With the power outages so many folks are experiencing due to the damages to the electrical transformers and the power grids that were in the path of Hurricane Sandy; I noticed that people are scrambling to find power source for their mobile phones. Many have cut off their traditional wired phone lines to save cost and to be wire-free and remain more mobile. But there is still that thing called electrical supply that still keeps us wired.

When I decided to cut off my wired-line and install a VoIP phone in my home, I agonized over it. Working in the telecommunications industry for so many years, I know that having that wired-line is a great thing during a power outage most often than not. The wired-line often gets its electrical supply from the phone company. These companies usually have generators and battery back up that will  usually stay running when the electricity goes off. This means calls could still be sent and received.

Now  that I have a VoIP-based service, I am in the same situation as someone with just a mobile phone. If the power goes out, my line will be down and my mobile phone will run out of juice. Yes I received a small battery back up unit with the VoIP service, but this has a short supply life. Now I am thinking if it’s worth it to get the basic line and have it siting there for such a situation. After all, I am living in Florida, the state that sits in the path of hurricanes coming off the coast of Africa, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico! While I mull this over, I will keep my fingers crossed and keep praying that we keep having the luck that they continue to pass us by. Even more so, I hope that we come up with a better way to charge our devices via solar technology.

What do you think?

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I was saddened by the events in the Northeast area as I watched the devastation that Hurricane Sandy caused for so many.  So I played some music; worked on my presentation for the upcoming workshop that I will be conducting this weekend; and pulled out one of my poems that I wrote about my mom’s garden. It always seems to cheer me up and reminds me that you can find hope in a garden. My prayers  continue for the folks up north. Much love.

Ma’s Enchanted Garden on the Little Corner Lot

I drove from Miami

from the condo buildings

from the city life that is surrounded by

more concrete than trees.

I drove to Orlando

to my mother’s house

to the quite of the suburbs

and homemade iced-teas.

I pulled in the driveway

remembering to

apply the emergency brakes;

I didn’t want my car to

end up in the lake.

My Ma’s house sits

on a hill in the midst

of a third of an acre lot.

It is surrounded by

her inviting garden with

flowers, trees, and bees

on this corner lot.

A manicured lawn

edged, trimmed and mowed

 is the first to greet you.

It is quite composed,

decked out with

shrubs of Indian Hawthorne

Viburnum and Holly

including the

Double Knockout Rose.

Right of the house

are  loquat,  oleander

and crepe myrtle trees;

all gently swaying in

the warm summer breeze

providing shade from

the glaring sun’s degrees.

Graceful Gladiolus

Stately Sunflowers

Texas Petunias

Day Lilies and

Amaryllis are

rooted on display

left of the house;

preening in their

beauty  a part of

nature’s bazaar

The back garden,

Ma’s pride and joy

is filled with fruit:

avocados, oranges, tangerines, peaches

pineapples, guavas, mangos, sugar cane

strawberries, cherries and grapefruit

It has vegetables and herbs;

peppers, scallions, onions,

cabbages, callaloo, yams,

coco, rosemary  and thyme

all nurtured and primed

Inter mixed with the

Canna Lilies, Oleanders

 Impatiens and Marigolds

On any given day,

You can hear the tinkling

Of the wind chimes

See the twirling

Of the plastic windmills

Hear the running

Of the water in the fish pond

Watch the dancing

Of the birds in their bath

All enter in this place

blue jays, cardinals, humming birds

owls, doves, all sorts of birds;

bees, butterfly and lady bugs,

lizards, frogs, worms, benign insects,

gold fish and mire humans.

But all are not welcomed

feral cats, bobcats, squirrels, slugs,

snakes, mosquitoes, spiders

all considered outsiders.

Ma’s enchanted garden on

this little corner lot

is filled with

such magic

the magic of nature

the magic of nurture

the magic of life and love


Marlene M. Bryan



Building damaged by Hurricane Sandy (pic from Clara Barragan’s mobile phone).

Hurricane Sandy came ashore with her powerful gale winds and pounding rain upon New York City and a large area of the United States from Florida to Massachusetts . We are accustomed to seeing such occurrences in Florida, not in New York. In fact, most of the Northeast USA is experiencing what we in the South face annually. I am riveted to my television watching the storm take its hit and causing great damage.  Reading  that the subways are flooded in New York or seeing the Atlantic City Boardwalk under water is stunning.

New York holds a special place in my life, I spent most of my years there. I know I’m not alone in this respect. New York has played hosts to many visitors and former residences. I know most of us are praying for the best for friends and families in New York and all the areas that this storm is affecting. Please take this time to stay safe and when this storm passes, as it will, pull together as great citizens of this wonderful country and help each other. Share your food, water, shelter,  and other goods with each other. Help each other to clear debris.  We will do our part to send necessary goods to you all. Some will  even travel to lend a hand.

Be strong, be brave and be safe!

On Friday when I picked up my dress for the North Broward Links Gala Contest: Dancing with The Stars; I noticed that the tailor had butchered the bottom. He was supposed to take off 1-2 inches, instead he took of about four inches and hem was very uneven. That was the second dress he had ruined! I panicked and call my dance partner, Miguel. He told me to call our friend Dennis who knows how to work magic with the sewing machine. I left the boutique quite upset and disappointed.

I went over to Miguel’s house and Dennis had his sewing machine out. He measured cut and sewed most of the night. While he was sewing, Miguel and I practiced our dance routine. When Dennis was done, the dress looked a hundred times better. Then they had the brilliant idea to add feather boas at the bottom to hide some of the slight imperfection that remained. I woke up early Saturday morning and drove to the nearest Party City store. I bought four white feature boas and took them to Dennis. He sewed them onto the dress. The dress was transformed into a true Ginger Rogers style of dress.

I rushed home and got ready for the Gala Miguel, Dennis and our friend Jackie picked me up. When we got to the venue, we met the five other couples that were also competing. Needless to say, we were all very nervous. Miguel and I were happy to find out we were selected for the fourth spot; no ones likes being first in these types of competitions. Dennis came to the dressing room and helped me with my makeup. I have never worn false eyelashes, but again Dennis worked his magic and made me look more like the Swan Princess, ready for the ball. When our turn came, Miguel escorted me onto the dance floor, my heart was practically in my throat. He gave me a twirl as they introduced us and the audience applauded.

The music began. Although I was still nervous, my fear went away with the familiar voice of Frank Sinatra piped throughout the hall, singing “The Way You Look Tonight.” We danced and spun, hopped, quick-stepped, waltz, twirled and had a great time enjoying the dance and the audience’s responses to our moves. The audience, wooed and clapped whenever they liked a particular step. Next thing I knew it was over just as quickly as it began.

We sat and our assigned table and the judges made their remarks : loved the dance, loved Frank Sinatra, loved moves and wanted to steal my dress! Hahaha.  They raised their scores: one 10 and four 9’s.  “Wow! No Way,”  was my thought when I saw them. We waited while the last two couples danced. The last couple had a professional dancer as part of the team. I must say he was fantastic. He even lifted her a few times. There was no way, Miguel and I were going to do such moves.

Finally, they contest ended and they had us back on the dance floor for the announcement of the winners. To my shock and our great surprised, we placed the second and received two beautiful awards!  The professional guy with the lifts came in first place.  I must say, Miguel, Dennis and Jackie truly turned this techie, geeky, uncoordinated woman into a Swan Princess last night. Best part is that there were well over 400 people in attendance and lots of money was raised for the scholarship fund for the kids.  I also have three new awesome friends: Miguel, Dennis and Jackie! Happy, happy, joy, joy!

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When I agreed to help out with the North Broward Links charity event to raise money for disadvantage kids scholarship fund; I had no idea what I was getting into. The Gala’s theme is Denim and Diamonds; attendees are instructed to wear denim and a sparkle tops or sports jacket for men. That is fine, but my participation in the fundraiser is  to be a contestant in the organization’s version of Dancing with the Stars.

I told my girlfriend who recruited me, that I am accident prone and generally quite uncoordinated. I tried all the excuses that I could think of, inorder  to not be in the contest. She convinced me that it was for a great cause and she would find a partner that is an awesome dance. This person would make me look good on the dance floor.

Enter Miguel, the brave soul ,who agreed to be my partner and to train me. It started out a little rough, he would say go left and I would go right. At some point, he had to remind me that he was leading…there goes the control freak in me again. He has been stepped on, kicked and hit in the nose, all by yours truly. Come on, I’m into techie stuff (great technical terminology), what do I know about dancing? There were times that I thought Miguel must of thought: “ What the heck did I get myself into? This woman has too left feet!” Nevertheless, he was very patient with me and he encouraged me whenever I messed up.

After a number of days and hours of practicing, we will compete tonight in front of 400 people. I have the accessories, my gown, the music, my dancing shoes and I hope to remember to bring along my self-confidence. There are butterflies flying around my stomach, but I hope to shoo them away once the music starts. A few hours from now I will see if this clumsy Cygnet becomes a graceful Swan. To be continued…

Live a Diamond Life! Live a Life of Purpose!

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