“What’s for Homework tonight? Nothing.”

I saw a news report on a number of schools doing away with homework.   Kids were interviewed.   They said they were too exhausted, had no time to play outside.”

Give me a break……do you really believe those kids are yearning to go climb a tree out back…..most likely, they will be “zombied” in front of a computer, or TV screen.

Have you seen any spelling or science competitions lately?……It seems our culture is dumbing down and not holding on to the value of working and studying.   Sad, without homework, I feel the downward spiral will progress at an even faster rate.

At least assign a book every two weeks.   If the child cannot give a report, not a cliff note synopsis of the book, then assign homework as a study tool, not a reprimand.

Some school curriculums, my town included, are doing away with the classics.   How many of you would have picked up a Charles Dickens’ book or a Shakespeare play if teachers P1070307hadn’t assigned them?

I write fairy tales, to me it is a fairy tale believing most students will reach for Jane Eyre on the library shelf…….in fact, visit the library at all.   The library, remember the place where we used to do all our term paper research.

But kids won’t have homework to do anymore……….

Is there an emoji for sigh………pretend you are listening to me let out one now………..





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“The Way We Were” (and not the movie)

A little over a week ago, I drove through my hometown late in the evening.   I haven’t done this in quite some time.   The changes were palpable; it wasn’t the same town anymore.   It was a town where you hope the car doesn’t break down on one of the side streets in the more seedier section; it was a town where you twist over and slide the car lock to the down position.

How did this happen?   No place is safe anymore, but why are so many of our hometowns becoming that seedier part, where darkness brings crime and sadly, daylight brings crime as well.  Unlocked doors of autos and homes were not unusual; now neighborhood watch groups are on the lookout for thieves and locks and alarm systems form a forcefield of security around us.

Maybe it was harder then.   After all, our TV sets weighed a ton, our stereos filled the entire wall of the room, our phones were attached to the wall.  Now, it is easy to break in and run with some electronic device.

What happened to our country……was it drugs, was it the economic chasm that split our citizens……..

I have given my children and now my grandchildren all the wondrous things that present times provide…….But one thing I cannot give them………

A young teenage girl and her friend walking on the streets in the dark, in a town where fear did not fill every shadow………..



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“Cities Burning”

Disturbing to watch the news stories from yet another city in crisis.  Fires, violence, looting, these things are no stranger to my childhood.   I grew up in the next town over from Newark, NJ during the riots.

These current fires will extinguish, this current city will quiet down again; but believe me, the children of this city who live through this will never be quite the same.

Believe me……I know, I lived through it.  I saw army tanks roll by my block.   My dad was a cop, a good cop who treated everybody fairly.

There are good cops……….there are bad cops.

There are law abiding citizens and there are those who seek a reason to loot and damage and hurt….We must seek out reasoning instead of reasons to explain violent actions.  There is no justification to compound the wrongs of one by the wrongs of many.

How can we fight a foreign foe when we continue to fight amongst ourselves?




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“Letting Bones Lie”

Today, two totally distinct news stories had me pondering this question…….letting bones lie.   The first was a news story of a woman who collects road kill and turns them into art  (I use that word loosely here.)   Her latest creation, for sale now for four figures, is a cat handbag.  Only the poor little one’s face was not crushed by the impact, so his head is stuffed and his furry body lies flat for the purse sides.  Is this right?   Is this art?

Me, I would have buried the little soul, putting him to rest.

The next story is of an ancient Greek shipwreck found at sea bottom, with a skeleton shipmate still on board.  They have taken parts of his skull and jaw bone and still some bones lay intact, waiting to be retrieved.

Should they disturb him?   No family longer waits for news of his fate; no family plot is being prepared for his entombment.

Yes, DNA knowledge may be hidden in his bones, but should these remains be kept in the back of a museum cupboard……

This human race seems to have grown apathetic in respect for life and respect for death.  Ancient cultures paid great reverence in burial rituals, they believed these remains held the essence of life and reincarnation.  In our “advancement” in civilization, we have lost some of that reverence.

I have a home in Gettysburg.   There are remains among the fields……remains of soldiers who either were quickly buried or whose body fragments could not be laid to rest, and simply decayed into the ground like autumn leaves.   There are remains of countless horses who died here, whose remains most often were burned and then turned into the soil.

If I found a bone, I have often asked myself what I would do …….would I turn it over to the Gettysburg National Park, or would I leave it……..I found bones in Ireland, lying on the ground in Sligo Abbey…..both human and animal.   I did not disturb the human ones, I built a hidden little carin among the abbey ruins and placed the animal bone behind it.

