Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Sunday, November 29, 2020

11/28/20 RMB Happy Birthday Words, Lexie and Toast


11/28/20 RMB Happy Birthday Words, Lexie and Toast



I determined to write a letter on your birthday. Yet, the words, they don’t come easy. The ones that will leave an impact; that will mean something; that will be worthy of the space they occupy.

I sit. I think. I go get a snack. Sit some more. Think some more.

While awaiting creativity to flourish, I tap Google Play on my phone to tune into some Spanish music. Google Play is no longer a thing, but it refers me to YouTube Music.

Hmm, I tap Spotify looking for my past attempts to create a play list with plans to add Spanish music. Spotify gives me a line about “something” going wrong and wants me to reload the app. Nope, annoyed I go elsewhere for my musical enjoyment.

I start a mission to find YouTube Music, but land on plain old YouTube, search for Spanish Music and boom, I’m set.

While Enrique Iglesias serenades me, I eat my morning snack of cream of wheat and toast. Actually, it is half cream of wheat and half cream of rice with some coffee creamer and honey mixed in with a gluten free milk.

The ingredients I thought would mix well have melded into an over-sweet glop. I eat it anyway, because the words have not formed, and it is the thing in front of me to do. I read in a dabbling sort of way Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass Every Day.  

The toast is good. While enjoying it, a small thud impacts my outstretched legs and I look up from my book. Lexie The Kitten, our family’s newest addition, peeks up at me.

A silky black body with wide eyes moves to the napkin and toast. She thinks perhaps she has found a treasure. She sniffs the remaining half piece of toast, which I pick up and begin munching. She is not deterred in her quest and tastes a crumb, immediately deciding this is no treasure at all and she disappears as quickly as she appeared.

Then the thoughts form and the words flow and I realize that what is important is that you know someone is thinking of you on your birthday…and that treasures abound everywhere so if there isn’t one right there in front of you, leap away and go find one!


Happy Birthday and Happy Thanksgiving too,


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

9/29/20 RMB Helen Reddy Rest in Peace


9/29/20 RMB Helen Reddy Rest in Peace


Dear Rita Mae Brown,

Do you remember a time when you didn’t know what you didn’t know?

It’s hard to imagine such a time in these days of internet answers at our fingertips.

It must have been about 1974. I was nine when my dear Auntie Mary and Mother presented me with concert tickets to see Helen Reddy. And I had no idea what I was in for. It was in the days of daytime shows like Dinah Shore and Mike Douglas. I’d seen her sing and quickly acquired all of her records with my birthday money.

A trip to our Spring Valley Kmart with my stepfather was particularly fruitful. From that venture I came home with three albums which I immediately began playing on the turntable non-stop.

I knew every song and sang them in a whisper on my walk to elementary school a couple of miles away. Her self-penned Best Friend, about being a friend to yourself, was a particular favorite and one that I’d lean on often in trying teenage years. She was the angelic voice of compassion and inspiration that drove me when I was lost and comforted me when I was down.

I’d never been to a concert and that night it was all very new. With my Aunt and Mother beside me, I watched and breathed in every note. The image of her gliding from side to side on that stage, singing her heart out, is as vivid today as it was then.

Rest in peace Helen Reddy. May your spirit live on and your work continue in all its magical ways.   

In celebration of your life,


Friday, July 31, 2020

7/31/20 RMB Friendly Stray

7/31/20 RMB Friendly Stray 

Dear Rita Mae Brown,
As I approached a stop sign at the end of my block, a woman waived at me. I slowed my car to avoid a dog in the road, a tubby bulldog mix. At first, I thought she was trying to call him home. We both asked at the same time, “Is he yours?”

I told her no, he was not mine. But as soon as I rolled down the window he jumped up and panted in my face, with a telltale wiggle that implied a there was a tail wagging with abandon at the other end.

I don’t know if she heard me or not. Maybe she saw the dog’s reaction and figured he was my problem now, either way.

I’m not one to get friendly with strange dogs, especially muscular husky ones with giant teeth and big mouths. I told him to get down and he did so quickly, proceeding to travel in a circle around my car looking for an entrance.

I didn’t want to move forward because I could no longer see his stout body and didn’t want to hit the fellow. I put the car in park and got out to contemplate what to do. He came running. Reluctantly, I opened the back door and up he soared without a second thought. At least that got him out of the street.

As he sat there in all his splendor, so proud if himself for getting in the car and up on the backseat with head held high, I examined his chain linked collar. No tags. He was obviously trusting and kind.

I got in the front seat and in a flash that big mouth was panting beside my head. He had hopped his front feet to the console between the two front seats and was ready to watch the road with me.

I nudged with my elbow to push him back, afraid his plan might be to jump into the front passenger seat where my sister’s take out meal sat. “You can’t get up here.” Push. “Get back there.” Push.

Neither push budged the friendly beast an inch. I slowly took the right turn, keeping my arm there as a meager blockade. When I got to my driveway, I called the sister. I figured she could bring me a spare leash and take her food out of harms way. I planned to travel around a few blocks and hopefully find his home.

Another car drove by before I could finish the explanation and the sister was left hanging on half a story while I waived down the car. It passed me, but then slowed and the shiny white car with tinted windows backed up.

I asked, “Do you live around here?”

The nice man replied “No”.

In a sad face, I said “Oh,” and figured it couldn’t hurt to ask, “would you happen to know who this dog belongs to?”

“What dog?” he said and leaned over to see when I motioned to the back seat. “No, I don’t know.”

I explained how he had gotten into my car a few houses up the block. And when I say up, I mean up. I live on a very steep street.

He said “Sorry” shrugged and carried on up the street.

I continued my story with the now curious sister on the cell phone as I sat there parked in front of my own driveway.

The white car rounded the corner again and made its way back up to me after driving around the block. The nice man pulled over next to me and said, “They’re looking for him up there. I told them to come down here. It will take a while for them to get here.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank you so much! I’ll wait for them.” He smiled a big smile and as he drove, away I yelled after him, “God bless!”

A rag tag crew of young men found their way down the hill to me. At first, I was a little reluctant to hand my happy friend over to just anyone, but he obviously knew them as they approached. “Missing something?” I asked and one of them nodded. I figured that if they were the owners of him, they must be doing something right, because he was so friendly.

There was someone in a Jeep with them and he offered to take the guy and the dog in his car. Maybe he was just a passer by offering to help. The guy declined and leaned over to walk the dog by holding his collar. I hoped he didn’t have far to go.

We caused a bottleneck in traffic with my car and the Jeep that was in the middle of the road and another car parked on the other side. A few cars were waiting to pass so no more words were said. The Jeep moved along.

As the cars passed, there came that nice shiny white car with tinted windows. The man smiled at me and this time as he passed, he was the one that yelled out “God bless.” We both laughed.

Together we did a good deed. But something else happened too. See, I’m white and the man with the big smile in the shiny white car is black. It felt like there was an added element of our working together on this minor mission.

At first, I thought he came around the third time just to be sure they found me and their dog. Later, I wondered if it was so he could respond in kind with “God bless” to me.

As people protest and shout and demonstrate the vital importance that Black Lives Matter, something tells me it is equally important for us all to do the little things, to help each other, to reach out in a neighborly way.

Neither one of us did it to prove a point, but everything we do, every day, proves a point. There was something unspoken within us that recognized the importance of our joint effort. God bless.

For whatever God or Goodness you worship, God bless,

Sunday, June 28, 2020

6/28/20 RMB Four Agreements

6/28/20 RMB Four Agreements

Dear Rita Mae Brown,
These are trying times. Each of us has a full plate in our laps.

With all that we are juggling it is important to take a step back and breathe.

Today Teddy reminded me of the Four Agreements. Because I needed reminding.
1.     Be Impeccable With Your Word
2.     Don't Take Anything Personally
3.     Don't Make Assumptions
4.     Always Do Your Best

These four short agreements are easier said than done. Full of wisdom, they can set things right if taken to heart.

More thoughts...Live healthy. Voice concerns for a better nation and make that happen. Take care of each other. Every little thing counts. Stay strong by being as kind as you are brave.

Carrying on,

Sunday, May 31, 2020

5/31/20 RMB TEN OF US

5/31/20 RMB TEN OF US posted 5/31/20


Dear Rita Mae Brown,

If ten of us were in a lifeboat in the middle of an ocean with light blue skies overhead and the peaceful sway of the water below us, would we allow one man to kill another while we filmed it on cameras? Then, as his body lay still, would those remaining of us, hurt and angered by the loss of our friend, set fire to the boat, tear at its structure, and destroy it?

If we did, we would sink.


There are more than ten of us and the sky is not light blue; a dark grey atmosphere blankets us. And the waters are not peaceful. They are choppy and dangerous. We could use our numbers to support one another and keep this boat from tipping in the rough seas. We could hold on to one another to ensure no one falls overboard and drowns.

But we don’t.


Lives have been taken and others damaged. The perpetrator hides amongst our vast numbers, behind shields, in dark corners, and in the recesses of our minds silently cultivated from hundreds of years of conditioning. And when brought forward, the urge to retaliate overwhelms those who remain.

It takes strength to combat hate with peace.

We must find that strength, because in the end…we are all in this boat together.


One of the many,


Thursday, April 30, 2020

4/30/20 RMB Seeing 2020

4/30/20 RMB Seeing 2020

Dear Rita Mae Brown,
We are on the eve of our fifth month of 2020. Covid-19 has taken over 231,000 lives worldwide.  The phrase “seeing 2020” is often used for perfect vision. This year the virus has awakened an awareness in us all, of our vulnerabilities, our faith, our community, our hopes and our fears.

I believe the Universe speaks to us. What I refer to as the Universe, some call God, or science, etc. A rose by any other name is still a rose. What you call it doesn’t change its existence, just your interpretation of it.

We were squabbling over borders; creating more and more distinctions between us and “them”; damaging our earth and removing protections for our open spaces; allowing politics to determine our opinion above and beyond whatever the decent thing to do may be.

In this tragedy we face now, I hear a strong voice echo “Enough!”

Those borders we argued over are now closing and flights are grounded. We had trouble co-existing with our neighbors and now we have all been sent home for some long, hard thinking time. The land, oceans, and sky are breathing a sigh of relief from our constant abuse and pollution.

Everything exists in cycles, each cycle prompting along the next cycle. When we do our best, our future holds the best in store for us. It is time for us to be at our best now. As we move forward, we must take each step with care.

My heart goes out to those impacted by this virus and I send appreciation to those that are helping care for them, doctors, nurses, relatives and friends.

We have much more to be thankful for, from the grocery stores to restaurants that continue to serve us, to the military, police and other essential personnel that continue to keep our infrastructure dependable, the busses running, the lights on, etc. We will get through this…together.

With gratitude for the opportunity for me to voice my thoughts, all my best to you.


Monday, March 30, 2020

3/29/20 RMB COVID 19 Numbers

3/29/20 RMB COVID 19 Numbers

Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Sunday’s numbers say 3,718 people died of COVID 19, of those 573 were Americans. I watch digits daily, with sorrow for those our world has lost and hope for a brighter day ahead.

The statistics lead me to the number who are taken yearly by the common flu, and by other illnesses, and for other reasons.

And in this sea of number, there are others, like the hundreds of thousands of daily births. adds them up one by one, day by day.

Each death and every birth is a person, a mother or father, sister or brother, son or daughter, and they remind me how precious every day is, how fleeting every breath.

Every 1 counts.


Saturday, February 29, 2020

2/29/20 RMB Leap Year and a tinkering Universe

2/29/20 RMB Leap Year and a tinkering Universe 

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

Happy Leap Year!

It fits, for me anyway. I’ll be leaping from my place of employment for 23 years into a new adventure. The owners of our small publishing company have decided to let loose the reins. 

The press will still exist and there will still be books to sell. And I am likely, at this point anyway, to be the person selling them.

My office will no longer be miles away, but only yards, in my own living room. As much as I wished it would not come to this, as uncomfortable as change is, a thought occurred to me yesterday.

Be careful what you wish for, they say.  

Here’s the thing. When I knew my job would be disappearing soon, my only plan was to find someplace closer to home and where I could still wear jeans to work. Guess what, working from home as a contracted sales rep fits that bill.

Furthermore, a dream of several years has been to write books, travel and sell them. Recently, judging from the likelihood of being able to support myself on that alone and in light of my snail’s pace in writing, I added hosting Tarot classes and giving Tarot readings to the mix as I travel about.

“Well”, the Universe says, “here you go. You will soon be self-employed and selling books. Get busy. Write some of your own to include! And work up that Tarot thing too.”  

The thought of leaving a steady job to be on my own was scary, too scary to do it on my own, too scary to walk into work and give my notice. And now, here I am being set up by the new ownership, helped financially, with equipment, furniture, you name it. The Universe saw my fears and responded with kindness, encouragement, and all the tools I need to be successful.

And I didn’t see it right away. I spun it around in my mind, the tasks, the challenges, the new owner’s assistance, the set up and reality of it. A light dawned and the ah-ha connection was made. This is what I asked for. This is what I envisioned. This really is how the Universe works.

Be careful what you ask for,


Saturday, January 25, 2020

1/13/19 RMB Give Credit

1/13/19 RMB Give Credit

Dear Rita Mae Brown,
What’s the point? I sat and wondered. What’s the point of life? More specifically, what’s the point of doing this task over that task, or any task?

I contemplate this as I work a jigsaw puzzle on my laptop computer with altering feelings of laziness, being disconnected, rebellious, and even anger at all that calls to me on my giant “to-do” list.

“Gather sky-blue pieces together.” My mind must have thought this at some point, because my fingers move to accomplish the mission. Perhaps it is automatic, since I don’t recall thinking it, but now the sky is done, and I watch the grass connecting piece by piece.

What is before us, we do. Handle, complete, process, avoid, we “do” something with everything. And time passes. So, this is life and still, “What’s the point?”

In my imperfect human mind, some echo tells me that it is of utmost importance to do the thing that brings positive results, a cleaner kitchen, a tidier home, a well-groomed garden, a lean body, and so on. I have none of the above by the way.

So, here is the struggle. The puzzle is before me. All else is just inner turmoil. Piece by piece, the carousel horse’s mane takes shape. A pink bridle reaches to an open mouth and a silent whinny.

My mind seeks a more all-consuming escape. I que up the comedy sketches on my smart phone, which is smarter than I am, I’ll admit that. My awesome nephew set it up. I tap an icon and wah-la. Like electricity, I don’t know how it works, but I know where to tap to bring the light or the comedy. And yes, its smartness does concern me, but those are musings to dissect on another day. I tap the phone.

In that flash of mere seconds, instead of receding as I begin listening to the first comic, thoughts multiply and expand in defiance of the new intrusion. What is the point of one’s career like a that of a comedian? A doctor’s purpose is clear, a lawyer, a farmer, they all work towards their own positive result. 

However, a comedian, a novelist, an actor, a puzzle maker, they capture our attention, and is that a good thing? What positive result is there in their chosen career when they allow me to avoid accomplishing my own? I watch the comedian explain the pains of being the second born twin, and a surprise at that. He “crashed” his own birth.

Then Lucas Bohn appears. A white comedian who adopted black baby, he relates the humor he encounters because of this. I smile thinking of my nephew and the black baby he holds in the photo on my phone.

Next is James Veitch’s elaborate wrong number prank on a man who thought he was calling his landlord. The caller insists he fix his apartment. Obligingly, James concocts a plan, complete with over the top visuals about what he intends to do to this angry renter’s apartment. At some point the renter is clued in and seeks the correct number for his landlord, but not before we are entertained and enjoy a happy ending.

Jay Larson, another comedian, handles a wrong number call regarding a business’ budget, where he engages with the caller, who he refers to as Random Guy. He invents expenditures, figures, and even coworkers as he names them to add relevance to his story. A few days later the gig is up, and Jay reminds them, by his actions, to lighten up.

The last three comedians wheedled joy into my heart. An answer to my recent inquiry unfolds and what a wake-up call it is. Credit is due to these three men.

That positive result isn’t always tangible, it isn’t necessarily a cure, a court battle, or a field of corn, nor a trim body, or orderly surroundings. It can be a feeling, like joy. It can be happiness, peace, and a sense of connection, all full of laughter and light. Although, this can be found in producing our own positive results, it can also be given, shared and cultivated in one another. Because beyond anything tangible, all of those good feelings, THAT’S THE POINT.

Happy returns,

Sunday, January 12, 2020

1/12/19 RMB Happy Birthday DDD

1/12/20 RMB Happy Birthday DDD

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

Today is his 85th birthday. On January 12th in 1935 a baby boy was born who would one day become my father.

This memory stands out. Some fifty years ago he carried me upstairs to bed after I fell asleep in our family’s Pennsylvania living room, nestled in the middle of a military housing complex.

He has taught me a lot of things by example and by his words. I’ve matured enough now to absorb those lessons more than before.

As a Marine he fought for his country in 2 wars and now helps recognize and show appreciation to Wounded Warriors for their service.

We refer to him as Dearest Daddy Darling, said with endearment and a bit of over the top humor. It seemed important to say something today. Memories flood in. I am fortunate to have a chance to express gratitude to the father that carried me up those stairs and who has carried our family in his heart these many decades.

Happy Birthday Daddy Darling Dearest!