I had the opportunity recently to be the object of some very rude, insulting, insensitive remarks.  The speaker said them as casually as if they were speaking about the weather.  It left me a bit rattled about how to respond.  We were in a group and I did not want to disturb the atmosphere or ruin the occasion for the others.

Let me set this up for you.  We were four old friends having lunch.  I see one of these ladies once every 5 years.  Another, Lady A, of them I may see a couple of times a year to say hello at the grocery or a lunch maybe.  The third is a good friend.  We are discussing age.  I said that I had decided I wanted to live to 104.   Lady A without batting an eyelash says, “Well you will have to lose weight.”  WHACK!

Some who are reading this may not know that I am a rather generous plump eclectic aging woman.  Weight has been an issue all of my life.  At one point a friend was giving me a nickel for the pounds I lost and my folks giving me a quarter.  At 30 cents a pound I think I was getting almost the same price of beef per pound at the time!  I was called ‘chunkie’ often as a kid.  I have dealt with not being able to find clothes to fit.  I have listened to the people who ever so kindly think they are helping by offering ways to lose weight or information on exercise programs.  Just lose it!  Just do it!  Ah easy for them to say.  Perhaps easy for them to do.  I remain a generous plump aging woman.

So I am sitting at that table wondering how I can get out of this situation.  Do I make a scene and tell this person how insensitive they are?  Do I tell them that what they said was rude and insulting?  Do I tell them I was hurt by the comment?  Am I being too sensitive?  They did not mean to inflict harm.  Does this make them less culpable for their words?  I have to tell you had I not driven everyone to this restaurant that I would have gotten up and left the table.  As it was I just became a little quiet and worked my way through the idiocy of her words.

Do not people think what they say?  Did this person know or care that their words inflicted hurt?  It was my judgment at the time and still today that this is how this person speaks.  Lady A speaks her mind with certainty that they are correct believing everyone certainly would understand this.  She says it without a care that she is inflicting hurt.  It was my judgment that she believed she knew me well enough to say anything.  I believe she does not. She knows who I was not who I am.  We can change our paradigms.  Others who do not know us well will be unaware of that and assume we are the person they have known all their lives.  I am not.

I live much of my life behind a mask.  I believe most of us do.  We want others to see us in a good light.  We can smile uncomfortably at an off color joke as we do not want to offend.  We do not let others know when we are scared.  We do not let people in to share our concern for our family’s welfare.  We rarely share our fears.  Joys are easy.  We let cutting remarks fall off our shoulders like water off a duck’s back.  I want others to see me as a capable in control person.  I want others to see me as strong and independent.  I am all of these.  I am much more as well.

Letting Lady A off without making a scene was the mask in full force.  The person behind the mask no longer allows slings and arrows to go unnoticed.  I will send a note to Lady A and share with her what she did.  I will let her know that she no longer knows me.  I will let her know, kindly, that I heard her words as insensitive.  I will let her know that while she may believe our old friendship may allow her the comfort of believing she could say what she wanted without care, it is not true.  I will suggest that she be careful what she says if she speaks like this all the time.  Words are important and we must be ever so careful about how we use them.

I hear it out there like a roar of a crowd at a sporting event.   You all are saying why in the world are you making a mountain out of a molehill?  Aren’t you being too sensitive?  What difference does it make?  The answer to you all is no.  I n the atmosphere of a casual lunch I did not expect to be insulted.  I did not expect to be spoken to rudely.  I did not expect to have hurt feelings over my salad.  I was looking forward to a fun friendly lunch.  It did not turn out that way. 

So am I being vengeful.  Am I being tit for tat?  Is this childish?  Maybe all of the above!  I do not really think so and it does not matter.  I am finally sticking up for me.  I am sticking up for people who have been the brunt of insensitive remarks.  I am telling my story.  It is my belief that Lady A had no idea what she was saying.  I actually do not believe she cared how it would sound to others either as it was so casual.  If I am honest and kind in my note perhaps she may think a second before she speaks another time.  If I can share my story it may give her a moment of introspection.  I will not know that.  I will only be writing what I felt in a calmer non-confrontational tone due to time past and thought given.  She can take it or leave it. 








Ever watch a balloon floating in the air?  Any kind of balloon!  I am partial to the huge colorful ones with the gondola’s in which you can ride?  I want my balloon to take me to Oz.  No one can seem to find it so I have never had a ride in one!  Balloons are one of the reasons I loved living in St. Louis as the sky was often full of balloons floating by.  They had a special celebration called:


At this time it was fun to sit on the deck and just watch as they drifted above our home.  If you ever have a chance go see it. 

This morning I am feeling buoyant.  I think there are many reasons.  It is a beautiful day outside our cottage.  Dad came for coffee and seems to be in good shape.  I had lunch with one sister yesterday and dinner and a movie last night with the other.  I have the promise of a visit from my brother tonight or tomorrow.  My sister/aunt will be in town today so I can see her as well.  I am having lunch with some girlfriends.  I am getting excited about my first time upcoming visit to a spa for a few days beginning on Sunday.  I am enjoying the hope emanating from the Republican Convention.  I am impressed with all the wonderful women who have told their stories.  The speeches have been powerful from all.  The news of Isaac is getting better and Robin Robert’s farewell for a while on GMA was lovely and hopeful.

Today, I think at about noon, I will reach the quarter mark of my one year attempt to write daily.  It is invigorating!  I want to jump high and say I did it!  I am such a hard task master on myself I cannot do it as I missed one post on August 16th.  Written and not posted is a struggle for me?  Did I meet my goal of writing a blog daily or not?  For me it is a real dilemma.  My immediate answer is not – good luck this next quarter.  The person that is trying to not be so tough on me says I made it.  This will be mulled by me for days.  In the end I can at least say I have made a good effort for sure.

That brings me to the word goal.  To me it has ever been a dirty four letter word.  As bad as some others we all know and occasionally speak.  Goal was a word I could not ever seem to achieve.  I would decide to do something and set a goal and fail over and over again.  I got tired of my own failures.  Failure is a dirty word as well and few may know how much I have failed. 

To me failure is unacceptable and yet I do it so often.  I decide to clean my desk and get diverted.  I decide to write a few letters and the paper sits out for days.  I decide to … I decide to… I no longer decide.  I tell myself if I can do one thing on my list each day then I am okay.  I no longer set goals until I decided to write this blog.  It seemed I needed a reason to do so and an end date.  I set the goal of one year of writing each day.  So far I have written each day.  The 8/16 posting was a miss and luckily I did not let it be a deal breaker.

I was sharing my dislike of the word goal with a friend years ago.  He gave me an acronym which I cannot remember for the life of me.   It was something like GOAL is God’s Objectives Attained Lovingly.  That I can accept.  It is the lovingly which means loving me despite my failures that is my struggle!  Perhaps it is others as well.  Today I will be kind to myself and let the buoyancy of the day and my mood carry me I WILL accept that I made a goal to write and have had success this first quarter!  I will continue with the joy of knowing that whatever I do God has me in His hands.




I have been waiting to hear Ann Romney speak.  I wondered what would she have to say about her husband.  I had no doubt that her speech would be positive and uplifting as I believe that is the kind of lady she is in her ‘real’ life.  She comes across to me as genuine.  She surprised me though.  That was the most kind, inclusive speech I have ever heard.  One ‘pundit’ made similar remarks about how good it was.

I am sure if there had been a picture of me listening I would have appeared ridiculous as I believe I had a smile on my face the whole time.  When she began I was a bit nervous about what was to come.  While she was genuine she seemed to be a little shaky beginning until she found her stride.  I loved her reference to a story book marriage versus a real marriage.  That is something I know about having worked with my husband in a marriage ministry for over 24 years.  What I see in them is exactly what she said.  Their marriage is real.  The love and kindness that is in each of their eyes when they look at each other cannot be faked.  Real is visible.  The Skin Horse had it best in the Velveteen Rabbit.


“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand… once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit or How Toys Become Real

I was going to use only the first answer and then it seemed so important to put the full quote in especially in light of Mrs. Romney having MS and breast cancer.  According to these parameters I believe they have a real marriage and I like how it looks.

 Ann Romney allowed me once again to feel pride in my career choice.  I have had experiences with others who believe that a stay it home mom is not a career.  Last night Ann Romney shared her love of her ‘job’.  Ann Romney included ‘single, married, widowed’.  I was happy to hear that inclusive language unlike that of NOW or other feminists. 

I had a small sense of superiority when she said that they ate on an ironing board and had a door on sawhorses for a desk!   We at least had a $60 Salvation Army maple table with matching chairs and yard sale $100 mahogany knee hole desk.  It was nice to hear her stories of how they met and married.  I was not aware they married while still in college.  Tough choice!  

Her honesty was disarming.  Her love was on her red sleeve.  She loves her husband, her family and this country and loved speaking.  In the end it looked like she was having a really good time at the podium.  Then again once anyone gets passionate about something they love it is an easy job to share their thoughts and feelings.  What is the saying about a job?  Find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life!  Ann Romney was not talking about her husband and his ability to do the job.  She was sharing her passion for a man who lives his life with a passion to do well and succeed.  I found her inspiring.

