Monday, April 27, 2020


One of my friends called the other day to tell me his recent blood test had shown he was a borderline diabetic. His doctor recommended that he cut back on his carbohydrate intake. My friend wasn’t even certain what qualified as a carbohydrate.

His phone call reminded me of the time my late husband was in the same situation.

I’ve always heard that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I never really believed it.  I mean, we once had a 15-year-old dog that learned plenty of new tricks.  Granted, most of them were bad, but still, they were new.  I soon came to understand, however, that when the “old dog” was my husband, the old saying pretty much did hold true.

It all began when his doctor informed him that his blood sugar was too high and suggested that he eat no more than 55 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 30 per snack. He also advised him to space out the snacks and meals at least two to three hours apart to avoid a “glucose overload.”

“So, what are carbohydrates?” my husband casually asked me on the way home from the doctor’s office.

“Starches and sweets,” I told him. “Basically, anything that’s white is a carbohydrate.  You know, sugar, bread, flour, potatoes, milk.  Stuff like that.”

His eyebrows arched. “So what you’re trying to tell me is that just about everything I like is a carbohydrate?”

Considering the fact that he ate potato chips for dessert every night, I had to say yes.

The next morning, I got up and found my husband sitting at the table and eating four slices of toast slathered in peanut butter.  Even worse, he was washing them down with a big glass of chocolate milk.

 “What on earth are you doing?” I gasped.

“Watching my carbohydrates,” he said, smiling proudly. “I toasted the bread, so it’s not white any more. And I made the milk brown, too!”

In spite of myself, I burst out laughing.  I could see I was going to have my work cut out for me.

Another problem was that my husband was the type of person who started snacking the minute he got home from work and continued to snack until bedtime…pausing only long enough to eat dinner. 

Trying my best to help him adjust to his new way of eating, I went to the supermarket and searched for some low-carbohydrate snacks.  Believe me, there wasn’t much to choose from back then.  I must have spent two hours squinting at the microscopic print on labels before I finally found three snacks (aside from a slab of beef and a wedge of cheese) that were low in carbohydrates and might be decent substitutes for my husband’s nightly potato-chip crunching fest:  fried pork-rinds, macadamia nuts and turkey jerky.  I bought all three.

When I handed the snacks to him, he stared at them for a few seconds, then gave me a look that told me he suspected I was trying to cash in early on his life insurance.  

“Come on, be brave and just try them,” I said. “At least when you get the urge to snack, these won’t affect your sugar levels.”

He opened the bag of pork rinds and sniffed the contents. “I think I’ve just lost my urge…forever.”

The faces he made while tasting the pork rinds and the jerky would have won awards in the international “make-the-ugliest-face” contest.  But then he tried the macadamia nuts.  Up until that point, he'd always disliked nuts…that is, unless they had been pulverized into peanut butter.

“Wow!  These are excellent!” he said, his eyes wide. “They taste just like buttered popcorn.”

Within 20 minutes, all of the macadamia nuts, which had set me back nearly $6, were gone.   Three hours later, my husband was suffering from the stomachache of the century.

“Ohhhhh,” he groaned, clutching his waist. “What’re you trying to do? Poison me?”

I glanced at the label on the empty jar and shook my head. “No wonder you have cramps!  These nuts contain enough fiber to give Metamucil a run for its money!  You weren’t supposed to eat the whole jar in one sitting!”

Now you tell me,” he said, groaning again. “I never want to see another macadamia nut as long as I live.”

So much for trying to find him a tasty low-carbohydrate snack.

A few days later, while my husband and I were out for a ride, he swung the car into a Burger King drive-thru.  There, he ordered two double cheeseburgers and a King-Kong-sized order of fries. I just stared at him, my mouth hanging open in disbelief.

“Hasn’t anything about carbohydrates that I’ve been trying to pound into your head managed to get through to you?” I asked.

He smiled and shook his head. “Prepare to be impressed,” he said smugly. “I’m allowed 55 carbohydrates at each meal, and 30 for each snack, right?  Well, I’ve stayed well below those numbers all week, so I added up all of the extra carbohydrates that are owed to me and I’m using them for this one big meal right now!”

I actually wished our 15-year-old dog hadn’t passed away because I’m pretty sure I would have had an easier time teaching HER all about counting carbohydrates. 

Then maybe she could have passed the information on to my husband. 

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor” and “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation." Contact her at:




Monday, April 20, 2020


What I am about to say usually elicits gasps of disbelief whenever I mention it, but I swear it is the truth…I never owned a clothes dryer until 2010.

I always loved the smell of laundry dried out in the fresh air, especially bedding, so for over 35 years I used one of those spiffy umbrella-type aluminum clotheslines. When my husband first set it up in our yard, he made sure it would last forever. He dug a deep hole, stuck the pole into it and then filled it with enough concrete to pave a parking lot.

Unfortunately, a tree landed on the clothesline shortly thereafter and bent the umbrella part into what looked like a lopsided, abstract aluminum sculpture. But the pole still was solidly stuck in the ground (and probably will remain that way until New Hampshire is hit by an earthquake strong enough to dislodge it from its foundation).

Over the years, I hung many loads of laundry on my bent, broken clothesline. I learned to hang the long items (sheets, nightgowns, etc.) on the high side, and the short items (socks, washcloths, etc.) on the low side. I also had to walk around the clothesline when hanging things because the top of it was too disfigured to turn. 

 I think not owning a clothes dryer for so many years was hereditary. My mother never owned one and never wanted one. In fact, she, being somewhat of a clothes-drying expert, taught me everything I currently know about hanging clothes outside. First and foremost, she taught me that it’s very important to hang sheets or towels in front of any “unmentionables” to conceal them and avoid attracting unsavory characters.

Although I always strictly followed that rule, the strategic placement of my unmentionables on the line actually never was a big concern of mine. I mean, my underwear was so big, I figured the only unsavory character it might attract would be someone like a pirate looking for a new sail for his ship. 

My mother also taught me that hanging wet clothes outside in below-freezing temperatures resulted in a condition known as “clothes-sicles,” where clothes quickly froze into solid sheets of ice and could stand up by themselves. The worst thing about clothes-sicles was that when you brought them indoors to thaw, they usually were just as wet as when you first hung them out…only much colder.

But the most important rule my mother taught me about hanging laundry outdoors was to vigorously shake all of the clothes before bringing them back inside. Anyone who’s ever found a wasp in her bra will not question this rule.

I learned the hard way that clothes will not dry outdoors when the humidity is high and the breeze is low. I once left a load of laundry hanging outside for so long during a humid spell, hoping it eventually would dry, it grew mold and made everything look tie-dyed. 

When my husband complained, I reminded him that nothing beat the fresh-air smell of clothes dried outdoors. “Try to get THAT from a clothes dryer!” I told him.

Unfortunately, the people who moved in next door to us all but ruined that defense. They decided to set up their barbecue grill about 20 feet from my clothesline. I swear, they must have cooked three meals a day on that grill, which smoked worse than a pile of burning tires. 

As luck would have it, the wind never failed to carry their barbecue smoke directly toward my laundry, where it permeated every fiber. My husband and I ended up smelling as if we’d bought all of our clothes at a fire sale…with a hint of garlic and oregano thrown in.

“Why am I suddenly craving spare ribs?” I asked as I slipped into my freshly dried nightgown one night.

Alas, one of the casualties of one particularly bad winter’s heavy snowfall was my beloved clothesline. It ended up in such bad shape, with the pole nearly bent in half, I couldn’t even hang a pair of socks on it.

“So what do I do now?” I asked my husband one night as I stood holding a laundry basket heaped with wet clothes.

He looked thoughtful for a moment, then said, “Well, I can’t put up a new clothesline until the ground thaws in the spring, but I guess I always could string up a clothesline indoors for you – from one bathroom wall to the other. In fact, I could put it right over the bathtub, so you won’t have to worry if the clothes drip.”

I frowned at him. “Yeah, and then we can buy a couple live chickens and a goat, and let them run around the house, too, to complete the look!”

It got to the point where, especially in the winter, I had laundry drying over the shower rod and on so many folding racks near furnace grates, my husband finally insisted we buy a dryer. 

“I think I’m getting diaper rash,” he complained one night after he’d been forced to wear a pair of damp black dress-slacks and soggy BVDs that hadn’t quite dried in time for his big meeting at work that day. “It’s time to get a dryer."

So I reluctantly gave in and finally bought one…under protest.

I must confess the dryer has made my life much easier, but I do miss the “fresh air" smell of my bed sheets. And now that I’m not using solar energy to dry the clothes, the electric bill has gone up.

However, I can’t say that I miss finding June bugs my jeans.

