Memorial Day

The day our nation set aside

A time to honor all who’ve died

They gave their all for you and me

Home of the brave, land of the free

Countless battles and many wars

Their bodies sent home by the scores

Flag-draped coffins brought heroes home

Yet some of them remain unknown

Let us give thanks to each and all

Those who answered our nation’s call

For each conflict heroes fought in

May they never be forgotten


Dedicated to my dear, sweet friend…

A dear friend, I have lost
And, no, she did not die
Alive, but now she hates me 
Can’t get her back, though I try

It happened all at once
Twas nothing to resent
She simply stopped responding
Chat message no longer sent

I was left to wonder
What could I have done wrong
But, I could think of nothing
That’d force her to say, So long

Our friendship, it’s over
It must have run its course
The evil bitch who stole it
Will never perceive remorse

Can’t get my friend back now
Though I’ve tried one last time
But, it was met with anger
Like I’d committed a crime

Dementia does not care
Who’s heart it may destroy
There’s no reasoning with it
They’re no tactics to deploy

Gone as if she had died
Our friendship is no more
Dementia, I quite loathe you
You vile disgusting whore!

The good times we had together
So abruptly they did end
My heart, it’s very heavy
I’ll miss you, my dear sweet friend

Written by Vonda Maxwell Newsome
May 28, 2023


And, so it begins! On my way to Lexington this morning…

We have the first rescue of the 2023 season!

Yes, I do realize that this is very likely a young snapping turtle of some sort. I realized that when I picked it up to move it and it did a complete backflip out of my hands, then proceeded to charge at me with its mouth wide open!

I tried to coax it (prod it along) to the other side of the road with my umbrella. It wasn’t having it and kept biting it. Fine! I let it bite the umbrella real good and while it dangled there like it’d won the battle (not!) I carried it to the other side of the road on my umbrella fishing pole. Turtling pole?

Anyway, just as I was about to set it down in a safe area, it released its gripping jaws and fell into a hole. Not just any hole, mind you. It had to be a hole that he would have a very hard time getting out of on his own.

So, I put my umbrella in its face one more time until it bit it hard and long enough for me to pull its grouchy ass out of said hole. That a-hole remains alive because of my good heart!

Zoo Trip

In early April 2023, I went on a spring break day trip to the Cincinnati Zoo with my youngest daughter, Cassandra, her two kids Emily and Zachary, and our grandson Conner.  After seeing everything we wanted to see, which took less than three hours, we decided to find a “local” restaurant and have some lunch.  We drove through downtown Cincinnati for a bit looking for an ideal place, then spotted Hathaway’s Diner.  It looked like a 1950s-style establishment and we wanted to go inside.  Next up, finding a place to park.  Needless to say, in downtown Cincinnati, or in any downtown for that matter, accessible and convenient parking is not easily procured.  We drove around the block where we spotted a parking garage.  Okay, sure!  Let’s try it.  We proceed to the ticket machine and I press the button.  Out pops that lil ticket that says our entrance has been granted and we may continue to a parking spot that is happily awaiting our arrival.  Lunch soon, everybody!  Now, this parking garage may be the smallest, and tightest claustrophobia-inducing garage I’ve ever been in.  Deep breath.  We persevere and we go down into a basement before we start to go up the various levels.  Around and around we go as I’m getting more antsy by the second, which began to make the kids nervous as well.  Cassandra exclaims, “It’s just a parking garage.  Everybody calm down!”  

Round and round we go. There was not a space to be found, except one with a “compact car only” sign. I drive a compact car—it’s a Honda Fit, for goodness sake! It can literally “fit” inside about any parking space. All except this one. I think the sign needs to say “Motorcycles only.” Anyway, we continue our spiral through all the levels without finding a place to park. Then, we come upon another ticket machine thingy. End of the line? Are we starting over? Confused and a lil nervous because two other cars were behind us, I kind of half parked in an illegal space so I could take a moment to evaluate the situation. Spring break gone bad: Family trapped in downtown parking garage! Then, Emily said, “They’re putting their tickets in there.” They’re putting their tickets in there? Okay, so I backed out of the illegal space and drove toward the ticket thingy. I inserted my ticket into the slot that says “insert ticket here” and anxiously watch the screen to see how much I owed for this nonsensical and unfruitful merry-go-round ride. The machine beeps and the screen says, “Thank you. Have a nice day!” as the gate simultaneously opens for us. That was weird. A turn or two and we’re back out on the street where we see a sign that reads, “GARAGE FULL.”


Don’t Let Hate Win!

“We will do almost anything to not feel pain, including causing other people pain. It’s so much easier to hurt than to feel hurt.” —Brené Brown


“I really don’t care with whom you sleep. I just care what kind of a decent human being are you. It’s such a personal private business and none of mine.” —Betty White


When has hate-fueled violence improved the world we all live in, ever?

I’m sharing a couple pages from my Itchy Nipples’ sequel: The Perilous Comedy Continues. In the book’s description on Amazon, I mention that along with a continuation of the hilarious crap that happens in my day-to-day life, it also contains some not so pleasant, controversial topics.

This is a sampling. It may go against your beliefs and upset you, or it may open your heart a little. My sincere hope is for the latter. Always.

We all want to be loved and accepted for who we are, just as we are.

No, I am not an atheist. I believe in God.

No, I am not against church or religion.

I am, however, against using those things as permission from God to spew hatred and inflict physical harm upon other human beings who believe, live or love differently.

The hate must stop!!

So, this happened today…

Upon entering the store, I’m greeted by a friendly, silver-haired gentleman.

While handing my wedding band to the nice man, I say, “I would like to see about getting this sized.” He inspects it closely then says, “Well. This is a beautiful ring.”

I say, “Thank you! We bought it here twenty years ago.”

“You didn’t buy it from me,” he says kindly.

I look at him quite puzzled. He sure appeared old enough to have been the jeweler 20 years ago. He continues, “You probably got it from the jewelry store next door.”

Turns out, I was in the music shop!

Anxiety vs. Reason

Anxiety vs. Reason

Anxiety says, “Nature is fierce, brutal, and cruel, with so much death.”

Reason says, “Nature is a lovely, awe-inspiring miracle, and is truly beautiful.”

This morning, I went out to check on our second duck momma’s hatchling progress.  I’ve named her Momma Two.  Not wanting to disturb Momma Two, I peered over the drywall that lies vertically creating a barrier between the kitty loft and our machine shed’s main area.  As I was climbing up, I could hear chirping.  Yay!  More babies?  I looked over at the nest and there was still just one duckling. It’s the one that’d hatched a few days ago, but it was all alone.  Momma Two was not in the nest.  

Anxiety is the first to speak up in most situations.  But, sometimes it’s the calmness of Reason speaking to me first, with that badgering Anxiety bitch immediately following.  Her name must be Karen! 

This is a sampling of the internal conversations I deal with regularly.  Keep in mind that all this transpired in less than 20 minutes.  Buckle your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!


Anxiety:  Momma Two has abandoned her one and only baby and it’s going to die!!

Reason:  The unhatched eggs are still covered with feathers, just as Momma has always done, so she’s probably only gone for a break.

Unable to fathom the loss of another duckling, Anxiety quickly scooped the lil guy up and went searching for Momma Two.  

I cradled the fuzzy baby against my chest, gently keeping it contained in my hands.  It continued to chirp and nibbled at my fingertips.  It was so very soft and fragile but tried to escape my grasp, poking its head out between my fingers. I walked down to the pond to see if Momma Two was there.  I see Momma One on the bank with her babies, but no Momma Two.  Where in the heck could she be?

I walked back up to the shed to check the nest again. Nope.  She’s not there.

Reason:  The nest still has eggs in it and you haven’t seen the Momma leave it for days.  And, there is no evidence of any newly hatched eggs.  Give her some time to return.

Anxiety:  But, what if our cats hear the baby chirping? They’ll come and eat it! You’ll see the bloody duckling remains and know YOU let that happen!

I walked down to the pond a second time to see if Momma Two was there.  Maybe she’s under the dock. She wasn’t. I contemplated placing the duckling near Momma One in hopes that she’d come and take care of it. After all, she’s doing an amazing job with her own offspring.  

Anxiety:  But what if you release it and she rejects it leaving it all alone and defenseless in the monster pond?  It will surely be eaten by turtles and you’ll have to watch it all happen! You won’t be able to swim out there and save it in time. And, it’ll be ALL YOUR FAULT!

Reason:  Well, we can’t do that, can we? Momma One has already taken her brood to the other side of the pond.  Let’s go back up to the house and see if Momma Two has returned to the nest.

Momma Two was still not in the nest.  I looked around the house and the backyard.  All the areas that the ducks regularly venture to, and nothing. I checked the nest one more time.  Still no Momma.

Anxiety simply could not leave the “abandoned” duckling in the nest unprotected.

Anxiety:  It’s up to YOU to save it! It’s not moving in your hands as much as it was, so you’re probably suffocating it!

Reason: No, it has merely calmed down and knows you’re keeping it safe.

I found an empty tote and frantically proceeded to create a safe place for the fuzzy baby all the while imagining how I’d keep it alive and wondering at what point I’d release it back into the wild.  I gathered a little bit of straw and feathers that were near the nest, but not in it because you never want to disturb a nest in the wild.  Then I lowered the duckling into the tote.  I placed the tote in the house garage which is very warm.  Ducklings are kept warm and protected by their mothers for their first several weeks, even in the summertime.  

Anxiety:  What do baby ducks eat?  It’ll surely starve!  It’ll be one more death to weigh heavily on your conscience. But, we can’t let it just DIE!

Reason:  Start by placing a small dish of water in the tote.  At least it would stay hydrated.  Then, get a few feed crumbles from the chicken coop.  No, it’s not duck food, but it should keep the fuzzy baby alive until you figure out what to do.

Anxiety:  But, remember when you were a little girl and tried to save that injured dove?  Yeah, you do.  It was hunkered under the doghouse on the patio.  You tried to feed it.  It didn’t eat.  And you remember what happened?  It died!!

I completed the task of providing water and the duckling had a safe place for the time being. But that feisty lil thing tried to jump out of the tote.  Those tiny things can jump surprisingly high, too!  I placed the tote lid in a position to keep the duckling contained while allowing adequate airflow for the sweet, precious, fuzzy baby, then went out to the chicken coop to gather some feed crumbles.

Anxiety:  Well, what are you going to do now?!  Every time you try to help (interfere) with nature, you end up devastated.  There is so much death in nature because it is brutal, heartless and cruel! 

Reason:  Remember when you read about wild ducks and that it’s best to leave the nests and the mommas alone because “they know what they’re doing”?  Try that.  Nature knows best.

Anxiety:  But, how can I just leave them, knowing that they might not survive?  That will be one more thing that I’ll feel guilty about until the day I die!  And people keep asking me to move the ducklings or keep them SAFE until they are grown.  I’m such a piece of shit for not doing that!

After gathering some feed crumbles, I decided to check the nest one more time to see if Momma Two had returned before returning to the duckling. To my surprise and delight, she was there! I went back to the garage, scooped up that fuzzy little duckling and raced back to the shed. I kneeled down near the nest, showing Momma Two what I held in my hands, and released the duckling.

Anxiety: What if she smells human scent on it? Rejects it? Or pecks it to death?!

The duckling resumed its place next to its mother. All was well, and this entire fiasco could have been avoided had I been patient for a few more minutes, giving Momma Two time to return to the nest. She does have to eat and drink now and then. I could’ve merely babysat the little duckling by watching it from a safe distance and keeping the cats away. But, Anxiety ran rampant this time, and I was unable to stop it.

Vonda:  I understand that nature runs its course, that not all offspring will survive their birth/hatching, and that it’s humanly impossible for me to save all the creatures that are facing their demise.  I am one person and that is a burden too heavy for me to bear. I must maintain a healthy respect for nature and trust that it knows best.

Reason:  You are not responsible for relieving the world’s anxiety and stress.  You are not required to overburden yourself with tasks that overwhelm you just to make others feel better.  Start with yourself.  Do what you can reasonably do, then let it go.


At times, it feels like my anxiety is trying to kill me and on occasion I kind of wished that it would have—it can be so exhausting, relentless and miserable.  It’s also a very sneaky son of a bitch!  I can be having a really good day, low stress and low anxiety–then, BAM!!  Anxiety decides to say, “Hey, Vonda!  Remember this?!  Yeah, when you did that thing that you felt badly about for years but then you forgot about it?  Well, let’s rehash that for a while, shall we? Here, let me start the film reel for you. Don’t worry, I’ll slow it down so you can really grasp all the worst parts.”  A random, distant memory from eons ago resurfaces and it’s never a positive or happy memory.  No, it’s something you did that was wrong. Or, it’s a disturbing incident that either caused you pain or a deep feeling of regret. Then, Anxiety plays it back for you in great detail so you can relive it all over again.  And again.

Anxiety sucks ass!!

However, I am learning and practicing coping skills that help me survive these anxiety-ridden maniacal episodes. It is an ongoing journey/process and I’m extremely grateful to have a wonderful therapist guiding me through it.

One day at a time, Vonda.

What are the lyrics?

While checking out at a convenience store, I was trying to understand the lyrics of the song playing overhead.

I asked the clerk, “Is that saying ‘What are we gonna do high?”’

She said, “It’s ‘Watermelon sugar high.’”

Well, close enough. Hearing-impairment is a continuous adventure!

Guess I should’ve worn my hearing aids. 😆