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Have you heard this term before? It’s nothing like the lyrics in the song “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls.

I saw this term for the first time as a headline in Conde Nast Traveler’s online edition (dated June 7, 2017). It read: “Madrid Bans Manspreading On Its Public Transport.”

Manspreading is when a guy sits down and spreads his legs wide enough to discourage folks from sitting in the seats on either side of him. I have included the photo used in the article.


There is even a sign/icon for it. Sorry, but it looks like a guy on a toilet to me.

manspreading sign

Closer to home, in 2014, New York City also had issues with manspreading on public transportation. Their slogan was “Dude, please stop the spreading.”

If you find this as fascinating as I do, here is a link to the entire article.

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Review of Royal Caribbean Bahamas Cruise

My nieces from New Hampshire and I took a three night Royal Caribbean Bahamas cruise. It left from Port Canaveral in Florida on a Friday and returned on a Monday. A great escape if you only have a short time to get away.

Lucky for me, I have a sister who lives in Florida, and she’s done this cruise many times. I am sharing the tips she gave me plus my own feedback.

Meals: The food in every venue was delicious. This includes the buffets and the dining rooms. The dining room portions are small, but there is no limit to what you can order. Want three appetizers, order them. If you’d like a couple of desserts, that’s not a problem. And the bread…love the pumpkin seed rolls at dinner.

Drinks: Don’t be cheap. Splurge and get the upgraded drink package. Even if you are a light drinker like me, after a couple of glasses of wine, you’ll make up the cost. Tip: buy the drink package before you get on the ship – it is cheaper.

The Island Accent: Everything sounds better with an island accent. When I complained about the dirty curtains at our table in the dining room, the manager said, “Don’t worry, my love. We will fix it for you. Anything else we can do for you, my love?” No, just keep talking!

The Announcements: Good Lord, enough with the announcements over the in-room speakers all day long. All we need to know is the safety information. Not: We are here. We are leaving. Bingo is starting. Diamonds on sale now. Time for the art raffle. Book your shore excursions. Tonight’s entertainment will be… We got the daily newsletter on our bed. We can READ!

Gratuities: Want to save money? Prepay the gratuities before you get on the ship. Note: it is sad to imagine what the salaries of the crew are because they are practically begging you to give them excellent reviews on the online survey you will get after the cruise

The Casino: Smoking is allowed…

Shopping: On the stop in Nassau, shopping is a major activity. Someone is always enticing you to their shop for the best knock off purses, or to take their tour, or to visit their crafts stall for island souvenirs. Just be polite and when you need help, there will many choices.

Unexpected Surprises: Dancing to Uptown Funk with a hip grandma and getting the spotlight turned on us. Listening to many talented karaoke singers. Entertainment by great comedians and a fabulous band. Meeting a lady who lives in my neighborhood. Drinking one chocolate martini. Enjoying the beautiful views of the Bahamas. Visiting the cool Pirate Museum in Nassau. Hearing the Islanders say, “Smile Mam.”

View of Ship from CocoCay - RC's Private Island

View of Ship from CocoCay – RC’s Private Island

Best of all: spending time with my two wonderful nieces who make me feel young, laugh at my jokes, and remind me how much fun it is to still be in your twenties.

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Word of the Day: Donnybrook

I was reading an article in the WSJ today and came across a word I’d never seen or heard spoken: donnybrook. The article was about the town of South Burlington, Vermont where citizens are upset about changing the name of their high school mascot (Rebels). To describe the situation, the reporter used the word ‘donnybrook.’

A quick search of online dictionaries came up with: brawl, public quarrel, contentious dispute. The word sounded Irish to me, so I also wanted to know the origin of donnybrook. Merriam Webster helped me out. You’ve got to love this.

“The Donnybrook Fair was an annual event held in Donnybrook-then a suburb of Dublin, Ireland-from the 13th to the 19th centuries. The fair was legendary for the vast quantities of liquor consumed there, for the number of hasty marriages performed during the week following it, and, most of all, for the frequent brawls that erupted throughout it. Eventually, the fair’s reputation for tumult was its undoing…abolished in 1855, but not before its name had become a generic term for a free-for-all.”

With all the controversy the US experienced during the election season last year, I am surprised I haven’t heard donnybrook used before.

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Writer’s Elbow is Real

I’d been on the computer for hours revising the latest draft of my book. When I got up to take a break, I noticed my left elbow seemed tender. If I put any pressure on it, I felt a sensation similar to touching a very bad sun burn. My elbows are of the sharp boney variety. So I thought, maybe I just needed to cushion the arm rests on my desk chair.

After joking around that I’d invented a new condition called writer’s elbow, I found out that writer’s elbow is a real thing.

A little research on the internet informed me that like tennis elbow, writer’s elbow was caused by repeatedly straining the muscles and tendons. Unlike tennis elbow, I didn’t achieve any cardio benefit from sitting in a statue position for several hours.

So I’m re-evaluating my posture, stretching more, and being careful not to sleep on it. I should probably be icing and heating it too.

To all my writing friends, caution writing can be hazardous to your elbows.

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Jonestown Survivor Speaks

I had the opportunity to hear Laura J. Kohl speak at an Osher* educational event. She spoke about her experience with the Peoples Temple and Jim Jones. November 18, 2018 will mark the fortieth anniversary of the ‘revolutionary suicide’ that killed over 900 of her friends.

By a twist of fate, she was not at the Jonestown compound when the event happened. She and others were at another facility located in Georgetown, the capitol of Guyana. I won’t reiterate what happened at the compound as the news did their job. What drew me to this lecture? Like listening to the survivors of Holocaust or the rescued Chilean miners, I wondered, how does someone go on after such a tragedy?

Laura J. Kohl was thirty one in 1978. Now, she is a retired teacher with a voice that commands your attention. Many times she teared up as she recounted her story. Back in the 60’s and 70’s, she was a young woman looking for a way to make the world a better place. In San Francisco, she was introduced to Jim Jones. His inclusive message appealed to her. He brought diverse groups of people together to show the world the model of a promised land. She said Jim Jones offered a clean, pure way of life. He was a ‘collector of people,’ and he made a point to know each member personally.

Life on the compound, set in a tropical country, was unpredictable and exciting. Ms. Kohl said she’d still be there today if weren’t for the events of November 18, 1978. When the US relocated the survivors back to the US, she felt lost. No one could understand what she went through. It was an extremely difficult time for her.

She made her way back to San Francisco and heard about Synanon. Synanon was a controversial residential facility that helped addicts stop using and live in a community that was clean and drug free. Synanon was also another form of communal living that provided Ms. Kohl with ‘a cocoon to hide in for a while…I wasn’t scared off by the controversial group…I was beyond fearing for my safety.’ Ms. Kohl lived there for ten years. During that time she finished her degree, got married, and started a family.

Ms. Kohl still felt she had to piece together what happened. She reconnected with other survivors at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland, California for the 20th anniversary of the Jonestown suicides. ‘When I went … I saw people that I thought were dead. We were all together and realized we had so much in common and so much love, we didn’t want to lose each other again… it was probably the most significant change since I’ve been back.’

Of course, I was fascinated as to why the survivors met at Evergreen Cemetery. Over 400 bodies were not claimed from Dover Airforce base in Delaware. Evergreen Cemetery accepted the bodies and built a mass grave for those victims. In addition to the simple tombstone, a wall has been added with the names of all the victims.

Jonestown Tomb Flower

My question was answered. People heal from tragedies in different ways. For Ms. Kohl, it was reuniting with survivors who could identify with her hardships.

*I attended this class through Cal State San Marcos and their Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. For more info, go to this link: