In the summer at some point for the last few years we have celebrated our grandchildren with Grandcamp.  As I may have mentioned before, the first year I made schedules, menus and matching T-shirts.  It was a fun time tie-dying t-shirt, drawing, swimming and handprints in concrete.  Another year we were with other of our family and had a guest day when we invited others to come participate in the crafts.  This year we have been less scheduled.  All three grandchildren are involved in a family move one from town to town and the other two from state to state so relaxation and enjoying each other seemed more appropriate.  Still our afternoons have had some form of activity.

Yesterday with two left I had no plans.  I asked them what they wanted to do and our granddaughter said ‘Art’.  Our oldest grandson wanted to continue exercising his thumbs!  Getting out all the art supplies seemed such a chore.  There was a picture that I wanted to try my hand at so started the search for brushes, pastels, pastel pencils and crayons.

I found my pastel chalks and pencils in a nautical bag that they have been in since I started using them back in the 70s.  What a mess as the moves and years had chalk all over the inside of the bag.  I really should have kept them separate.  While Lady J drew and colored picture after picture I cleaned pastel pencils and chalks.  I determined if gum erasers were worthy of keeping and generally cleaned and tossed not work at any art.

I showed the Miss how the pastels worked.  Before long she was covered in magenta dust and had a lovely picture of pink with a flower in the middle of it.  Our grandson had joined us and was drawing a man who we decided looked like John Travolta when it was completed.  I finally got out my picture and started to interpret it on my paper with pastel pencils and chalk.

It was the picture of a sleeping baby.  It just caught my eye so I copied it for painting later.  I was so interested in replicating this photo to paper that I even bought new pastel pencils.  There is a difference in art supply pencils and box store colored pencils.  I was glad I found the old standbys.

I drew the picture originally in yellow then added a flesh toned chalk and liked it better so began another drawing.  As I got into the picture and was drawing the jaw line and the cheeks I remembered some of the old techniques.  I was reminded why I liked pastels so much.  You can feel your way through a picture.

As I drew the little ears I imagined touching them and cleaning them as after a bath so I could put all the little parts where they belonged.  As I drew the jaw line I was touching this sweet child with the love of a parent who adores that little face.  The nose and lips usually create problems for me and did this time as well until I envisioned them moving in their sleep.  The sleeping eyes shut were the easiest and most important as the long lashes captured the whole photo and I wanted to do them justice in my drawing.  For me drawing with pastels is tenderly caressing the subject and turning those touches into a picture.

My favorite pastel experience was on the living room floor of an art teacher years ago.  I was drawing a spider plant.  I had my paper out and the green and yellow pastels handy.  There was music playing and I was following the beat and rhythm with each stroke of the pastel chalk.  I remember the feeling of harmony and peace as I worked the chalk to bring the spider plant to life on the paper.  The feeling was calm and soothing.  It was like I was floating back and forth in a hammock. Each up or down of the hammock left a stroke of color to the picture.  When I hear people speak of being ‘one with something’ that vision of that morning comes to mind for me.

Yesterday afternoon evaporated.  The next thing I knew the garage door was opening and I knew the workday was over.  I looked at my drawing and was pleased.  Our granddaughter had already created the gallery on the sliding door.  I added mine to the mix and started dinner.

I forget how much I like art.  I think I would have loved to make pottery as your hands and fingers create what goes in the kiln.  I like watercolor and acrylics as well.  I have not ever used oils – the clean up frightens me as neatnik I am not.  With water color and acrylics you are away from the paper due to the brush.  I usually do landscapes or object when using either of those. 

The pastels I believe are relegated in the art world to last place to all other mediums.  Yet the pastels – oh the pastels and the feeling of creating under your fingers.  It is tactile much like kneading bread or mixing meats for a meatloaf or breads for a stuffing.  I have decided that is why I like to use pastels when I do faces as I can touch these people.  Through this touch I can caress them with love and bring them to life on paper.  It is very rewarding, meditative, almost spiritual and I think I must do this more.






If you are a regular reader of this blog you will note that I have changed the header picture.  I have no one particular style of design in my home or wardrobe or hairstyle or life in general.  I am not colonial or modern or Victorian or traditional.  I have elements of all of these in my world thus the word eclectic works for me.



   /ɪˈklɛktɪk/ Show Spelled[ih-klek-tik] Show IPA



selecting or choosing from various sources.


made up of what is selected from different sources.


not following any one system, as of philosophy, medicine, etc., but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems.


noting or pertaining to works of architecture, decoration, landscaping, etc., produced by a certain person or during a certain period, that derive from a wide range of historic styles, the style in each instance often being chosen for its fancied appropriateness to local tradition, local geography, the purpose to be served, or the cultural background of the client.



Also, ec·lec·ti·cist  /ɪˈklɛktəsɪst/ Show Spelled[ih-klek-tuh-sist] Show IPA. a person who follows an eclectic method, as in philosophy or architecture.

The older I get the more settled I believe I become, sadly.  There was the time that my husband would not ever enter a room that did not have a light on as he could not be sure the furniture was in the same place.  I like variety and still try to enjoy it now. 

I arrange furniture according to seasons sometimes.  For instance in one home we had, in the summer I wanted to enjoy the cool breezes so our bed was on an outside wall with windows on each side wall blowing across the bed.  In the winter the bed was snuggled in a corner with no windows near it at all.  In this same home we had a large eat-in family room.  The kitchen eating area was at one end.  This room also had a woodstove.  The changes were comfy chairs around the stove or in spring the chairs were in front of the windows. 

I have combined Chinese vases and colonial cross stitch with Victorian oak.  It works for me.  I have denim slouch couches with traditional coffee and end tables.  The knick knacks are all varying degrees of style.  The one thing I do not own is a velvet tapestry though I did make a nail art sailboat on a velvet background.  Tacky and on the wall over my desk for fun!  What I want in my home is comfort and warmth not style.

Thus when an art teacher that I took lessons from asked us to make a collage of who we were in life from magazines, my choices of periodicals went from Popular Mechanic to Woman’s Day!  It was fun to define myself for the moment this way.  I spent a whole day and evening in a frenzy of cutting and looking and trying to fit it all on an 8X10 piece of paper.  Once it was assembled we were told to paint it.  Knowing that painting was part of the equation my choices were simple objects excepting the one photo of a mother holding a baby.  It had a real fascination for me and I used it as the centerpiece as I saw that as a major role of my life.     

The banner shows only a swath through the center of my painting.  It shows the mother and child and calico fabric I sewed with a lot as well as pillows that I was into making at the time.  What you also see is the top of a wine glass and a J&B Scotch bottle.  There is green for a green lawn and textured brown for wicker and baskets I collect.  The picture has more. 

As I write this I draw a correlation to life.  What we see of each other is only a part.  We all have more depth and dimensions to our persons.  We have attitudes and ideas and personas.  What would your life look like as a collage?

The challenge of the day for you is to do just what I did.  Define yourself in pictures.  If you are a painter – paint it.  If not frame it as it is.  Keep this project to 8 x lO  as common paper and frame size.  What will your life look like in full and living collage of color?



PS.  For those still getting this via facebook and not wanting it a friend shared the following:  you can go to the “RSS Feed” in the “Notes” an app function of Facebook.  Click “my notes”.  Click anything that says “import settings”, which will bring you to a screen where you should see the RSS feed from the blog.  If you don’t want it linked in, it seems you should be able to delete it here.




I did not go to church today.  My husband went alone.  I chose not to invite the angst that would come with trying to get three grandchildren ready to go as well as get one of them ready to leave.  Last night I had to share his tears as he fell asleep. 

In this house our bedroom is upstairs.  We have a double story family room. I can hear everything that happens in the family room from my bed.  I listened to the voices this morning thinking of the sadness that waited a few hours away and knowing that my tears would be part of it as well.  While listening I heard, “good job dude/I beat level 4/the seven sages are trainers/awesome/strike/how do you get into…’and many words of the DS language that I have no idea what they are saying.  They might as well be speaking a foreign language.  They are.

I came out of my room and silently looked down on the three of them as they played.  The two boys sat on the couch and our granddaughter in the oversized matching chair.  Each had a DS in hand.  Our 12 yr old has red, the 8 has an aqua blue and the 10 yr old girl has pink of course.  Each DS is as individual as each child.  I watched undiscovered.

What a rare moment to savor this sunny Sunday.  Below me were three young children that have their whole lives ahead of them involved in their favorite pastime.  They were playing and chatting and enjoying each others company while sharing knowledge and secrets of this, to me, still unknown world of gaming.  I wondered what is so wrong with that.  There are so many who condemn these toys and here I had three grandchildren enjoying them with amazing quiet and calm.  The discussion of electronic games is for another day.  Today I am caught in the wonder my grandchildren. They are as different as night and day and related.  We have a computer fan, a diva and an athlete. 

Our oldest grandson at 12 is the computer fan.  He can tell you every in and out on many games.  He can tell you how to get from here to there in that world and is very happy to play undisturbed.  While he will shut off his system when asked and play board games, cards, charades or participate in any fun activity, he is much happier in his electronic world.  Luckily he also likes history and is a big fan of Abraham Lincoln.  He probably will design some historical computer game one day.

The 10 yr old diva knows every young starlet on every girlie TV show.  She still plays with Barbies and American Girl dolls.  Through her grandparents indulgence she does have more than one of them.  She likes stylish offbeat clothes.  The bathrobe I made for her this summer upon request was in a pink and black zebra sort of fabric.  The hooded pattern she chose was certainly not me!  A few years ago when she was visiting we went through my jewelry box and she dubbed most of it old fashioned.  This time I was relieved of a ruby ring, her birthstone, a gold locket and two costume gold bracelets.  As I watch I notice that she has it all on this morning.  All I could think of was – Look out world!

Our youngest at almost 8 is a real sports player.  He is agile, speedy and fast.  Keeping him from running in the house is a chore.  While I do not like running in the house in general, he rarely goes barefoot and I can see him falling in his socks on our hardwood floors.  [His father did that once as a child and we had stitches.  Perhaps as I look at me and that situation that is why I am so against this.] He plays soccer and baseball in his hometown.  We went bowling yesterday.  He raced the alley with the freedom and agility of one who knew what to do and really did not care about form.  He knocked pins down right and left.  While he did not win his score was competitive with the rest of us.  Perhaps we have a Coach K in the making.

We are reading a book aloud every night this year at ‘Grandcamp’ and all three of these children are excellent readers.  They all get good grades at school.  They all know manners it is the lack of execution that drives these grandparents a bit crazy.  They play well together and argue and roughhouse too.  The hugs when they see each other are wonderful.  It is the goodbye that I am envisioning today.

I was a silent watchman for a few minutes this morning.  They did not hear me.  I was blessed to have had a rare glimpse of love.  I watched my children’s children playing.  Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was watching my two children?  In those few minutes I was standing there saying a silent prayer to God for the gift of these lives.  I thanked God for the children that I bore and the children that they gave us.  I was rejoicing in the lives behind and the future still to come.  I was grateful for the health of these three.  I asked God to let me continue to keep my health to be able to watch for years to come. I was full of happiness of the giggles we shared this year and looking forward to next already.  I prayed blessings on them all.  I did not want the moment to end as it was as sweet as a strawberry warm and fresh from the vine.  Then there it was the wave and “Hi Grandmama”.  I was discovered and the day began ‘for real’.

I did not go to church today.  God and I had the most delightful conversation.




The long awaited posting on soaps has arrived.  Saturday seems an appropriate day.  There once was a common practice to have a bath once a week and it was on Saturday.  The cowboy movies showed that the tub would be brought into one room house and the hot water heated on the stove and brought forth for the first bath.  All inhabitants used the one tub until all were clean for church in the morning.  Not sure I would like to have been the last one to bathe.  In the westerns it never showed where the water went after the baths were done.  I did not see a drain either so they must have lugged the water out the same way it went in.  That seems like it would have made you all hot and sticky all over again.  Those were tough times.

In my own life the bathing ritual has taken on many facets.  The hit and run shower of the working person to the Calgon take me away bath moments of a busy mother and back to the get ‘er done mode of a quick shower to get to my day!  Whatever your choice you need soap.

We lived in an apartment when I was little.  We had the whole fully equipped upstairs of a house. I only remember snippets of the lay-out.  My memory is more filled with the activities there.  The family below us owned the house I think.  They had a daughter and a son who became a lifelong friend, partner in crime and the big brother I did not have.  The mother was a clever woman ahead of her times in many things.  She made lye soap.  I had not ever given much thought to how soap was made or known anyone who made it.  There it would be all white on this big cookie like sheet.  I do not remember it smelling very nice.  She cut it in squares called ‘cakes’.  I am not sure what she used it for either.  I do not think they washed in it.  Later on when any soap around the house became small pieces she would put them all in a meshed bag and hang them from the kitchen faucet so that soap was always available.  As I said she was very clever indeed.

I am not sure that started my fascination with soap.  I really enjoy soap.  I like different shapes and sizes and scents.  One year we were at the Navy Pier in Chicago before Christmas.  There in a kiosk I found the most delightful clear glycerin soaps.  They had objects inside of them.  I bought one with a Santa inside and one with ornaments inside.  I placed these in our half bath for guests to use.  The objects were there for a long time as the soap did not wash away too quickly.

Hotels and motels have great soap sizes.  They are large enough for a couple of showers and small enough to put in your dopp kitt to bring home.  The regular hotels have small common brands and they are usually square.  The higher priced facilities will get into circles or ovals or octagons.  These might even say French-milled on them.  Not sure what that means so looked it up.

According to eHow it is:

French milled soap begins with crystals made from previously manufactured soap. The crystals go through a pair of stainless steel rollers known as a French mill.

The milling process turns the mixture into a fine paste and makes the soap mixture smooth and homogeneous. It also removes glycerin, which would stick to the rollers. The French milling process ensures that each bar is consistent in color, fragrance and texture. True French milled soap is factory-made

Rebatching, or hand milling, is the handmade equivalent of French milled soap. Soap makers melt shredded or diced soap pieces in a liquid and pour the mixture into molds to harden.

French milled soap is sometimes called “triple milled” because the soap mixture passes through the steel rollers at least three times before it is molded into bars or cakes.

Some of the higher end places even use Crabtree and Evelyn.  While it does not clearly state it I believe it is a British company.  Their story from their website follows.

Founded in 1972 by Cyrus Harvey, Crabtree & Evelyn has evolved from a small, family-run business – specializing in fine soaps from around the world – to an international company, well known and respected for its original fragrances, luxurious toiletries, gourmet foods – and gifts for those who enjoy a sophisticated lifestyle.

Crabtree & Evelyn is inspired by John Evelyn, a 17th Century Englishman who was a visionary of his time. One of the first naturalists and conservationists, Evelyn traveled Europe experiencing the wonderful cultures and natural environments which he shared with his friends in British society. His great estate, Sayes Court, was planted with large expanses of elm trees, and the magnificent gardens Evelyn created were a wonder of the age. The diary of John Evelyn is a remarkable picture of 17th life, both in England and on the continent. Evelyn’s personal motto “Explore everything. Keep the best.” has provided inspiration from our founding to this day.

Our icon, the Crab Apple Tree (Pyrus malus), is native to Britain and the ancestor of all cultivated apple trees. Prized for its lovely form and its usefulness in the home apothecary, the Crab Apple Tree represents beauty and the natural goodness inherent in our brand.

Of late I have been ordering my half bath soaps from Naiad Soap Arts.  I discovered this company as I was starting my blog.  You can find them at or on facebook.  The large bars are about $6.  I ordered the Wahini bar of soap for the advertised tropical scent.  Have to say the pleasant scent stayed with it the whole use of the soap.  I have two more soaps waiting to be used.  In plastic bags so the scent does not disturb what I am using now.   I have a mulberry soap shaped like a shell in the powder room now.  I got it when we were in the Amish country.  The scent has not lasted very well and glad the shape is so pleasant with a pale pink hue to make up for that.

That is another thing about soap that I like the shape.  I love different and odd.  Color as well enhances my desire to have a bar in my powder room.  The colors of Naiad Soap Arts are wonderful and vibrant and last through the whole use.

On my birthday I received a tin from my aunt.  I love tins as well and that is another whole post.  I opened the tin to the most wonderful scent.  The label said it was Italian Blood Orange.  Not particularly a nice name for the delicious smell that came forth.  The tin contained a lip balm, a tube of hand cream and a bar of – you got it – SOAP!!!  It is a fairly large bar that will do well with cutting in half for longer pleasure. This is the first time I have ever shared my delight with soap.  My aunt had no idea she hit my happy bone!!! 

So there you have it!  I like soap – little, big, shaped, colored, perfumed or plain.  As I wrote this I paused a bit on powder room.  Where did the name come from and is it widely used today?  As I posted this I looked at the word soap and it really is a strange little word.  Other posts……….


FIRED UP FRIDAY – sort of…


Today is the opening of the Olympics.  A friend suggested that politics be put aside and we all focus on the red white and blue of the festivities.  A wonderful idea. 

I have not been much of a fan of the Olympics.  I love to see some of them such as the opening festivites and swim competitions in the summer.  In the winter I like the skating and some skiing..  Those of course are the sports in which I have participated.  The rest of it, for me, drones on in starts, stops and waits and I find it fairly dull.  I do like that it unites our country in one voice at this time.  As for the competition, it is not for me.  I really only compete with myself anymore.  I rarely win.

Uniting as an American country is what I have been speaking about in many of my posts.  I believe we need to get to civility and discussion not divisiveness and polarization.  A cousin of mine, who is also a writer, sent me an email saying that she rarely discusses politics as she does not want that to be her public face nor does she think she is qualified.  I loved this honesty.  My blog, my public face,  is not predominantly political.  There have been my days when I have been fired up.  There will continue to be those as well.  I told her that I do not believe that I am necessarily qualified to speak about politics.  I am, like any other voter who is, trying to understand our system through the prism of my own values.

Another point she shared was her work with the government.  For many years she wrote law and legislation.  She knows all too well all the work that goes into this and shared some insights with me.  It is important to read bills.  I remember once when I was talking about getting social security at 65, I was told I would not be able to do so as the law had changed.  After much research I discovered indeed it had.  The change had been tacked onto some other bill.  I had not been aware of this. 

President Obama promised to run the most transparent administration.  He promised to have use C-Span.  Have these promises been met?  He said there would no longer be red states or blue states.  Has this happened?  

What it appears we have in this country at this time is a competition of who can speak the longest and loudest to win an argument.  We need discourse based on reality.  Not my perception of reality – reality as it is – taken from news sources that show the people speaking.  Our President really did say to John McCain that ‘Elections have consequences.”  Nancy Pelosi really said. “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”.  Mitt Romney really said, “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”  Those quotes are real.  What the press does with them is another thing.  It is their interpretation.  We in America as Americans have to determine for ourselves what they meant.  As my cousin also said, we can then express ourselves in the ballot box.

Americans need to think for themselves once again.  Listen to my words if you choose.  Most likely try as I might on occasion to be impartial my post will reflect my values and beliefs.  The posts of left leaning bloggers and news people will reflect theirs.  We need to see it all.  It is not a competition as to the loudest voice winning.  America needs every voice to be informed and expressed in the ballot box to win.

As we compete with others nations at the Olympics we are united in hoping America wins.  Let us also enjoy the competitiveness of our own athletes as they compete against each other.  I think the men’s swimming will be very interesting.  May we win much gold!

When we get back to politics as usual – if it ever stops – let us listen openly.  Let us discuss not to change each others minds.  Let us listen to hear beyond the words.  I am sure the people making those three quotes did not mean exactly what their words said.  Words are important.  Just as important is our ability to discern what the speakers were saying.  That is our part.  Not a competition, discernment and these are very different things.




Disclaimer:  I have taken a turn in my post this morning.  It was not what I intended at all.  The post on soap will wait for another day.  Read the following 1608 words if you want or delete if you want.

On facebook occasionally there are notices from friends that they are cleaning out their facebook friends and to hit like if you want to stay.   I am giving you this choice today.  I am not cleaning out.  I am inviting you to do that.

Yesterday I was involved in a thread on another wall.  The wall owner posted a clip saying that Canada had banned Fox News for lying.  I have been cautioned over and over again (thank you Dale) to check out things on Snopes or Fact Check before forwarding them.  This habit has made me aware that there is a lot of misinformation out there and did not want this person to be perceived as passing such along.  I commented on the owners wall with a post suggesting that the facts be checked.  I shared that Fox News was involved in a licensing issue and distributed in Canada over private channels just like the cable channels in the USA.   

The response was from the wall owner was that the Canadians were afraid the Prime Minister was ‘trying to push American style hate-media onto our airwaves and make us all pay for it’.  This had a credit of another website.  I commented something about our President not liking Fox News as well and as I reread it think I missed that point.

The response from the wall owner to another poster participating in this thread was that ‘…Tea Party aren’t fiscal conservatives but rather simple-minded, fearful, bigots…’.  I shared then that I believed in the Tea Party so that would in fact be me.  In the same post I said I prefer to see and hear things from people in their own words, referring to the other poster and quoting Obama’s own words in his book about his drug use and being at a madrassa as it had come up in another post.  I was then told I was narrow-minded

Let me add here that I know this wall owner very well.  We have chatted occasioanlly about politics this wall owner freely shared that they were a bleeding heart liberal who wanted everyone to have everything.  The clincher was the following post.

The wall owner said, “I’ve never wanted to talk to you about politics and as to my real feelings about the Tea Party, I was holding back. Discussing family, books, and hobbies with you is lovely, but your politics fly in the face of nearly everything I believe in and I am happy that you will no longer be spewing it on my wall.” 

I was then invited not to ever post on this page again which I found questionably open-minded.  I will of course desist as it is not my wall. I would never enter where I was not welcomed. Got it! 

This brings me to the point of this post.  It is my understanding that in order to further a blog and get advertisers a blogger needs to be widespread.  I am not sure how my facebook people got on my blog.   I believe there was a thing in publish that automatically added when I was looking for further publication.

I discovered this when a friend was visiting and we were chatting about my blogging.  She is a liberal union gal and she told me that she gets my blog.  I said I did not know she was a subscriber.  I was afraid I had offended her since it seemed my posts were automatically added to her wall.  I still am not sure what pops up on peoples walls from my blog as I get nothing on my wall.  She put it ever so nicely.  She said if it looked interesting she would read it if not she deleted me.  I was so glad to hear this.  We ended up having an interesting political discussion.  I have other very dear liberal friends, as she,  and I discuss politics with them.  We remain close despite our differing views and opinions.

THE POINT!  I cannot figure out how I got to facebook and when I have time will try to fix it.  Until then if what I say offends you then please delete me.  If you do not want to hear anything of a differing opinion then please delete me from your wall.  I will miss your posts as I like my facebook friends.  I will understand your desire not to have my ramblings show up on your wall.  It is going to be a year of this as I want to complete my challenge.

FULL DISCLOSURE.  I am not sure it needs to be said and as sure that I want to be clear.  So here it is – I am a conservative.  Maybe even a Libertarian and definitely a work in progress.  I think the Tea Party people believe in limited government and small business.  I rarely call anyone names on my wall and invite comments from right or left.  I ask that there be no foul language, swear on your own walls (thank you David!).

I work daily at my Christian faith and am thankful that God does not leave me when I fail.  I respect all faiths.  I may not agree with their rules, such as jihad, and I would do nothing to harm another except speak out.  My faith calls me not to harm and the Constitution gives me the right to speak openly.

I do not believe in abortion.  It seems odd to me that we can be charged $250,000 for destroying an eagles egg and babies are freely killed.  I accept that abortion is the law of the land and pray daily that one day we will realize that we are the only country in the free world regularly legally killing our own.  I would not ever do anything to a woman who has had an abortion except love her and pray for her wiser decision one day.  I would not go to a Doctor if I knew they did abortions.

I believe in marriage as a union between a husband and wife.  I love all my gay friends and respect their choices in life.  I am preparing a post on this for later.   I believe we need understanding here not legislation.   

I believe in loving my neighbor.  I help my fellow man when and where I can freely with gifts of money or time or goods if that is what is needed.  I do not like the welfare system we have in this country.  I believe it can create people that do not and ultimately will not as they do not know how to provide for themselves.  Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he will be sustained for life. Not exact yet the point is there.  I believe many need help and the system we have can be fixed to help not encourage staying there as a way of life.  Let us freely give to our neighbors not be taxed to help.  Perhaps the answer here is that all legislators be required to tithe 10% of their money as well as 10% of their time to others before they can legislate or tax?

I believe we need to stop name calling and divisivness and talk together.  Our founders argued vehemently over the Declaration and the Constitution all with a “Good Sir” or “the Gentleman from” in their conversations as formality was required.  Perhaps we need to bring that and the powdered wigs back to get our country working again.

I do not believe that global warming is man made.  A volcano – nature made – spews out more pollution than factories.  I believe we need to be very conscious about our planet and not destroy it.  I have been driving a car since 1982 that is good on gas.  We recycle and give away our ‘stuff’.

I am a feminist in that I believe all women can have a choice in all things.  If they do not want a baby choose to use birth control first to nip this argument in the bud.  If a woman wants a creer she should have it.  If a woman wants to saty home as her career she should have it.  If a woman wants all of it – go for it.  Feminism was about equal rights not about my female rights being better and more important than yours.  Again I do not believe in legislating it.  I think there was a study done years ago that said if test legal cases had been brought about and won in each state that the ERA amendment would never have been necessary.  Equal rights would be in existence.  NOTE here is that since my ‘career’ was at home the feminist do not consider me one of them.

I hate guns and would not ever deny anyone’s right to have them.  In fact I may yet learn how to use them as a new challenge.

I love to discuss issues and share information and opinions.  I may not agree with yours as you may not agree with mine.  I am interested in what you have to say and sharing points of view.

So there you have it!  As Walter Mitty said – this is my world and welcome to it!  OR Not if you hit the delete button.




I am a collector.  It could be borderline hoarder according to some.  I still have papers from our kid’s grade school.  In 2007 when we moved I determined to put these things in scrapbooks or throw them out.  That summer I did do a lot of tossing and organizing and putting things in scrapbooks that I had already purchased for such an effort and not yet used.  I still have more.

Thinking of this and our fun with the journals these past few days I was wondering if children keep scrapbooks anymore.  I have scrapbooks from when I was little.  I think I have every valentine I ever received in grade school.  I cannot imagine that our children will care that I got a valentine from Chuck or Duane or Val.  I did and I do.  I cannot imagine that they will care about all the birthday cards I received each year.  The exception here may be the poems Daddy wrote to me each birthday.  One day I will have to toss all this stuff too. 

Do scrapbooks make much sense today?  As I have been receiving the genealogy info from my cousin I am certain that there are some things I must save.  Maybe not valentines, certainly birth certificates etc.  While some of these can be found online today the actual copies may have been destroyed along the way.  There may just be a reason to save items.

I also am having all of our VHS tapes converted to DVDs.  I got a ‘Groupon’ for this and it started me on the journey of editing.  The good thing about this is I can take all those yards of tape and eliminate the extras and have only our children and their performances.  As I am doing this I am wondering if our daughter’s rendition of “As Long As He Needs Me” from Oliver will make much sense without the whole 5-6 grade play to show how it fits in with the whole play.  The same goes for our son’s portrayal of Merlin.  Will it make sense without the rest of ‘Camelot”?  Then there is the whole play of ‘Aladdin’ that our son’s drama class presented to one of the local schools.  The whole thing is a blur.  I can tell who the teacher and kids are despite it not being really easy to watch.  Save or not???

One of my sisters is really into Creative Memories, the scrapbook company.  I have often thought it would be fun to convert my many trip logs to creative memory scrapbooks.  The knowledge of my own self stops me.  I would go overboard and then have more ‘stuff’ then I need to do the job.  We do all have a wonderful storybook from our sister that commemorates Dad’s 90th birthday.  These things are small and lots of memories in them – maybe one day I can explore this.  Not today.

Today I am still into creating the memories.  I am watching our grandchildren interact (or fight) with each other.  I am celebrating “Tilapia Tuesday” which was a bust for the boys though they did try the fish and ate chicken.  Today we are having “Wacky Wednesday”.  Not sure what that will entail.  Since it is a ‘w’ a trip to Wendy’s was mentioned.  The latest greatest question is, “Where is the number 1 on this typewriter?”  Some memories cannot be documented – oh maybe on a blog!!!




A couple of years ago, maybe 5, I decided that we would have “Grandcamp”.  It was going to be a time when we could have all three grandchildren alone without their parents.  I envisioned wonderful times all planned with care for enjoyment of all. 

The first three years I made matching t-shirts for us all with the logo I created.  The logo is round with Grandmama and Grandpapa and the three kid’s names around the outside circle.  Inside were the words Grand Camp with the camp coming off the ‘a’ of grand.  Then I drew the two states involved with grandchildren living one in Maine and two in Texas.

It turned out for the first few years that at least one parent was around and that was actually helpful.  The first year we tie-dyed T-shirts.  I had the best picture taken of all three of them in these shirts.  In subsequent years we made t-shirts by writing on them with crayons and paints.  We used stickers, glue, yarn and whatever I could find to keep everyone occupied.  One year we had sparklers after dark in our jammies.  Another year we attended a family reunion.  This year it is us and the grandchildren – no parents.

It has been interesting with a 12,10 and almost 8 yr old.  There is the continuous battle of how much time is too much in anything – swimming, DS games, Wii games, TV and even food.  Each year I try ever so quietly to get them to do something creative.  One year we made wind-chimes.  One year we had oral readings of stories.  Another year we had them make up a play and present it to us.  This year it is a play again I think on target for Friday evening.  I also am dealing with extreme heat here in Maryland.  We do not have the ocean or a lake to go to so that we can cool down while playing.  We do have a community pool and the heat of the day is no time to be there. 

Yesterday I shut off TV at lunch time which for us was 1:30PM after a lazy morning.  Over lunch I threw the monkey wrench in the mix.  I said I think there will be no TV or games this afternoon.  Let’s have a creative afternoon.  The stares the looks the groans!  I said if they were each going to get a play ready did they not need time to prepare?  We earlier had seen Lego shows produced by kids using legos and their own voices.  I suggested they try their hands at that.  They all got spiral notebooks to use.

While I was working at my desk our granddaughter came in and discovered some journals I had in the bookcase.  She really wanted one of them and of course received it.  Her brother later popped in and mentioned the journal and I had two more that were a bit more masculine for him and his younger boy cousin.  They decided to decorate them.  I brought out the bag of stickers and the next half hour was a blaze of giggles and fun. 

Our oldest grandson brought his decorated book to show me and asked what his stickers all had in common.  I failed as I only noticed the larger sticker with a bear.  I was supposed to see all the bird stickers.  He said he really liked birds.  Once I realized I had failed the test I tried to recoup with a suggestion. 

Years ago my sister gave me a book of birds for my birthday.  I am a bird watcher.  I do not take the treks nor am I what you would call avid.  I just like birds and am fascinated by them.  My sister does not like birds at all so the gift was twice thoughtful.  The book has sounds to go with the pictures.  If you put the number of the picture in and press the coordinating button the sound the bird makes comes from the speaker.  It is a wonderful book and yesterday the batteries were dead.

Luckily for me I had three AAA batteries and could insert them to bring forth the bird sounds.  The eyes lit up around the table.  Let me see! Let me see! Let me see!  I did and left them alone once again.  Sometimes we grandparents need to disappear for real fun to happen.  For the next hour or so I listened to the sounds of weird birds and happy kids.

When our granddaughter bored of this she brought in my old portable typewriter for her play.  As she is typing away behind me while I am still at the desk, she says, “There is no exclamation point on this thing?”  I laughed right out loud.  I had forgotten.  In the ‘old days’ to create an exclamation point we used to put a period and then go on top of that with an apostrophe!  She was amazed when I showed her!  Her next question was ‘did you do your homework on this?’  I answered that I did not get the typewriter until I graduated from high school.  More questions and fun answers – the afternoon flew by as the boys played and she wrote notes and began the great American novel.

Does it get much better?




Yesterday I mentioned my ancestry and how it relates to who I am today.  I am continuing this thought with added info on my ancestry.  Today I learned even more from this same cousin and God Bless her for sharing as I know some who guard ancestry information as though it were theirs’ alone. 

This morning in my emails there were three more about my forefathers.  One of them most exciting said that I had four of my ancestors come over on the Mayflower!  Pretty darned terrific and not really surprising as many of my family were from England,  Nice to have it documented.

When we look at pictures of our ancestors few of them look young or full of energy.  It is the way they took pictures in that day I believe with no smiles.  It does however reflect how we may feel even today – out of energy and not vital.  This leaves some of us of a certain age wondering about the fountain of youth. 

I am not a youth seeker as such.  I do not care that my hair is graying.  I believe I have earned every gray one.  The wrinkles in my face are character I am told.  What can I do about them anyway beside use a nice cream which I do.  The slowness of my actions can be adjusted through exercise.  The strength in my hands the same.  The aches from arthritis can be medicated away.  I will survive this aging stuff.  It does take courage though.  Is there a fountain of youth?

Well good old Wiki (sorry Sandy it is quick) says:

Wikipedia…………..The Fountain of Youth is a legendary spring that reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks of its waters. Tales of such a fountain have been recounted across the world for thousands of years, appearing in writings by Herodotus, the Alexander romance, and the stories of Prester John. Stories of a similar waters were also evidently prominent among the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean during the Age of Exploration, who spoke of the restorative powers of the water in the mythical land of Bimini. The legend became particularly prominent in the 16th century, when it became attached to the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, first Governor of Puerto Rico. According to an apocryphal combination of New World and Eurasian elements, Ponce de León was searching for the Fountain of Youth when he traveled to what is now Florida in 1513. Since then, the fountain has been frequently associated with Florida.

In researching youthful info I came across The Fountain of Youth Institute which is a plastic surgeon.  I found the Fountain of Youth Spa and RV Resort in Michigan.  The Fountain of Youth Skate Shop popped up and this one seemed quite dangerous to me!  There was an article about ‘how to look young being old’.  Google Nexus 7 even intimated that it was youthful!?! 

This morning I heard on GMA the ultimate.  It is a facelift in a bottle.  It is called the facelift bungee and it is only $26!  I include a link here for your further edification.

As for me?  Who I am today is an aging Grandmama enjoying her three beautiful wonderful Grandchildren who are daily wearing me out and leaving me asking for more as I know it will be a short few weeks and a long winter.  Excuse me while I get out the pain pills to have the fun of this day!

I think youth is in the mind.  Today I will not mind and make love the priority.




I have just discovered this very morning that on my maternal side I am a direct line descendant of Lady Godiva.  I am also a direct line descendant of King John who is the son of King Henry II of ‘The Lion in Winter’ fame. I have the papers in hand thanks to my cousin.  She also shared that we are direct line descendents of the first European woman in the American colonies to be accused of being a witch.  Grace Pratt Dutch was acquitted.  The accuser was forced by the court to apologize.  From my own genealogical searches into my paternal side I discovered and documented our Native American history.  In this search I also discovered that I am a Jeff Foxworthy joke in that my tree does not fork as my parents families were cousins way, way, way, back!  In all of this research (which I adore, thirst for and look for more information about) I think Daddy was right when he called us ‘Heinz 57s’ – a real mixture of cultures and ethnicities.

Knowing who our ancestors are does this tell the picture of who we are?  I think not and in some cases certainly hope not. I believe the argument for nature or nurture enters in here.  I am certain in my own case that I am a very different person now than I was years ago.  My environment has changed, my family has changed and my experiences have been added and affected me in many different ways.  What about you?

Look around you and think of whom you were as a child, teen, young adult and grown?  What were your dreams and aspirations?  Did you dream of a white knight marrying you?  Were you the white knight coming to save a damsel?  Were you going to be the first____?  Did you reach a goal you had set?  Are you still setting goals?  Are you done with planning?  Are you looking forward or looking back?  Are you political?  Are you religious?  Do you practice your faith or leave it at church?  Are you in school to learn more?  Are you learning without a classroom? This weekend has been a question weekend all around.   

I was in an interesting thread on facebook last week.  The thread was about politics and economics.  The owner of the wall seemed to be putting forth that we at our age had little hope of becoming 1% people.  I cannot agree to that.  Grandma Moses did not become famous until she was in her 80s.

I cannot live life thinking that there is nothing more for me to accomplish.  Hope springs eternal in me especially on this Sunday.  My Christian faith calls me to fear not!  It is in the Bible 365 times – thinking that might be one for each day!!!  I do not want to think of my days of productivity being done.  Even retirement I believe will bring a new challenge not porch sitting.  That may be why many of us are living as long as we are now.  We are healthier and looking forward hopefully with a fearless outlook.

I may not ever leap across tall buildings in a single bound, or be the architect I once thought to be or even write a novel.  I have however designed a house or two and seen them built.  I have accomplished a goal or three as I have aged.  I am challenging myself to write a blog.  The answer to the question ‘who am I’ is not available at this time.  I am still going, growing and challenging myself to be the best me I can be.  Happy Sunday to all!


PS… seems Sarah Jessica Parker is also a descendant of Grace Pratt Dutch – cousin???


…..I forgot to add to my original post this morning that there is the chance that the people I spoke with simply did not care what I had to say so hung up quickly.   This does not surprise nor upset me.  It is what it is.



Some mornings I wake up and know exactly what I am going to write about.  Some mornings I wake up and am pleased I thought ahead and have something already prepared that suits my mood.  This morning I woke with nothing in my head.  For some that would be the conclusion on any given day – that there really is nothing in my head.

I thought about the events of yesterday.  Tragedy again in our country.  A friend shared a blog on facebook.  This is the link it is a good read.  It is honest and faith filled.

I have had a couple of phone calls this morning as well which sent me in the direction I am about to go.  The best phone call was from the floor installer that he will be here in a couple of weeks to do my stairs to match the floor!

The other phone calls were actually funny.  It seems when you say something that people do not agree with or do not wish to hear they no longer have time for conversation.  In our society – the polite society – we are told never to discuss politics, religion or sex.  We had friends visit last week as I shared and we joked that we could not discuss politics as we were so opposite.  Isn’t that a shame that topics are off limits with friends.  Isn’t it a shame that we cannot share what we think or feel without condemnation or dismissal?  I do not agree with you so therefore I am not willing to listen to what you have to say.  Are people afraid to share their points of view or are they afraid they will not change the others minds?  Are they afraid that their own minds might be expanded?

The most interesting thing happened here in our home last week with those friends.  We discussed politics and did not screech or scream.  We had an intelligent conversation.  Neither of us believed we would change the others minds.  All of us spoke openly and I learned some things and we offered a bit of information for further checking to our friends.  People can talk politics if they are open to listening and sharing.  Discussion does not mean that I want you to believe my way.  Discussion does not mean that you will change my point of view.  Discussion does not mean that I will change your point of view.  Discussion can be a learning experience.  Discussion can be a sharing of ideas. 

I am so pleased to have many friends with whom I can discuss religion.  I love being challenged in my beliefs.  It sends me to check if I was correct in what I said.  It tenderizes me when sharing a concept that may be challenging to others.  My firm stand on my faith does not call me to make others believe as I do.  It does however call me to be open and share as I did above the mother’s experience in theater #9.

I have also been involved in an ongoing discussion with a dear friend of ours about why he voted for Obama and will he again and what he sees as positive and negative.  It is my turn to respond and I have not yet.  I shared with him how happy I was to have this exchange with no anger or bad words.  We have not seen each other for years and I said it would be great to have this face to face and know that we will still remain close.  His retort was of course.  Fun would be the first and foremost and an exchange of ideas and opinions would not ruin the friendship.  Bless his agreement on that.

Debate on the other hand means you take a stand and a side and defend your position.  Usually debate means you are not open or willing to listen to any other point of view.  Give me discussion any day.  It is more open.  I think the two can work together for the good though we do not see much of that in our world today.  Our political process is so divided all we see is partisan politics.  We need more discussion with people being open to listening and moving one way or the other.  While there are I am sure comments on both sides to quote I am, in case no one is aware, a Republican.  The essential quote that sums up the division and lack of discourse at this time I believe came from our current President when the joint group was trying to come to agreeable terms on healthcare.  President Obama said to John McCain, “John, elections have consequences.”   What I heard in that was we will do things my way not a joint way.  That is very sad.  Where was the discussion?  Where was the civil discourse?  Where was the debate?

I believe we need to talk.  More than talk, we need to listen.  What is the saying, we have one mouth and two ears to listen more than talk?  Listening is an art and many do not know how to do it.  Listening while getting ready to make your point is not listening it is tolerance.  Listening and preparing to defend your point is not listening either.  There are books about how to listen.  Along with the requirements list for our Presidential candidates, perhaps we could issue a book about civil discourse.  I am thinking that has already been written by one of the founders.

It would be my prayer that one day nothing will be off the table and people will listen to one another.  I did not say agree.  I said listen.  The free sharing of ideas seems like a great way to live.   




This is a fired-up Friday submission.  It is full more of questions than answers however.  I have been listening to the news this past week not reading and following as closely as normal.  I have scanned the papers only in passing.  I have done cursory looks on the web.  I am full of questions.

The requirements to be President of the United States of America are three fold only.  The first is that you be a natural born citizen.  OR if you were born in another country your parents had to both be natural born citizens of the USA.  The second is that you are 35 years of age.  The third is that you have to be living in the USA for at least 14 years. 

Those seem fairly simple to me.  The question arises, ‘When did our tax returns become part of the requirement?’  It is written no place in the Constitution.  Then again the IRS is not in that document!

In the research I did to investigate this question one source went back to FDR who did not submit his tax returns.  Nixon submitted 4 yrs as I remember.  Ford submitted a summary only and Carter three years.  It varied from then on.  The source


also said the following:

Individual income tax returns — including those of public figures — are private information, protected by law from unauthorized disclosure. Indeed, the Internal Revenue Service is barred from releasing any taxpayer information whatsoever, except to authorized agencies and individuals.

Question number 2 is, ‘Are not our candidate’s private citizens afforded all rights?’ Question #3, ‘Why do we need these?’  If they have passed any scrutiny of the IRS and accepted then, ‘What do we need to know of one’s private finances?’  We require no one else serving in public office to submit their taxes.  Of the 535 members of Congress on 17 make their returns public.  When this issue was pushed recently by a news organization, Nancy Pelosi quickly changed the subject to the economy.  She further suggested that if the media was covering this why shouldn’t they open their returns?  Another question!  Seriously?

Does not the President have some rights of privacy?  Do not candidates for the office deserve this?  We need to know what the platform of the candidate is and how they plan to carry it out.  I believe we need to know the character of the candidate as well. 

Character is not found on a tax return.  Or is it?  If you lie about your deductions wouldn’t this exemplify poor character?  If you take advantage of all the available LEGAL options, couldn’t this exemplify wisdom to use the tools at hand?  What do your charitable deductions say about you as a person?

When we hire someone for a job we interview them.  We are given a resume to look at prior to this interview.  The job applicant may even fill out an application.  This is the information we receive.  There may then be a process of one tow or three interviews before an individual is chosen.  Today in our PC world we are not to ask age or ethnicity.  I found it very interesting when our daughter who is now looking for employment with her newly earned BS degree was sent a piece of paper asking, among other questions, her race.

The ridiculousness of the scrutiny that we put our Presidents through today is exhausting.  We spent many TV hours and newsprint columns and internet info to discover that George Bush had not attended all of his National Guard meetings, nothing illegal by the way, and had a DUI.  On the other hand we spent very little time on the passage from President Obama’s book where he said, “I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.”  Perhaps the reason this was not openly discussed is that he was not arrested?  Cocaine use and an arrest are a felony I believe.  Now we are after Mitt Romney for a prank he pulled in school.  And of course his tax returns.

It is time to make a list of exactly what is required for the paperwork for the Office of President.  Simple – a list!  In order to run for this office you need to supply your school transcripts from college and grad school, your dissertation if one was written, your work experience from college to now, your personal and business tax returns for 5 years and a copy of your most recent physical.  Isn’t that enough?

On the other hand we could listen to what they are saying and judge them on their character.  Think the quote goes something like this, ‘Character is what you do when no one is watching.’  The final question then would be, “What were Mitt Romney and President Obama doing when no one was watching?”


PS ……… funny addition – I cut and paste a lot of info from the web to use or not in my writings.  I write my comments above all of these and add what I want.  I then run spell and grammar check before I post.  I was surprised to see that the page I took from Mr. Obama’s book had more corrections that should have been made then my own post!!!  Evidently my stream of consciousness writing is more grammatically correct!!!



I am behind.  Of course what else is new?  One of these days I will be caught up- maybe.

My birthday was June 23rd and I have thank you notes yet to write.  Since the celebration I have been traveled to two different states and back.  Perhaps that travel and trying to get the house back in shape from the floors is an excuse.  Sadly, I think not.  A note has to be written.  The gift was shopped for and purchased and mailed and deserves attention.

Thank you notes are becoming a thing of the past I am afraid.  Our children wrote them for every gift when they lived at home.  Once they were out on their own I had no control.  I am ever grateful when I discover they have actually written a note.

The etiquette of such notes goes way back to Victorian times or even before.  The ultimate reference for etiquette questions used to be Emily Post.  When I googled she was the second source.  She now has a website.  Amazing as I am certain she is dead!

The website said:

Handwritten notes are warmer and more special than other forms of thank-yous. The rule of thumb is that you should send a written note any time you receive a gift (even a ‘thank you’ gift) and the giver wasn’t there to thank in person. But notes are not always necessary. If, for example, the gift is from a close friend or relative (and it’s not a wedding gift) you can email or call instead if you prefer.

I was very surprised to see that email was acceptable.  If this is the case I can check a few notes off my list.

Another reference I found was Reuters.  Their article asked the question, “Are thank you notes a thing of the past?”  The answer it seemed varied.  It was interesting to see how the writer Mary Mitchell attacked the question.  I really enjoyed this ‘take-away’,

It’s never overkill to say thank you in writing.

To avoid notes that are boring both to read and write, here is my foolproof, three-step formula:

1. Be sure to thank the person for the specific gift and mention the gift by name

2. Acknowledge the effort and energy the giver put into providing the gift. (Hint: begin this sentence with “you”, as in “You knew exactly which novel would transport me from my doldrums to a sunnier place.”)

3. Let the giver know how you have used or will use the gift.

How we send a note is a matter of our personal style.

Go read the full article at:

There is no getting away with it.  I have thank you notes to write today!  They are also long overdue and I hope the recipients will not mind.  I will get right to it – after I take our three grandchildren swimming.  Priorities right???  One more day will not matter on the notes and the three blessings are only here for a short time!







I picked the following up from facebook.  It goes around occasionally.

For my friends who are going through some issues right now including me: Let’s start a thought avalanche. We all need supporting thoughts right now. If I don’t see your name, I’ll understand. May I ask my “FB Family” wherever you may be to kindly copy, paste and share this status for one hour to give a thought of support to all those who have family problems, health, struggles, worries and just need to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us, for no one is immune. I hope to see this on the walls of all my friends just for moral support. I know some will!! I did it for a friend and you can too. Share some warmth, love, and healing for all in need

Lots of times I pick it up and share it on my wall as I know someone who is struggling with an issue.  Other times I do not bother to take the time.  I am not sure why.  Perhaps my world was not spinning correctly that minute?  Perhaps I do not know anyone in desparate need?  When I saw this yesterday I did pass it by and yet here I am posting it.

I think what gave me pause and a second look was the simple request of  ‘for one hour’.  Golly that is not a lot of time.  Post it for an hour to help someone.  Does it really and what can an hour do?

In an hour you can serve many at a food kitchen.  In an hour you can give someone a ride to church or to an appt.  It takes less than an hour to call a friend or family.  It takes less than an hour to send a friendly email.  In an hour you can greet how many people on the street? 

In the town where I live now there is a gentleman who sits on the railing in the same spot in the road everyday and just waves to people.  He has a huge smile on his face.  He looks very normal so I am not sure if he has any mental issues or not.  I do know he likes to wave and smile.  When I see him I am prompted to do the same.  Yesterday when I was driving on my errands a young girl was standing at a bus stop waiting for the bus and she too was waving and smiling.  Such a simple way to maybe change someone’s world for a minute.  I t did not take an hour!   They will not ever know how many lives they changed by that simple gesture.  Every now and then we all need a hug or a wave.

I am not on the side of any street to smile or wave.  I do have a small audience at the end of this keyboard.  I know many of my family and friends while not in desparate situtaions they are struggling at this time.  They are still functioning and working and greeting each day as best they can with the issue in their lives.  They may or may not let others know what is going on inside of them or about their problems.  You might also never know as they are good at keeping up a good front.  Their struggles are with them no matter what they do.  The answers will come.  The seas will calm.  The issues will abate.  Maybe.  In the meantime let me this day offer a smile and a wave and a prayer instead of just thoughts from my heart to yours.  Make your day a great one.  NOTE: I did not say have a great day – I said make it a great one – you have some choice.




I, ultimately, met my husband through a post card.  Sounds odd for a 43 year old marriage.  I was not a mail order bride to set the record straight up front.

When I was 12 I sent a post card to Teen Magazine’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ column.  You were supposed to be 13 to participate.  Was this the beginning of a rebellious streak?  I was going to turn 13 in a few months so why not?


You are not hallucinating.  That is exactly how I began yesterday’s post.  I did not get to the Pen Pal part as thoroughly as I had planned and halfway through the writing decided to do this in two stages.  Is this the way a real writer works?  I surely hope so.

The 9th card was from a boy in upstate New York.  If I looked hard enough in this house I am sure I could even produce it.  In subsequent letters I received a picture of Robert Berthold and sent him mine.  As the letters went back and forth we got to know each other.  I really wish I had some of those letters.  It would be fun to read them now.  It would have been fun to share them with Bob and his wife Sandy last night as they visited.  Yes after all these years we are still in touch.  To me that is the most amazing part.

My freshman year in High School his girlfriend at the time came to Maine with her family and camped at the head of the island.  I got to meet her.  You have to understand that this was a big deal in 1962 – to meet someone you did not know who knew someone you only knew through letters.  The next year he was to come to visit during spring break with two of his friends.  He was going to drive the family car from New York to Maine to see me!  Another really big deal!

The plans for the visit were made through our letters.  No one had extra rooms for them to stay in our or family homes and they were three strange boys.  There was motel with cottages in our town that opened early in the spring so arrangements were made for them to stay there.  As it turned out it was only two of them coming.  One of the boys, Bill Thurnau, was not going to be allowed to make that trip as his mother would not give him permission to go.  Being the correspondent that I was becoming I sent a note to this boy to tell him how sorry I was.  I think he answered once or twice and then not again.  I actually remember scratching his name out of my expanding address book!

Bob and Dave Queior arrived in April of 1963.  A girlfriend of mine was going to join us to explore our island and accompany Dave.  This visit was a very surprising gift to me.  I had the blessing to show ‘my’ island, Mount Desert, and Acadia National Park, my playground, to these two guys.  The blessing was their response and my new eyes.  I was able to see the beauty that, in living in it, I took for granted.  I saw through their eyes of wonder.  It was beautiful.  I specifically remember standing on the coping stones that had been put there during the Depression by the CCC and looking at Somes Sound, the only fjord in the USA, I believe.  We all were on our own stone and a comment was made about how beautiful this was.  I had to agree!

Bob was a terrific pen pal.  He quickly became a friend and I am sure I shared more with him then I did with those even closer.  He was safe after all as he could not tell anyone I knew anything!  I remember the time that I really pushed the envelope.  In our youth group we were studying other religions.  I either volunteered or was assigned Cathlicism.  I knew Bob was Catholic and sent him a letter right away and told him I needed to know everything he knew about the Catholic Church and I had to have it for a report two weeks later.  I do not believe mail was as quick then as it is now.  Sure enough in just enough time I received a packet of information.  After our trip around MDI and Acadia he wrote an article for his HS paper The Tattler and sent me a copy.  I even received a New Hartford Spartans Sweatshirt as a gift.

In Feb. 1968 he was getting married in TroyNY.  I had heard of his bride through the letters we shared.  After 8 years of correspondence there is no way I was going to miss that wedding.  I arrived at the airport and met his bride.  I cannot imagine what she thought.  At the rehearsal dinner I was seated next to the “boy” who could not make the trip to Maine and had basically ignored me earlier that same evening when we were introduced.  So Bill Thurnau was shy.  Hmmmmmm…

Bob and Sandy have visited us occasionally through our lives.  They traveled much in their early marriage until they settled in Lake St. Louis, MO.  When I wrote those Christmas cards I thought that was a funny name for a town and was it really not just St. Louis?

In 1997 when we were moving to St. Louis we were with a realtor and he was showing us the area on a pre-move trip.  We drove by this street and I recognized the name.  I screamed out stop.  I believed this is the street my pen-pal and wife live on.  We had not gotten in touch as this was a company trip.  The whole company was moving and many of us were going to see the area which included a full agenda of activities. As we turned to go up the street sure enough there was a house with the name Berthold.  We got out of the car and knocked on the door.  Sandy answered stunned and no words.  I said, ‘Hi, it is us Bill and Kathy.”  She answered, ‘I know! What are you doing here?’   We hugged and shared our story briefly and went on to move there.  Our last 5 years in Missouri we were 9 miles from their house.  Amazing!!!

When we lived in St. Louis we gave a party one January just to give a party.  Bob and Sandy were there and the toast from them to us and us to them and all present was to friendships old and new.

Bob and Sandy and Dave Queior and Lin were in our home last night.  I met Bob through the mail at age 12 – the age of our grandson.  The friendship has lasted almost a lifetime.  I love continuity!






I, ultimately, met my husband through a post card.  Sounds odd for a 43 year old marriage.  I was not a mail order bride to set the record straight up front.

When I was 12 I sent a post card to Teen Magazine’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ column.  You were supposed to be 13 to participate.  Was this the beginning of a rebellious streak?

On the post card that I sent in I said that I liked photography and loved to travel.  At that point in my life I think I had made one whole family trip toWashingtonDCfromSouthwest HarborMaine.  Of course there were the couple of trips toBangor(an hour from home) and toCalaisto visit relatives all of three hours away.

I got over 300 responses from that column.  That was so much fun going to the Post Office and getting the mail.  Now this is a fun aside.  Our mail box was the kind that had a combination lock.  It was a big deal when I was old enough to go get the mail alone.  I did not live very far from town – would probably be considered two or three city blocks in distance.  To be allowed to walk down there and unlockbox247was a big deal indeed.  It was even bigger when it was full of mail for me from prospective pen-pals.

Of these 300 responses, #9 was a post card from a BOY!  Of course I answered that one.  He lived in upstate New York.  I tried to answer all the post cards and letters and know I did not though at one time I was writing to over 30 people on a regular basis.

The fun of the writing is that it takes you to another place.  My mother had just passed away and I believe these contacts with others helped me in some way.  Post cards in their own right do take us away do they not?

On cold winter’s days or even summer days one of my favorite past times was to look at Auntie’s post card collection.  Auntie was one of Dad’s two older sisters.  He was the only boy with three sisters and Auntie was the second born.  When her mother died her older sister Louise was already married and Auntie left school to take care of Dad and the youngest my Aunt Pauline.  When my mother died she took care of us as well.

Auntie would come up every Sat. and help Dad.  She taught us how to make our beds and clean house and iron. When school was over we would walk to her house rather than go home to an empty house.  Dad would pick us up on his way home from work.  Auntie house was right on the way up from the shore where Dad worked.  We spent lots of time there growing up.  Before Mommy died we would my sister and I each took a night to go to Auntie and Uncle’s for fun after school and stay for supper and they would bring us home.  They, and their daughter Nancy, did a very good job of spoiling us.  Today our kids knowNancyas “Aunt Nance” and she does a very good job of spoiling them and their children!  Must be genetic!

I do not believe Auntie went very far from home in her life.  The farthest she ever went to my knowledge wasPortland, 4 hrs away.  She was a voracious reader and gave real meaning to an arm chair traveler.  The post cards also added to this description.

As, I have mentioned in earlier posts, I grew up in a summer resort town on an island (connected by a short bridge – island just the same) off the coast ofMaine.  There were people who would come there and live for the summer.  “The Summer People” brought their help or they would employ local people to work for them for the few months.  Auntie took in laundry as most of the 2- 3000 + square foot cottages were not equipped with washers and dryers.  The people would bring their laundry to her and some would even visit and have coffee too.  When they went back to their homes for the winter they would keep in touch and many sent her post cards from their travels.

It was a big deal to me to sit down and look at all the pretty cards.  I bet she had more than 3 boxes full.  Maybe it was not that many.  It did not matter as the colorful pictures depicted places far away and delights I could not imagine.  I bet she had a post card from every country inEuropeand probably every state.  It was a wonderful way to pass the day. 

As an adult I made sure that everywhere I went I sent Auntie a post card for her collection.  Last Sat as we were in the Amish Country our granddaughter bought a card to send to her mother.  I love continuity.  Today it is to get to 95 and it just may be a day to stay in the cool and share my post cards that I collect in a cookie tin.  Wonder if my grandchildren will enjoy them as much as I did Auntie’s?






I absolutely love it when God speaks clearly and in words even I can understand.  The message by our visiting priest Father Charlie Brown, kid you not, could not have been any closer to what I wrote in my post had I written it myself.

Using the scriptures of the day – from Amos 7:12-15/Psalm 85/Ephesians 1:3-14/Mark 6: 7-13 – he spoke of simplicity, lifestyle and hospitality.  He spoke about a lifestyle of dependency on others and God.  Golly – could it have been any closer than how I perceived the Amish live.  Seems I have a message to simplify while trusting God and welcoming others.  That seems pretty challenging.  The question is am I up for the task?  I certainly hope so!

By ktsquared Posted in Faith



This seems to be the absolute right thing to chat about today.  It’s a total juxtaposition from yesterday when I was all techie with the cell phones. 

I had to return the rental car yesterday after our ‘on the road again’ adventure.  The least expensive one way rate was a return to Lancaster PA airport.  I had no idea there was a rental car agency let alone an airport.  I love that area so since the price was right, within an hours drive and the location interesting for exploring with the ‘grands’ it worked well.  

I had our granddaughter with me on the ride over.  She was fascinated with the idea of the Amish.  She was wide eyed at the schools and farms and the carriages on the road.  She was chatting away as I pointed out this and that.  I stopped at the top of Hess Rd.and we looked down at the farms below.  There is also a little school there and beautifully structured neat fields all plowed by real horse power.  That view to me is a lovely small peaceful valley of simplicity.

After we all were in one vehicle we decided to go to Bird in Hand to see what there was there and onto Intercourse and Paradise, PA.  You’ve got to love the names of these towns.  Am not sure we have ever gone to Intercourse but what there is not someone having their picture taken by the sign. 

At lunch we discovered Peanut Butter Schmier.  What we thought was a regular cream pie had this schmier in it on top of the bottom crust before the cream.  A trip to the gift shop was the answer and we got some apple butter to go with it!  We then did our drive through the towns and chose a spot to park.  The boys went to the Military Museumand the girls went to the Village Quilts and the Old Country Store.  We met back to get a buggy/carriage ride before starting home.  Due to the hour and lines we passed this time.  The whole experience made for a lively drive home.

These people indeed are an anomaly in an era of high tech and fast pace.  Their lives are so ordered and neat and simple.  I had to do the google thing to really remember why they are here and their real beliefs.


The Amish Mennonite movement descends from the 16th century fellowship known as the Swiss Brethren.[9] The Swiss Brethren were Anabaptists, and are often viewed as having been a part of the Radical Reformation. “Anabaptist” means “one who baptizes again” – a reference to those who had been baptized as infants, but later adopted a belief in “believer’s baptism”, and then let themselves again be baptized as adults

Two key concepts for understanding Amish practices are their rejection of Hochmut (pride, arrogance, haughtiness) and the high value they place on Demut (humility) and Gelassenheit (calmness, composure, placidity), often translated as “submission” or “letting-be”. Gelassenheit is perhaps better understood as a reluctance to be forward, to be self-promoting, or to assert oneself. The Amish’s willingness to submit to the “Will of Jesus”, expressed through group norms, is at odds with the individualism so central to the wider American culture. The Amish anti-individualist orientation is the motive for rejecting labor-saving technologies that might make one less dependent on community. Modern innovations like electricity might spark a competition for status goods, or photographs might cultivate personal vanity.

Amish lifestyle is dictated by the Ordnung (German, meaning: order), which differs slightly from community to community, and, within a community, from district to district. What is acceptable in one community may not be acceptable in another. No summary of Amish lifestyle and culture can be totally adequate, because there are few generalities that are true for all Amish. Groups may separate over matters such as the width of a hat-brim, the color of buggies, or various other issues.

Having children, raising them, and socializing with neighbors and relatives are the greatest functions of the Amish family. All Amish believe large families are a blessing from God.

I also found one website that was full of information.

I was surprised to discover on this website that there was a blog as well.

My take away from the whole day goes back to an earlier blog.  SLOW DOWN!  After a week of planes and automobiles it made me stop.  How can I get this simplicity in my own life?  I will not give up my washing machine or the dishwasher or the sewing machine.  How can I compensate or reconscile the modern day conveniences with that simplicity? 

Maybe it is attitude.  If my attitude or intention is to simplify my life perhaps it means for me being more orderly?  Not putting things off or letting them pile up?  Maybe I can just enjoy what I am doing a little more.  Instead of complaining about the dust being so thick on the dining room furniture I can dust it more regularly with a different mind set.  Maybe I can appreciate this mahoghany set we bought second hand over 40 years ago as I dust it.  I am thinking that an attitude of gratitude in this area could go a  long way.

When we got the ‘used’ set home I discovered a full sized Damask table cloth in one of the drawers of the hutch.  I called the lady we purchsed it from her to tell her and return it.  She said she meant to leave it there.  She had not ever used it and it would not fit her new table.  She said she was downsizing as we were growing and she had wanted us to have it as a gift.  A simple gift with much meaning. 

Perhaps that is the simplicity the Amish gift us with in their way of life.  Is it not a really good example that simplicity is fun despite the hard work?  They seem so peaceful and happy.  Living their faith is really a wonderful simple way to live.   On this Sunday as I head to church I am going to think about this.  I am pondering the question of can I as willingly submit to the will of Jesus as these kind people do?  Maybe that is the simple difference.




A couple of Fridays in a row I have had posts that deal with politics.  A friend of mine emailed me each time.  The first email was about a differing opinion and wondering why I had gone in the direction I had on the topic.  The second one started out, “What got you fired up?”  From there we have had a running conversation.  It is great to speak with someone who does not necessarily agree with you.  It is even greater when you can do so with respect and no demeaning rhetoric or dismissive facial expressions.  Of course on email the latter is really a non-issue.

I decided from this comment that I might occasionally have a FIRED UP FRIDAY if something tickled my irritation bone.  I have one for today.

While visiting in Texas these past two days I encouraged our daughter to stand up for herself to a bully she worked with and express herself about a business situation.  Actually she did not need much encouraging just a little guidance about how to finesse each situation.  Thought I had done a good job when I heard her say, “That’s it I am done I will come get my stuff.”  She quit her job.  Cannot say that is what I had intended to help her do and can say I am really very proud of her. 

She IS moving to another state and was closing her beauty shop.  In the end the two girls who worked for her wanted to keep it open so bought her equipment.  She stayed working for them.  Increasingly the more loud mouthed of the two girls bullied her every which way.  Our daughter stayed as she knew how much it cost to run the shop and that they needed her weekly payment to make ends meet just as she had needed theirs.  Having owned the business she tactfully made suggestions about how to change the name and advertise and even did some advertising for them.  She waived deposits and fees so that the transition could be easy. 

Ever hear of the last straw?  Well it came today.  After she said she would leave we droe right up there and she walked into her old shop and picked up her belongings and left.  I was so proud of her.  She needs her job to help with the bills so this took much courage.  By the way after we picked up her supplies she got in the car made one phone call and had a much better work situation.  She will be losing no time or income at all.  Sadly her former business may not last the summer.  Fired up proud – you got to believe I was!!! 

THEN we decided to go to lunch and do a little shopping.  I pulled into a box store and the first 3 parking spots on both sides of all the rows had signs.  Remember my earlier post about parking spaces?  The signs on these parking spaces – ALL OF THEM – read RESERVED FOR FUEL EFFICIENT CARS ONLY.  I almost screamed outloud!!!  Would someone please explain to me WHY a fuel efficient car needs a parking place close?   Is this not discrimination?  Honestly it boggles my mind.  I was fired up!!!  I parked my rental in one of those spaces judging that 29 miles to the gallon qualified.