Not to be outdone the diversity that was on the Republican Stage last night was breathtaking.  I did not hear Mia Love in total and still found her inspiring.  I did hear Niki Haley and loved what she had to say.  She is a dynamite speaker and strong Governor.

Ann Romney has been dubbed Mrs. America on the Drudge Report.  If she is Mrs. America then the other two female speakers certainly are Ladies of the Court.  Their voices and diverse ethnic backgrounds gave a wonderful face to our party as the door of the Republican convention was opened and America invited in with a warm welcome.






I have known about the subject of today’s post since I began writing on June 1st.  I was just not sure what form it would take.  I knew I would be celebrating Shirley in one way or another.  What I did not know after 4 years is how hard it would be to write and how angry I still am at her death.  

She and I were cradle friends.  Seems to me I have mentioned this more than once.  On my own birthday I may have also said that I am the older.  I may also have shared that I used to taunt her.  I know not so nice.  On my birthday I would call her up and say, ‘NaNaNaNaNa – I am older that you are’- or words to that effect.  Her dry sense of humor had her making a point to call me on my 30th birthday and say the same NaNa expressions only ending with I am younger than you are!  She waited that long to get her licks in.  This was one tenacious girl!

Her father was the man I spoke of in my post on Saturday that Dad helped in and out of bed due to Don’s MS.  I believe Shirley became a nurse in part to help others like her dad as well as to honor her Aunt Carolyn.  Nurses are helpers and people pleasers – not that that is a bad thing at all – just an observation.  Shirley did that and did not make big waves.  She did her tasks, was a rules kind of girl upsetting as few people as possible going through life.  Very quiet and in fact had a slight reputation of being a snob or aloof.  She was never that intentionally.  It has occurred to me that as well as I knew her I did not know her well at all.  I simply loved her as my friend in this life. 

Our lives took separate paths hers heading to Connecticut and mine to southern Maine and eventually Boston.  She married and much later divorced her high school sweetheart  and I found the man from upstate New York at a wedding.  Funny thing is I did not attend hers or Liz’s, the other the three of us, weddings.  I did wear Shirley’s mantia as part of my something old at my wedding.  We stayed connected as we could with cards and quick visits when we all were ‘home’ at the same time.  Then she moved back to our hometown area and I got to see more of her.  Another of her comments that has stayed with me forever was that we had gone from menstrual cycle through childbirth and to menopause together.  It just struck me funny.  It was a Shirley clinical way of cutting through the bull.  We had!

This is not about who we were.  We were friends.  She challenged me.  I challenged her.  We did not always agree.  We shared special recipes.  We emailed regularly.  I regret not saving them all.  She allowed me to vent.  I rarely heard her do the same.  She kept lots close to herself.  Not aloof I do not think.  Protective perhaps?  

I remember a particular incident.  She and her sister had come to St. Louis to visit Shirley’s oldest daughter.  Instead of flying home the plan was, since I too lived in St. Louis, that they would ride back to Maine with me.  There we were three women in a large white Ford F150 heading east.  Thelma, Louise and Donna we called ourselves!  Fun trip and lots of laughs.  One discussion did get a little intense.  Shirley made a comment then just shut up.  It was as if anymore would have been too much.  I am still working that all out alone.  As I said she died on us!

This is about the anger part.  I believe I am a faith-filled person.  I believe God has his reasons for all things.  This one I do not understand at all.  She left behind a wonderful family.  She left behind Liz and me and of course it is all about us don’t you know!!!  I am putting this on my list of questions to ask God when I arrive at the gates!

We were bereft, Liz and I.  I at least was able to attend the services.  Liz could not.  How were we going to make sense of this seemingly senseless death.   Shirley had not been ill.  She was found dead in her bed.  That summer when Liz and I were ‘home’ we went to the grave.  We said a few prayers.  We wanted something more.  I suggested we go out to dinner.  We did.  That started the tradition.

August 28 each year we go to a local upscale restaurant.  The two of us sit at a table set for three and celebrate our friend on her birthday.  I know that while this may sound (probably is) a little nuts, it works for us!  We order her favorite drink and enjoy a nice dinner.  We spend the evening remembering all the fun things we did together.  Today is the fourth anniversary of this birthday party.  

The sadness part came about on my travels to our hometown to celebrate this year.  I keep in contact with Shirley’s kids as I can or they want.  Her youngest and I have maintained a strong connection for which I am grateful.  I hadn’t seen them since they visited us at the cottage at Easter.  Joanna and her children Mia and Drew had moved to a new town closer to her job.   We went out to lunch. It was a wonderful time with lots of memories shared.  There were new stories of the move with information of fun things in their new town as we continued making our own new memories.   They are a wonderful family.  I left with a strong feeling of joy.

I had tired of talk radio and was listening to music.  I will admit here right up front I listen to Country Music.  That is a whole other post!  The song, ‘There’s a Hole in the Floor of Heaven’ came on.  The tears started streaming from my eyes as I am driving 70+mph. (This is a wee lie to soothe my husband it was more of the plus)   I had to get control of myself.  What was I feeling?

I was feeling sadness for the loss of this one lifelong friend.  I was sorrowful that Shirley was not seeing the growth of her beautiful children and grandchildren.  I was guilty that I could feel the real hugs from her grandchildren.  I think I am hoping there really are holes in heaven so that she can see just how beautifully her family has grown.  She would be crying tears of joy that they are doing well.  Job well done Dear Friend, sorry you could not stay longer.

I leave this post assuring all that I have many beloved friends.  The childhood ones are just the longest.  I also leave with determination.  Part of my year long birthday celebration (see June 23rd post) is to do things now that I want to do.  For a couple of years Liz and I have said we ought to celebrate our June birthdays together as we do Shirleys’ in August.  We are starting it now.  Those posts will be coming up in a week or so.  Auntie Mame said it, ‘Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! Live!’






John Popper the front man for Blues Traveler is not going to vote for Barack Obama!  That is news for me.  John is an independent voter leaning to the Libertarian side.  He voted for George Bush  2004 and Barack Obama in 2008.  He says he is going to vote for Mitt Romney in 2012.  He says it is not the man it is his stance.  He believes Obama has done a poor job.  One more vote for the Romney Ryan team.  It will happen I am convinced as one vote at a time is changed. 

Even more highly profile people like real estate and newspaper mogul Mortimer Zuckerman and of course Brad Pitt’s mom have been vocal about their votes.  Black Pastors are openly discussing why not to vote for the sitting President.  Young voters are doing the same.  It is my belief that much of the Catholic vote that he had the last time will not be there this time.   I believe that voters are smarter then the media makes them out to be in the news.  There is no war on women.  I am not saying that Mitt Romney does not have to sell himself – he does.  I am saying that the aura and era of Obama is fading away.

I had no idea what I was going to write about this morning.  My mind was blank last night as I headed for bed. It had been my desire to rough out a submission before then.  I could not think of one thing to write.  I finally got into bed and my mind raced for some time.  This morning I was brought back to an old theme when I heard a bird saying its name – Phoe…be    Phoe…be.  At least the clock read 6:24 so I had 5 hrs of sleep!!! 

That is the struggle for me of open windows and fresh air and I love both.  After being cooped up in air-conditioning most of the summer it is wonderful to have breezes.  When I get at the cottage I open the windows wide and they do not go down again until I leave unless it rains.  I sleep better and breathe better!  Fresh air is good.  I’ll take the birds!

Another thought I had about what to write is the lack of pressure I feel in this place.  Any pressure is self-imposed.  I can almost physically feel my body unwind like a spring uncoiling.  I walk slower and move slower and evidently I think slower as ideas are not popping to my head to write the blog.  Last night for the first time I was nervous about facing this blank white page.  I began to wonder if I would really make the year. 

I thought I could write about jobs I have had.  I’m taking Dad to Bangor the VA tomorrow to see about his hearing aids and I thought I could tell stories about hearing aids as I used to sell them.  I thought perhaps a post about nicknames or clichés or hometowns.  None seemed to stick.  I was grateful for the morsel of news to start my fingers moving to cover the white.

One of the things I like most about being at our cottage is that my folks come for coffee every morning.  We planted a butterfly bush in the front of our cottage last year.  This year it is above the windows.   Daddy commented on how entertaining it was to watch as he had his coffee.  He even saw a hummingbird.  We got talking about hummingbirds and how far they fly.  Of course the information junkie in me took hold once they left.  I found the following:


 Each time before a hummingbird starts migration, they need to eat a lot of insects and nectar to fatten up. A hummingbird will gain 25-40% of their body weight before they start migration. If a larger bird gained that much weight, they would not be able to get off the ground. During this time you may notice a hummingbird swarm around your feeders.

While hummingbird migration occurs on the same common fly zones, they do so alone. The best analogy is that hummingbirds are like commuters on a freeway, all going the same way on the same road, but doing so alone to get to their own individual homes. Hummingbird will migrate alone for many reasons. First of all, hummingbirds are so small that most predators have difficulty seeing them. If they flocked together, they would be a larger, more readily seen, target. Also, a hummingbird must stop frequently to feed at a flower or feeder, even during migration. To have a flock of hummingbirds waiting in line for a flower to refill doesn’t work. Plus, during hummingbird flight, there is just not enough body mass to make a wake in the air currents for others.

When hummingbirds are migrating, they usually do not stay very high off the ground. They have been reported to fly just above treetop level over land or pretty much skimming the top of the water ways. It is believed they do this to keep an eye out for a food or nectar opportunity on their long journey.

While migrating, hummingbirds generally will fly during the day and sleep at night. When the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are flying over the Gulf of Mexico during migration, there is no place to land to sleep, so they must keep on going. Many years ago, fisherman and oil rig workers would report seeking hummingbirds zip by them out in the gulf 200 miles away from land. The hummingbirds could be seen flying low over the water toward shore. The workers started to notice this happening every year, recording the common migration routes taken by the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds. It’s amazing to think that these little tiny fluffs of feathers would travel over 450 miles of water with a 20 mile an hour headwind (with more than 20 hours of travel time) to make it to their favorite breeding grounds. It must be love.

Many hummingbirds will also have to cross other obstacles during migration, like the Mojave Desert. There have been reports of an occasional Rufous Hummingbird falling out of the sky on the migration route to and from Alaska.

…….and there was more hope you check it out.

The urge for information is even stronger in me this morning so I looked up Butterflies and I thought they migrated as well.


 Monarch butterflies are not able to survive the cold winters of most of the United States so they migrate south and west each autumn to escape the cold weather. The monarch migration usually starts in about October of each year, but can start earlier if the weather turns cold sooner than that.

The monarch butterflies will spend their winter hibernation in Mexico and some parts of Southern California where it is warm all year long. If the monarch lives in the Eastern states, usually east of the Rocky Mountains, it will migrate to Mexico and hibernate in oyamel fir trees. If the monarch butterfly lives west of the Rocky Mountains, then it will hibernate in and around Pacific Grove, California in eucalyptus trees. Monarch butterflies use the very same trees each and every year when they migrate, which seems odd because they aren’t the same butterflies that were there last year. These are the new fourth generation of monarch butterflies, so how do they know which trees are the right ones to hibernate in? Monarch butterflies are the only insect that migrates to a warmer climate that is 2,500 miles away each year.

The Monarch butterfly migrates for 2 reasons. They can not withstand freezing weather in the northern and central continental climates in the winter. Also, the larval food plants do not grow in their winter overwintering sites, so the spring generation must fly back north to places where the plants are plentiful. Would you like to help track monarch butterfly migrations? Visit Monarchwatch for lots of information on tracking migrations with a color map.

I discovered the migration has begun!! How topical of me!  Again check it out:   http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/

It was ever so much fun to share this information with my grandniece Phoebe (aged 4) when she visited this morning with my sister, her grandmother LaLa, and her littlest sister Cassidy and cousin Jolene both 2yrs old.  It was a Phoebe day I told her from birds to butterflies!

AND there it is.  Blog written!  I faced the white page and began writing.  I stopped to enjoy family, relaxed and allowed the topics of the day take me through fear of a blank page to visits, conversations to information.  The Butterfly Effect of letting things interact not making them do so!  Life is good!




Friday morning when a disgruntled employee in New York City took out a gun and shot people I was driving through New York State and approaching the Tappan Zee Bridge.  All the radio stations broke into their regular broadcasting.   At first it wasn’t certain what was going on and who was shooting.  It was another bad time in our country.  As the broadcasters were reporting I stopped listening and began thinking about the people who were there.  It was just another day for them.  They got out of bed expecting a good day at work or a fun day sightseeing.  For a few of them it was there last day.  The next time I spoke with my husband I told him what was happening on the local news and that I thought it important that he know just how much I loved him.  I posted something similar on facebook.   Scripture does say we do not know the time or the hour.  Our prayers are offered for those in these horrid random crimes.

As I continued driving I continued thinking about how many of our loved ones and neighbors are hurting and have no way to tell others.  That lady in the car next to you at the stop light, is her day going well?  Are those tears running down her cheeks?  Is she crying?   She seems to be in a fairly nice car.  It is a sunny day out. What could be her problem?  We have no idea and what can we do anyway?

In the grocery store parking lot you can hear crying coming from the car beside you as you put your packages in the car.  The car is still going.  Is she going to go into the store or has she completed her shopping?  Do you rap on the window and ask if she is okay?  Do you wait to see what direction she is going? If she goes into the store do you ask if she is okay?  It is really hard to know what to do in these situations.  Can you make them better or will speaking make them worse? 

I distinctly remember a situation like these.  It happened on a plane.  I cannot remember where or why I was traveling and it does not matter.  I do remember that I was carrying a rose.  It obviously was important to me to be bringing it on the plane.  This was before 9/11. 

I sat in the middle seat on the plane so am guessing that my husband was with me.  The lady in the window seat was very quiet and seemed to be asleep.  I heard her sniffing and realized she was not totally sleeping.  She spent the whole ride crying and dozing.  I did not want to interfere and did not engage her in conversation.  Actually I am not much of a plane chatterer.  As I turned to leave my seat after landing I gave her the flower and told her I hoped she might feel better tomorrow.  She responded with a small short smile.  It was disturbing not to have been able to do more to help.

Yesterday as I neared my final destination I saw a church sign.  It said ‘Jesus turns messes into miracles’.   I immediately thought of the madness of New York City the day before as well as the recent incident in Wisconsin.  Could Jesus have helped these people?  The shooters I mean.  I am certain as I write that Jesus helped those who were harmed.  What of people of other faiths, in Wisconsin, or no faith at all?  What if you had been on that street?  Or what if a loved one of yours been there?

This led me to think of the poem, ‘Meet Me in the Stairwell’ that was written by Stacey Randall after 9/11.  If you have not read it Google it.  There is also a song using the poem as lyrics with pictures of 9/11 on a video.  

I go back to the ‘messes’ like Friday morning in NYC.  Or further what about anyone who believes they have made a mess of their lives?  What about people who are incapable of asking for help at all.  Stuck in their mess and see no way out?   The church sign said Jesus can make those messes into miracles.  I believe that as well.  Those of other faiths probably have similar beliefs in their own deities.  Perhaps the next time you experience someone who seems to be struggling you can simply say a prayer inside your soul and ask God to touch this person’s life so that a miracle can begin to happen and their mess disappears.  I do this.  When I see and accident or something I know I cannot help I pray.  I do not know what else to do.  

Seemed important for me to say this and Sunday seemed a great day to do it.  Tell those you love that you love them.  Go spread that same love with random acts of kindness or pay it forward or volunteer.  In our own little ways I believe we too can help turn messes into miracles.    




Today I am counting my blessings.  Later this afternoon I will arrive at 288 Main Street to give my 91 year old father a huge hug!  I am blessed.  The party and gifts will wait for tomorrow so cannot share the excitement about what I brought to give Daddy.  I am sure he will be “GREAT!”

I have already shared much about my dad and not sure what more I can say about this terrific man.  Perhaps I can tell you what I have learned from him.

I learned that being positive is just as easy as being negative.  He would come downstairs, walk by the mirror in the living room on his way to the kitchen and stop and throw his arms out speaking to the mirror and say, “Who is the best looking man in town and why am I?”  Now I am not sure he was convincing himself or trying to convince us.  Either way it was common.  He was gregarious and friendly and we became the same.  I think about him losing two wives to cancer and he married again.  That either says something about his positive hopeful nature or it says he cannot take care of himself and selects terrific women to do the job.

I learned that we have to help our friends and neighbors.  One of his best friends was Don Berry.  At an early age Don was diagnosed with MS.  In the 60s this was really a new disease.  Don worked and was active as long as he could be until he eventually was bedridden.  Don’s daughter Shirley was a BFF and one of the ‘Triumvirate’.  We were friends from the cradle.  She became a nurse.  She often would tell me that no one would believe what her father’s brothers and friends did for him.  She maintained that it would only happen in a small town and not sure it would happen in this day and age.  Once Don was bedridden his brothers or friends would go every single night – let me repeat that – every single night to get him up and let him sit in a chair to eat supper and watch the news.  Then they would go back a few hours later and put him back in bed.  Daddy was part of the friends.  While there are other lessons of generosity as well, this one really tells the story best.

I learned to try new things.  Daddy played on an adult hometown baseball team.  He took up golf and was very good at it.  He just stopped this year.  He helped organize a reunion for his army buddies and kept them all in touch.  He did not stay behind the counter in the store.  When it was offered he went on the road selling.  He was very good and became known throughout Maine as ‘Honest Les’!  When the company moved and was sold he went with them though he did not make us move as well.  He took on the job of getting back and forth to work.  He was a traveling salesman so he coordinated his travels to leave us stay put in our same town and home.  I remember the discussions about moving us all.  Got to say a big thank you for the choice not to do so.

I learned loyalty from my father.  If he was your friend he was your friend forever.  People would come and go from his life and he kept up the relationship if possible.  He would go visit friends who were ill even though he himself was slowing down.  One poignant memory comes to mind.  I was standing with Dad at the graveside as they buried one of his long time friends.  Dad leaned down to the ground for a moment and touched the site.  I was not sure what in the world he was doing.  He stood up and leaned over and said, “I just stuck a golf ball under there.  Fred might just need it.”

My dad cried!  He showed me that it was okay for men to have emotions.  What a gift to share in a world when men were not supposed to cry.  I know it mortifies him to do so and yet it tenderizes him while still being strong.  I learned that real strong men do have emotions.

I would not say Daddy is a God.  He has had his share of troubles.  I am however holding out for immortality.  I am grateful to be his daughter.  I am blessed.

Happy Birthday Daddio!!!


By ktsquared Posted in Family



I often refer to my husband as my roommate and of course he is more than that.  He is as fun as a roommate sometimes and he is as frustrating as one as well.  I am certain he can say exactly the same thing about me!

I have had many roommates in my life.  They were cabin mates at Camp Tanglewood.  They were tent mates at Nataswi.  I think Pilgrim Lodge we were called cabin mates as well.  In college I got my first official roommate.  What a great girl she was and am certain still is.

We made the contact before we arrived at college to introduce ourselves and talked about decorating our room and all that important ‘stuff’.  [Thinking of you Sandy when writing this word!]  I found out that my roommate Linda had a birthday the day before my dad.  Today is her birthday which brought this topic to mind.  Learning to live with another takes great effort especially if you are strangers.

We arrived at school and started to get to know each other.  It was very interesting.  With only a letter having crossed between us we discovered we were very much alike.  We had the same choice in bathrobes – both were red corduroy  though different styles.  We had the exact same towels in different colors.  We both were the oldest in our families and had lost a parent.  Come to find out her mother and my father did know of each other.  Small world.  It was not hard for us to go shopping and find room décor we both liked.  Linda was quiet.  I was loud.  She was studious.  I studied.  She graduated.  I chose another path.  We kept in touch for a long time and I was in her wedding and she in mine.  She and her husband visited when we were in NY and I stopped in a couple of times when I passed through their town.  Then time and miles happen.  I am sad about this as she is a great lady!

As I think about her and the roommate idea I am wandering off into all the people that come in and out of our lives.  Imagine if we did not open ourselves up to others.  Imagine if we stayed in our own little worlds.  Imagine talking only to our own like minded friends.  Imagine never hearing an opposing view.  One of the most stimulating things about my college years were the conversations.  I was challenged in ideas and values and issues.  I remember one specific conversation and Donna looking at me seriously and asking me incredulously, “All you want out of life is to be a good wife and mother?”  I was stunned and answered, “Yes.”  I did not see that as a particularly wrong thing to want.  Who knew this conversation may have been the very beginnings of change in our world.

There are not too many places one is challenged anymore.  We are cautioned to not talk about politics or religion or opinions or sex or finances or…….well I think we can talk about cooking unless it leads to what to eat and what not to eat.  Polite chit chat drives me right out of my mind.  I never did very well at cocktail parties or office functions unless I could get a person to  talk about themselves not just the weather.

I know that is one of the reasons I like facebook.  I enjoyed the conversation on Miss Jenni’s G. P. wall as she challenged our faith beliefs.  It was and is ever invigorating to challenge oneself in knowledge and strength.  One person did leave her wall after chewing us all out in colorful language.  Sad for them.  Miss Jenni G.P. still on occasion leads us to very interesting and informative discussions.  I check out her wall regularly to see what she is up to now.

I think I shared earlier that I had been asked not to post on one wall as I was ‘spewing’.  I saw, a couple of times recently, where others were asking people to not post on their walls if they disagreed with the wall owners views.  I am really confused by this.  Facebook is part of social media.  Social implies different to me.  I welcome different opinions on my wall.  If I cannot listen (read) and enjoy a discussion of differing views it makes me a little myopic doesn’t it.  I guess that is why I was so confused when I was accused of being narrow-minded when banned from the wall for not sharing the owner’s opinions.  Isn’t this kind of like opening the door to your home for all to come in and visit and then closing it to people who wear shoes not sandals (I wear them everyday) like you do?  Is this not narrow-minded?  I may have my definitions wrong.

I love conversation and discussion and got to say I enjoyed the give and take and free flowing chat of the girls from Robie Hall – fourth floor annex.  I wish them all well.  These women were terrific people to be in my life as I transitioned to adulthood.   Wonder if I have arrived???






I have just spent the last half hour cleaning out my inbox on one of my email accounts.  I discovered that I missed a GROUPON for horseback riding in Upper Oxford and a notice to learn a language in ten days.  Kind of sad about the language and there is no way I would have gotten on a horse!  The thing I am irritated about is the time it takes to do all of this when you let 300+ emails build up.  I hesitate to grouse as a friend told me she liked how upbeat my posts normally are and I can see no upbeat in this.

I am behind in my ironing again.  The bathrooms need cleaning.  Pretty soon my husband will make the comment from the old commercial, “Hon, bathroom bowl sure needs cleaning” to which I will respond, “Think of the germs”.  If you do not remember the commercial take it from me it was cute!  After all this I will then feel heavy like he had just handed me an anvil to clean to add to my other workload.

The kitchen is beginning to look like elves come in during the night and leave droplets of goo everywhere.  The floor – forget it.  The saying as I have said many times is ‘dust thou art to dust returneth’ therefore I have an army coming and going in this house!  Why can’t I keep up with the things I want to do as well as the things that need doing?  That has been my hardest struggle in this life and the reason I really want a cleaning lady full time!!

I could make a real case for a cleaning lady if I could justify the luxury of having her do what I perceive is my job.  With no children at home my job now only consists of  cooking, laundry, ironing, chamber-maiding with changing our bed, correspondence (snail mail and email), writing out the bills, managing the two rentals, meal planning, grocery shopping, cleaning the bathrooms, dusting and keeping the floors clean (with which blessedly my husband helps) and keeping the kitchen clean – stove, refrig and cupboards.  Goodness that really is not much when you consider that some of it is only done once a week.  If I lifted out the floors, dusting and bathrooms maybe it would be easier for me to find time to play?

You see the thing is my husband gets up at 6 and goes to work outside the home and rarely is home before 6.  He has to listen to people who may or may not agree with him.  He has to motivate others to do what he believes is best for his company.  He has to sit at his desk and review emails and take phone calls and put up with uncomfortable situations on occasion.  He has reports to write and presentations to make.  After all this he has to come home and he has the lawn to mow each week.  When does he play?

The only difference with our two jobs that I see is he gets paid and a review every year which is usually full of praise.  I share in the money and not sure I want my ‘boss’ (the only other person in this house my husband) giving me a review!!!  If I think I am not doing well it certainly puts him in an awkward position.  Can he really be honest and let us still have a happy marriage?  Of course the answer is yes and yet it would be uncomfortable I am certain.  So the answer to the cleaning lady case?

The answer is I make my list again – or find the old one that I have not completed and begin again pledging to do better this day this week.  I put my crochet, my painting, my writing in the schedule and do it a bit at a time.  The Flylady.com says to jump in where you are and not try to change everything all at once.  She says to do things in 15 minute increments and to take time for you.  I can crochet a couple of rows in 15 minutes.  So let me begin again this day.  The laundry has been started today.  I will continue to reboot my resolve and off I go to clean the kitchen. 




This morning I had the occasion to have to call AT&T to help with a situation with our phones.  The average person would respond to this fact with an immediate ‘OH NO!” as AT&T has a bad rap for customer service.  It is not uncommon for calls for help to last hours.  I did not experience this today.  During the call I found out that we had not received our latest bill.  When I went to an old bill to find the address for mailing in my payment I found none so had to call back.  Second time I called I received the same great service and kind people.  Thank you R J Perez and Melody Darnell and AT&T!  I wrote a note to AT&T as well.

When companies are demonized it is hard to change that picture and I am here today to help do just that.  I was a Sprint user for years and one Sunday, the day of rest,  many years ago we got a phone call from Sprint asking us to pay our $50 phone bill which was not yet even due.  Of course you know we left Sprint when we paid the bill.  We went to Charter at that point for our phones and our cell phone was AT&T.  We have had occasions to speak with AT&T often during moves and found great service and good help.  During one move the lady even helped me locate facilities in the new town!

This morning when I complimented Melody on the great service I had received and shared that I was sad their reputation was different she reminded me of something I had heard before.  She said wouldn’t it be a better world if this was the same all over to which I replied that this would be a pay it forward attitude.

Years ago my dear friend Anna took me shopping after my mother died.  I think I was in eighth grade.  We were shopping for a white gown I needed for an installation ceremony.  It was to be fancy and what a fun thing this was for me.  I remember the trip not how much it cost or who paid for it! 

When you go to the city, Bangor, from my hometown an hour away you do everything you need to do in one trip.  We got the gown and the salesladies were so nice to us.  They chatted with both Anna and I as they brought dresses for me to try.  After the purchase we went to the record store.  I know they are no longer around.  This store sold TVs, radios, record players and accessories.  Anna needed a needle for her stereo.  As the salesperson was looking for it, again very nice and very kind, I mentioned that everyone seemed to be in a really good mood today as they were all so pleasant.  Anna replied.

I can tell you exactly where we were, though it of course is not necessary, it is just that this moment has never left my mind.  We were leaning against the glass case counter in Viner’s, I think that was the name of the store.  She looked at me and said, “You get what you give out.”  She went on to say that she had found in her life that if you are nice to others they will respond to you in kind.  She said that salespeople, like my dad who worked in her husband’s store Manset Marine Supply Co., sometimes had their own problems.  I knew Dad sure did right now.  She continued that if we approach with kindness and a smile they will do the same.  We got the needle and left leaving a smile on the salespersons face.

I keep that advice, or try to, in my mind when dealing with others.  It allowed me, I believe, to go to Paris and not experience any Parisian ire.  Most people complain about how bad it is over there for Americans.  I did not have any bad experiences.  Most shopkeepers were patient and kind.  Love that city and would love to return.

It certainly is all about the attitude.  First thing this morning on my first business call I was rewarded with people who share the same idea.  Make the world a better place by your own actions.  Today we all paid it forward for each other.  To that I say THANK YOU AT&T!!!




Diana Nyad is determined to swim from Cuba to the USA.  One day she might make it.  I cannot imagine swimming with sharks and jellyfish and hurricanes in the mix.  I love to swim and do not do much of it anymore.  When we had a pool I would go in everyday.  My favorite time was the last thing in the evening just before I went to bed.  We did not have heaters in these pools.  It could be refreshing if the outside temperature was not 85 and above.  Pool swimming is not my favorite.

We had lakes on our island growing up.  Now when I say Island please understand we were connected to the mainland by a short bridge.  It was still an island and to me The Island!  The ocean was all around us for swimming as well if you chose to do so.  You chose to do so at your own whim or lack of knowledge.

Lake swimming is my favorite.  It is cold and refreshing.  Our lakes were clean and clear.  The sandy beach part would get a little swirly when all of us were there kicking up the sand and further out it was clear.  For me there appeared to be an unwritten right of passage for this lake.  I am referring to the one just outside of town called EchoLake not Long Pond or EagleLake.

When we were toddlers up to about 7 plus or minus we swam at Echo Lake Sand Beach.  We could wade into the water quite far out and not get too much above our waist.  Swimming lessons were held here as well.  Then it seemed we graduated to Ike’s Point.  This had rocks and a small beach and was usually not too populated.  Or if the man that ran Echo Vista was in a good mood we could go there.  When we got to high school it was the Bluffs or nothing!  This was one huge rock and we sat and sunned on it occasionally getting in the water.  Here you could dive.  There actually was a small beach area here too.  This was good as after my bother was born (when I was a teenager) he could be over there with our mom, Marie, while we swam where we wanted.  Having them there was not optimum for a teen however.

Marie, my second mother, did not swim much when she married Dad.  Or, coming from a farm in Indiana she may not have learned and that was why she swam very little.  We were a swimming family and in the water as much as we could be.  This wonderful woman took herself to the Y quietly not telling us and took swimming lessons!  While she was never a great swimmer, she learned to do a few strokes and keep her head above water and up with my young brother. 

My favorite Marie and swimming story involved my friend Liz and me.  Flutter boards were the new big thing in the early 60s.  They looked like the top half of a surf board and were Styrofoam and used to teach kids to swim. Marie had them for my brother and youngest sister and herself too I think.  The kids were playing at the beach part of the Bluffs and Liz and I grabbed the flutter boards and started swimming out to the middle of the lake.  It was fun and we were kicking and chatting and stopping and chatting and just enjoying the water and freedom as we were swimming.  The next thing I knew Marie was flaying her arms from the shore.  I had no idea what she was doing or saying as I could not hear her.  We stopped and looked around and we were halfway across the lake.  We guessed we had gone too far and headed back to find out our guess was correct.  The water quickly became very hot for us when we returned!

The best thing about lake swimming is the water itself.  As I said it is cold, clear, clean and refreshing.  I loved to wash my hair in it – many of us did.  We would go to a place away from the main swim area.  We would lather and then just swim away from the soap and got squeaky clean hair – good stuff.  I am sure the EPA would have a thing or two to say about that today!

Then there is the ocean.  The northern Atlantic is a lot colder than where Diana Nyad was swimming.  As kids we would swim in it.  Not an easy task.  You would numb your feet then your shins then your belly and in you went.  It was cold!  Not sure the water ever got much above 60 degrees.  Did not faze us at all.  The thing we did not like was when the jelly fish came in to surround us for a quick out.  Of course at Seawall – a rocky shore – we could explore tidal pools and they were still wet and were warmer.

The weekend my husband asked me to marry him we went to Sand Beach.  This area is different from Echo Lake Sand Beach and is a part of Acadia National Park.  Acadia was my playground as a kid and how lucky I was as nothing was off limits then.  I took my husband to Sand Beach which is a manmade beach by the way.  We put our towels down to sit and enjoy the sun in our swimsuits.  The next thing I knew he is running pell-mell for the water.  I am screaming, he is running and bam he hit the water to swim.  He stood right back up and ran right back to me.  He asked me, in a not so nice voice,  why I had not told him it was so cold.  I said you didn’t give me a chance to do so!!!  Not many natives swim in the ocean often.  I did have an aunt that swam in it every single day she could in the summer time as she thought it good for her.  She also ate wheat germ and made rose hip bread.  She was a woman ahead of her times in the 60s.  I am not sure this made her live any longer.  Despite that, we know now that it is healthy. 

I will never set a record and hopefully one day Diana Nyad will.  I still enjoy swimming though it is mostly done now only in our garden tub!





I am betting we all have a draw full of greeting cards that we have never used.  I cannot believe I am the only one.  We get cards in the mail asking for donations.  We buy boxes of cards from local schools or youth organizations though a lot of this is done online anymore.  Christmas cards come from some ministry asking for help.  What do you do with the cards?  Lots of times I send some money and tell them to take me off their list.  If they do not next year I just keep the cards.  I have a whole small plastic file box filled with assorted cards behind the appropriately tagged divider.

I have decided to send these cards out and get rid of them.  If you are on my list and get an old looking card that is why.  The message is the same.  Some times I may even put a $$ in them.  Our goddaughter was the first to receive any of these followed by Leo who is 11 today (born on his grandparents anniversary) will be happy to just see the $green.  I have a lot of birthdays and anniversaries coming up so out they will go.  If the box is not empty by the end of the year I am going to toss out the rest.  I have this box as for years we lived in the woods and I was not close to a town and the local mom and pop store had few choices.

Today is my sister #1 and her husband’s 43rd anniversary.  Wish I had thought of this box last week!  A blog greeting will have to do.  They were married in the evening and the bridesmaid’s gowns were turquoise.  The bridesmaid, me, wore pink.  A color that at the time I detested and she knew it!  It was my payback she often has said for putting her in avocado green the year before!  Seemed fair.  She at least used the same dress pattern I had used so I could make my dress fit me!  They really were cute dresses and she had us all wear babushkas.  A couple of years ago as I was cleaning out fabric I came across mine and could not believe I still had it!

She is a real card sender.  She inherited the gift I believe from our grandmother.  Grammy sent cards to everyone for everything it seemed.  My sister has our mother’s birthday book so can easily be reminded of all of our families’ special days and of course has added the younger ones to it.  That is a good thing.  I have a birthday book, not sure many people do anymore, and rarely look at it.  Each year I used to transpose birthdates from one calendar to another and that has waned as well.  Anymore now we can put these things on our computers or smart phones.  Still have to have a card to send.

When I was 11/12 I decided that I wanted a new bike.  American Youth Sales had an ad in the magazines to get a new Royal English bicycle with a real leather seat and handbrakes.  That bike was a beauty.  I can easily compare my want and need of this bike to Ralphie in The Christmas Story’ and his desire for the Red Rider BB Gun.  All I had to do was to sell 60 boxes of greeting cards.  That was ALL I had to do.

I showed it to my folks and got permission and the first box of assorted cards arrived.  There were 20 units in this box and I would have two more to come.  I started out canvassing the town with my cards in hand.  I sold the first 20 units and the second arrived and then the third.  I DID IT!!!  I actually sold them all.  The bike was on its way to me from England!

I had some funny experiences along the way to completing this task.  The best was knocking on the door of Mr. Sam Black.  I went up Wesley Avenue one side and back down the other and he was on the other side.  I carried the picture of the bike with me to every stop and I promised I would be back to show everyone when I had it.  Mr. Black opened the door.  I really did not know him though in a small town I am sure he knew me.  I introduced myself and gave him my sales pitch.  He said his wife was upstairs and to wait a minute.  As he was on his way back I heard her holler ‘we do no need any cards’.  Mr. Black turned to me and said, ‘I’ll take two boxes!’

I paddled my bike all over town when it arrived.  It was a real pretty purpley blue color with a tan leather seat.  The local paper had a notice in the town column that said I had earned it only they spelled my name as Cathy!  I had that clipping for years.  This was the same bike that we put a child seat on so I could ride with each of our children on back.  I had that bicycle until the late 1990’s.  It was a real testament to the quality as it arrived in 1958, a very long time ago!

Greeting cards – cards in general – have had impacts on my life.  I think I mentioned I have all my valentine’s from grade school.  I have saved special birthday cards I have received as well.  I met my husband through a postcard!  I even sent a card to tell my husband we were expecting our second child!  So now I am sending out the old ones rather than throw them.  They have been with me a long time and I think they deserve to be mailed at least don’t you?





Today will be an easy post to write as I celebrate the 30th birthday of our daughter from another mother.  She came into our lives when she was about 18 months old.  Her father was the son of our neighbor and both were my good friends.  This Christmas 1983 he was visiting from Texas to Maine and brought his daughter and her mother up for the holiday.  She and her mother stayed with us a couple of nights as her parents were already divorced.  Her parents had a volatile relationship and this little girl took it all in stride and seemed to not notice any of it.  She was simply cute and stole your heart with her blonde curls.

Later she returned with her father to live in Maine after her mother had sadly exited life by choice or chance from bi-polar self medications.  She spent much time with her grandmother as her father fostered his legal career, partied with his friends.  We got to know this little girl well.  In fact we had the luxury of babysitting her on occasion.  Then we moved to North Carolina and she was not with us as much.  We made sure she visited as often as we could have her.  As a minor and commuting between parents in Maine and Texas for 8 years she was an experienced flier.  The last time, think she was 12 or 13, I picked her up at the airport she had the identification tag as a minor.  She looked at me and growled under her breath – ‘get this thing off of me!”  I did!!! 

She was a very cute little girl.  She played softball and took dance and had varied interests ever willing to try something new.  Her upbringing could have traumatized this child and she has through most of it remained positive and willing to forge ahead despite any complications.  She was my ‘cookie girl’ – helping me at Christmas – for many years after our other two decided they did not want to cook or were in school when it was time to make the Christmas cookies.  She traveled with me on occasions from her home in Maine to wherever we were living.  We still laugh about the waitress at a fast food stop and the way she asked us if we ‘want a refill for your drink’.  It was one of those you had to be there moments and still brings us to laughter!

In 2003 when she was in college she called and asked us if we would be her godparents when she was confirmed in her faith.  We were thrilled.  I said to her that we now have a title.  Instead of explaining our relationship as I used to by saying ‘we were friends of her grandmother who lived down the street and I worked as a paralegal-sort of for her father for a little bit’, I could say now that I was her Godmother!

She decided to become a nurse and worked in hospitals through most of her high school years as a Candy Striper and CNA.  She chose a nursing school close to home and attended all 4 years with a scholarship and loans getting decent grades.  She is very independent. I maintain that she really raised herself with some financial assistance from her father who had lost most everything by then.  When she graduated she got a good job and then came some frustration.  Not to get mired in it she became a traveling nurse and had some adventures.  The last one before she settled down to where she is now was a nurse at a summer camp.

I remember the call we had in the summer of 2007.  I was at my computer in Maryland and she in New Hampshire was looking for another assignment.  I said ‘let’s Google where the most eligible men are’ to which she giggled.  We did and State College, PA had too much snow for her liking and she ended up in Charlotte, North Carolina which was 5th on the list.  This city also happened to be only 2 hrs from one of her good friends from college! 

It has turned out to be a good choice.  She developed a good group of friends who actually were able to help her through some medical issues.  She was close by when her college friend’s baby was born and to help the same friend when her marriage dissolved.  She is only a day from us and able to come home for holidays easier.

We began calling her ‘Wicket’ when she was the ‘cookie girl’ and didn’t like sticky hands.  I called her a ‘sticky wicket’ then and the ‘Wicket” part stuck.  She was just that for years.  A couple of years ago she was coming to visit and wanted to know who was going to be here meaning the other two kids or grandchildren.  I asked, “Why was that important?”  She said, “Well you know I demand a lot of attention.”  Oh we laughed and laughed and showered her with attention when she was here.  Got to respect honesty and the Princess was added to Wicket!  

I am so proud to be a part of this cute little girl’s growth into the beautiful woman she has become.  She has said often that the four of us are her only constant in life.  We all consider ourselves more than that.  We are her family.  We all long ago took her into our hearts and adopted her with our love. 

She is a devoted friend.  She looks at her struggle in life and figures out ways to work with them or overcome them.  She forges on when others would have quit.  She is a wonderful nurse I believe.  She is kind and caring and picked the best profession to share that.  She is astute and learns quickly.  Her future is bright.  One day I hope she finds the mate we have been praying for all these years to come to her. 

Last spring I asked what she wanted for her birthday and she said a trip to New York City.  That will be happening around Christmas time as we decided August in the city would be hot!  In lieu of her gift right now I have taken to using up all those old birthday cards we all have lying around.  I sent one with an iTunes card and one with a movie card and today she will get her yellow tulips, I hope if the florist can get them.  WOW! Tulips are costly out of season and of course that is certainly okay!  They are for our Princess Wicket and you know ‘she demands a lot of attention’!!!

Happy Birthday and I love you Sweet Girl.


By ktsquared Posted in Family



I did not go to church this morning.  I am not feeling well physically.  My stomach is having a war within itself.  I have slept not well.  I can no longer stay prone in bed as the cramps are so uncomfortable.  Being not well wears me down.  It affects me physically as well as emotionally.  I am not complaining or asking for sympathy.  There are many more suffering more than I.  I am simply giving an evaluation of my circumstances.

When I am physically under the weather it hits my emotions as well.  Any upheaval over the past months, weeks, days, hours has an opportunity to be revisited as I have little fight.  My mind whirs with angst and upset and silliness that otherwise would be given no attention.  I feel glum.

Isn’t that a great word – GLUM?

The Free Dictionary

glum (gl m)

adj. glum·mer, glum·mest

1. Moody and melancholy; dejected.

2. Gloomy; dismal.


1. The quality or state of being moody, melancholy, and gloomy or an instance of it: “He was a charming mixture of glum and glee” (Lillian Hellman).

2. glums Chiefly British The blues. Often used with the: “Most other publications have got the glums” (Tina Brown).

From Dictionary.com


   /glʌm/ Show Spelled[gluhm] Show IPA

adjective, glum·mer, glum·mest.

sullenly or silently gloomy; dejected.

1425–75; late Middle English; variant of gloom

Related forms

glum·ly, adverb

glum·ness, noun

moody, sulky; despondent, melancholy. Glum, morose, sullen, dour, surly  all are adjectives describing a gloomy, unsociable attitude. Glum  describes a depressed, spiritless condition or manner, usually temporary rather than habitual: a glum shrug of the shoulders; a glum, hopeless look in his eye. Morose,  which adds to glum  a sense of bitterness, implies a habitual and pervasive gloominess: a sour, morose manner; morose withdrawal from human contact. Sullen  usually implies reluctance or refusal to speak accompanied by glowering looks expressing anger or a sense of injury: a sullen manner, silence, look. Dour  refers to a stern and forbidding aspect, stony and unresponsive: dour rejection of friendly overtures. Surly  implies gruffness of speech and manner, usually accompanied by an air of injury and ill temper: a surly reply.

Glum covers just about everything when you are not at your best.  When I think of the word glum I see a gray cloudy day that spits rain off and on and just enough to spoil any outdoor plans you had.  If I think of a color that describes glum gray is it.  The image that really brings glum home is Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh stories.  He just lopes along talking slow and low and he is even a gray color! 

When I am glum and my thoughts start to whirl around I can begin to worry.  Now worry to me is a wasted emotion.  It does nothing good.  On second thought a lot of people worry themselves thin – that may be something I need to look into as a diet!  Worry wears you down and nothing productive comes from it.  I certainly do not see solutions or rest coming from worry.

I have long said, “I do not worry – I pray.”  This is true except on occasions like today when I get glum.  So despite not going to church this morning I have to immerse myself in prayer to get this stuff gone – the physical distemper and the emotional worry.  This is a job at times prayer.  It is hard to pray when you are not on top of your game.  If you have a routine then prayer may not fit in at this time or that time.

A favorite prayer book of mine is a little book by Malcolm Boyd.  I didn’t think it was in print any longer and pleased to see it is still on Amazon.  It is called “Are you running with me Jesus?”  Amazon describes it as:

In the middle of the turbulent 1960s Malcolm Boyd’s Are You Running With Me, Jesus? appeared on the scene and broke the mold from which devotional texts had previously been made. Boyd’s prayers engaged traditional Christian themes with a decidedly contemporary voice—honest, direct, insightful—while at the same time taking on issues of everyday concern: personal freedom, racial justice, sexuality. Billed by its original publisher as a collection of “prayers for all of us today who are finding it harder and harder to pray,” this landmark book has influenced generations of Christians and seekers. This fortieth anniversary edition promises to celebrate its impact and make it available to further generations.

I will have to find my copy for this day to help me turn this glum from worry to prayer.

When I am feeling well prayer is easy.  I pray gratitude and happiness and joy.  When I am going from glum through worry to find prayer it is a little more difficult.  And when I am physically debilitated it is heavy like moving a blacksmith’s anvil.

The prayer today will be that God takes this ugly feeling away from me.  That my mind is cleared and my body is healed.  God I want to be available for my family and friends and need your help to do this job which I truly believe is what you want me to do in this life.  I ask God for your will not mine and rest in your loving arms as I await your peace.  I know it is coming as you promised us.  If we follow you we will know a peace that passes all understanding.  I am following you Jesus.  Amen

And there it is the peace for which I prayed.  It can be as simple as turning on a light switch if I clear the path for it to come.  It can be as difficult as climbing a mountain if I believe I am still in charge and keep taking back the worry.  I have to let go of all my own will and let God take charge to experience his peace.  This peace feels comforting like a hug.  It gives you tingles like the first step as you are getting into a warm shower.  This peace is calm like looking at a lake the first thing in the morning when it is undisturbed and looks like a mirror.  It is wonderful like holding your child for the first time in your arms.

I did not go to church today and am now resting in the arms of our loving Lord as he assures me that all will be well.  It was as simple as writing down what I was thinking and feeling to let go to go from glum through worry and prayer to peace.  God is good!




Yesterday on facebook I posted that the question of the day was, Does the future of this Republic depend on Mitt Romney’s tax returns?   There ensued for the day many comments to answer this question.  In the end I said that all day we had posted and not discussed one issue at length though many were mentioned.  The issue had been the tax returns and was that not a real distraction. 

My last post was to thank everyone for the interesting comments and participation and that I thought it was now time for ‘adult beverages’.  I offered that it was only 4:55PM and that by the time I had mixed the drink it would be 5PM so it was time to ‘hoist the yardarm’.  I went to my kitchen to do that then sat down and got lost in thoughts and a smile came across my face and another question – why can’t people live forever?

I was thinking of my dear friend Anna.  Oh she taught me so very much.  She lived a good life though not without hardship and sadness.  Her 82 years were just not long enough for me.  I would love to have had my kids really know her.  She was full of energy and vitality. 

I was in the same grade as her youngest son.  She had three children two boys and a girl.  Her husband was one of the owners of the company where my dad worked.  In a small town everyone is connected.  In my early years we lived on the same street with a number of other school friends families.  There actually could have been a group called the ‘Clark Point Gang’ if we had thought of it as we did get into some mischief.

This was where our relationship was for years – she the mother of a classmate and the boss’s wife.  Then tragically her daughter died.  Dorothy (Dorcey – I hope I am spelling that right) died in her teens.  She was the most beautiful girl and so nice to everyone.  I remember being at their home when she was struggling to live.  I believe she had cystic fibrosis and she would cough so hard those visiting her would hurt for her.  At about the same time my mother died.  And there it is, our relationship changed.

Not sure when it began.  My classmate, her youngest son, had juvenile arthritis and I would go over and play with him on a regular basis.  Never could beat him at Stadium Checkers.  In High School both boys went away to school so we only saw them in the summer.  I used to stop over to Anna’s anyway.

I remember one time she had a dinner and my dad and I and my sister were invited.  She had me come over earlier in the day to help with the prep and setting the table and told me of the right glasses to use for what drink and all sorts of table etiquette.  That was a fun night for me being with the grown-ups!   

She did the crossword daily having the crossword dictionary right on her kitchen table and I became interested.  The first day I did one on my own at home I raced over to show it to her. 

She had fun names for all sorts of thing.  The utility room was the uta-lity room.  I was not Kathleen I was Kackleen.  We laughed a bunch together.  No more so then when she was marrying for the second time and was acting like a silly school girl in preparation of the nuptials.

The summer of my senior year her husband died unexpectedly playing tennis.  Despite some troubled times when I tried to visit and she was not up to it we maintained our friendship.  Then when I was home in the summers and before I married we would play cards into the night many a night.  The game was called ‘Spite and Malice’.  She simply called it ‘Oh Shit!’

The year I married she hosted all my bridesmaids.  Homes were small and ours full.  She even hosted out of town guests at a dinner after the wedding was over.  I had no idea she was going to do that and was ever grateful.

Why did I think of this lovely lady, dear friend with the drink comment?  If I were there visiting around 5PM any night she would make funny panting sounds like a dog anxious for his food.  We would laugh hysterically as she waited for 5PM to have her drink.  As an adult I find that funny as of course we can do what we want when we want.  Nope it was 5PM!  I adhere to that as well today.  Have no idea why unless it goes to the convention of the cocktail hour.  She was a girl of her upbringing and she had a fairly exclusive childhood so knew all the proper ways.

The summer of 1998 I was visiting her as usual when I came home for the family visit.  She was very ill with emphysema.  She had her new husband go ‘get’ something for her.  She sat there still lovely despite her illness.  She told me she was not going to be here next summer and wanted me to have something of hers.  Of course I was in tears and told her the only thing I wanted the next year was for her to be there to visit.  She insisted she would not be.  She handed me the loveliest tourmaline ring and matching bracelet that also had aquamarines in it.  She told me in a secretive voice that her first husband had gotten this from the rock shop in ‘the back room’ where all the good stones were sold.  I said thank you and begged her to be there the next summer and we parted.  My heart was very heavy.  I wrote her a long thank you note and ended it with see you next summer and that helped some.

The summer of 1999 I knocked on her door and said prayer works and I told you so and how are you!!!  We visited while she was in bed this time.  She passed away Feb of 2000.

In her obituary it said:

Anna was well-known for her quick wit and good humor in the face of adversity. This attitude carried over to the golf course and tennis courts….. Always the competitor, she was the first to laugh at her own mistakes while supporting others in theirs.

I am glad others agreed with me.  The one thing that was left out was the fact that she was a great great friend and mentor!  I am grateful I am still in touch with her sons.

As I am writing this it seems to me that if we keep others in our hearts that they never do truly die.  So perhaps we do live forever.  Anna sure is with me in all the other memories we shared!




Dear Sir:

I have to strongly disagree with Sen. Tom Carper’s letter of 8-16 and his view on the Affordable Care Act’s ability to strengthen Medicare.  Obamacare robs Medicare of $700B plus according to the CBO.  President Obama himself said a November 2009 interview (can be found on youtube.com) that he was in fact taking $500B out.  Sen. Carper’s assessment I believe is making a few assumptions.

In his fourth paragraph he says that the law reduces overpayments to private insurance companies.  How is a law going to do this?  A private insurance agency can charge what it wants.  If Medicare continually pays less the private insurance company will stop dealing with Medicare.  The next line in the same paragraph is that he says that the law encourages hospitals and doctors to increase efficiency.  How is a law going to do this? If a hospital or doctor receives more and more regulations from Medicare they too will stop taking Medicare patients or simply shut down.  The common wisdom at this time from many in the medical community is that doctors will stop practicing. 

He also said the law encourages hospitals and doctors to reduce infections and lower the number of times patients are readmitted.  I am certain all hospitals and doctors are doing their very best right now to reduce infections and lower readmissions. How is a law going to do this?  How do you measure encouragement?  It does not translate to dollars and cents. The Act does not strengthen Medicare it robs it.

I find it important to also comment on Sen. Carper’s referencing Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan. This plan is no longer in discussion except as a Democrat talking point.  It is important to remember it is Mitt Romney running on the top of the Republican ticket for the Office of President.  Paul Ryan himself has said the same. 

I suggest interested people go to Mr. Romney’s website mittromney.com.  There you can read his plan for fixing Medicare.  He will do nothing to the program right now.  The seniors, people 55 and older, now will see no change in their plan.  He is in favor of a newer bi-partisan plan that was put forth by Congressman Paul Ryan AND democratic Senator Ron Wyden.  The following is taken right from the mittromney.com site.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mitt’s Plan

What are the immediate effects of this plan?
This plan has no effect on current seniors or those nearing retirement. It will go into effect for younger Americans when they reach retirement in the future.