To me, remains should be placed at rest when possible…….so the spirit may journey on in peace.


Tough questions for an early morning pondering mind………I welcome your comments here as well.

Shirl    ( My stories from Sligo Abbey may be read in my book, “The Returning Ones, a Medium’s Memoirs)Book cover The Returning Ones

Here is the link to the sea wreck


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me-and-casper-1I reported a post on Facebook this morning…….doubtful they will remove but maybe I can spare someone else the distress.
I clicked on a post that looked interesting, harmless. I thought it was part of the Italian earthquake search. It said listen and hear the voice of a father and daughter call for help in this abandoned building. It started out normal, then a huge monster or demon type image jumped out at you……
DON’T watch this one, unless you like that sort of thing.

Last year, I got duped into a similar post…….about a scenic drive through European countryside I love…until the demon jumps out on the screen.

It’s that time of year; people find it amusing to do these things, to scare people.  These same people will joke about ghosts and think breaking into an abandoned building or climbing the cemetery fence at midnight is fun.

Some like the thrill of fright……the scary movie where the demon lurks in shadows.  Most spirits lurk in shadows for fear of confrontation with us.   We have to respect their need to just be left alone.   We also need to respect the fact that there are some dark energies that are not fun and meeting one is not thrilling and can mean torment that lingers in life for years to come.

It’s been a tough enough week for me, I lost a good friend.  For the person who put this out there and thought it was fun…….remember what you put out into the universe, the universe brings back to you.

The world is a frightening enough place, where mortal monsters lurk in shadows.


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“Home to Roost” The Loss of Yet Another Friend

I lost another friend yesterday.   She left suddenly, unexpectedly, which makes the shock of her absence profound.

We were friends who had never met, but we talked all the time on Facebook.   She lived in Pennsylvania too, but it is a big state.   She lived on the other side, close to where Flight 93 crashed.   I remember she told me she was outside that morning, when a loud plane flew above her head, too close…….

She said one day she would drive out for one of my book signings; I said one day I would stop in for tea……..But the distance was not too close.

Cindy had two chickens, Miss Gumba and Miss Onyx;  she would write about their antics.   Each night was a one act play getting them into their shed to roost.  They would snuggle their mischievous heads upon her shoulder and ask for redemption and Cindy’s heart would acquiesce.

I always sent her chicken photos and cartoons.  One night, one of the chickens went missing.   She was up worrying and had all of us up worrying too.   The next morning, the wayward fowl reappeared and we all let out a sigh of relief.

I hope someone cares for them now…..they will miss her.

We shared a lot of things in common.   We both painted, she painted beautiful horses, her love since youth.  I hope her paintings are kept by those she loved.   We loved the same books, we both “singled out” Bodger from “The Incredible Journey” as our favorite.

The last thing I sent Cindy was a sign, “The Last One in is a Rotten Egg.”   I told her this would be perfect for the misbehaving duo’s coop.   She laughed.

Cindy, I hope in that place where energy remains you have finally gone home to that farm of your youth, with your horses and your beloved collie.

God doesn’t take rotten eggs home to roost, only the good ones.

I will miss you.




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“Obsessing over Pumpkins”

The Autumn season  heralds their arrival……special coffees and lattes…….They sound delicious, but it’s enough to make one’s head spin.  It seems competitors try to outdo each other with as many flavored pumpkin combinations as humanly possible.

Pumpkin is a healthy food; not so much so when you add those layers of caramel and whipped cream on top of it.headless-horseman


This time of year, I get the obsessive or “brainwashed” desire for pumpkin.  Pumpkin anything…….I saw a sign in Barnes and Noble last week that read  I love you more than anything pumpkin.   A few years back, we were terrorized by a media forewarning of a vast pumpkin shortage.   I sent my husband across half of New Jersey searching out Libby’s pumpkin cans on the shelf.   He drove around after work like the Headless Horseman in search of that orange orb.  He got about twenty.   I think I still have a few collecting dust in the dark regions of my pantry shelf and don’t think my husband doesn’t point them out every Autumn…..

There was no shortage, the week after, the shells were stocked with pumpkin cans and the world did not end in a no pumpkin apocalypse.

Our whole country becomes Linus waiting in the pumpkin patch……longing for anything pumpkin.   Pumpkin candles, pumpkin soaps, no kidding, I actually purchased a lavender pumpkin soap this month.  It is quite lovely.

Maybe a delicious pumpkin pie would go nicely with that cup of Pumpkin Spice Caramel Mocha Latte today  ……..:-)  It’s pumpkin, it’s healthy………right?





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