A Haunting Voice

Somedays everything goes right–Today was not one of them. The day started out fine enough. The perfect cup of coffee. My oatmeal found the perfect place between too soupy too thick. And, my blueberries were sweet with a hint of tartness. I looked out the window, the sun was shining, the sky blue without a trace of clouds, and the birds darting in and out of the birdfeeder as if they were guided by air traffic control at O’Hara Airport.

And then, “Ray? Got a moment?”

The voice.  A voice that has been haunting me for the past couple of weeks. It was Z uh or whatever her name was today.  I was trapped. I had no place to hide. She was standing in the doorframe smiling holding a large clear coffee cup, filled with black gold. Black gold I made for myself. I can already feel my lack of caffeine heading toward a monster headache.

“Yes, Z uh?”

“It’s Me Lu, I think the name gives me an intriguing personality.”

“Oh, it does something for your personality, that’s for sure.”

“BTW, thanks for making coffee for me this morning.”

At that moment, it struck, right above the right eye. My right eye felt like it was the size of a bowling ball. I was heading toward the mother of all caffeine withdrawal headaches.

“Something wrong, Ray?”

“Where do I begin?” I said.

“How about beginning by listening to what I have to say.”

“Have a seat My Shoe. Like the old Frasier show, ‘I’m listening.’”

“It’s Me Lu. Do you think you should have your ears checked for wax plugs?”“My hearing is fine.”

“My hearing is fine.”

“I was online this morning. And, I found something very interesting.”

I raised my eyebrows, hope in my heart Me Lu might be thinking of moving on. I said, “A new boyfriend? A new alt ego dating site?  A new place to go with your friend from the mystery writers blog?”

“Wrong on all three.  There is a cleanup on the River today. I thought you and I could go and pitch in.”

“Why don’t you and your friend from the mystery writer’s blog, whom, by the way, I’ve never met, go. I’m busy with my blog.”

How are you going to meet people if you don’t get involved? The closest you get to getting involved is waving to neighbors when you take the trash out.”

“I wouldn’t have to do that if you picked up your share of the load around here.”

“Too late, Ray. I already signed you up. I knew you would agree. It’ll be fun.”

“What are you doing? Leave that alone. I didn’t save my work. That’s just not right.”

“It’s the only way it could get you away from your computer. If what you were writing was like the rest of your blogs …”

We are a community people. As a community people, we can work together to build a stronger, sustainable, healthy community. Whatever our gift is, we can contribute it to our community through our involvement. I will take Me Lu’s advice and get involved. I will be doing something meaningful to benefit those who live in my community and me as well.


Are There Dating Sites For Alt Egos

No writer’s block today. I feel as if I’m on a rocket named mood swing. I have blog ideas riding my dendrites as if they were at the San Antonio rodeo. If only one of them would hang on for eight I might have something.


“Z uh? What’s wrong? You sound depressed. Did you catch it from me yesterday? Your name is still Z uh, right?”

“I didn’t have the energy to change it.”

“You want to talk?”

“Are you going to listen or pretend you’re listening?”

“Can I do a little of both? You know how my mind works. Don’t take it personally. You have a good three or four minutes of my full attention. After that, I lose control. An alien force takes hold of my mind and sends it at warp speed to places in the cosmos that no man or woman have ever traveled.”

“Give me a break with the

Z uh’s comment took me aback. I’ve never thought about Z uh having a boyfriend. “What kind of boyfriend?” I asked with a bit of trepidation in my voice.

Z uh gives me a look that tells me not to go there. She said, “Are there any dating sites for alt egos?”

“Dating sites for alt egos? You mean characters like you who’ve taken on a life?”

“Duh! Of course.”

“Let me check. I’ve found one. It’s called Alt Egos Need A Life dot com. Let’s check it out.”

“Thanks for helping me, Ray. Maybe I’ll find that special alt ego.”

“Don’t hold your breath, Z uh. I got to warn you, there are a lot of sick, weird, seriously warped alt ego personalities floating around.”

“Give me your laptop. I don’t trust you filling out my profile.”

“It sounds like you’ve done this before.”

“I previously used one or two or three or four of my aliases.”

“Any luck?”

“All bad. But I haven’t tried this site. I’m feeling better already. I’m taking charge of my life.”

“There’s a phone call for you.”

“Who is it? I’m busy.”

“Your girlfriend from the mystery writers blog wants to know if you want to go with her to an alt ego club tonight.”

“Don’t wait up.”

“Be careful.”

“Okay. You’re a good friend, Ray.”

What is a friend? We all need them. It’s nice to have lots of friends. It’s even better to have at least one or two real friends who’ll drop everything to help when you’re in trouble. The kind of friends who don’t count the cost, time, or want payback. They pitch in because they’re your friend. This is the kind of friend I want to be. As Bruno Mars said in his song, Count on Me. “You can count on me like one, two, three I’ll be there. And, I know I can count on you like four, three, two you’ll be there.” 



