My stepson has a favorite shirt. It is red and stretchy and has the word split written across it in white letters. He likes to wear it on Wednesdays and keep it on for the rest of the week. We have to wrestle it off of him to put it in the wash. He has other shirts, but something about this one is special.

He’s had this shirt since he was six. He’s twelve now. Needless to say it is getting too small. I can image him at sixteen wearing this same shirt stretched tightly across his chest. His stomach hanging out. The sleeves cutting off the circulation to his arms. The seams straining. The word split looking squashed from being stretched so far. He wouldn’t care. He would probably wear it on a date and be unaffected by the girl’s furrowed brow and questioning looks.

When I ask him what’s so good about his split shirt, he just says he doesn’t know. Then he thinks for a bit and says it’s not too big. This isn’t a sufficient answer. He has other shirts that aren’t too big. I would like to know what he likes about the shirt, so I can get him another. Right now, I can only speculate. Maybe it’s the fabric, stretchy and smooth. Maybe it’s the color, dark red. Maybe it’s the word split written in white cracking letters. Maybe if I used iron-on letters to put split across his other shirts he’d wear them too.

Health Insurance

During my entire working adult life, the only time I have had health insurance was when I was living outside of the country. As an English teacher in Korea, I was covered under the Korean national health plan. After being in the country for a few weeks I received a small blue booklet that was my health insurance card.

Overjoyed at the thought of having health insurance, I used it whenever I could. Things that I would normally ignore sent me rushing off to see the doctor. Swelling in my big toe, time to see the doctor. More acne than usual on my face, time to see the doctor. Food poisoning, congestion, a rash on my arm, time to see the doctor.

I also enjoyed whipping my health card out at the pharmacy. The pharmacist would take my card and jot down some information before giving me my very cheap medicine. I usually wouldn’t use the medicine for as long as directed. That cream for my acne made my face itch. The medicine for my congestion made me dizzy. I didn’t really know what I was taking and that also made me nervous. I had a toiletry case full of ointments, creams and little packets of pills.

Now, even though I work in the health care industry, I don’t have the luxury of health insurance. I find myself feeling envious of those who do. My mother recently fell off of her scooter and shattered her shoulder. She has gone to several doctors and will eventually need physical therapy. She has insurance.

If I had fallen and broken my shoulder, I would have to send my husband out to cut a good straight branch off one of the trees outside of our apartment. We would use tape and string to fashion it into a splint for my arm. My husband would research healing time and physical therapy exercises on the internet, and I would hope for the best.

Spirit Orbs in the Graveyard




I’ve always wanted to go on a St. Augustine ghost tour. So during our honeymoon in Daytona Beach, my husband and I took a day trip to St. Augustine with the sole goal of going on a ghost tour. We decided to take the walking tour because, frankly, it was cheap. I’m all about cheap.

It was Thursday, January 12th, which is not as scary as Friday, January 13th would have been, but we didn’t think of that until someone else on the tour mentioned it. I don’t remember our tour guide’s name so I’m going to call her Helen because I have a feeling that if I did remember her name I would remember that it was Helen. She was English. I went on a ghost tour in San Diego and my tour guide for that tour was English also. What’s so scary about the English? I told my husband that if the whole music thing doesn’t work out he could have a future in the ghost tour industry. He’s English too.

Helen wore some type of green and maroon period costume and carried an oil lamp. This added to her creepy English air. At the beginning of the tour she told us that she would be taking us to the graveyard and the fort and some other odd places along the way. She said that maybe we would see something unusual or maybe we wouldn’t, it depended on the night, but that we should keep our eyes open and take lots of pictures. I had my new camera so I was prepared to take lots of pictures. I was also very prepared to see something.

Helen walked all of us to a graveyard and told us a bunch of stories about spirit orbs, ghosts, and energies. All of which seemed to appear three times a month for about eight seconds. Three times a month and eight seconds were key in all of the stories we heard that night. I never realized before that ghosts were on some kind of schedule.

Later at the fort, Helen told us stories of battles, executions and bloodshed. There was also an interesting story about some dead party goers, but still no visible ghosts.

I don’t know what I wanted or expected because at the end of the tour I was disappointed. I think I wanted to see something, a wispy figure walking amongst the tombstones or feel a cold finger run down the back of my neck. Instead, I left with a damp butt from sitting on a wet bench and a little less money in my wallet.

Later in my photos, I noticed small orbs of light, but those could have been dust reflecting off of the flash or bugs. Or maybe they were ghosts.

The Nebulous Mooch

patrickMy husband is a musical genius, or at least that’s what people tell me. That’s him up there. His business card says that he is a composer and arranger, but he thinks that sounds pompous. So, I’ll just say that he is a musician.

These days he’s preparing for a concert he’s doing at a local theater. His Fender Rhodes, piled with sheet music, crackles and pops as he plays. Occasionally, he’ll ask me to play a melody for him on my saxophone, which I stumble painfully through. I’m not a musical genius. No one needs to tell me that.

He often complains about being unable to name his tunes. Since I fancy myself as a writer, I figure I can help with this dilemma. I’ve come up with brilliant titles such as, “Poop beaten gold,” a quote from Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra and “Life’s frailest barks” a quote from Phila Earle Hanely. Unfortunately, none of these have met his approval so they are yet to be used.

The other day, he asked me for help naming a tune he had tentatively titled “Beloved Son”. Wanting to make sure I came up with the best and most appropriate title, I asked him what he wrote it about. He told me a story about a Chinese movie he had seen about a family wandering around after being kicked out of their house. “It’s kind of a vague wandering,” he said. I didn’t think that “Vaguely Wandering Chinese People” would be a good name so I turned to my trusty thesaurus.

First I looked up vague and found the usual words like indeterminable, indistinct and unplanned. Towards the end of the list of words was nebulous. Then I looked up wander and found words like meander and drift. Towards the end of that list was the word mooch. “Why do they list the best words last?” I wondered until I realized they were in alphabetical order.

“Nebulous Mooch,” I said aloud and he actually typed it across the top of the page. Nebulous mooch. Sometimes I whisper it when I’m alone in the bathroom. Nebulous Mooch.