Tuesday, July 30, 2019


Because I’m a huge fan of the movie, “Camelot,” I knew from the first moment I set eyes on a newspaper photo of the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas in the early 1990s, that I just had to stay there. 

My dream came true a few years later in 1996, when my mother gifted my husband and me with an all-expense paid, week-long vacation at the Excalibur to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

I don’t remember much about the flight to Las Vegas, other than my husband and I both dozed off about midway through it. I woke up when the pilot announced we’d be landing shortly. Yawning and stretching, I leaned across my still-sleeping husband and peered out of the plane’s window. The first thing I saw was the Statue of Liberty.

I shook my husband awake. “Don’t panic,” I frantically whispered, “but I think we’re in New York!”

A flight attendant overheard me and smiled. “You’re not in New York,” she said. “That’s New York, New York!”

I stared at her as if she’d just grown another head.

“New York, New York,” she repeated. “That’s the name of the hotel! It has everything from a miniature Brooklyn Bridge to a Coney Island roller-coaster...and a huge replica of the Statue of Liberty.”

The last time my husband and I had been in Las Vegas, it still was basically a desert with a few hotels scattered about. I knew it had  to have changed a lot in 20 years, but still, I was awe-stricken as I gazed through the window of the courtesy bus that took us to our hotel. We passed by a giant pyramid with a sphinx out front; a statue of a lion so enormous, 10 sumo wrestlers could have stood in one of its nostrils; and a Coca-Cola bottle the size of a barn silo.

Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the sight of our hotel, The Excalibur, a gigantic Disney-World style castle surrounded by a moat and flanked by two 28-story towers that housed over 4,000 guest rooms.

By the time we walked through the 100,000 square-foot gaming room, rode the elevator 25 floors, and walked the length of the 100-mile hallway to our room, our vacation was over.  

I must confess, though, the minute we entered the Excalibur, I felt as if we actually were living in Camelot and had been transported back to medieval times. We became “Lord” and “Lady” Breslin, surrounded by knights, knaves, magicians, kings, queens and wenches. The first time I saw our chambermaid, a burly guy wearing a tunic and leggings as he brandished a feather duster, it took everything I had not to burst out laughing.

We spent most of our first day there getting lost in our hotel. By the time we found our way through the maze of wandering minstrels, statues, and restaurants with catchy names like “Lance-A-Lotta-Pasta,” we usually found ourselves standing outside somewhere behind the hotel and asking ourselves, “How the heck did we get out here?”

One thing I was determined to do on our first day was buy tickets for the hotel’s medieval banquet and jousting tournament that evening. Fortunately, seats still were available.

I was surprised, as we entered the jousting arena that night, to see something so huge tucked away in the basement of the hotel.  Everything in the arena looked authentically medieval, from the dirt floors to the tents and long, banquet tables set up around the perimeter.

My husband and I, joined by nearly a thousand other guests, took our seats at the tables. Our meals soon were served – Cornish game hens, baked potatoes and slabs of bread on pewter plates, with no accompanying utensils. The minute everyone’s food had been served, the lights dimmed and the jousting tournament began.

“It’s too dark now to see what I’m eating,” my husband complained, leaning over until his nose nearly speared his potato. “How am I supposed to tell if the food is cooked all the way through or not?” With two fingers, he picked up the hen and held it as if it had some contagious disease. “And what it this thing supposed to be?”

“A pigeon from the alley out back.” I answered, nibbling on a drumstick that was so tiny, I wondered if it had been stolen from Barbie and Ken’s Dream House.

He frowned at his baked potato and slab of bread. “Where’s the butter? And the salt?”

“There aren’t any,” I said, momentarily distracted by the muscle-bound knights in tights who were passing by our table. “You’re supposed to eat everything plain and  dry – with your bare hands. There’s no butter because there aren’t any utensils to spread it with anyway.”

My husband opened his mouth to complain about something else just as the Black Knight, on horseback, came galloping into the arena. As he swept past us, his horse kicked up a big clump of dirt...which landed right on my husband’s plate.

“Hey, maybe the dirt will add enough flavor so you won’t even miss the butter,” I teased, laughing. When I did, the White Knight, the hero, galloped by on his white steed and sent a spray of dirt right into my open mouth.

It was my husband’s turn to laugh when he saw my expression. “It won’t kill you,” he said. “A little dirt never hurt anyone.”

I spit into my napkin. “It all depends what the horses did in it first.”

All I can say is the burgers and fries at the Las Vegas McDonald’s were exceptionally tasty later that night.

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CLICK HERE ==>https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/384106

Monday, July 22, 2019


I come from a long line of equestrians. My mother, back in her heyday, owned a sporty riding outfit and performed death-defying stunts such as riding side-saddle. My father rode big plow-horses bareback on the farm. My uncle worked as an instructor at a horseback-riding academy.

I, on the other hand, was raised in the heart of a big city and always associated horses with smelly barns, swarms of flies, and saddle sores. And frankly, the thought of riding on something that, unlike a car, had teeth and its own brain, always intimidated me.

But alas, love has a way of making people do things that are completely against their better judgment.

Not long after my husband and I were married, he began trying to convince me to go horseback riding with him.

“It’s the ultimate romantic experience,” he said. “Think about it – just the two of us on horseback, leisurely riding along side by side and enjoying the countryside, maybe even stopping for a picnic.”

At first, I flatly refused, recalling the pony rides I’d suffered through at the carnivals when I was a kid. Being on a pony that slowly walked around in a circle for 10 minutes had been so boring, I’m amazed I never dozed off, landed on the ground and got trampled by the pony behind mine.

But my husband eventually wore me down and before I knew it, there I stood, in front of a big stable on some deserted back road in the middle of nowhere. On that particular day, however, my husband’s promise of romance wasn’t destined to be. For one thing, due to my total lack of experience, I was allowed to ride only on a staff-supervised trail-ride that already had about six other riders. And secondly, my parents, a.k.a. the horse lovers, decided it might be fun to join us.

Sensing my apprehension, the trail guide led me to a horse she said was older, slower and more docile. She called him “Geritol.”  The other riders, however, including my parents and husband, were assigned horses with impressive names like Lightning and Hurricane.

My first mistake was wearing jeans that were so tight, I barely could bend in them, never mind hoist myself up onto a horse. My second mistake was actually getting on the horse.

The trail stretched across an open field and then up a steep, rocky hill through the woods. As the lead horses perkily trotted up the hill, Geritol and I plodded along at a snail’s pace until we fell far behind the rest of the group.

So much for romance, I muttered to myself as I shot imaginary daggers at my husband’s back, which was about a quarter of a mile ahead of me.

When the riders reached the top of the hill, they stopped to rest and stretch their legs. That’s when I finally was able to catch up to them. But just as I reached the group, something frightening happened. One of the riders was about to dismount her horse when the horse decided to lie down and roll over, with her still on it!

We all collectively gasped in horror, expecting the poor woman to emerge looking like a pancake with strawberry jam on it, but miraculously, aside from a few scratches, she was unscathed. Laughing, she climbed right back onto the horse. I, however, was so shaken after witnessing her close call, I was ready to build a fire and signal for a taxi.

The ride back down the trail was, if possible, even slower than the ride up. Old Geritol made every step seem like such an effort, I actually began to fear he’d lapse into a coma. At one point, the other riders were so far ahead of us, I couldn’t even see them. Still, I wasn’t too concerned. I mean, I was pretty sure that Geritol, given his advanced age, had been on that trail so many times, he probably could find his way back to the stable with his eyes closed.

For the first time that day, I relaxed, inhaling a deep breath of fresh air and allowing Geritol’s gentle gait to calm me. The only thing that disturbed my tranquility was the incessant buzzing of a couple wasps (I think they were yellow jackets) circling us as we plodded along.

And then it happened. I’m not certain exactly what caused Geritol to suddenly bolt off the trail and run through the woods, but I suspect one of the aforementioned wasps might have launched a sneak attack on him.

In a flash, Geritol went from barely walking to transforming into a racehorse in the Kentucky Derby.

“Whoa!” I shouted, tugging on the reins as branches and limbs brushed past my face. The horse completely ignored me.

When I realized that “whoa!” wasn’t going to do me any good, I started shouting for help. Geritol kept right on running – through bushes, over rocks, around trees – while I clung to him for dear life and frantically prayed for a soft landing.

That day, I’d worn a hair-styling device called a donut, which basically was a wire-mesh donut I’d wrapped my hair around to make a perfect bun on top of my head. The last time I saw the donut, it was hanging from a branch that had impaled it and torn it off – along with, I imagined, some of my hair.

At least, I thought miserably, the search party would have some clue to my whereabouts when they were sent out to look for me.

Finally, one of the trail guides rode up behind us, shouted a command at Geritol and the horse came to a halt. He then followed the guide’s horse back out to the trail. By then, I was fully prepared to leap off and walk back to the stable.

We caught up with the rest of the riders and fell into step at the back of the line. At that precise moment, one of the lead horses spotted the stable and made a beeline for it. Unfortunately, Geritol followed suit, probably because he was eager to get back to his stall and sleep for about 10 hours.  As we whizzed past the other riders, my rear-end smacking loudly and painfully against the saddle, the trail guide shouted out to me, “Grip the sides of the horse with your knees and lift your butt off the saddle!”

All I can say is that when I finally set foot on solid ground again, I was tempted to kneel down and kiss it – but I was afraid of what I might kneel in. I also vowed never to climb on a horse again.

As I stood there on aching legs while picking leaves and twigs out of what was left of my hair, my elusive husband rushed over to me and gushed, “Wasn’t that great? We’ll have to come back and do this again on a regular basis!”

I was pretty certain that at that point, no judge would have denied me a divorce.

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CLICK HERE ==>https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/384106

Monday, July 15, 2019


I have been dealing with my extremely hyper Rottweiler, Wynter, all day. She dug a hole deep enough to bury a body in the back yard. She adopted a “pet rock” the size of an orange and flung it all over the yard for over an hour, eventually flinging it onto the porch and knocking out one of the railing slats. And then, because I wasn’t paying attention to her, she paced back and forth from the kitchen to the living room and back again...over 750 times, until she nearly wore a trench in the floor.

So, to keep her busy for a while and to give myself a much-needed break, I am turning this week’s column over to Wynter to write. I have asked her to call it “How to Drive Your Master Crazy,” mainly because she’s a renowned authority on the subject (please excuse any typos – her nails need clipping).

Wynter Breslin

  1. Bark hysterically at everything: butterflies, leaves blowing in the wind, dogs on TV. But when a man wearing a hockey mask and carrying a chainsaw appears at the back door, yawn, curl up in a corner and fall asleep.

  1. No matter how tasty it is, turn up your nose at bargain brands of dog food. Hold out for the expensive, gourmet stuff, even if it tastes like wet sawdust.  It’s the principle of the thing. You deserve only the best.                                       
  1. Learn to sit up and beg. Sure, it’s demeaning, but humans will give you just about anything, even a chunk of prime rib, if you learn to beg the way the pros do. And if, while begging, you also can perfect a convincing “sad puppy face,” odds are that you also can score some mashed potatoes to go along with the prime rib.

  1. If, for some reason, the begging doesn’t work, find the sloppiest eater in the family – the guy who gets more food on the floor than in his mouth – and sit right by his feet during meals. Even better, if your family has a little kid who’s always being told to clean his plate before he can have dessert, sit next to him. The only drawback is you might end up having to choke down more carrots and broccoli than if you sat next to an adult.

  1. When it’s warm and sunny outside and there’s not even a cloud in the sky, lie around the house. But the minute there’s a torrential downpour, a blizzard, or winds strong enough to flip over a car, run to the door and frantically scratch to go out. Humans are so obsessed with protecting their hardwood floors and carpeting from “accidents,” they will risk frostbite and debilitating injuries just to take you for a walk.

  1. And while you’re out on a walk with your master, be sure to stop and thoroughly sniff every bush, tree, telephone pole and bug along the route. Also, if you happen to come across anything really disgusting like garbage, road kill, oil, mud or any type of animal waste, it’s your duty as a dog to stop, drop and roll in it.

  1. After you’ve been outside in the rain, don’t shake off the excess water on your fur until you’re back in the house and standing near an expensive piece of wooden furniture. And if the furniture has just been polished, give yourself a double shake. Don’t ignore any humans in the vicinity either. Be sure to aim a nice dripping-wet shake in their direction, too.

  1. As soon as fur-shedding season begins, sleep only on the sofa, in your master’s favorite chair or on the new bedspread.  Also, if you have light-colored fur, be sure to rub up against anyone and everyone who is wearing black pants.

  1. Chew only on designer shoes. Why settle for cheap flip-flops when you can have a $150 genuine-leather Rockport?

  1. Eat a lot of grass when you’re outside. For some reason, this makes humans nervous. I think it’s because they’ve heard rumors that we eat grass only when we want to throw up. I guess they can’t grasp the concept that we might enjoy a “salad” now and then, too.

  1. Learn that not all car rides are alike, so don’t always get excited and wag your tail when your master asks you if you want to go for a ride. While most rides are an enjoyable experience, be forewarned that at least once a year, one ride inevitably will take you to a place that smells like antiseptic and is filled with smock-wearing people who will jab you with needles. Memorize the route to this place as soon as possible. Then, whenever you see the car heading in that direction, get carsick all over the back seat. With luck, this will make you so late for your appointment, it will be canceled.

  1. Roll your favorite toy under the heaviest piece of furniture in the house, then whine until someone attempts to retrieve it for you. If that person fails to produce your toy, continue to whine until someone gives you a dog biscuit to shut you up.

  1. And last but not least, keep your masters on their toes by licking their hands and faces as often as possible. They have no way of knowing if you are showing them affection...or sampling them for taste.

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share my advice with you. And now, if you will excuse me, there’s a new braided rug in the hallway that needs my attention. I just have to decide whether I should “christen” it or shred it.

Perhaps I’ll do both. After all, I have a reputation to uphold.

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CLICK HERE ==> https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/384106

Monday, July 8, 2019


A lot of people nowadays say they prefer to e-mail or text their friends and relatives rather than call them because it’s more convenient, but personally, I don’t think anything ever will take the place of the good old-fashioned telephone.

This might sound crazy, but I think wrong numbers are what I would miss the most if I didn’t have a phone, because “goofed-up” calls can be pretty entertaining.

For example, my phone number is only one digit off from the number of a local bakery. Early one morning the phone rang and I, still half asleep, picked it up to hear, “What kind of buns do you have, and are they fresh daily?”  I hung up, thinking it was an obscene phone call.

And just the other day, I received a real doozy of a wrong-number call. It came in the form of a lengthy voice mail.

The caller identified himself as an attorney and said he was looking for my husband.  He went on to explain that Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So  (whose names weren’t even vaguely familiar to me) were getting a divorce and he was representing the woman. He fully described the details of the divorce, and then said he needed my husband to be a witness because he owned the company where the male (in the divorce) most recently had been employed.

Well, the only business my husband ever owned involved a pitcher of lemonade and some paper cups when he was about six, so I knew right away that the guy had the wrong number.  Not only that, my husband passed away back in 2012.

Entertained, I continued to listen. 

By the end of the message, the attorney was beginning to sound pretty demanding. “If your husband doesn’t call me back and freely provide the information I need,” he said, “I will subpoena him!  But if he cooperates, I promise that everything he says will be kept strictly confidential.”

I had to laugh.  A man who had just spilled his guts about all of the private details of a divorce case, his every word recorded for posterity, was promising confidentiality?  Heck, I could have gone to court and taken his place in the case, I knew so many of the details by then.
Even though I thought it would be fun to have him subpoena my dead husband, I called the attorney and left a message, telling him I’d never heard of the people who were divorcing; that my deceased husband never had owned a business; and finally, that it might be wise of him not to go around blabbing confidential case histories until he was certain he had the right number.

Sometimes phone-call miscommunication, rather than wrong numbers, also can have some pretty humorous results.  Take, for example, a call I once made (before anyone had home computers and could look up information on the Internet) regarding a Christmas gift I wanted to buy my husband for his model-train collection.  I’d received a catalog in the mail that advertised miniature U-Haul trucks that were the perfect size for model-train cities and towns. Each state had its own truck, which featured artwork depicting something specifically pertaining to that state. The problem was, the catalog didn’t show any photos of these trucks or even describe which pictures were on them...other than New York.

Well, I knew that New Hampshire's U-Haul had a quaint Colonial church and village on it because I'd seen so many of them around, and that it probably would be the first one on my husband’s list, so I decided to order that one for his collection.  But then I started to wonder whether any of the other states’ trucks, like Montana or North Dakota, might have a picture of a buffalo on it. My husband had been collecting buffalo/bison items for over 25 years, so I figured if I could get him a 1:87-scale U-Haul with a buffalo pictured on it, it would be like giving him two gifts in one (one for his train collection and one for his buffalo collection).

I called the company that was offering the miniature U-Hauls, but was able to speak only to someone who was manning the phones and didn’t really know much about the products. So I called the nearest U-Haul center in my area.

 “I have a dumb question,” I said to the guy who answered. “Does any state have a picture of a buffalo on its U-Haul truck?”

There was silence for a moment. “I think it might be Wyoming,” he finally said. “Or the Dakota that doesn’t have Mount Rushmore in it, because I know that either North Dakota or South Dakota has Rushmore on its truck.”  He then told me to hang on while he checked with someone else.                

He returned a few minutes later and said that nobody really knew anything about a buffalo, then suggested I call U-Haul’s national 1-800 number.  He added, “But please DON’T tell them I told you to call!”

I called the toll-free number and was transferred to the director of art design (or some such title). Unfortunately, the man spoke very little English. Three times, I had to repeat that I wanted to know which U-Haul truck, if any, had a buffalo pictured on it.

The man told me to hold on, then covered the phone.  Faintly, I could hear him saying in very broken English to another employee, “This woman wants to rent a truck that’s big enough to carry a buffalo. Will it need special air holes or anything?”

By the time the second man came on the line, I was giggling so hard, I barely could talk.  I finally explained to him exactly what it was that I wanted.

“Oh,” he said, laughing. “It’s Wyoming that has the buffalo on its truck. But only on the newer ones. The older Wyoming trucks still have a cowboy with a lasso.”

The problem was, I had no earthly idea whether the U-Haul trucks in the catalog I received were the old models or the new.  So I finally decided to order only the NH truck, just to be safe.  After all, my husband really wasn’t into collecting cowboy memorabilia...unless the cowboy was lassoing a buffalo.

But the funniest phone miscommunication I can remember occurred back in 1969, when I was working as a switchboard operator in a large department store. A caller inquired about the name of the manager of one of the departments.

“Ola Haskell,” I replied.

She honestly thought I’d said, “Old Asshole.”

Even after all these years, I still crack up laughing whenever I think about it.

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CLICK HERE==>https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/384106


Monday, July 1, 2019


I'm not sure why, but the other night I sat down and just started browsing the Internet for no reason in particular...and I ended up learning quite a few things.

I learned there are people who actually collect vomit bags and pay good money for them.  I learned that you can download a game called “Elf Bowling” and watch Santa, with an evil “ho, ho ho!” line up his elves and mow them down with bowling balls until blood squirts out of them.  And I learned that you can bake your own Oreo cookies from scratch by following a simple online recipe.

One of the most fascinating things I read on the Internet, however, was a page that debunked Old Wives’ Tales.  Actually, it was written in the form of a true or false quiz.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t score very well on it, getting only 6 right out of 10. 

I thought it might be fun to share the quiz with you to see how you do.  Just answer True or False to the following statements.  The answers will appear at the end of the quiz.


1.     If you stop exercising, your muscle will turn to fat.

2.     Eating too much chocolate will give you acne.

3.     Turning a light off and on uses more electricity than just leaving it on.

4.     Flat ginger-ale will help settle an upset stomach.

5.     Cats have been known to suck the breath out of babies.

6.     Black coffee helps you sober up.

7.     A dog with a hot, dry nose is sick.

8.     If you touch your poison-ivy blisters, you will spread the rash.

9.     Shaving hair makes it grow back thicker.

10.   Reading in dim light will ruin your eyes.


1.     False.   It’s like apples and oranges - muscle is muscle and fat is fat, and you can’t turn one into the other.  You might get fatter when you stop exercising, but that’s because you’re not burning as many calories, not because your muscles are transforming into mounds of jelly-like fat cells.

2.     False.  According to one study conducted by dermatologists, people who were prone to getting acne practically were fed their weight in chocolate.  They got plenty of cavities, but no dramatic increases in acne flare-ups.

3.     False.  Flicking a light switch simply turns the light on or off.  It doesn’t use any extra energy, especially if you use LED bulbs. It might, however, shorten the lifespan of an old incandescent bulb.

4.     True!  Beat the ginger-ale until it no longer fizzes, and then drink it. Ginger has stomach-settling properties and is especially effective for motion sickness. Some experts say it works even better than Dramamine, and without any associated drowsiness.

5.     False.  This Old Wives’ Tale is said to have started when cats were seen, often right in the cribs, with their mouths pressed to babies’ faces. Sure, it looked suspicious, but what were these cats really doing?   According to animal experts, they simply were licking all of the yummy milk residue from around the  babies’ mouths.

6.     False.  The caffeine in coffee will help perk you up, but it won’t reduce the amount of alcohol in your body.  So, in essence, coffee will just make you a more wide-awake drunk.

7.     False.  A hot, dry nose most commonly means the dog just has been inactive for a while - sleeping, for example.

8.     False.  The oil from the poison ivy’s leaves is what spreads the rash.  Once you thoroughly wash the oil from your skin and clothing, you no longer can spread it.  The blisters merely contain fluid from your own body - similar to when you burn yourself - which is not contagious.

9.     False.  Your hair follicles remain the same thickness whether you shave them or not.

10.   False.  Trying to read in poor light may give you eyestrain or a headache, but if you rest your eyes for about a half-hour, they should be as good as new again.


9-10 correct:  Congratulations!  You’re either a genius, or you don’t know any Old Wives!
7-8 correct:   Not bad!  You have the ability to figure out the truth in most statements you hear!
5-6 correct:   Average.  You believe a lot of things you hear, but not all.
Below 5:  A little too gullible.  You firmly believe that if the Old Wives said them, then they have to be true! 

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CLICK HERE ==>https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/384106