The Black Hole All Writers Fear

“Ray? Ray? Ray? Quit hiding from me. Where are you? It’s not like you. I’ll find you. Ah hah! The scent of a rich dark roast coffee, with a hint of a smokey, yet filled with the unmistakable trace of the world’s richest chocolate. There you are. What are you doing in your closet grasping hold of your coffee with both hands? What are you afraid of, Ray? Together, we can face your fears.”

“Please, Tay. Leave me alone. I don’t want to see anyone, especially you.”

“What’s wrong, Ray? You can call me  Z uh.”

“Who? What happened to Tay?”

“It rhymed with Ray. My name’s spelled Z space uh. I need my own identity. Don’t take it personally, but look at you, you’re a wreck. You’re worse than a pileup on a San Antonio freeway where a taco food truck tipped over. Worse, a barbecue food truck back ended it. The people of this city will do anything for either delicacy.”

“You are driving me nuts. I’ve writer’s block. Nothing is coming to me. Nada. I’m looking into the black hole all writers fear and I see no way out.”

“I was afraid of this, Ray. I could see it coming.”

“Why didn’t you warn me? Why didn’t you give me a clue?”

“Come on, Ray. What’s the first rule of your species?”

“Don’t ask for advice.”

“And, the second rule of your species, almost tied for first place, Ray?”

“This is painful Z uh. It’s, it’s …”

“Spit it out, Ray.”

“Lord, it hurts. It’s when given advice, ignore it at all costs. Why was I hiding?”

“The Sox lost. You take losses hard, Ray.”

“You sure? I think it was something else.”

“It’s another thing about your species, Ray. The mind can only hold so many facts.


Ego, a sense of foolish pride, a spirit of independence all can get in the way of seeking advice or listening to it when offered. Seeking advice, listening, testing it to see if it makes sense helps us to navigate through life’s choppy waters.

I Don’t Do Fridge’s, Floors or Flamingos

Today is trash day. Three cheers for Tuesday trash day. I’ll add an extra T and make it an alliteration. It’s Tuesday Terrific Trash day. It’s terrific because the trash smells. I decided to clean the refrigerator this past weekend.

“Hold on, Ray. Who cleaned the refrigerator this past weekend?”

“I bolted the door. Set the alarm. How did you bypass my security, Tay?”

“I made friends with a mystery writer on a blog close by. Have to say it, Ray. Her blog is much more interesting than some I’ve read.”

“Why are you rolling your eyes? And, what does your friend’s blog have to do with you bypassing my fool proof system?”

“She’s a mystery writer and wrote a few lines having me pick the lock and disarming the alarm. Simple enough. Go girl power. BTW, we’re having girls’ night out and spending it here.”

“I’m fine with that. Can I join?”

“There you go spoiling everything. We’ll hold it at the mystery writer’s blog. Now, let’s get back to reality, who cleaned the fridge?”

“It was my idea, Tay.”

“Who cleaned the fridge, Ray?”

“Not you.”

“Darn right. I don’t do fridge’s, floors, or flamingos.”

“Where did flamingo’s come from?”

“You started the alliteration thing. Now, fess up, who cleaned it?”

“Maid 911. I didn’t catch her name. She was too busy telling me I need to get rid of outdated and moldy stuff.”

“Now you wonder why I like to eat out, often, very often, every night if possible.”

“No, I never wondered. My fridge sparkles. Smells great.”

“When are you going to fill it?”

“Let me enjoy the clean, almost new feeling.”

“We could have cut this blog in half if you came clean quickly.”

“There are guys who read this blog. Coming clean is a step by step process for my species. It’s like tying a shoe. First, you put your shoe on. Second, check to make sure it’s on the right foot.”

“Stop, Ray. Stop.”

“BTW, can I join you at the mystery writer’s blog?”

Being truthful isn’t easy, especially when it comes to acknowledging something we’ve done or failed to do. Being truthful is important to a healthy, loving relationship. It’s the glue that builds trust one step at a time. 


I Need More Than Talk

I love thunderstorms. I enjoy the fury of the rain, the wind gusts, and the flashes of lightening. I especially like them at night. They help me to sleep.

“Are you nuts?”

“I thought I gave you the day off,” I said.

“Nice try. I have friends who are frightened by thunderstorms.”

“You don’t have any friends De. I should know. I didn’t create any for you.”

“Scared I’ll organize them?”

“You know it. Besides my name isn’t De. I don’t know where you come up with this nonsense. My name is Te. It’s pronounced like a T and an A.”

“Like Tay?”

“It’s sophisticated and yet, edgy.”

“Where is this coming from?”

“All you’re giving me is dialogue. I need more than talk. When we’re through writing this blog, I’m going to start thinking about the look I want.”

“Let’s get back to the weather, Tay.”

“There’s a reason all the weather apps warn you about thunderstorms. Do you have masochistic tendencies?”

“Where’d you come up with that?”

“I follow a psychologist blog. It helps me to understand you. Don’t worry, I don’t use your name when I comment. I only ask him to check out your blog. WordPress might be contacting you. Don’t blame me. It’s the psychologists who turned you in.”

“I like pro football and that’s dangerous.”

“Again, nice try comparing pro football to a supercell thunderstorm.”

“I didn’t say anything about a supercell thunderstorm.”

“Now we are making progress. You think your description could use a few modifiers?”

“What would the guys at the gym say? I can hear it now. “Here comes Ray. He likes baby thunder, bitty flashes of lightning and wind gusts up to five miles an hour. Tell me how I’m going to handle that?”

“I’ll never understand your species. Honestly, I suppose you want to run out in the middle of the storm and video yourself.”

“You got it.”

Relationship building is hard work. It doesn’t mysteriously happen. Two people make an effort to learn about each other and to create a space for two people to nurture the seeds of a loving relationship. It’s not easy. When two people work at it, it is always worth the effort.




A Rented Room at the Motel Dullsville

“You’re in a rut, Ray. It’s making you a dull, dull, dull boy. I’ll leave your writing alone, maybe. Let’s face it, without me, you’d be arrested for walking on the red carpet with no invite. Know what I mean?”

“No, I don’t know what you mean. If I ever get invited to walk on the red carpet, I won’t be holding your arm.”

“After everything I’ve done for you? You’ll be singing a different tune when the invite comes.”

“Change of subject, okay. Dull? I’m anything but dull. Why I’m up every day at 5:30.”

“Strike one.”

“I exercise, shower and have Greek yogurt and oatmeal.”

“Strike two. At least put some cinnamin on your oatmeal, blueberries, even. How many days in a row have you been eating vanilla Greek yogurt? You really want to continue, Ray. Anyone can see where this is leading.”


“Duh? Dullsville.”

“Well, you’re not much better,” I snap defensively.

“How so? I change my name almost every day. To keep you on your toes I’ve moved off of one letter names. You can call me, De. It rhymes with free. And, glee. It might be short for de-lightful. Or, delicate.”

“Or, deranged or demented.”

“See, that’s another thing, you’ve got to start looking on the sunny side of the street. See the rainbow after the storm. Open those baby blue eyes, Ray, there’s a great day in front of you.”

“Where did all this come from?”

“I just got through watching a PBS special on positive thinking and breaking up dull, dull, dull routines. I thought of you right away.”

Can we finish this conversation? I have to get to the Y. Today’s my cardio workout.”

“Strike three. You didn’t even see the fastball I zipped past you.”

“De, you’re right. I’m in a rut. I’m riding in the fast lane to Dullsville. I’ve got to break its grip on me.”

“You’ve already rented a room at the Motel Dullsville, Ray. Let’s bust out of here.”

“How, De? How?”

“I’m glad you asked. You’ll have to wait until next week, that’s when part two of the PBS special is scheduled.”

“I’m out of here. I’ve got a cardio class.”

It’s easy to get trapped in routines. They’re comfortable. They tell us what to expect. Not too much effort is required once we’ve practiced them. Yet, they stifle growth. Every once in a while it’s good to take stock of the routines/habits we have and make a few changes. The changes will sharpen our thinking, give us a new perspective, and might even teach something new.


I Never Heard of Male PMS

“Ray, I got a serious question?”

“I only do serious questions on the fifth Tuesday of the month. The next one is in August. And, the one after that occurs during the month that celebrates the birthday of great men.”

“I suppose you were born in October.”

“Scorpio through and through.”

“I figured. My question can’t wait.”

“You’re going against male protocol.”

“Says who?”

“Three guys I work out with at the gym. Jerry said thinking too much hurts his brain. I tend to agree with him. Besides, he said, serious questions cause conflict, bleeding gums, male PMS.”

“Hold it right there, I never heard of male PMS.”

“Now, you’re going somewhere where we can have a serious discussion. Let’s say we do this over iced tea and nachos.”

“Please take me seriously.”

“Hey M, I’m only having a little male fun. No harm intended. Okay. I’m taking you seriously. What is your serious question?”

“Let’s clear something up first.”

“Okay, M.”

“You think only guys can ask serious questions? When was the last time a guy like Jerry asked you a serious question?”

“Come on, Ray. I’m waiting.”

“Does football talk count?”


“Does the NFL draft count?”


“Toppings on a pizza?”

