From the Editor



“Milestones (Latin: Miliarium) were originally stone obelisks – made from granite, marble, or whatever local stone was available – and later concrete posts. They were widely used by Roman Empire road builders and were an important part of any Roman road network: the distance travelled per day was only a few miles in some cases. Many Roman milestones only record the name of the reigning emperor without giving any place names or distances. The first Roman milestones appeared on the Appian Way.” Wikipedia

When you spend as much time driving, on the road, as we do, mile markers matter; how much further have we to go and how far have we gone.

Lately, it seems like a lot of people, in our life, are arriving at significant milestones; mostly it has been nice to be a part of the momentous occasions, in the lives, of those we love. However, there are also a few of those milestones which are much more somber, though not less significant.

For one such person, who has arrived at a significant milestone, in life, I wrote a short paragraph of congratulations, in a private format, where the only people who could see the post were as tied to this person as I was. My only intention, with the post, was to congratulate this person on their achievement. I fully expected every member of the group to at the very least hit the Thumbs Up emoticon; at most perhaps say a few words of good wishes; after all it cost us all absolutely nothing to click on the Thumbs Up, or Like, or Heart icons. Why would anyone not want to say, hey good job!

Much to my surprise and disappointment, of the more than twenty people who have seen the post, only two made comments, and one of those comments was made by one of the five people that hit Like or Heart. Why is that? Why would you not want to wish this person well, if you are able to do so?

Yes, I will admit that my first rush of anger turned to the people who saw the post, and claim to be Christians, but I will leave them in God’s hands and instead grieve for us all, as I wonder why, as a society, we are choosing to be mean-spirited instead of kind, something I truly do not understand.

Why are we not happy for each other when something wonderful or even mildly nice happens? It seems like there is not just a lack of civility but we are being permeated by a true spirit of darkness, instead of light.

There are achievements, like learning how to ride a bike or swim, graduating from high school or getting a job, becoming engaged or earning your graduate degree, buying a new car or house, getting a clean bill of health or welcoming a baby into your family, or taking a dream vacation or being promoted, or winning a championship or losing those last ten pounds, or any of the other dozens upon dozens of things that we each put our heart, head, and back into, whether it is planting a garden, painting the house, or cooking a delicious dinner, that we should be congratulating each other on; after all who does not want to hear someone else say good job!

But more and more, it seems like milestones are simply walked right over; as if people got married or died every day.

As a society it matters that we stop to mark each other’s achievements and support one another in grief; these are the acts that make us human.

We should not live in a world where we cannot share our milestones with each other, because the forthcoming comments will not be kind and people will not be happy for good news or even understanding of heartache.

I often preach the glory of the Dollar Tree, though I always call it the Dollar Store. There is just so much to love about the Dollar Store, but I especially appreciate the wide selection of cards, some as low as two for a dollar! Think about it, for under a dollar you can tell someone Happy Birthday or Good Job on that Lawn! Or for the flat rate you are already paying you can call them, text, email, or congratulate them on social media. Though my favorite is always going to be in person, in person is not always available.

Last month, one of the most joyful milestones we were able to bear witness to, was Patri’s graduation from Dental School, excuse me, Doctor Patri. We were honored to watch this young woman walk across the stage to be hooded and congratulated by her professors, all who have a very good idea of the work, dedication, time, and yes money, required to reach that moment. It was, at the very least, a carrot cake moment; previously to Patri’s graduation, I had only made one carrot cake, since my Mother’s loss, it was after all her favorite cake, and the one we celebrated her milestones with; but Patri’s achievements seemed carrot cake worthy. We love Patri deeply and while I am sure we cannot match the pride and joy her parents feel at her achievement, I would like to think we are at least in their neighborhood; it mattered that moment be marked. And I am so very grateful that we were able to celebrate this joyful day – Congratulations Patty!

The other carrot cake I made, after my Mother’s milestone, was for Kate’s birthday, that first year. Now we are getting ready to celebrate another milestone for Kate, and yes there will be cake, but this year banana cake!

Kate spent the last week of May with her mother, in Cleveland; thus I decided I would take advantage of the time alone and put up the birthday decorations to help welcome her home, and do some wrapping.

