It Pays to Advertise

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Most of us are bombarded with advertising.  All with promises of the best car, the best detergent, the most energy efficient car or appliance.  Oh, dear God, yes, I’ve been sucked into these claims of years.

I’ve bought miracle cleansers guaranteed to make my shower sparkle.  I bought wrinkle-free clothing, five-minute meals, and solar pool covers.  None of those products delivered their false promises.  Yet, I kept on buying–searching for the one.


As time and age reduced me into a shar pei, which I could not bear to look at in a bathroom mirror, let alone a full-length mirror, I searched for hope.  And with simple clicks on my computer, I bought beauty creams, make up, oils, and elixirs all guaranteed to forestall my aging process.  Sadly, not one of them worked.

Finally, I just gave up.  I chose to no longer be a victim of a publisher’s clearinghouse subscription, nor a free week at a Maui timeshare.  I solved my problem.  Then, I spied this:

Really?  You want to move me?  Do realize how much stuff I have?  A Ford Focus?  Not to mention, how many muscular men could sit in a car of that size! I almost rolled over the sidewalk laughing in hysteria.

Given the current state of our world, this is what pays to advertise.



The Ultimate Test Question



Please explain:  (Hint:  Be sure you understand the meaning of each word, before you write your answer.)

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.”  Thomas Jefferson


I shall await your responses.

Gullibility: $



New-Small-Designer-Slim-Women-Red-font-b-Wallet-b-font-Thin-Zipper-font-b-LadiesMe thinks there is a substantial percentage of American consumers, who are so gullible they pay outrageous prices for routine items.  Of course, my daughters are in that group. To me, a handbag or wallet fulfills a need.  To them, it is a fashion statement.  So I ask you: when was the last time you ogled someone’s wallet at the store checkout?  When was the last time you coveted someone’s choice of paper towels or toilet paper?  When was the last time you envied someone’s plastic bottle of water?


This week, I was early to an appointment, so I entered a designer grocery–the kind which caters to folk with more money than sense.  I perused the inflated prices: boneless, chicken breasts at $5.99 a pound, broccoli crowns at $4.99 a pound, and the deli was serving $10 a cup coffee.  I found this curious as the day before I paid $1.47 a pound for boneless chicken breasts.  Obviously, something is seriously wrong with my palate.  Chicken is chicken.  Beef, however, is another matter.  (Ribeye steaks are far superior to round steak.)


Yet, the most outrageous item I saw on my adventure was one, peeled navel orange in a plastic container. It’s price: $6.00!  Had I known folk were so gullible, I would have picked my plentiful oranges, peeled and contained them, and undercut the price by one dollar.  Damn!  I’d be wealthy!  Maybe, next year.


Oh Package! Where Art Thou?


Every year I send navel oranges to friends and family.  Since navels are “Christmas oranges,” I usually mail them before the US Post Office gets overwhelmed with packages. And again, this year I did so on December 11.  The boxes went to New York, Ohio, and to Texas.  Since they were sent priority mail, I had tracking slips.

However, I usually get a text or a call from the recipient long before I get around to checking on them.  I’d heard from New York and from Ohio, but not from my sister in Texas.  Curious.  I texted: Did you get the citrus?  “No” was her reply.  Now, I was involved in a mystery, for according to geography, Texas is much closer to Phoenix than NY or OH. I entered the tracking number to find the lost parcel.  OMG!  I was astounded!  The oranges and limes must have decided to go on adventure!

They fled my sister’s Houston suburb, went to downtown Houston–perhaps to ride the Ferris wheel, and then took off to Dallas.  In Dallas, they were sent back to my local post office–less than five miles from my home.  According to tracking, those bad boys arrived on December 18.  Christmas and New Year’s came and went.  No citrus returned.  Weird.


On January 4, I received a brown envelope from the mailman.  Enclosed was this box top. (Since the original was addressed correctly and neither my sister, nor I want to be deluged with fan mail, I altered the label.)  Also enclosed was a letter, dated December 24 from a Dallas postal facility.  It read:  An empty wrapper with your address was found in the mail and is believed to have been separated from a parcel during handling (see attached portion of the wrapper.) Really?  The package was allegedly in Phoenix on the 18th.  How could the top of a large, flat-rate box been separated from it…unless, someone in the postal service knoshed on oranges and squeezed lime in beer?


Included was a form to file for missing items.  A laborious form that mandated receipts for whatever was in the box, plus serial and model numbers, sex and size of clothing articles, etc.  I tossed the form.  I have better things to do than worry about errant citrus.  However, the next time I send a box to my sister, it will be filled with….




2018: Welcome to the 70’s


I never said, “I’ll be glad to watch this year go; hopefully, next year will be better.”  Every year of my life has brought its challenges and laughter.  Granted, each year has been different–sometimes 360 degrees different, but still each year has been interesting, confounding, and humorous.

As I child, I didn’t like January 1, even though we celebrated my paternal grandfather’s birthday I was bored by the endless, TV football games and dreaded I would go back to school tomorrow.  For me, it was a very long stretch to spring break and summer vacation.  Further, it would be months before the sun shone, the daffodils appeared, and I could rid myself of boots and a winter coat.  I’d be sentenced to a classroom writing a report about George or Abraham, cutting and pasting hearts on doilies, wearing green, ad nauseam.

Admittedly, 2017 changed my life.  While it has been a year of joy and accomplishment, it has been a year of introspection.  Now when a major home improvement needs done, when a big-ticket appliance breaks, when I get the itch for a new car, I make each decision based on a 20-25, year warranty.  Yes, 2018 will bring my 70th birthday.  A most anchoring realization.  I don’t want to replace an air conditioner when I’m eighty, nor dicker with car sales folk.


Yet, 2018 will also bring my youngest’s 30th birthday and her magical, fifth year as cancer-free, so I’ll suck it up.  I’ll turn 70.  I’ll publish my first novel in collaboration with my brother.  I’ll get another tattoo, buy a puppy, and take a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi, if I can find someone who wants to tag along.  But most importantly,  I’ll throw a big party in celebration of my youngest, fifth cancerversery.


Let the ball drop, NYC.  Dr. Suze is ready for 2018!  Happy New Year!


XYZ: Examine Your Zipper


Many will recall the childhood comment: XYZ.  Usually, it was made to a boy, who emerged from the lavatory after those stupid, elementary school bathroom breaks.  Perhaps, you’ve experienced them, where the teacher lined up his/her class at the appointed hour and marched them down the hall.  I referred to this practice as pee on demand.

Though invented in 1851, zippers weren’t used in clothing until the 1930’s.  In the 1937, Battle of Fly, the zipper was declared winner over buttons.  This new tailoring idea in men’s trousers promised to prevent the possibility of embarrassment.

In recent weeks XYZ has morphed into headline stories, graphic dalliances of sexual harassment, even rape, have been exposed.  Certainly, rumors of the “Hollywood casting couch” have been around for years, but both men and women victims remained silent.  Now, it seems to be a pervasive epidemic propagated by those in power over the powerless.  Further, fueled by fear of losing a starring role, a job, or even getting a good grade in a college course.

Finally, victims found their voice.  Unnamed predators are probably suffering from sleepless nights and wobbly knees.  And thankfully, this week voters rejected a known creep, who advertised himself as an upright, moral man.

My advice to the powerful is simply: XYZ.  None of your employees, nor teenagers shopping at the mall are interested in your sausage.  And in this case, it doesn’t pay to advertise.








Arizona is awash with pricks!  Before you get your knickers in a knot, I’m not being bawdy.  The reality is the desert is full of pricks.  Perhaps, piercing needles are the first line of defense for smoldering summers, or perhaps, deadly burrs and barbs help flora survive.  I don’t know.  But Mother Nature early on forced me to employ a landscaper.


Of course, I, first, tried to control errant cacti by myself.  Then an inch-long spine impaled my leg.  A jumping  cholla attacked my foot on my way to the mailbox in my flip flops.  An agave ripped open my wrist when I tried to free a lost baby quail.  I was so stupid to think I could trim a palo verde tree and survive–wrong, my arms looked like I’d been in a lion’s den.


Bougainvillea and other gorgeous flower plants also wreck havoc.  When picking grapefruit, oranges, limes, and lemons, as most of the branches have razor-sharp needles.  I’m glad I don’t take blood-thinner.  I would need a transfusion for the amount of times I’ve been stuck.

So if you come to my house for dinner, don’t have one too many and end up with these pricks!



The Cicada and The Tortoise: A Curious Tale

Admittedly, I’m a technological immigrant.  Further, I’m technologically challenged.  I belong in a special class with any 10-year-old teacher.  Even five-year-olds today, know more than me.  My daughters and the school board folk have drug me into this new arena, and I know just enough to be dangerous.  While I enjoy that the world is now just one arrow key away and adore my cell phone convenience, I abhor “auto correct”  and the feature of speaking rather than typing. Lord knows, I sent far too many incoherent messages and emails.  A heinous crime, when the author is an English major!

