Once upon a time, in a far away land, The Boss assigned me a secretary. Not part of a pool, but a whole person. With a master’s degree from Mt. Holyoke. Pretty daunting, me with my little B.A. from Hofstra. So I said to The Boss:

“What is she supposed to do?”

“You write, she does the typing.”

He apparently thought I wrote in longhand. On paper.

I learned to touch type when I was 10 and hadn’t written anything longer than a grocery list by hand since then. Now, I had a secretary who was supposed to type for me? I was supposed to write longhand? I can barely hand write a list and decipher it later. I can’t think without a keyboard. Regardless, I had a secretary.

She was American, like me. Thin. Tall. Blonde. (Unlike me!) Very nervous. Twitchy.


We discovered a shared passion for horses and went riding together. She rode a lot better than me. She had her own helmet, crop, jacket … the whole regalia. I had jeans and a pair of battered boots. I’d never worn a helmet.

About the same time, I had a less heartwarming revelation. I discovered my secretary was a dedicated nose picker — and she ate it. She was fast and sneaky, but when you spend every working day with someone in close quarters, it would have been impossible to not notice her long, nervous finger up her nose.

I’m sure everyone probably picks their nose sometimes, but this was different. She couldn’t stop. She admitted she’d damaged the lining of her nose from constant attacks with her fingernails.

Our offices were on the fourth floor of a warehouse. No elevator, so you got plenty of exercise. The boss was an orthodox Jew from Belgium. Other than Judaism, he believed in feeding his employees and giving everyone lots of vacation time. It was a good job. He was one of the kindest, most decent men  I ever knew, much less worked for.

Two floors below us was a chocolate factory. They made all kinds dark chocolate-covered citrus fruits (my favorite was grapefruit). If you were Kosher, you could eat them with meat or dairy. And oh my, they were so good. Around two in the afternoon, they fired up the chocolate vats and the smell would start drifting upward. I sent my secretary to get me chocolate. I didn’t know what else to do with her and watching her ream out her nose was getting to me. By mid afternoon, I not only needed chocolate. I needed a break.

She was such a nice woman. Smart. Well-educated. She objected to being sent on errands. I sighed. I didn’t really have much else for her to do. The nose-picking was wearing me down. I found myself trying to not look at her lest I catch her digging with a finger up to a second knuckle. One day I was sure she’d hit brain matter.


Finally, she refused to get me chocolate and I had no work for her. Moreover, she was unable to keep her fingers where they belonged. I went to the boss. I said I felt my secretary needed to move on, perhaps to someone else in the company who needed her services more than I. He looked at me.

“What is the real problem?”

“It’s embarrassing.”

“Tell me.”

“She picks her nose. And eats it.”

I thought he was going to toss his cookies on the desk. That was the end of the story. In reality, not only did I not need a secretary, no one did. It was a computer development company. We all worked on keyboards. So her departure was inevitable. I just sped it up by a few weeks.

I didn’t mention the picking thing, but she knew. She also had to know she was underemployed. I’ve been in that position. You know when you’re redundant. No one will pay you indefinitely when they don’t need your services … unless your mom or dad owns the company and even that doesn’t come with a guarantee.

Still, if it hadn’t been for the nose picking and her refusal to get me chocolate, she’d have had a bit more time.

Better late than never? Accepting (finally) the Super Sweet Award!

Super Swe-e-e-e-et Award!


Last night I baked banana bread and when I added the sugar, I remembered you. Yay Sharla!

Thanks for the Super Sweet, Super Easy Just Plain Fun award! I want to thank you over there at Catnip of Life for this treat, the sweetest surprise that Autumn brought this year. So many other things were fraught and so many angry words were spoken. You are always a place of peace and inspiration.

Please visit Sharla. She never fails to lighten my mood, enlighten my mind, and brighten my life. Shine on Sharla!