I started by going through the plastic bin where I keep the gift bags; I needed to find the bags I use for Kate. Yes, there are bags for Kate, bags for me, and bags for my Mother, all stored together with bags for everyone else. As I went through looking for all of the Winnie the Pooh bags, I came across the bags that have a puppy on them, a dog that looks like our dog, Merry Margaret, who sadly passed away, shortly after Mother.

Since losing Merry, I have stopped using those gift bags, I took them out and debated whether enough time had now passed, and I could reuse the bags; I decided I could not, and put them away again. I did however, take out one of Mother’s bags, to use for Kate. I think it was a good choice.

I then turned to the box of decorations; again, yes, I keep the decorations and use them year after year. I do add to them, like last year, when we celebrated my great niece, and great nephew’s birthdays, at our house, I went out and bought pink unicorns, dinosaurs, and forest animals; but rarely do I discard anything. I may be overly sentimental or materialistic or whatever else one might say, but to me, the acquired treasures in my life speak to history, tradition, perseverance, survival, diligence, hard work, home, and love – all things worth celebrating!

The last birthday decoration is perhaps the most important, the birthday cake lights, which I bought at Target, in 1987, when I absolutely could not afford them; but a purchase I have never regretted. Once the birthday cake lights are on, it is time to celebrate!

I hope the milestones in your life this month are joyful and you have someone wish you well; if they are sorrowful, may you not grieve alone. But I also hope you are able to look around our world and acknowledge other’s milestones, even a strangers; after all we can all use a kind word. That is all for now.

Film’s Recommended by Marcial

This is a trading world and men, women and children, who cannot live on gravity alone, need something to satisfy their gayer, lighter moods and hours, and he who ministers to this want is in a business established by the Author of our nature.  If he worthily fulfills his mission and amuses without corrupting, he need not feel that he has lived in vain.
~ Phineas T. Barnum ~
Ed Wood, US, 1994, 127 minutes, comedy

Keeping Mum, UK, 2005, 136 minutes, black comedy

The Mouse That Roared, UK, 1959, 83 minutes, comedy

The Party, UK, 1968, 99 minutes, classic comedy

Fair Game, US, 2010, 108 minutes, political thriller

The Right Stuff, US, 192 minutes, Drama

The Black Balloon US, 97 minutes, Drama

The Tree of Life, US, 2011, 139 minutes, Drama

Shopgirl, US, 2005, 106 minutes, Romantic Comedy

12 Strong, US, 2018, 130 minutes, Military Drama

In Therapy, Brazil, 2009, 93 minutes, Comedy

Soul Kitchen, Germany, 2009, 99 minutes, Comedy

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, US, 1961, 114 minutes, Comedy

Queen to Play, France, 2009, 101 minutes, Drama

Castaway on the Moon, Korea, 2009, 116 minutes, Comedy

Eat Drink Man Woman, Taipei, 1994, 124 minutes, Comedy

Bride Flight, Netherlands, 2011, 130 minutes, Drama

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sweden, 2009, 152 minutes, Thriller

Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi, Israel, 2003, 94 minutes, Comedy

Ladies in Lavender, UK, 2004, 103 minutes, Drama

Paper Moon, US, 1973, 102 minutes, Classic

Outsourced, US, 2006, 103 minutes, Comedy

Stranger than Fiction, US, 2006, 113 minutes, Comedy

Run Lola Run, Germany, 1998, 80 minutes, Thriller

Frida, US, 2002, 122 minutes, Drama

The Hours, US, 2002, 114 minutes, Drama

Garden State, US, 2004, 103 minutes, Comedy

American Beauty, US, 1999, 122 minutes, Drama

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, US, 2004, 108 minutes, Comedy

The Green Mile, US, 1999, 189 minutes, Drama

Rain Man, US, 1988, 103 minutes, Drama

Chicago, US, 2002, 113 minutes, Musical

The Upside of Anger, US, 2005, 118 minutes, Comedy

Scarface, US, 1983, 170 minutes, Thriller

The Notebook, US, 2004, 123 minutes, Drama

Million Dollar Baby, US, 2004, 133 minutes, Sports drama

Good Bye, Lenin!, Germany, 2003, 121 minutes, Comedy

Finding Neverland, UK, 2004, 101 minutes, Drama

Spanglish, US, 2004, 131 minutes, Comedy

The Aviator, US, 2004, 170 minutes, Drama

The Bridge on the River Kwai, US, 1957, 167 minutes, Action

Pulp Fiction, US, 1994, 154 minutes, Thriller

The Magnificent Seven, US, 1960, 128 minutes, Western

Zorba the Greek, Greek, 1964, 142 minutes, Classic

O Brother, Where Art Thou?, US, 2000, 106 minutes, Comedy

La Strada, Italy, 1954, 108, Drama

In Bruges, UK, 2008, 107 minutes, Thriller-Comedy

Whatever Works, US, 2009, 92 minutes, Comedy

Good Morning Vietnam, US, 1987, 119 minutes, Comedy

Awakenings, US, 1990, 120 minutes, Drama

Patch Adams, US, 1998, 116 minutes, Comedy

Captain Abu Raed, Jordan, 2008, 102 minutes, Drama

Bandits, US, 2001, 123 minutes, Comedy

Lucky Number Slevin, US, 2006, 110 minutes, Thriller

The Chorus, France, 2004, 97 minutes, Drama

Butterfly, Spain, 1999, 97 minutes, Drama

K-Pax, US, 2001, 121 minutes, Science Fiction

Winter in Wartime, Netherlands, 2008, 103, Drama, Suspenseful

Elling, Norway, 2001, 90 minutes, Comedy

Il Postino, Italy, 1995, 108 minutes, Drama



 Seeing is Believing




In a previous article I have written about telemedicine. I appreciate telemedicine, “skip the trip” mindset, which in some cases, can be quite burdensome. There are many people, who have to schedule personal time off from work, for a doctor’s appointment, which usually results in at least a half day into vacation time. Scheduling time for an ophthalmology appointment can be equally challenging.

But did you know that you can have an eye exam in the convenience of your home?

An optometrist by the name of Steven Lee was in a middle of an eye exam when a patient asked him, “why can’t we do this at home?” This question to Steven Lee would change his focus and after doing exams day in and day out, he thought there must be a better way.

Did you know that the eye exam was developed in the 1800’s, and until 1921, there had been little change to an eye exam? But in 1921, the Phoropter, also known as a refractor, was invented. The refractor, is the device that we look through as the ophthalmologist says, which looks better, a or b?

Steven Lee would partner with an entrepreneur, Aaron Dallek and together they would develop the first application that would enable a patient to take an eye exam from the comfort of their home.

They called their company, Opternative and all you need is a computer. Opternative is the first online eye exam that delivers a valid prescription, signed by an ophthalmologist for glasses or contact lenses. The exam consists of images that are displayed on a screen. The user calibrates the test to their screen size by using a credit card as a measuring device, then responds to the images and answers questions to what they are seeing. In total, the eye exam takes ten minutes and costs only thirty-five dollars.

The other problem that Steven Lee would solve with Opternative, would be to help more people be able to see clearly, without the pressure that many of us experience when we go to an ophthalmologist. It is not uncommon to feel as if you have to purchase the eyewear and materials at the eye doctor office. In fact, I personally have felt bad when I just ask for a prescription.

Today, Opternative is not the only business to provide an online eye exam. Warby Parker developed an application called Prescription Check that also provides a virtual eye exam.

Opternative, nor the other online eye exam providers are stating that people should never go and get an eye exam, they are just providing an alternative to address our need to see, rather than waiting years between a checkup.

As always, we need to safely Connect and be aware of the personal identifying information that we provide. Opternative does provide a HIPAA platform and encrypts the data they receive, so check HIPAA status before doing an online eye exam and stay safely connected.


Public Square

Public Square

How Much Longer Will they Stand?     I will forever love the open road; those endless stretches of highways with uninterrupted vistas of the horizon and if you are lucky a road side attraction worth a detour. While I will agree that what we think of as abandoned buildings can be bitter sweet;...



A Tempting Stroll Through Paradise Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden          ...

~ Aristophanes~

High thoughts must have high language.

My Mother’s Favorite Verse

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”~ Jeremiah 33: 3 ~



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