Thursday, December 29, 2022



Every year, I make a bunch of New Year’s resolutions I never keep. In fact, by February, I’ve usually forgotten what they were, or I end up asking myself, “Who were you kidding when you made that one?”

In the past, my resolutions usually involved dieting and exercising, and by the 4th of January, I’d be buying one-pound bags of M&Ms and sucking them down as if I were a human Hoover. But now that I’ve finally learned how to control my diet and I actually enjoy walking three miles every day, I don’t have to make those resolutions any more.

And to be honest, I’m feeling kind of lost.

So I’m wondering what I should resolve to do next. Maybe not to be so sensitive? I have a bad habit of taking everything to heart and then dwelling on it until I drive myself crazy. For example, when one of my books gets a less than favorable review, I dwell on it. Then I dwell on it some more until I think I should hang up my pen and pursue another career, like dog-walking. 

In the past, I also frequently resolved to save more money and not make frivolous purchases. I can’t make that resolution now because there’s no money to save, and unless buying eggs and orange juice is considered a frivolous purchase, I guess I can’t resolve to stop those, either. Heck, it’s been so long since I’ve been able to even afford a necessity, like new bra, two coffee filters and a rubber band probably would offer me more support than the one I'm currently wearing.

And I’ve often resolved not to be such a germophobe. But in the past three years, being a germophobe has turned out to be not only acceptable, but also beneficial. I mean, during every flu season, I used to wish I could wear a mask to protect myself from any nasty germs…without looking like some weird-o. I also used to go through hand sanitizer by the gallon – way back when there was only one brand. Now, I freely can do those things and look perfectly normal, so there no longer is any need for me to make a resolution to quit. I’m called “careful” and “conscientious” nowadays, and people no longer ask, “Who’s that nutty woman who’s dousing herself with Lysol?”

I have to confess, however, that even while I'm wearing a mask, I still can’t stop myself from holding my breath whenever I walk by someone who’s coughing. Old habits die hard.

Maybe I should make a resolution to stop watching the ID Channel (Investigation Discovery) on TV, which shows only documentaries dealing with true crime. Most of them are so gruesome, they keep me awake all night, fearing there might be a machete-wielding intruder lurking about who will dice me into something that resembles a bowl of salsa if I dare close my eyes.

So if I switch to the Disney Channel, maybe I won’t have to make a resolution to get more sleep.

Although, that beastly guy with all of those sharp teeth in “Beauty and the Beast,” is still pretty scary...


Happy New Year to everyone! 

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:







Friday, December 23, 2022



I did my Christmas shopping early this year so I wouldn’t end up frantically rushing around at the last minute and buying things like a sequined halter-top for my 83-year-old friend because it was the only thing in her size left on the rack.

Unfortunately, even though I set a personal record for buying gifts early, my Christmas shopping wasn’t flawless…not by any means.

For example, I ordered a size M shirt with a small pattern on it for a friend, and when it arrived, it looked nothing like the photo. The pattern was so huge, it could be seen from the opposite end of the house, and the button-down collar turned out to be non-existent. Instead, the shirt had a V-neck down to the navel. All I could picture was my friend wearing it with his chest hairs exposed and several gold chains around his neck, like the styles back in the 1970s.

I contacted the company and told them the shirt looked nothing like their advertisement, and was informed they don’t accept returns or give refunds – a "minor" detail I should have read before I placed the order.

So I’m now the proud owner of a $30 dust rag.

It seems as if every Christmas season I’m disappointed with something I ordered that looked much better online. One item that immediately comes to mind is the hand-tooled, monogrammed copper wastebasket I ordered a few years ago after seeing it in a catalog that featured handcrafts from Cape Cod. It was the perfect gift, I’d thought, for our friend Gregory, who’d recently remodeled his office and accented it with a lot of brown leather furniture and accessories.

So I ordered it, with the monogram “G” on it, which also happened to be the initial of his last name.

The wastebasket arrived two weeks later in an old cardboard box that wasn’t even sealed. The flaps were folded in an over-and-under way that kept them closed, but nothing was sealed.

That should have been an immediate red flag to me. Anyone who’s ever mailed a package knows it should be sealed with at least half a roll of shipping tape to give the contents even a fighting chance of surviving.

When I pulled the wastebasket out of the box, let's just say I didn't "oooh!" with delight. But it wasn't because the wastebasket had been damaged in was because it looked as if the guy who’d made it had downed a few pitchers of martinis before doing the hand-tooling work.

I held it up to show my husband. “What does this monogram look like to you?” I asked.

He studied it for a moment. “A lopsided number six.”

The copper on the wastebasket also had been polished…in about 30 different directions. So many different swirls, lines, zigzags and spirals were covering it, it looked as if it had been savagely attacked by an army of Brillo pads.

“What are all those dents along the bottom of it?” my husband asked.

 I frowned. “They’re not dents. I think they are supposed to be some kind of decorative border.”

“Oh,” he said, returning my frown.

That did it.

“I can’t give Gregory a gift that looks all scratched up and dented, and especially not with a crooked number six on it instead of a ‘G’!” I whined. 

“He’s only going to toss trash into it,” my husband said, shrugging. “It’ll probably look crummy in no time anyway.”

“Then why don’t I just fill it with trash before I send to him and give him the full effect right away!” I snapped.

Needless to say, I was too embarrassed to give the wastebasket as a gift to anyone, not even to my dogs (who probably would have peed on it), It now sits down in the basement where I'm pretty sure it has become a ritzy copper home for the spiders – hopefully, Garden spiders (sorry, I couldn’t resist!).

This year while ordering Christmas gifts, I decided to splurge on a gift for myself – a “magic screen” that supposedly reflects any photographic image you place in front of it onto a sheet of paper so you can trace the image and turn it into a "professional looking" cartoon. I thought it would be an asset for illustrating my books.

This is one of my best efforts so far, which I traced from a greeting card.


I have the sneaking suspicion the magic screen was what the guy who made the wastebasket used when he did the monogramming.


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I want to wish a very merry Christmas, happy holiday season and happy New Year to all of my readers!  Thank you for your continued support and for being a part of my online “family." Sending love to all!




Thursday, December 15, 2022



The problem I have with winter isn’t the cold or the snow…it’s the ice.

Already, after only one minor dusting of snow, my driveway is covered with ice. I remember when I first had it paved, the guy who showed up to give me the estimate asked if I wanted to add a heating element underneath the asphalt to keep ice from forming. 

 I’d never even heard of such a thing.

“Heated?” I asked. “That sounds like something only a millionaire living in a mansion would have.”

He said, “Well, your driveway is entirely in the shade. The sun never hits it to melt anything, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to end up with an ice slick the entire winter.”

“I’ll take my chances,” I said, imagining all of the problems a heated driveway might bring, like a bunch of animals spread out across it to keep warm, or the system breaking down and requiring guys with jackhammers to attack my driveway to make repairs.

In retrospect, I honestly wish I’d taken the guy’s advice.

I remember the first flop I took on the ice in my driveway. I’d been walking out to get the mail and the next thing I knew, I was on my back on the ground. I didn’t have my cell phone with me, and my driveway is a quarter-mile long, so most of it isn’t even visible from the road. I had visions of myself lying out there until the spring thaw. Or, I'd thought, maybe I'd be lucky and a deer would walk past so I could grab onto its leg and let it drag me out to the road where someone might find me.

As it turned out, my fall resulted in only a bruise the diameter of a pencil eraser on my leg. I was fine.

But that was then. I’m much older and more brittle now, with a lot less bounce to the ounce.

As bad as my driveway is, it isn’t the worst place to walk in the winter around here. No, that award goes to the Family Dollar store in Allenstown. For many winters now, I’ve had to pray for my life every time I’ve visited that store.

Just the other day, after the aforementioned light dusting of snow, I headed over there to pick up a few things…and couldn’t believe my eyes. Family Dollar and Rite Aid share a huge parking lot. Rite Aid’s half was spotless and dry – not a speck of snow or ice anywhere. Family Dollar’s side, however, was covered with snow, wet spots and so many icy tire tracks, I honestly was afraid to set foot out of my car, for fear I’d slide underneath it. And since no parking lines were visible, everyone parked wherever they wanted.

It made the place look kind of like the aftermath of a pile-up on the Interstate.

As I inched my way toward the store, I noticed that at least the small slope rising up to the door was cleared and salted, but that was all. It was as if the store were giving the message, “If you manage to survive walking across our parking lot without fracturing any essential body parts, you will be rewarded with an actual patch of bare asphalt!”

I’m not sure why Family Dollar’s side of the lot is always so bad in the winter. Maybe two different companies each own a half of the lot and their guy is too cheap to hire someone to take care of their side. 

Or maybe a store employee ticked off the guy who’s supposed to plow the entire lot and he fiendishly chuckles and says, as he's clearing only Rite Aid’s side, “Good luck, Family Dollar!  This will teach you not to ignore me when I keep asking you to restock my favorite Snickers bars!”

Anyway, out of sheer desperation to keep my skeletal structure intact, I bought something called ice treads. Basically, they are iron cleats embedded in thermoplastic rubber that you stretch on over your shoes or boots. 

I must admit the treads work well and really dig into the ice…that is, when they actually stay on your feet.  I’ve discovered that trying to stretch them on over my boots is more dangerous than the ice itself. I take a size 9 boot and bought the XL treads, which the package says will fit up to a size 11 women’s shoe and a size 13 men’s.

All I can say is I would love to have the manufacturer personally show me how a man with a size 13 shoe is able to pull those treads on over his boots. Whenever I try to put them on, I have to tug with both hands to get the rubber to stretch all the way back to my heel. Most of my attempts result in the rubber acting like a slingshot, flying off the boot and hitting the wall. If nothing else, I figure I can always use it for a weapon.

I can see it all now…I’ll be holding one of the treads, yanked all the way back in a position to let it fly, while I’m shouting, “Take one more step, buddy, and you’ll get a face full of metal cleats!”

I have to laugh when I complain about the ice in my driveway and my friends say, “Go get a bucket of sand down at the landfill and sprinkle it over your driveway.”

That bucket would have to be the size of the one on the roof at KFC. There are roads in town that are shorter than my driveway. 

So I have only a few options to prevent myself from slipping and flopping this winter: hire someone to chop down about 300 trees so the sun can hit my driveway; install one of those driveway heating systems, or order a whole truckload of sand.

I think it’ll be a lot easier if I just hibernate.


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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:


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Thursday, December 8, 2022



Last week, I finally gave in and dug out my cardboard chest of Christmas decorations.

Stacked right on top were two boxes of rope lights. When rope lights first came out years ago, I thought they were going to revolutionize Christmas decorating. I mean, lights sealed inside clear plastic tubes that could be bent and shaped without the risk of the lights popping out of their sockets and falling off? They sounded heaven-sent to me.

I have no idea why, but I picked the coldest, windiest night of the week to decorate. Armed with two 18-ft. lengths of rope lights, I started to wrap the front-porch railings. The lights were pliable and easy to wrap at first, but as the air grew colder, they got stiffer and decided they wanted to stand up straight, kind of like angry cobras in striking position.

After struggling to wind 36 feet of lights with my rapidly numbing fingers and making certain every loop around the railings was perfectly even, I plugged them in. Then, smiling, I stepped back to admire my handiwork. One whole rope lit up…but only half of the other one did. It made no sense to me because I’d plugged in both ropes before I’d lugged them outside, and both had been fine. 

 Frustrated, I tapped the rope that was half-lit, hoping it would pop back on, but nothing happened. I tapped harder. Still nothing. At that point, I wanted to grab the rope and shake it, but I would have had to unwrap it from the railing...and I wasn’t about to undo all of my painstakingly precise work.

I went inside and checked the box the lights had come in. The directions said, “Do NOT attempt to replace the bulbs!"

I continued reading until I came to, “If one bulb burns out, a section of 24 lights also will go out.”

I stared at the directions and wondered just how dumb the manufacturer had to be. I mean, why, on a strip of lights where the bulbs couldn’t be replaced because they were hermetically sealed inside a tube, would they be constructed so that an entire section of bulbs would be killed off when only one died? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to construct them so just one bulb at a time quietly would go to its demise, probably unnoticed, rather than make a big production out of it and take 23 of its buddies along with it, as if they all were members of some Christmas bulb suicide-cult?

“The remaining sections of lights still will operate,” the directions said, as if that was supposed to make me feel any better. Who still would want to hang up lights with a section of 24 bulbs totally dark and the rest of them shining brightly? Did the manufacturer think no one would notice?

So I went to the hardware store and bought a new string of rope lights to replace the half-dead one. Once again, I carefully wound it around the railing, and then plugged it in. I breathed a sigh of relief when all of the lights immediately glowed.

Suddenly, however, they began to flash in a way that made them look as if they were trying to race each other in a marathon. I grabbed the box.

“Contains one set of chase lights,” it read, stating that I could turn the little dial near the plug and make the lights chase each other faster or slower. I rolled my eyes. The older rope lights I’d previously wrapped around the other railing didn’t chase anything. They just sat there looking dull and boring in comparison.

I wanted those lights to chase something, too. So I returned to the hardware store and bought another box of the chase lights. Soon, my railings were dancing with moving lights. I smiled with satisfaction.

And then, thanks to the howling winds that night, my whole neighborhood suffered a power failure. I wondered if it might be an omen.

The box says the average life expectancy of these new rope lights is about 10,000 hours. The way I figure it, they should be good for another 133 Christmases… that is, if one of the little ringleader lights doesn’t decide to say “goodbye cruel world” and kick the bucket in the meantime.

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:





Thursday, December 1, 2022



This time of year makes me think back to when I was a kid, excitedly waiting for Santa to deliver what I hoped would be the equivalent of a small toy store. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed like 300 years to me, but that was nothing compared to Christmas Eve. That night had to be at least 1,000 hours long, and it all but guaranteed a bad case of insomnia.

I also think back to some of the toys that were on my annual Christmas list when I was young. These were the toys that I absolutely had to have…that I would have died without. In fact, if Santa hadn’t brought them, I probably would have found some way to get up to the North Pole just so I could picket the place and protest.

One standard that appeared on my list every year was Play-Doh. I loved Play-Doh. It smelled great, it came in bright colors (unlike drab old modeling clay), and after I made something with it, it hardened into a permanent work of art.

Unfortunately, that also was the problem with Play-Doh. It hardened when I didn’t want it to. Too many times I opened the can, fully prepared to create another masterpiece (like the nose-shaped ashtray with nostril holes for cigarette butts I made for my dad), only to discover a rock-hard, whitish-looking clump lying in there.

Then there were the exciting new things that I wanted to be the first on my block to own. The one I was the most eager to have was the first talking doll, Chatty Cathy. When you pulled a string on her back, she spoke 11 different phrases, such as “I love you,” “I hurt myself” and “Tell me a story,” in a perky, nasal-sounding little girl’s voice. When I opened the box on Christmas morning and saw Chatty Cathy lying in there in her crisp blue and white dress and blond pageboy hairstyle, I was so excited, I opened my mouth to scream and nothing came out.

From that day on, Chatty Cathy and I were inseparable. I pulled her string so many times, it frayed. And my parents got so sick of hearing the same 11 phrases over and over again, my dad threatened to tie Cathy’s string into one of his navy knots. 

Maybe my parents wished it on me, but much too soon, my constant string pulling wore out Cathy’s voice recording and she began to sound more like a slurry old drunk than a perky little girl. It was pretty creepy. 

And even creepier was the fact that from the very first time I pulled Cathy’s string, something about her voice sounded eerily familiar to me. Years later, I learned that the woman who had voiced Rocky the Flying Squirrel in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show, also had done the honors for the voice of Chatty Cathy. 

So essentially, poor Chatty Cathy sounded like a squirrel.

Another new-fangled toy I just had to have was an Etch-A-Sketch. Little did I know that learning how to draw anything other than squares on an Etch-A-Sketch practically required a degree in engineering.

For one thing, I couldn’t get it to make anything round. Every time I twisted the drawing knobs, I got squares. So I drew people with square faces, square mouths and square eyes. And because the Etch-A-Sketch made only one continuous line with no way to make spaces, every face I drew had to have glasses because the line always connected their eyeballs together.

The worst part was that when I finally did manage to create something I thought was art-worthy, I’d pick up the Etch-A-Sketch and rush to show my mother…and the picture would erase itself. I never quite got the hang of carrying the thing perfectly flat to preserve my masterpieces.
And I’ll never forget my first Mr. Potato Head. Back then, a real potato was required for the head. The kit came with hard-plastic hats, eyes, noses, mouths, mustaches, and even a pipe for Mr. Potato Head to smoke. And each piece had a nice sharp point on the end of it to jab into the potato (and too often, accidentally into one of my own body parts).

I gave my Mr. Potato Head a few really “cool” looks. In fact, I thought one of my creations was so cool, I decided to preserve it. So I carefully put Mr. Potato Head, fully decorated, back into his box in my toy chest...and then forgot all about him.

“What smells?” my mother, her nose wrinkled, asked one day as her eyes made a sweep of my room. She finally sniffed her way over to my toy chest and dug out the Mr. Potato Head box.

That’s when we discovered that Mr. Potato Head had become Mr. Rotten Potato Head.

Toys sure were a lot more fun back then.

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at: