Deep Breathing Moments: My Macaroni Meltdown

Walking on macaroni  became the theme of my weekend. I didn’t intend it to be that way for sure!  As I said, it wasn’t my choice. The macaroni just volunteered!

Obviously the week isn’t over yet! My run of bad luck is rushing downhill quickly aargh!

First I laid out stuff for lunch. Then I proceeded to knock over the macaroni all over the floor. Due to my recent eye procedure I couldn’t see it well enough to clean up efficiently. When I used the broom I couldn’t see the mean-spirited macaroni, yet when I laid the broom down and leaned over I could see it was still causing trouble on my floor!

I couldn’t find my CanOpener and there’s not very many places it could escape to. Oh well it must’ve fallen in the trash sometime. I saw it last on the edge of the cabinet–probably not a good place to lay it down.

Oh well I  changed the tuna out to one that would open with my finger. However, even that proved to be a trial since my finger wasn’t really strong enough to make it open. I finally succeeded with a screwdriver and knife! I realized  I wouldn’t be able to put peas in my tuna and pasta since they require a CanOpener.

There’s only a few more hours left in this week week I’ve had enough!

To clarify, I’m one of those people who NEVER loses anything, so my feelings were hurt! I suddenly hurtled into a pity party long enough to put my complaint on Facebook. A wonderful Texas friend Rebecca responded with “Eat a meal and then SIT DOWN.  Take several deep breaths…You are safe. You are loved. You are strong enough to eat tuna without peas and a reduced amount of pasta. As all things do, this too shall change. Xoxoxo.”  As I read this, I realized I had already done the first three things. However, the rest of her wisdom reinforced that as well as reminded me the pity party was over.

As I relaxed I realized the old can opener actually didn’t work very well anyway since it usually made me get cut. It wouldn’t open all the way around no matter how many tries, so I often had to pry the open half up at the risk of a bloody finger.

I noticed my reasoning was improving as my blood sugar level returned to normal. Guess what, even caregivers need food, ahem, especially when a straw to break the camel’s back turns up. Also I had forgotten that this eye procedure messes with my blood sugar, arggh!

After I took food to my disabled hubby I rested some more. My younger son has often said when something goes wrong there may be a lesson there. So I spend the mental energy earned from food and relaxing to look for what this outburst of aggravation could teach me.

I found two jewels in the pain of the day: 1) Sometimes a seemingly bad event can yield a positive fruit. In this case, I really needed to get a new can opener so I could quit getting cut and taking unnecessary risks since my blood thinner tended to encourage unwanted bleeding.

2) This minor tragedy was not the event–it was only a pointer telling me my stress level needed an adjustment. After all, every once in a while we all need to renew our subscription to reality, don’t we? My reality was that I needed to stop and renew, turn on the AC, and give my mind a little vacation. So I grabbed the moment since my patient was snoozing in the other room, teehee.

The week ended with no more unwanted events and I even caught a relaxing snooze too:-)

And just when I thought it was “only a memory” my good friend and former neighbor and fellow caregiver Dorothy had a package delivered to me. As I unpacked the box of goodies I saw a note inscribed on it saying “SNACKS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE A CAN OPENER” and came full circle into another Macaroni Meltdown–into raucous and belly busting  laughter.


Copyright 2017 by HIldra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.
Posted in Deep Breathing Moments: Meditations for the Unpremeditated, Matters of the Heart: Grief and Other Feelings | Leave a comment

Sons and Mothers and Others: Retired Into Bullying!


Since I retired to Florida I’ve been shocked to see the level of antagonism portrayed by seniors who bully–especially when working as a group. The “social” bullying described in the recent article is truly bad, yet when loyal friends bully in concert together it is more akin to the Mafia than to even the worst playground behavior. The group dynamics of several people bullying together intensifies the effect, and can cause them to show more aggression when their bravado is bolstered by buddies.

We live in a wonderful place, but the coop’s “politics” could use some revamping, since there is a board-approved pattern of clear, intense, and repeated rejection of anyone who suggest changes. In this case, several owners are only wanting the coop to be run in compliance with the law! Our coop is managed by Board President who is acting as a Community Association Manager, but as he is unlicensed the State has ordered him to Cease & Desist, but with full support of many owners he continues this illegal practice.

There is great concern about looking the other way while a few seniors bully both younger and older residents who are part of the minority voice seeking change toward becoming legal. This involves yelling slurs, screaming at owners who express differing opinions, hate notes on residents’ doors and official bulletin boards, as well as making the laundry room into an unsafe place for these individuals.

Even the parking lot has been a background for bullying. Yelling epithets, standing behind cars trying to pull out, and one senior even biked circles in front of a gay couple trying to park their car in order to enter their home while several people watched and did nothing to help. One of the main bullies even told a dissenting former board member she’d “sure better sleep with one eye open”!

This pattern over several years has caused some to tiptoe around quietly, avoiding conflict or even taking abuse at times, while some others have decided to band together to work for change. According to public records, Broward county found our president guilty of claiming homestead in two states, and the State of Florida has sent the case about defying the Cease and Resist order to the General Counsel for possible criminal prosecution. (DPBR case # 20013032379). Other investigations are ongoing.

There is a vital need for programs to be developed to help with prevention and awareness of Senior Bullying. It is my hope as a teacher that the program also will include the possibility of criminal prosecution since some who bully are not concerned with the feelings of others. Some who bully don’t realize their loyalty to each other could become criminal. Perhaps a good training target for the prevention programs would be to work with the Boards in an effort to help them see the possible roles they might play in either discouraging such bullying, or by overlooking, enabling mistreatment of certain residents.

Such intimidation not only affects the emotions and health of those being bullied, but when the seniors doing the bullying have power over their victims as in condos or coops, it can destroy the feeling of being welcome and safe in your own home! Since a Board of Directors has the power to threaten residents with fines and can enter homes at will, their actions can bring life-changing fear which takes a heart-rending toll on the very lives of their victims. When Board members turn from advocates for the owners into adversaries, they can wield frightening control of large sums of money and the quality of lives of others.

I loved the place I live when I moved in, and I still love it, but how much better it could be if the bullying becomes a thing of the past.  There has been some improvement but more is still needed in terms of transparency, etc. in order to make this a place where people feel safe to be themselves. Our goal is to live together as neighbors in peace.

My retirement has been a joy for me each and every day. I’ve had time to do things I value, like write, join interest groups, care for my disabled husband, spend more time with family, etc. It has been wonderful living near family in order to have support when I need help in health and other matters. The only thing I don’t really want is for me or anyone in my family or friends to be bullied. That doesn’t seem too much to ask of my retirement years.

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Of These My Children: An Election Brings Conflict Revolution

My job as a teacher, or chief thought catcher, in this small private school brings sunshine to my soul.

As the day starts the students begin the process of settling down. A gal noticed my efforts at taming the crowd and she hollered, “Guys, she’s trying to attack someone’s attention.” Her shrill voice attracted everyone’s attention for sure.

Children are so insatiably sensible. Often their ideas make much more sense than the way things are.

Just after I admonished the students to show responsibility, one budding scholar told us his mom was laughing at a Saturday afternoon broadcast she likes to watch. “That Garrison guy was talking about a church called Our Lady of Perceptual Responsibility. Just tell me what’s funny about that!” I imagined Mr. Keillor had said “perpetual” but this kid was telling it according to his perception.  No doubt, such perception is a responsibility for teachers and students alike!

Social Studies class covers both history and current events. The election year brought lots for the children’s brains to process.

One young lady arrived to class saying her mom was upset about the Stress Conference with all the back and forth between candidates. It’s a sure thing reporters with the press certainly felt a lot of stress! 

There was the day when a guy mentioned that CNN had a brown table discussion. He wondered why the color of the table really mattered. That afternoon we spoke of ‘almost rhymes’ like round and brown. 

Then when the fall election finally came, students had to learn about the President Erect. There was so much information overload on TV and in the air that the children found themselves perplexed at times. It was enough to make all of us suffercate just trying to sort it all out. 

A year like this causes our Social Studies class to last a bit longer since the kiddoes are so full of relevant questions. The week of the general election was that kind of time. A child claimed, “The President got neglected yesterday.”  I realize that some folks thought he should be neglected, but I had to clarify that he got elected! 

One day we worked with oranges, using plastic knives to cut them in half to show the hemispheres of the earth. The object was to learn that we live in the Northern Hemisphere. However, before I was able to solidify that concept, an argument started when a gal swore she “was a southerner so it’s obvious we live in the Southern Hemisphere!”  Who among you want to take a turn at clearing that one up?

Part of following the election in a classroom is learning about the states. One guy was shocked as he was working a United States puzzle. He yelled out, “Hey, I found a state named Vomit! Who would want to live there?” I have a strange feeling the Chamber of Commerce folks in Vermont would want me to clarify that in a hurry.

Students never completely forget that they will have grades, so one gal mentioned that her grandma lived right by “The Evergrades over in Florida where she retired.” That day we learned all about The Everglades. 

A child walked in the room and said, “Last night on the news they talked a lot about Medicine, Wisconsin.” Instead of passing out pills, I wrote Madison, Wisconsin on the board and we had a chat.

The puzzles had landmarks and symbols to show special points of interest for each state. My ears perked up when I heard, “Hey lookee here, I found Old Fateful, see it?” I know the election process may have seemed to be sealing our fate, but I still thought it necessary to take time out to explain the word faithful. The students really enjoyed setting a timer for every few minutes so they could get the hang of Old Faithful doing its geyser thing on a regular, or faithful, schedule.

Speaking of fate and such, a young man said his dad likes to read history stories about the Revelation. (I know it’s been a tough year, but I sincerely hope we are not looking at the End of Times!) So we had a short lesson about The American Revolution. I’m a bit tired, so I think we’ll study conflict resolution another day.

Well, it’s been a long election. Some people are happy, and some are dismayed. A girl in my class has just the right answer to folks who are weary of the election year. She confided, “Since Mom says I’m too old to play with my dolls, I play with my Invincible Friend.” Some of us who are really tired of politics might just decide to play with our Invisible Friend  too.


Copyright 2017 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.

Posted in Of These My Children: Infamous Sayings of Insidious Intellects – Humor | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Old Age May Bring Memory Problems

Why did I go into this room? What am I doing here?

Must I once again retrace my steps to find my way?

I’ll stand here just a bit.  I feel like having a fit.

But it won’t help me reach my goal, so I’ll start over from whence I came.

Now, I’ll try again. Focus, don’t stop along the way.

Get it done, the battle’s won.  I hope I don’t get lost any more today.


Copyright 2017 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.

Posted in Savor Our Seniors to Grow Bold Along With Me – The Rest is Yet to Come | Leave a comment

A Slice of Happy: Holding the High Note

Caregivers risk the danger of being on guard 24/7.  There are times when that is necessary.

However, in order to sustain the role effectively, it becomes urgent for a caregiver to carve out some time in the daily routine.  Having been such a caregiver for my husband for over a dozen years, my body recently forced me to attend to my health. So I began to utilize Adult Day Care for him, a hard but important decision toward sharing the duties of caregiving.

This allowed me to save my sight with several vital procedures as well as starting the long and arduous process of “catching up” on a decade of neglecting much of my self care.

Yes, I had made efforts in that direction a couple of years ago when I joined a monthly caregiver support group nearby. I even attended a couple of Caregiver Conferences. Yet hearing the need for self-care and actually weaving those skills into my daily life presented a long term challenge.

In recent months I took a proactive step in starting to make myself coffee each and every day. Just that simple act has forced me to stop and spend some time in contemplation. (Ha, it has also gone far toward correcting my chronic constipation, arggh!)

Close ties with friends and family has been a great help since it lets me feel less alone and gives me a much-needed support system. I also find inspiration in the words of others, like the Carrie Fisher words which Meryl Streep quoted: “Take your broken heart, make it into art.”

Suddenly at the turn of the year I happened to hear a singer and noticed how I smiled and breathed deeper as she held the high note with such gusto and a seeming lack of purpose. The whole audience was caught up in the joy as the note seemed to go on forever. I realized the only goal was to relish this passing moment.

That aha moment literally screamed at my soul, my very task-oriented soul, ha. It seemed to be time for me to breathe–like I tell my hubby but don’t practice enough myself–and just enjoy the moments in my life without keeping the “do list” in front of my eyes every living moment.

So now, my New Year’s gift will be to not just my usual habit of smiling when I awaken and having coffee, but to allow myself to hold the high notes life presents to me.

Today I am starting to add to my habit structure of feeding myself better (did that last year) or exercising (which I handle by averaging 60 minutes of walking daily). My new endeavor will be to add a slice of happy intentionally each day. It’s like a vitamin for my soul.

I’m good at courage; I can get things done. What I now need is breathing without intent or goal, just cherishing the moment. This refreshes my life as a caregiver and clears my mind to return to necessary tasks with new insight.

This burst of insight has been gently creeping up on me. I’ve noticed I break into dance and song even with some commercials. Sometimes I make my own music by humming in the spirit of my old friend Winnie The Pooh.

My plan is to hold the high note for the pure joy of another day of living my chance at another day of hope, however imperfect it may be. Yes, bad things may be happening all around me. But I still have a choice to be an island of peace. This will allow me to be more helpful when needed by those I love.

Problems and challenges haven’t gotten smaller or gone away. I’m just making an evolving and conscious decision to enjoy the ride even when its bumpy and seasoned with tears. There will continue to be noise in the background, but I will put peace in the foreground of my  life.

So if you don’t see me around, I might be busy holding the high note of life. 


Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.






Posted in Deep Breathing Moments: Meditations for the Unpremeditated, Honeysuckle Air - Memoirs, Savor Our Seniors to Grow Bold Along With Me – The Rest is Yet to Come | 1 Comment

Honeysuckle Air: In the Dental Chair

I’d call this recollection tongue in cheek–but there was a lot more than a mere tongue in my cheek yesterday. . .

She said, “Don’t close your mouth!”  I wondered, how long, forever, or would she tell me when I could close it???!

Things were poking out of me. I resigned myself to associating with all that strange stuff for the duration.

When she came back, metal clicked, liquid swished, and my lips got rearranged and enlarged.  Whose lips were they anyway?

Right when I decided to do the only thing I could do breathe. I felt dozens of fingers in my now-cavernous mouth. Some were pushing on lips and some were wielding metal gadgets.

I almost got used to it. It wasn’t so bad till I thought I felt not only a fist but a foot threshing around in there. I just wished she’d take off those boots. . .

After a year or so, it was time for another X-ray. Root canals like to have their picture taken. My mouth wasn’t big enough for the X-ray thingamajig! The dentist finally rescued me by doing it another way after several bouts of gagging.

I can’t even seem to remember why I’m putting myself through this misadventure of allowing someone to torture me, then paying big dollars for it. Oh, that’s right, to chew food. I think I’d rather not eat ever again!

There must be better ways to usher in the New Year! First, an eye procedure, then 2 hours in the dentist chair. But that was just “prep” for the hilarious yet hellacious harangue of today.

I vowed to relax during this root canal. I’m not sure when I started pawing my tummy. I self-corrected and told my fingers to behave. Before long I found myself holding hands with myself! I squeezed two fingers till they were about to say ouch!

Just when I was remembering to breathe, the dentist asked me how I was doing. Being unable to tell her I was choking, uncomfortable, and generally feeling harangued, I gave a feeble thumbs up. (God knows I wanted her to finish so I wouldn’t have to come back for a replay, arggh!)

Next week I go back to see if it was successful. But for now, I’m planning other activities for my cheek: soft food, soft pillow, maybe even a kiss.


Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission from author for use online or in print.




Posted in Honeysuckle Air - Memoirs, Savor Our Seniors to Grow Bold Along With Me – The Rest is Yet to Come | Leave a comment

Honeysuckle Air: Tears for My Country

This started as a short presentation at a public gathering to process the 2016 election.

Wearing red, white and blue, I stood by a container of water, removed my red, white and blue necklace, then dipped it into the water. As I slowly lifted it and watched it dripping, I said: “These are tears for my country.”  I held the necklace up to drop for a few moments. Then I added, “We must cry, then we must get up and make things happen.”

Yup, it all started in church that day. Or maybe at the polls where I went with my family to cast my ballot–historic, I hoped! Also, the many months of constant study, observation, conversation with people on all sides, and efforts toward campaigning for my beliefs.

That God made all colors, all types, all religions, LGBTQ, etc. I always told my students if God made them, He must have loved them. So I will too.  Yes, it is just that simple. (Love God, love His handiwork.)

I endured several years of active bullying, then was the object of witness intimidation for another year. Then one day I decided I must do something to make a difference. All is not simple sunshine yet, but those efforts paid off, and my little corner of the world is a bit better.

Maybe I am not up to doing too much since I am now the caregiver for my disabled hubby with 2 kinds of cancer and memory issues. That means I am always 24/7 on duty or on call since he cannot be left alone for medical reasons.

However, as a retired teacher who helped at-risk kids, I know there is always something each and every person can do!

So I can’t run for office, but I’m right beside you as you do. Go ahead and rise to the occasion. Many are with you.

I weep with you — and then I have a pat on the back especially for you.

Running for local office, volunteering to help others, getting involved in your community, all improve the view and inspires others around you. Wipe those tears, feel my virtual hug, then get started.

Just don’t fall into the pit of only “preaching to the choir” in person, FB, etc. Commiserating is necessary but does not move us forward. Many of us continue to shed tears for our country yet that is only the starting gate. Let’s get movin’!

Carry on. My heart and those tears for my country urge you on. Carry on. Please do:-)

Make a plan; we’re long overdue. Yes, you may need to stop, fuss, and cry once in a while, but even with that, we must rise together!


Copyright 2017 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.

Posted in Deep Breathing Moments: Meditations for the Unpremeditated, Honeysuckle Air - Memoirs, Matters of the Heart: Grief and Other Feelings | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment