garden by one of the neighbors. I showed him how to access the garden by squeezing past a brick wall, and then I got a chair for him.
I watched (which he probably loved!) as he set up headquarters (binoculars, walkie-talkie, movie camera and bottled water) behind a row of very tall broccoli. When I heard my phone ringing I ran in and grabbed it.
“What were you doing?” my sister wanted to know, since I normally answer by the third ring.
“I was taking a chair out to a policeman,” I answered breathlessly.
“There’s a policeman doing a stake-out behind the neighbor’s broccoli and I was giving him a chair so he wouldn’t have to squat in the dirt,” I explained.
“Figures,” she replied before stating the reason she was calling.
Unlike the patrolman that had me a nervous wreck, all of the officers on stake-out were polite and friendly except for one who had a somewhat sour disposition. The first time he arrived he knocked on the front door to introduce himself and show me his badge (which they all did). I accompanied him to the back wall, showed him how to get into the garden and explained that the other officers had used the broccoli as a blind. After staring down the long row of tall plants he grumbled, “I hate broccoli!”
Ahhh, sir, I wasn’t suggesting you eat them, only that you use them to hide behind.
It was a little over a week before the sergeant and his men got what they wanted…or at least I guess they did; it’s been several years now and none of them have been back.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I have a pair of English walking shoes that I really like. They’re clogs with black leather tops in a crisscross design and leather piping that runs around the edge where the top is connected to the bottom. Most importantly they’re very comfortable.
One day as I was slipping them on I saw that the piping had a slit in it and beneath the slit the top of the shoe was coming off the bottom. Since I had just noticed a new shoe repair shop, I immediately dropped off my beloved broken shoe.
The following week when the shoe was due to be released Hubby offered to pick it up for me, which he did…after a short argument with the repair man who insisted that a man’s brown dress shoe was mine. Hubby finally went behind the counter, dug through a big pile of shoes and came up with my walking shoe and brought it home. When I saw my wonderful shoe, I was devastated! The repair man had scrunched everything together and slapped on a dab of glue (and told hubby that was all that could be done with it). Sadly I stuck the shoe in the back of the closet wondering if I ever dared wear it again.
Day before yesterday my neighbors invited me over to celebrate the 2nd birthday of their little girl. The mom knew I was still low on energy, so she understood when I said I’d love to come long enough to watch the baby open her gifts – the mom agreed to call me when the party got to that stage.
When I got to the house it was full of people, mostly adults. I was introduced to scads of friends and family and then I took a seat to watch the birthday girl open her presents.
Once the baby had opened everything, I got up to leave and found that my neighbor had packed up huge plates of food and cake for me to take home. She slipped the plates into a paper bag, which had to be carried flat. I balanced the bag on the palms of my hands and as I took a step, I felt my English walking shoe break.
“Oh, goodness,” my neighbor exclaimed, “your shoe is broken.”
Everyone turned and looked at my feet where the side of my foot was sticking out of the side of my shoe.
“I’ll get my husband to carry the food across the street,” she offered.
Embarrassed to be wearing a shoe that looked like something a hobo would wear, I quickly said, “Oh no, I can get it.”
I tried to hurry out of the room and found that the only way I could walk was by stepping with the good shoe and dragging the bad…step with the good, drag the bad.
I tried a gallant smile on my way out, but I don’t think anyone noticed – they were all staring at my feet.
I made it out of the house, and balancing the food on one palm, I managed to remove and pick up my broken shoe. I had gotten as far as the curb when my good shoe (which up to this point had absolutely nothing wrong with it) suddenly fell apart!
Still balancing the food, I very slowly squatted down and gathered up the pieces, then tip toeing ever so lightly (so I wouldn’t ruin my embroidered socks on the rough blacktop) I hurried across the street. When I got to my driveway I looked back to make sure I hadn’t left a trail of broken shoe parts littering the neighbor’s yard and to my horror I saw that all the guests were gathered at the big bay window, waving.
Fact or fib – you be the judge.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


When a person is young and has a family it seems that the children (if paid attention to) add the necessary ingredient for a well rounded life. And once the children are grown and gone there aren’t many other things to fill that gap other than pets and certain friends.
We had some of these friends over the other day. We had a great time remembering funny stories, telling jokes and discussing future aspirations. It was a very pleasing day.
And then there are those friends that are off the wall funny and very creative as well. On a visit to the home of one such friend, I got to her porch and through the screen door I could see her laying on the couch. She was reading and using a pair of salad tongs to hold her paperback far enough away so she could see the words – that was years ago, she has since turned to using drug store cheaters.
I feel very lucky to count family as friends. If you have numerous relatives (which I do) who enjoy the same type of humor that you enjoy, you’re very fortunate…now that I think about it, I believe that all of my family members share the same brand of humor, some to a bigger degree than others but still it’s the same – and believe me the things we laugh at can be pretty bizarre. Case in point: there was the time one family member decided the kids’ bedrooms needed a good cleaning: fresh start and all that stuff. The children helped her box up old toys and clothes that no longer fit and in parade fashion marched the bags and boxes down to the alley where it was a certainty that those in need would find them and haul the stuff off.
The cleaning job had taken all morning and the mom had just sat down to recuperate when her teenaged daughter began to yell.
“Hey! Where are my books for school? My books are gone,” she wailed.
The mom ran to the window and looked down to the alley. Sure enough an older, rather small, bag lady was dragging off one of the big trash bags. Slung over her arm was the familiar backpack bulging with the daughter’s school books.
Followed by her brood, the mother rushed down to the alley.
“Just a minute,” she called out, and the bag lady picked up speed. But being beyond her running years she didn’t get very far before the mother caught up.
“You can keep all of the other stuff,” the mom explained, “but I need the backpack; it has my daughter’s books in it.”
The bag lady waved her off and pretending she didn’t speak English, tried to hurry away.
“Wait!” the mother exclaimed, easily stepping in front of the little woman. Pointing at the backpack she said very distinctly, “I need this back. It was put out by mistake. My daughter’s school books are in there.”
With the trash bag slung over one shoulder, and the backpack hanging off the other, the bag lady once again tried to escape.
“Stop,” the mother shouted and grabbed the strap of the backpack.
“That’s mine!” the bag lady yelled (minus even the hint of an accent).
Being younger, the mom’s reaction time was much better and she pulled the backpack away and started back down the alley with it.
The kids, who’d been silent observers, started to yell and point behind her.
Before the mother had a chance to turn around the bag lady jumped on her back.
Afraid of hurting the older woman by trying to push her off, the mother did the only thing she could think of: she began to rotate (going only as fast as is possible when an adult is riding piggy back). She whirled one way and then the other but the bag lady was stuck like glue. Even with the children cheering her on, the mom couldn’t dislodge the bag lady or win the battle for the backpack…until a police car showed up (summoned by a neighbor, who, from an apartment window, had been watching the entire event, and called 911).
Upon hearing the burp of the siren, the mother came to a dizzy standstill and the bag lady slowly slid off, popping several buttons from the mom’s blouse, which in turn displayed her bra for all to see, causing the teenage daughter to yell with embarrassment, “Mom!” before rushing upstairs and locking herself in the house.
With the police in attendance the squabble was quickly straightened out; the mom got the backpack, the bag lady got the bag of discards (which left her grumbling that she should have gotten the backpack, too).
Oh gosh, did we laugh about that one – and in fact we still do!
FACT OR FIB – you be the judge.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I’m an early riser but after a day of several appointments I decided to sleep in this morning. It’s now 6:30 a.m. and the neighbor’s lawn mower has me wide awake. As I sip my coffee I wait for the bizarre procedure to end: mow the lawn, water the lawn, mow the lawn again (yes, again), edge the lawn with a gasoline powered edger, and finally, FINALLY, use the loudest blower known to man – and this routine takes place sometimes twice a week!
I wouldn’t complain so much about the noise, if the blower operator would at least blow all the clippings, leaves and debris into a pile, then pick everything up and get rid of it (preferably by recycling). But that’s not what most people do. They use their blowers to disperse the mess they’ve made to their neighbors’ yards and gutters. Thanks, but no thanks, if I wanted a carpet of grass and crap covering my sidewalk I have six hundred square feet of yard that could easily supply my needs.
I can’t figure it out. A blower isn’t like a ray gun; it can’t make junk disintegrate – it’s gotta go someplace! And if the idea of yard work is to make things look nice and tidy, where does a gutter full of litter fit into the picture?
It must be true; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
FACT OR FIB – you be the judge.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


When I was growing up if someone had mentioned the word supermarket, people would have said, “Huh?” What we had were corner stores. Ours was owned and run by three men: Jimmy, Carmine, and Whispering Johnny. These guys knew everybody, as well as their shopping preferences. If a kid was sent to the store (which was usually the case) the men made sure the child bought the correct brand for that particular household. And all three guys were friendly with everyone.
Although for the most part the checkers in the supermarkets are friendly, it’s not exactly the same kind of friendly. Or it wasn’t until Babs (I’m calling her Babs for anonymity sake because I think she got fired) came on the scene. Babs was in her forties with contacts a startling shade of blue, and a friendly personality in the extreme. Once you dealt with her you couldn’t help but like her – and of course she liked you back. From that time on, if you were smart, you’d check in with Babs as soon as you entered the store. Otherwise a surprise greeting was eminent. The second Babs spotted a friend she’d come flying down the aisle to throw her arms around the person and give them a big smack on the cheek. And this welcoming would take place even if it meant leaving startled customers stranded in the midst of a transaction – I’m afraid that was Babs’ downfall.
Her friendliness was an asset to the store so I think the manager put up with a lot for a while: snacking on items as she stocked shelves, walking off and leaving a long time of people (“Break time,” she’d call over her shoulder, “be back in ten.”) and hiding out if she didn’t feel like working. Once we spent a good five minutes searching her out because we had an important question. After going up and down the aisles in vain, we ended up near the glassed-in enclosure where the video rentals were displayed. A movie was playing on one of the TV’s inside the room and the music caught my attention. I glanced over, and above the stacks of movies were two hands swaying high in the air. Hubby went to the door and peeked in.
“There you are,” he said, as someone grabbed him and pulled him inside. By the time I got to the door, both him and Babs were dancing up a storm.
We haven’t seen Babs in a long time, but the memories of those shopping days are as vivid as the days, long ago, when Whispering Johnny would carefully help me select the correct brand of peas.
When was the last time grocery shopping was a memorable event for you? Stay vigilant, it might be today.
FACT OR FIB – you be the judge.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I love cool weather! Cloudy days? Wonderful. Fog? Even better!! – because along with the gloom comes the quiet.
The hot weather seems to be gone now (thank heavens) and with it went the flies as well as most other flying/crawling things. But not the ants. We had more than our fair share sharing our house this year – and like some animals I can think of the ants seem to like the accommodations well enough to extend their vacation. It’s not as if they aren’t living in a hostile environment but I guess in their tiny brains they’ve somehow come to terms with being booted out one door or another. Their thought process must run along the same lines as our cats who tolerate the neighbor’s dog. The shepherd (animal, not human) spends every waking second with his head shoved through the bars of the wrought iron fence and with glistening teeth, watches for one of the cats to appear. And somehow the cats seem to know that he can’t squeeze through more than his head. Nor can he jump the fence. Still, the thought of sunning in the backyard, next door to a killer that is bent on murdering you, would be a bone chilling prospect to me.
Right now there’s an ant after my coffee. The little guy (or gal) is persistent! He/she repeatedly sprints for the cup but the heat emanating from it forces him/her to back off. If the goal were ever to be achieved, it would be really disappointing – there’s nothing in the cup but plain, old black coffee. And what’s an ant doing in the bedroom anyway? There’s no food in here! But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, the ants are everywhere – sometimes I sit on the couch and watch them as they slowly trudge across the carpet on their way to…nowhere?
In the past I’ve been able to discourage the mobs of ants by making sure that nothing attractive to them gets left out. We carefully wipe down every surface and hide anything sweet in the refrigerator (since resealable bags, and closed jars are no deterrent). So I wasn’t surprised this morning when I saw a group of early risers breakfasting on the edge of the kitchen sink where a teensy, tiny drop of chocolate ice cream had dripped. I turned to get a paper towel and saw that another band of them were attacking a bowl containing a few crumbs of cat food. Cat food over chocolate ice cream?! I can only assume that when the scout showed up with the good news that the people were back to being sloppy again, several ants, in their excitement, took a wrong turn.
Ants can be such aggravating critters, especially when they use you as a bridge to get from one end of the couch to the other. But it could be worse. Things can ALWAYS be worse! So I guess I’ll stop complaining. At least we aren’t under attack from hordes of locust. Wait a minute! What was that thing that just flew past me?!
FACT OR FIB – you be the judge.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


At one time I had the pleasure of working in a grocery store where I was the computer inputter person. I say pleasure because it was a fun job, thanks to everyone who worked there.
My space (you couldn’t really call it an office) was in the back of the store. The area was small, maybe eight feet long by four feet wide. Because it was so narrow everything was lined up against one wall. Starting at the back corner was a filing cabinet, a few boxes of supplies, then my desk with the computer, and a couple of feet away was the doorway, minus a door. Partitioned off from the warehouse, it was kind of dark back there and during the hours I worked, very quiet. Creepy would be a good way to describe it.
While all the employees were pleasant, friendly people, it was the ones working in the deli section that were over-the-top fun. And one of them, Mike, was more than just boisterously happy; he was also a practical joker. One of Mike’s favorite things was to wait until I’d been working a while so that I was totally engrossed in my job, then he’d tip toe to the open doorway, pop into the entrance and yell, “Boo!” This joke never failed to work its magic on me. His loud voice, cutting through the silence, would cause me to jump to such a degree that my chair would shoot backwards and bounce off the wall behind me. Then, laughing like a fool, Mike would return to the deli.
One day during his mission of madness, Mike failed to see the owner enter my workspace. When Mike jumped into the entrance and saw the boss standing at the file cabinet, he tried to cut off the “Boo” part of the joke but it was too late. He was forced to settle for a slightly strangled version of the word before scurrying back to the deli. Of course the weird sound caught the owner’s attention and when he saw Mike hot footing it away he merely shook his head and returned to his search through the drawer. It was the one and only time I neither yipped nor shot across the room, so I pretended to be oblivious of the entire bizarre scene.
Before the owner left my “office” he asked, “Does he do that often?”
“Not really,” I lied.
Early the following morning the owner called me to his domain. He had never called me upstairs before so I went to see him with much trepidation. I was afraid Mike was in trouble and also afraid I’d have to come up with more creative lies than, “Not really.”
When I walked into the owner’s office I saw that a padded blanket (the kind used in moving vans) was folded on one of the chairs. The owner nodded at the other chair and I sat down.
“I hear that Mike is quite a practical joker,” he said.
“Oh?” I replied noncommittally.
“I like a good practical joke myself,” he admitted.
Not sure if this was a ploy to trip me up so I’d admit to some of Mike’s more outlandish behavior, I simply smiled.
“So,” he continued, “if you’d like to be a part of it I came up with something pretty good last night.”
I agreed, not only because it would be funny to see Mike finally “get his” but also because it was the boss’ suggestion and …well, he was the boss.
That day, when Mike went on his morning break (which he always took outside the store so he could smoke) the owner let me into the walk-in freezer where I schooched down in the corner with the padded blanket covering me. I was told later by the remaining deli crew (who watched with bug eyed horror) that the owner sent for Mike’s immediate return. As soon as Mike appeared, the owner began to reprimand him for forgetting about the special lunch (bogus, of course) to be held at one of the local elementary schools. Having never seen the owner so much as criticize anyone before, Mike was too shocked to try and defend himself and so he just stood there speechless. The owner sent Mike into the freezer to bring out a big box of frozen hot dogs so they could supposedly start thawing.
As soon as I heard the freezer door close, I peeked out from a crack at the side of the blanket and watched Mike frantically search the shelf for the non-existent box of hot dogs. I could tell by his actions that he was starting to get really shook up, so before he got hysterical I jumped up and with the blanket still in place, yelled, “Aaaaaaah!” (Boo just seemed too mild to fit the situation).
I don’t know if Mike even looked in my direction before he took off. But I did hear him bang into the freezer door a couple of times before he got it open. It just goes to show what attention to detail will do.
I’d like to say that the nearly heart stopping experience convinced Mike to stop scaring the bejeesus out of me – unfortunately it didn’t. But then, I’ve never heard of a reformed practical joker.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rule #1. Just because mail ends up at your house doesn’t mean you get to keep it.
My sister and I ordered some diet cookies – actually, lots of them! We decided to have them delivered to her house, she’d divide up the different flavors and I’d pick up my share from her. I called in the order. After giving her name as the recipient, I accidentally gave the wrong address – which we were unaware of until the night of the scheduled delivery. Already in her jammies, my sister sent my brother-in-law out to look for our cookies. He returned to tell her that the house number I had given didn’t exist. But he reported that he’d seen a huge box on the porch of a neighbor at the other end of the block.
Maybe the delivery person got tired of searching for an address conjured up by a diet crazed woman and left the package at the first door he came to?
My sister sent her husband out once again, this time with instructions to check out the box and see if her name was on it. When he came back, he reported that the box had been removed, and even though he saw a light on in the house and he could hear noises inside, no one would respond to his loud banging on the doors.
Upon this news, my sister immediately sat down and wrote a letter to the neighbor. She explained that although her sister (namely me) had gotten my sister’s name on the package, her sister (namely me again), had for some unknown reason given a fictitious house address. But, she wrote, the box was meant for her, and if the neighbor would check the label they would see that this was so. After numerous paragraphs of detailed explanations, my sister signed the two page document and convinced my brother-in-law to take it, and some tape, and stick it on the neighbor’s door. Then afraid that the bizarre actions of the neighbor might suggest that our cookies were being held for ransom, my sister called me to see what the cookies were worth.
“They’re going to make me loose weight; they’re priceless!” I bellowed.
This time when my brother-in-law returned home he reported that the house was now completely dark, but the package was back on the porch and sure enough my sister’s name was on it. He had carried the big box home and that’s when they saw that it had been opened. Did the neighbor just rip open the strange package without even looking at the label? Or had the neighbor also ordered thirty pounds of diet cookies? I’m afraid I think it’s because the neighbor didn’t like any of the flavors we’d chosen. But maybe I’m just jaded…which isn’t surprising after coming into contact with several Postal Rule Breakers – not that all of the encounters were bad, of course, nor was everyone a Rule Breaker. The people way up the street have good postal manners. When a huge, heavy package meant for us was delivered to them they loaded it in their car and drove it down here. Unfortunately not everyone is as sharp as they are.
One day as I was out watering the lawn a neighbor approached me.
“Your gas bill is higher than mine,” she gloated.
“It came to my house,” she explained, as she handed me the open envelope.
And you’re reading my mail because you have a secret desire to pay my bills?
I would have reminded her that she was breaking the law by tampering with the United States mail, but I know it would have been pointless, since the confrontation over her last invasion obviously had no impact on her – that was the time she opened an unexpected, $400.00 check meant for us (but delivered to her) and left it languishing at her house - for two years!
FACT OR FIB – you be the judge. I’ll give you a hint: it’s fact.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I bet, since the beginning of the year, I’ve easily had over a hundred appointments – and I’ve never been late to one of them. I’m a punctual person; I take pride in the fact that my brain can work out a simple schedule starting from the end goal and working backwards (the appointment is for two-fifteen, the drive there takes half an hour, it takes so many minutes to dress, fix hair and makeup, so many minutes to shower. Conclusion: start getting ready at such and such a time. P.S. have clothes ready well in advance of that ). Simple. And any Simpleton can do it. But do they? Uh-uh. Now I’m not calling doctors Simpletons – and thank heavens they’re not, but with the smarts it takes to become a doctor doesn’t it seem logical that they could figure out how to be on time?! To paraphrase U.S. Anderson: the most perishable of all things is time. Dealing with death as well as life, as most doctors do, don’t you think they’d know that? – and time spent waiting in a crowded doctor’s office is not time well spent!
My daughter has been known to walk out if she has to wait more than half and hour past her appointment time (but then she isn’t hamstrung by having to have a prescription refilled). I, myself, have been tempted to do the same when a patient who shows up late is taken before me – me who is not only on time, but early! And the reasons I’m taken late besides that?: the doctor is on the other side of the waiting room having snapshots taken with a group of foreign patients, doctor is having a marital spat (one that’s audible clear out to the waiting room) over a credit card bill, doctor is busily showing vacation photos to the office personnel, doctor and staff are fifty minutes late returning from lunch! And then I’m asked why my blood pressure is up? I’ve sat in the examining room (forty minutes past my appointment time) and watched, while across the hall doctor is trying out a new hair style.
Come to think of it, in the last hundred appointments, involving many, many doctors, I’ve never been taken on time. Wait, that’s not true. I was taken on time once. It was for the removal of a cyst. Two weeks later, when the bump was still there, I found out I’d have to go back and have the procedure done over – so even though I was taken on time, that appointment was really a disappointment.
FACT OR FIB? – you be the judge.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I’ve been engrossed in knitting toys to be handed out to children that might need them. Even though some of them that are supposed to look like bears come out looking like mice, it’s okay because they’re really cute. For the older kids (the ones that know better than to ingest their playthings) I’ve made clothes to go along with the toys: sweaters with boats embroidered on them, dresses embellished with beads and ribbons. But suddenly I’m having trouble. It isn’t lack of supplies; I have tons of yarn – yarn in every color imaginable (thanks to my sisters and friends). It isn’t lack of ideas or patterns. I have plenty of both. The problem is a big arm!
My arm was a little swollen so the therapist decided to wrap it and my fingers – cotton wadding, foam rubber pads and six Ace-type bandages. It’s now the size of a tree trunk. On the way down the hall and out of the building, I was afraid to move it for fear I’d send hospital personnel sprawling and patients in wheel chairs flying into walls. All my life I’ve had very little upper body strength. I now have an arm that’s a lethal weapon, one swipe could send even a Sumo wrestler to the emergency room – I can’t bear to think what could happen if any of the elderly got in the way.
I’m supposed to use my arm and not treat it as if I’m wearing a cast. The movement is supposed to make it more flexible. If by moving it she meant bending it, the only way that’s going to happen is if I were to miraculously turn into Superman! I feel like I have a wooden arm! Made from one block of wood and without any hinges! Get food to my mouth with that hand? Out of the question! Pick up a glass of water? Impossible – my hand is even fatter than my arm, except for the very tips of my fingers. Typing? Barely and only if it’s very slooooow.
I’m afraid knitting is out until this latest fiasco in over (which I assume it will be one day). In the meantime I’m hoping to figure out how to knit with my toes – until somebody finds something wrong with them!
FACT OR FIB ? – you be the judge.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Hoping for a refreshing respite from the daily grind, the love of my life and I got some coffee (decaf for me), along with two buttermilk donuts and headed for the park. We pulled into a spot shaded by pine trees where a slight breeze rattled aspen leaves before floating through the open car windows. The fog having lifted, it was a beautiful day, so clear that ships passing through the breakwater were clearly visible. And below us the town was spread out in quiet surrender.
Rather than sit on a bench, we stayed in the car where the view was better (and we didn’t have to worry about those pesky rattlesnakes that we were being warned of on big metal signs placed every ten feet).
The coffee was hot, the donuts were sweet and we were enjoying the peaceful environment when out of the blue an elderly man and a tall skinny youth appeared carrying a large, hard plastic pad thing. The man attached the pad to a tree in front of us (even though there were plenty of trees elsewhere to choose from) and the kid began to throw punches at an imaginary opponent. Although visually distracting at least they were quiet…until the “fighter” began to punch and kick the plastic pad which gave off a loud thumping noise.
As my sweetie and I stared at each other with an “Oh boy!” kind of look, a small black car pulled up. Ignoring the thirteen empty spaces beyond us, the guy pulled in right beside us and the next thing we knew the music (and I use the term loosely) from his car radio drowned out the commotion being made by the up and coming kick boxer.
“He won’t stay long,” the man of my dreams shouted over the music. “People who can’t stand silence can’t sit still for very long.” But before the man’s adrenaline got him moving a group of about seven or eight mothers with toddlers in strollers headed toward us from down the parking lot.
Now we get as big a kick from children as we do from animals so the little bit of childish chatter, heard above the car radio and the “fighter,” was pleasant. But then one of the mothers stated yelling about something. She got several children crying which in turn drowned out the “music” and the thump, thump, thumping of the “boxer’s” blows.
I believe the rattlesnake signs can now safely be removed. I’m sure the vibrations from the three “nature lovers” has sent the snakes slithering clear into the next state – I know the racket sent us on our way.
FACT OR FIB? – you be the judge.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Cantankerous (a great word) = bad-tempered; quarrelsome; perverse.
Yes, that pretty much sums up a friend of mine.
BAD-TEMPERED = - not always. In fact much of the time she has a great sense of humor and keeps me in stitches. Like the time we vacationed together. We were staying in a grand old hotel that looked like something straight out of the movies: louvered doors, great ceiling fans that ran day and night, rattan furniture, and silence (even though the place was full of guests). And every morning my friend would sneak out of her room, gather up all the trays of dishes left out from the previous night for room service pick-up, and pile them up in front of my door. That was her good tempered side.
The other side runs toward the paranoid. Hearing of the slightest injustice she’ll immediately glom (I like that word, too) onto it as if she were the next victim, the next to be maligned, or somehow mistreated. “They’d better not try to do that to me!” she’ll rant, working herself into a red faced lather.
“I don’t think you need to worry about it,” I remind her. “You don’t live in the Brazilian jungle and that type of behavior is not common in our culture, anyway.” But once started, she isn’t easily contained.
QUARRELSOME = There are some days she just seems to need to pick a fight with somebody. “I’m on your side!” you may remind her. “Why are you arguing with me?”
“I’m not arguing,” she’ll argue.
One day during a phone conversation on a subject we both agreed on, she began to add a negative to every comment I made. Finally growing out of sorts I confronted her.
“Why do you always have to have the last word?” I asked.
“I don’t!” she replied and quickly slammed down the phone.
PERVERSE = Obviously, her perverse side comes into play when she catches people off guard with her bad-tempered, quarrelsome side.
FACT OR FIB? – you be the judge.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Even though the sentiment is well intentioned there are some things that are better left unsaid…or at least said differently when speaking to a cancer patient.
As I did my part of staying positive and maintaining my focus on health I was constantly amazed at some of the comments from personal friends as well as healthcare professionals – one of which was a nurse.
I had been admitted to the hospital because of an infection. And as was my determined intention I was staying upbeat (which included being appreciative of my life, as well as the staff looking out for me). I was getting along very well with one nurse in particular (laughing and joking around) when out of the nurse’s mouth came, “I guess it’s true, the good do die first.” Hey now! That’s not how the saying goes! And who the heck said I was dying?! Certainly not me – and to prove my point, the convoluted compliment occurred eight months ago and I’m still here.
In closing it’s my opinion that comments like: “Is it fatal?” or, “I hope when they do the surgery they get it all!” are really very inappropriate. It’s best to remember that just because a thought pops into your head, doesn’t mean you have to say it out loud.
And one last thing. Don’t send a cancer patient quotations made by someone upon learning that they have terminal cancer! Jeeze!
FACT OR FIB? – you be the judge (you gotta know this one is FACT).

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sept. 7, 2009

I had no life. And then I was diagnosed with cancer.
At the time I was in a frustrating job (which I worked at from home), my car had so completely broken down it was beyond repair (which made me prisoner of a house so small it was referred to as “the crawl space”) and without any chance of a diversion from “chores” (feeding animals, washing pet bowls, letting animals in and animals out…and animals in and animals out, and in and out, and inandout and inandout) there seemed never enough time for doing the things that brought me pleasure. Then suddenly, against my will, I was consumed by doctor appointments and procedures; it wasn’t glamorous, it wasn’t even high drama. It just was.
Cancer and the resulting activities weren’t anything I would have chosen for myself (although personally, I believe I did for some good reason – which I may never understand while on this plane of existence). But at least the experience has been “do-able”. And sometimes interesting. And at times humbling. And even humorous.
One day as I sat knitting in a waiting room, a man was wheeled in by a caregiver and accompanied by his wife. Even though the patient could only say, “Dabba do,” his wife seemed to understand him perfectly. He’d say, “Dabba do,” she’d say, “You want the door closed?” He’d say, “Dabbadodabbado,” and she’d get up and close the door. He’d tell her “Dabba do,” and she’d pull out a bottle of water from her purse and hand it to him – to which he’d tell her “Dabbadodabbado.”
Numerous hospital personnel passing by stopped to greet him (“You look so good!” they’d say – “Dabbadodabbado,” he’d say – “Such improvement!” they’d exclaim – “Dabbadodabbado,” he’d tell them. “You’re talking so well!” – “Dabbadodabbado” It was obvious he was well liked as he was showered with warm greetings and hugs of affection, all of which was answered with a, “Dabbadodabbado.”
After a period of time things quieted down and I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that he was watching me knit. I looked up and he said, to me “Dabba do.” Before returning to my knitting, I said, “Fine, thank you.”
As we waited our turns to see the healthcare professional that was going to help us regain our lives (and hence our sanity) the man continued to stare at me as I worked. When my name was finally called, I glanced up and he said, “Dabba do.”
“The sleeve to a sweater,” I replied as I packed up my knitting bag.
FACT OR FIB? – you be the judge.