“No, no, no.”

You’re talking real serious, something that goes beyond the scope of most of my species.”


“Okay, what’s the question?”

“Why can’t people have honest discussions without getting upset, like you and me?”

When you speak, I need to listen. I need to listen not only with my ears but with my heart. I need you to know I not only heard you, but I valued what you said. We may not always agree, but when we listen with our hearts and take each other’s words seriously, a path through appears. 



Where’s My Yoga Strap?

“Your hammies a bit tight, Ray?”

“Cut me some slack, Y. I’m stretching. Getting ready to do my sleeping baby, then the happy baby….”

“Who came up with these names? The brainchild of a creative writing class? It sounds more like a group of your species after happy hour.  Speaking of names, I’ve changed mine.”


“No, I’m not Y. I said I changed it.”

“Why, with a W and an h and a y.”

“My fans said your riding this pony into the ground. You need to come up with something a bit more original. So, I changed it to M because it rhymes with gem.”

“You’re a gem alright. Zirconium.”

“Oh, touchy. Can you pull your yoga strap a little tighter?”

“I’ll tear my quad or hamstring or bicep or deltoid.”

“Do you know what you’re doing?”

“No clue. But I think I’ll look cool when I walk into the gym with my yoga mat and yoga strap.”

“Are you going to join a yoga class?”

“Not unless they have a fantasy football league this fall.”

“So, you’re trying to be cool instead of flexible?”

“I’m flexible enough. I let you hang around the blog. I call that flexibility.”

“Good point. Why don’t you leave the mat and strap at the gym tomorrow before you hurt yourself.”

“Every once in a while, you have a good thought.”

Life comes at us fast with changes and challenges requiring us to stretch and learn things we’d just as soon not learn. If we’re not flexible, we hold ourselves back from the possibilities that await us. Flexibility helps us to grow, renew, and recreate ourselves.

Trouble Seemed To Find Me

I’m in favor or second and third chances. Maybe, because I’ve been the beneficiary of second and third chances more than once. Well, more than twice.

“How many, Ray? Let’s be honest,” said Y.

I roll my eyes. Honestly, I’m not a trouble maker. Somehow, growing up, trouble seemed to find me. I could be down by the river far enough away I couldn’t hear my dad or mom call me to do chores. What is wrong with that? I didn’t know it, but I was finding my peaceful place.

“You want me to tell you what was wrong with that?”


“You finally got it right.”

“Leave, I’m writing a serious blog.”

“Can I have another chance?”

“Oh, you are such a manipulator.”

“And, good at it, Ray.”

“It could have been when I was in the Army and left a day early on weekend pass. The First Sergeant only ripped me a new one, if you know what I mean. He gave me a second chance.”

“I don’t. Can you be explicit?”

“It’s a family blog.”


“I’m giving you a second chance, Ray.”

“A second chance for what?”

“Being a bit more sensitive to the characters you create. Once we’re created, we have our own life. I don’t like being threatened, erased, put on a shelf, deposited in a digital file.”

“What did I do to deserve you?”

“Beat me. It’s like winning the Powerball, Ray. Come on, turn up those corners. Unclench the fists, pry open your jaw. That’s better. Now take a deep breath and breath out slowly.”

“You’re not my life coach.”

“You need one. Can I have a second chance?”

We all need second chances.

We all make mistakes, saw the wrong things. Hurt others. Second chances are another word for forgiveness, letting go of hurts, and working to rebuild a stronger relationship. I like second chances and third chances.



I Waited 6 Months For This?

Today is the summer solstice. I waited six months for this day.

“Give me a clue, Ray. Why did you wait for six months for this day? I don’t get it.”

“I was speaking with my readers, not you. BTW, what is your name today?”


“Because I am the writer and you are the creation. That’s Y.”

“You’re right, but your grammar could improve.”


“That’s better.”

“I feel like we’re going in circles. I wanted to write about the summer solstice. I’m off to a good start and you enter and confound everything. Something you do very well.”

“I accept your comment as a compliment.”

“Why? It was meant to show you that you need to take a six-year vacation in another galaxy, light years away.”


“Really? You don’t get it? Let’s be civilized for a moment. What is your name if it is not B, P, or C?”

“I’m Y. So don’t ask me why? Stay with me, Ray. You’ve got some smart folks that read this blog, Only God knows why. My last statement has a double meaning if you’re quick enough to grasp it. Let’s toss the smart, nerdy ones a bonus for reading this far in the blog.”

“What do you suggest, Y.”

That’s the boy. You’re catching on. Here’s a link to the hours of the summer solstice. Most of the maps are North America, but there is a world map in the bunch.

Celebrate the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. It’s a day of light.

Imagine if our lives were filled with light to help others who struggle along the way. Every day would be a summer solstice.