On the other hand, I laugh uproariously when I receive one of these messages.  This week I received the following:

Scan 2017-9-30 18.21.01

Hmm.  A large cicada, which looks like a desert tortoise.  I was engulfed in laughter.  A family pet?  Even funnier.  Did they clip its wings so it wouldn’t fly off?

Really?  I see no likeness in the least.  Yet, I was sad I have no artistic talent.  Can you imagine the joy of creating such a creature?  I bet Dr. Seuss would have drawn and made millions on this hybrid character.

My neighbor and I had several hilarious conversations discussing the email.  We concluded the sender must be whacked.   Twas, not the case.  Damnable auto correct was at fault.  Behold the sulcata tortoise.





On Wednesday, the 2017-2018, school year commences in our district.  For the next 9.5 months, I’ll receive phone calls and emails from parents and students who complain about homework.

“My kid has to do 25 math problems every night.  Don’t you understand he plays club soccer?”

“Why do I have to conjugate every Spanish verb and use it in a sentence?  I already know how to do it.”


“Really?  You expect my child to read to me every night and require me to initial it happened?  I work full-time and have other responsibilities when I get home.  Ludicrous!”

“Why do we have homework anyway?  It’s such a waste of my free time.  Let’s just stop this silliness.  After all, I’m gifted; I get the message the first time.  I’m not in need of mindless repetition.”


Since I’ve served as a school board member for 17 years, I’ve heard every argument against homework imaginable.  Even in some of my professional journals, I’ve read about the adverse effects of homework.  However, today, it became inimitably clear why school has homework.  Lord, it was a revelation!  Preparation for life.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go to a casino for dinner and gambling.  True, I do enjoy wagering occasionally.  Yet, I declined.  I had to do homework.  The kitchen floor desperately needed mopped after the monsoon.  My yard’s grass, thanks to the monsoon, would be a foot tall, if I didn’t mow. The swimming pool needed cleaned and nuked with chemicals because of the monsoon.  I had to do homework.


In fact, this past week I’ve been consumed with homework. The condensation drain on an air conditioner clogged and sent water over my floor.  The patio door handle jammed and had to be replaced.  One of my dogs had poopy butt and had to be bathed.  Washing and ironing needed my attention.

And today is Sunday–a day of rest.  The Sunday crossword awaits my participation. But first, I must pay the electric and the water bills, clean out the refrigerator, dump the trash in the garbage cans for early Monday pick-up, and…ad infinitum.

Based on my epiphany about homework, the next complaint which comes across my radar screen will be answered:  Suck it up, dude.  Welcome to life.


Swimming with O Rings

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Several years ago, one of my dearest friends since childhood wrote a delightful book, Swimming to Italy.  (It is available on Amazon.)  I was searching for a title for this blog, and hers immediately landed in my mind.

As I’ve noted numerous times, my new life has taken me thousands of miles from my comfort zone.  While I’ve come to understand more about home repairs than I ever wanted to know, I’ve managed to utilize my research and study skills in a plethora of new ways.  In fact, I find it curious many of my friends contact a schlep like me about appliances, plumbers, and cabinet refinishers.

Last week, however I was rocked with a new lesson.  The saga began with a leak in the automatic pool chlorinator.  (This is a wonderful device–under $100– that eliminates the need for rubber ducky floating around the pool.)  The pool repair guy diagnosed the problem–the cap needed a new O ring.  After it was lubed and installed, the leak stopped.


Two days pass and the repairman returns.  The pool motor is surging.  Really, this is a high-end motor, less than 5 years old.  “I think I should just backwash the filter, and your problem will be solved.  You do it regularly, right?’

“Rarely.  I can get the valve down, but I’ve not strength to pull it up.  Even my uber-strong cabana boy has difficulty helping me.”

Pool guy backwashes and decides to take the valve apart.  “No wonder it was so difficult to pull up.  Look at these O rings.”


Now, there were three more, bad O rings in the plunger valve.  Repair done.  New O rings.  All is…NOT well.  The motor surges again, which for you novices means too much air in the lines, which causes the motor to rev like a hot rod at the starting line, which causes blah, blah, blah.

Again, the pool guy returns to diagnose this new problem–another worn-out O ring!  By now, you are as bored as me about TMI and O rings.  Little circles of rubber with very important jobs.  Who knew?  Who cared?  Yet given the critical necessity of their position in the circle of life, perhaps we should all invest in a company that manufactures O’s!