#SundayUpdate – #ImprovingHealth – #HereComesChristmas!

The holidays are upon us, and I hope you are looking forward to them as much as I am. And I’m doing better every day, so I am definitely feeling the Spirit of Christmas!

Yep, I’m still improving, health-wise, though my second visit with my new cardiologist was an interesting one, to say the least. On the plus side, the Beta Blocker he put me on is working beautifully, so far. We’ll be monitoring that going forward.

On the questionable side, apparently, there was imaging done of my heart four years ago that showed this damage beginning to develop, and I was never told! I’m guessing my doctor at the time decided it was minor enough that he’d just keep an eye on it, but I sure wish he’d let me know about it.

What this means: the damage noted in 2018, untreated, could have continued worsening all on its own. Or, if I did have Long Covid for six months, that could have sped up the process drastically. Since there’s no way to diagnose LC, there’s just no way to prove what actually happened to bring me to this point. However, I can’t help but wonder if we might have been able to slow things down a bit, had we taken action four years earlier.

But … spilt milk, and all that! There’s no use what-iffing, since the damage is now done, whether Long Covid played a role, or not. Happily, the medication I’m taking has made an enormous difference! The dizzy spells, numbness in my right leg, and extreme fatigue have all disappeared.  I haven’t even had to use my cane in two months!

My energy level is still pretty low, so I am planning to take it pretty easy for the month of December, and you’ll likely see less of me. I do have some posts scheduled in advance, just to keep the blog active and give you guys a few smiles, but I won’t be resuming all of my normal features until next year, when I’ll reassess. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back to things as usual pretty quickly by then. If so, I’ll be putting out a reminder for guest posts again, and hope to hear from many of you so we can get the new year off to a great start on TWS.

And on a cheerier note, for those who may not know, I’m totally OCD about Christmas and, even though I’m moving slower than usual these days, I still got enough decorations up to make me smile all month. I did have to draw a line before I’d emptied every box from the attic, but that’s okay this time. So what if the House of 1,000 Santas only has 600 or 700 hundred on display this year? Who’s counting, right? (Besides me?) I did what I could without pushing myself too hard, and it definitely feels like Christmas in here! With that thought in mind, I’m going to go relax in the Comfy Chair with my cuppa Earl Grey, and enjoy the fruits of my labor!


#ThorsDaySmile – #WinterWonderland

Thor really enjoys colder weather … it’s warm wearing all that heavy armor while covered in a humongous wool cape, you know. Since it’s the first day of December, he asked me to find some wintery memes. I took pity on him and did. Enjoy!

And one more, just to be sure you get my drift. (Get it? My DRIFT???? Oh, Lordy! Sometimes I even embarrass myself!

And there you have today’s offering.
If it was a bit too cold for you, don’t blame me.

It was all THOR’S idea!!

#ClassicPoetry – #T.S.Eliot – #TheNamingOfCats

Time for another “classic” poem, though this one was written much more recently than some I’ve shared. Still, it has a certain sound and rhythm to it that I think harkens back to another era and makes it worth sharing. Besides, I suspect that anyone who’s a cat lover will enjoy it as much as I do!

The Naming of Cats

by T. S. Eliot

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
     It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
     Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo, or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey—
     All of them sensible everyday names.

There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
     Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter—
     But all of them sensible everyday names,

But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
     A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
     Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?

Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
     Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum—
     Names that never belong to more than one cat.

But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
     And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover—
     But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
     The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
     Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
          His ineffable effable

Deep and inscrutable singular name.

T. S. Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis on September 26, 1888, and lived there during the first eighteen years of his life. He attended Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in three years and contributed several poems to the Harvard Advocate. From 1910–11, he studied at the Sorbonne, then returned to Harvard to pursue a doctorate in philosophy. After graduating, he moved back to Europe and settled in England in 1914. The following year, he married Vivienne Haigh-Wood and began working in London, first as a teacher, and later for Lloyd’s Bank.

It was in London that Eliot came under the influence of his contemporary Ezra Pound, who recognized his poetic genius at once, and assisted in the publication of his work in a number of magazines, most notably “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” which appeared in Poetry magazine in 1915. Eliot’s first book of poems, Prufrock and Other Observations, was published in London in 1917 by The Egoist, and immediately established him as a leading poet of the avant-garde. With the publication of The Waste Land (Boni & Liveright) in 1922, now considered by many to be the single most influential poetic work of the twentieth century, Eliot’s reputation began to grow to nearly mythic proportions. By 1930, and for the next thirty years, he was the most dominant figure in poetry and literary criticism in the English-speaking world.

As a poet, Eliot transmuted his affinity for the English metaphysical poets of the seventeenth century (notably, John Donne) and the nineteenth-century French Symbolist poets (including Charles Baudelaire and Jules Laforgue) into radical innovations in poetic technique and subject matter. His poems, in many respects, articulated the disillusionment of a younger post-World War I generation with the values and conventions—both literary and social—of the Victorian era. As a critic, he had an enormous impact on contemporary literary taste, propounding views that, after his conversion to orthodox Christianity in the late 1930s, were increasingly based in social and religious conservatism. His major later poetry publications include Four Quartets (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1943) and Ash Wednesday (Faber & Faber, 1930). His books of literary and social criticism include Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1949); After Strange Gods (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1934); The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism (President and Fellows of Harvard College, 1933); and The Sacred Wood (Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1920). Eliot was also an important playwright, whose verse dramas include the comedy The Cocktail Party (Faber & Faber, 1950); The Family Reunion (Faber & Faber, 1939), a drama written partly in blank verse and influenced by Greek tragedy; and Murder in the Cathedral (Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1935).

Eliot became a British citizen in 1927. In 1948, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Long associated with the publishing house of Faber & Faber, he published many younger poets, and eventually became director of the firm. After a notoriously unhappy first marriage, Eliot separated from his first wife in 1933 and married Valerie Fletcher in 1956.

T. S. Eliot died in London on January 4, 1965.

And there you have today’s offering.
Hope you enjoyed it!

#ClassicPoetry – #HenryWadsworthLongfellow – #TheChildren’sHour

Thought I’d stop by long enough to share another of my favorite poems from days LONG gone by. With family holidays coming up soon, it seemed appropriate, and I hope you can imagine these images and feel this love as deeply as I always have. Enjoy!

The Children’s Hour

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – 1807-1882

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was an American poet and educator. His original works include Paul Revere’s Ride, The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. He was the first American to completely translate Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy and was one of the Fireside Poets from New England.

Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, which was then still part of Massachusetts. He graduated from Bowdoin College and became a professor there and, later, at Harvard College after studying in Europe. His first major poetry collections were Voices of the Night (1839) and Ballads and Other Poems (1841). He retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing, and he lived the remainder of his life in the Revolutionary War headquarters of George Washington in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Longfellow died in 1882.

Longfellow wrote many lyric poems known for their musicality and often presenting stories of mythology and legend. He became the most popular American poet of his day and had success overseas.

And there you have another beloved poem from the Days of Yore!
Hope you enjoyed it!

#ThorsDaySmile – #AmLaughing – #Humor – #Thanksgiving

Thor decided that any holiday that falls on ThorsDay every single year is one he fully supports. So, as a lead in to Thanksgiving next week, here are some things that made him chuckle. (In his manly, Vikingly way, of course). Hope they make you chuckle, too, in any fashion you wish. 😁 Enjoy!

And that’s it for Thor’s latest silliness!

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate this upcoming “feast-ival,”
and a happy weekend ahead to EVERYONE!

#GuestDayTuesday – #JackieLambert – #IsAPictureWorth1000Words?

This is going to be the last guest post for this year, but trust me, it’s a great one with which to wrap up our #GuestDayTuesdays for 2022! It’s time for another of Jackie Lambert’s awesome Writer’s Travelogue posts, today featuring the importance of adding more than just photography to your travel journals. (Told ya it was gonna be great!) 😀

I know you’re gonna enjoy Jackie’s suggestions, so I’m going to turn the floor over to her right now. Jackie, you’re on!

Thanks, Marcia, and Hi, Everyone!

Is A Picture Worth 1000 Words?

Human beings are very visual creatures.

We have one of the largest brains in nature, and science tells us that half of it is devoted to visual processing. No wonder we love a picture! It’s why visual media is so successful – it stops us in our tracks.

Yet remember how the aroma of disinfectant takes you straight back to school. Or the scent of a particular perfume reminds you of a favourite aunt. In evolutionary terms, smell is one of the oldest senses, lodged in one of the most primitive parts of the brain. Even the simplest, single-celled organisms are able to detect chemicals, which is basically what our senses of smell and taste are all about.

Any creative writing course worth its salt will instruct you to write with all five senses, and here I’m going to look at why.

In my last post, I mentioned my trip of a lifetime to Zimbabwe in 1994.

A photo of me at Victoria Falls can’t tell you why locals call it Mosi-oa-Tunya – The Smoke That Thunders – but I can describe to you the deafening roar of 550-million litres of water dropping 300 feet a minute; how the sound shook me to the core of my being, and how cool droplets of spray misted my skin beneath the blistering African sun. Nearly thirty years later, those words in my journal help me recall the sensation in a way that the photo never could.

The real joy of my notes is that they have kept a record of something much more profound than a pretty view, or a group partying in a foreign bar, drinking brightly coloured cocktails filled with umbrellas and foliage.

My journals remind me what I was feeling; the raw fear of being held underwater by one of the most gigantic rapids on the Zambezi River with the guide’s words “You DO NOT want to fall in here…” reverberating around my head; the steam train taste and smell of a cloud that I parachuted through; the unbridled pleasure of swimming with playful sea lions every day in the Galapagos Islands; the desolation of dragging myself away from these wonderful adventures to return to the daily grind of earning a living…

My travel diaries also help me remember conversations, such as the chat with a refugee from life, who I met near her home in paradise, deep in the Costa Rican jungle,

“The crocs ate my ducks and a boa constrictor swallowed my cat. One night, I found a Fer de Lance pit viper in my bed!”

Paradise indeed.

My scribblings transport me to the musical soundtrack of the time; a quote that struck a chord; or recommendations from fellow travellers for a whole new adventure. My husband, Mark, and I planned our honeymoon in Costa Rica around such recommendations. Our second holiday together, whitewater rafting in Colorado, came about because of tips given to us by a Costa Rican rafting guide.   

As authors, we work with language. Our job is to express mood and meaning; to articulate atmosphere and emotion; to distil out the essence, interpret, then verbalise it.

What kind of image does this conjure up?

We went for a walk. It was beautiful! Later, we had dinner overlooking the beach. The sunset was gorgeous – we absolutely love it here!!!!

Did you say “Nothing much”?!

That’s why we need to get creative with our descriptions. Why was the walk beautiful and the sunset gorgeous? Multiple exclamation marks can’t express that, but five senses can;

  • What did you see? – strange colours, views, birds, other people, mountains, waterfalls, reflections, herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plains, something else?
  • What did you hear? – a favourite song, birds, the wind, a brass band, an inane comment, water, a fairground, aeroplanes, silence, something else?
  • What did you touch / feel? – sun on your skin, ice-cold water, dragon scales, a warm puppy. Did you run my fingers through a field of barley, a child’s hair, something else?
  • What did you smell? – fresh grass, pine trees, a fish market, boiled sweets, farmyards, flowers, the sewage works, your auntie’s perfume, the disinfectant that took you straight back to school, something else?
  • What did you taste? – ice cream, a lovely coffee, the worst beer in the world, foie gras, adventure…

I hope it’s obvious that adding this kind of colour to your descriptions will make them much more interesting and evocative.

Have a go at describing your next sunset, meal in a restaurant, or anything else using as many of the senses as you can and see what happens.

To inspire you, I have included photographs of three ‘beautiful’ sunsets from our travels in Albania. They are all one hundred percent natural – I don’t use filters – and all very different. How would you describe them?

My experiences on the Zambezi and in the Galapagos are immortalised in Alyson Sheldrake’s travel anthologies Itchy Feet and Wish You Were Here. If you would like to check and make sure  I wrote using all five senses, both books are available on Amazon!

Three Travel Stories books are also available as part of a Box Set, with 17 (yes SEVENTEEN!) bonus chapters, featuring NYT bestselling and award-winning travel writers. My bonus chapter is A Honeymoon Horror Story about my exploits in Costa Rica with serpents, white water, and cockroaches the size of Tonka trucks.

Author Jackie Lambert

Fans of Jacqueline (Jackie) Lambert’s doggie/travel blog, www.WorldWideWalkies.com said, “You should write a book!” So, she did. In fact, she’s written five…

If you’ve ever considered giving up work to head off into the sunset with surfboards on the roof–or you just like dogs, travel and humour, her Adventure Caravanning With Dogs books are for you.

The first, Fur Babies in France, was described by one reviewer as, “Laugh out funny and a great travel guide”. It tells how she and husband Mark gave up work, accidentally bought their first ever caravan, then decided to rent out the house, sell most of their possessions, and tour Europe full-time with four dogs in tow.

Dog on the Rhine; “An inspirational travelogue” follows this intrepid couple as they get more adventurous, and head into Germany, The Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy. But just to prove that Living the Dream is not all sunshine and rainbows, they return home to a huge Fidose of reality…

Dogs ‘n’ Dracula; “Armchair travel delight” gives the full low down on how Jackie and Mark set off for Spain and Portugal, but decided to turn left…

Pups on Piste is a “Fun and interesting book” about the trials and tribulations of their first ski season in Italy, during which a ski instructor tells them, “Don’t miss the turn, or you’ll go over a cliff.”

In her latest memoir, It Never Rains But It Paws, released on 6th May 2022, Jackie and Mark race against time to leave the UK before Britain leaves the EU. Brexit could mean their four precious pups would be unable to travel. Then, a few months into their trip, the pandemic leaves them trapped in the epicentre of Europe’s No. 1 coronavirus hotspot…

She is currently working on her sixth book, To Hel In A Hound Cart – A Road Trip Through Poland In A Pandemic, which will be published later in 2022.

In her first year as a published author, Jacqueline was delighted to receive multiple five-star reviews, a letter from Prince Charles, an invitation to Bucharest to collect an award for Dogs ‘n’ Dracula, and Amazon No. 1 Bestseller status in the German Travel category for Dog on the Rhine. Some of her travel tales BC (Before Canines) have been featured in travel anthologies, alongside other bestselling and award-winning authors.

You can check out all of Jackie’s books on her Amazon Author Page HERE.

Or grab them one at a time here:

Year 1 – Fur Babies in France
Dog on the Rhine
Dogs n Dracula
It Never Rains but It Paws

And you can reach Jackie on social media here:

Blog: WorldWideWalkies.com
Email: jackielambert07@gmail.com



Just taking a moment to let you know that we came through Nicole in pretty good shape. Yes, a THIRD tree (from a neighbor’s yard) DID fall on our property, but this time, it was a small one, and it hit one of our storage sheds instead of the house. (Mark can repair the tin roof. )The storm also blew down the fence again between our house and our next-door neighbor, but it had only been put back temporarily after the last time. It is old and in need of replacement, which will probably happen soon. But today, Mark is out there helping prop it up again in the hopes it will remain vertical until that happens. 

For those who may not have seen the images, while Nicole hit as a Category 1 hurricane and dropped to a tropical storm as soon as it came onshore, there are areas that were severely damaged. Not as widespread or horrific as Ian, but if one of these was your retirement home on Daytona Beach, you’d be pretty unhappy right now.

Having grown up in Florida, one thing I’ve never even considered doing is building a home on a sand dune, though I do feel sad for these folks.  The damage continues much, much farther than what shows in this picture. It was caused by the storm surge breaking down the seawall, then washing away the sand under the homes.  As you can see, these have collapsed, entire patios have been swept away, and empty swimming pools lay tossed all over the place. Truly a terrible sight. 

Our neighborhood has once again held up well. No flooding, though of course, there is some wind damage up and down the block. But nothing that can’t be set right. Speaking of which, it’s back to debris clean-up for me. This will probably take us several more days. I’m doing the easy bits, and doing them at a far slower pace than I’d normally tackle, so my new doctor won’t yell at me when I see him next Thursday.  (So much for getting any writing done this week. 🙄)

Until Next Time, Stay Safe, Everyone!