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor” and “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation." Contact her at:


Monday, April 13, 2020


I can’t believe how many thousands of websites have gone belly up since the whole craze started many centuries ago (or so it seems). A lot of my favorites have disappeared and I really miss them. But one of the sites I miss the most was called

When a writer-friend of mine, Don, first told me about it nearly 20 years ago, it sounded like a dream come true. Basically, it was a site where people could publish their stories, poems, articles, jokes, opinions, photographs, etc. and actually get paid for doing so.

I signed up immediately and was pleased to become an official “Themestream contributor.”  Then every week, I faithfully submitted my humor column, A Slice of Life. 

At the time, Themestream was paying 10 cents per view. That meant every time someone clicked on my column, I became 10 cents richer. At first, it didn’t sound like all that much, but when one veteran Themestream contributor boasted that he’d had one of his articles mentioned on the Oprah Winfrey show and ended up getting over 4,000 clicks in one day, I quickly became gung-ho.

In fact, I became SO gung-ho, I sat right down and e-mailed friends, relatives, casual acquaintances and even total strangers, and begged them to read my column. As I sent each e-mail (and I’m ashamed to admit this), visions of myself swan-diving into a swimming pool filled with dimes kept popping into my head.

It’s funny how something as small as a dime can lead to greed, graft, corruption and deviousness. OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but there were a few Themestream contributors who used some pretty underhanded methods to earn their dimes.

You see, Themestream welcomed any and all writers, and didn’t edit their contributions, no matter how rotten they were.  So it wasn’t long before articles with such enticing titles as: “Guess Which Famous Actress Used to be a Man,” or “Want to See What Body Part I Pierced?” began to pop up. Readers, eager to find out more information, clicked onto these articles, only to find three or four hastily written paragraphs about something totally unrelated. By the time they realized they’d been duped, it was too late. Their clicks already had earned dimes for the authors.

Disgruntled readers could retaliate, however, by leaving comments underneath each article or by using Themestream’s rating system of 0-4 stars. The 4-star authors were supposed to be the cream of the crop; the Stephen Kings and John Grishams of Themestream.  Oddly enough, just about every author on Themestream eventually wound up with four stars…even the guy whose series of articles was called, “The America You Never Seen.”  Obviously, he wasn’t an English major.

As I watched the numbers on my “dimes earned” page begin to climb, I couldn’t help but wonder where Themestream was going to get the money to pay all of us. I mean, as far as I could calculate, there were over 500,000 articles on the site, with more pouring in every day. How, I wondered, could Themestream make a profit by doling out dimes to a bunch of writers and wanna-be writers?  And how were we expected to generate income for the website?  I mean, they weren’t asking us to solicit advertising for them or anything. It didn’t make any sense at all. 

Nevertheless, I continued to write.

As I mentioned before, it was pretty amazing what some people would do for a few dimes. There were some writers who used several different e-mail aliases so they could comment on and rate their own articles (which, now that I think about it, is probably the reason why there were so many 4-star authors). They also used their aliases to click on their own articles to earn more dimes.

Others used a more sneaky approach. I can’t tell you how many e-mails I received that said, “I’m a fellow Themestreamer who just read every one of your columns and I think you are the best writer I have ever read!  Could you do me a big favor and read some of my articles and give me your expert advice?  I would be honored!”

When I first received one of those letters, I was flattered. Then I learned that the same letter had been sent to about 100 other Themestream authors. It didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out the senders didn’t really want “expert” advice. They just wanted more clicks to earn more dimes.

And speaking of advice, I used to laugh at some of the comments readers would leave the authors of really awful articles. For example: “This brought tears to my eyes when I read it…for all of the wrong reasons,” or “You have a very, um…unique way of expressing your views.”  And my favorite: “This was excellent!  And I’m sure it will be even better when the spell-check on your computer is working again!”

Just when I was beginning to rake in a decent number of dimes per day (enough to buy a Whopper at Burger King), Themestream notified us that the rate of payment was being dropped to only two cents per view.  Talk about drastic. A nickel would have been bad enough, but two cents was just a fraction better than a “penny for your thoughts.”  I figured I was going to need a few thousand of those thoughts per day to make writing my columns worth my time and energy.

To compensate for the cut in pay, many of the authors figured they just would contribute more articles. That’s when Themestream decided to limit the number of articles each author could contribute. And even worse, a cap was put on the amount of money an article could earn. Things were not looking good.

During the time I wrote for Themestream, I also became interested in reading a lot of the other articles on the site. Some nights, I would spend hours just reading one after another, into the wee hours of the morning. Several of the articles were enticingly written in “to-be-continued” weekly installments, and I became hooked. 

For example, one woman named Lisa wrote about all the men she had met through dating sites…in explicit detail. In one installment, she described her nervousness about her impending trip to New York City to meet for the first time, a supposedly very rich, much-older man who was paying all of her expenses and putting her up in a fancy hotel suite. Would he, she wondered, demand any “favors” in return?

 I couldn’t wait to read what happened!

Before Lisa was able to write her next installment, however, the Themestream editors dropped the bomb and informed us that due to financial problems, Themestream was closing its doors forever, effective immediately. They also told us not to expect to be paid the money they owed us.

I honestly can’t say I was surprised.

But I was, and still am devastated…not because of all the hard-earned dimes and pennies I never will see; or even the missed opportunity to be discovered by Oprah…but because I never was able to find out how Lisa’s trip to New York to meet her "Mr. Sugar Daddy" turned out.

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor” and “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation." Contact her at:

Monday, April 6, 2020


I’ve noticed, while staying at home for the past three weeks, that my hair is getting grayer, mostly at the roots. In fact, if the stripe of light gray down the center of my head gets any wider, I’ll begin to resemble a skunk.

Sure, I've considered going all gray (or white) at some point and allowing my long, reddish-brown hair (compliments of Clairol) to grow out so I'll never have to bother coloring it again. But as much as this would be the perfect time to take that plunge, I just can’t bring myself to do it yet. First of all, the thought of having so much white on top of my head I’ll resemble a bald eagle, really doesn’t appeal to me. Also, I fear that if I allow my lengthy hair to go completely gray, I’ll end up looking like the Wicked Witch of the West.

My cousin's hair was gray by the time she reached her 30s.

"I'm never going to dye it," she proclaimed. "I earned every one of these gray hairs and I'm going to proudly display them, not hide them!"

I wish I had her courage. I figure I’ll probably still have reddish-brown hair when I'm 95 and my face is saggier than a basset hound's.

I used Clairol’s Loving Care for many years…until the company discontinued it. I then started using Nice ‘n Easy hair coloring…which they also stopped making. So now I have to buy my Nice ‘n Easy from England where, for some reason, they have it in abundance. I guess the British prefer the natural look.

Either that, or they don’t want to go through all of the bother of dyeing their hair at home, the way I do. It might be a bother, but I figure it’s cheaper than going to a hairdresser (a.k.a. a professional who, unlike me, actually knows the proper way to color hair without causing irreparable damage to it).

The most difficult part of coloring my hair when I first started years ago, was finding a color that actually was close to my original color. No matter how the color looked in the photo on the box, it always came out four shades darker on my hair, for some reason. Light brown came out dark brunette. And medium brown gave me such jet-black hair, I looked like a cross between Cher and Morticia Addams.

“There must be something wrong with my body chemistry,” I complained to one of my friends. “No matter which color I try, it comes out really dark on me. I’ll bet even if I bought platinum blonde, it would come out dark brown on me.”

She laughed and gave me a “duh” look.

“The pictures on the boxes are how the colors look on hair that is colorless to begin with – like white hair,” she said, “to give you the true shade. But if you’re applying the coloring to hair that’s already mostly brown, then of course it’s going to come out darker.”

She made sense.  So I finally settled on Loving Care’s number 75, light ash brown, which I used for years. Then it was announced that Loving Care was being discontinued, but Nice ‘n Easy would replace it. Everything about it, they promised, including the color/shade numbers, still would be the same.

The first thing I noticed on the new Nice ‘n Easy box was the color of the hair on the model. It looked about three shades darker than the original number 75. The second thing I noticed was the Loving Care box always said the color would
last for 6-12 shampoos. Nice ‘n Easy said eight. No leeway, just plain eight.

No matter how many times I’ve colored my hair, I’ve never failed to make a mess. Light ash brown has ended up on the walls, the towels, my clothes, and worst of all, on the tips of my ears.  In fact, having brown ears has become pretty commonplace for me. The back of my neck also has been known to display various shades of brown on a regular basis. People must think I have no soap or water at my house. Either that, or I'm a real crud.

Anyway, I see no reason why I should waste the only precious box of Nice ‘n Easy I currently have left and color my hair during this stay-at-home period, because no one is going to see me other than my dogs. Therefore, I have vowed not to dye anything until life returns to normal and people once again are free to come and go as they please.

However, I’m already envisioning myself emerging from my house looking something like this…

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 Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor” and “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation." Contact her at: