Holiday Recipes and A Naughty Santa Tale

December 10th, 2014

If you will glance to the right, you will notice I have posted links to Holiday Recipes.  A few years back I had a blog where I asked my friends from all around to send me some of their favorite holiday recipes.  The response was delish!

There is everything from Cornbread Dressing (Page 4) to Cajun Pralines, an Easy Egg Scramble (a perfect breakfast dish when you have company because you can make it the night before), Chocolate Gravy (oh yes, it is very delicious and no it is not very sweet), Beignets, Christmas Day Soup to Hot Buttered Rum Batter to make in advance for the drink!

AND on the very last Page (5) at the bottom are two excellent HEALTHY Christmas dishes.  Soup and chocolate mousse from my skinny Cuz Carolyn-Richards Brown.

Go check out these wonderful tried and true recipes, and tell me your own favorite holiday recipes.

Xmas Angel

Xmas Angel

This is a Christmas tale with a slightly naughty ending.  Do not write me if you become offended.  You have been warned.

Christmas Story for people having a bad day….

Four of Santa’s elves got sick and the trainee elves could not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones.  Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule.

Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her Mom was coming to visit.  This really stressed Santa, even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out and about, heaven only knew where.  More stress.

Then when he began to load the sleigh one of the boards cracked.  The toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys.

Frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum.  When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had hidden the liquor, so there was nothing to drink.

In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider pot.  It broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen floor.

He went to get the broom and found that mice had eaten the straw end of the broom away.

Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated, Santa trudged to the door.  He opened the door and there was a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.  The angel said, very, very cheerfully, “Merry Christmas, Santa.  Isn’t it a lovely day?  I have a beautiful tree for you.  Where would you like me to stick it?”

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.


Good thing I KNOW the real reason for this season… and it is not snowmen, angels or Santas!


The reason


A Comedy of Errors Vacation

December 3rd, 2014

Some of you have said that you haven’t received notification of new posts.  That is probably because I accidentally moved my Feedburner widget away from the sidebar.  I found out if you do that, strange and ugly things happen.

Give Thanks

I do, I do!

So we just got back from our Thanksgiving vacation on the Texas coast, Port Aransas.  May I just say – NIGHTMARE?  Okay, okay, maybe not a complete and total nightmare but oh my gosh.

It started out by finding that the German restaurant where we have our Thanksgiving dinner was closing permanently on November 5.  The man – the nerve of this man – decided that after 40 years he was going to retire.  He certainly didn’t think about me when he made that decision, now did he?!?!  No, I’m not that selfish but really.  How could he?

The trip started out with rain.  It rained most of the way. Then our halfway hotel this time was the Ham*ton Inn, usually a very nice chain.  But the bed.  I am not sure I can call it a bed. The mattress was light and slid across the box spring with ease, and it was HARD AS A ROCK, people.  We’d have been better off sleeping on the carpet.

When we pulled up to the condo, it looked very promising.  We had one of the penthouse condos facing the ocean.  We’d not been to this particular condo before.

Casa Condominiums

The Condominiums

And it started out beautifully inside, too.  There were live plants everywhere, inside and out.  Around the heated pool was a tropical paradise.

Pool area

Pool area

There were plants down the entire private hallway on our floor.  There were only two condos on that floor, so it was very private and quiet.  The smaller doors were for storage and maintenance access.  For an older condo, it looked very nice.

private hallway

private hallway

We walked into the condo and yes, was even more promising:


Entryway from Living Room

Two balconies and a private deck:

Private Deck

Private Deck

2014 Private Deck 2

Main living area (bedroom we used on right):

condo living room

condo living room

But despite views like this – morning, noon, sunrise:

front off balcony

front off balcony

Side off Balcony

Side off Balcony



…the first set of vertical blinds I touched to look out at the ocean, several fell down on my head. In one of the bedrooms, almost all of them fell down. They were being held up by electrical tape and scotch tape.  The twist stick thing was broken so the curtains didn’t slide open or twist to show the view (some of these pix are from the website. That’s why the blinds are open).

The bedroom we used off the living room had a pull out “accordion door” for between the bedroom and living room.  The pull out accordion door was broken.  Oh, it pulled out all right but just kept going.  It didn’t hook onto whatever it was supposed to hook onto. With finagling I could block the light from Alpha Hubby’s eyes.

bedroom with broken bed

bedroom with broken bed & accordion door

The interior shutters in the master bedroom were broken so the lighted hallway shone all night long in the first room we slept in.  The showers were very small (VERY bump your elbows on the wall small). The electric elements on the stove in the kitchen were too big so you cooked food at an angle unless the little pan just fell off the eye (as it did for me).  The coffee pot had the wrong carafe so it spewed.  The phone’s punch buttons were stuck so you had to pound to get a number to work.  So many things in this condo just didn’t work.

living area

living area

The condo looked beautiful but it is the small details that can ruin a visit.  Nope, I lie.  It wasn’t the small things, it was a huge thing:

Yes, the beds WERE ALL HARD AS ROCK.

Well, again I lie.  The one we ended up sharing was a double that was semi-hard as opposed to totally hard.  Somewhere along the line of its history it got broken so that sleeping on the edges of the bed caused you to roll to the center of the bed.  Kinda fun, really (not). We woke up sore every morning from fighting the mattress and the hardness.  But, by golly, we were CLOSE.  Romantically close.  Except for the elbow to the gut or being rolled onto by a 6’2″ body.

But, after reminding myself there were starving children in … no, that’s not it.  There are starving bloggers who might be stuck in super cold snowy weather and not get to experience the beauty that we saw, I made a point not to whine.

Plus, during this lovely time we went to a French restaurant for Alpha Hubby’s birthday and I was able to enjoy a blow-your-mind Chateaubriand dinner for two with amazing sides and a 16 ounce filet mignon, so tender you could fork cut it.  Too bad I forgot to take a picture of that beautiful meal!  There were also foods like this:



Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake



…to help ease the pain of the very, very, very, very HARD mattresses.

waist deep & frozen

waist deep & frozen

But lest you think I was not grateful for this beautiful ocean view, after a couple of days of rain, the sun popped out and it was great weather.  Alpha Son played in the cold water until his legs went numb. His Alpha Dog said “NO!” and wisely stayed with Son’s Alpha Wife.  All it all, it was a wonderful time.

Smart dog

Smart dog

However, what sealed it for me, what made the vacation sublime, what made the entire trip worthwhile was one thing (other than the ocean views) and that was being able to torture Alpha Hubby with things I found for sale:

seashell snow woman

seashell snow woman

Seashell snowman

Seashell snowman

starfish snowman

starfish snowman

As most of you know, there is often war at our house during the holidays because Alpha Hubby has an ATTITUDE toward my snowman collection.  I got rid of half of the collection (boy was that a LOT of snowmen) and he still threatens with a blow torch. I try to find ways to insert unusual snowmen into our home, for the simple joy of hearing him groan and moan over them. (see related story here – CHRISTMAS MAYHEM)

Partial view

Partial view

Jake Snowman

Jake Snowman who sings with Elwood

But lest you think I’m cruel or he’s mean, he once went on a business trip to Philadelphia.  This is what he brought me back.

Sitting Snowmen

Sitting Snowmen

I think he loves me after all, snowmen and all.


Joined At the Hips

November 17th, 2014

(If the music irritates you, just go over to sidebar to song listings and hit pause!)

Tangled Legs

Cowboy & City Girl

So 20.6 years ago, I remember during the seven weeks Alpha Hubby and I were dancing around one another… well, it was more like me dancing away and him pursuing like a hunter… I found I was very skittish about the thought of getting married.  I wasn’t even doing that well with the semi-dating we were doing.  Talk about being a nervous nelly!

I was concerned because based on past experience, I had reason to be concerned.  I did not want to let any more axe-murdering psychos into my life again.

I asked him one evening, “So are you going to have a problem if I want to zip down to Louisiana and visit my friends for a weekend?  Or meet them somewhere?”

He said, “Well no, I mean why would I? You’re an adult.”

Me: “Well, I’m just concerned.  I don’t want to be joined at the hips where we do everything together and lose our individuality.  Or one of us can’t go off and do something with friends.”  (Here, I believe it is obvious that I’d been single and doing my own thing for 12+ years before meeting Alpha Hubby.)

“Well,” he replied, “I guess I understand that.  I’m not going to tell you what you can and can’t do.  I might be concerned with you driving long distances by yourself but that’s me, not you.  I assume you’ve been doing this a long time on your own.”


So here we are, 20.6 years later and he STILL doesn’t let me forget that conversation.  “Haw, haw, Nan,” he snickers, “not wanting to be joined at the hips.  Snicker, snicker.”  He thinks that it is hysterical now since that is all we are, completely and totally joined at the hips.  He knows I meant losing my “self” or “identity” (as I had done in the past) but he likes to rub it in.

Joined at the hips.  What does that mean?  Well, we go everywhere together.  No separate vacations in this household.  I don’t want to go anywhere or share adventures with anyone else.  Why?  Because he’s the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.  He is my best friend, truly.  He is the only person on this earth who knows ME, inside and out.  He knows me like no one has EVER known me, not even my mother.

Couple in car

Couple on road trip

We can go on a road trip and talk all the way there and back.  It is like we never run out of things to talk about, ever.  Oh I’m sure some of our conversations are totally ridiculous to other people, but who cares?  We have fun and “we” are all that matters.

I know he would protect me with his life.  He’s proven it  I know he loves me unconditionally.  He’s proven it.  It is the most amazing thing, to be loved this way.  Then again, te’s a pretty amazing man.


Knights still exist!

And I have to say, I really love being joined at the hips with him.


There are times I crawl into bed and, although we have a king-sized bed, I am only able to get on the very edge of the bed.  Somehow he is asleep in the middle or occasionally takes up an additional 1/4 of my side with his sprawled body on it.  This triggers the gentle (ha!) slight… shall we say… shoving to get him to roll over and eventually begin to make his way to his side of the bed.  THAT joined at the hips is not for me.  I don’t like falling out of bed.

And the other day in the kitchen where we have a tall double seater bench we sit on at the counter, I realized I had one butt cheek hanging off my side of the bench.  Every time he put the fork to his mouth, he elbowed me.  So I elbowed him back and said, “Get your butt off my side of the bench!”  He was actually in the middle but the middle is on both sides.  Again, NOT a joined at the hips I enjoy, especially with an elbow in my face!  I don’t like falling off the bench.

But, after long belly button contemplation, I came to the conclusion that if I have to put up with his space-hogging-thieving ways to have the rest of the man he is, I guess I am going to be joined at the hips and battling space thieving another 60 years or so.  Loving it.


More and More Favorite Things 4

October 24th, 2014

I can’t say I have my site back up to speed since I haven’t done anything with it since changing out domain companies.  I still have 8 months left on my old website builder plan so have time to play.

With that note, I am not going to be serious today, I’m going to show you more of my favorite things.  To see others I’ve done, go to Categories on the side bar and find Favorite Things:

If you like Italian roast coffee, here are choices for the K-Cup for Keurig and beans for your own delicious grinding!

Keurig – Lavazza (Amazon)

30 Count – Lavazza K-Cup Variety Pack Sampler

Lavazza K-Cups

Lavazza K-Cups

Grind Your Own – illy Coffee Beans – (there are many types of roasts so check the cans) (Amazon)

illy Caffe Scuro Whole Bean Coffee (Dark Roast, Black Top), 8.8-Ounce Tins (Pack of 2)

 lly Coffee Beans Dark Roast

70’s and 80’s Love Songs.  What’s not to love?  They wrote some amazing love songs in the 70’s and 80’s.  There are a few on the sidebar music player like a huge favorite, Otis Redding Try a Little Tenderness (altho technically 1967 but not when I heard it), Here and Now by Luther Vandross, Joan Jett’s Black Velvet, Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight, Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Some Kind of Wonderful by Grand Funk Railroad, and so many more!

Let’s see – oh yes!  In my quest to continue to drink more water, especially on the go – fun stuff (Amazon).  You can add cucumber (so delish), lemons, orange slices, whatever!

AdNArt Flavour-It Glass Water Bottle with Fruit Infuser, 20-Oz

AdnArt Red Bottle

AdNArt Red Bottle

A favorite educational site for health place is:  For about $14 a year, you can keep current on every supplement such as those green coffee beans to Yohimbe.  Nothing is more frustrating than finding you are paying $40 a month for a supplement that has like 3% of the product rather than 100% (like a former omega-3 oil I was taking).

Since Alpha Hubby and I work hard to eat healthy, take good supplements to help stay healthy, and hate wasting money on something that doesn’t work, Consumer Lab has to be a part of our lives!  It also keeps you from going off on crazy rabbit trails because someone said, “Oooo this is wonderful and it works! REALLY! No, no one paid me to say that. Why do you ask??  OK I’m off to go use my free Stardollars coffee for a year coupon.”

They are donation run not ad-sponsored so no one can “buy” their report.  This ensures you get the truth about products you are buying.

Another favorite – Thermos Brand Travel Mug

Thermos 16-Ounce Stainless Steel Travel Mug

Thermos Mug

I’ve had mine since February and not once have I spilled a drop EXCEPT when I leave the lid’s push button up.  It seals really tightly and keeps hot hot for about 3 hours and cold cold for about 6.  I can’t tell you how many mugs I’ve gone through over the years that swear “We don’t leak” and the first time if fell out of my cup holder in the car, I had stained carpet… grrrr.

Another favorite thing is something I love doing – shining copper and silver.  It is one of those jobs that you see immediate and beautiful results.  I bought this silver plated coffee canister years ago.  I forgot to take a before picture of the canister but it looked similar to the spoon.

Before spoon crop After Spoon 2 crop

after spoon  After Spoon in its place crop

One of the BEST eyeliner pencils is L’Oreal Infallible Never Fail Silkissime Silky Pencil Eyeliner.  I picked up several colors on ebay from this seller (she’s fast delivery) for about $5.95 apiece, free shipping.  I believe you can find them on Amazon, and other places.  This pencil is soft yet glides on and stays on until you take it off.  I have yet to have it smear or disappear.  Pretty colors from black, charcoal to plum, purple and cobalt blue!  And what’s not to like about a product that has KISS in the name???

LOreal eye pencil   LOreal silkissme

Best sharpener to sharpen this L’Oreal eye pencil is a Nars Pencil Sharpener (again, ebay):

Nars Pencil Sharpener

Last but not least:

Nan hair color 1     Nan hair color now

My grey hair (heh heh heh)!  Hey, I didn’t say these were YOUR favorite things!

I used to spend beaucoup dollars to have my hair lightened.  I was born with white-blond hair but it gradually turned to that dish-water mix of not brown but not blond hair that would lighten in the sun but darken in the winter.  One day I quit coloring (after several years).  Much to my surprise I had grey-white-?? hair that Alpha Hubby loves.  It’s not really grey.  It just looks like I kept spending beaucoup dollars.  Hmm.  If that is the trade-off for my birthday numbers getting higher, then I accept.  It saves me I don’t know how much money!

Aaaaaand, that’s it for this edition of Favorite Things.  How fun to get to share with you guys.  You should tell me some of yours in the comment section.  I always love learning about new products!


Having Fun

October 4th, 2014
Frustrated woman

Frustrated Woman. I wonder, has she been dealing with outsourced customer service?


Sooo.  Since the last SNAFU that I had on this blog, I lost heart and hated, hated, hated my big ole Yippie web hosting provider.  No offense to anyone
from there, but my provider switched their customer service to Ind$a and the poor rep and I could not understand one another.  He was nice but useless, too, when he said, “I cannot fix your problem so you will have to rebuild your entire website.”

EXCUSE ME???  This was the third phone call this week (and the 6th mess up of my blog and/or websites in the past few months).  None of the reps could fix the problem even though late last year I had the same problem and the rep had NO problem helping me.  El-girrrrrrrr-O.  And today the rep flat told me something I knew was not true.  And when I called him on it he just started talking about something else.



Alpha Hubby has come unglued because he was paying one heck of a lot of money to our host for all our domains and websites.  He said, “Find someone else, NOW.  I am not paying them to Jill me around anymore. You handle it or I’m going to and repent later.”

His major frustration was that the sites were down or lost more often than up this past several months – and there was no help from the famous customer service peeps.  OH, well, I guess they’re not that group of people anymore because… Yippie outsourced to Ind$a.  Outsourced to a group of people who apparently aren’t up on the company’s policies or abilities, and have yet to help me since I began chatting with them.  Nice though they are about not helping me.  I want my other customer reps back!

I had one domain name with another provider that I’d never bothered to transfer to my big ole Yippie provider.  I checked and discovered we could be paying HALF – HALF!! – what we’re paying now.  In case you’re wondering, it is a chunk of change.  I wonder if Alpha Hubby will let me have the difference to spend on wonderous things?

overworked woman

So now I am in process of transferring all our domain names and web related things to someone else.  It is just nuts what you have to do just to switch.  Backing up some things ONE at a time if I don’t use some email transferring program.  Why?  Because big ole Yippie provider doesn’t allow you to back up your emails anymore.  Woofs.

And they say we’re better off in the electronic information age.  Sure we are, until our provider goes down or our Cloud bursts!



The Power of Touch

September 16th, 2014
Hand holding

Magic of Hand Holding

Something I learned early on in my marriage to Alpha Hubby (and applies to almost all couples) is that we had to learn one another.
He had to learn how to be my husband, learn what turned me
on, learn what melted me, and learned what triggered an apocalyptic meltdown in the house.

chocolate and wine

chocolate and wine

We had to learn what created the right romantic atmosphere and how to accomplish that for one another.

Of course we both have separate things that do that – and it is important to learn what each considers romance.  Him changing my oil or adding Freon feels protective-good but that is not romance in my eyes.  In his eyes, yes.  It is.  He is showing me he loves me.  Trying to get him to understand the difference between knowing he loves me and romancing me has been a Alpha-sized chore, for sure.



Obviously, I had the same things to learn about him.  All the love notes in the world will make him smile but he’d rather have a rendezvous set up just for him.  He LIKES rendezvous.  Very much so.  He wants full out makeup, sexy clothing (not necessarily nighties) and stockings with heels.  Then again, he’s not picky – I’m not sure he sees much past the heels and makeup.

Not everything works for every one.  Those “How to Seduce Him in 30 Seconds” magazine articles are good for ideas but those are not more important than sitting down and *gasp* talking to one another.  Ask very specific questions.  People are like children in the sense that you should not ask “yes-no” questions.



You ask a child, wanting details, “Did you have a good day at school today?”  He will answer, “Yes” and go on his merry way.  Or “What did you learn at school today?”  Answer:  “Nothing” – ugh.

Details.  Be specific:  “What did you think about the new room mascot, Rudy the Rat?”  “Oh, mom! He was so cool and I got to hold him.”  See?  Details.

So saying, “Do you like romantic gestures” gets the Alpha Grunt, “Sure” and is a waste of time.  Specifics are necessary.  And help them with the answers, too.

love napkin

love napkin

“Alpha Hubby, what do you want me to do to turn you on, make the bedroom/living room/kitchen floor-counter-wall experience better for you?  HOW can I make your love life better?”

Then PAY ATTENTION to his answers, jot them down so you don’t forget, and plan your seduction around that.

MORE importantly?  Do this often.  People change, new ideas pop up, and in order to keep it fresh and alive, your love life will need fuel on the embers.  Never assume.  Always ask, and often.


touching with purpose

And never, ever, ever underestimate the power of touch.  Touch is a Language that often speaks louder than words.  Touch can say “You are safe with me” or “You can trust me with your heart.”  The Language of Touch is especially important in a sexual relationship… that silky slide across the skin leaving warm tingles behind.


seductive touch

There may only be that one FIRST touch, where fingers bump, glide toward one another and clasp together in nervous excitement, but the touch that becomes familiar is warm like oozing honey, slowly running over your body.  Yes, the sexual relationship needs touch.

Touch one another often.  Rub his jaw, a hand up his thigh, touch his back.   Run a light rub down his arm, specially in public.  Constantly be aware of one another; touch helps with this.



And men?  Two things.  Touch without hidden motives.  Don’t make her think that your touch is only for sex.  Touch may lead to sex but trust me.  It is those touches outside the bedroom – those non-foreplay touches – that will get you there faster than playing Russian Hands and Roman Fingers.  If she thinks you only touch her for one purpose, it will diminish your relationship, just a bit.

Most of us women need that unexpected touch – the palm to the cheek, the touch on the hair, the rub down the arm, the pat on the bootie for no reason as you walk by.  It makes us feel precious to you.  (And ladies?  Touch goes both ways.  Men don’t necessarily want to feel precious to you when you touch – they want to know that you WANT them, desire them, need them.  Yes, THAT way. Remember how to make them feel like The Sex Meister*?)

touch hands

Light touch

Secondly men, taking her hand while you’re walking about (or sitting around) is one of the most important things you can do.  There is nothing that makes a woman feel more cherished, special, giddy (oh shut up ladies, you know you love it) than for you to reach down and grab her fingers, and hold on.  Hold on like she is THE most precious thing to you.  Especially at a party where Ms. Sally Office Skank is strutting her stuff around flirting with the men… HOLD ON to her hand so she knows you know Ms. SOS ain’t all that!

Touching hands is important.  Hands are probably THE most important…

touching feet


OH, OKAY – FEET.  Feet are important, too.

Just touch already!!


*meister – denoting a person regarded as skilled or prominent in a specified area of activity  Heh heh heh


Gone in Sixty Seconds

August 16th, 2014
Stop sign

Road to Nowhere

It isn’t a sabbatical.  It isn’t quitting.  It isn’t taking time off.

What it is?  I don’t know.  All I know is that this isn’t fun anymore.

Busy Times Square

Busy Times Square

Life is too short and too busy to do something that doesn’t bring you joy so I’m outta here.

It may be permanently and it may not.  I have no idea.  I just know I don’t want to write about my love affair with Alpha Hubby and I don’t wanna talk about the cows or anything else, for that matter.

I am going to live it.

I have some of this to do

stomach tape

Contemplating My Belly Button

And playing!

Josh Sandals


And this:

Once upon a time

Time to Finish the Books

And some of this:

Relaxing tea time

Relaxing with Tea

And this:

tea time with God

Time With God

And for sure this:



I will be doing a lot of this:




cookies tempt

Making right food choices

and doing plenty of this:

water with lemon

Drinking My Lemon Water

And this:

wolf and red

Hanging with Alpha Hubby

Doing this:

dancing children

Dancing with Alpha Hubby

And this:


Swimming with Alpha Hubby

And most of all:

couple in bed

None of your bee’s wax

The older posts will be available AFTER I fix the mess up – AGAIN.

Thank you for sharing your lives with me and for those who commented, I love you guys and appreciate the support you gave me over the years.


How bad is YOUR bad? Let it go.

August 12th, 2014

I’m going to change things up a wee bit today.  Several things happened recently that filled me with such gratitude, love, and just an all ’round joy at being alive, living in this time, and living the life I am living.  I plan to do this every once in a while from now on.  It is deeper than my other posts.  Some will agree with it.  Some won’t.  Doesn’t matter.  This is me.

Except for “Hallelujah” the first few songs on the player are by Clint Brown, pastor of Judah Church in Florida.  Clint has written and recorded thousands of praise and worship songs over the years.  He has an unbelievably powerful voice and most of his music is very contemporary, jazzy, bluesy, fonk, whatever.  Not what might be considered normal churchy music.  If you want a worship CD that will fill your house with peace, order his “In His Presence 2” CD.  Not 1, two (2).

Those who enjoy this type music, enjoy.  The rest of you can just pause the player!


Years ago while struggling with some issues and dealing with letting go, I came across this story about Marie Balter.  It struck me so powerfully that it changed my attitude and my life.  This post comes from several sources.


Marie Balter memorial

Marie Balter Memorial
Click to enlarge and read

In 1935 when Marie Balter was a 5-year-old named Pat, her unmarried alcoholic mother turned her (though not her older and younger sisters) over to a foster home unknowingly run by a sadistic couple.  The couple adopted Pat and changed her name to Marie.  They were physically and emotionally abusive toward her.  She would be locked in a dim cellar, and often tortured.

At 14 she was removed, at her own request and on the recommendation of a social worker, to St. Therese’s Home for Girls, and she lived for much of the next couple of decades in one institution after another: a home for indigent women, the psychiatric ward of a general hospital, finally a State Hospital.

Marie developed severe anxiety (panic disorder) and psychotic depression early in her life.  At the age of seventeen she was paralyzed from depression to the point it caused muscle spasms, choking, hyperventilation, and asthma attacks so intense she developed hallucinations.  She was institutionalized in 1947 and was misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia.

She was placed on near lethal doses of an experimental anti-psychotic drug, which only served to exacerbate her mental and emotional condition.  At one time she weighed only eighty-eight pounds.  She was locked away and written off as a hopeless case.

For eight years she was shuttled from one ward to another, depending on the severity of her symptoms.  She endured shock treatments.  At the very depth of her psychosis, she states that “From a curled-up position of catatonic silence on her hospital bed, she could still see herself:  I looked at myself and said, ‘No more. I can’t go on this way anymore if I ever want to get out of here, if I ever want to get better.'”

She relied on her deep faith in God and the positive relationships she made with some of the staff members and patients at the state hospital. There was a doctor at the hospital who saw potential in her and would not give up.  Her recovery was painful and gradual, as she overcame a despair that often left her unable to eat or move. She contemplated suicide more than once.

After more than thirty-two years of hell on earth, Marie Balter was released into the world… to begin her real life.

With the support of a widening circle of friends, Balter gradually built herself a productive and satisfying life, graduating from college and marrying a man she had worked with in the rehabilitation workshop whom she called the love of her life.  Even cancer of the bladder and later her husband’s early death could not overwhelm her: “This time,” she reported, “I survive.”

Did she spend her freedom holding a grudge or sue the hospital for misdiagnosing her problem?  Focus on what her mother did to her?  The abusive foster parents?  Be mad at God?  No, at the age of thirty-seven, she entered college as a freshman and earned a degree in psychology.  She returned to the hospital where she had been a patient all those years and worked as a social worker.

Making good on a promise that she made to God that she would dedicate her life to working with the mentally ill, Marie then returned to school and earned a master’s degree from Harvard University.  She later founded the Balter Institute where she hoped that her patient-led idea of mental healthcare would continue.

Marie Balter let go of the negative past without a retaliatory spirit.  She let it go and was able to grow from being “Nobody’s Child” (title to one of her books) to becoming everybody’s helper.

In her own words, ”I wouldn’t have grown one bit if I didn’t learn to forgive.  If you don’t forgive your parents or your children or those who hurt you, or even yourself you don’t ever get beyond that anger.

“Forgiving is a way of reaching out from a bad past and heading out to a more positive future.”


Are there areas in your life where you are holding a grudge?  Focusing on that past can be holding you back from fulfilling your dreams.  Why?  Because you are looking backward instead of forward!  That past will trip you up, baby.  Let it go.

It really is true – holding a grudge holds a grudge on you, not the other person.  Forgiveness sets you, y-o-u, free.  Holding on ties you to the past.  Let it go.  You decide who gets to dictate your present and your future.

Let it go.

Goodby to the Mental Ward : NOBODY’S CHILD: The Marie Balter Story, By Marie Balter and Richard Katz (Addison-Wesley

New York Times,


Relaxing Ditty

August 10th, 2014



The time of sitting
has come and gone
I must get up
as the sun with dawn
and put my life
into order –
and yet
I think I’d rather
just dream and sit!
Poem Copyright © 1977 Nan C.


Soap Opera Life

August 10th, 2014


They say
life is not like a soap opera —
those fables on TV
of fantasy, great wealth,
excessive cheating,
murder, and greed,
with lives that seem too ridiculously
to ever be real.

And yet –
someone had to tell me
that he was caught
with another woman
his pregnant girlfriend
who doesn’t know
he’s married to me
and not

Who says life isn’t like a soap opera?

Poem Copyright © 2007 Nan C.