My New Blog

This is an old photo of myself in Paris in 1983.  I looked a little better 32 years ago.

I started a new blog today on WordPress.  This new blog will be dedicated just to personal writing, nothing else.  Because I’m starting to write again, or at least hoping to.  I began this  blog “Old Woman…” so long ago that I’m running out of space, so I thought I would separate this new one out to save space on this one.

My new blog is tentatively called “A Few Words in Some Kind of Order.”  I’m just getting started with it, so not much there yet.

The Bullet Journal

Bullet Journal photo linked to site.on subject.

After reading on the Internet about the bullet journal, I decided to start keeping one.  The bullets are supposedly to help the writer to focus.  It worked for me.  This is my bullet journal entry for yesterday.

October 24, 2015

•       6:00 a.m. Fed the stray cats outside and the birds (saw only  2 cats this morning.)

•      9:00 a.m. #53 bus to YMCA on Broadway in Staten Island, to workout.  (3 years ago, when I turned 70, I decided to always go to the gym and workout on my birthday).

•      Brought canned goods to YMCA for their October food drive.

•      10:00 a.m. From YMCA took #53 bus going south on Broadway to Hylan Blvd and Clove Road.  Transferred to Express #1 bus going into Manhattan, after buying and eating apple turnover at deli.  Exercising makes me hungry.

•      After sitting though a massive traffic jam on 6th Avenue in the West Village, taking up 1/2 hour of my day, I disembarked bus on 14th Street, along with most of the other passengers, who had had just about enough. (Weather cool and cloudy.  Not pleasant).

•      Walked up to Bed Bath & Beyond on 6th and 18th Street to use their restroom.

•      Woman stopped to ask me why the traffic had stopped and so many policemen.  I said I didn’t know for sure, but I thought it was either a demonstration that they were policing, or they were filming a movie.  Someone on the bus said they saw a movie truck, but I didn’t know for sure.  “If it was a movie,” the woman said, “then were all those policemen (maybe 100) real or just actors?”  Who knew?

•      I had seen a large group of what looked like demonstrators holding up signs, but the group (at least 100) seemed too-well organized.  Everyone was holding their sign up about the same height and not moving.  A real demonstration would be more chaotic.  But, what do I know?  (see below:  it really was a demonstration)

•      Ended up spending $15 at Bed Bath & Beyond: Celestial Seasons Chai pumpkin spice tea, a belt rack, and a yogurt that I then stood outside Bed Bath & Beyond on 6th Ave. and devoured.  (If you’re out and about in NYC, Bed Bath & Beyond has great restrooms–no purchase required).

•      Visited a couple of other stores that I frequent in that area:  Blicks art supply (spent $16), Michaels (got out without spending any more money.  Don’t know how that happened.)

•      After getting a little more spending money from a Bank of America Kiosk, I walked to Union Square on 14th Street from 6th Avenue and 23rd St.  (about 15 minutes or maybe a mile).

•      Bought a mini tuna salad sandwich, a small bag of store-made tortilla chips and 2 vitamin-enhanced drinks at the Whole Foods Market on 14th. ($8).  Ate sandwich and 1 drink in Whole Foods dining area.  Saved the tortilla chips and 1 drink. Over heard people talking on their cell phones about trying to find jobs, etc.  Just like on the bus.  I find this annoying.  Upon leaving Whole Foods, found discarded paper-back book on Roman Mythology.

•      4.00 p.m. approximately–walked to another Blick’s Art Supply, this one on 13th Street–just around the corner from Whole Foods, and spent $10 more for 3 double-pointed brush markers (black, dark yellow & brown).  Really like them.  I buy art supplies, i.e., markers, and then a month later I find a product I like better than what I had been using, so my art supply collection just keeps growing and taking up more room.

•      Sat down on bench at bus stop on Broadway, between 14th & 15th) to wait for #10 express bus home to Port Richmond, Staten Island.  Starting to feel really tired.  Remember, I had already spent 45 minutes working out before ever coming into the city.  Usually after I work out, I go home, eat, and fall asleep for about a 2-hour nap.  I hate doing that, but I do it anyway. Hoped bus would come fast so I could relax for the 1 to 2 hour trip home, depending on traffic.

•      Sitting and waiting at bus stop, read in Mythology book about Zeus and Hera, his primary wife (he really screwed around a lot).  All those Roman names of Gods, I can’t ever remember.

•      Also sitting on the bench was a very pretty young girl–model type.  She was posing for a woman taking photos of her.  I figured the woman was trying to build a portfolio for her so that maybe she could get modelling work.  When they spoke, it wasn’t English.  Maybe Russian.  Lots of pretty Russian women in NYC.

•      After an hour, the bus had never showed up.  Darkness creeping in.  Really tired now, more from just waiting than anything else.  Pretty girl and woman had left a long time before.

•      Finally, took #1 Express Bus as an alternative.  On trip home, the night overtook the City.

•      Transferred on Hylan Blvd. in Staten Island to the #53 which brought me home faster than I ever expected.  I discovered an alternative route for getting home from the City, which is faster than my usual #10 route.  Made it in an hour once I got on the bus.  It seems that buses play a big part in my life.

•     7:10  p.m. Arrived home at last:  fell asleep after quick dinner.  I had literally shopped until I dropped.

Anyway, if you are still reading this stuff, you get the idea of the bullet journal.  Even though, I had my camera with me yesterday, I didn’t manage to take any photos, but I did do a little doodling on the bus.  Since it’s hard to draw on a moving bus, it’s better for me to keep those doodles private.You will be happy to hear, I’m not going to keep my journal on the internet.


UPDATE:  10/25 — I just heard on the news that there really was a demonstration yesterday in Manhattan–against police brutality.  Many people participated, but the news is mostly about Quentin Tarantino demonstrating, which only shows how much attention a celebrity can bring to an event.  See photos–header and below.


My Day in the City

Yesterday, was the first day in two years that I traveled into the City above 23rd Street.  All my current interests seem to have become anchored in lower Manhattan.

The weather was fantastic in NYC .  The primary reason I went in was to go to a stamp show.  Many kids collect stamps but don’t continue once they grow up.  I never stopped.  I was mostly a history major in college, so maybe there is some kind of connection there.  Most of my childhood interests stayed with me throughout my life.

The new Elvis stamp. Sheet made to look like a record album.
The new Elvis stamp. Sheet made to look like a record album.
The Stamp show booklet.
The Stamp show booklet.

After the stamp show at the Midtown Hilton, I walked up to Whole Foods on Columbus Circle and bought a sandwich for $8.00 of turkey, cheddar cheese and avocado on some kind of Artisan bread and spicy dressing.  It was worth the price.

After stuffing my gut, I walked from Columbus Circle down Broadway to 42nd Street.  I was so tired (I turn 73 today)  that I took the express bus home from 5th Avenue.  Following are some of my souvenirs from the day.  I’m thinking of going back today.

The theater on Broadway where Stephen Colbert has his show.
Above:  The theater on Broadway where Stephen Colbert has his show.



Times Square was packed.
Times Square was packed.  Below, are people standing in line to get half price theater tickets which are sold on the day of a show that still has empty seats.


I love the big theater posters. After 30 years in NYC, I still find Times Square exciting.  However, the Broadway theater has out-priced me.
I love the big theater posters. After 30 years in NYC, I still find Times Square   exciting.
Big truck runs around advertising Stephen Colbert.  Nice to see so many people on bikes in NYC.  Beats walking.

Concerning Energy by Albert Einstein

My primary resolution for the New Year is to increase my level of energy. I plan on doing this by further improving my relationship with God. Because, it seems to that God is pure energy.  Real energy has to come from the spirit and not from anything outside the body or mind.  One can be obsessed, for instance like with making money, and that can motivate them and give them energy to do things, but when the obsession ends, the energy ends.

Some drugs give temporary energy, but that’s superficial energy for which there is a price to pay (both literally and figuratively).  In real energy that comes from the spirit, there is no price to pay (both literally and figuratively) and it is permanent.

Energy is what makes people accomplish things of lasting value.



Update: 1/7/14

I just found this other Einstein quote that, being a woman, I like:


Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected (Part II)

RTrainWhile looking at other people’s blogs on this subject, I just remembered the most unexpected thing that ever happened to me in my life.

It was just before Christmas of 2010.  I took the bus from my apartment in Staten Island into Manhattan without any definite purpose in mind; therefore I felt a little bored and at loose ends.  After gulping down a weak and over-priced Cuban Libre at the Boathouse in Central Park, I decided to head for the Whole Foods Market on 14th Street in Union Square: where, after picking up only a couple of items–my social security check was almost gone, and it would be two weeks before my next one–I planned to take the Express Bus back to Staten Island.

I was sitting with one hand in my lap on the “R” subway traveling from Central Park to 14th Street.  When the subway came to one of its stops, a well-dressed man stuffed something in my hand and then ran off the subway.  The doors shutting quickly behind him.  I looked down into my hand and it was a hundred-dollar bill.  I spent half of it at Whole Foods.

Subway station at Whitehall Street, which is the stop for the Staten Island Ferry. This station was severely flooded for months after Hurricane Sandy.

Remembering my Father on this Veteran’s Day

Father during WWII
Father during WWII

My Father, John T. Alstrom, Jr. (1914-1984), was a professional Army Officer from the beginning of WW II until 1951 when he had to retire because he had his leg blown off in Korea when he stepped on a land mine.  He was born in Baltimore, Md., and died in Sun City, Arizona.  After he retired from the Army, he and my stepmother lived in Monterey Park, California, where he worked helping disabled veterans.

Father always smoked a pipe.
Father always smoked a pipe.

During WWII, father was first in China then transferred to the Aleutian Islands.

After WWII, father was stationed in Germany where my mother and myself went to live with him for six months.  He was a Captain but then was promoted to a Major at the time he was discharged in 1951.

Mother, Father and myself (age 4) in Germany in 1946
Mother, Father and myself (age 4) in Büdingen, Germany in 1946
Father in China cerca 1940
Mother, Father with actor Dan Daily at Ciro’s nightclub in Hollywood, California 1951.  Father loved drinking and eating excessively, until he got diabetes.
Newspaper clipping of father receiving the Purple Heart.  I have retained his Purple Heart.  That and a couple of other metals is all I have from him.
He received the Bronze Star for saving the life of a fellow soldier.  I knew nothing about this until an historian on-line told me about it.  He found this certificate at an estate sale in Tennessee and looked me up on the internet.

Debra O’Quinn, My Cousin, Wins Nursing Award

Debra Zimmerman O'Quinn
Debbie Zimmerman O’Quinn

Just received an email my cousin, Dorothy Zimmerman  Myers, who lives in Derby, Kansas (a suburb of Wichita, where I was born) regarding her daughter Debra.  I am so thrilled by Debra’s  great honor that it brought tears to my eyes.  I’m so proud to have a relative who is helping veterans.  Debra is a  psychiatric nurse for the VA Hospital in Topeka, Kansas.  I think a wonderful nurse is a great thing to be.

This is Dorothy’s email:

“The Nurse Manager for our PTSD in-patient program announced that “Our very own Debra O’Quinn has been awarded the Federal Veterans Administration Annual Secretary’s Award in Nursing Excellence for all of Eastern Kansas VA Healthcare System! And…not only that, Ms. O’Quinn has also received the  Annual Secretary’s Award in Nursing Excellence for all of VISN 15 (which includes all of Wichita, Kansas City, Topeka, Leavenworth, Columbia, Poplar Bluff, St. Louis, and Marion, Illinois!!)”…She is now a nominee for the prestigious National Secretary’s Award for Nursing Excellence, which if selected, she will be flown to Washington, D.C. to be given the national award…at the White House”.

Click on Photo to Visit (and maybe join or make a donation) the Veterans of Foreign Wars site.

Happy New Year, 2013, from Gayle

Happy New Year especially to all my friends in my on-line community. I appreciate your support and making my virtual experiences that much more enjoyable.


“The quest is for authenticity”…Ralph Waldo Emerson

My New Year’s resolution, as with every year, is to become more authentic.