Monday, August 05, 2019


Daily Quote: “Leaders fail when they rely on their title for respect.” – Matt Beeton

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

 MistiCon Pro-Photos
Baroness von Huffledor
Saturday / July 20th


PERSONAL NEWS #293
July 2nd, after work, I had an appt with foot doctor for continued treatment of Plantar Fasciitis.

July 4th, office closed for the holiday.  I enjoyed a delicious Sushi lunch with a friend in my hood. We caught up on news. Volunteered as usher with another friend at the Broadway play INK in the evening. Excellent play, which closes this Sunday, so get your tix now. Afterwards, I joined a few friends for dinner before heading home.

July 6th / 7th, I visited Mom in upstate NY to assist with errands, chores, groceries, antique shopping, and farmers market and out to breakfast with friends.

July 8th, after work, I had a much-needed 1-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

July 9th, after work, I had an appt with foot doctor for continued treatment of Plantar Fasciitis.  Then home to jump on a BFP AC Committee conference call.

July 10th, after work, I jumped on a productive BFP fundraising committee conference call.

July 11th, after work, I attended the monthly SGI Buddhist meeting in my hood.

July 13th, after getting a much-needed manicure, I headed into Manhattan to join a friend at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the CAMP costume exhibit, plus the sunset views on the roof garden.

July 14th, after taking care of errands / chores, I did some shopping at Costco, and then a much-needed pedicure.

July 15th, after work, I had a much-needed 1-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

July 16th, after work, I had an appt with foot doctor for continued treatment of Plantar Fasciitis.  Then headed uptown to meet with a friend for dinner and handle alterations of HP school robes.

July 17th, after work, I attended the delightfully fun off-Broadway musical PUFFS with other members of TGTSNBN.

July 20th, I headed up to Tarrytown on MetroNorth for the wonderfully delightful Harry Potter convention called “MistiCon” at a hotel.  The horrible heatwave was brutal over the weekend, but I staying in the air-conditioned hotel from 9:30am to 8:20pm.  Wore two different Hufflepuff costumes throughout the day and utilized a friend’s hotel room as my changing area.  Did some shopping at the crafts fair, sat in on some panel discussions, pro-photos taken by Babs, and chatting with many friends / acquaintances.

July 21st, I headed back up to Westchester County to visit with friends of the family in Pound Ridge and then Candlewood Lake in CT.  I took the remainder of my father’s ashes to spread around “certain parts” of Pound Ridge and Candlewood Lake.  The horrible heatwave was still with us and it is supposed to let up around Tuesday.  Many memories from my youth in visiting my old hometown and hanging out at Candlewood Lake.

July 23rd, after work, I went to the monthly SGI Kent District Buddhist meeting in my hood.

July 25th, during my lunch break I had an appt with foot doctor for continued treatment of Plantar Fasciitis.  After work, I attended a fun watercolor Meetup session near Madison Square Park.

July 27th, took care of many errands, chores, shopping, laundry and hired the services of a new housekeeper [Rani].  I had a much-needed 1-hour massage therapy session [4pm] with Eric at the apt. In the evening, I watched the sunset at a pier in my hood and enjoyed the lovely breeze.

July 30th, after work, I got a much-needed manicure in my hood.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

 Baroness von Huffledor at MistiCon
Saturday / July 20th
Tarrytown NY

Daily Quote:  “If you want to understand any problem in America, you need to focus on who profits from that problem, not who suffers from that problem.” – Dr. Amos Wilson

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Daily Quote: “Creating a mission statement or mantra and setting personal and professional goals can boost confidence and empower you. Confidence is being certain about the truth; knowing and appreciating one’s own abilities through that truth. To be certain of something you should feel comfortable and knowledgeable. Goals that include opportunities to learn, challenge comfort zones, inspire creating, connecting with supportive others, and promote inner happiness build confidence, which empowers individuals to accept and celebrate their unique qualities.” – Dana Buchanan [professional assistant]

Tuesday, July 09, 2019


This month I celebrate my 2-Year Anniversary in joining and becoming a practicing Nichiren Buddhist.  Many thanks to Veronica in gently guiding me in that direction.

Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo … The essence of Buddhism is the conviction that we each have within us the ability to overcome any problem or difficulty that we may encounter in life.  This inherent potential is what we refer to as the Buddha nature, a state of life characterized by limitless courage, wisdom and compassion.

The founder of Buddhism, Shakyamuni, or Siddhartha as he is sometimes known, expressed this law of life in The Lotus Sutra where he revealed that all people, without exception, possess this Buddha nature and are inherently worthy of respect.

If you wish to learn more, go to http://www.sgi-usa.org/
 Visited the Homestead
Upstate NY
July 6th / 7th


Daily Quote: “A friend is someone who helps you up when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen.” – Winnie the Pooh

Wednesday, July 03, 2019


Daily Quote: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Monday, July 01, 2019


Daily Quote: “To build a strong team you must see someone else’s strength as a compliment to your weakness, not a threat to your position or authority.” – Christine Caine
PERSONAL NEWS #292
June 3rd, after work, I had a much-needed 1-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

June 5th, after work, I had a doctor’s appt with my internal medicine chappy.

June 6th, during lunchtime, I had a much-needed acupuncture appt.

June 8th, I volunteered with BFP at the annual Brooklyn Pride festival on another lovely spring day.  BFP tables at the street fair every year and we did well.  Afterwards, I headed into Manhattan to visit a friend who is making HP Hogwarts school robes for me.

June 9th, I volunteered as bartender with BFP at their fundraiser and member appreciation event on Atlantic Avenue.  The loft space was amazing; views from roof terrace were lovely, good food / drink and music provided by the Veronica Nunn Trio.  Afterwards, I again headed into Manhattan for a fitting of my robes for HP cosplays.

June 10th, after work, I joined two friends in seeing “Avengers – Endgame” for a 4th time in the cinema.

June 11th, after work, I jumped on the monthly BFP Arts and Culture Collective conference call.

June 12th, I had lunch with a friend down on Broad Street, and caught up on news / gossip.  After work, I jumped on a productive and informative BFP board member conference call.

June 13th, later in the evening I had a lovely phone conversation with a longtime friend on the west coast.

June 14th, after work, I had a much-needed 1-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

June 15th, after completing assorted errands, chores and shopping I joined a good friend to see the film “Men in Black International” at the cinema.  The film was good fun and we enjoyed it.  Afterwards, we had a light dinner at a diner.

June 16th, I signed up for a Costco membership, and then checked out the store in LIC.  Fascinating experience, leisurely strolled about the place and purchased some items.  Due to its location, I had to take Uber Pool there and back.

June 17th, after work, I went to B&N to purchase some DVDs, one of which was “Captain Marvel”.  Then strolled over to the SGI Buddhist Center for some chanting and meditation.

June 18th, during my lunch break I had a foot doctor appt.  After work, I went to the monthly SGI Kent District Buddhist meeting in my hood.

June 19th, after work, I jumped on a productive BFP fundraising committee conference call.

June 20th, I had lunch with a friend whom I had not seen in a year, and it was great catching up on news.

June 21st to 23rd, I visited Mom in upstate NY to assist with errands, chores, groceries, farmers market and out to breakfast.

June 24th, after work, I attended the productive and informative monthly BFP PEJ committee meeting.

June 25th, after work, I got a much-needed manicure in my hood.

June 27th, marks my 2nd anniversary with EA position at the BCF.  After work, I had an appt with my foot doctor for treatment and therapy.

June 28th, after work, I had a much-needed 1-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

June 30th, I hosted a dinner gathering with several friends at the apt on a warm, sunny summer afternoon into evening.  Good food, diverse conversation and company.
Me and Margaret
Dinner Gathering

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Friday, June 14, 2019

Thanks to a friend for the pix from a fundraiser.
Edit utilizing PAINNT app. It's kinda funky and kewl.
I like how my hands look.

Daily Quote: “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.” – Maya Angelou

Monday, June 03, 2019

PERSONAL NEWS #291
May 1st – 2nd, took two sick days from work due to nasty sinus / allergy issues.

May 4th, I met up with a friend of mine for dinner, and we caught up on news and gossip.

May 5th, got a much-needed manicure at a salon in my hood.

May 6th, after work, I had a much-needed 1-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

May 7th, after work, I joined a friend in seeing a movie on Tolkien at the cinema.

May 8th, after work, I attended the productive and informative monthly BFP board members meeting.

May 10th, after work, I visited the Morgan Library and Museum to see several exhibits and visit the gift shop.

May 12th, Mom was rushed to ER in the morning with a 100-degree temperature.  Thankfully, the ER was able to assist her, bring down the temperature, and find out it was not Flu nor Pneumonia.  She was able to go home around noontime.  Amen!  Later on, I had dinner with a friend at YUBA and then we saw the film “Avengers Endgame”.  Even better the second time around.

May 13th, after work, I had a much-needed 1-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

May 15th, after work, I jumped on the conference call with BFP fundraising committee regarding an upcoming event in early June.

May 16th, after work, I attended the event [How to Deal with a Complainer] at the 92nd Street YMCA.

May 18th, after getting a much-needed manicure, I headed up to the NY Botanical Gardens via Metro North.  Weather was a lovely, sunny spring day.  Afterwards, I jumped back on the train to the city, and visited a friend so that she could get my measurements for my HP Hogwarts robes.

May 19th, I volunteered with BFP at the annual Fabulous 5th Avenue street fair on another lovely spring day.  BFP tables at the street fair every year and we did well.

May 20th, after work, I had a much-needed 1-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

May 23rd to 27th, I visited with Mom over the Memorial Day weekend. Prep work on Thursday for Dad’s funeral services on the 24th.  The day of Dad’s services was overcast and abit cool.  After Mom and I got our hair done at the salon, we had breakfast at Country Gals Cafe, changed into our “funeral outfits”, picked up two friends and headed to the cemetery near Saratoga.  Many friends and relatives joined us.  The free military services were nicely conducted, and Dad’s urn was placed in a special “compartment”.  Afterwards, we joined others at the American Legion for food, drink and eulogy’s.  Mom’s brother and sister-in-law stayed with us through 26th.  It was great seeing them.  Road trip around southwestern VT, breakfast at Benson’s, shopping, errands, chores, gardening, relaxation, reading, cable tv, etc.  Overall a good weekend.

May 29th, after work, I had a much-needed 1-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

May 31st, after work, I went to see “Avengers Endgame” for a third time at the cinema.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Reflections on Day of my Father’s Funeral Services
Several days have passed since my father’s funeral services on Friday, May 24th, at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery.  Many speculative thoughts leading up to it, as well as the day itself, plus reflections since then.  Commit to setting it all down while still relatively fresh in my mind.

I must confess that leading up to that day, well, I had a several concerns and anxieties.  No need to go into elaborate detail regarding it all.  Suffice to say, I was anxious about conducting the eulogy with decorum, compassion, abit of humor and hopefully not too much emotion.  Regarding that last bit, yeah, it came striding in from left field.  BAM!  Overall, I was informed after that I did well, and helped along with some humor from my brother.

With Mom’s assistance, we pulled together an array of items to display at the American Legion related to my father.  This we accomplished on the afternoon of May 23rd.  The morning of the 24th, after not sleeping well during the night, we headed to the salon to be nicely coiffed.  [Thank you so much to Gail and Carrie.]  Afterwards, Mom and I enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Country Gals Café, then head home to attire ourselves in funeral outfits.  I wore a tasteful ensemble of navy Land’s End jacket, white blouse, and a navy skirt with a floral design.  Mom was nicely clothed in black with a white cardigan to keep her warm, as the weather was overcast and cool.

We picked up Sue Hohn and Sue Jacobson; whom I refer to as Mom’s step daughters, as they have been so supportive and helpful over the past few years.  We dropped off some food items at the American Legion. Then drove over to the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery for the services.  Arrived at the cemetery entrance by 1pm and witnessed another funeral procession in progress.

The highlight for me, while waiting to start the funeral procession, was reconnecting with my cousin David, his wife Liv and my childhood friend Linda.  Reflecting upon it all brings a warm, happy glow inside.  While waiting for our “funeral procession” to begin around 2pm I spoke with Jim [funeral parlor director], Vinny [ordained minister], plus assorted relatives and friends.  Mom also had to fill out and sign necessary paperwork for the cemetery.  Delightful to see everyone, plus a good turnout that would of made my father happy.

After the funeral procession of vehicles, we congregated in the stone gazebo structure for the military services.  [On a side note; was I calm throughout the day, not really, just my usual high-spirited self  J ]  I assisted my brother Duane in placing our fathers Army dog tags with the urn.  The first segment was the “military services”, which were beautifully conducted by the Army, and quite emotional.  [I was impressed by the flag folding ceremony.]  My father served in the Army during the mid-1950s and stationed in Germany.  The second segment was the “religious services” conducted by Vinny Spiezio.  Nicely done and he got abit emotional twice.  After that, several of us followed the “urn” to the “wall” were it was interred, along with his dog tags.  Everyone else headed to the American Legion for food, drink, conversation, socializing and memorial segment.

On the drive back to the American Legion, we made a “pit stop” to utilize restrooms.  We arrived at the American Legion around 3:30pm along with my Uncle Bill and his wife Claire.  [They were staying with us for two days.]  Everyone was partaking of the potluck / buffet table, engaging in conversation and socializing.  Working with two others, I arranged the “display items” regarding my father, so that our guests could view it all.  Many photos, framed items, “Talk of the Town” interview, 80th birthday scrapbook and a booklet of his colorings.

After socializing abit, and nibbling on some food, Vinny and I gave our “eulogies” for my father.  The guests were great and well-received Vinny’s terrific eulogy.  We finally wrapped up the gathering around 5:30pm.  Hugs were exchanged during the partings, as well as thanking everyone deeply for attending.  Closure, regarding my father, was for the most part completed.  There is still the sprinkling of some ashes to be undertaken this summer in our ole hometown.  Rest in Peace. . . . . 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Charlene’s Eulogy for her Father

Good Afternoon!  Thank you all so much in being here today.  It means a lot, not only to myself, but also to my Mom and Duane, as well as the family.  I can just imagine Dad taking a break from bowling, drinking a cold beer, and BSing with his friends while gazing down upon this scene.  What would he be thinking?  Sentiments?  What the heck moment?  We can ponder on that later.

In the meantime, many thanks to all who sent Mom, Duane and I lovely sympathy cards.  They were all so deeply touching.  One of those sympathy cards, sent to me in late January, was from a Pound Ridge NY resident whom I reconnected with last year.  I would like to share Laurie Bathrick’s special note with you all.


Dear Charlene;

When Katherine told me of your Dad’s passing my eyes filled with tears.  He was such a fun-loving man, much the same as my Dad.  I remembered us racing around the back roads of Pound Ridge with your Dad at the wheel.  I guess he was always a Stock Car racer at heart.

As I think of him along with my Father and Katherine’s Grandpa, I realize that the men of his generation were a special breed.  Stronger, more outspoken, and just plain full of the devil.  Maybe it was growing up in the Depression and World War II that made them the men they were.  I know one thing for sure, we will miss them and they will live in us forever.

You will think of him often, and remember his words of advice, as I do with my Dad.  In time, this will be a great comfort to you, as it is to me now.  You are in my thoughts and prayers always.

Sincerely, Laurie


That warm, kind note is definitely worth keeping.  I shared the part about “stock car racer” with the Marshall family, who are here today.  The part that continues to resonate with me, is regarding “the men of his generation were a special breed”.  Those of you, here today, born during the Great Depression and World War II are, along with my father, one of a kind.

Peace be with you. . . . .
In Loving Memory of William F. Barker
Sept 8th 1935 to Dec 30th 2018
I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one,
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing time and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun.
Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.
(Many thanks to Jim Gariepy Funeral Home of Cambridge NY in providing those “cards” for the family, relatives and friends who attended on the services on May 24th.)





Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Daily Quote: "We must live with vibrant hope. Nothing is stronger than hope. The Mystic Law is itself eternal hope. Happiness belongs to those who never despair, no matter what happens." - Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist SGI President
 NY Botanical Gardens
Saturday, May 18th



Tuesday, May 07, 2019


Daily Quote: “The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.” - Krishnamurti

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

 Glorious Tulips
Brooklyn Botanical Garden
April 27th





 Soh Daiku Drummers
Annual Cherry Blossom Festival
Brooklyn Botanical Garden




PERSONAL NEWS #290
April 1st, after work, I had a much-needed 1.5-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

April 2nd, after work, I stopped by Staples to get a project started for my father’s funeral in May.

April 4th, I had lunch with two acquaintances at COSI and caught up on news, gossip and HP convention stuff.

April 6th / 7th, I visited with Mom in upstate NY to assist with chores, errands, furniture shopping, groceries and dining out with friends.

April 8th, after work, I had a much-needed 1.5-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

April 9th, I had to work late to monitor my bosses meeting and be on a conference call with BFP Arts and Culture Collective.

April 10th, after work, I attended the monthly BFP board members meeting, which was interesting and productive.

April 11th, after work, I participated in the monthly BFP Fundraising committee conference call.

April 12th, after work, I went to see free “Theatre in the Park” at 6pm.  It was the wonderfully brilliant actress Fiona Shaw reciting “The Waste Land” by TS Elliott.  Afterwards, I joined some friends for a birthday dinner party at “Pie by the Pound” pizzeria.

April 13th, I caught up on errands, chores, shopping and laundry.

April 14th, I visited the ugly modernism of Hudson Yards before enjoying a leisurely walk along The Highline.  Afterwards, back in my hood, I enjoyed a delicious late lunch at The Jungle Café.

April 15th, after work, I had a much-needed 1.5-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

April 16th, after work, I enjoyed a delicious dinner with a friend of mine at the PeaceFood Café near University Place.

April 17th, after work, I got a much-needed manicure and did laundry.

April 18th, after work, I picked up the completed Staples project I had requested for my father’s colorings.  Well worth the money, as it turned out nice.

April 19th to 21st, I visited with Mom over the Easter holiday weekend in upstate NY.  We completed many errands, chores, groceries, shopping and dining out with friends.  In addition, my brother and sister-in-law visited on Saturday, so that we could speak with the minister officiating at Dad’s “services” in May.

April 22nd, after work, I had a much-needed 1.5-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

April 23rd, after work, I attended one of the monthly SGI Buddhist meetings in my hood.

April 24th, after work, I attended the productive and informative monthly BFP PEJ committee meeting.

April 25th, during lunch break, I had an appt with my acupuncturist for treatment.  After work, I got a much-needed pedicure in my hood.

April 26th, after work, I shopped at the farmers market in Union Square, and then picked up a few DVDs at B&N.  Then off to the SGI Buddhist Center for a half hour of chanting.

April 27th, around 12pmish I joined a good friend at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.  Weather was windy and cool, but still enjoyable.  Back in my hood; I did grocery shopping, laundry and cleaners.

April 28th, at 3pm I joined a good friend in seeing “Avengers – Endgame” in the cinema.  The end of an era and it was an amazing 3-hour epic film filled with laughter, action, tears and so much more.  Afterwards, we had dinner at a diner to discuss the movie and politics.

April 29th, met up with a friend at lunch-time to talk about “Endgame” and Awesome Con.  After work, I had a much-needed 1.5-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


Health Benefits of Apple Cider VinegarDrinking Bragg’s unfiltered apple cider vinegar can help lower blood sugar levels. By its very nature, ACV can regulate healthy blood sugar levels in the body, which is great for those with Type Two Diabetes. Apple cider vinegar can increase the good cholesterol, so you maintain a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.  Other benefits can be found here .... https://barrierislandorganics.com/ten-acv-benefits/ … Every day I put a teaspoon of ACV into my smoothie or my glass of homemade organic fruit infused water.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Thursday, April 11, 2019


Daily Quote: “At the core of our humanity, we all have the same needs.” – Marshall Rosenberg

Monday, April 01, 2019

 Duchess Living Room
Organized / Sorted / Cleaned


PERSONAL NEWS #289
March 2nd, I headed up to the NY Botanical Gardens with a good friend to view the annual Orchid Show.  As always, it was lovely to see, and less crowds due to the snow fall.  In addition, I ran into an ex-boss and his wife.  We had a wonderful chat about ole times.  Made purchases at the gift shop.  Afterwards, back in my hood, I enjoyed a delicious dinner at The Jungle Café.

March 3rd, I got a much-needed manicure, and then grocery shopping before doing laundry.

March 4th, after work, I had a much-needed 1.5-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt, as my lower back was bothering me.

March 5th, after work, I visited with my friend who has been taking care of my taxes for 20+ years.  After I treated him to dinner, we got to work on the taxes, and the outcome is I owe Fed/State.  Damn you 2017 Tax Plan!

March 6th, after work, I attended the productive monthly BFP Fundraising committee meeting.

March 9th, I joined a good friend in going to see the film “Captain Marvel”, and we both enjoyed it a lot.  Afterwards, we strolled down 42nd Street to have dinner at Ollies.

March 10th, I treated myself to a much-needed pedicure and manicure after doing some laundry.

March 11th, after work, I had a much-needed 1.5-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

March 12th, after work, I attended our second monthly BFP Arts & Culture Collective conference call.

March 13th, after work, I had a much-needed chiropractor appt for my neck, back and lumbar region.  At home, I jumped on the monthly BFP board members meeting / call.

March 14th, after work, I joined three friends for dinner and conversation at The Cauldron down in the Wall Street area.  It was a fun, enjoyable evening.

March 16th / 17th, visit with Mom in upstate NY to help with errands, chores, grocery shopping and dining out at our favorite restaurants.

March 18th, after work, I had a much-needed 1.5-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

March 21st and 22nd, worked late at the office until 8pm due to back-to-back meetings and other duties.

March 23rd, I took care of many errands, chores, groceries and laundry, plus more “spring cleaning” of apt.

March 24th, after I received a much-needed manicure, I headed into Manhattan for the annual “Tolkien Reading Day” held at Simple Studios.  A decent turnout, many good readings and afterwards a few of us went to dinner on 7th Avenue to a nice Japanese restaurant.

March 25th, after work, I had a much-needed 1.5-hour massage therapy session with Eric at the apt.

March 26th, during my lunch hour, I had an appt with a new acupuncturist in my office bldg.

March 27th, after work, I attended a BFP forum called “War and the Green Economy” with keynote speaker Medea Benjamin of CodePink.

March 29th, after work, I joined three friends at the Morgan Library and Museum to see the wonderful Tolkien exhibit.  Visited the gift shop and then we had a tasty dinner at a local diner sprinkled with fun conversation.

March 30th / 31st, I finished up with the spring cleaning; plus assorted chores, errands, grocery shopping, laundry and attending a SGI Buddhist meeting.

Monday, March 25, 2019

 Celebrated Tolkien Reading Day
Sunday, March 24th
 Wonderful Readings
Dinner w/Friends

Monday, March 04, 2019