The Secret Sits

Robert Frost’s poem “The Secret Sits” is one of my all-time favorites.

We dance round in a ring and suppose,

But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

Secret, with a capital S.

It’s a simple couplet; just two lines of poetry that rhyme, but brilliantly speaks volumes to me.

I’m sure it speaks volumes to you as well.

And I’m equally sure that how and why it touches you is entirely different from what Frost’s poem means to me.

Its poetic rhythm is in anapestic trimeter; a rhythmical combination of anapest: (A foot of poetic verse consisting of three syllables) and trimeter: (Three iambic feet within a single line of poetry).

Three.

Tri.

In the middle.

Like a Prayer

It was a destination wedding, and Evangeline was an invited guest and close friend of the bride’s father.

Evangeline expected the event to be somewhat melancholy because the bride’s mother had suddenly and unexpectedly died several years earlier.

Upon her arrival at the hotel, Evangeline quickly ascertained that the family of five was in a profoundly ruptured state.

The lobby was her first indication of trouble.

The father was sitting in the far corner with his girlfriend, and Evangeline immediately felt the negative aura in the room.

The four siblings were scattered here and there, marking their separate corners.

The two daughters were as far away from their father as was possible and it was apparent that they were not on speaking terms with the girlfriend.

The eldest son sat in a club chair not far from his dad, his young daughter on his lap, with his wife standing protectively next to them in mama bear mode.

The youngest son/child had no seat, and he moved awkwardly back and forth between his father, brother, and sisters, while the father’s girlfriend intently scrolled through her phone pretending to be busy.

The bride’s mother, gone for almost nine years had been a beautiful but fragile soul, and Evangeline could see that time had not been healing.

At the rehearsal dinner, there were additional signs of unnervingly silent pain and animosity as Evangeline continued to observe and assess the situation.

The youngest brother was clearly loved by all and again drifted from brother to sisters to father.  The oldest brother, his wife, and child were purposefully avoided by the sisters who were attached at the hip. And neither daughter approached their father at all.

Evangeline felt sadness for the eldest who was visibly distressed, and so she made a point of going up to him with the hope of eliciting some information. But they only briefly spoke about insignificant nothings while he occasionally and warily eyed his sisters.

The next day, Evangeline could not fathom why the youngest brother was in the wedding party but not the oldest.

And the child of the oldest brother was in the wedding, but completely ignored by everyone else in the party except the younger brother who went out of his way to mollify her.

After the nuptials, there was the usual eating, drinking, and dancing. But Evangeline was obsessed with the sub plots playing out before her.

The family of five sat at four separate tables and four corners apart: Daughters, father, eldest son, youngest son.

Four heartbreaking scenarios: Daughters. Daughters vs. father/girlfriend. Daughters vs. eldest brother/child/wife.  Youngest brother floating uncomfortably in and out of all three camps. Appeasing and floating from corner to corner. From camp to camp.

Then came the unforgettable finale.

It started with the deejay who switched it up from Motown to Madonna.

Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone. I hear you call my name. And it feels like home.

Evangeline, who was sitting closest to the eldest brother, witnessed the simultaneous familial eruption.

The eldest brother shot out of his seat while yelling out: “Mom’s song!” as he pulled his wife and child to the dance floor.

When you call my name, it’s like a little prayer. I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you there.

The youngest brother bounded up to the oldest, and the two hugged tightly.

In the midnight hour, I can feel your power. Just like a prayer you know I’ll take you there.

The bride grabbed her sister’s hand, and they ran toward the others.

I hear your voice. It’s like an angel sighing.

Evangeline gaped in shock as they all bounced and danced while bellowing out the words to the song, holding their hands close to their mouths as if they were microphones.

I close my eyes, oh God I think I’m falling.

The dance floor remained solely for them. No one dared to intrude in their powerful moment.

I have no choice, I hear your voice. Feels like flying.

Jumping and gyrating to the music, the youngest of the siblings loosened his tie, while the oldest embraced his sisters, who lovingly embraced him back.

Out of the sky, I close my eyes. Heaven help me.

Many of the guests, including Evangeline, were choking up and quickly wiping away tears lest anyone should see.  The father was visibly moved, and every person in the room sat quietly mesmerized.

Like a child, you whisper softly to me. You’re in control just like a child. Now I’m dancing.

The sisters clutched the hands of the child and the wife. The wife appeared stunned. The child confused. But their expressions quickly changed to delight.

It’s like a dream, no end, and no beginning. You’re here with me, it’s like a dream.

The six of them formed a circle, and while tightly holding hands they moved inward and outward, laughing and singing and smiling. Inward and outward.

Just like a prayer, your voice can take me there. Just like a muse to me, you are a mystery.

The bride put her head on her older brother’s shoulder. Was she weeping? It was hard for Evangeline to say because her own tears made it impossible to see.

Just like a dream, you are not what you seem. Just like a prayer, no choice your voice can take me there.

Then the song ended and the crowd sat silently, and overcome by what they had just seen, waiting for what would come next.

The family circle broke apart and back to their separate corners they all went.

The Three Strong Women in My Life


Mommy, Mammy, and Grammy Nadeau

My first fourteen years were spent living with my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.  Many on the outside thought our living arrangements were unusual. To them, I was living in a broken home.

To be clear, there was nothing broken about our home, our relationships, or our bond.

And sure, we struggled, but there was a lot of big love.

My desk area is covered with photos of me with the three women who shaped and steered my life.

I often gaze at us and wonder: Who was I to them? And who were they?

I was known as mon petit chou to my grandmother and my grandmother’s favorite to my mother. And since my mother was my great-grandmother’s favorite, I like to imagine I was in the same treasured category as my mom.

My grandmother barely knew her father, and my mother and I never knew our fathers at all.

I was an only child, and so was my mom, so the three women in my life were all the family I had—or needed.

My great-grandmother lost her mother when she was four, so I can only assume that she knew her father well. Unfortunately, I never asked her much about her life.

I do remember her telling me that her husband, my great-grandfather, had been involved in a terrible accident which rendered him a vegetable. I never forgot the story because even at a young age, I felt her pain. She told me that he spent most of his adult life in an asylum. And I could see from the telling, she was ashamed.

Through ancestry.com I was recently able to find a 1930 census document with my great-grandfather’s name on it. He was indeed a patient at the Augusta Maine State Hospital for the Insane and spent at least 25 years there before he died in 1951.

We were four women, with no male heroes. A dysfunctional familial band of female strength on the one hand, full of unspoken male loss on the other.

