The D.U.F.F.

Because, in another effort to lower my expenses, I cut my cable package down to the bare minimum, I’ve been grateful to have Amazon Prime where I can access movies that are free to me.

Unlike my favorite book genre, which is suspense with a heavy nod to psychological thrillers, I like my movies to be more relaxing – like chick flicks, rom-coms and comedy in general. I have found that it’s become more difficult for me to stay seated in one place for more than 45 minutes at a time, and I like being able to stop and restart movies when it’s convenient to me without worrying that I’ll have forgotten something in the part I watched that will make me struggle with understanding the part I’m about to watch.

The latest movie I watched was called “The DUFF”. It took place around the characters’ high school years but that made it easily entertaining while having a surface story line. Pretty early in the story, we learn that “DUFF” stands for “Designated Ugly Fat Friend”. The character who was labeled the “DUFF” was neither ugly nor fat…she was simply a girl who didn’t give in to what was “cool to wear” and makeup and being a cheerleader and hooking up with the football team captain, etc., etc., etc.

I was pretty much of a wallflower except around my chorus and band mates. I got bullied by two different males during those years – I remember both of their names to this day and the way in which they bullied me. I never got asked on a date, so I don’t know if my parents would have allowed me to date (I think probably not). Obviously, I didn’t have a boyfriend. I was never asked to go to prom. And after all of these years, I still don’t think my best friend from high school (who remains a beloved friend today) really understood how having her for a best friend was the reason I survived those years. She was pretty, smart, well-liked and talented enough to play the female lead in our junior AND senior school musicals!

I posted on social media, as I often do, about the movie I’m watching, and I did so with this movie as well. Along with a photo still from the movie, my words were “this could have been me in high school”. Two wonderful people who know me from my high school years quickly spoke up to assure me that I was not ugly nor perceived as fat. There were a few adjectives of a positive note, but both of them mentioned that I was ‘funny’.

I don’t remember being funny. I don’t think my self-deprecating skills had developed that early in life. I know that, while my sarcastic wit was probably beginning to form by then, it was in its early stages and not something ready to be tried out on someone.

The end of the movie is a sort of happily-ever-after, and the two “cool-ish” girls she had been friends with finally told her that they never thought of her as the DUFF and were sorry if they made her feel that way. They liked being friends with her because she was smart, and funny and not afraid to be herself. I’m not certain I was truly myself during those years, since my mother ruled everything I did, everything I wore, everything I ate, and had angst over the fact that she wasn’t sure my best friend was someone I should have been best friends with (we won her over halfway through senior year).

And as I look back now, many years older and hopefully wiser along the way, I’m okay being the DUFF. I’ve kept close to some of the people I admired and befriended during those years (see my previous post about only having 12 other people, with whom I’d lost contact, from my class that I would want to see again). I’m okay with the fact that, while I wasn’t favored by the masses, I was loved by a few very special people. Thank you, Kimberly, Marti and Chip for those days way back when and for still being part of my life all these years later!

Envy and the Yetzer Hara

Having written a blog article not so long ago about jealousy and envy, this article really opened my eyes to a completely different way to examine this!


There’s a Jewish concept called the Yetzer Hara, or the evil inclination, which (along with the Yetzer Hatov, or the good inclination) at first glance seems to be a version of having a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, but it’s more complicated than that. As usual.

“Why is everything so complicated?”

The Yetzer Hara has often been reinterpreted not so much as an inclination to evil, but as an inclination that can lead to evil. The rabbis say that the inclination to reproduce, or to create new things, or to succeed in life all come from this “evil” inclination, and therefore we need some amount of it in life even to survive, let alone to thrive. We need to have ambition and impulsivity and individual drive, but there’s a limit; though they don’t clarify exactly where those limits might be.

The same rabbis…

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Just Stuff

Naomi Judd’s Suicide: I think about this happening at least once a day. I have always enjoyed the duo’s music. Somehow, although I knew Wynonna suffers from depression and Ashley has a fear of abandonment, I missed all of the news that Naomi had a history of depression. My first feeling was a sense of anger, because she ended her life the very night before the Judds were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. To make her daughters, especially her singing partner, Wynonna, deal with her death and her chosen means of death less than 24 hours before this induction was set to happen is what makes me angry. But then, I have to quickly stop that thought of being angry at her. I have been to the edge of that cliff with my toes hanging over, only once, thank you, God, and I reached out to a hand I trusted to pull me back. When I spoke to my parents about it, my dad’s initial reaction was “did you even stop to think about what you’d be doing to us?”. I was still working my way through the emotions that had brought me to that place; today, I would speak up and say, “Hey, guess what? This isn’t about you!” And so, I’ve got conflicting emotions about this happening, and a whole lot of sadness that this woman who was loved by so many could no longer fight the demon.

Roe v. Wade: At the age of 65, my right to have an abortion is a moot point. I walk on both sides of the fence on the issue of legalized abortion. For the most part, I am pro-choice. We are humans and sometimes we make mistakes; everybody is entitled to make a mistake without having the government saddle them with how it chooses that mistake to punish them. I also agree that there must be perimeters in place for said abortions, limits to how many weeks along is too late to have an abortion, how many abortions a woman may have in her lifetime. I’ve heard multiple stories of women carrying multiple fetuses in her womb and a medical professional suggesting that she consider downsizing the number of children to give the remaining children a better chance of survival. I’ve heard multiple stories of parents given the option to terminate a pregnancy when it is determined that the fetus she is carrying has several medical and emotional deformities that mean the child will probably end up institutionalized. Both of those cases involve aborting a fetus. And obviously, in the case of a traumatic event where a decision has to be made to save the baby or the woman, taking the baby would be abortion. The pro-lifers are committed to saying that life begins at conception, so they would have to disallow all of these kinds of cases and let ‘nature take its course’. Oh, and forget being able to abort a fetus that is the result of rape, incest or other form of sexual abuse. And that is why I lean to the pro-choice side, but, as I said, with perimeters for the legality to have one.

Talking on the telephone: I don’t know when it started, but I have reached a point where I absolutely abhor having to talk ‘live’ via telephone. When I try to think about why I feel that way, I know that part of the reason is because I find it harder to focus and remember what’s been said when done verbally. I seldom have a telephone conversation when I don’t have something to write on and something to write with next to me so that I can jot down notes while the other person is talking. I also think, in my weird way of thinking, that it’s an extension of my desire to not intrude on another person’s time or space. With a text or an email, the recipient has the choice to respond immediately or respond later. It also gives the speaker the chance to say everything without interruption (I’m really bad at interrupting my brother sometimes, but that’s because what I just thought will be gone if I don’t say it right after I thought it.) I hate talking on the phone so much that I pile up phone calls I need to make – making appointments, talking to my insurance companies, questioning a bill, asking for additional information – and then sit down and dedicate time to making all of those phone calls one right after another. Recently, I had four telephone calls I wanted to make. I piled them up by priority. The first was to make an appointment for some diagnostic tests. There is a central appointment department for all of the sites for the particular practice I prefer. I was on-hold waiting for a real person to talk to me, and I ended up being on hold for almost 25 minutes. The site closest to me (across the street from my doctor’s office close!) did not have an opening to do the kind of test I needed to have done until November. That’s right, it’s May and nothing is open until November! The next closest one is about 15 miles away, and on the same street as the fire company that hosts the Red Cross blood donation collections that I use. And they could get me in there within 4 days. The drive there, even though it’s only 15 miles, will take 30 minutes because our little boroughs and villages around here have very few two-laned roads and none of them are highways. And 15 miles round-trip will take the better part of 2 gallons of gas, which, on my last fill-up, was $4.58 a gallon. All set though, after about and additional 15 minutes on top of my prwait time. Second call was to the billing department for my doctor’s practice because I received a bill for my last visit in April. This was a quick call, thankfully. The person pulled up my account, saw that my insurance had paid the bill, and apologized that I had received a bill in error. Easy peasy. Next was a call to my insurance company. This call took roughly a half-hour to complete, and I chose not to ask all of the questions I had, just the ones I needed an answer to sooner than later. The person was helpful and polite, but she was of very heavy accent and more than once I had to ask her to repeat herself (because I couldn’t understand her). By the time I ended that call, I’d spent a torturous hour and 20 minutes on the phone, and I just didn’t have it in me to make another call to talk to another person. Plus, I needed to go someplace.

Visiting the hospital: My best friend’s husband ended up back in the hospital on Sunday due to a high ammonia level in his system. I don’t know much about it, except that the ‘average’ is to be between 11 and 35 and his was 78 at admission. This is the second time it’s happened, and it causes him to become confused and unaware of himself. The first time it happened was pretty scary for his wife and son, but this time George seemed aware that something was wrong, and Joanne immediately called for an ambulance. He was in St. Luke’s, which is the newest hospital in our area. We had a lovely visit and talk, and in addition to the fact that all of the patient rooms are singles, he said the food is good and arrives hot, the nurses and assistants who check on him are friendly and very thorough and also very patient (he’s hard of hearing and they have to wear masks) when he asks them to repeat themselves. Once or twice, because he was being asked questions by someone standing beside him and I could tell he wasn’t sure what was asked, I repeated the question to him louder and slower, and because I was sitting directly across from him, the sound traveled directly to him. I felt very helpful! And George is often more silent than talkative, and I’ve told my bestie that sometimes I don’t even warrant a “hello” when I see him; she discussed that with him apparently and he told me that it’s not about me, and he likes me just as much as he always had. Because I spend most of my time one-on-one with Joanne, I never really get much time with George or their son, Kevin, so this visit to him goes down in the memory book as one I really enjoyed. I also know, based on what I’d seen of the building and the staff, this is the hospital I want to go to if I ever need to go to the hospital!

Mother Nature: It looks like Mother Nature may be starting to get her act together. We’re not having those overnights that cause frost on the windshields of cars, and our temperatures are starting to want to hover around the upper 60s/lower 70s. I’m good with that! I have a friend out in Iowa who said they were supposed to hit 90 yesterday and possibly 100 today! It seems a bit soon for that kind of heat, since no one in the deep south has seen those kinds of temperatures yet. I have another friend who is vacationing this week in the Outer Banks and it has been cold with high winds since they got there. There is even a video out there of a house that was built on stilts right at the shoreline which crumbled into the water when the wind blew the stilts right out from under it! They rented this beautiful vacation house with its own heated pool and hot tub, and it’s too cold to get into either. Gayle is an avid swimmer, going to indoor pools in the winter to get her laps in, and I know she was looking forward to having this uncrowded pool, so I feel bad for her in that regard. I have to be honest, though – hearing these stories about it being unbearably hot or cold and windy makes me appreciate the weather we’re supposed to have for the rest of the week. A chance of rain on Friday, but last weekend, it steadily rained all of Friday afternoon and evening and Saturday all day until late afternoon, so this is an improvement! Of course, I have two appointments scheduled for Friday because that’s how my life works…

So, that’s pretty much what’s going through my head and taking up my time lately. What’s new with you?


Will you stand with us?



I have freedoms others will never know

Simply because my skin is white

And although I did not choose it so

I agree that it is just not right


For in youth, all are color blind

Until we are taught to hate

Fears pressed daily in our minds

Become reasons to not relate


I will stand with you, all brothers true

Until racism finally dies

And hope the world our children view

See you treated as right as I


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When Cometh Time

No additional words from me needed…



When cometh time, that I am dead

Lookest not for my earthly grave

To tread the mound o’er fallen head

Shed the tears thou wouldst not save

For tis not there, my spirit lie

I am the wind that passes by


Nary a stone will marketh lot

Whenst my time has ticked its last

Nor daisies resting, where I am not

With thou sorrow and sadness cast

Soul unbound in deathly call

I am the rains that lightly fall


Seek me not in hallowed spaces

Hold still the words that cometh late

Find me in the common places

Should final rest behold fatal fate

Ne’er the grave will e’er be mine

I am the sun that doeth bright shine


If thoust look, I can be found

And all the love I have for thee

Will not live, if laid to ground

In death it finds its…

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Politics Should Not Govern My Uterus

Good thought and research went into this blog post; I have to share it!

Marla's World

I have, until this point, managed to avoid any political discourse on my blog. For one reason: everyone in my county has suddenly become so divided that if any part of your politics does not align perfectly with theirs, they are willing to cut you out of their lives. Of course, there are exceptions to that, there always are; overall though, I am tired of people trying to attack other people for having their own beliefs and opinions.

This is my blog and my beliefs and opinions are (obviously) all the only true ones and everyone else is (clearly) wrong.

That previous statement was a lot of nonsense. This IS my blog, but I am also aware that my beliefs and opinions are NOT the only true and correct ones. They are MINE. Of course, I believe mine are right, otherwise I wouldn’t hold them, just as the person who…

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Hacks from my Happy Place – XXIII

Okay, I promised recently that I was going to share some new recipes to try, but I found this kitchen hack and I’m so excited to share it with you. In fact, this might be my favorite kitchen hack of all time (at least so far…)!

Most of you have seen or heard about how cola can clean the porcelain in your toilet bowl of stains and also clean the connections of your vehicle battery of rust and corrosion. Yet, despite that, Americans are said to consume an average of 399 servings of cola products per year. World-wide, the average drops down to 52 servings per year, which means that other people drink very little cola products to help reduce the number that Americans drink. But my point is that, besides what we know the power of some of the cola ingredients are, we still choose to ingest it.

But forget cola for a moment, because here is a hack involving ketchup. I have to admit that, when I heard of this, I was pretty cynical – the idea that ketchup and a little bit of elbow grease could clean off all of the dark stains on the bottom of our pots and pans. You know, your pan looks something like this on the bottom:

I have read various tips and hacks over the years, but I neither wanted to spend hours scrubbing away with a baking soda paste nor the expense of buying some type of cleaner that allegedly removes these stains. So, I’ve ignored the stains, telling myself that they didn’t matter because they didn’t come in contact with the food I was making inside the pan. And then I heard this hack using nothing but ketchup and stating that it took very little elbow grease to scrub it clean. Store-brand ketchup is not expensive, and I already had a scrubby on hand (the hack says SOS or Brillo, but I use a stainless steel scrubby and dish soap instead of those wasteful pads).

I decided I would document how the process went, although I expected to be able to call it a failure. My first step was to choose a pan and put masking tape on the bottom of it to divide into two sections, one I would scrub and one I wouldn’t. I applied ketchup (I probably could have used a LOT less and spread it out, but I wasn’t taking chances). When that was done, I let it set overnight since I wasn’t sure how long I was supposed to leave it.

I chose one that wasn’t terribly dirty to begin with!
I started with the dirtier side and really poured on the ketchup!

The next morning, after I’d had my coffee and done my normal routine, I decided it was time to see what happened. I put a few dots of dish soap on my scrubby, ran it quickly under water, and away I went. I spent less than 15 minutes and didn’t use any extra elbow grease but scrubbed it like I might scrub any dish with dried-on food. This was the result:

Um… wow! It actually worked!

Well, seeing that result, I had no choice but to do the rest of the pan. And when I was done with that, this is what I ended up with:

I’m still astonished!

Needless to say, I will be doing this to each of my pans the next time I use each one and have to wash it (I’ve done another one already). So far, the two I’ve done have used up about 5 ounces of a 12-ounce bottle of store-brand ketchup for which I paid $1.27, and I suspect my scrubby will last me until I’m done with all of my pans, and it was one of a 2-pack for which I paid a dollar at Dollar Tree (before the price increase).

I keep my pots and pans out of view when I’m not using them, but if you have them on display somewhere, hanging from a rack over and island or on walls, this is really something you want to try sooner than later!

I get a big grin on my face every time I use one of the two I’ve already cleaned, having to turn them over and admire their shine before beginning to start my actual food prep.

I guess sometimes it doesn’t take much to make me happy!


I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Unless you are a computer genius (I was nice and didn’t say “geek”, but I did think it!), you probably have a similar relationship with it.

The “hate” part of my relationship with technology is simply the fact that I have no idea how it works, thus no idea what to do when it isn’t working, or at least isn’t working correctly. I’ve had a number of laptops crap out on me, usually at around the 4-year mark, and the one thing I have learned from that is to routinely use a flash drive to back up any files I have on my desktop. I’m very alert to things from unknown sources who want me to click on some link, and these make it faster into my spam file than the time it takes me to inhale and exhale one breath. I’m really good at only going to websites that I know and trust; if I do see something for a website I’m not familiar with, I always do a search for the name rather than click on any provided link. Still, no matter how attentive and careful I am, I know that somewhere down the line, there is a pretty good chance I’m going to be buying another laptop. (I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’ve had this one more than 4 years and have had no issues – yet.)

The “love” part of my relationship with technology is far stronger than its hate counterpart. I mean, I wouldn’t trade the efficient way tasks can be done using technology. I won’t say I’m old, but I can remember when electric typewriters were introduced during my high-school years, and we were thrilled at how much faster we could put words on paper than with a manual one. Of course, there were still issues with how to correct a typecast error, starting with smudging the paper using a pencil eraser. I was pretty satisfied when we got to Wite-Out, although it could be messy, and totally wowed when we got the corrector tape unit that contained correction tape that you simply swiped over what you wanted to erase.

And when phones came out with buttons to push instead of dial to enter the phone number you wanted to call, that saved a lot of time, especially if you entered a wrong number and had to hang-up your call and start again. Answering machines were the bomb-dot-com because you didn’t have to answer the phone to find out what someone was calling you about! Speed-dialing meant we could program certain numbers we called often into our phones so we didn’t even have to dial each digit anymore. And heck, now you just vocally tell your phone who you want to call and it just happens!

We complain about the work ethic of the younger members of our work force, who want to do as little as possible and get paid as much as possible for it. I worked in a grocery store back in the days that the words “bar” and “code” were never used together. We rang in each item according to the price sticker on it via big buttons on a register. We had to know about the different departments (produce, meat, dairy, general grocery) and which items were and weren’t taxable so we could tally them accordingly. We hit a sub-total button and told the customer the amount. Groceries were paid for either by cash or by check. If it was cash, we used our brains to count out the amount of change that was due, not having a machine tell us. And we counted it back out to the customer rather then tell them the total change they were due.

And damnit, I learned geometry, algebra and calculus in high school via math done by hand. I’ve been out of high school 48 years, and I have NEVER used any of those maths, but I managed to eke through them without some form of electronics to do the math for me! I learned how to print and how to write because texting and computers didn’t exist. Students today can seemingly master anything they want to simply by knowing how to use technology to provide them the answers of how to get to the mastery level.

What I perceive to be the biggest problem with being so attached to electronic gadgets is that we no longer really trust ourselves to be able to find a solution to something on our own. In a sense, we consider the human race to be mediocre at intelligence without an electronic gadget nearby to either at least validate what we thought was right or to tell us what is right when we are wrong. Do we ever wonder how the Colosseum or the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty managed to be built without having an electronic source figure out what to do next and inform us?

The Green-Eyed Monster

It is my opinion that people, in general, use the words “envy” and “jealousy” interchangeably, and I see them as two very different words that come from the same ‘root’.

For me, envy is when you see something a person has, tangible or intangible, and wish you had one of your own. But jealousy, for me, is when you see something someone has and want to have that very thing for yourself, even if it means taking it away from the person who has it.

It was typical in my high school years to see jealousy in action. We all had our crushes, and we were jealous of the people who were ‘with’ the person we wanted for our own. And yes, things were often done, some not even subtle, to try and steal our crush away from someone else. In that context, I can honestly say that I was never jealous. I would be envious of the high-school romances that were played out in front of me, but simply wished I could have a romance like that. I didn’t want that person.

I can be envious of someone who has a great marriage I wish I could have, but I’m not jealous because I have no desire to take it away from him/her. I envy people who have confidence because I often do not, but I would never want to take it away from them so I could have it for myself instead.

I’m not following the many places I’ve researched that state that envy is as evil as jealousy. I suppose it can be, if the action from feeling it is hateful, but for me, it is actually an inspiration. If I see something that someone has that I want, I am envious that they already mastered what was needed to achieve having it, but it signals to me that I need to look intently about how to achieve the same result in my own life and if I’m willing to take the steps to do so.

My dad and his wife at the time of his death were once married to siblings. My dad was married to my mom, of course, but his wife was married to my mom’s brother. Both were married for a long time to their previous spouses before becoming widowed, and both couples were very close, spent time together, went on trips together, etc., and everybody got along. Yet, after my dad and his last wife were married, I was present at times when their jealousy showed by comments they made. My dad was jealous that a small 5 x 7 photo of his wife and her previous family, including husband, children and stepchildren, was in a frame on a shelf in the den. He didn’t like that a photo of her previous spouse was displayed in the home that he and she had bought and were sharing. His wife was jealous because the table in their kitchen nook had belonged to my parents together and she wanted to replace it simply because it has once been my mom’s. Both of them were jealous about each other’s previous spouses. How crazy is that?

I recall only being truly jealous one time in my life. I was dating a guy and we hung out in our town’s version of “Cheers” (where everybody knows your name). One of the female regulars decided, even knowing we were a couple, to flirt with my guy and come on really strong. He wasn’t rude to her, but he didn’t take the bait either. At last call, when all of us were leaving, she walked up to us at the door, looked at my guy, leaned her entire body into his, and said something like “I can fulfill you so much more than she ever will”. When we got outside and she went towards her car, I looked at my guy and said something like “If I had a gun right now, I’d shoot her in the back from here”. And honestly, in that moment, I felt like I would have had I had the opportunity. That is the only time I recall being jealous in a relationship.

On the other hand, I am always envious. That comes from my insecurity but also comes from some anger towards myself for some of the choices I’d made along my lifeline. My best friend and her family bought a double wide mobile home already established in a location and had money and means to renovate/update every room in the place (expect maybe the laundry room?). I’m envious of that because it has a kitchen where I can imagine spending many, many hours of happiness. It has two bedrooms and two baths, again, all updated and new carpet throughout. They have their own driveway which can hold two cars. They have a deck space on one side where they can enjoy the outdoors. They have central air and heat. Meanwhile, I am living in my apartment with one tiny bathroom, an also very tiny kitchen, a place so old that I don’t even have a breaker box but still have a fuse box. I had to purchase the two window A/C units that I use. The second bedroom houses an entire shelving unit with all of the extra pots and pans and appliances I can’t begin to fit into my kitchen cupboards. A second shelving unit holds what most people would store in a linen closet, as well as things like trash bags, extra boxes of tissues, the big box of coffee pods I get from Amazon, etc. I have two very small closets, one in each bedroom, and so totes filled with things like Christmas tree ornaments and seasonal door decorations and such, sit against the wall next to the closet. But here’s the thing – – I may be envious of what they have, but I don’t in any way begrudge them the right to have it or want to take it from them.

My brother is someone who truly lives in the moment. What happened in his past may not have great memories attached, but he’s able to compartmentalize that as his past. He doesn’t worry about the future, not even the tomorrow, but truly lives his life daily making decisions for only that day. I am terrified even thinking about not having some sense of what I want my future to be and tend to try and always have a plan – and often a back-up plan or two – in case something unexpected pops up tomorrow, or next week, or next month… I am envious of my brother’s ability to not give tomorrow any thought until it gets here. That sounds freeing and liberating in a way I can’t even begin to imagine how it would feel. And yet, if I lived that way and things came crashing down around me tomorrow, or next week, or next month, the panic it would serve me would focus inward and I’d tell myself that was what I got for living so in the moment that I wasn’t prepared for the next moment when it came. I’m still very envious that he can live that way and truly live each moment as it happens, but I’m terrified of living that way as well. And so, I am in no way jealous of his ability because I wouldn’t want that ability, but I am envious of the moments of life I miss because I often look ahead towards what’s next.

So please, if I ever tell you I’m envious, don’t mistake it for jealousy. I don’t want to take what you have from you and make it mine instead of yours. But I suspect there will come many, many more times that I will be envious of what you have. Being envious allows me the right to look at myself and say to that same self, “If you would have done this instead of that, you might be able to have that, too” and realize I made the decisions in my past and present (and future) which put me where I am and I find no fault with anyone but me.

Whatever you have, you can trust that I have no desire to take it away from you.