26 Jul

Do you know what I discovered about my new retirement digs? I’ve found a place that White folks been keeping from us. Now before some of my White sisters and brothers get bent out of shape and think I’ve gone all kamikaze racist on your behinds, I’m just kidding—sort of. In 1964 when the Civil Rights Act passed allowing Black folks the ability to travel, live, go to school, eat in restaurants, shop, and pretty much exist in previously restricted areas due to our race, it became a game of my childhood to waltz into those newly opened arenas and soak up all the beauty, knowledge, tranquility, and lusciousness I’d been missing out on for all my poor, pathetic life (see my first book: Monsters’ Throwdown for the entertaining details). I had a mentor (twenty years older than I) who would call me on any given day and announce: “Put on your best Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and grab a pair of white gloves because we are going to a place that the White folks been keepin’ from us!” It has become a tagline between my husband (who is White) and me throughout the years whenever we encounter something extraordinarily lovely. When we unpacked the final box in our new home and stepped back to absorb the beauty of it all, I said to him, “Look, Honey, we found a place. . . ” And WW (a.k.a. “White and Wonderful”) with arms wrapped around me and tears in his eyes, interrupted me and said: “And can you believe that the same little girl who was born in a toilet in Monsters’ Throwdown is the same little girl who is retiring in this tranquil place—this sanctuary for dreamers?”

Living Rm 2

Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk/ “A sanctuary for dreamers”

I spend my mornings going for long walks in bucolic settings, followed by meditation and reading on my sun-kissed deck. Weather permitting, I have breakfast with my man on the deck overlooking yellow and red hibiscus plants as hummingbirds stream in from the nature preserve that is my backyard, and then I write in an office which has one huge wall of glass that overlooks cultivated yards of red and pink crepe myrtles. I would never leave if I didn’t have to, but I know that sometimes duty will call, and I’ll have to venture back into the not so pleasant world from time to time.

Good Deer

Photo credit: Eleanor Tomczyk/Author’s view from her sun-kissed deck

Such was last weekend. As often happens to my husband WW and me, invitations come that compete for the same dates, and decisions must be made as to the validity, the importance of the relationships, and our finances regarding which one will be RSVP’d “yes” or “no” to. We were invited to the wedding of my nephew and to a reunion of a group of people that I once thought I’d found tranquility with in my hippie days but turned out to be a bust in the long run (check out my latest book on the subject: Fleeing Oz). We chose my nephew’s wedding in Vermont. It was the correct choice—the wedding was wonderful. My nephew and his new wife are delightful and everyone was overjoyed to see us.   I found Vermont to be magnificently beautiful but, as a writer, I found the scores of Moose Crossing signs along the roads to be more than blog worthy—they would have made a great Saturday Night Live skit.

Moose Crossing Sign

Photo Credit: Joy E. Hecht

I don’t know from moose (is the plural of moose “meese,” “mooses,” “moosi,” or “moosen”?)—I’ve never seen one in my life. The only moose I know of is the cartoon moose, “Bullwinkle J. Moose” from the show Rocky and Bullwinkle. So you can imagine my surprise when driving up into the gorgeous mountains of Vermont (another place the White folks been keeping from us—I didn’t see one Black person in them there hills!), every third sign was a warning about moose crossings.

The Bullwinkle moose I came to know in the ghettos of Cleveland, Ohio via TV was benign, sweet-tempered, hilariously funny, and didn’t take himself too seriously. He went to college at “Wossamotta U” and was part-time governor of Moosylvania Island. (Remember the running gag of Bullwinkle attempting to pull a rabbit out of a top hat which was never successful? He would send me into gales of laughter—after Rocky, the side-kick squirrel’s emphatic declarations of “but that trick never works!”—because out of the hat would pop a lion or a tiger or even Rocky.) That running joke never failed to cause me to fall over laughing as a poor Black child. Bullwinkle was one of my first friends, and he taught me humor.

One of TV's greatest animated series, ROCKY 7 BULLWINKLE & FRIENDS, comes to DVD for the first time ever. DIGITALLY REMASTERED DVD BOX SET INCLUDES 26 ORIGINAL EPISODES and never-before seen footage. from BULLWINKLE STUDIOS/Classic Media ( Joint Venture ) **small file size***

One of TV’s greatest animated series, ROCKY 7 BULLWINKLE & FRIENDS, comes to DVD for the first time ever. DIGITALLY REMASTERED DVD BOX SET INCLUDES 26 ORIGINAL EPISODES and never-before seen footage. from BULLWINKLE STUDIOS/Classic Media ( Joint Venture ) **small file size***

Rocky and Bullwinkle/Created by Alexander Anderson (September 5, 1920 – October 22, 2010), Jay Ward, and Bill Scott

So you can imagine my surprise when I asked one very inebriated wedding guest what was up with all the Moose warnings along the highway. “What’s up,” he replied with great agitation, “I’ll tell you what’s up. Those signs are there to save your life. I assume every moose I come across is a serial killer. Your typical moose weighs 1,500 pounds. They are dumb as rocks and mean as hell. They carry most of their weight in their upper body on four pencil-like legs, and if they choose to attack you, neither you nor your car will survive. In my opinion, wild moose are more dangerous than grizzlies and they are full of attitude and aggression. Do you know if they raid your garbage can and return the next day for a follow-up snack, if there is nothing in the can (because the idiots ate all the garbage the day before!), they will get pissed and try and attack your shit—ram your house, ram your car, and stomp the crap out of you if you try and shoo them away? (Why get pissed at me for no follow-up garbage snack? Did I tell them to eat up all the garbage and not leave some for the next day? Dumb asses!) If you happen to hit one when they are crossing the highway, their entire upper body—all 1500 pounds of it will crash through your windshield, and you, the moose, and your car will be singing with Jesus before you can say: ‘Oh look, honey, there goes a moose crossing the highway.’ Moose—the only good moose is a dead moose, as far as I am concerned!”

Moose Bashing

Oy! Oy! Oy! And I thought because of Bullwinkle that I knew my moose!

Try as we could, WW and I never saw a moose while we were in Vermont (probably for the best), but it got us talking about the concept of moose crossing signs, and how they would be most helpful in life when coming across people you thought were one way (benign, friendly, humorous, gracious, kind, loving), but they turned out to be another way (mean-spirited, backbiting, aggressive, controlling, domineering, spiteful, and duplicitous—to name a few). Wouldn’t it be helpful to have “Moose Crossing” signs posted along life’s highway so that you would know to slow down, turn around, back up, flee, or simply take another highway?

Haters Gonna Hate Meme



I am discovering that “moose crossing” signs are just the order of the day to protect this stage of my life in my new sanctuary. (WW and I have decided that we do not care who doesn’t like us; we only care about the people we like, because they are the only ones we want to spend time with or allow into our lives anymore.)

After I returned from the wedding, someone from the reunion—the event I purposely chose not to attend—who I haven’t talked to in years, sent me a message reminiscing about the “good ol’ days” and the great times we had in our Christian community in the 70s (isn’t it amazing the selective memory that people have at reunions?). I, however, remember how this person, who once called me her best friend, verbally attacked me—for no apparent reason—in a car with another person just a few years ago, five minutes before she jumped out of the car to catch a plane, leaving me no rebuttal or recourse. There was never an apology—never a follow up to assess the damage that had been done. I also remember how a year or so after that “moose crossing,” this same woman wrote a caustic comment on my public blog because she didn’t like what I had to say about Sarah Palin (i.e., “perhaps Ms. Palin is not qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency”). My “friend” who didn’t know Sarah Palin chose to excoriate me in print, in public, in support of a nincompoop, as if I were a two-month old not entitled to an opinion. (If that is the mark of a best friend, I’d hate to see what an enemy acts like.)

I hit the delete button on my ex-friend’s message, and I erected a “Moose Crossing” sign in her name while I immersed myself back into the sanctuary I’ve been waiting all my life to inhabit.

“I am thankful the most important key in history was invented. It’s not the key to your house, your car, your boat, your safety deposit box, your bike lock or your private community. It’s the key to order, sanity, and peace of mind. The key is ‘Delete.’”Elayne Boosler

Moose Hiding



“I think for me, home needs to be a sanctuary. I need to feel like I’ve escaped the day when I get home.” —Bella Heathcote

If we could make our house a home, and then make it a sanctuary, I think we could truly find paradise on Earth.”—Alexandra Stoddard

“Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.”—Dada Vaswani




Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on July 26, 2015 in Uncategorized


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22 responses to “MOOSE CROSSING

  1. Daddy Bear

    July 26, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    All you say about the moose may be true, but chocolate mooses are still objects sent from heaven…

    • etomczyk

      July 26, 2015 at 11:52 pm

      Now that’s the truth, Daddy Bear . . . and I do love chocolate “moose”–my favorite desert (I make a mean one, btw). 🙂

      • Daddy Bear

        July 27, 2015 at 7:52 pm

        My only problem is that the antlers keep getting stuck in my teeth…

  2. Elyse

    July 27, 2015 at 8:35 am

    All in favor of “moose crossing” signs of life, raise your hand. *the hands all go up, shake wildly with enthusiasm.”

    Your house sounds lovely!

    In a bizarre twist, I just wrote about Mooses, too.

    • etomczyk

      July 27, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Elyse. Hope all is well. That is bizarre that we both wrote about mooses. I have finally gotten a rhythm to my life (just books to unpack and small things to organize) so I will start reading my favorite blogs again. Take care.

  3. aFrankAngle

    July 27, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Them there moose can be very mean … so I’m glad I’ve never seen one. Interestingly, while reading, I had thoughts of you going to Alaska to see SP …. and then you mentioned here … ah ha … serendipity in action … you are meant to vacation Wasilla!

    Glad to here you are happy at your new residence … but do you realize you used SP and nincompoop in the same sentence without citing me as the source? (I couldn’t resist) … but I imagine this story also is the start of your third book. Good luck!

    • etomczyk

      July 27, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Frank, how remiss of me. I most certainly should have given you credit for the nincompoop line since I shamelessly stole it from you. 🙂 Actually, I think the third book is going to be about the ignoble issues of aging. I don’t know about you, but my body refuses to behave, and it gets in my way on daily basis. In my head I am 19, but my body keeps tripping me up. Yuck! I’ll drop by later on today to check out what you’ve been doing now that some sanity has returned to my life.

      • aFrankAngle

        July 27, 2015 at 12:26 pm

        I knew the third book was in the works .. you just can’t stand still. LMAO!!!! … and to think you laughed when I first mentioned it.

        Hope you realize I was pulling your chain on Nincompoop. Regarding the aches and pains of aging … I’m right with you … even celebrated last week with straining a muscle in my back. YUK!

      • etomczyk

        July 27, 2015 at 12:46 pm

        Frank, of course, but you do deserve the credit–you helped me gain perspective on that chick! I’m just in the story collection stage at the moment. Every time something humiliating that is age-related happens to me, I am writing it down in my journal. When I have enough to write a humorous non-fiction about the process, I’ll start the third book. And I can truly relate to the strains that come out of nowhere. Since the move, I can hardly walk. We were supposed to do this move three years from now, but I convinced WW to retire earlier rather than later. It is a good thing or we both would be in traction had we waited. God help us!

      • aFrankAngle

        July 27, 2015 at 12:50 pm

        Guess we can also call you Traction Lady! Take it easy (I am). Meanwhile, I’m taking it easy.

  4. Lorna's Voice

    July 27, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    That was one cranky Vermonter! Sheesh! Not all of them are like that. I know because I lived just across the lake from Vermont nearly all my life.

    As for wild moose…I respect those might beasts and wouldn’t get all huggy with them, as I wouldn’t any wild animal. Duh, right? I did see a wild moose up close once, though. Was driving on a winding mountain road and the thing came bounding up from a gully on my left. He/She stopped just as I did so we both got a good look at each other. I think the moose was grown, but on the young side of adult. Gosh, its legs were tall. I had to crane my neck to see the humongous head and antlers (are they called antlers on a moose?). Majestic is the word I would use for that creature. I asked it politely to go back from where it came. I didn’t want another car to hit it because, yes, major damage would have been done to everyone involved. And, you know what, after a moment of looking at me, it turned around and jumped back down into the gully! I drove along, knowing I had an experience I’m never likely to have again.

    Love you home, by the way! 🙂

    • etomczyk

      July 27, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      Hey Lorna, I figured the wedding guest was more than a little inebriated. But it was also obvious he had ended up on the wrong end of a moose’s rage We definitely wanted to see one (it would have made my blog so much more interesting, but if it meant keeping my car intake, then it was worth the pass. Take care.

  5. imagesbytdashfield

    July 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    DH loves moose and we have a small collection of toy/stuffed ones along side my collection of turtles. And as he grew up in Joisey but went to Maine a lot he knows that in a contest of moose vs. car the moose wins antlers down. BTW the ring tone on my phone is the theme from the Rocky and Bullwinkle show. Now how long a drive is it from here to your porch 🙂

    • etomczyk

      July 27, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Terri, I can’t believe your ring tone is Rocky and Bullwinkle! What a riot! I really did want to see a moose since I only know the cartoon version, but I’m glad we got home safe and our car is in one piece. Now I’ve got to go find that Rocky and Bullwinkle ringtone.

      • imagesbytdashfield

        July 28, 2015 at 11:30 am

        Zedge ringtones and they’re free 🙂

      • etomczyk

        July 28, 2015 at 9:34 pm

        Thanks Teri. I shall check them out.

  6. valentinelogar

    July 27, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    I think, not only do we need these Moose Crossing Signs, they need to flash and wave. You know like that robot from Lost in Space. Danger, Danger Will Robinson Moose (Meese, Moosers) Crossing Now.

    Your sanctuary sounds wonderful. I am happy for you finding it and pleased ya’ll got that last box unpacked so quickly.

    • etomczyk

      July 27, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      Val, you are so right! I wish I had thought of that when I wrote it: a sign with bells and whistles or horns! Some type of commotion is needed to warn us when these destructors of the heart are in our vicinity.

  7. momshieb

    July 27, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Oh, what perfect timing! Although we have the occasional moose in our part of central Mass, we don’t have many of those funny signs. But I am up in the White Mountains now, in the land of many moose! I just spent two night at a motel across the street from shops called “Strictly Moose”, “The Moose’s Antlers” and “More Than Moose”!

    • etomczyk

      July 27, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      Hi Moms. That is perfect timing. Be careful. Don’t tick any “moosen” off cause it seems as I they don’t take any crap from us humans. Take care.

  8. silentlyheardonce

    July 28, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I saw a moose when I lived upstate NY. It was a car full of us. 19 – 20 something years old. The moose was blocking the dirt road we were on. Wish I had a camera. We beeped the horn and flashed the lights at him. The moose stood there looking at us in fazed. His mouth was moving like he was chewing gum. After awhile he turned and walked away. Years later I learned that you shouldn’t beep your horn or flash your light because they may attack your car. Guess he knew we were fools.

    BTW I enjoyed both your books. I read them backwards but it was easy to follow.

    • etomczyk

      July 28, 2015 at 9:46 pm

      Kimberly, I did find out that you’re not supposed to startle the moose in any way because they will become aggressive. It’s good we didn’t see any because I would have probably done what you did.

      Thanks so much for reading both my books. I hope you enjoyed them. If you did, please tell your friends and relatives, and if you really liked them, please leave a review on Amazon. Apparently, people do read them. Cheers!


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