Sunday, April 27, 2014

Life is short!

I'm sure you all know that life is just a blur as we pass through it. From one day to the next I wonder how we get anything done!

I don't know if I'm the only one who does this, but I just keep shuffling my schedule so I can fit something new in place and then something falls behind. And then a day or two, or a week or two later it happens all over again as I realize I dropped the ball and pick something back up, and drop something else. One of the big things for me is that I rarely find time to write anymore!

Is it only me? I don't think so...or at least, I hope not...or maybe I hope so. I don't wish this kind of merry-go-round on anyone!

It's pretty sad that we barely have time to truly live our lives, to enjoy life the way we were meant to.

I'm curious, how many of you enjoy having to go to work every day? I know there are truly some people who enjoy their jobs! (Really, aren't there?) Or who's struggling to pay the bills, even working all the time? Or have a health problem that has no solution except to take drugs for the rest of your life? That's no way to go through life! There has to be a better way!

Well, once again I've added something new to my life, but I'm hoping this will in fact buy back my freedom in many ways - financial, health, and time.

You know what I found out this weekend? 80% of all female millionaires (yes, millionaires) in this country create their wealth in Network Marketing. And for a long time, I've thought those were two dirty words. But my eyes were truly opened this weekend. The opportunity is phenomenal because it's not all about money, but about helping each other!

No, I won't mention the name of the company,  but if you want to know, just leave me a message. I actually rubbed elbows (and exchanged hugs and handshakes) with quite a few millionaires this weekend. And some of these people started out with nothing! It's amazing!

Life is too short! I hope this can inspire each of you to take control of your own lives! God bless you all!

Here's a glimpse of my last published story, A Piece of Heaven. The sequel, Precious Embrace, will also be released June 20th.

Trina Wembly dreamt of owning a Christian coffee house for years –a Godly place where people could enjoy a good meal, and entertainment that was pleasing to God. A Piece of Heaven is that dream, and Trina the star entertainer.
Jared Larou, the construction foreman who helps design and build the coffee house, is a wounded soul with a soft heart, a soft heart that Trina is drawn to.

Trina knows God is the only one who can heal Jared’s wounded soul. Does she have the faith and patience to wait on God’s will – if it is God’s will?

Buy links:

I was born and raised in New England and although I've seen much of the country, this is the area I will always call home. I love the change of seasons and the beauty each one brings. There is no place quite like it.

Life is short and I'm taking control of my future! Don't let time pass you by!


Friday, April 18, 2014

To Live and Die … Where?

        When I was a kid, the decision about where to live was easy ─ anywhere but my parents'house.
        After two years of marriage, the decision became more complex. In addition to needing to live far enough from our parents to keep them from meddling in our lives, we cared about job opportunities, apartment prices, and reducing the time we spent in traffic every day. We hated leaving New York City, but in the late sixties, suburban Maryland met our needs.
        Eight years later, we had two kids and a mortgage. Vietnam and Watergate had left us desperate to get as far from Washington as possible, and we’d discovered that 250 miles from our parents wasn’t far enough. Our first thought was to leave all that as far behind us as possible, but our query to the immigration people in Australia was not well received ─ they already had their fill of disillusioned Americans.
        In the seventies, easterners dreamed about Colorado and California, but Denver didn’t have an ocean nearby, and southern California was…well…southern California. San Francisco no longer basked in the glow of the Summer of Love, it was horrendously expensive, and its traffic was as bad as New York’s. Ironically, our obsession to leave Washington as far behind us as possible took us to another Washington.
        Life in Seattle was wonderful, but after eleven years there, our parents had retired from meddling and we felt the need to be closer to them as they aged. Entering our forties, we were far more career conscious than we had been, and to our utter shock, returning to Maryland was the obvious answer. Despite its unpleasantly evolving climate, high taxes, worsening traffic, and the corrosive effect of being so close to our ever more dysfunctional government, the last twenty-nine years here have been fine. But our kids wound up in California and Florida, most of our friends are moving on, and we’re both retired. Once again, we have to decide where we want to live.
It’s funny how things change. We’re fortunate in most ways. Our forty-nine year marriage is alive and well, our financial advisors tell us we never have to worry about money again, and we’re grandparents. We can go anywhere we want. We can have multiple residences if we wish. We want very badly to watch our grandson (and his future siblings) grow up, but we’ve learned to balance that with never making our kids feels like they need to escape from us.

Now, the decision about where to live has taken a strange turn. It’s starting to look more like finding the best place to die, or at least put off dying as long as possible. Maryland has the best concentration of quality health care in the world. We’re both healthy, and it’s hard to contemplate giving that up, but the seemingly endless winter of 2014 and gradually encroaching arthritis made it clear that this will be a decision year.

Last month, MarketWatch published an article called “The Worst U. S. States to Die In”. Not very grammatical, but informative. It turns out that we live in one of only two states that have both estate taxes and inheritance taxes, and Maryland has the third lowest estate tax exemption in the country. California and Florida have neither, and Florida doesn’t have a state or local income tax. But Florida has swamps and one of the worst health care systems in the country, and California has earthquakes, serious drinking water problems, and a bone-crushing tax structure. California has rattlesnakes and Florida has pythons and alligators, but they both have warm days and miles of beaches.
Why isn’t the choice ever easy?

AlanZendell spent more than thirty years as a scientist, aerospace engineer, software consultant, database developer, and government analyst, writing really boring stuff like proposals, technical papers, reports, business letters, and policy memoranda.  But trapped inside him all that time were stories that needed telling and ideas that needed expression, so with encouragement and cajoling from a loving baby sister he plunged into fiction.  Since then, he has written mostly science and extrapolative fiction with three-dimensional characters.  It’s the things they believe in and how much they’re willing to invest to preserve them that make a story worth telling.  It’s convincing interactions and well-researched credible plots that make a story worth reading. And, of course, like any writer, Alan loves having an audience.  You may find Alan’s books here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Max and Maisie’s Favorite Rose Bush

      My grandmother, May “Maisie” Berthelson, was Brooklyn-born, Brooklyn-bred and Brooklyn-married, but she moved to Vermont with my parents right after World War II. The Thomas E. Dewey Thruway had claimed the land upon which her cherished home in Ardsley, New York was built. One of Maisie’s favorite possessions was her mother’s rose bush that always came alive in June with little blossoms that were either pink or white. Her mother, Ellen Parsons, had bought the rose bush back in the 1870’s with her first paycheck as a parlor maid.                              
    Rather than leave that beloved planting behind when her parent’s brownstone was sold, Maisie dug it up and moved it with her to the home her husband built for her on Nepperhan Avenue in Ardsley, New York up in Westchester County.  Then in the 1940’s Maisie gave the rose bush one final move to her daughter’s home in Arlington, Vermont . Her tolerant and kindly son-in-law gave her permission to plant her beloved roses in the place of honor next to the garage. He even built a small wooden fence around it and wrapped the stem in burlap late each autumn to survive the cold Vermont winters. Within one season, the rose bush was in full bloom.
   And then there was Max. Our nearest neighbors in Arlington were the Rudds who were the kindest and best people to have living next to us on our old dirt road. Mr. Rudd plowed us out when the snows fell deeply and Mrs. Rudd always remembered us at the holidays with special gifts that we loved. Whenever they stopped at our house for a visit, their beautiful brown boxer, Max, sat politely between them. Max had perfect manners, listened carefully to Mr. Rudd’s commands, but he had a thing for Maisie’s rose bush. When people were engaged in conversation, Max would slip over to the rose bush and carefully lift his leg for a quick “pee”. Mr. Rudd would correct him and Max would look sad and repentant, but the next time the Rudds came for a visit, Max would hurry over to Maisie’s treasured plant and quick take a “pee” before anyone noticed.
     My parents sold their farm in 1980 just after Maisie passed away and I didn’t bring myself to drive down our old dirt road for years after that, but wouldn’t you know it, I drove by my old house last summer and there was Maisie’s rose bush, blooming away, just where she planted it nearly seventy years ago.  The owners weren’t home so I helped myself to a few blooms just for memory’s sake. Why? I recalled that Max had died at the very old age of 15 and was buried with the Rudd’s other pets in back of their farmhouse. I stopped by to say hello to the Rudd’s grandson, now the owner of their farm, and left that bouquet of Maisie’s roses in the spot where Max was buried. Seemed a good thing to do.

Alice DiNizo was raised in Vermont in those golden years just after World War II ended. She grew up in ArlingtonVermontwhere Norman Rockwell lived at that time with his family. She swam with her friends in the Battenkill River which flowed under the covered bridge that faced his home. Moving to New Jersey over forty years ago was an interesting experience for Alice, who writes under her cat’s name, J.B. But tough old girl that she is, she’s learned to love her adopted state and enjoys writing stories about it. She also reaches into her memory and writes stories about her family and childhood experiences. She lives at the New Jersey shore with her husband, dog and cats and contributes on a regular basis to

Friday, April 4, 2014

My daughters and I love Nordstrom Rack. But when we shop there, I don't listen to their advice anymore. They want me to look contemporary, but have failed to take my middle-aged body into account. 

In the dressing room they laughed at my ugly, euphemistically named "Classic" style panties. "Oh, Mom! You need hipsters."  Well, I used to wear hipsters, back when they didn't subdivide my belly into two distinct rolls instead of just one. 

My torso is shaped like an apple, with the equator where a waist ought to be. When I shopped with the girls, I used to buy too many pair of cute pants that hit below the bulge, with nothing to hang onto. So they slid, and left too much backside uncovered. They were both uncomfortable and unbecoming. 

To fix that problem, one of them talked me into trying Spanx. They're manufactured out of industrial strength elastic that could restrain a large circus animal. It was a two-woman operation just to get them pulled up. And heaven help me if I needed to peel them down by myself. 

Then one day, I let them wander and I stumbled across a rack of pants whose label called out to me. "Not Your Daughter's Jeans."

  They fit my middle aged body without looking stodgy. They advertise "Lift Tuck Technology", a panel across the front that pulls in my tummy. They're stylish and made of good quality fabric in great colors. I like the way I look and feel when I wear them. My daughters approve.   

And each pair makes me laugh. The label says:

How many times do you come out of a dressing room laughing?

Thank you, NYDJ.