Fraidy Cat

On my recent beach trip with my friend, we had a close encounter of the creepy kind.

One evening, we got a late start out to dinner after a day on the beach… and the need to do something about our two days’ worth of beach hair. By the time we got to the restaurant, it was monumentally busy. It took some time to get served. The server was moving around like a tornado in a mobile home park, but there were just so many people. Despite her heroic efforts, we didn’t get through with dinner for about two hours. When we got back to our condo, it was around 10:00pm. I am old. I live in central Florida, which is “early bird special central.” I do not usually dine at eight and I do not usually stay out quite so long after dark. Still, I am a grown woman and should be able to handle myself past sunset just going from the parking spot directly in front of our condo to the condo door. It was a distance of about twenty feet.

Not so. I got out of the car and chatted with my friend as she gathered up her stuff in preparation of making her own exit from the vehicle. I happened to look over to the side of the parking lot and saw something moving under a large pile of leaves. I could not see specifically what it was, but I thought I spied a small, pointy face peering out from a tube of moving leaves. This was something creepy… in every sense. It was some creature- probably a mammal because the part of its face I could see appeared to be covered in fur. It was cylindrically shaped. I estimated it was about fifteen inches long and had a diameter of about five inches.

I was intrigued at first and wondered what it was. Then, the blasted thing started moving in our direction. Most animals will move away from humans, but this whatchamacallit was making a beeline directly towards us. It was not fast, but it was purposeful. I did not want to wait around to see how long it would take for it to reach us, so I mentioned it to my friend, who had all kinds of questions about the approaching critter. My friend is a curious person. She is talented at asking good, insightful questions that should generate helpful, informative answers. I was not that curious nor was I particularly good at supplying those helpful, informative answers at that particular moment. All I wanted was to get in the condo, safe from the creepy critter.

When we locked the front door behind us, barring the mystery animal from following us into the condo, I felt better. I began to wonder what the creature was. I did some googling to try to identify it, but never did nail it down. The leaf-incrusted tube of terror creeping towards us did not match any of the possibilities that either I or Google had. The closest thing seemed to be a shrew, but, if it was a shrew, it was clearly some kind of science experiment gone wrong because shrews are much smaller than the creepy critter on our front lawn.

I eventually gave up and figured this encounter was going to be the stuff that nightmares are made of if I did not stop thinking about it. My friend, however, was less daunted than I was.

“You were really afraid, weren’t you?” she asked incredulously.

“Yes,” I responded. “It was coming TOWARDS us. Besides, don’t you realize that I am afraid of EVERYTHING?”

It baffled my mind that my friend who has known me for five years could be so unaware of the terrified nature of my personality. Fear has always been my emotion of choice. I get scared before I even have a chance to realize what else I feel in any given situation. This tendency towards terror makes life a little difficult. I would not say it limits me unduly, but I do find existing in the real world to be a ton of work.

Let me be clear. I am not a coward. A coward does not do things because she is afraid. I, on the contrary, am incredibly brave. Even though I am afraid of everything, I overcome the fear to do the things I want and need to do. Most of my life, this has meant fighting my own impulses and acting against what my brain is telling me to do. In its fear and paralysis, I must summon superhuman strength to catapult past my emotions to accomplish the life to which I aspire. In my life coaching process, I have been working on not forcing myself to catapult past the emotion. I am learning to do two things. First, to find the emotions that lurk just under the surface of the fear… the desire, the love, the anger… and use them to propel myself forward. In that way, instead of using my energy to keep the fear emotion at bay, I am using the momentum of the more positive motions to fuel my efforts. Secondly, I am learning to befriend the fear. Maybe I do not have to catapult past the fear. Maybe I can take it with me. Maybe there is strength to be had from allowing fear to be my traveling companion, but not the tour guide.

On the other hand, I am just as happy that the jeeper creeper in the leaves was NOT my traveling companion back into the condo!

