Christmas season, general, opinion, reflection

What Is It About The Day Before….


Today is New Year’s Eve, at least it will be when night falls over us. So it is a big deal turning the calendar to 2013… WOW! 2013! But it is only one day later than the 2012 that we are washing away with a reflection then just letting it go.

 Really, the day before I turned 60, I was 59, of course. Now the fifties are great but facing 60…WOW! That was a big step. People look at you and listen to you differently when you say you are 60. It is like they put you into a serious age category so they can listen to you without taking what you have to say seriously. But I was only one day older than yesterday. What’s up with that?

 Christmas Eve was very different when I was a child. It was something anticipated, creating more anticipation for Christmas Day. It was an evening of singing Christmas Carols in the neighborhood or to whoever would consent to listen. That wasn’t always an easy thing to do with a bunch of kids without the choral guidance of someone who knew about real music. But today it is about opening your gifts so you can spend Christmas Day opening gifts with the absent parent & the new family that you had no part in seeing it blossom. It is a day extended but so different from the day before.

 Happy New Year……Remember yesterday……Enjoy today……Treasure tomorrow.

general, women

Surreal or Preview?

Friday, 28 December dawned like this. It was the day of the most amazing experience. I visited Ed McKay’s Used Book store to exchange some books for a few CDs and DVDs in Raleigh. Mostly the trip was for just getting away from the computer for a day. And what better way to relax than being surrounded by books & such. Content with my exchange, I was driving home to Macon heading north on Hwy 401 in Wake County, NC.

Cruising along listening to an audio book, not a day to be in a hurry, when I heard a ‘pop’ and wondered if a stone had flipped up from the road to hit the car. I thought no more of it until I heard a soft thump, thump, thump. “Oh, no,” I thought. Here I am out in a rural area, knowing I had just blown a tire. Darn. At least I wasn’t flying down the road speeding.
I started to coast toward the side after clicking on the hazard lights. But the shoulder looked like it may be soft. Knowing I had most likely ruined the tire anyway, I crept up to a driveway where I could at least pull out of traffic.

Yup. It was a blowout. The tire looked mighty sad. ‘Darn,’ I thought again. I called Triple AAA on my cell phone, got the message asking for my ID number, hung up because I’d have to look for the card, yadda, yadda, yadda. I got out again noting the mail box number so I could also give them some kind of location. That’s when the mini-miracle began to happen.
Two young men came walking down the driveway with a weed trimmer in hand. Guess they were going to trim around the entrance to their property. Smiling, one fellow came over to check things out, sweet as could be. They invited me to pull up the driveway to their garage about 100 foot away.

Within minutes they had the tire off the rim and my spare off the back of my tracker, zip, zip went the power drill, bolts off, deed done, new tire on and old tire in the back of the car. It was surreal. I barely had time to pet the dog! It only took a few minutes! They wouldn’t accept any money but they each got a very hearty hug from me and they sure have my gratitude.
Those two darling men turned my day from becoming an awful one to a wonderful one. I would not have been shocked if I saw halos floating over their heads, but I did not. I did see two gentlemen in jeans that will be in my thankful prayers of gratitude tonight and many nights more.

I didn’t even get their names!

But I’ve had strange experiences like this before and I would not be surprised if we meet again in the future, that this was a mini introduction to something bigger. We’ll see.

general, opinion, reflection

Remembering the Odd Ones…..


At the end of December the media often reflects back and notes the public figures that have passed away over the last year. Fortunately our favorite actors can still be seen on DVDs so after a few years we’ll not remember if or when they left us. We still have the pleasure of their company.

Naturally loved ones always leave a hole in us that cannot be filled by anyone else. But also there are the teachers, casual friends and folks who have impacted our lives giving us direction and the wealth of their experience to help us down that road. Sometimes it is a person we have met only briefly who made a comment that tweaked its way into the back of our mind and stuck there.

Whenever I ask a group of writers to make a list of those who have given them sage words; mother, father, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are often the only ones mentioned on that list. But I know if given a bit of time and lots of thought digging into memory, teachers, the lady at the corner store, a clerk, an auto mechanic, even someone met at a party, i.e. the odd ones as opposed to the usual list, will pop up.

There is a long list in my pocket of people who come to mind at the oddest times and from places I thought I had long ago forgotten.


Aura Energy

ImageHave you had days or periods of time when your computer just stops working or acts differently than it usually does? For no apparent reason? I have had those experiences and have learned to just leave it, walk away, do something else and return to my PC at a later time…..always to success. The first time or two when my PC just did not come on when I pressed the magic button, I took it to a repair group. When that guy pressed the magic button, it came right on! Talk about feeling foolish.

When this happened a third time at a much later date, I recalled the first time it happened, and learned. But I didn’t know why this happened. It was always a time when I was wound up emotionally, upset, annoyed at something, or downright angry.

Ah-hah! The key! Not wanting to feel foolish, I had not discussed these phenomena with anyone. But since, I have come across an article on auras and researched more to get a full picture. Auras are energy fields that show up over/round our heads that some people can see, others not. The color reflects different traits and moods of a person. Think of mood rings……

Aside from that, with an aura being your energy field, the electronics around you can react to that energy. Many years ago when I drove across the country, my car clock registered a half-hour off! I couldn’t find any time change as I drove west that only registered a half hour. The time adjustment was always an hour. It puzzled me exceedingly.

As usual I asked several people that I thought may have an answer for me. No go. But now, years later, I recall that incident and finally know the answer.

Christmas season, Poetry

Christmas as Contemplative


Not all scenes of snow with Christmas intent

are filled with sleigh bells and holly

not all thoughts of stockings hung by the chimney,

include fat men in red that are jolly,

lays on my mind

A scene of trees laden heavily with white stuff

can bring visions not of sugarplums

but of peace, contentment, muffled sounds of nature

that fill the heart without the drums,

no little boy here

So in remembering your favorite Christmas year,

that it does not need to be repeated

for once it is placed in your heart, it remains forever

to bring out each year and greeted,

improving with age                   © Arlene S. Bice, 2012

art, Poetry, women

The Kiss of Gustav Klimpt


The painting draws my attention

like a casual stroller at the lower left hand

corner of the local garden.

The softly draped yellows and flecks of color

falling from their shoulders,

while kneeling, down to their feet

where hers are bound by ropes of gold,

making her flight impossible.

My eyes gaze upward to the fold of their robes

blending in, one with the other,

then I notice her face turned away

from his kiss placed so tenderly

on her cheek.

Boredom is her expression;


the adored one,


no passion there.

His hands cup her face,


his neck bends

to kiss

his beloved.

Her arm circles

his shoulder,

hanging on

while the other

pushes him away.

Stars are in her hair



the absence of

stars in her eyes.    © Arlene S. Bice, 2008

American History, Bordentown, women

Major Fraser’s

Back in the 80s when the mortgage rates dropped to an all-time low, I trained and became a real estate appraiser, thanks to Ed MacNicoll owner of the business of that name. Architecture had long been of interest to me and that position fueled my passion for it. I often got the assignments for the big, old Victorians or farmhouses that took more work and time to appraise. I loved the challenge and still do love it .

Little did I know that what I learned in that profession would be called on when I wrote Major Fraser’s, but expanding in a different sense. Yes, the house is the basis for the story but Major Fraser and his family are the heart of it carrying the story from Bordentown to South Carolina and into France.

He came from Scotland in the 1700s, reason unknown to me but many families lost all they had after the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Even if they fought against England during that conflict, many that took the forced loyalty oath, adhered to it and fought for England during our Revolution. Thomas Fraser did, fighting his way up to the rank of Major.

During the War he married Southern belle Anne Loughton Smith. After the War they lived in Charleston and Philadelphia. They came to Bordentown during the dangerous summer seasons to get away from big city killing diseases.

Major Fraser’s, whose daughter married Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew,  is a dip into the past history of our country revealing the personal stories of people who lived before we were a country and on up until the present.Image


Dressing for a Holiday Party

Okay, you are invited to the Office Party or a Neighborhood Party or to a friend’s house for a holiday dinner. All three invites have encouraged you to wear dressy-casual, or is it casually dressed.  With so many people having individual interpretations of this, just what do you wear? If you live in the city such as NYC or Chicago or somewhere in between, it is a pretty good guess that means clothes accented by sparkly jewelry, designer scarves, perfume, nails polished,  hair done at the professionals, and probably high heels of various heights.

 ImageWhat about if you live in the woods, the farm or somewhere in between those places? What does one wear then to a party or dinner gathering during the holidays, regardless of which one you honor? What does casual mean then? Would it be sweat suits with spangles on them declaring that they are dressy for the holidays? Dark running shoes rather than the white ones? Jeans, if you can still fit into them after the first few parties?

 It seems I just don’t know anymore and it was once a self-assured answer on the tip of my tongue if anyone asked me. Then again, after a few glasses of wine, does anyone really care?

general, Poetry

words, words, words (after thoughts of my 2006 blog posting)


I find myself calling on a word

that I love to say as it rolls around my tongue,

tingles in my ear and bursts out into the universe

on paper it turns the page into a bit of happiness

that I share with others that they may enjoy it, too

but I wonder

do other ears tire of hearing

the same old, same old words expected from me

when I open my mouth to speak, to astonish another

with a new idea but using the same old, same old words

as excited as I am that I cannot call upon a word unused

often by me

so many words that I love to say;

delighted, sensuous, passionate, positive, synchronicity,

words of a musical bent that sing in my head in the kitchen,

fettucine, proscuitto, zuppa inglese, freschi, funghi, castagne,

words that sound more promising on the Italian menu than

at the diner

foreign words slipped into our language

may need practice but once you learn them, say them often

and they become fun to form in your mouth even for one

who prefers to write than to talk, to listen to the rhythm

in the voice of someone else, to hear if they are using their

same old, same old words

© Arlene S. Bice, 2012


The Girls

Image(re-posted from 2007)

The term “The Girls” as I refer to them, came easily after birthing four sons, having two brothers, raised in a neighborhood full of boys and marrying three guys. One at a time, that is, with a little leeway in between.

So when these two adorable rescued kittens were first placed in front of me like gift boxes to choose from, I took both. Sisters, even with different fathers, shouldn’t be separated. Plus I travel often so they are company for each other when I’m gone. They don’t appreciate that I planned such consideration for them. They sense my plans days before I even take my travel bag out of the closet. Their upturned faces show me the saddest of eyes tugging at my inner softness. It makes me not want to go anywhere and I have always loved to go, anywhere.

That’s also when they begin adhering to my ankles, in front of, rubbing the sides of and tangling in between. Sometimes I’m nearly tripping just trying to stand up. It seems as though invisible glue keeps them in place. I step, they step, I sit, they sit, I breathe, they breathe.

They are Lady Jane and Mz Lizzie. The Bennet sisters from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” Jane was upgraded to a titled ‘Lady’ because she is; just like Jane in the story. Her personality and being born minutes earlier gives her the older sister air. She’s also shy and reserved, but can romp (like a rabbit) beside Lizzie when encouraged. She’s a Manx. Black and white, no tail.

Lizzie follows Elizabeth’s personality. She’s daring, impish, funny and cuddly. I can sometimes see an idea forming by a light popping up in her eyes. She’s full of life and energy. She can talk the ears off an elephant. She’s a calico born with a bent two-inch tail.

They are blessings in my life.