Enough Is Enough

Really?  My car has apparently now become a bee’s nest.

FYI – it isn’t the greatest photo because I was freaking out a little and wanted to make sure that these two (and the others flying around them) were definitely on the outside. Note Angry Bee #1 in lower left corner and Angry Bee #2 in upper right corner.  It is not on the tree in the background.  It is viciously attacking my driver-side window.  Ok I’m being a baby.

So is my car doubling as a bee apartment complex now?  I don’t think so.

It’s EVICTION time.



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Here We Go Again

bee on windshield

What is going on with my windshield?

Have I turned into an insect Über driver?


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What’s Up With Profile Pics?

Even on WordPress/Gravatar I worry about my profile pic.  I started out as a duck. That’s not exactly true.  I have always been a human.  But I started out with a profile pic of a duck, thinking that my blog will be anonymous.  The anonymity lasted about a week, but the duck stayed longer.

Here was, and still is, my dilemma.  Have people associated me with a duck?  If I post and change my photo will readers still know who I am or will they drop me like a hotduck?  I mean a hotcake?

At some point, I decided to be a human on my blog.  I couldn’t quite bring myself to be really me, so I used a cool filter that I’ve already forgotten where I found,  so you see a version of me with what at the time was a new haircut/style.

It’s only a couple of years old, but already doesn’t look like me.  Even without the filter.

What do you do?  I see a lot of people with old photos, or cartoon photos, or flowers. How and why did you pick those?  Do you feel it’s too arrogant to post a pic of yourself as your profile photo?  Do you not like how you look?

Let’s face it.  No one says “Wow here’s an idea.  I’ll find my worst picture ever and make that my profile pic.”  Which, now that I think of it, would be kind of fun.  But only if someone else did it.  I’m way too insecure for that.

How often do you change your photo?  And why?  These aren’t rhetorical questions, I really want to know.

On social media, it’s completely different for me.  I change my profile and cover photos on Facebook all the time.  Sometimes they are me, sometimes they are of a place I’ve visited, sometimes they are a saying.  Like GO ARMY BEAT NAVY.

On Google at work, I made my profile pic a crazy photo of me at my baptism.

My cousin calls this Baby Count Dracula.

I think this is hysterical and wonder why my parents ever chose the one where I’m thinking WHAAAAAAA?  But for my non-English speaking students, it’s easy to find my page.  If they spell Knowles wrong (the kn combination tends to throw non-English speakers for a loop), they can still find me.  A unique baby picture is not the one most teachers choose as their profile pic on Google.

Sidenote: One thing I hate about getting older is driver license photos.  The photo I thought was horrid eight years ago looks great to me now.

To change or not change one’s profile pic…..that is the question.


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The World Is Divided Into Two

Sometimes, when I’m driving my husband crazy, I think the world is divided into two halves.  Those who have ADHD and those who live with those wild, crazy and fun-loving people who don’t.  You can tell which half I belong to.

It can be so frustrating to be on either side of this equation.  It feels liberating to me to leave for work and get in my car and go wherever I’m intending to go and actually have everything I need with me.  I don’t even mind going back inside once for my keys.  I’ll roll my eyes when going back again for my phone.  I’m furious at myself when I have to make my third trip back for my travel mug of coffee. Then I’m disgusted with myself when I’m at work and realize my lunch bag is on the kitchen table at home.

So imagine how my husband feels?  Actually, I can’t.  It was probably cute on our first couple of dates.  And an eccentricity which wasn’t a big deal until we lived together.  I bet he can count on one hand the number of times he has had to go back into the house because he has forgotten something.  His ability to get everything together in one shot is rather annoying, actually.

By the way, I’m just referring to walking to the car, getting in it, turning it on (if I haven’t left the keys inside) and then realizing something that I need, like my phone/bag/lunch bag/coffee/work papers/gloves/brain are still inside.

On my commute, I have a traffic light that I use as my last opportunity to turn around and return to the house to get something I left.  Literally the point of no return.

My husband frequently tells me to make a list.  Like I would remember to:

  1. Make the list
  2. Read the list
  3. Remember the list

Right now I am visualizing the ADD/ADHD readers nodding their heads and saying Yesssss!  And the family members of the ADD/ADHD wonderful people, sighing and thinking how even reading this is putting them in a bad mood.

Oh I’m assuming that everyone knows that ADD is attention deficit disorder and ADHD is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  I think I’m in the first category.  I can sit still for 45 minutes to an hour.  While mentally going through everything I’ve forgotten.

I’m getting a little better.  Forget my iPhone, though.  I rarely remember to put anything in the calendar on the phone. Unless it’s something that repeats daily.  Like my noon prayer. But even with the home calendar, it’s a challenge to remember walking from one room to the next what I want to jot down on the kitchen calendar.

I never did remember what I was supposed to do a couple of weeks ago on the 11th.  But I haven’t received any phone calls so I guess I’m in the clear.

One of my colleagues is now raising his hand “My turn, my turn.”  He will recount that every single period that we teach together, almost every single day, before I leave the room he says :

ColleagueDo you have your keys? Do you have your bag? Do you have your coffee? Do you have your phone?


To all family members, friends and colleagues of ADD/ADHD people, thank you for your patience.  Or for however much patience you are able to summon.

We don’t do it on purpose.


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A Twist On My Car Adventures

This is a good news/bad news post.


Good News:  My car hasn’t been hit in at least two weeks.


grasshopper on windshield


Bad News:  Now it’s being eaten.


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3 Year Anniversary

No deep thoughts or reflections here.  I just want to thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and WordPress for giving me the platform in which to write my blog.

I love writing, I love reading, and I’m profoundly grateful to all of you.

I still hate the Oxford comma, but I’m trying to get used to it.

Here’s to another 3 years.

Thank you again, Barb


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Saneteachers Got Talent feat. Swahoogie

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to sit with Thomas “Zeke” Krouskoff,  the founder and songwriter of the rock band Swahoogie.  Swahoogie is a local band in the New York City area and performs live as well as in the studio.

Thomas “Zeke” Swahoogie

Saneteachers:  I’m assuming that you were born with a guitar in your hand.  In case that’s an exaggeration,  did you start out as a garage-type musician?

Zeke:  Ha! The main goal for every band I’ve been in since I was 14 has been to play live music before an audience.  We have never stayed in the garage too much.  If anything, we may be under-rehearsed.

Saneteachers:  When did you start composing songs and what groups influenced your songwriting the most?

Zeke:  I started writing songs consistently when I was 14 or 15.  I was heavily influenced by The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen.  Classic bands that I still like today.

Saneteachers: Are there any newer bands that you are currently listening to?

Zeke:  I’m a big fan of Blitzen Trapper.  I even flew from NY to LA for one night just to see them at the Troubadour in Hollywood.

Saneteachers:  As I writer myself, I’m always interested in not only what someone writes but what drives them to write.  What started you on your journey down the songwriting road?

Zeke:  I have always approached songwriting as a vehicle for expressing who I am and where I am at a particular moment in my life.  My songs are not necessarily autobiographical, but they reflect people I know and experiences I have had.  

Here’s an example… One of my songs, Last Chance Guadalajara, is about dealing with addiction and alcoholism and references  “living in the southwest in a haze of cactus.” However, I have never been to Guadalajara or lived in the Southwest.

Songwriting has always helped me make a connection to the world and make sense of what is happening around me.  I feel a good song should tell a story or paint a picture for the listener.

Saneteachers:  What is it like to write a song, and I’m sure you do lots of editing….actually, do you?  I shouldn’t assume that.

Zeke:  I am a big believer in editing and rewriting. Very rarely does a song come together in one shot for me.  I might have most of a song and then spend a long time revising the rest. Sometimes it’s one phrase that doesn’t feel right. When I get lazy with editing, those parts always bother me when I hear the song in the future. Recently I have gotten into the habit of writing half songs and mixing together phrases from several different unfinished songs.

One of the best feelings as a songwriter is having a song come to life.  I love to hear people singing along to a full band version of a song I originally wrote alone with an acoustic guitar in the middle of the night.

Saneteachers:  The music business has been heavily impacted by social media and music sites.  What has worked well for you?  Can you share some of your links with your old and new fans here?

Zeke:  Its great to be able to get my songs heard around the world. I find it interesting to see that some people in Denmark listen to Swahoogie. Our music is available on iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud. It’s fun to play a show and then be able to post a YouTube clip that night for people who couldn’t get to the gig. That’s a big difference from when we played in the 90s.

Saneteachers:  Here is a personal favorite of mine…..



Zeke:  I have been blessed to make incredible friends because of the music.  I’m playing with friends I’ve known since I was in my teens and early twenties, as well as friends I’ve made in the past few years.  The best part of Swahoogie is that it brings people together.  Each performance feels like a celebration of life.  Each show feels like it is the continuation of a lifelong passion. 

Follow Swahoogie on Facebook , iTunesSpotify,  SoundCloudYouTube

You can see Swahoogie live, this Saturday, August 12th at Dudley’s in New Rochelle, NY.

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And Then…..This Happened

“I’m so happy that something else happened to my car while I wasn’t in it” said no person ever.

If you have been following my accidents-that-happen-when-I’m-not-the-car saga, I think the count was three in a month, and then one 30 years ago.

Until two weeks ago.

On July 18th, my husband went to work and upon his arrival home we were going to leave on a two week vacation that involved driving to the airport in New York City and then flying to see his parents and go on a cruise and do the whole thing in reverse.

My car had just been back from being fixed for a few days.  I told my husband a few times that the grill looked different.  I knew it was new, and therefore shinier, but it still looked different.

In and out of the house we went packing the car for our 2 week adventure.  In and out, in and out and then I looked directly at the front grill and saw……

Invisible license plate


No wonder it looked different, knucklehead Barb.  THE LICENSE PLATE IS MISSING.  For a moment I thought it was taunting me with its beady little eyes.  Don’t you be gettin’ in my grill.

Then I calmly ran into the house screaming OMG THE LICENSE PLATE IS MISSING.  And my husband covered his face with his hands.

I apologized profusely.  I should have noticed I should have noticed I’m sorry I’m sorry and I realized I wasn’t helping the situation.  And, as he replied, he didn’t notice either.

We unpacked the car and repacked it all in the smaller car.  And checked that both license plates were on that one.

After our vacation, it only took one trip to DMV and two trips to Home Depot to get the stuff to put the new one on.  If it hasn’t occurred to anyone else I’m pretty sure the car repair place didn’t put it back on the new grill.  Nor did they put the thingy on the back of the grill in which to screw the bolts.

But I’m married to #awesomehusband so he did everything and I wisely stayed out of his way.

When all was finished I walked out to look at the new plates.  Oddly, the letters of the plates are my high school and college nickname.

Adage: Out of trials, serendipity arrives.  Yes I made that up.



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“I Learned How to Write From My Heart”

This is a wonderful feature on Discover from my favorite blogger.


“I often say that blogging is like talking to yourself, and then realizing someone heard you,” writes Paul at The Captain’s Speech. In his reflection on four years of blogging, he explains how this outlet has introduced him to a larger community of writers and readers, showed him how powerful our words truly are, and taught him how to write from the heart.

Early on in this blog’s life, I was always so worried about every sentence, and every word, and every comma, and every semi-colon, and every little detail. It ate away at me as I put words on the screen. I would write three sentences and delete two and a half of them.

I felt like it had to be perfect, or someone would criticize me.

After a few months of being a “sports blog,” I reached a turning point.

It was the first September in…

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A Nostalgic Mess

The credit for this post goes to Ann Coleman at muddlingthroughmymiddleage.com.  I’m not exactly stealing the idea, but as soon as I read Ann’s post about Moving On, it struck such a chord with me that I knew I had to tell my somewhat similar story.

My husband thinks that I’m a nostalgic mess.  After feeling affronted, I realize that he is right.

We bought our  my dream house in 1999-2000.  Sometime around then.  Don’t get me wrong, he really liked the house, too, but I loved it.  Loved it, loved it, loved it.

It is on the side of a mountain, no neighbors in sight during the summer, no noise except the howling of coyotes at night.  We have seen mother deer nursing their fawns, have had minx in the backyard and one time a black bear stroll down the driveway.

This house is a large colonial which was good since together we have four children, and at various times my two daughters moved in with their infants and lived with us until they were back on their feet.

We also had two dogs and with four acres, they could run around without leashes and stayed put.  I always said that the top part our “yard,” which was a long, steep slope to a large mowed area, provided a great view for the dogs that was like watching a large screen HD TV.

Then a family tragedy struck and we had to sell the house and move.  One does what is necessary in situations like this, and we had to sell.  There was no question nor other option.  Family comes first.

But I was devastated.  We sold the house in 2010?  Around then.  Periodically, we drive by and it looked sort of the same, except the yard work, fence work, rock walls and garden that we (mostly my husband) built and took such pride in, started to fall by the wayside and weren’t tended the way we wanted.  Oh well.

Then, a couple of years ago, it started to look deserted.  No curtains on the windows, no toys are cars in the driveway.  I checked around and everyone who knew the new owners said they lived there.

Well a couple of weeks ago, we saw that the yard looked extra-unkempt and the house was obviously empty.  I went up and looked in the windows.  There was a sign in a window from 2 years ago that the water was shut off to winterize the house.  Turns out the house is in foreclosure.

My first reaction was YAY!!!!  We can buy it back!!!!

My husband’s reaction was  ARE YOU INSANE?

Nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia.

All of our kids are adults, retirement is in the not-so-distant future and we are down-sizing from our already down-sized condo.

And I want to buy again our four bedroom huge colonial on four acres in the woods. Yes, yes I do.

I know it’s a pipe dream, but it is much cheaper now that it is in foreclosure.  But more expensive than a pension and Social Security can justify.  There is no way that we can turn back the clock and move back to this home.  My dream home where we spent nine nostalically perfect years.

Shhhhhh…….don’t tell my husband, but I check the listing every day and drive by the house every week.

I’m a semi-realistic nostalgic mess.


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