Friday, June 29, 2012

Shock of a lifetime

Introducing today's Geezer: Alice Dinizo

That I have reached geezer age is  a shock. I remember thinking that 25 was a really old age. But then, that was years ago! Oh well.
In my dotage, I am a published author and often think I'm the senior citizen of the New Jersey Author Network to which I belong. Hey, I am the senior citizen member, like it or lump it. 
 We are in our golden years and most of us laugh about the word "golden". We have aches, pains, memory loss, death of family and friends and wonder what is golden about that. Guess "golden" refers to autumn colors or, bluntly, the autumn of our lives. Well, in my autumn, I plan on writing, giving to others, volunteering for causes like animal welfare that I love. The day I sit on my deck and gossip is a day I don't plan on facing.
  Any of you geezer guys or gals out there have a better definition of "golden", please let me know. I will send you pdfs of my latest story,Up from Down and Out as a thank you. Happy week,  Alice D

P.S. I write under my cat's name, J.B., as I don't want phone calls about my books. If I get any, "J.B. can't come to the phone but thanks for calling anyway".

Alice's books are all on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Bay House  is

Up from Down and Out is

Alice's webiste 

Alice's blog

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Please Welcome Today's Geezer/ Marilyn Fowler

The Rainbow

Walk on a rainbow trail; walk on a trail of song, and all about you will be beauty. There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail. Robert Motherwell

I’m a child. 10 years old on a school trip, mesmerized by a sight so beautiful my breath escapes me. Thousands of tulips. Michigan tulips. As far as I can see they stretch across a field before me, and fill my eyes with brilliant color beneath a soft blue sky above. Their colors form a rainbow in my mind. Yellow, red, purple, pink, orange, white, all swaying in the warm breeze while the springtime sun sparkles on their petals. I hold my chest and sway with them, overcome with awe at a sight I only dreamed of in my storybooks. For a while, this incredible sight replaces the loneliness I feel at home. It’s nobody’s fault at home. That’s just the way it is.

This beautiful panorama of color taught me something I’ve carried with me my whole life. No matter what pain we encounter on our journey, there is always a rainbow somewhere. There have been times when I looked around at my life and saw nothing but dregs of what might have been. Boulders that looked too big to overcome. Doors closed to me forever. Hills too steep to climb. But my mind held the picture of the tulips, and I picked myself up and moved on.

When life throws you a curve, and you think you can’t get up, you may not see a rainbow.  But the rainbow is always there. Maybe it’s just behind the clouds you see in your life, or between rain stops when they fall, or in birds talking to each other early in the morning, or in a child’s smile. You may have to get on a bus and take a field trip in your mind to find it. But it’s there.

When it looked like the sun wasn’t going to shine anymore, there’s a rainbow in the clouds. Maya Angelou

Life has a way of putting the difficult stuff right in our face, while the good stuff remains illusive. Maybe that’s what teaches us how to be more alert and careful where we apply our attention. Rainbows are all around you. You have to know that. You have to believe that. And open your eyes and your heart to look past the darkness and find them.

I wish you clear vision along your path.

Marilyn Fowler is a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. She was Mental Health Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida. She later coordinated mental health services in five nursing homes, worked on in-patient units, and was in private practice for a number of years. Her stories have appeared in the Salvation Army magazine and in a book entitled, When God Spoke To Me, by DavidPaul Doyle. She stays active in her church and writing group, and teaches a class at a local college. Her memoir, Silent Echoes, was published two years ago. Marilyn believes that a sense of humor is a blessing to be used often.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Or Maybe Not

 Our blogger today is one of our regulars...enjoy Tom's slice of life story. 

All of my working life, I have worked in an office as an office or business manager or salesperson. I semi-retired in February 2004 to drive a mail truck for a friend. It was a night run to six rural communities and I wanted a change of pace. I enjoyed driving the winding roads in the Ozarks hill country in southwest Missouri. It was just me, the road and good music. I enjoyed slinging seventy-pound mailbags and pushing three hundred pound carts up ramps. 

In April of that same year, I had a major heart attack. I had a strange feeling in my chest one evening. Fortunately, I was off that night. I told Barbara, my wife, there was something wrong. She rushed me to the ER of a hospital close by. I had the actual attack in ER, which the doctor said saved my life. The cardiologist told me, if I had had the attack while on the route, they would have found me in a ditch. The Lord took care of me.

The attack disabled me. Having been a workaholic all of my working life, I found twenty-four hours to be too much free time. I had been a writer since the age of fourteen so I turned to writing. I have since written my first historical fiction Night of the Cossack

Somewhere along the way, I felt the need for connection to other retirees. Barbara was still working. We spent the weekends hanging out together, but during the week, the house was too quiet. I decided to check out a senior center not far from the house. I was a little nervous. Although I had been in sales and did a lot of speaking, it was different walking into a place alone and not knowing anyone.

II walked into the center, stood just inside the door, and surveyed the place. There were posters on the wall advertising square dancing, bus trips to Branson and other places, and other social activities. There were many grey haired people, mostly women, who appeared to be older than I was. Sure, I had grey hair, but I was not old. A woman behind a desk greeted me and said there was a meal being served and to help myself. I did. It was institutional food and not terribly tasty. Most of the people just stared at me, but no one went out of their way to welcome me. I was not used to people staring at me like the new kid on the block.

After twenty minutes of scrutiny, I decided to leave. As I passed the woman at the desk she said, “I hope you’ll come back. Many women here will be very interested in you. I held up my left hand pointing to my wedding ring. She quickly said, “Or maybe not.”

That evening Barbara and I laughed as I told her of my experience. I assured her that I would not be doing any socializing without her by my side.

Night of the Cossack available at and Barnes & Noble              
10 Day Lesson Plan for homeschool

Friday, June 22, 2012


By Linda Rondeau
He opened his Christmas gifts first, then dancing with anticipation handed me my present.  The gift bag was securely closed with a ridge of scotch-tape, evidence of his own hand in this artful presentation.   I exercised all the pre-opening rituals: gently stroking the outside, carefully shaking it near the ear, and complimenting the packaging, as well as the obligatory, “Thank you, Honey.”  I even ventured a few guesses.


“Well, judging by the shape, it’s probably not candy.”

“You’re right.  It’s not candy.”

“Pajamas!  Silk, right?”

“No.  It’s not pajamas but you’re getting closer.  Go ahead.  Open it.”

In an instant, I popped the row of scotch tape and looked inside the satiny red wrapping bag. I froze in disbelief as I stared at what my husband deemed the perfect gift.    “A SHOWER MASSAGE!” I knew right then and there the romance was more than dead.  It was beyond resuscitation. In fact, it was stone cold. “For me?” I feigned pleasure.
“Well, it’s really for the both of us.  That’s why I spent a little extra.”

Since we bought a video camera as a mutual Christmas present to each other, we set a personal gift limit of $25.   He went over the top to $30.  “You shouldn’t have,” I said honestly.
“I know you said you wanted jewelry.  Surprised?”

“Oh, yes. I’m speechless!”

At some point over the past couple decades, the Prince Charming I married went through a metamorphosis.   The handsome suitor who used to buy me Russell Stover Chocolates emerged an aged athlete peddling Mr. Coffee.  Practicality slowly replaced sentimentality.  I wanted to tell Joe DiMaggio to take a hike, find my misplaced fairy godmother, and tell her to bring back Prince Charming.
Instead I muttered a half-hearted, “Gee.  Thank you.”   

“Pour yourself another cup of coffee and relax while I get the shower massage ready for you.”  He took the monstrosity from the bag; and with his toolbox in hand, bounded up the steps like a schoolboy at recess.
He whistled while he worked.  In the meantime, I stewed in my disappointment.  “A shower massage. Ump!”  I felt like Grumpy while he played the part of Happy.
            “All set,” he beamed.  “You first!  After all, it is your present.”

“That it is.”   I trudged to the upstairs bathroom, took off my robe, and stepped into the wide spread spray.  To my pleasant surprise, the steamy mist enveloped my senses.  I felt as if I had just entered a sauna.
“Well, now.  This is sort of nice.”   I took the showerhead in hand and experimented with the dial.  Suddenly, reams of pulsating gushes hit my arthritic joints.  I let my mind drift, imagining I was under a waterfall in Tahiti.  “Hey, I thought.  This is not bad.  Not bad at all.”
When there was no more hot water, I reluctantly turned the shower off, towel-dried, put on my bathrobe, and wandered downstairs.
Joe DiMaggio was anxiously awaiting the umpire’s verdict.  “Well?”  He looked like an innocent child who had just given his mother a wilted dandelion, waiting for a hug of gratitude. 
“It’s out of the ball park, Slugger.  A grand slam homerun.” 

He smiled his cute little boy smile.  Behind the smirk, I recognized the faded but familiar royalty that I fell in love with so many years ago.  Joltin’ Joe had not completely taken over.  My once darling Prince Charming still lived inside that paunchy but adorable man, and he knew exactly what this tired, achy body needed. 

Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel (The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight),  LINDA RONDEAU, writes for the reader who enjoys a little bit of everything. Her stories of redemption and God’s mercies include romance, suspense, the ethereal, and a little bit of history into the mix, always served with a slice of humor. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, mother of three and wife of one very patient man, Linda now resides in Florida where she is active in her church and community.  Readers may visit her web site at  Her second book, written under L.W. Rondeau, America II: The Reformation (Trestle Press), is a futuristic political thriller published is now available in ebook on and Barnes and Noble.  

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Ranks of Senior Writers Are Ballooning

I'm happy to introduce our guest blogger Russ Miller

The ranks of over 50 writers will balloon as the baby boomers and former rock 'n' rollers trundle off to the mystical land of AARP. With the current economy as it is, many will confront the dubious pleasures of retirement before they had planned. Some will eventually turn their attention to things they never had time to do in their former workday world, such as travel. The world will be filled by graying heads wearing white Nike gym shoes, traveling in groups to far-off places they previously had only read about, while eating food they would have meticulously avoided at home.

Others will fill their days with various forms of volunteer work, devoting their much needed and considerable talents to worthwhile endeavors. Doing good has traditionally provided an appealing approach to an active life style for many retirees.

Still others will turn their talents to writing. Many will be poorly prepared for such a venture. Only a few will have the advantage of a classical education that produces journalists and educators who are adept at working magic through words. The others will eventually discover that many of the technical problems associated with writing can be solved through participation in widely available writing and grammar courses that welcome the over 50 set. What these seniors may lack in technique can be compensated for by the wealth of experience they bring to the game. Let me site the best example I know. Me.

I had the good fortune to spend the last 20 years of my working career as head of international marketing for a consumer electronics firm. This provided ample opportunity for travel--to over 100 countries before I was through--forming the foundation for my first book "Selling to Newly Emerging Markets." After retiring, I served as an advisor for The World Bank, and the United Nations on developing the private sector in the newly independent states of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This was the basis for my second nonfiction book "Doing Business in Newly Privatized Markets."

I also volunteered my services to the IESC (more commonly referred to as the senior citizens's Peace Corps) and was assigned to a city in Ukraine previously isolated by the Russians because of their concealed ICBMs in the surrounding Carpathian Mountains. I was the first person from the outside any of them had ever met. The nonfiction narrative derived from this experience was "Journey to a Closed City."

My first attempt at fiction, "The Spy with a Clean Face" was set in Ukraine during the recent political turmoil colorfully referred to as the "Orange Revolution." The spy novel won the Silver Quill Award from the American Authors Association.

 A few months ago my second spy novel "Death on the Silk Road" was released by Beach House Books shortly after I turned 83. Somewhat coincidentally, the central character is a retired international guy on a consulting assignment for a European NGO at a mining project in the remote Tien Shan Mountain area of Kazakhstan. Oddly enough, that is what I did for the Vienna-based UNIDO and where I did it. Funny how things tend to work that way.

Admittedly, I am fortunate to have acquired a number of convertible experiences in my life but so might have a doctor, lawyer, or a Indian chief. If those backgrounds don't work for you how about aTinker,Tailor, Soldier, Spy ?
"Death on the Silk Road," like all my other books is available

Russell R. Miller

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bring on the music by Connie Jenkins

As she got older, my mother was convinced that you had to talk louder on the telephone according to how far away the caller was. As a result, when my brother from Maine called her at home in the Northern New York, I could just about hear her end of the conversation from my apartment in New Hampshire.

Poor Mom would be very distressed by the situation I encounter almost every day now. I don’t know who, but someone runs out before me and replaces all the road signs with ones that have itty-bitty printing. Now that’s frustrating! My mother sure was right when she warned me: “Old age isn’t for sissies.”

Middle age (well, assuming I live to be 108) has required some adjustments, to be sure. There’s strength in numbers, though, so we baby boomers are rewriting the rules. Imagine us at senior centers some day … far in the future. They won’t have to orient us with Big Band Music – we’ll be rocking to Bob Dylan and the Stones and maybe even disco.

My secret hope is that by the time I get to be that old, I will have mastered the iPod I got for Christmas. Since I haven’t yet been able to get the music into it, I thought I’d do the next best thing and get a little case for it, like I have for my cell phone.


I swallowed my pride and asked the 20-something clerk about cases and he pointed to an aisle. So a friend and I ventured over there. After a while, it was obvious that there were no padded bags or pouches but there were many plastic shells for the credit card-sized iPod.

“Oh,” My friend and I said together. “You must just protect it with that.”

They had red ones and blacks ones. Some featured cartoon images. Others were plaid. They all cost about $40, which is a heck of a lot more than I had expected to pay.

“Hey,” I eventually realized. “These are for iPhones, not iPods.” So my friend and I looked again at the signage on the racks and moved down to the middle of the aisle.

“Is your’s 4G?” my friend asked.

“Uh, I don’t know,” I replied and looked at the cases again.

Finally, a man down the aisle intervened: “You want the rack behind you.”


So I have a nice protective case for my iPod and it only cost $9.99. The red ones were sold out but mine has little peace signs all over it. I still don’t know how to load the music. Luckily for me I still remember a lot of it.

Connie Jenkins of Malone is a longtime newspaper editor and freelance writer.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Half of 2012 is nearly behind us!   

I remember when days used to drag on. Life was simple. Summer lasted forever and I was bored enough to want to start school again. An age when I dreamt of being married, having children, traveling the world, writing a book or two…

Goals that I’ve accomplished and looking back it only took a blink of an eye.

For thirty-two years I’ve been married, have five children, two grandchildren, zillions of cherished memories of family vacations and even a couple book contracts!
These days, I try not to look too far in the future, as I have learned not to miss the blessings that each day brings.

Like today, as my husband and I spent some time with his aunt’s home in Sequin, Texas. What a blessing to listen to her reminisce of years gone by. Eighty years of history woven in love.
Later we made our way back to our daughter and son-in-law’s in Dallas with our grandson in tow. A six hour road trip conversing with and viewing life through the eyes of a two-year old! Another blessing that shouldn’t be missed.

As I grow older I still have dreams and make plans for the future, but even more so I work hard to reap the blessings of each day and make more precious memories.
Tomorrow will arrive soon enough, so today be Blessed!

Mary Annslee Urban makes her home in Waxhaw, NC. She and her husband have five children, two grandchildren, two dogs and three cats. When not writing, Mary works part-time as a Registered Nurse, loves to travel, cook and spend time with family.
Mary has written for been a freelance writer for several newspapers in her area, contributed to magazines and devotional publications. Her first book, Tapestry ofTrust, published by Pelican Book Group, has a release date of June 15. Her second book, She Came To See The Snow~A Colorado Christmas Romance, will be out this winter. Her novels are available through, Barnes and, Pelican Book and other online retailers.

Friday, June 8, 2012

7 Reminders You're Getting Older

Okay, I’ll admit it.
            I’m feeling old.

            The final nail in the coffin came the other day disguised as a Chris Ballard article in Sports Illustrated about an aging superstar. “At 57 he is still lean and graceful …”
He’s 57!
            I’m 57.
            You’re probably wondering what aging superstar is 57 and why would there be a piece in SI about him.
            Yeah, well it’s worse than that.
            That described the aging superstar’s father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, Kobe’s dad.
            So, in recognition of the aging process, here are 7 things that remind people we’re older than we’d like to admit.
1) You’re as old as aging superstars’ dads. I remember my father rooting for George Blanda back in the seventies because the two were only a few years apart in age. At 48, George played in his last NFL game.
            Unlike my father in the seventies, I have to root for athletes’ fathers.
            2) Authority figures are younger than you. Oh, this awareness happened ages ago when I made a routine visit to the doctor but this truth has only deepened since then. Teachers, judges, police officers, congressmen, business executives, restaurant managers … oh, the list goes on and on.
            In 2008, a significant transition took place for me. For the first time in my life, I was older than the elected President of the United States.
            3) You get excited about the senior discount at a restaurant. Because of the discounted price, my father brags about eating at a particular Chinese restaurant in my hometown. He must have mentioned it a half dozen times during my last visit.
I’m not old enough yet for that discount but I’ve enjoyed the senior coffee at McDonald’s for two years now (well, three plus actually because, before my 55th birthday, they looked at me and automatically rung me up as a senior—sigh!).
            4) You get your first AARP request. All I got to say is this happened way too early. I’m still in denial with AARP.
            5) You’re considering retirement from the morning basketball league. This one’s tough for me because I’ve always been active. Our morning league includes doctors, teachers, and other authority figures (see point #2) who are mostly middle-aged guys. My knees keep reminding me I’m older than the few high school boys who show up.
            6) You need the dog to walk you. Need I explain?
            7) Someone looks at you and your wife and thinks you’ve robbed the cradle. This actually happened half a dozen years ago to Ellen and me. Ellen swears the woman who said that is crazy (and I’m wanting to believe her in the worst way).
What would you add to the list?

T. Neal Tarver, a native Texan living in Wisconsin, has served churches in Texas and Wisconsin. He, his wife Ellen, and son Daniel lived and worked for three years as missionaries in the Russian Far East. Tom speaks enough Russian to both converse and confuse.

In 2011, Tom was selected as a semi-finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis contest. He’s also been a two-time winner of MBT’s “Make Every Word Count Flash Fiction” contest. He has written articles for the local newspaper and an international mission magazine. His debut novel, Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes, is available through WestBow Press, Amazon, BARNES & NOBLE, and other retail outlets.
He currently writes from his home in Richland Center, Wisconsin, or from wherever his travels take him. He posts articles weekly at A Curious Band of Others.
Tom has spoken in churches across America, and in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Don’t know how I lived so long and not experienced an invasion of fruit flies before this. For my first 18 years I lived in central New York. Lots of houseflies. Once in awhile I’d see a gnat or two. After a rain, sometimes the mosquitoes became a little hungry.  

I lived several decades in Northern New York, a few of those near the St. Lawrence River, where for two weeks every year the shad flies swarmed. Shad flies are a nuisance but relatively harmless as long as you keep your mouth closed. Not so much good for a vehicle though. Driving through these clouds of pests did a number on the front car grids. Signs went up all over for fund raisers inviting car owners to pull over and wash off the shad fly bodies from their cars.

I now live in Jacksonville, Florida and there seems to be no end of critters big and small. I’m finding that the small ones can be the peskiest. After coming back from a writers conference, I was greeted with a houseful of fruit flies. Apparently, they have a fetish for moist cat food. I think some gnats were in the mix because some of the tiny buggers chewed on me.

Researchers aren’t sure what flies plagued old Pharaoh, the fourth in a series of calamities aimed at the Egyptian Gods during the time of Moses. The Hebrew word is awrob translated swarm. We don’t know for sure what kind of swarm it was, but the Bible indicates they were biting insects or could have been a variety of flying creatures. So, I guess I have an idea of how they must have felt with flies to the left, flies to the right, above, beneath, chewed up and afraid to open their mouths.

After invoking a plea to the Almighty, I set about to find a remedy. I tried spraying but gagged on the fumes. I figured there had to be a better way for an asthma sufferer. Someone told me to pour bleach down every drain. I did. However, they didn’t warn me to dilute it. Thankfully, I found this out before doing a second treatment. A friend emailed me an article on how somebody rid themselves of the vermin by using Apple Cider and dish detergent to concoct a bait trap.

Something’s working. The fruit fly population is dwindling, and I think the biting companions are gone. Some things simply take time to fix. 


Her first book, The Other Side of Darkness, was released by Harbourlights in November, 2011 and won the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel. Her second book, America II: The Reformation, will be released by Trestle Press on July 1, 2012.