What gives you the creeps? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a not-so-fraidy day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

The Not Crummy Bun

Some of you may recall my inherited fascination with a little confection called the “crumb bun.” Not the “crumb cake,” which is an altogether different animal. The “crumb bun” was a staple of Italian bakeries in New York during the 1950s and 1960s. My mother was crazy about them. She passed the crumb bun gene on to me.

When we moved to California, my mother mourned the absence of New York crumb buns. Vendors tried to palm off different types of crumb cakes and some questionable, decidedly crummy, crumb buns. Grocery stores did not have them. Specialty shops did not have them. Even bakeries showed a suspicious lack of crumb bun knowledge.

When I was a little girl, cross country travel was still relatively exotic and we were a solidly middle class family. We rarely returned to New York after our move. Every time we did go, however, the first thing my mother typically put in her mouth after the plane landed was a real New York, Italian bakery crumb bun.  As time passed, though, even New York did not have a steady supply of New York crumb buns. Family bakeries, like many small businesses, were dying as big box stores and grocery chains moved into the neighborhood.  My family members who lived in New York were oblivious to the catastrophe that this entailed. They had been on a gradual crumb bun withdrawal process. To my mother, it was cold turkey.

My mother reacted to the disappearance of the greater New York crumb bun, by going into mourning. Still, she lived in denial. When we moved to Florida, she decided we needed to search for crumb buns. She reasoned that we were now on the east coast. She reasoned that a lot of people retire to Florida and maybe there were a few former New Yorker bakers who enjoyed getting up at 4:00am to make crumb buns. She did not believe the crumb bun was extinct. She believed they were just elusive, like some exotic bird that ornithologists stalk with great enthusiasm.

I did not know whether crumb buns were extinct or not, but I was perfectly happy to travel the state looking for them. I do not know if I had quite the level of enthusiasm and commitment that my mother did, but I did my best. Time after time, the crumb bun rumors proved unfounded and we did not find an acceptable rendition of the traditional New York crumb bun. We found a few possibilities, but none quite measured up to our standard. One of them felt like sawdust in the mouth. Another one had way too much lemon taste in the base. A crumb bun should not taste like lemon cake with cinnamon all over it. The most common problem with the crumb buns we sampled was an insufficient crumb to bun ratio. It was a sad state of crumb bun affairs.

Once, I thought I had an answer when I discovered that Buddy Valastro, owner of the Carlo’s Bakery of Hoboken and star of television’s “Cake Boss,” had a bakery in Las Vegas where there was a pretty good imitation of a true crumb bun. When I heard he was opening a store in Orlando, I was excited to introduce my mother to this “almost authentic” confection. Unfortunately, he did not stock crumb buns in the Orlando store. I take it as a personal failure that my mother never got another “real” crumb bun before she died.

When I went on my little beach getaway with my friend recently, we went to an Italian bakery in Fernandina Beach called Nona’s. When I looked in the window, I saw something that looked suspiciously like a REAL crumb bun. Finally, it looked like I had found my quarry.

I bought a crumb bun… and, eureka! It was moist and sweet and spicy. It had the perfect crumb to bun ration. There was no lemon aftertaste. It melted in my mouth, enveloping my tastebuds in a smooth, rich, delicious blanket of awesomeness. It was one of the best lunches I have ever eaten.


What is a delicacy that you remember from your childhood that no longer seems to be around? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a delicious day!

Terri/Dorry 😊

Out To Sea

Recently, my friend and I whisked ourselves away for a beach getaway. We spent three delightful days on Amelia Island hanging out with the four “s’s”- sun, sand, sea, and shops. We had a wonderful time, but there was one catastrophic moment.

We were staying in a condominium a couple of blocks from a beach slightly north of the main beach, so we had been walking to that area for most of our beach time. We had an enjoyable time, but the ocean was pretty rough, and the beach was very, very rocky. I had an excellent pair of water socks that protected my feet very well. My friend had water shoes, but they did not fit so tightly. The tiny rocks that seemed to make up the entire shore filled her shoes like cement. She finally gave up and tried to remove them while still in the water. She successfully removed one shoe but lost the other one in the process. She chased it around in the surf for a bit, but finally realized that resistance was futile. The pink water shoe disappeared into the ocean. We went to Walmart that night and got her a pair of more fitted water shoes.

On our final day, we decided to visit the main beach for a few hours before starting our journey back to our landlubber homes. We immediately noticed that the ocean was less rough and less rocky than at our walkable beach. This perception turned out to be sinisterly deceptive.

Because the ocean was smoother at the main beach, we were able to make our way much further out to sea without being pummeled by waves breaking an inch or two from the shoreline. My friend and I were enjoying the sense of coolness and freedom as we bobbed up and down with the waves. We giggled and chatted like little girls. Neither of us wanted to tear ourselves away from this moment of time to go home.

At some point, we decided to venture out a little further and my friend realized she had her drugstore sunglasses on over her prescription eyeglasses. We decided she should go back to the shore and leave her prescription glasses in her beach bag. I, however, did not think to leave my costly brand-new prescription sunglasses in my beach bag. While waiting for my friend to return, I was pulled under a breaking wave. The undertow caught me, and I thrashed around for a bit. Luckily, I eventually surfaced. Unluckily, my brand-new prescription sunglasses did not.

I suppose that, if something had to go missing, it was better that it was my sunglasses than my lifeless body. I was still pretty bummed. However, I did not want mourning over the loss of my sunglasses to overshadow what had been an exceptionally wonderful time. I decided I was to reframe the situation.

Most of you know my Tinker Bell obsession. You may not know that Tinker Bell lives in Neverland. She collects “lost things” and repurposes them to create new, innovative items that make life in Pixie Hollow easier. My friend’s shoe and my sunglasses are not gone for good. I am convinced they have washed up on Neverland Beach. Tinker Bell will find them and turn them into something wonderful. You never know what a tinker fairy can do with a water shoe and pair of sunglasses!

What is the strangest thing you have ever lost to Mother Nature?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Hope you don’t hit rough waters today!

Terri/Dorry 😊

Dear Mrs. Rice

When I was a little girl, Mrs. Rice was the director of the children’s choir at my church. I joined the choir when I was eight or nine, during the late 1960s.

I have not thought about Mrs. Rice in many years. The other day, though, I put on a dress that touched a Mrs. Rice memory. Mrs. Rice always wore these wonderful long bohemian/peasanty kind of dresses. They were fitted through the bodice and flowed from her natural waist. The dress I put on reminded me of her dress and her body and her beauty. Vivid memories of that time and of Mrs. Rice scuttled into my brain. Mrs. Rice always fascinated me.

Her body was lush and soft and solid, all at the same time. Mrs. Rice was an artist and a performing musician. She made wonderful art in oils. She played the guitar. She had a voice as sweet and clear as a mountain spring, with an exuberant undertone that reminded me of a brook running merrily into that spring. Her personality was warm and enveloping and comforting. She had dark, exotic hair. Her complexion was pale, and she always wore makeup, including very red lipstick. Her eyes sparkled. She reminded me of Snow White if Snow White had been a gypsy. As a child, I always had the sense that there was something about Mrs. Rice that did not quite fit in with the rest of the suburban mommies in my parish. I do not know what her backstory was. I did not care then, and I do not care now. All I remember is that Mrs. Rice was wonderful, and I loved her.

I went googling to see if I could locate Mrs. Rice. I am guessing she would be somewhere between 80 and 90 now. I did find a photo from the Orange County Register, our local newspaper in the town where I grew up. The photo was dated in 2013 and Mrs. Rice was leading a group of school children singing at a celebration to dedicate the parish school’s new playground. She was wearing the same kind of dress, the same bright lipstick, and had the same dark hair. I checked in with a friend of mine who has connections in that parish to see what he knew. It turns out that Mrs. Rice is still alive but is ending her journey in this world even as I write this. My friend did get me an address, however.

