Category Archives: Stories

The Lady Adopts a Tramp by Barbara Dexter

The Lady Adopts a Tramp by Barbara Dexter

I have been told twice in the same day that the dog I adopted looks like the dog from the movie “Lady and the Tramp.” The tramp in the movie is a miniature schnauzer. I guess I will take advantage of that when sharing his photos. My little tramp is called Mortimer or just plain  Morty. When I think of Morty, I think of a little old man. One person told me a story of Morty the deli man from his childhood that used to pass out pickles to the children when they came in to get sandwiches with their families.  So I asked if Morty if he wanted to pass out pickles. He just looked at me like I had three heads. I guess he is right, it might take three heads to process that comment.

Morty is approximately 8 years old. It is a best guess. He came into rescue in dire need of help. He was one of the lucky ones that were found in time and helped by a local rescue group, Second Chance Rescue.

This is what Morty looked like when he first arrived at Second Chance Rescue.

mortimer4 (1)
Morty upon arrival at Second Chance Rescue 1.
Morty upon arrival at Second Chance Rescue 2.
Morty upon arrival at Second Chance Rescue 3.
Morty upon arrival at Second Chance Rescue 4.
Morty shortly after his arrival at my house. He is snoring on the couch.
Morty shortly after his arrival at my house. He is taking in the place and getting his bearings.
Morty on a walk around the grounds.
On our way to the dog park.
What is that I see?
The dog park.
Sights at the dog park.
Statue at the dog park.
Art at the dog park.
Meeting new friends at the dog park.
My fur is getting softer and I’m getting a belly.

Morty has had to get neutered at eight years old. As he had an enlarged prostate. That condition has now resolved. He had to get a bath and had his fur shaved due to the severe matting. The matting was so bad that he had a problem defecating. He also required extensive extraction of his teeth due to their rotten condition.

Surprisingly he has a sweet and calm temperament. He barks initially when meeting someone, when he is on a leash and then calms down.  I looked up his breed information and found this to be typical of the breed. He comes when called and loves to walk right next to me. He is a dream to walk on a leash. His lack of teeth has not slowed down his ability to eat. Of course it may be the home cooking he is getting. That is just a shameless plug for myself. He has to wear a wrap until his marking inside the house subsides. But he doesn’t seem to care. He is living the a life of comfort.

So you want your own little Mortimer or Morticia? Maybe you can not have one but can give a donation.

Second Chance Pet Adoption League
P.O. Box 221
Oak Ridge, NJ 07438
Adoptions Days EVERY Sunday
12:30 – 3pm  @
Animal Clinic of Morris Plains
3009 Route 10 East
Morris Plains (Denville on GPS), NJ
Please donate to help pay for medical care for our rescued dogs!  All donations are tax-deductible.  You can donate through PayPal on our  Thank you!

Grover Cleveland House on July 4th by Barbara Dexter

Grover Cleveland House on July 4th by Barbara Dexter

These are some photos from the ice cream social with live musical entertainment on July 4th at the Grover Cleveland House in Caldwell, NJ.

The front of the house.

Above is the Grover Cleveland House. They offer free tours every few minutes on this busy day. You are welcomed back to the house for individual tours at a more leisurely pace during their regular hours. They are closed on Mondays ans Tuesdays as well as holidays.

The address is:

Grover Cleveland Birthplace
207 Bloomfield Avenue
Caldwell, NJ  07006
Phone: (973) 226-0001

Take a step back in time and marvel at the simple life that we all long for in today’s busy society.  There was no running water in 1832 when he house was built. All water had to be hauled in from the well that is directly off the kitchen at the rear of the house.


The house was used for both business and family affairs. This limited the family’s space in the home.  Most family matters were conducted in the kitchen or the small family room to the rear of the large receiving room.

Flea circus

Celebrate the fourth with an old fashioned flea circus. This is a real humorous treat for children and adults alike.



Learn about history, present day activities, and the memorial association.





Buy a gift to help support the historical house. Don’t forget to sample from ice cream or enjoy a burger during the live musical performance.

This event is held yearly at the Grover Cleveland Birthplace on the fourth of July.

New Jersey is the land of big hair, hormones, and chromatography by Barbara Dexter

New Jersey is the land of big hair, hormones, and chromatography by Barbara Dexter

This became only too real when while attending a seminar on gas chromatography troubleshooting, a young woman walks into the auditorium with hair pointing northward at least six inches of her head pointing straight up into the sky.  Even though I don’t have an engineering degree, I find myself marveling at this structure that lasts through today’s thunderstorm without even a suggestion of frizzing. Yes, New Jersey is definitely home to big hair.

Then there is the one man chromatography shop owner. I wonder how much tenacity and networking is required to pull that feat off? He has to compete in an extremely competitive industry that regularly conducts business in the billions of dollars. This must be one of his networking opportunities, as he is dressed in a power outfit of a button down oxford and khakis. His posture is one of total comfort, though you know his heart is racing for the next big deal.

The natives are getting restless. We have been here for at least forty five minutes after the expected, published start time. The coffee with yogurt and granola are no longer or cannot possibly live up to anyone’s expectations. It is just about this time that a man walks in sporting unsightly facial hair. His chest hair is peaking out of the collar of his polo shirt. He is definitely hairy. I know for certain that my younger sister would find him attractive.

The middle aged man in the suit is next to talk. We discuss retention times and solubility in isocratic and gradient separations. Well I say that times are fast. The theory of theoretical plate counts on the columns is discussed. I day dream and wonder why I need to know the formulas? I only care that I have the ability to separate compounds of interest from cutting agents and diluents.

Yes it happens even here. The old man with the comb over has just walked in carrying his plate of food and coffee. Instead of just taking a seat in the back, he walks in front of everyone to the middle of the first row forcing the speaker to wait until he is seated.

The hairy man has now pulled up a piece of floor and is typing away on his laptop, while the suit is busy taking. I hope he is not sharing “the suit’s” information without permission.  The all of a sudden I can sense his eyes staring at me as I attempt to look away.

Yes, finally something to look at. Eye candy on two legs has just walked through the door.  He is now actively typing on his laptop next to the hairy man. “Mr. Eye-candy” is now perusing the crowd. Will he come over and introduce himself to me I wonder? Alas I must make due talking about self-tightening column nuts and ordering information with the hairy man.  What a missed opportunity.

Then there it is my opportunity to talk with “Mr. Eye-candy”, when he approaches me to ask directions to the airport. He states that he is flying home to California.  My hormones are telling me, just sneak into his luggage he will never notice. As I imagine the California coastline, I calmly explain how to get to the airport and wish him a safe trip.


A Visit to the Tranquility Zone by Barbara Dexter

A Visit to the Tranquility Zone by Barbara Dexter


Tranquility- need I say more?


After a fifty minutes of travel, I have entered the so called “Tranquility Zone.” It is so called because someone actually thought to post a sign with tranquility in the label. The front tie down securing my kayak to the front of my Forester had come loose, but not undone. I was grateful I didn’t have to pull along the road on interstate 287 to fix it. This is my first kayaking trip of the season.

A view of the reservoir and dock.


The picnic tables near the dock.


The gentle rocking of the kayak under me has already subdued my mood. I am in a section that once provided ample growing room for trees.  Apparently most of these are now partially to fully submerged under the water. Motor boats don’t usually come on this section for fear of damage to their engine propellers.

It is Friday morning and the temperature is hovering around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It is no wonder that I am the only sole on the water. I figure, as long as I don’t fall in, I will be warm enough with my ugly fleece jacket over my life jacket. I put it over just in case I get warm. This way my life jacket will still be on when I need to take the fleece jacket off. Since I swim, but I am not the strongest swimmer, this is important.

As I sit here in my little alcove, forgotten are the events of yesterday. Well at least they don’t seem as important as they once did just hours ago.

I have a turtle that keeps surfacing for air and a yellow and black beaked, white swan for company. In the distance are the large trucks and cars as they carry their important cargo of materialistic supplies for the market place or people.

The trees on the hills surrounding the reservoir have started growing leaves as all along the ridge there are varying shades of green. At his distance some of the trees appear to look like cotton balls that have been pasted to some board as in a model train display.

My agenda is simple. I have none. IF I  feel as I want to paddle around, I do. I have a couple of books to read and of course a snack. I realized that I forgot my water at home so I had to make a detour to get some from the 7 eleven on my way here. I have a simple rule when I go out and enjoy nature. Water don’t leave home without it.

Storms clouds appear to be rolling in. It looks as though a rain shower is on the way. I guess I should paddle back.  I decide to load up my kayak and drive down to the other end of the reservoir. There are large dark clouds in the sky. I sit in my vehicle and observe an older gentlemen unload his yellow kayak and gear and proceed to start out into the water. I begin to question his sanity or do I question mine? For  I still want to be on the water even in the face of the pending storm. I decide it was the appropriate time to head home before I find myself out there in the storm.

As I drive home the storm clouds maintain their dark presence in the sky. I exit  from route 280 at the Livingston Avenue exit and there it is a lovely blue sky with white fluffy clouds.  There is apparently no evidence of mother nature’s wrath. While unloading my kayak my neighbor stated what lovely day it was to be out on the water. Well for a time it was a lovely day, I thought.


My Theory of Socks and Sock Problems by Barbara Dexter

My Theory of Socks and Sock Problems by Barbara Dexter

So you believe in sock fairies? I do because of the actions of socks. Socks can be defined as problem children, misfits that do not belong. How dare they be dingy and dark when they are supposed to be white after they are washed. How dare they just up and disappear without proper notice and then reappear sometimes up to two years later. This is usually just after you have thrown away the matching one.

Socks how dare they intermingle with socks of all colors and sizes, only to be sorted before and after the wash cycle. These little miscreants need to be taught a lesson.  I say buy all the same color socks. This leaves out the sorting. Wash them together. Dry them together. Roll them without fighting to find the match in the pile, because who is ever going to know or even care if the are a perfect match.

I have not seen anyone hold up a magnifying glass to examine a pair of socks while they were attached to their human. But it must be said, that strange things do happen. Now if one sock is dingier than the other, simply throw it out. That’s right socks, we’ll show you. We will never have to sort or look for you again.

So you said; Brief Quotes from the Lab by Barbara Dexter

So you said; Brief Quotes from the Lab by Barbara Dexter

I’m glad you are leaving the building because co-workers don’t let co-workers work for free.

I let the dogs out.

I was a people person then people ruined it.

Jumping from an airplane without a parachute is a once in a lifetime experience. (

I believe in that to a 50% uncertainty.

I feel like an animal in the zoo. When you work here you are under glass. I wonder if the parents are telling their children not to tap the glass because they might disturb the lab rat.

As he puts a hand over his heart, he states, I had an empty feeling right here. I didn’t know what it was until you walked into the room.

Never mind cooking, this is how you get a husband. You need a harpoon and some rope. Just pick a man from out on the street and harpoon him. I replied, so you are telling me I should hog tie some mystery man and make him mine? There is someone for everyone. I really believe that. The guys will be falling out of the trees to get to you when you least expect it.

Where ever I am that is where I have to be.

You need to put a bar of soap under your sheets to get rid of leg cramps.

You didn’t realize you were born in the year of the horse. You know 2014 was the year of the horse. That was your year. You are best matched with a dog, goat or a tiger but never a rat. You are such a lucky person said Mia. I replied, what do you mean by that, I had a bad year last year? Oh that is because you did not wear red panties or stockings. Every day you must wear red panties or stockings to ward off the evil spirits. That is why you didn’t have a good year stated Mia. I asked, what about wearing my red coat? Mia replied it doesn’t count because the fabric has to be close to your skin at your core, only panties or stockings will work. I am going to purchase 365 pairs of red panties for the next time the year of the horse comes up, I said. Then GQ said you go girl, Costco it up!

Storm Clouds This Morning by Barbara Dexter

Storm Clouds This Morning by Barbara Dexter

I  put the recycling out through the garage this morning and noticed a large patch of ice just outside the garage door.  Well I placed the paper in it’s usual place not thinking of the person that has to pick out up,  and closed the door. I had just set two large bags of paper on top of the ice.  I thought to myself,  I don’t want to walk over the ice,  let me go out the front door to get my car started besides those guys have big, heavy,  trucks surely they have traction.

The view up in the sky was spectacular as I laid there for a moment to catch my breath.  Yes,  karma had struck me for putting the paper out on the ice.  But when it did, I sure got a nice photo of the storm clouds.




Saved by a Fox by Barbara Dexter

Saved by a Fox by Barbara Dexter

Well I thought I was having an uneventful day. I put in my time diligently at my first job. This was my first research job after graduate school. I was performing pharmacokinetic analysis of therapeutic drugs in patient plasma, which simply means monitoring the dose of a drug as it breaks down in the body. At this point in my life, I did not earn enough money to sustain myself at my first job. I was forced to do additional work. On this particular day, I worked as a server and all around grunt for a catering company. I was happy to have the additional income, but it made for some long days.

I was finished for the day. I got in my old, trusty, manual shift Honda Civic coupe and pro ceded to drive home. I was not far from the catering venue, when I realized I had made a wrong turn. I was headed directly for the social security office and it was two o’clock in the morning. In my mindset at the time, which I voiced out loud, there is nobody around so pull a U-turn at the next available intersection, nobody will see. Well now, the intersection was clearly labeled, no U-turn. I went ahead and made the U-turn. Just then, there were blue lights flashing in my rearview mirror. I think to myself, so much for nobody noticing me. I am in a tux with the collar unbuttoned and the bow-tie dangling. Well to be sure I looked a mess.

The police officer approached my car and asked for my license and registration. He also asked me just what I was doing out at that hour. I told him I had been working at a catering event and I was tired. Whether he believed me or not, I had no way of knowing. He walked back to his car to run my information through his computer system.

Just at that moment I looked out my windshield and what did I see but a fox. He had auburn-red fur and a silver-white ring on his tail. He was just standing there watching me as if to say “hey what are you doing?” The site of the fox was very unusual for the urban environment. I felt myself starting to calm down as I watched the fox.

It was at that moment that the officer handed me back my license and registration then said “did you see that fox? That was so cool.” I told him I was just sitting and watching the fox. The officer then told me to go home and to be careful. I immediately thought that fox just saved me. I went home happy and surprisingly the weariness had left me.

“Popeye” and I by Barbara Dexter

“Popeye” and I. by Barbara Dexter

Taken from
Photo was Taken from

(Popeye the Sailor Man is a cartoon fictional character, created by Elzie Crisler Segar. These cartoon shorts are now owned by Turner Entertainment)

I envision a conversation between myself and “Popeye the Sailor Man.”

“I am what I am! I’m Popeye the Sailor Man! I’m strong to the finish ’cause I eats me spinach. I’m Poyeye the Sailor Man!”

Above is a quote from my favorite cartoon character, Popeye. He simply is what he is. That included his constant rescue efforts of his sweet heart “Olive Oil” from the evil “Brutus.” What a strong character he was. Popeye was very brawny and proud.

I think about him when I think of living simply and being exactly what I am. I often wondered what my conversation with him would be about? Would I start out by saying I was proud of him for his bravery, noble actions, and honesty? Or would I start by talking about spinach? I want to know why oh why would he eat spinach from a can? As there are perfectly tasty and fresh spinach leaves available? Would I state that I was proud of his ability to eat spinach when his friend “Whimpy” always wanted hamburgers? For that matter “Whimpy” always wanted “Popeye” to buy him hamburgers. There are times when I can no longer endure the vegetarian lifestyle and have to cheat. I wonder would I as “Popeye” just how he made only eating spinach work? Would I simply cut it short and say “Hi I’m Barb and I’m your number one fan.

Me and My Radio

My and My Radio by Barbara Dexter

My car radio is a wonderful accompaniment to driving on Route 280 East at rush hour. As people rush past only mere inches from my front bumper or cut into my lane in a sideswiping motion, my radio plays. I particularly enjoy the country songs “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” and “I Want to Talk About Me.” Somehow the little volume button miraculously adjusts to a higher volume as the traffic snare ensues. I’ve given up upon following the merge to the right that eventually leads me to the most convenient exit. Instead I find myself at the opposite side of the road wandering through the west side of Newark, past NJIT and eventually endingup in my parking lot near the Prudential Center. Many mornings I am early and have time to enjoy one last song before I begin my workday. Yes, my music has elicited stares from passerbys and fellow lot parkers, but it is always with me.