Thursday, November 26, 2020

 Useful Knowledge

By Gertrude Stein

There ain’t no answer…
There never was an answer
There will never be an answer
That’s the answer

You are always the same age inside

One does not get better
But different and older
And that is always a pleasure

One must dare to be happy

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

 On this Thanksgiving Eve, I do give thanks.

I do feel grateful for oh so much.

But I can also feel angry.

It IS possible to have conflicting feelings.

It's a normal human reaction to so many things we're all living through right now.

In the past two days I've learned about an employee in a local restaurant who has died from COVID. Her place of employment was madly anti-mask.

I've learned about a relative of a friend who, at the age of 92, is hospitalized and alone with COVID. This after being diagnosed twice with, not COVID, but pneumonia, and then with COVID.
I've learned of a local merchant who is hospitalized and in his seventh week of COVID. We pray he'll make it.

Donald and I have just come back from a ride into town.

We picked up pizza (takeout).
We picked up groceries (curbside).

We picked up the mail from our post office box (after hours because the employees there - as sweet as they all are - refuse to wear masks).

We stopped by the ABC store where there's a sign on the door which says "No Mask, No Service." Pffffft. Sad then that there are so many people shopping for their holiday cheer who can't read.

We drove by one of the fitness centers, parking lot full, to see a woman huffing away on the treadmill with no mask.

Drove by one of the nail salons to see some people masked, some not.
I'm gonna tell you - I am SICK AND TIRED of people saying to me and to Donald "It's easier for you guys."


Why is it any easier for US to wear a mask than it is for anyone else?

Oh - I get it.

Because we're retired and don't have to go to work every day we don't need to worry about putting on a mask.


Here's the thing.

We worked hard for a whole lotta years to reach this age of retirement.

Retirement plans did not include staying at home all day every day to keep ourselves, and others, safe during a global pandemic.

But we're doing our share.
Doing what's right.
So yeah - I AM PISSED at those who aren't.

If some more people would do their fair share it would make it a whole lot easier for ALL of us.

I'd love to be sitting in a restaurant right now with my husband having a nice meal celebrating my birthday which is tomorrow. But we don't feel comfortable doing that.

I'd love to pop into our little Boone Mall to browse around and visit with some of the folks I know who work there - or at least did back before last March. That's how long it's been since I was there. But I don't feel comfortable doing that.

I'd love to go see Ellie Miller, give her a hug, catch up with how she is and get my hair cut and colored. But I don't feel comfortable doing that.

I'd love to visit Top Nails and have a manicure and a pedicure. But I don't feel comfortable doing that.

We would have loved our annual trip to the beach this year, but stayed home because it didn't feel comfortable.

Travel is something we're both missing. A lot.

And here we are. Thanksgiving Eve, and I'm weary.

But Michael Flynn is now free as a bird.
Pardoned by the person responsible for turning masks into a political joke instead of trying to keep people safe.

I am grateful as all fuck that donald trump will soon be out of the white house and I pray REALLY hard he'll be spending a long long time in prison where he deserves to be.

Grateful. Weary. Sad. Angry.
I'm a veritable human hodge-podge of emotion just hoping for a little normal in my life.

Happy Birthday, Annabelle!

Annabelle turns 4 today

Friday, November 20, 2020

Sick to death of stupid selfish people


I'm getting pretty damned tired of doing the right thing when so many people refuse to.

If you can't (or just won't) stay home, WEAR A MASK!

It's not a political statement, it's just stupidity and pure selfishness not to.

If you're counting on God to keep you safe, try to remember God helps those who help themselves.

Also how 'bout that Love Thy Neighbor thing.  Can we have some of that?

I want life to go back to normal.  You maskless wonders are fucking it up for everybody.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Dreams do come true

Today is the day I finally got to see the new version of Carousels of Paris and hold it in my hands. 

THIS is the book I dreamed of. 

THIS is the book I wish everyone who has  already bought the book in its earlier version could have. 

 I am SO proud of this book I can't stop the tears.

Dreams do come true.  Even if, sometimes, they take a little detour.

Don't give up!

Friday, November 13, 2020

November Newsletter


Hello Everyone!

I hope you are all healthy and happy during this stressful time, and doing things to keep your spirits up.  We're sending good thoughts out to all of you.

We are excited to announce, in time for Christmas (and don’t we love giving, AND receiving, books for Christmas!) a new version of Carousels of Paris.

This version is basically the same, with a few small changes, but is printed on heavier, higher quality paper.

It’s beautiful.

It replaces the first version; at a slightly higher price, but it’s worth it.

You will still, for awhile, be able to purchase the original version published by A&K Publishers. The new version is being published by House of Annabelle, so watch for the change in publisher when you order your book for that special Christmas gift.

We may not be able to travel to Paris right now, but we can enjoy an imaginary visit with the help of Carousels of Paris.

Also, we may have added some new things to our webpage since you were last here, so please stop by, make yourself at home and browse around.

At Etcetera we’re adding photos and there’s a link to my Paris reading list which I have revised, cleaned up and update often,.

There are links to past newsletters and a short story. I’ll be adding short stories here over time.

You’re able to access my blog, Meanderings and Muses, from here where I blog about everything from books to poetry to politics to photography. From art I love to things I don’t love. Travel and things I’m doing while staying safe at home.

This is also the place to sign up for my very occasional newsletter. They’ll be very infrequent now that Carousels of Paris has been out for awhile, but it’s how I announce the random giveaways. And we never know when that might happen.

There’s also a contact page in case you want to send me a note. Always happy to hear from you!

Enjoy and thanks for dropping by! I hope everyone is staying happy and healthy.

(Annabelle says "Hey!")

To those of you who have bought the book already, Thank You! 

I hope you're enjoying it, and we appreciate, more than you know, your support.

It has been, truly, a project of love and one Donald and I will forever have fun memories of doing, and being able to do together. 

It means a lot to us to be able to share it with you.

We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Kaye and Don


Kaye Wilkinson Barley

P.O. Box 1274, Boone
NC 28607 United States

You received this email because you signed up on my website or have given me permission.



Monday, November 9, 2020

Just in time for Christmas


We love giving (AND receiving) books for Christmas.

And just in time for the holidays, there's a new version of Carousels of Paris.

This version is basically the same, with a few small changes, but is printed on heavier, higher quality paper.  


It's beautiful.

And it's available here.

It will, eventually, be replacing the first version; at a slightly higher price, but it's worth it.

We may not be able to travel to Paris right now, but we can enjoy an imaginary visit with the help of Carousels of Paris.  


Sunday, November 8, 2020

It's a new day

 I wrote this about 10:30 last night -  

 These past few days have had us all tossed out of our normal schedules, I think.  Donald and I have lived on pizza for dinner every night until tonight when it was finally all gone.  Dinner time was whenever we got hungry, usually more than just once.  Breakfast was strange in that it might happen at 8 or 9 or 11 because we stayed up most of the night watching election returns.  And breakfast was apple pie (with ice cream).  Until this morning when the pie was all gone.  So today I had to cook.  Cheeseburgers.  Again, eating  in front of the TV watching returns, watching Biden & Harris being declared the winning ticket, dancing in the street, crying, and drinking champagne.  I have spent more time in front of the TV these past few days (What day IS this?!) than I have these past four years. Time for a return to normal.  For our country, and for me.  So I have turned off the upstairs TV, shooed Donald and Annabelle  downstairs, and I'm going to curl up in our bed with a dozen fluffy pillows and, thanks to NetGalley, Michael Koryta's newest book, "Never Far Away ." With champagne ( until it too is all gone). It will be a moderate to slow transition back to normal here in Meat Camp as long as there's champagne.  G'nite all.  Life is about to become good again.

And now, several hours later, after a good night's sleep, I believe even more strongly that life is, indeed, about to become good again.

Trump and his corrupt band of flunkies can whine all they want.

They can file one meaningless lawsuit after another.

It doesn't matter.

They are all insignificant at this point and democracy will prevail.

And good people will continue dancing in the streets.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Here's to Our President-Elect, Joe Biden





Friday, October 30, 2020

Lesa Has a Give-Away!


I am a very lucky woman to be blessed with some of the best friends on God's green earth.  

Lesa Holstine is one of those that goes beyond good friend to sister of my heart.  

One (one of many) of the reasons everyone loves her is her generosity.  She is generous to so many with her support, kind words, and kind acts, and is loyal from the top of her adorable head right down to her toes. 

This little give-away she's doing at her blog came as a complete surprise.  Check it out!

This book is from our hearts.  

I hope whoever wins Lesa's give-away enjoys it.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Politics - So much more than a word

From the Oxford English Dictionary


Pronunciation /ˈpɒlɪtɪks/ 


  • 1treated as singular or plural The activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.

    1. The activities of governments concerning the political relations between states.
    2. A particular set of political beliefs or principles.
    3. often the politics of the principles relating to or inherent in a sphere or activity, especially when concerned with power and status.
      ‘the politics of gender’
  • 2Activities aimed at improving someone's status or increasing power within an organization.

 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

Makes it all sound so simple.  So cut and dried.  

We all know it is anything but.

And never, in my lifetime, has it been more evident.

There's a meme which states:   ‘I haven’t lost friends over politics, I’ve lost friends over morals’ 

When I first read this meme I did a mental fist pump, thinking, "Yes!  Exactly!"

Since we have our OED handy, let's see what it says about the word "morality."

1. a. Of or pertaining to character or disposition, considered as good or bad, virtuous or vicious; of or pertaining to the distinction between right and wrong, or good and evil, in relation to the actions, volitions, or character of responsible beings; ethical. 


Let's talk.

Starting with basics.

The Republican party of 2020 is not the same as the Republican party of years past.  
Example:  In domestic affairs, Eisenhower supported a policy of "modern Republicanism" that occupied a middle ground between liberal Democrats and the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Eisenhower continued New Deal programs, expanded Social Security, and prioritized a balanced budget over tax cuts.
President: Dwight D. Eisenhower,  Election: 19521956

Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower - Wikipedia

IF you're interested, a further breakdown on changes (albeit "possibly" a bit biased) can be found in this article -

The above is, to many, pretty dry stuff and is of interest, quite probably, to me more so than to you.

And I do find it interesting.

It also may mean you're not really voting for who or what you might think you're voting for if you're relying on the old saw "My family has ALWAYS voted Republican."

Believe me, I am not trying to change anyone's mind.  I know better, but I couldn't resist pointing out that interesting bit of Republican history.  

The fact is - The Republican Party has changed.

I've been a bit of a political junkie from a very early age.
And I remember the exact moment life events opened my eyes and I started my own personal political journey.

My hometown of Cambridge, Maryland was one of the first places the Freedom Riders visited.

Here's what I remember.

My dad and I stood at the beautiful big bay windows in our apartment in the Arcade.  We watched young, well dressed blacks get off a bus and attempt to walk into the drugstore in our apartment lobby.  I remember asking my dad what was going on, and he explained a little by saying the people we were watching get off the bus wanted things to change.  And that people were scared of change.  And that it would get ugly.

That is the only memory I have of that day, but I knew something was wrong.  It was 1962.  I was 14 years old.

The memories following this day are a jumble, but they're vivid.

For the next few years all I remember clearly is that we seemed to  fluctuate between things being normal and things being violent.

I don't have a clear time-line of it all in my mind.

I remember National Guardsmen lining our downtown streets.  They were armed with rifles and bayonets.  They slept in tents in our school yards.

Then they were gone.

Then they were back.

The drugstore in the lobby of our apartment building closed down.  This rather than serve blacks.

The public swimming pool closed down.  The chief of police said he would rather pour dirt into the pool and plant flowers than allow blacks to swim in it.

We were on TV.  People all over the country watched a white man who owned a local restaurant smash a raw egg over the head of a young black man who was part of a sit-in in front of the restaurant.

I knew this man.   I was friends with one of his daughters.  I was embarrassed for her that this happened.

And I'll never forget the sick feeling in my stomach.

We were written up in Life Magazine.

Robert Kennedy came to town.

H. Rap Brown came to town.  

Ironically, another memory is of my dad and I standing together at the window again.  But this time it was a window in our house on Bucktown Road, outside of town.  We had moved away from the Arcade Apartments by now.  We would no longer have a front row seat to the violence being played out on Race Street. 

  We saw flames in the distance and my dad said, "Oh, my God, they're burning down the town."  And as dumb as it might have been, because by this time the violence had gotten really bad, mother and dad and I got in the car and drove into town to see if it was, in fact, burning down. 

What was burning was the black section of town.  This act has since been attributed to words spoken by Mr. Brown while standing atop a car shouting "If this town don't come around, this town should be burned down."

Peter B. Levy wrote about all this in a book named CIVIL WAR ON RACE STREET.  (ISBN 0813026385).
I have to say this - he did not get all of it right.  But enough.  It is, at least, a record of a place in a time.  Lessons could be learned.

I remember.

And I remember a more recent incident.

We were at a class reunion.  Donald and I walked down to the water.  A classmate, someone I considered a close friend, walked down to join us and we chatted about how much we loved Cambridge.  And how much we loved the Class of '66.  He looked at me and smiled and said, "Know what I love best about it?"  What, I asked.  "That we were the last class to graduate without any niggers."

Something inside me shattered.

And, I will never, never forget the smile on his face.

I have seen this person since, but I have not spoken to him.

I can't.  I just can't.

I got, literally, sick when I saw him the next time at the next reunion and stayed far away.

And there you have it.

My backstory.

What has made me be the political person I am.  And what started me on my lifelong road to being a progressive liberal minded person.

And here we are.  Seeing these scenes of violence in our streets.  Again.

If you're okay with Donald J. Trump and all he stands for - we're never going to be close friends.  Even if we once were.

You may live your life which, on the surface, looks lovely and innocent but which, to me, covers a lot of evil.

If you share Donald J. Trump values, I can't respect you.

And I want friends I can respect.  Not just friends to laugh with - I want to respect you.

So there I am.

Laid bare.

women being denigrated by the "President" of this country - 

people of color being murdered by police, 

Statistic: Number of people shot to death by the police in the United States from 2017 to 2020, by race | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

our government being used to line political pockets when school children are going hungry, small businesses going out of business and American citizens losing their jobs and their homes while they wait for stimulus money from a group of corrupt individuals who follow a leader who doesn't believe in science who are supposed to be representing our best interests, then no - I will never respect you.

And whatever you "say," you say with your vote. 

 So don't tell me you're not a racist, or that you believe in human rights but then cast your vote for Donald J. Trump.  

You give me the right to tell you you're a liar.

You can't say you care about people and issues and then vote for a man who will hurt or destroy them.

It ain't just "politics."

Not to me.

Not this year.