I decided to write to Mrs. Rice to tell her what kind of impact she had on me, even fifty plus years later. From what I understand, she is at the point of her journey where she probably will not be able to comprehend or process a letter from me. I still want to try. Some part of her may delight in hearing the impact she had on me and, I am sure, lots of children like me.

Dear Mrs. Rice,

I do not think you would remember me, but you were someone very special to me when I was a little girl. I sang in one of your children’s choirs when I was 9 or 10 years old, back in the late 1960s. We sang during Mass and, also, I remember one year singing as entertainment at the St. Joseph’s table celebration. This was so meaningful to me because the grade school glee club rejected me and I was devastated, as I had been waiting a long time to be old enough to sing in the choir. You embraced me, both physically and metaphorically, into the church children’s choir.

Your kindness meant so much to me then, filling me with confidence and a feeling of worth. It was not just the acceptance into the choir, though. There was something about you that just radiated joy, love, and peace. You fascinated me. Your energy was warm and creative. You had the ability to make me (and I am sure, others) feel like I was the only thing that mattered when you talked to me. There was something slightly exotic and different about you that intrigued me, as well. I had the sense, even as a child, that you did not quite fit into the “mommy mold” that most of the women in the parish crafted. I do not know what it was, but I always felt you were a bit outside the traditional clique community. Instead of seeming bothered by that difference or trying to reform yourself into the image of life that the “church ladies” held, you seemed to celebrate your difference. You were an example to me of living in a world, but not of it. I felt that you accepted yourself and loved the life God called you to live. You had that sense of acceptance and celebration not “in spite” of your uniqueness but because of it.

I have thought of you many times over the years. I am now 62 years old, retired, and living in Florida. The other day, I had an experience that brought back my memories of you so vividly, that I had to reach out to let you know of your continued impact.

I purchased a dress and I put it on for the first time a week or so ago. It reminded me so much of the dresses you wore when I was a little girl- long, fitted through the bodice, maybe a tiny bit low-cut, and flowing from the waist. The dress is made of yellow and white gingham. I feel faintly ethereal in it. I applied makeup carefully and spent some effort on my hair.

All my life, I have believed that I look ugly. I do not think there is anything about my looks that is remotely beautiful. I certainly do not look like I belong in a fashion magazine. Even in my younger days, I was not the kind of girl that attracted positive attention or inspired men to cross the street, much less cross the sea, to be with me. I worked extremely hard to be “good enough” or “sweet enough” or “smart enough” or something enough to compensate for my looks.

When I tried on that dress, I realized something. We are not shaped the same. You are more pear-shaped and voluptuous, and I am more apple-shaped and round. You are tall and I am short. Still, in that dress, I saw some similarities. VOGUE would not be interested in featuring us on its cover. Our bodies do not mirror the image of beauty and health that most people accept as fact. We both have extra weight. We both use makeup to create more luminous faces. We both color our hair to feel more energetic and vital.

When I looked at myself in the “Mrs. Rice” dress, I remembered how much I loved you and how exceptionally beautiful I thought you were when I was a little girl. You are beautiful, outside as well as inside. From the way you presented yourself to the world, I believe you knew you were beautiful. That made you even more beautiful and more magnetic. Mrs. Rice, when I realized all this, I realized something important. If I believe you are beautiful, perhaps I need to believe I am beautiful, as well. And perhaps I can.

Thank you so much for all you did for me as a little girl and for the lessons you taught me, almost subliminally, that are still teaching me today.

With love, prayers, and thanks for all you gave me,

Dorothea Goodness Curran

Have you ever contacted someone who impacted your life positively after many years had passed? What was the result? Please leave a comment to share your perspective. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a beautiful day!

Terri/Dorry 😊