Friday, September 30, 2011



I brought the mail in my house yesterday and tossed it in the catch-all basket where we put junk mail until we both have a look at it. Today, I sorted through the junk mail and found a multi-page catalog for one of those Halloween stores that seem to come and go in the night. You know…here today and gone tomorrow. Or, maybe that is a big city thing…


I glanced through the pages. There was page after page of Halloween costumes for children and adults. The prices range from $9.99 to $59.99. The costumes were everything from a lady bug to a very realistic police officer uniform. (Am I the only one who sees something wrong with that????)

Shewweee…. That got my old mind to spinning…

Back in the day, very few kids had the luxury of a store-bought Halloween costume. I remember the excitement as the holiday approached. The question of the day was “What are you going to be for Halloween?” Every self-respecting kid already knew the answer and believe me, it was not any one of the popular TV characters like SpongeBob Squarepants or Elmo or some super hero. clip_image003 No…our costumes were always homemade out of old clothes, scraps of material or a sheet with holes cut for the eyes. We were ghosts, hobo’s, pirates, witches…you get the pic? Oldsters will know exactly what I’m talking about. You younger people may have a bit of a problem grasping this concept….

So then…..
A kid with a clever Mom, like mine, might be a spaceman or a ballerina… I was a black cat once. All that was required was a black leotard and imagination. Some ears and a tail were fashioned from black satin and my whiskers were drawn on with an eyebrow pencil. clip_image002My mask was the simple black mask for upper face. Another time, I was a hobo in one of my Dad’s old shirts and pants. A rope held the way-too-big pants up and a beat up old hat was found for me by my Grandpa.  A bandana stuffed with wadded up newspaper and tied to a stick completed the look. Of course my face was “filthy” with charcoal.
I could go on and on about different costumes we made with or without assistance from our Mom, but that’s not the point. My point is this… We were healthy, happy kids back in the day. We didn’t get something as frivolous as a store-bought costume. Hardly anyone bought a Halloween costume. Half the fun of Halloween was to decide what we would be then make our own costume. We used our imagination and we could be anything we wanted to be. If a little boy wanted to be Superman, well then…he went trick-or-treating in his favorite Superman PJ’s with some red cloth tied around his neck for a cape. What’s wrong with that?

I don’t think children today exercise their imagination like children did back when I was a kid. We did things like color in coloring books, finger paint, play games, create things out of clay – and it wasn’t Play Dough… No siree… Our clay was grey and hard to use until we worked it over with our warm little hands. We didn’t sit in front of a TV all day because back then, all we could see was a test pattern all day until 5 pm when television “came on”. Then we had the Mickey Mouse club at 5 pm, then the news, some evening shows and the broadcast day ended with a variety show where a cigarette packclip_image004 with beautiful legs danced around the stage. I wasn’t allowed to watch that, but I peeked. Hee hee… Then the television went “off” until the next day at 5 pm.  I sure wanted to have that cigarette pack for a Halloween costume!
Were we bored? No way! We played outside for hours every day and played inside when the weather was bad. In our imaginations, we were cowboys and Indians riding imaginary horses. Or we played physical games like Red Rover or King on the Mountain, hopscotch and the like. We used our imaginations and we exercised our growing bodies. I have nothing but fond memories of such a childhood.

I see kids today who are pudgy from lack of exercise and poor eating habits. Most need to be entertained by something…TV, video games and the like. When I was a kid, I got entertained with the Mickey Mouse Club before mostly adult programming was broadcast. One night a week, I got to see Kukla, Fran & Ollie. That is all. The rest of the time, I was tortured by fresh air, exercise and my imagination…

Oh…and Grimm’s Fairytales…

That is what REAL kids do…or used to back in the day. I’d love to see some real kids. Have you seen any lately?

By Darlene Cirinna
©September 30, 2011
All rights reserved.  Do not reproduce without permission.
Photos from Photobucket, public domain.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


First a nice swim, then I think I'll stand on that 
decoy and dry my feathers...  La dee dah...


BFF 126
The BFF 126 inspiration this week is “What Do You Love?” And, I said hmmmmm…. What DO I love?

I could certainly make a list of all the things I love, but it would be really long. So, I decided to pick out just a few of the things that I love.

I LOVE FAMILY & FRIENDS: There is nothing more valuable than your family, except your health. You realize this more and more as you age. Some friends are as close to my heart as family. You all know who you are…

I LOVE GOD & MY BIBLE: I have a deep, unshakable faith. I may have one of the messiest, rattiest Bibles ever. That is because I actually read it….

I LOVE OLD DOGS: Pets are not disposable, but there are lots of old dogs at the pound who are euthanized daily. I had 3 dogs from puppyhood to death. The first one to die was 17. Two years later, the other two died just 8 days apart. They were 15 & 16. After 2 more years of a too quiet house, I decided to adopt an old dog from the pound. He was 12 and lived to be 17. Next was a little old yorkie who they said was close to 20. She lived her final days out like a queen.

My heart broke when I saw a picture of a little dog on the pound site. Her face was the picture of misery while she suffered from one of the worst cases of flea allergy I have ever seen.

That was 5 years ago. She is 15 now. This is Maggie Mae  today.

Our latest little angel was 8 years old when I adopted her. She was left behind in an eviction…  The prior owner just LEFT HER AND WALKED OFF...  I have tried not to judge that action, but I fail because the action is completely unthinkable to me.

County law required the pound make a reasonable attempt to locate her original owners.  The process took 3 weeks.  When I first saw her, she was nearly withdrawn from everything.  She didn't have any interaction with me.  It was like people didn't exist in her little mind.  She was not interested in the world around her - at all.

To think about how withdrawn she was at the pound makes me want to cry. How could anybody just walk off and leave their pet behind??? Well, she has been with us for 15 months now and I love her very much. She will never be abandoned again because when I get a pet, it is for life. As I said…pets are NOT disposable. Molly is here for as long as God wills…

I LOVE VEGGIES: YUMMY!!! I love veggies so much that I even eat them for breakfast.
I grab a bunch of stuff from my veggie drawer in the fridge, then I start chopping. I stir fry it all together, toss in a couple of eggs, then top with shredded cheese. I call it my scrambled veggies…

Yes…that is jalapeno pepper you see in my scrambled veggies… Shut up!!! Walk away…it is none of your business. hahaha

I LOVE RETIREMENT!!! First of all, I must say that I loved my career. I worked 42 years total - 36 of those years in Human Resources for the State of Florida. Although I had days that I hated, overall I could not have picked a career that I think I would have loved more unless I had become a personal injury attorney, but that realization came really late in my career through my work with workers compensation laws and the family medical leave act. Who knew? LOL

But…back to retirement… I love retirement because, FINALLY, I can stay at home and enjoy all of the things I love. I said I wasn’t going to make a list, but I do want to share what I love doing in my retirement.


Sleeping until I don’t want to sleep any more

Long lingering time with my Bible and a cup of cappuccino

Breakfast at noon

PJ days
Riding down to the lake on my adult tricycle with my little Molly in the rear basket and my camera in the front basket

Writing… Who knew I would ever write fiction. SURPRISE!


It doesn't get any better than this....

By Darlene Cirinna
September 27, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011



A ringing phone 


Jerked from sleep 

Harsh ringing 

At 5 am 



To the phone 

A quick glance at the clock 

No good news comes at 5 AM 


Bracing self 

For 5 AM news 

I grab the phone 

In denial 

Softly, carefully 

News imparted 


Mind numbing 


My mind screams 

Over and over 


It cannot be 

I reject it 

As I softly 

Replaced the receiver 

In my mind 

I saw the colors 

Yellow, orange, red 

Flaming color 

By 8 AM 

On the road 

Headed north 

A trip I did not want to take 


As I drove north 

I suppose there was color 

Yellow, orange, red 


The wind blew cold 

My heart was colder 

As I stood 

On ancient ground 

I might have seen the colors 

If I had looked around 

But all I saw was 


It is one year later 

I was walking yesterday 


It was autumn 

When Mom died 

And I never saw the colors



1/7/28 - 11/11/08 


Written by Darlene Cirinna
©November 11, 2009
All rights reserved.  Do not reproduce without permission of author.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


For the past few weeks, four blogger friends and I have been working on a new site for bloggers.  The new site is called "ONE STOP BLOG WORLD".

At OSBW, you will find something for every day of the week.  Blog inspirations will be posted on the same day of the week as the Facebook groups for GBE2 (Sunday), Writers Post Blog Hop (Thursday) and BFF (Monday and Friday).  Plus, we have added Tasty Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday and Saturday Smorgasbord.  Our main page will display all recent topics with links to the appropriate pages.  Once you click on over to the topic, you will find that we have provided a place for bloggers to post links to their blogs.

Well, I could blather on and on about OSBW, but instead, I think I'll just post a link here and let you be the judge.

Come join us in this wonderful, new blog experience.  Explore our site by clicking on the tabs at the top.  You will find old friends and familiar faces.  Plus, I am willing to bet that you will meet some new bloggers too.

So....that is my secret!  There is a place to keep up with your favorite Facebook blogger groups....All in one place...ONE STOP BLOG WORLD!!!

Click on over and check it out for yourself...  And be sure to spread our secret to every blogger that you know.  K?

Happy Blogging!!!

Your hosts:


  • Photobucket
    Hi!  I'm Darlene, your host for TGI Friday.  TGI Friday is under the umbrella of BFF (Blogging for Fun) which has been around Myspace, then Facebook, since June 2009.  Earlier this year, Tracie began co-hosting BFF so that I could have a break.  Well, Tracie did such a great job that I took a really long break.  LOL  When I was ready to get back to work in BFF, Tracie and I decided to post twice a week instead of only once.  Tracie is in charge of Media Mondays and I introduced TGI Fridays.

    More about Darlene


  •  I’m Jenn, your host for Thursday’s Writers’ PostBlog Hop. It's all about connecting with others and having a blast while blogging!! Click HERE to learn more about me or to leave me a comment!


  • Hi! I’m Beth, your host for Sunday’s GBE2. The original GBE (Group Blogging Experience) began on MySpace back in 2007, and because of Alicia, who founded the group and tended it lovingly, it grew rapidly. When Alicia moved on, the group disbanded, and many of us—myself included—missed being a part of a blogging community.

    With Alicia’s blessing, I’ve restarted the GBE, and it’s been a wonderful experience. I’m happy to be blogging again and even happier to be doing it GBE style. Many of the original members are a part of the new group, and we’re steadily picking up bloggers, making the experience more fun with each passing week.

                                                   To read more, click here.


  • Photobucket 
    Hi everyone! I'm Tracie and I am the host of  BFF ~ Monday Madness , which is part of the BFF group, Blogging For Fun. I started writing for the BFF last year on MySpace and was delighted when Darlene invited me to join her in co-hosting the group earlier this year.
    I find my inspiration to write in many places and in many ways, from music to movies to just about anything. It's my hope that my somewhat "off the beaten path" way of finding creativity might help you to also find your own unique and creative style in ways you never thought were possible.

    Click here to learn more about me.


  • I am your host to the blog hops for Tasty TuesdayWordless Wednesday, and Saturday Smorgasbord. Born and raised in Indiana in the heart of the mid west, I have been a stay at home mom since my daughter was born in 2000. Just when I thought I would be returning to the work force...

    Read more about Kathy

Saturday, September 17, 2011


“Midge – commeer…”  Harold called excitedly from the computer room.  I rolled my eyes because I just knew that whatever had excited him was likely not going to excite me.  But, being a dutiful wife, I leaned forward in my recliner and pulled myself out of the comfortable abyss…  Then it started…

It all started with the photo of Palmer Lake and the rainbow that my friend Steve put on the internet.  It seemed innocent…right?  Who hasn’t seen a gazillion photos of a rainbow on the internet???  Well, I have to admit that it was the most beautiful rainbow photo that I had ever seen, but it certainly didn’t set me in a mood to pack up for a move to Palmer, Alaska.

You see, Harold is what I call a “Rainbow Chaser”.  I don’t mean that in the literal sense of the word…  Well…except in this case.  Harold’s search for utopia has moved me all around the world.  When he was in the army, he was stationed in Germany for three years.  After we were married, he decided to move us to Germany because he loved it while stationed there.  After a couple of years, Harold decided that it would be great to live in Atlanta.  I enjoyed Atlanta, but eventually the traffic and the hubbub got to him, so he decided that it would be nice to live in Florida.  So, Orlando was our next home.  It seemed that we no sooner got settled when he saw an advertisement in the newspaper for “country living”.  He was excited to purchase an acre of land in Okeechobee, FL, covered in palmetto and scrub oaks for only $10,000.  He didn’t consider the cost of new home construction, so he settled for drilling a well, dropping a septic tank, installing a power pole, then having a dilapidated old trailer towed to the property.  He said we would only live in that trailer until the new house was built.  Yeah…  Right…  We lived in that trailer for 7 years before Harold was lured to New Orleans by a television documentary about the Mardi Gras and Cajun food.  Yup…you guessed it…I was packing again…

Let me tell you…I lived in 18 different places in the 40 years of our marriage.  The 7 years in that hell hole of a trailer, in the middle of a pasture and heated to unreasonable temperatures in the summer, was the longest we lived anywhere.  That certainly wasn’t the utopia Harold imagined, nor was anywhere else that we lived.  Me?  I made the best of life where ever we landed.  A documentary of my life would rightfully be titled “Steady She Goes”.  While Harold was chasing rainbows, I was never with any one employer long enough to be vested in any retirement plans.  Did I mention that I am adept and near psychic in financial matters?  It wasn’t hard to see the writing on the wall early in our marriage.  I foresaw a lifetime of poverty and misspent savings with Harold, so I quietly squirreled away first small, then larger chunks of my income from one after another of my minimum wage jobs.  When my savings became too large to be stashed around the house, I opened a Roth account, an IRA and a money market account.  I even dabbled in the stock market a bit.  Of course, I had to have a post office box everywhere we lived, or I would have been found out quickly.  If Harold had known that I was amassing a small fortune, he would not have been satisfied until he had drained every account for whatever it would take for immediate gratification.  Nope…that was my own little secret between me, myself and I.

Harold and I have been living in Tennessee for the past 5 years.  He seemed to have finally settled down into reality.  So much so that I became confidant enough to finally reveal the savings so carefully hidden from him over the years.  For me, it seemed that we had finally found utopia and that the rainbow chasing was over.  Our home was built at the end of a country road with no near neighbors, which is MY idea of utopia.  It’s not that I don’t like people.  It’s just that I like my privacy and solitary time better.  Harold had a small building erected that he quickly turned into a man cave.  He enjoyed light wood work, specializing in folk type construction.  His birdhouses are beautiful.  The sales of his birdhouses at a local flea market substantially subsidized our retirement income.  I had a rather large vegetable garden, a rose garden and a shed of laying hens to keep me busy.  Honestly…what more could we want???  Gazing into my retirement future looked quite comfortable and carefree.  Yes…I have Utopia, indeed!

Then Harold saw that picture of the beautiful rainbow in Palmer, Alaska, which stirred his usual discontent with our current life and I knew that his itchy feet would soon carry us away and over yet another rainbow to his next Utopia that somehow he never finds.  Dread began to creep into my stomach to tie the usual knots…

My heart grew heavy with the knowledge that Harold was once again going to uproot our lives while spending a significant portion of our retirement nest egg that I worked so hard to save.  It was more than I could bear…  It was that exact moment when I made a decision that no one and certainly not Harold would ever make me unhappy again.  I had to act fast before my whole world came tumbling down.

“Harold…  I need to go out to the garden, and then gather the eggs.  I’ll be back in a few…”  Then, I tiptoed out to the man cave and selected just the right tool to secure my retirement years.  Quick as a wink, I took care of my problem and planted him right smack in the middle of my rose garden.  Carefully, I covered the whole garden in cypress chips until the garden did not appear to have been disturbed at all…just a well cared for rose garden…  When I was done, I attached the sprinkler to the old hose to give my thirsty rose garden a nice drenching drink of water.

Later, I glanced out my kitchen window to see that the sprinkler and a delightfully sunny day had created a beautiful rainbow over my rose garden.  I might have been a little smug when I said…”There’s your damn rainbow, Harold!”

Then I lived happily ever after….

The End 

(For the record…this is a fiction story.  My husband is way smarter than Harold!  LOL)

Written by Darlene Cirinna
© September 17, 2011
All rights reserved.  Do not use
without author’s permission.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

One Year Ago–For GBE 17


It only seems like a year ago that I married the love of my life, shown here in our 1973 wedding reception.  I can’t imagine life without him.  Nor do I want to.  Fate and some unhealthy habits nearly took that choice away from us.

I can't tell you the number of times I tried to quit smoking and failed, but I can tell you that I smoked my last cigarette January 2009.

When the cardio surgeon told me that my husband could NEVER smoke again, something screamed in my brain that I WILL NOT BE HIS STUMBLING BLOCK! For me, it took a HUGE incentive - that being the life of my hubby.

We just had our wedding anniversary yesterday. We ALMOST didn't have the last 3 anniversaries together. Yes...he was classified as a candidate for “sudden death” in January 2009.  I suppose that for some of us, a shock is necessary to get the brain in gear.  I can’t say that I’m happy by how it all happened that both hubby and I are smoke free, but I am pleased with the result.  Today, we are both healthier and looking forward to many more years together. For that reason...I will never smoke again.

If YOU need to stop smoking, I hope your incentive is as HUGE as mine was because with an incentive like that, failure was not an option. Don’t let all of the negatives take away your positive.  So what if you gain a few pounds…at least you won’t be huffing and puffing when the time comes to take them off.  

Should you be kicking the habit at this time or any time in the future, I wish you the very best success.  Then, I hope you will encourage someone in the future as I hope I have encouraged you. It CAN be done and you will be so much happier and healthier for the effort it takes to become tobacco free.  BEST WISHES!!!

Life is fragile and you never know what the future holds.  One year from today, you may wish you took the effort it takes to quit.  One year from today, you can already have one year smoke free and feeling the healthy benefits of having kicked the habit.  One year from today could easily be a whole different reality for you.  Life is a series of choices.  Make good choices because your life or the life of a loved one may very well hang in the balance.

One year from yesterday, I believe my hubby and I will celebrate another anniversary. DOES make that much difference!