When Sharla gave me the Super Sweet Blogging Award way back on September 8th, I fully intended to do something about it immediately. The problem was that she also gave me another award at the same time, and then someone else gave me another different one, and the election was gearing up …  and then, it was fall. The leaves began to change and was lost in that place to which Autumn always takes me, my personal fairy world. 

It’s something about the golden light, the trees all aglow, the sudden sharpness and tang in the air plus the awareness of how brief this time is and how terribly fragile. I have but a few weeks to grab that golden light. Every day it doesn’t rain is a gift to treasure.  No time to waste, no, no … I have to run to catch a sunbeam shining through a golden and scarlet tree before it melts into winter. Thus from mid September through most of October, I was out there, camera ready, catching the light and banking it against the coming grey and cold.

Then came the rain and the storm. Autumn was gone leaving only a carpet of leaves on the ground.

Now other urgencies came scurrying up, a presidential election in full swing … and the hurricane blew through and cleared the calendar right up to Election Day. In a state of near fugue from too much sensory and mental input, too many strident battles of words with so much rage and anger swirling everywhere, I realized that I was facing a hard deadline for a big but separate project to which I am committed … and I was far, far behind. I had to buckle down, settle down, do what I need to do and the days seemed to be flying off the calendar and dancing past before I could grab hold of them.

“Stop!!” I shouted. Time turned around and looked kindly at me.

“I don’t do that,” she said, most gently.

“I need you to hold still, just for a little while, until I catch up with myself,” I explained, barely able to speak, out of breath from so much running.

“I stop for no one,” she reminded me as she slid effortlessly along on thin air. “But I give you memory so though I pass, you can recall each day, should you make that effort,” and then she was gone, leaving a silvery trail and a reminder that I had an award, a sweet award, waiting for me. Time might not wait, but email may.

And here I am. Late, but not quite never.

It’s more than two months and I hang my white-haired head in shame at how tardy I have been in both accepting and thanking this wonderful lady who has been so kind and generous to me since we connected online months ago.

These last months have been a wild ride. When I got this award, I was doing well if 50 people clicked over to my little site on any day. Something happened since then and I pile up numbers that make my head spin. I’m not complaining, but I often feel like I’ve slipped through a warp or weft in reality to a parallel universe that looks like Earth, but isn’t. Blogging has changed my life. I’ve heard other people say that, but it doesn’t make it less true. It has given me focus. It has gotten me writing and taking pictures again. It’s brought me back into the world, brought me back to engaging with others, even if most of the engagement takes place in the virtual realm.

As I have more and more difficulty navigating hard-copy reality where my legs need to work in getting from place to place, never have I been happier than in this virtual realm where I have wings. I may limp from office to kitchen, but I can fly to the other side of the world. People who live oceans and continents away can talk to me and I to them. What a gift this is and how wonderfully, richly grateful am I that this other reality is here for me when I so much need it. I can only imagine how different my life would be and how isolated were the virtual world not as easy … no, easier … to get to than the local mall!



1. Give credit to the person who chose to nominate you. Sharla, CatnipOfLife  … an inspiration and a fine friend.

2. Answer the “Super Sweet” questions.

3. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen”

“Super Sweet” Questions:

1. Cookies or Cake?   Cake for sure. Devil’s Food or any version of cheesecake please!

2Chocolate or Vanilla?  Vanilla straight up unless someone has fresh fruit for adornment.

3. What is your favorite sweet treat? Cheesecake or frozen yogurt.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most? Late at night.

5.  If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?  I’ve never had a nickname, but I’ve always wished I did. Give me one and I’ll thank you! Back in the 1970s, I asked everyone to call me Spike, but it didn’t work out. So I guess I need something else, but I think it’s a bit late for Spike. Gimpy, more like it.

Now, on to the award. . .

Ready your trumpets! Roll your drums! 

Special posts on blogs, quotes for inspiration, book sites and much, much more!

That’s not all, but I’ve saved a few, kept them in my pocket for award emergencies!

To all of you who have made my virtual world so a great place to be, thank you. You are always welcome here at my place!