There were no men in my early life—and that suited me just fine. Not that I knew any better.

How strange it is, then, that having been surrounded by women for most of my life, that I’ve never had a lot of female friends. In high school, I had maybe three close girlfriends. In college, I had one.

Even today, the females in my life are few and far between.

I suppose it’s because of those early days of being surrounded by loyal, compassionate, and unconditionally loving women.

But that was then, and this is now.

Perhaps I expect the women in my life to live up to a higher standard. Maybe a standard that is virtually unattainable.

I just don’t know.

We were four strong until at nine years old, my great-grandmother passed away.

And then after many weeks of tears and broken hearts, we were three strong.

My grandmother died when I was thirty.  I lost a heart wrenching chunk of me and an enormous safety net.

She was my safest place.

Down to two strong.

She left me at a crucial time in my life. I threw up for weeks after her death thinking I was heart sick.

It wasn’t my heart. I was pregnant.

Boy did I need her guidance.

And then things went wrong. Really wrong. My life took some spins and turns and crashes and burns.

You could say I joined a circus for a few years.

I made some naïve and terrible choices. Didn’t we all?

Down to one strong.

How I wish I would have asked my three strong women more questions about their pasts, their loves, their dreams, their aspirations, their regrets.

There are so many things I don’t know about them. I have way too many unanswered questions.

And way too many whys and hows and sorrys.

I so wish I could turn back the hands of time to live and love them all again and begin anew.


Me with my grandmother circa 1953

Spring Cleaning Tips

I am writing this blog for my own benefit,  because I know if I write my spring cleaning tips in a post it will be forever immortalized on The Teri Tome.

This way next spring, when I can’t find my spring cleaning check list, I’ll know where to go!

Spring has sprung, and I know what that means.

I’ll be cleaning, and my husband will be…

…I know what I have to do, but I don’t really want to.

And I don’t really need a checklist, because I know the drill.

Wash the windows, wipe down all my ceiling fans and lights, change out the cabinet shelf liners, degrease the kitchen, give the refrigerator a full clean out and clean up, wash the curtains, vacuum under the beds, tip top the bathrooms, degrunge the grout, and so on and on and on.

I’m already exhausted and entirely turned off.

But I gotta do it.

And my husband?

He knows I gotta do it too…

So here are some tips:

Clean your glass shower doors: The easiest way to remove hard water stains and soap scum? Dryer sheets. Yep. Try it. Wet a dryer sheet and working in a circular motion, clean the glass. If a film remains simply wipe it off with a glass cleaner and paper towel.  You can also use dryer sheets (unused or used) to buff spots off mirrors, bathroom, and kitchen fixtures.  They also remove rings around the toilet and are great for baseboard cleaning.

Shower scum: Fill a dish wand with half vinegar and half dish soap. I highly recommend blue Dawn. (Make use the Dawn is blue.) Then scrub away. You can also use an old sponge, Dobie pad, toothbrush or scrub brush and just dip into a cup of the same solution.

Degrunge your tiles and grout: First sweep or vacuum. Mix warm water and powdered oxygen bleach to create a thick paste consistency. Not runny. (OxiClean is the best). Do not use regular bleach. It won’t work. Then apply the bleach paste to the grout with a sponge and let it sit for 5 to 30 minutes. For large surfaces work with small areas, so the solution doesn’t dry on the surface. Then take a scrub brush and tjuz it around. (Or is it zhoozh?) Whatever. You get the point. Then rinse with hot water.  As the grout or tile dries, it will brighten up without the hassle of heavy scrubbing.

Removing mildew from white grout: Try using a bleach pen. This method is tedious, but the payoff is worth it.  Use the pen to draw the bleach into the grout lines. The pen allows you to target the grout without getting bleach all over the tile. Wait 10 minutes and then rinse. For really mildewy grout, you may need a second application. It can also help to gently scrub the bleach into the grout with a toothbrush and then wait the 10 minutes.

Remove stubborn toilet and bathtub rust stains: If you have a lot of iron in your water and struggle with rust stains in your toilet or bathtub, the perfect solution is a product called Acid Magic. Acid Magic is the user friendly Muriatic acid replacement, and is safer because it won’t burn your skin and has up to 90% less fumes. But make sure to take all the precautions you need to, like wearing gloves and safety glasses when using it. To clean rust from toilets and other porcelain surfaces, add three parts water to one part Acid Magic. Apply the mixture to the rust stains with a sprayer, brush or foam pad and watch the stain dissolve. Rinse with clear water. You can also use it full strength for stubborn stains. Avoid getting the acid on metal parts because they can discolor.

Remove tough stains from vinyl flooring: f your vinyl floor has marks or stains that won’t come off, try using Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Using rubber gloves dampen a white rag and rub it on marks and stains.  Don’t use anything but a white cloth to avoid color staining.

Take advantage of your dishwasher: You can save yourself a ton of time by washing all kinds of stuff in your dishwasher. Be sure there are no plastic parts that won’t be able to withstand the heat and run them through a “normal” washing cycle. Some examples of stuff you can run through your dishwasher on a “normal” cycle: silicone oven mitts and trivets, toys, figurines, kitchen brushes and sponges.

Ceiling fans: Take an old pillowcase and spray the inside with Pledge, Endust or any all-purpose cleaner. Slide the case over the blade and then slowly draw the fabric back. All the dust and dirt will stay in the pillowcase instead of flying everywhere.

Keep your refrigerator squeaky clean: Wash the interior with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda for every quart of warm water. Loosen hardened spills on fixed parts by wetting the area with the mixture, allowing the residue to soften. Use a toothbrush to scrub crannies.

Lint free television and computer screen cleanup:  Spray a touch of screen cleaner to a coffee filter and wipe away the dust with no lint worries.

Clean your blinds: Combine equal parts water and vinegar in a bowl and get a sock to put over your hand. Dip the sock in the solution and then run it over each slat of the blinds to remove any dirt or dust.

Remove tarnish: Place sterling or plated silver in an aluminum pan. (It must be aluminum.) Sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup baking soda over the silverware. Keeping the pan in the sink to minimize splashing, pour enough boiling water to cover the utensils. When the tarnish disappears, remove the silverware and buff with a soft cotton cloth.

Wash small neck decanters and pitchers: Fill the bottles with water, drop in a tablet or two of a denture cleaner such as Efferdent, let stand overnight. Then scrub with a narrow nylon brush.

Stainless steel appliances: For an impressively clean shine, put some rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth and wipe those annoying fingerprints away. You can also use a drop or two of olive oil.

Your couch: Baking soda can help remove lingering smells and break up stains on the fabric. Start by brushing off the surface of the couch, then sprinkle baking soda on the area you want to clean. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and then vacuum it up using the brush attachment.

Quick and easy way to clean up dust, dirt, and crumbs:  Use a lint roller to pick up dust, dirt, and crumbs pretty much anything your house.  It’s perfect for lamp shades, drawers, tablecloths, carpets, and window screens. If you have fabric that needs a face lift, lint roller it!

Remove kitchen/bathroom cabinet gunk: Mix together a solution of vegetable oil and baking soda, and then use an old toothbrush to scrub all that gunky stuff out of the corners of cabinet surfaces.

Get your rings to shine again:  The safest way to clean an engagement ring or any other type of ring with precious metals is to mix warm water with a small amount of blue Dawn dishwashing soap and let the ring soak for about 10 to 20 minutes. Then use a soft toothbrush to make it sparkly clean.

Get rid of mold: Clean mold the same way you clean cuts. Mix one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide with one cup of water. Wipe the mixture on the moldy spots and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Then scrub the area to remove all mold and stains, and wipe down the surface.

Hardwood floors: Make a magic solution by combining 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon castile soap, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, with 2 cups warm water. Then pour the mixture into a plastic spray bottle. Apply this cleaner over stained hardwood areas, wipe with a soft cloth and you’ll be amazed at the shiny results. Take special care not to get your floor too wet while cleaning.

Porcelain tile floors: Start by sweeping the floor to remove any dust on the porcelain tiles. You can use a dry dust mop or a vacuum. Use a damp sponge mop and a solution of 1/4 cup of white vinegar to 2 gallons of water.

Quartz countertops: Wipe countertops clean with a damp cloth. Use a mild, nonabrasive detergent soap for deep cleaning.

Erase Scuff Marks: Clean off shoe scuff marks from vinyl flooring with a clean, dry tennis ball. A light rub and heel marks are erased.

Outdoor aluminum chairs: Combine blue Dawn with warm water and scrub with a Dobie pad. Then rinse very well.

Trex Decks:  Combine an equal amount of water and white vinegar and use a soft cloth to remove dirt and grime. Rinse thoroughly after use and do not leave the vinegar in contact with the surface. A nylon scratch pad or toothbrush can be used on harder to clean areas.

Quartz composite sinks: A wipe down with a damp Magic Eraser works every time.

Magic Erasers are indeed magic. You can use them on pretty much anything.

And blue Dawn works miracles on most stains. Just take a white cloth and dab it with a touch of Dawn (only blue), then rinse it off and wait for the shockingly positive results.

Happy cleaning!

Oh, and if I missed anything, please share your cleaning tips with me!

And if you have any brilliant ideas for how to get my husband to help me, fess up!

#NoMakeup

The no makeup trend purportedly started when Alicia Keys announced in May of 2016 that she was quitting makeup—not just in her daily life but also on her airings as a judge on The Voice as well as her professional life.

Lots of celebrities quickly followed suit, inspiring young girls to show off their unfiltered self with boldness, courage, and confidence.

No disrespect to Alicia, and the rest of the VIP’s, but I quit makeup over ten years ago.

Which got me to thinking:

Did I actually start the No Makeup movement?

A few years ago a friend wanted to share something with me, but she didn’t want to hurt my feelings.

I responded with an immediate “please tell,” but inwardly nervous about what she was going to divulge.

She hesitated awkwardly and then blurted it out.

“You look so much better with makeup.”

My response: “Uh duh. You think I don’t know that? But I like my makeup free look.”

My daily beauty regimen goes like this:

Wake up. Wash my face. Slather on sunscreen. Wash my face. Go to sleep.

I’m not saying I’m anti makeup. Trust me, when I’m in the mood, I can cake it on with the best of them.

But 99% of my life is spent free of anything on my face but SPF 30.

So sorry Alicia, you did not start the no makeup trend. It was Moi!

And I also think I should get credit for the #NaturalBride movement!

Here’s why…

At my then hair salon five or so years ago, a pretty young blonde girl walked in with her mother for a bridal makeup trial. I can still vividly recall that her youthful face was perfection. Her clear, bright skin was dewy and unwrinkled. She had piercing blue eyes and naturally pink lips.  Gorgeous!

The three of us left the salon at the same time. I hated my hair, and there was no denying from her body language, Miss Bride-To-Be hated her makeup.

She looked older, and her face was laminated with a combo of foundation and blush. Her eyes were darkly lined and thickly mascaraed, their cerulean color barely discernible. And her ruby red lip corners turned down in sadness.

For whatever reason, she asked for my opinion. Her fretting mother looked miserable.

“What do you think?” I asked the once fresh-faced, soon to be bride back at her.

“I feel clownish and way too done-up,” she whimpered. “I barely recognize myself.”

Pathetically, she looked to her mom, who in turn looked to me and asked, “What do you think?”

Now, if you know me at all, my mantra is this:

You may not like what I have to say, but you’ll always know where I stand. So, if you don’t want to know what I think, don’t ask.   

They both asked, so I went in for the kill.

“When you first walked in, you were beautiful, fresh, and natural. Now? Not so much.”

I looked from daughter to mother, and no one was crying, so I plowed on.

“Why not go for a touch of mascara, a tint of blush, some lip gloss, and be done?”

Mother and daughter looked at me like I created a miracle, collectively shouting “YES!” and then gave me a too long and too hefty of a hug.

Awkward!

But I bet she made a beautiful bride.

#TeriStartedIt

Self-Publishing Tips

Self-publishing is often the best, and sometimes the only way for writers to get their works into print.

Self-publishing is challenging, but the concept that all self-published books are subpar is untrue, and more and more writers are choosing to take publishing matters into their own hands.

The old adage that traditional publishing is the only way to make a living as a writer is also untrue.

Self-publishing, once considered a low-end publishing option, offers authors publication speed, complete control, full rights, and no excess inventory.

Self-publishing is the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry, but be prepared to spend a lot of time and effort getting the word out about your book.

As an example, Fifty Shades of Grey was originally self-published, and E.L. James is now considered one the wealthiest authors in the world.

In addition to E.L. James, here is a short list of famous self-publishing authors:

Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass
Mark Twain: Huckleberry Finn
John Grisham: A Time to Kill
Richard Bolles: What Color Is Your Parachute?
Ron Hubbard: Dianetics
Irma Rombauer: The Joy of Cooking
Richard Nixon: Real Peace
James Redfield: The Celestine Prophecy

This is just a small sampling of self-published writers whose works have sold millions of copies. And some of them are still self-publishing and still making a ton of money with their self-published books.

Despite what the traditional publishing conglomerates would like you to believe, readers like what they like, and read what moves them. They could care less if a book is self-published or not.

I receive hundreds of emails asking me the same self-publishing questions over and over. The bottom line is that they are looking for the top tips or the top rules.

But there really are no set rules, and no wrong or right way to self-publish. It’s all up to preference and how much money you want to spend.

And I’m not claiming to know everything about self-publishing.

This article is but a small sampling of what I have learned along the self-publishing way. If anyone has anything to add to this list, please comment at the end of this article.

Once your book has been written and before you sign up with a self-publisher go to https://www.copyright.gov/ and copyright your work.  And make sure to include a copyright page in your book.

Every good self-publishing company will offer you a free editing assessment, so before making a final decision, ask to see what editing changes they would make to a couple of your chapters.

First things first—you will want a non-exclusive contract. Paperback books are less expensive to produce than a hard cover version, and black and white is less than color.

One on one customer service is crucial. And you can negotiate editing services as part of your package, but make sure their editors are competent.

Make sure all distribution of paperback/hard cover and eBooks are in your name, and your name only.

Make sure you purchase a package that offers worldwide distribution for paperback/hardcover and eBooks.

Approximately 60% of all eBooks are sold through Amazon and distributed through Kindle which is marketed by Amazon. If you want wider eBook distribution, like Nook, you may have to pay extra.

Try to get your eBook on as many eReading devices as possible. In addition to Amazon, some distribution examples are Google Play, iTunes, Barnes & Noble (Nook), Kobo Books, and Smashwords.

An average cost for a quality self-publishing package can range anywhere from $1,000 to $1,600.

There are of course more expensive packages, but unless you are using a ton of four-color inside pages, you shouldn’t need to spend more than that.

Book distributors traditionally get 55% of the retail price of the book, out of which they pay 40% to the bookseller.

You will want to back into the retail price of your book based on how much it will cost to print.

So for example, if it costs $3 to print your book, you may want to put a price point on it of $12.

Then, 55% of the $12 price point or $6.60 would go to the distributor. So, $12 (retail price) less $6.60 (distributor) less $3 (printing) leaves $2.40 in royalties.

Pay close attention to royalties in self-publishing packages.

In my case, I use Breezeway Books and receive ALL royalties.

Some self-publishing packages require a royalty percent, but I wouldn’t personally sign up with a company that does.

And make sure your package includes: ISBN Assignment, Library of Congress Control Number, and EAN/Barcode.

Make sure the font size in your book is large enough. I would recommend that you choose your type size and font yourself, so you know and like what you are getting.

And you should get at least ten paperback/hard cover copies of your finished product.

Your book design is also a key component of your self-publishing package. You will need a paperback/hard cover format, eBook format and custom interior formatting, and a custom cover design.

You should be able to see two design versions of your cover, including the back cover and then pick the one you like best.

Make sure you can print your book at a wholesale publisher cost and that you receive at least one physical proof copy.

I like to see digital proofs at each stage, but that’s me.

If you decide to go the self-publishing route be prepared to do a ton of marketing because obvi no one else is going to do it for you. See my blog post re: marketing tips.

Good luck and happy writing!

 

The Mass Shooting Generation

My generation was labeled the Baby Boomers (1946-1964).

Next up: Generation X (1965-1979).

Then along came the Xennials (1975-1985).

And then Generation Y (1980-1994).

Followed by the iGen/Gen Z Generation: 1995 -2012. But their generation label and many of their lives were cut short.

Now they are sadly known as the Mass Shooting Generation.

On April 20, 1999, America was reshaped by the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. Two seniors murdered 12 students, one teacher, and wounded more than 20 others.  Then they both committed suicide.

On March 5, 2001, a freshman at Santana High School in Santee, California killed two and wounded 13. He is serving a sentence of 50 to life.

March 21, 2005, a 16-year-old shot his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend. Then he made his way to his former school, Red Lake High School in Red Lake, Michigan and shot and killed seven students and wounded five others. Then he committed suicide.

In October 2006, a thirty-two-year-old barricaded himself in West Nickel Mines School, a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He tied up 10 young girls before he started shooting. He shot eight out of the ten girls (aged 6-13) killing five. Then he took his own life.

On April 16, 2007,  a student at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia murdered 32 students and teachers. The killing spree ended when he killed himself.

On February 14, 2008, a former grad student from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois popped out from behind a curtain in an auditorium and opened fire on an oceanography class and killed six people. Then he killed himself.

On April 2, 2012, a 43-year-old former student at Oikos University in Oakland, California fired on a classroom at the Christian school and killed seven people. He was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences.

On Dec. 14, 2012, a 20-year-old former student at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut killed his mother then burst into Sandy Hook where he murdered 20 students (6-7 years old) and six teachers before committing suicide.

On June 7, 2013, a 23-year-old opened fire at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California killing five people and injuring four. The shooting spree ended when police shot and killed him.

On May 2014, a 22-year-old who had posted a murderous warning on YouTube promising to exact vengeance on sorority women who scorned him killed six and injured 13 at University of California, Santa Barbara in Isla Vista, California. The violence ended when he shot and killed himself.

On Oct. 24, 2014, a 15-year-old student from Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington shot five of his classmates, killing four of them. Then he killed himself.

On October 1, 2015, a 26-year-old opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, killing 10 people and wounding 7. The gunman died in an exchange of gunfire with police officers.

On February 14, 2018, a 19-year-old former student at  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, In Parkland, Florida murdered 14 students, 3 teachers and injured more than a dozen others. He was arrested and faces the death penalty.

Colorado, California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, Florida.

According to EveryTown, there have been 17 school shootings in 2018 alone, and 290 since 2013, shortly after Sandy Hook.

High School seniors can’t remember a time when they didn’t know about school shootings.

Middle School students regularly practice code red drills.

The Mass Shooting Generation practice active shooter drills and huddle through lockdowns.

This is the way of life for the Mass Shooting Generation.

This generation is almost grown up. And the’re fed up.

With tears, passion, and fury, students issued a defiant and anguished message to Republican politicians:

The Mass Shooting Generation have been politically awakened, and their lives are forever altered by mass school shootings. They demand change. And they won’t stop until they get it.

Welcome to the revolution.

Watching the March For Our Lives on television brought me back to a poem and song by Gil Scott-Heron recorded in 1970 titled “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” He recited the lyrics accompanied only by congas and bongo drums. I still recall the mantra: The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised. The revolution will be live.

The Mass Shooting Generation is nearing voting age. They are getting ready for the midterm elections in November. They are registering to vote. They are helping others to register.  They are engaged, they are angry, and they want to be heard.

And Republican politicians ignore them at their peril and political demise.

They aren’t going to be satisfied with the March 24th March For Our Lives moment.

They are determined to turn the the moment into a movement. In this case, the revolution is both televised and live.

The NRA has money. But our young Americans want to live.  Life Trumps guns.

Will the Mass Shooting Generation be the ones who take down the gun lobby?

Stay tuned for November midterms 2018.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Gil Scott-Heron
You will not be able to stay home, brother
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and drop out
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip
Skip out for beer during commercials
Because the revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruption
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
Blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John Mitchell
General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
Hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary

The revolution will not be televised

The revolution will be brought to you by the Schaefer Award Theatre and
will not star Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
Thinner, because The revolution will not be televised, Brother

There will be no pictures of you and Willie Mays
Pushing that cart down the block on the dead run
Or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance
NBC will not predict the winner at 8:32or the count from 29 districts

The revolution will not be televised

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
Brothers in the instant replay
There will be no pictures of young being
Run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process
There will be no slow motion or still life of
Roy Wilkens strolling through Watts in a red, black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the right occasion
Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and
Hooterville Junction will no longer be so damned relevant
and Women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day

The revolution will not be televised

There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock News
and no pictures of hairy armed women Liberationists and
Jackie Onassis blowing her nose
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb, Francis Scott Key
nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash
Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth

The revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be right back after a message
About a whitetornado, white lightning, or white people
You will not have to worry about a germ on your Bedroom
a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl
The revolution will not go better with Coke
The revolution will not fight the germs that cause bad breath
The revolution WILL put you in the driver’s seat
The revolution will not be televised

WILL not be televised, WILL NOT BE TELEVISED

The revolution will be no re-run brothers

The revolution will be live

 

Fifty Shades of Grey (Paint)

One of my Facebook friends thought I made a typo when I wrote that I was going through a kitchen takeover instead of a kitchen makeover.

I made no typographical error.

If you have ever renovated a kitchen, you know the drill.

TAKEOVER!!!!!

Let’s start from the very beginning.

I have always dreamed of having a white kitchen.

I know what you’re thinking. Get a life. People are starving. In places.

It’s lame. I get it. But that was my if-I-ever-had-the-pleasure-of-renovating-my-kitchen dream, so try not to judge me too harshly.

As it happened, when we were looking for houses in the mid 90’s, the house we now live in had a white kitchen, and I took it as a sign. Sold!

So 22 years ago, my kitchen was my favorite non color but admittedly long in the tooth. It had white Formica cabinets, counters, and back splash.

It was worn out, but it was white, and I was happy. Having spent my earlier years in a Bridgeport Connecticut tenement, I was living the dream.

Fast forward 22 years…

I finally convinced (okay more like coerced) my husband into renovating the original-to-the-house kitchen. And I knew from the get go, that it was going to be white.

My contractor, cabinet guy, plumber and some of my peeps tried to talk me out of it, telling me white was passé.  They all had their opinions about white being cold, hard to keep clean, and sooo past tense.

But for anyone who knows me, I tend to march to the beat of my own drum.

Tell me something is passé, not in, or past tense, I could give a you-know-what.

I have no interest in keeping up with the Joneses—or anybody else for that matter.

Passé? Past tense you say? Don’t care.

I was going for the whole white shebang. Passé shmasse.

White floor, white cabinets, white counter tops, white faucets. That’s what I wanted. And that’s what I was going to get.

Oh and I decided to throw in a white high gloss exterior door and matching white high gloss window trim, and white eggshell walls and ceilings.

Okay, if you’re rolling your eyes over the white on white on white, even I will admit that my obsession with white was a tad too much.

So along the way I made an executive decision to get off the all white kick—change it up.

…and go with a grey wall.

To be precise,  white on white on white with two and a half walls of grey.

The white part was easy peasy.

I ordered white high gloss cabinets, white quartz counter tops and matching back splash, white hardware, and a white porcelain floor.

The grey walls? Not so easy.

Once I decided on grey, I began my usual laser focused OCD-ish quest for the perfect grey.

This was easier said than done.

What I discovered was that the color grey is elusive, schizophrenic, unreliable, misleading, two-faced, three-faced.

Yet warm, inviting, calming and cool.

There are indeed fifty shades of grey. Or is it gray?

Thus began the process of priming and painting, and priming and painting and then priming some more. I could NOT find a grey that I liked.

The first time I walked into my local paint store I told the salesman I was looking for grey paint.

He looked at me in semi disgust. “Which one?” he asked me as he intently picked paint chips off the front counter.

“I don’t know, you tell me. I’m just looking for a regular old grey,” I responded.

“Good luck with that.” He said under his breath as I strained to hear what he was saying.

I had no idea how accurate this salesman’s words would end up being.

I showed him a photo on my phone of a grey kitchen wall I liked.

He squinted at the image and then muttered four words: Barren Plain and Wish.

I asked him if that was one color or two. He answered me so softly that I had to ask him twice.  Even after answering me again, I still couldn’t hear him.

So instead of asking him a third time, I filled up the space with nonsensical talk about my counters and back splash, blabbing about how I was told that quartz is the new granite, droning on about my peninsula, my hardware, blah blah and blah.

By the time I finished my verbal dissertation he was at the other end of the store whipping up my paint.

I took the sample size paints home and had my contractor put them on two pieces of wall board.

I then intensely inspected both of them. Intensely being the operative word.

Barren Plain (2111-60) didn’t look grey at all. At first, I thought it looked beige, but then when I looked at it for like the 30th time, it didn’t really seem like beige either.

I went online and looked up the color, and one blogger called it greige—a combo of grey and beige.

Get out the primer!

Then I moved on to Wish (AF-680).  I was hopeful about Wish because as a wordsmith, I tend to find signs and meanings behind words.

And for whatever reason, I felt a kinship with the name. Wishful thinking because it did not work out at all. I wish I never tried it. It was a weird taupey color. Something you might find in a diaper. Not what I was going for at all.

More primer!

I then trudged back into my paint store lugging the two pieces of Barren Plain and Wish painted wall boards, and shared my misery with the salesman who recommended the two shades of grey in the first place.

“Why do the colors look one way on the swatch and another way on the wall? Why does the paint stick not match the paint on the wall? And why do the greys look one color on one wall and another color on the other wall?”

The salesman shrugged and said, “That’s grey for you.”

I found his answer to be wholly unhelpful.

My response? “Anastasia of Fifty Shades, the novel, said it best. Oh, my.”

He looked at me blankly. He apparently had never read Fifty. And he was also apparently not feeling my paint pain.

We stared at each other awkwardly.

“I mean,” I finally said, breaking the silence. “Why is grey such a problem?”

He looked at me like “duh.”

“It’s all about the LRV,” Mr. non personality blurted out, rolling his eyes before he turned his back on me to help another customer.

“The wha?”

He was preoccupied ringing up customer B, so he didn’t respond.

So I asked again.

“The SUV?”

“The LRV. The light reflectance value,” he said with some annoyance as he rang up customer C.

“Can you write that down for me?” I asked him.

“Are you serious?” he asked me.

“Well yeah, I need to look up that thing you said.”

“LRV,” he repeated as he wrote it down.

“No, not the letters, the words of it,” I said leaning in to see what he was scribbling.

He looked up and gave me an awful look.

“Would this be a bad time to ask for a couple more grey suggestions?” I asked him tentatively.

He walked into an office behind the counter.

I wasn’t sure if I should take that as a yes or a no.

He came back with a piece of paper with two lines of words on it.

I read the words out loud to no one in particular: “Stonington Gray and Gray Owl?”

“And is it G-R-E-Y  or G-R-A-Y?”

When I looked up, he was gone.

“HELLO? HELLOOOO?”

The salesman popped his head out from a back room. He was visibly aggravated. “I’m on lunch.”

“Okay, could you just whip me up these gray-with-an-A paints real quick?”

He zhoozhed up two pint size cans of paint. As he took my twenty dollar bill, I asked him what his name was. He said it softly, and as I strained to hear, I had to ask him a second time.

“Okay thanks for your help Robert,” I chirped as I walked out with my “grays.”

I ran home and tried both paints on some wall scraps I found in my garage.

Then I googled “light reflectance value.”  The first article I found was titled: “LRV and why you should NEVER choose a paint color without it.”

NEVER?

The article read more like a science experiment, full of incomprehensible information like: A color’s Light Reflectance Value (LRV) measures the amount of visible and usable light that reflects from or absorbs into a painted surface.  LRV is measured on a scale that ranges from zero (absolute black, absorbing all light and heat) to 100 percent (pure white, reflecting all light).

What?

Oh, and there was an app I could buy called LRV Guru which assists with calculating color contrast ratios and would do the math for me.

Wait. Now there’s math involved?

This LRV thing was getting way too complicated, so I went back to painting wall scraps.

Stonington Gray (HC 170) was too blue. Urgh.

Gray Owl (2137-60) was a nice gray but slightly darker than I wanted. I moved around the sample scraps from wall to wall. Gray Owl on the wall with the three windows looked great, but on the wall with no light, it looked dullish. “That damn LRV,” I mumbled under my breath.

I was all but giving up, thinking maybe I should just go with Gray Owl and be done with it. I was running out of time. Plus I was running out of wall boards.

My husband nixed the Gray Owl, so I was back to the drawing board or should I say painting board.

I drove over to Home Depot and found a paint swatch there that I liked. I then headed directly over to my not-so-trusty paint store.

My not-so-favorite salesman was having lunch. Again.

“Hi, Robert!” I said overly loudly, feigning enthusiasm. “I’m baaaack!”

He looked up from his sandwich and said: “It’s Richard.”

“Oh okay, Richard. So when you’re done eating can I show you a swatch I found at Home Depot?”

“Home Depot don’t carry Benjamin Moore,” he said in between munches.

“Yes, I know, but can you try to match the swatch up with something nice for me?” I asked him gingerly.

I think I was getting on Robert’s nerves. I mean Richard.

“Pleeeeease?”

He put down his sandwich and concocted something called Graceful Gray (PPV18-12).

I thanked him profusely and ran home to paint it out. But Graceful Gray was a very dark taupey greigy color. I was all but losing hope.

On the way back to the paint store I picked up a Caramel Brulée Latte at Starbucks for Richard. I was hoping that maybe a bribe in the form of a coffee would help me to get the grey/gray I so desired.

I ran into the paint store, Starbucks gift in hand.

Richard was very excited about the coffee concoction, and in between sips he gave me the inside scoop about lightening or darkening gray with percentages of other colors.  Then he confided in me that most people call him Dick.

Did that mean I had to call him Dick? I so preferred Richard.

And the Latte was a huge success because Dick was impressively accommodating and very full of a lot of words. He also happened to have a beautiful smile.

He worked up two versions of the same color: Classic Gray and Classic Gray darkened by 25%. Maybe it was the caffeine, but Dick was a new sales man.

I quickly paid him and drove off to do my painting thing.

The Classic Gray (OC 23) was a warm gray but had a purple undertone. I really wanted this color to work. But the purple was literally bouncing off the walls.

The LRV was B-A-D.

I was hopeful that the Classic Gray darkened by 25% would result in a bit more contrast with a little less purple. Nope. Didn’t work.

The following morning I dejectedly drove back to see Dick. This time armed with a Starbuck’s Caramel Macchiato and a blueberry muffin with yogurt and honey.

When he saw me walk in his face lit up. “I knew you’d be back. And I think I found the grey for you. 1611. Gray Tint.”

As the machine shook up 1611, Dick sipped on his Macch and chattered away, telling me among other things that his mother calls him Dicky. Or is it Dickie?

As I paid for the paint pint I was thinking to myself. Really? Gray Tint?

Why didn’t Dick think of this in the first place?

Gray. Tint.

A tint of Gray.

Come on Dicky. You should have thought of this one right out of the grey gate.

I was hopeful as I watched my contractor paint the wall next to the window.  The gray lived up to its name and indeed had a tint—of lavender, which happens to be my favorite color, so I took it as a sign.

Each wall looked slightly different, but the hues were all warm and a lovely contrast to the white window trim and ceiling.

LRV and all, it was perfect!

(There is a part two to this story, which is that after the painting was completed, I discovered that the white porcelain floor was laid down incorrectly and had to be ripped up. As flooring experts marched in and out of my house, they all agreed on the same two things: My beautiful and expensive white floor had to be trashed, and the color should be changed up. To what else? Grey! I mean Gray!)

An Open Letter to America’s Youth: It’s up to You to Stop the Gun Violence


Peace and Voting Rights Demonstration in Westport, Connecticut 1970

Seventeen year old David Hogg, a shooting survivor and senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had this to say on Thursday about America’s gun policies:

“We need to do something. We need to get out there and be politically active. Congress needs to get over their political bias with each other and work toward saving children’s lives. We’re children. You guys are the adults.”

His words brought me back to 1970 when I was his age.

Our plight wasn’t gun violence.

Our crisis was the Vietnam War.

At the time, the voting age was twenty-one. Tens of thousands of eighteen-year-old American boys were being drafted into the military for the Vietnam War while being denied the right to vote.

We looked to the adults to do something. But they didn’t.

We looked to Congress to do something. But they wouldn’t.

So we bravely took matters into our own hands.

We took to the streets and participated in often-violent demonstrations. The tragedies associated with young Americans protesting against government authority tore our nation apart at the time.

The most horrific incident involved the deaths of four students, and nine serious injuries on May 4, 1970, when members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a crowd at Ohio’s Kent State University.

What most adults thought was a chilling message to the youth to stop protesting, only emboldened us.

I was a proud but terrified participant in the explosive and tumultuous youth voting rights movement, which in the end changed the course of history for America’s young adults.

“Old enough to fight, old enough to vote” became our shared slogan, and we never gave up our fight.

Ratified in 1971, in a record 100 days, President Nixon formally certified the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on July 5, 1971, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18.

Nixon had this to say at the certifying ceremony:

“The reason I believe that your generation, the 11 million new voters, will do so much for America at home is that you will infuse into this nation some idealism, some courage, some stamina, some high moral purpose, that this country always needs.”

And then the U.S. Military draft ended on 1/27/73. We did that.

The proportion of young voters heading to the polls today has steadily and alarmingly declined since that historical time in 1971, and they all but vanish in off-year and local elections.

Emma Gonzalez said she and fellow classmates are going to make sure people don’t stop talking about Wednesday’s shooting.

“The government needs to understand, people in the government need to understand that we are not to be bought by the (National Rifle Association). They are not supposed to be listening to the NRA about our protection. They are supposed to be listening to the people that are getting hurt about our protection. We’re the ones that deserve to be kept safe because we were literally shot at.”

Gonzalez said she’s been thinking “how do I stop this in the future from happening again?”

Here is what I have to say to David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez.

Don’t wait for the adults to do something.

Don’t wait for Congress to act.

The fate of your future is entirely up to you.

“For years our citizens between the ages of 18 and 21 have, in time of peril, been summoned to fight for America. They should participate in the political process that produces this fateful summons. I urge Congress to propose to the States a constitutional amendment permitting citizens to vote when they reach the age of 18.”  
President Dwight Eisenhower, State of the Union, January 7, 1954

The Teri Tome: Top 10 Blog Posts in 2017

I launched the Teri Tome on March 18, 2015, and for almost three years I have been laying it all out there.

Well, to be honest, I haven’t laid it ALL out there. I have been taking baby steps toward full disclosure.

Blogging for me has been incredibly cathartic, and I would highly recommend that everyone try their hand at it.

You don’t have to spill your life beans like me. You can post your photos, paintings, writings, recipes—whatever.

And the best part about blogging is that it’s all set in blog stone.

Blogging also opens your eyes in a way they may not have been open before.

In the choosing of events, I can conjure up the meaning behind pretty much anything. In the “this vs. that” process what I have also discovered is that what appears to be mundane nonsense often holds the most significance.

Now I know you are eagerly waiting (or not) for my Top 10 Posts for 2017, but I have a few more things to say, so bear with me.

Okay, maybe more than a few words…

I’ve heard it said that the tongue has no bones, but it can break bones with its words. And for some of you out there, your tongues did plenty of talking. And plenty of breaking. Now it’s my turn.

Here is what I want to say to those criticizers, haters, and judgers out there.  And you all know who you are:

Get over your familial issues. If someone wanted to leave you money, jewels, or property they would have. It’s called a will.

Don’t pretend to know me, just because we share some teensy piece of history. You don’t know me.

Yes, I’m wearing a top in my “Our Romantic Getaway” authors photo.

No, the novel is not about me.

And to answer your question “Are you still talking about that?”

I’ll never stop talking about “that.” 

The word “express” could very easily be changed to “confess,” so be thankful that the real stories don’t come out.

Your thinly veiled attempts to make me feel embarrassed, unloved, unattractive, or unbelievable have failed miserably.

The most significant gift about my soon-to-be-turning 65 is that I finally dare to say what I feel and to cut out of my life those people who don’t like it.

Those holier than thou critics disguised as well wishers, pseudo friends, and family, who have snarkily and repeatedly talked down about my family members, my blog posts, my not-all-that-racy-in-my-opinion novel, my poetry, my writing style, my author photo and even my last names. Mahigel, Gatti, Schure. I earned them all.

Bottom line? You’re either with me, or you’re not. There is no in between.

It’s my blog, my website, my novel, my poetry, my life, so I get to say my truth, not yours.

As far as my novel: Due to my day job, that itty bitty facetious novel I wrote took me more than half a decade to finally finish. And I’m proud of it so stop putting it down. And yes, I’ve had some success with it. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think I would become the next Hemingway. Not making the New York Times’s bestseller came as no surprise. But I was surprised at the criticisms of some.

In a nutshell: If you don’t like what I have to say, don’t read it, quit talking about me, don’t call, don’t email, and stop the stalking.

There. Whew. I feel much better.

By the end of 2017, I was surprised to see that I had only written 36 posts. It seemed like a whole lot more than that!

Those 36 posts generated almost 200,000 hits. The top ten posts produced 92,000, or 46% of the total page views, and have garnered anywhere from 19,470 hits for #1, down to 3,920 for #10.

Other bloggers would have to tell me if the number of hits my posts have generated is impressive or not, but I’m pleased with the bottom line.

At long last, it’s time to reveal the big kahunas, the top dogs—The 2017 Top Ten Teri Tome Besties:

#1

BEWARE OF TICK-INFESTED ACORNS: Okay, this was a shocker to me. All that pouring out of my heart and soul and tick-infested acorns is Numero Uno? So yes, the popularity of this blog post came as a disappointing surprise, although it does seem like those nasty buggers (the ticks, not the acorns) are taking over.

#2

#MeToo: This blog post wiped me out, and the popularity of it came as no surprise.  But I had hoped that #MeToo would have been my number one post for 2017. It would have eased the pain of writing it. But those damn ticks beat it out.  My consolation though is that I wrote it near the end of October, so I am sure if it had a few more months to settle in, it would have been number one.  Once I wrote it, I refused to reread it. Because I still feel shame. And I also feel like a coward. I wanted and should have said more, but I couldn’t. The timing was off.  One day I’ll explain why. But hundreds of women (and young girls) emailed me and shared their own heartbreaking stories. So if my blog post helped just one person, I’m glad I outed myself.

