Kelley's Konundrum November 5, 2017
The Mystery of Poland Bananas

Ha ha! That does sound like a mystery doesn’t it? Like, what kind of a mystery could Poland bananas be? Do they grow a special kind of banana in Poland? And if so, why would I be writing about it? I don’t even eat bananas, know...constipation. A real concern for those of us over 40 who are on medication. 😜

All right, it’s not really a mystery. Poland Bananas is, actually a popular YouTube channel run by a vivacious girl named Christine Riccio who reviews books and talks about Books and things related guessed it, Books. She discusses a lot of YA, and since I’M currently delving into that world as a writer, I thought PolandBananas would be the perfect place to jump back into that world (y’all know I taught high school forever, but I’ve been gone since 2011, so I’m returning. How Kelley Got Her Groove Back. Which holy cow, that reference dates me right outta the box but...c’est la vie)


So here’s my take on Poland Bananas.

PB is very well-liked. Each video Christine posts has tens of thousands of views, with multiple thousands of likes and thumbs downs that could be counted on two hands or only one.
Christine is just having the best time. She’s very physical with all her reactions and her emotions about the content are right there for us to view. It’s easy to ride right along with her on the journey.
Her channel is filmed SUPER professionally—the lighting’s good, and the videos are edited and multifaceted, with cuts in and out and scene changes, music and fun graphics


Her posts are a lot of fun! I’ve watched ones about time travel books and plot lines of books and several about specific YA titles. NaNoWriMo NanoWriMo haha I did sign up for NaNoWriMo this year, with delusions of grandeur as far as finishing the first draft of murder mystery #3–Strangled by Simile. Fat chance. I haven’t even been able to go onto the website to change my title to Poison by Punctuation—I DO have to finish content edits for that book in November anyway. But I’ve been deleting the NNWM emails with big guilt, but there’s JUST NO TIME.

Maybe next year. book plot judging featuring the family. Now here’s an idea! My publisher recently told me that although she knows me as a goofy and extroverted type person, she noticed MY YouTube channel was much more subdued. Here’s Christina with her family—maybe I just need to recruit some neighbors to come in and chat. In the dark upstairs hallway where the computer is. Next to the bathroom. Hm—maybe not. 😜

I don’t FEEL like I’m being subdued. I know I don’t sound subdued when I read aloud to students (can y’all say Down in the Belly of the Whale AUDIOBOOK? With your very own Intrepid Reader Kelley Kay Bowles as Narrator? Oh yeah oh yeah #HarpersPower...) I FEEL like I’m excited and enthusiastic when I’m talking on my channel, but i know it pales drastically in comparison with Christine’s. But that’s okay, ya know—she’s being her and I’m being me, and we’re all having FUN! comments on time travel. I’ve been trying to get some suggestions from Christine as far as which series she’d recommend for my 11 year old son. He’s stuck right now, and he loved him all the Rowlings and Riordans and I know those are big stars on PB too. Maybe I’ll give him this Blowback Trilogy...(my son is also a HUGE Back to the Future fan—another discussion in this post. I am a gigantic Michael J Fox fan myself, basically because he and I are like, Chronic Illness Big Nasty Autoimmune Disease cousins. MJF is the coolest cat—we can all be inspired by his ‘Always Looking Up’ attitude. Hey, maybe I could recruit HIM to be my partner on my YT channel. Bet I’d get more than 6 subscribers that way...) Turtles All the Way Down

This is how I first met Christine, as she talked about the new John Green book. The Fault in our Stars made me ugly cry, so I commented on my hesitation to dive into something else right away where snot might be coming out my nose. I’ll get to it, though, and her take on the book is fun and fabulous. I saw a livestream of John's own book presentation in LA the other day—he’s a lot of fun, too, especially when he and his brother Hank start interacting (Vlogbrothers : ) Everybody should readFinally, if there was any mystery about PolandBananas before, this last post dispels it once and for all. For all my years teaching English, I had one motto: if you don’t like to read, you just haven’t found the right book yet.’ It was and is my goal to help people find the right book, the one that sucks the reader into worlds of imagination and excitement. Helps them catch the book bug. This post shows Christine Riccio has the same motto, helping all her thousands of followers ❤️ and appreciate this most wonderful form of human expression: BOOKS!


Check PB out! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Until then, Stay Mystified!.

Blog September 24, 2017


Konundrum--The Mystery of Scare-Love


I guess this week's blog isn't really a mystery, because it's pretty straightforward to me: I love to be scared. Not in real life, so much, but give me a well-done scary movie or book, and I'm in hog heaven.


Now THAT might be a little bit of a konunundrum, the definition of a 'well-done' scary movie. It's different for everyone, but for me that means a focus on scenes where I'm holding my breath and gripping the seat, not scenes where appendages are flying and heads are rolling, and nobody really wins. I watched My Bloody Valentine--a horror flick from the 90s, I think--just because it stars Jensen Ackles, and y'all know he's one of my celebrity crushes. My Bloody Valentine


Anyway, other than the hunky frontman, this was NOT a good horror movie. This was demonstrated to me when the first person who was killed had her head bisected by a shovel. Ugh. From that point on, I just watched Jensen all the rest of the time, and closed my eyes each time the slasher music came on. Pickaxe to the forehead? No, thank you--not my idea of a scary movie. Dean Winchester sure is cute, though. But all those gore-fests aren't my idea of a delicious scare, just gross. The cheap 'boo' was rampant, and if the good guy wins, it's only temporary, because there has to be a setup for the sequel. Which is a whole 'nother later blog, called The Mystery of Excessive Greed. The only hope in this kind of scary movie is the hope the sequels will end sometime before I'm fitted for a cane and Depends. No, I want strength in my scary movie. I want redemption. I want legit comic relief and it doesn't hurt if I'm brought to tears at least twice..


Which brings us to the epitome of my definition of a good scare, and the reason for this weekend's blog--Stephen King.. I saw the new movie version of It this weekend. It Movie Trailer


It scared THE SHIT out of me, a delicious shivery scare with drawn breaths and holes scratched in the movie seats. Okay, there were a couple of those cheap 'boos', one I thought I'd prepared for which I found out I hadn't. I thought the straightfaced buck toothed Pennywise was much scarier than when he got all fang-y--why is it that people always think more automatically means better? Rows of razor teeth, to me, would I'm sure cause my head to explode if they were actually coming toward my arm, but that's what makes the scary movie with the buck teeth and a little tendril of drool much better and all the more disturbing. IT'S NOT REAL. That's why it's delicious. I'm not interested in the rehashing of the serial killer psychopath. I want the subtle disturbia that stimulates my imagination and makes my heart stop from a pretend standpoint only. This movie did that, as did the miniseries from the 80s, as did the 1,138 page novel I read when I was 10, and 20, and which is sitting on my dresser now waiting for another read . It: The Novel


It, and pretty much every other SK book in existence works for me because I think he's an optimist, and a feminist, and a romantic all wrapped up in one horror writer. The stories have strong female characters, Beverly Marsh

in-depth and touching relationships The Loser's Club


And are funny as all get-out Richie is Hilarious


And while this did have to leave some room for the next movie at the end (the 1138 pages has to be divvied up), there is definite hope there. And strength. And I'm not alone in this feeling, I guess, because I've been told It is now the highest grossing R-rated movie of all time. And it's only been out for 2 weeks.


I'd love to hear what you think: scare, anyone? Until then...Stay Mystified!


I actually already wrote a blog for today, but then it occurred to me that it’s almost Halloween!

Who would I be to ignore that fact, especially since it is like my favorite freaking holiday of all time. JOHN CARPENTER IT BOTH VERSIONS

You'll get the other blog next week.

I know I already did a blog on the new movie version of It, and brilliance of Stephen King, and the reasons that I love scary movies. I guess one of the big ironies of my passion for those kinds of frights is they don't really scare me. That stuff isn't real, you know--there's no such thing as demon clowns or.psychopathic Chucky Dolls. Plus I used to teach acting and direct plays, so I know how the effects are done (the blood I used tastes like peppermint, and if you'r a B/W movie fan, you know Hitchcock used chocolate syrup) It's fake, so it's fun. The shivers I get when I watch that girl climb out of the TV in The Ring are 'pleasantly adrenalized shivers' and I'm interested in  THOSE frights any day of the week and twice on Sundays.


So what is it that scares me, then? That gut-wrenching, boulder-in-the-bottom-of-the-gut horror that people aren’t actually (I don't think?) craving? Things I don't even like to think about or say, because in  y overactive imaginary world I'm giving these things power or bringing them on--you've read this blog before.