#3

Father-Daughter Dance: The term “Daddy Issues” is definitely a thing a lot of people have, including me. Researchers have found that fatherless daughters in particular often fear abandonment. (Check.) And they often have difficulty interacting with men. (Check, check.) And raising sons can be a challenge. (Triple check). On the positive side, fatherless daughters develop determined wills and survival tactics very early on. They are loyal friends and can love like no other. Ultimately, they just want to give love and be loved. Weddings, Father’s Day, and just plain old father hunger—it’s real and it’s painful, and it can sometimes bring out the worst in those of us who are part of this unfortunate club.  Every girl wants to be a daddy’s girl, but sadly, not every girl has the chance.

#4

Who Else Is Sick of Hearing About Politics on Facebook?: After #MeToo and Father-Daughter Dance, I was relieved to have a lighter post to talk up. On January 27, 2017, I put a self-imposed all-things-political blog ban on The Teri Tome and promised to try my best to muzzle my political opinions for thirty days. Instead of political banter, I would put up cooking photos and a few recipes. Following this post promise, I put up some Super Bowl recipes, wished Sidney Poitier a happy 90th birthday, and wrote a poem about surviving haters, judgers, and criticizers. And then came that damn repeal and replace fiasco in early March, so I couldn’t help jumping back into the political fray. But hey, I managed to last a little over two months without talking politics.

#5

Trading Places: A heard a haunting song on the radio titled “Human” by Rag’N’Bone Man, which gave me the courage to post this poem I wrote over fifteen years ago. The song cut through me on so many levels, but it mostly made me realize that I’m flawed, I’m not perfect, and I’ve made my share of foolish mistakes resulting from irresponsible life choices. I can’t undo any of it. And I can’t fix it either. Others made mistakes too, so why put all the blame on me? Rag’N’Bone Man seemed to speak directly to me as he sang through his sadness and guilt. He symphonically defended himself against the despairing burden crushing his being: “I’m only human after all; don’t put the blame on me. Don’t put the blame on me.”

#6

My Do-Over: I was thrilled that this post made the top ten because it gives me the opportunity to talk about how I felt when my firstborn entered the world. It was the miracle of life. A life that safe harbored itself inside of me for nine beauteous months. Moments after he arrived, my son squinted against the bright hospital lights. And then I spoke. It was more of an oohing, awing, cooing sound, and his dear little head, misshapen from repeatedly trying to escape the birth canal, quickly turned in the direction of my voice. His bright eyes gazed into mine. He had me at first gaze. It was not just the birth of my son that day. It was the birth of me as a mother, and one of the most significant physical and psychological stirrings I have ever experienced.

 #7

Gaslighting: I was not thrilled at all about the popularity of this post because as a result, I now need to address an unfortunate and hurtful breakup with a friend, which spurred the writing of this to begin with. Firstly, I am happy to say that we have since made up.  Secondly, I didn’t realize until after our blowup how much the friendship with my sidekick meant to me. I knew I loved her, but the pain of losing my female compadre was a lesson learned. And thirdly, the most important lesson learned was to put aside the nonsensical, troublesome and worthless noise created by a third party. Now I know first-hand the challenges of trios. Sometimes they work. And sometimes, you need to cut a bitch. Or cut her out, and keep the friend.

#8     

Irish or Not, Corned Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day: Every year, and as part of my St. Paddy’s Day tradition, I make my grandmother’s corned beef, cabbage and baked hash browns in honor and in memory of her. In the post, I discussed the fact that she was probably not Irish, although she did make a mean Corned Beef. The day I blogged this post my Ancestry kit came by mail. The result? Drum roll please…11% Irish! But to be clear, don’t try to kiss me on the big day.

 #9

Whatever Happened to Steak and Champagne in Coach?: As a Delta flight attendant way back when, in 1973, I was forced to engage in a whole lot of customer service, and it wasn’t only in the luxurious First Class. There was a ton of  back-of-the-plane service with a smile, served up with a slab of steak and way too much champagne. It was an exhausting job, continually struggling with that liquor and food cart while in a constant upward or downward angle, cleaning up vomit (oh yeah), dealing with dead people (sad but true), trolling the plane for doctors, and preparing travelers for the dreaded emergency landings. But nothing was worse than the pinching and grabbing from the men as I meandered past them. We’ve come a long way, baby.

#10    

Buh Bye 2016: I was so happy this post made it into the top 10 because it gives me the opportunity to replay the Teri Tome highlights from 2016. There were some oldies but goodies. On the lighter side, there was a post using my daughter to define marketing, my lame attempt to cut out the vino, and my cheese sculptures. A favorite of mine was a post about my childhood dog Raleigh, who was like a brother to me. The post about my dog came as a complete shock for many who know me well, because, to put it mildly, I am not a fan of animals. And then there was my post about the heartbreaking loss of my beloved Aunt Barb who was tragically killed by a hit and run driver. Maddeningly, the driver never turned him or herself in and was never found by the police. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her.

And because I am obsessed with the number 18 (see why here), I had to know what blog post graced my favorite number.

#18

YOU’RE MISSING FROM ME MOM:  Eighteen in Hebrew means to life, so of course this blog about missing my mom reaffirms my belief that the number is truly a significant one for me.

 THE TERI TOME #1 POST OF ALL TIME? (All time being 2015-2017)

Bullies Are Cowards and Why I Refuse To Turn the Other Cheek: I wrote this blog post on 4/10/15, after a nasty bully experience. It has garnered over 100,000 hits to date and is always in the daily statistics.  When I receive letters asking how to handle bullies I tell them not to take the bait.  Those who can, do.  Those who can’t, bully. Only the best are bullied. And that your loved ones are your safety net. They will catch you when you fall prey to the ever present jerks that lurk.  But only if you let your loved ones in.  They can’t feel your pain if you don’t share it with them.

In closing up 2017, and in the editing and rereading of this blog post, it dawned on me that blogging has not only enhanced my life but has become a digital record of it. My words can never be lost, stolen, or destroyed in a fire or a flood. My words are now forever.

The Teri Tome has been my own little place to think and process all the stuff I’ve been keeping way down inside. I have finally found my voice, and in doing so, a safe place through my writing, and I am proud of my work.

Happy New Year!