But I'll tell you what, for the sake of this special holiday AND because the more I think about it, the more the self-exploration into the topic has clarified some things for me, I'm willing to write and speak the words aloud. My greatest fears.


I've always thought burning alive would be the most horrific thing, or drowning. But I'm overly careful about fire and electicity, and I'm a good swimmer who rarely even goes in the water, so those are esoteric reasons to fear. Not likely to cross my path.


I do, however, have two sons, active and impulsive little balls of energy, which means I live in constant fear of something happening to one or both of them. I thought I knew I'd signed up for this when I got pregnant, but I had no idea. This scares me a lot.


II also have MS, and a mother with Dementia. When I first was diagnosed, my biggest fear was being unable to walk, because my original exposure to MS was a wheelchair-bound aunt-by-marriage. But nope, that's not even in my wheelhouse of fear now--I don't think that's gonna happen to me and if it ever does, I'll deal with it as the inconvenience or annoyance it will be--but I'm not scared of it.


What I'm scared of is losing my mind.


Everything I do or have done or really, really enjoy is based on my brain and intellect. I am a teacher, and now a writer, and reading books or enjoying movies or plays or stimulating conversations which I can contribute to, those are my life's pleasures.

 Now when I hear about the cognitive issues and brain deterioration which are the hallmarks of my disease, every time I forget a word or a name, (which feels like it happens more and more every SECOND of every day), and most of all, when I talk to my mother and she arches her fingers, searching for the simplest next word, I am terrified. I'm frightened to death of one day having to stretch fingertips to the sky and still not reaching the word or the thought or the idea.


 I'm petrified of losing me.


But, like those other fears we place in an invisible vault because of the sheer counterproductivity of dwelling on them--am I scared of the unrest in North Korea and of nuclear proliferation? Sure I am, but I KNOW I'm not going to be able to affect that beyond my regular duties as a citizen of this country and this planet, so I put it in the vault. I'm scared of harm coming to a member of my family, but beyond trying to teach them caution and self-awareness, I try to put it in the  vault.


That's what I need to do with this fear, too, this twisting paranoia that my brain will betray me and I'll lose my very essence. I know, logically, that I'm doing all I can do through diet and exercise and positivity, and feeding my mind every chance I get, and that's all I can do.  I need to put it in the vault, and hopefully this is a step. VAULT

I've twisted the lock opened the heavy steel door, and what better time to do it than Halloween? My favorite holiday, the day I met my husband, and HEY! Why not the day I put some scary things into a big impenetrable repository? Frighteningly symbolic, right?




I'd love to hear your thoughts! Until then--stay mystified!



Kelley's Konundrum 11/19/2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

3:32 PM

Kelleys Konundrum 11/19/2017 What We are Thankful For Shouldn’t Be a Mystery


Yesterday I finished my 22nd Jack Reacher Book—Midnight Line—and it was a good one. This book, while it did have the signature trademarks of glorious fight scenes we live through with Jack in almost real time (he explains the mechanics of his decisions to bust heads with great precision and clarity) and Jack’s cool deductive and intuitive searching skills—there’s plenty of that. But this book was a primo demonstration of THE ESSENTIAL REACHER. 


Jack is one of my favorite thriller characters because he has such a well-defined ETHIC: if a human being is suffering, he wants to alleviate that suffering. Not because of any religious or moral obligation, but because he knows humans shouldn’t make other humans suffer. Because it’s a thriller, and because he’s an action hero, this sometimes means he maims or kills the people causing that suffering. I’m not condoning that, I’m just sayin’—I love him. 


This is a simple storyline—Jack finds a West Point class ring at a pawn shop. It’s a very big deal to get in to West Point and an even bigger one to get through the program, so Jack’s concern is immediately sparked: what kind of personal suffering might cause a person to have to sell that crucial symbol of accomplishment? So he decides to find the person who pawned it and determine if he can help. That’s it—that’s the whole book! And it’s such a fun ride, a Jack Reacher book, but it always, always makes me think, about my personal ethics and those of others. This week, when we’re in the middle of so much horror—from home-grown terrorists and a new mass shooting every week to the spate of sexual predators finally coming to light, I’m so glad I can count the number of evildoers on one or two hands, but the numbers of people coming out of the woodwork to help victims and survivors are immeasurable—I can’t get to those totals on all my fingers and toes plus every hair on my head. This guy right here behaved in kind of a Reacheresque way at the Las Vegas shooting—he stole a truck to transport victims to the hospital—see, his ethic was to alleviate others’ suffering. I never heard if he got in trouble for stealing the truck, but I doubt he did.


He and Jack are underlining exactly what I wanna be most thankful for this Thanksgiving: people whose empathy and ethics eclipse things like greed and self absorption. The Dalai Lama says it best in this article:


“My wish is that, one day, formal education will pay attention to the education of the heart, teaching love, compassion, justice, forgiveness, mindfulness, tolerance and peace.”


Today I am thankful for people like him, and for further evidence that despite some events to the contrary, that more people like him exist. And I’m thankful to Lee Child, for being able to imagine a character in such an entertaining way, but with a little message built in that people can be motivated to help, not because they’re trying to build a stairway to heaven or because they’re looking for recognition or self-satisfaction, but just. . . Because.


I’d love to hear what you think! Until then. . . Stay Mystified!


Kelley's Konundrum September 3, 2017 : That Mysterious Near Enemy, part 1


I heard about this concept in a Louise Penny murder mystery--she's my favorite new (new to me) mystery writer. Her books are very character- and setting-driven, and the whole book is spent really looking into what makes people tick, and the books have inspired me to delve a little deeper with MY characters too.


So here's the idea. There are three psychological concepts called near enemies, and they come in pairs. These ideas look the same on the surface, but on closer inspection and understanding, one of the pair is healthy, the other destructive.


I'll give you the pairs, then today I'll just discuss one. As in, Part One.


Here they are:






Today we'll talk about compassion and pity. They can both look the same, right? Look at the concerned face of anyone scrolling through Facebook posts and hitting on one asking for prayers about every 30 seconds. Then look at the severity of the reaction dependent on how well you know the FB friend.


What's the difference? They're at many Emotions involved, feelings for another person, feeling bad for another person, and they look very similar. I think the difference is empathy. Vs. judgment.


Think about it from a personal perspective, and reflect on one of your own life trials. I have multiple sclerosis, which you all know. It sucks. I hate it. But I deal with it, just like you deal with the hardships. But I don't want people feeling SORRY for me. Don't pity me--that's the destructive part. Pity, I think, is a form of judgment, more of a kind of "I'm so, so glad I'm not you", as opposed to compassion, which to me looks like "I've been you, or I can sense what it feels like to be you, and I'm here for you to help in whatever way you need, or whatever way I can."


In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, I think we saw people in Texas show extraordinary compassion. This first story shows that:


The second story was new information to me, and hopefully will be a good reminder to anyone who sees it, to do a little research to find the best way to show their compassion, not the objects of their pity:


What do you think? Do you know of times you're reacting out of pity rather than compassion? Can you do anything about that? I'd love to hear your opinion...until then: Stay Mystified!



Kelley's Konundrum Sept. 9, 2017

Saturday, September 9, 2017

5:11 PM



The Mystery of Endorsement

When do you just love something, and then when does your love become a commodity?

Teachers As Commodities


I read this article last week, and because it's about teachers, I of course posted it wherever I could...😜


When I taught high school, I was pretty much broke all the time. Not much has changed now that I'm a writer, but I vividly remember those penny-pinching days vis-a-vis supplies for my classroom. Really, vis-a-vis most stuff. Teachers don't get paid what they're worth, dontcha know? There was never enough of anything. That rumor you've heard about teachers spending their own money for supplies isn't fake news or mythology: it's true. And technology? Fuggedaboutit. I used an actual overhead projector until 2006. 



So anyway, I read this article, posted it, and then started thinking about it. On the one hand, big companies giving supplies to teachers fills an obvious need and also promotes innovation. But what about that? Could it also promote...collusion? Undue influence? Teachers have a very specific understanding that what they do in the classroom should coincide with their philosophy on what is best for kids and their learning. But what if it doesn't?


I have experience with this  concept in a teacher/administrator relationship. I had an administrator later in my career who wanted me to change several of my classroom policies, based on some study and this bandwagon people were hopping on, and while I felt those policies might be good for a small segment of the student population, they were CERTAINLY not good for the whole group. This is where the administrator and I clashed, and guess who was in the position of power and influence? Yup. Not me. My feelings on this administrator and this philosophy are as follows: the changes and the bandwagon leaping were both being used as rungs up the ladder to power, and therefore were a commodity. The person on this ascent (AKA The Administrator) may have cared about what's best for kids at this point, but the superintendent' job trumped all that.


I think it could happen to teachers just like it happens for doctors: when incentives are attached to pharmaceuticals, it's been proved that doctors are more likely to prescribe those pharmaceuticals. And what if what's best for that patient is a different pharmaceutical?


Or...and here's the shocker...what if it's best for that patient to take NO pharmaceuticals. Maybe instead they'd feel better just by changing their diet. Or <gasp!> moving around a little more. I'm not saying you should NEVER use a prescription, because that would make me a big hypocrite (I have to get injections 3 times a week), but you can't tell me people aren't overdoing it. And some of that comes from overprescribing it. And that could come from the swag--even from the doctors who legitimately got into medicine because they just wanted to help people.


I think that COULD happen to teachers, too, if we're not careful. A 3D printer that a kid uses to build a model house, that's an awesome thing. It could increase innovation, motivation, creativity.


But so can a stick. 


A lightning-fast laptop with every bell and whistle can help students do their homework. 


But so can a pencil.


Is it a problem? Well, that's the mystery... 


Paper vs. Laptops 


I'd love to know what you think! Until then: Stay Mystified!


Kelley's Konundrum 10/08/2017The Mystery of the Façade


So last week we talked about people who are legitimately nice and kind and happy. But today I want to talk about those people who are NOT Legitimately these things, but present that to the world anyway... and the mystery is how do we figure out which is which? Before we get hurt?


The first person who fits this bill, in my opinion, and did have an actual negative affect on somebody I love very much. That person is my husband, and the person who hurt him is Cliff Huxtable. OK it's not Cliff Huxtable, it's Bill Cosby and he didn't literally hurt my husband, but he did literally hurt a bunch of women.


My husband is a really good father, and I think it's really important thing for him to be that way. I don't know how else to express it, but he thrives on my boys--he interacts with them all the time,he is affectionate with them, strict but always ending with an 'I love you'--he enjoys playing games with them--they are the most important thing in his life, bar none.

And Cliff Huxtable was his inspiration. The epitome of fatherhood, Dr. Huxtable always have the right thing to say, and always know the right thing to do. The Cosby Show

Now Jim knew and we all know that has lines were written for him and he wasn't a real father like that, at least, nothing I've read about him supports that. Cosby Article


But we didn't know all this, did we? And The Cosby Show was playing at a time when its young watchers--one of whom was my husband--was developing ideas about what their own future might look like, and Cliff and Claire Huxtable presented a future he wanted to have, a father he wanted to emulate.


When the inklings of the real Bill Cosby started showing up on television, Jim didn't want to talk about it. He just tightened his lips together and shook his head. When it started absolutely looking like the rumors were true, he still wouldn't talk about it, but I knew. He was heartbroken. He has high expectations of himself and everyone around him, and to have wasted a beloved cultural hero on this guy, it was too much.


Politicians haven't been deserving of this hero-worship very often...maybe ever. The hypocrisy is rampant. Political Hypocrisy


And I'm not saying actors should be role models, or athletes, but damnit, yes they should. If they're going to play a part where people look up to them, maybe they should at least try.


I don't want to be cynical. I don't want to second-guess whether the person I'm meeting is really the person I'm meeting, but sometimes it's hard. What do you think is the best approach? It's a mystery...


I'd love to hear your views. Until then: Stay Mystified!

Kelley's Konundrum

October 15, 2017

The Mystery of finding the balance

Before I watched segments on Pink and other stories (Tom Petty: did you know he played his entire final tour before he died with a broken hip? Rather than disappoint his fans, he performed for them for months while in incredible pain.)

on my favorite show CBS Sunday morning, my friend Richard had sent me this WSJ article by Peggy Noonan. Why So Many Guns?


I read this article, and immediately fell into a pit of depression. This article marries Debbie Downer and Negative Nancy and births a baby I'll call Freddie Fetal Position, as in, how I wanted to render myself as I curled into the corner of a dark room. Jesus. Oh no, I thought--I live on the West Coast--am I half the cause of all the country's ills? (Because according to this article, we are bi-coastal evil doers. Those New Yorkers are just as Bad). Even though I'm in a family of four supported by one teacher's salary, am I one of the reasons Americans own so many guns? Is it me that causes the rest of Americans not to feel safe? Good grief, Charlie Brown.


I don't disagree with her that there are things to be scared about in the world today--a lot of things. But this article, to me, seemed much more concerned about placing blame than about considering solutions, and man, was it a buzzkill. Was I to blame for all of this? I don't think so...

So then I watched my fave early morning artsy news show--CBS Sunday morning, and two of the stories were about performers who'd definitely fall into the "protected elite" category the article talked about, people in that top 1%--although I'm pretty sure Peggy Noonan is in that category herself, and hey, even I, with my one-teacher-salary, am probably in that place. I know how lucky I am.

And I thought about those segments, in that show--Tom Petty, who seems to have had a horrible and difficult upbringing, and what did he do with that? He spent his life delivering messages with variations on the theme of not backing down, and then proved it by delivering what turned out to be his deathbed message on a BROKEN HIP. Jesus.

And then there's the Pink story. I don't know much about her background, but the story was more about what she's done to be a part of that 1%: PINK


 So the Aerialist who trained Pink, started her by taking her to the jungle gym and making her hang upside down and sing while the aerialist punched her in the stomach. Only when she could do that, and do it well, would the teacher start with flying lessons. Who does that? People with drive, and ambition, and grit. People who don't spend all their time looking at the parts of life that suck. And lots of parts suck, it's true. But I just don't understand how blaming Pink, or Tom Petty, is productive, or at least I guess I don't understand the point of what feels like a singularly dystopian, apocalyptic message in my article. No fetal position for me, please--it gives me a backache. PINK


So I will leave THIS blog with a visual from Pink, a message from Tom, WONT BACK DOWN 


and my life's motto: Every Day Above Ground is a Great Day!!


I'd love to know what you think! Until then: Stay Mystified!


<<<<Email me HERE

Kelley's Konundrum 9/30/2017 The Mystery of Legitimately Nice and Happy People


This morning, my youngest son and I were up until 6 AM. Him because he had to take the dog out to go to the bathroom, and me because if I don't get my morning 'processes' started at least a couple of hours before I have to be anywhere, I'm not ready to be anywhere. These processes don't necessarily relate to girly get ready stuff, like hair and make up, but rather me drinking enough water and coffee to start the day flowing through, If you get my drift.


So anyway, my son and I are up at 6 AM to get ready for some soccer games and other weekend joys that happen in our fabulous family lives. He turned on the TV to his favorite station, KPBS public broadcast television, and guess what on KPBS at Saturday morning 6 AM? That's right, it's Mr. Rogers neighborhood!!! No, I'm not talking about Daniel Tiger's neighborhood which is the current version of this beloved show. I'm talking about the real, actual, 1975 and beyond lovable neighborhood guy show, which is the best thing ever...


Mr.Rogers had a friend in this episode around the neighborhood bakery. This friend – we'll call him Edward – had a neighborhood bakery. Edward had just entered a cake decorating contest and was so proud of his cake, and so sure he would win the decorating contest. He had even dressed up in his special yellow chefs hat to wear to the contest. He was so excited!


He watched as the judge passed out 2 Honorable Mentions, and shook the hand of each winner. He watched as the third place ribbon was awarded and second place ribbon, and he shook the hand of each winner. The camera then watched his face as the judge presented the first place ribbon to someone on the other side of the table! 😳You could see that emotions flip across his eyelids, but he held it together well and shook the hand of the first place winner, and the next scene we sat with him in Mr. Rogers living room. Edward explained how disappointed he was, because he just wanted to be the best at something! Mr Rogers made him understand that everybody wanted that, and didn't Edward have the best bakery in the whole neighborhood? Why, yes he did! --here is the episode.


Anyway, about halfway through the episode I started to cry. I was standing at the open refrigerator door looking for orange juice, and the tears are trickling down my cheeks. I'm like, what the hell? Am I just overwhelmed with happiness at Mr. Rogers? What's going on?


The answer is yes. I was overwhelmed with nostalgia by seeing Mr. Rogers, but I also just felt...the subject of today's blog, which is how can people be so legitimately nice? And grateful? And why do I feel like there's such a shortage of Mr. Rogerses out there these days, or any days? I am no exception, always trying to start each day with a grateful heart, but then grousing about idiot a-hole drivers and focusing way too much energy on my aching back--even if the car is empty or I'm grousing to myself--at the earliest opportunity. 




I see a lot more me's out there than I do him's, and I just want to be more like him. My new bracelet is gonna say 'WWMRD?'


And he was legit, from everything I've been able to find out. In life, he was that calm, pleasant, smiley purveyor of gratitude and helpfulness everywhere he went, I guess, just like on his show. How'd he do that? And how can I do it? (Insert pop culture reference HERE: )


I'll have what he's having...😜seriously, and I think that's the best way I can do it. Every time I focus more on helping someone else, or doing things without worrying about what others think about them, or just appreciating what I've already got, I can channel a little bit of Mr. Rogers. Runs 


Or Phoebe. Phoebe and Mr Rogers would've been like best friends, I guarantee it!


What about you? Who are you channeling today? I'd love to hear what you think...until then...Stay Mystified! 


Blog 11/11/2017 Kelley’s Konundrum: Why Does Doing Good Feel So Good? DOING GOOD FOR THE DO-GOODER


I didn’t even have to read this article to agree wholeheartedly with it. So many things I’ve been trying to do on a daily basis, for what feels like my whole life (but in reality it’s only probably about 15 years,) make me feel better more than anything else. When I’m focused more on others than on whatever problems, real or imagined, I’m facing at that moment, that’s when I feel good. Opening doors for people, smiling a lot, and falling into those big bear hugs whenever the opportunity arises, those things make me feel tremendous.

Oh, except for occasionally the bear hug thing backfires because...well...I tried it on someone who yeah, may need some comfort, but THAT kind of comfort, not so much. I sometimes misapprise the size of another person’s personal bubble. Like, mine is nonexistent, so surely THIS galorguy must appreciate the therapeutic value of the full body squeeze. No? Just me? Well.


Okee dokee, then, so today’s mystery is about Why Doing Good Cuts Both Ways. Let’s talk about another way to implement doing good that doesn’t involve space invasion: Smiling. Smile muscles are wicked easy to work and I THINK, I think are also tethered to norepinephrine or endorphins, oxytocin? Onea those feelgood hormones. It’s really hard to feel bad when you’re doing this. Dennis at the gym calls me Kind Kelley—he thinks I MUST be so super nice because I smile all the time, but really it’s the hormonal infusion I’m getting from using the smile muscles. Kind? In reality I killed six million ants 🐜 this morning, it was a real bloodbath, and I loved it. Ant Apocalypse. Is that doing good? It sure was good for me, anyway. No, I’m just kidding. ‘Kind’a.

Not about the smiling, though—a smile given and returned does make me feel good.


Thanking people when they do something nice, that feels good too. There’s a guy at Sprouts who makes a point of asking me about the things I purchase from his deli counter, and how they are working for me. He always concludes by asking if there is ANYTHING else he can do for me that he hasn’t done already? And the answer is, heck no—the extra effort he puts in to taking care of his customers makes us feel good all around. So thanking him, that makes me feel good too.


And what day is today? Oh, yeah, it’s VETERAN’s Day! Talk about doing good for others, those who serve our country do an ultimate good. When the Gusich family sees anyone in a uniform, be it military or police, fire, EMT, whatever, we thank them for their service. It’s a little, teeny, infinitesimal good that doesn’t compare to the ginormous sacrifice made by so many who’ve served the country, but I’ve seen the looks on the faces of people when they are sincerely matters. Baby steps, right?


I’ll leave today’s Konundrum with a really cool way Russell Wattenburg does good for others, and it’s through my favorite guessed it... BOOKS! His store in Baltimore, The Book Thing, is full of Books, and they’re all free. 0 dollars, no charge, walk on in and walk out with one book or 100, it doesn’t matter. Free! Russell says it best as far as the reason he does it, so I’m going to leave the last word to him: THE BOOK THING


I’d love to hear what you think... Until then: Stay Mystified!


Blog October 22, 2017

The Mystery of Simplicity

I am so into this Louise Penny mystery series, I can hardly drag myself out of it to do anything else. Right now I'm on the 4th--or is it 5th? No matter--they're all about setting, and food, and most important--character. Louise is very interested in what makes people tick, and how elements of personality and circumstance can grow and fester and build to a point where someone will take a life.

In this book, which as I now went back to check the list have found it's actually book 6 (!?), is called Bury Your Dead. This  had a really interesting outlook in terms of a finality as to what can cause someone to murder. No, not a finality – that's not what I meant. Maybe a clarity. A winnowing of all the reasons we tend to think of: jealousy, money, pride, and the list of deadly sins.  Nope, it's really much simpler than that: the reason people kill is FEAR. 


Fear of losing what you have or of not getting what you want.

I totally believe that!

Think about it: you don't get the relationship you want, or you have it and then you get dumped: fear.

You're broke all the time or you come into a windfall and then lose it: fear.

You get that part or that role or that team, you fear someone ousts you because they're better, or you get injured, then BLAMMO! It's gone.

Killing someone because of these fears seems extreme, but it's a logical extension of the concept. If you lose the things you fear losing often enough or on a big enough scale, that could lead to murder.

For me, as I'm sure you could guess, my big fear is health-related. I now have everything I've ever wanted: marriage, children, a writing career, and most of the time, I feel great. I'm willing to do the work to keep those things,  but certain elements there are beyond my control, much as I'm loath to admit it. And my health, as far as the things I fear the most, is out of my control, to an extent. I can deter cancer by eating well and not smoking and exercising and watching my weight, but I can't control my genetic makeup or my family history. 

So who'm I gonna kill because of my fears? If another person messed with those things I fear losing--my family--well I could kill THAT guy, for sure. But otherwise most of the things I fear the most have little to do with the actions of others. I fear being unable to continue doing all these things I waited and worked for for so long. So basically Death or Disability, those are my big fears. And I can't really kill them. They're ephemeral and ubiquitous, and untouchable.

So from me, you're safe. For now. 😜

But what do you think of the mystery? Does all this bad behavior come down to one idea? I think it does.

Of course, this concept doesn't apply to psychopaths. Check out this article:  Cruel and Kind

So as far as the murder rate, psychopaths don't count in this mystery, because they don't feel fear. Or maybe it just screws up my idea, because it's the lack of fear and inability to even understand it that leads to the murder. 😳🤷🏻‍♀️

What do you think? I'd love to hear your ideas! Until next time: Stay Mystified!


Kelley's Konundrum September 17, 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

4:49 PM

The Mystery of Transmission.


No I'm not talking about transmission of diseases transmission of love transmission of hard feelings, I'm talking about car transmissions. And transmission of personality, which I'll explain later...


The first transmission definition is in my car, Elsie--my 1992 Honda Accord, purchased in 2005 from a guy in New York who'd only put 70,000 miles on since she was new. (New Yorkers use a lot of public transportation, right?) and she's been GREAT, up til now. Now I think Elsie needs a new transmission. And a new air conditioner and a new suspension. Pppppppppth. 


But she only has 128000 miles on her, plus a bunch of other new stuff--new catalytic converter, new muffler, new radiator--all put on in the past few years. I do not want to get rid of her


And now I have to sell her anyway. 😫 Her A/C is still broken, but the suspension? Turned out to be a bent wheel. The transmission? One of those underling mechanics who 'thinks he hears a clunking inside' it, but the actual mechanic/owner who was out of the office at the time, hears nothing. Bah. 


Too late--we took the information we had at hand, and found an (old) new car. Or a (new) old car, since it's new to me.. And younger than Elsie--2002 instead of 1992. So this one is at least the first car I've owned born in the 21st century! It's exciting, and she's very pretty. Right now her name is Beulah, but I might change it when her windshield gets replaced.


The other transmission definition came this week. You all know that I like flowers and that my Hondas for the past two or three Hondas have had lots of flower stickers all over them. I love it! Went a little less crazy with Beulah however. I just put hay left of a purple flower on one windshield corner and then I really pretty blue Morpho butterfly sticker on the other windshield corner. I replaced my I love Steinbeck bumper sticker in a new place on my new bumper, and then I got a new bumper sticker that just says 'be kind.'


So my husband said, "If you ever get a new, new car, you can't put stickers on it." Right now, as he is the main financial support of the family, I had to agree. "But," I said, "when I become the next Suzanne Collins or Stephenie Meyer, the new car I get will have stickers." Because that is how I express my personality--the 'transmission' of myself to what I drive. Think about it--a LOT of people transmit their personality, by driving a car with a fancy name, or title, or color--maybe through their big bulky tires or shiny chrome wheels. For me, it's flowers and bumper stickers professing my love for John Steinbeck.


You express your personality your way, I express mine in my way. Tomato, tomahto. What do you think? Do you transmit your personality through the car you drive? 

What car do you drive?


I'd love to hear what you think! Until then, Stay Mystified!

Last week's VIDEO version of blog