How is this different from the Ryan Plan?
Shortly after Mitt presented the proposal described here, Congressman Paul Ryan and Senator Ron Wyden introduced a bipartisan proposal that almost precisely mirrors Mitt’s ideas. Unsurprisingly, the Obama administration immediately rejected the proposal. Mitt has applauded the Ryan-Wyden effort and looks forward to working as president with leaders from both sides of the aisle to implement meaningful reforms that will preserve Medicare for future generations.

What I gathered from reading on the site is that Mr. Romney wants to work with the congress to fix the Medicare system with a bi-partisan plan.  He wants to wait and actually talk to the Representatives and Senators and come up with a plan after he takes office.  

The fact is that the plan has to be fixed or it is going to go broke.  Younger people are going to have to understand that their Medicare will be different than it is today in order for them to have it.  This change can be seen as the similar to the changes made to social security such that full payments now do not happen until age 66 instead of age 65.   This change was made many years ago to affect people turning 66 now.

While I respect Sen. Carper’s office I think he should read all there is to read about Obamacare when he wants to share information with his constituents.  If the President says he has taken $500B out of Medicare and the CBO now says it is $700B plus then I am thinking it might be correct information?  Then again I hold no office at all.


I had to submit a shorter version as the limit is 250 words – we will see if it is printed.  To read Sen. Carper’s letter you can go to delawareonline.com.  The shorter version of my submission is the PS.



Dear Sir:

I strongly disagree with Sen. Carper’s view on the Affordable Healthcare Acts ability to strengthen Medicare.  The Affordable Care Act robs Medicare of $700B plus according to the CBO.  President Obama, himself said in a November 2009 interview (available on youtube.com) that he was in fact taking $500B out of Medicare.  

In drawing a line to point to Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan, it is also important to remember it is Mitt Romney running for the Office of President.  Paul Ryan’s Plan is not what is on the table.  If you go to Mr. Romney’s website mittromney.com you can read his plan for fixing Medicare.  He will do nothing to the program and seniors now will see no change in their plan.  He is in favor of a newer bi-partisan plan that was put forth by Congressman Paul Ryan AND democratic Senator Ron Wyden.  What I gathered from reading on the site is that Mr. Romney wants to work with the congress to fix the Medicare system with a bi-partisan plan to be announced once he takes office.

While I respect Sen. Carper’s position I think he should read all the information to share with his constituents.  If the President says he has taken $500B out of Medicare, the CBO now says it is $700B plus then I am thinking it might be correct information?  Then again I hold no office at all.




I read the scriptures most mornings.  These last few days they have been about faith and trust I believe referencing these words:  ‘unless you turn and become like children’ and ‘leaving the 99 to go for the one’.   Do I have the kind for faith that would allow me to go for the one leaving all else behind?  Or make one decision over all advice?  Do I approach life like a child with trust?   

This morning as I looked at Facebook our daughter’s post caught my eye.  She posted these words: ‘When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place.’  Faith and trust – this child has led us all in this in the last year.  It has been a lesson for me and could be for you after I share it.

Our daughter and her husband went to Texas with his job in 2005.  They left family and friends behind and ventured out so that they could be employed.  They bought a home and put the kids in school and searched for a church.  They ended up in a faith filled church home, Waxahachie Bible Church,  that fed their needs for Christian Community.  They took a class that got them out of debt and our daughter joined a bible study and the kids the youth groups.  This church is good for them.  They made good friends young and old.  This church prayed for them and with them.  They began to really walk in faith.

Let me make a point here.  I believe that God has a plan for all of us.  I believe that those of us who choose to acknowledge it try to live His plan for their lives.  We do this through prayer, scripture, faith and sometimes blind trust.  This makes no sense to others who do not share the same belief in faith.  Others call it fate or destiny or coincidence – I wrote about this earlier.  I choose to call it God’s Plan for my life.

Now, let’s go back to our daughter’s life as a witness in faith for this post.  They are in Texas and her husband changes jobs and then there is a better job and that goes bust then there is a job back home for him.  In the meantime after working in a few salons our daughter opens her own salon with three girls working for her.  After Thanksgiving last year everything fell apart.  The job her husband had fell through so he had to return to Texas with no benefits of any sort.  Two girls walked out of the salon to not come back.  Christmas was coming and they were really down.  Our daughter said that they would find a way as God would lead them through this.  I am not going through every excruciating detail.  In March our son-in-law got a job back in his home state.  Our daughter got more girls to work for her and sold her interest in the salon to them.  She graduated Texas A&M Commerce in May with a BS after putting herself through these last 4+ years.  They decided to move back to Missouri and put their house on the market. After 4 months it was not selling.

Throughout all of this her posts on Facebook were positive and upbeat and full of prayer and wondering when His time would come around and trusting that it would.  When it did she would post she knew it would be His perfect time.  That time is now!

After not selling their home and not being allowed to get out of the contract and not finding any jobs for them in Texas they were stuck.  They had to sell their house in order to have the funds available to move to reunite the family.  Dad is in Missouri and family in Texas visiting as often as they could afford to do so.   Then God began His work. 

A friend from church needed a place to live while their new home was being built.  The home they lived in sold quickly and they had to get out.  They needed a house for 6 months.  Would our daughter let them live in her house.  They looked over the whole situation and it worked.  The church friends would be allowed to live in the house for 6 months and they would help our daughter with the move to reunite her family and get her to Missouri. The church family wanted to know if they could make the house their home and do some painting.  Our grandson’s room is Spiderman red and blue – bright.  No problem.

The realtor kindly finally took the listing off the MLS and picked up her sign.  When the house goes back on the market it will have fresh paint it seems. 

God was not done.  Another church member came to visit with an envelope with $22 in it.  She said she had been directed to give it to our daughter.  She tried to refuse it and her church friend said she could not as God told her to bring it over.  Later that day our daughter had to get some meds and needed some money.  The bill for the meds was $22.

So they are moving and need a place quick and rental agencies take time.  They found a rental on Craig’s List and our son-in-law said it was perfect.  The man had just listed it.  He was moving in with his girlfriend and wanted his house rented to a nice family and pets were okay.  They could move in as soon as they get there.  Our daughter called an old friend to see about working in a salon again while she looked for a job and had a job by the time she was off the phone.  As I type this our son-in-law is headed to Texas to reclaim his family and move them all back together.  They hope to be in their new home on Saturday.  All this has happened since our daughter came and picked the kids up from Grandcamp and got home on August 6th.  God works wonders.

Our youngest child led us all this year.  We struggled to not interfere and offer to help at the same time waiting for the call to ask us to help them move.  Neither happened.  She held out for the one thing over what all (the 99) were telling her.  She trusted beyond belief that God would lead her to where He wanted them to be.   Who am I to question why her house did not sell?  Would that family have found as nice a place to live for 6 months?  Would they have found any?  Would the fireman in Missouri have found as good a tenant as our daughter’s family will be?  Would a job have been available later?  Keep on calling it fate or destiny or karma if you choose.  Not me.  Lesson learned. 

Thank you Jesus!




Well here we go again.  It is time for we voters to sort the wheat from the chaf.  We have to listen to the ‘noise’ of the Presidential campaign and sort out what is true or what is untrue.  After listening to yesterday’s news shows I am even adamant that I want to be part of the truth telling.  I am hoping that I can contribute to this with my blogs if I write one on politics.  While I am a registered Republican I will not shrink from calling them to task either.

Today is the first.  I watched the head of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman-Schultz sit on the Fox News Sunday talk show and deny knowing anything about an ad put out by the Priorities USA Super PAC.  After being shown the clip of the ad she said, “I have no idea the political affiliation of folks who are associated with that Super PAC.” 


The head of Priorities USA is Bill Bolton who was a deputy press secretary to President Obama.  She looked quite uncomfortable when John Roberts, the guest commentator, called her on it.  As a Senator and head of the DNC I am sure she knew about this.  If not perhaps they need to look for another person to run the party. She ‘walked’ it back on Monday.

The ad is about a man who leads the viewer to believe that he lost his job and his wife died as he had no health insurance due to Bain Capital and Mitt Romney.

There are facts that surround this ad.  The steel plant was closed.  The man in question in the ad was offered a buy out not fired.  His wife had her own insurance and did not die until 6 years after he left the plant.

Wolf Blitzer interviewed Bill Bolton who is one of the people involved with Priorities USA four days before the interview the DNC chair gave on Sunday.  Perhaps she should have watched the news before her interview.  Blitzer’s is really a good interview and you can find it at:


In the end of it Wolf Blitzer does not agree with what he has heard and the last bit of dialogue is:

BLITZER:  So even though so many fact checkers says it is inaccurate, it’s not responsible, it’s misleading, you’re still going to go ahead and play it?

BURTON:  Well, Wolf, just like we just talked about, what we are – what this ad does is it tells a story of one guy and the impact that Mitt Romney had –

BLITZER:  It’s misleading to tell.

BURTON:  Well, this is your opinion.

Got to give Mr. Blitzer  kudos for a good interview and we need more just like this.  We need all interviewers to be as strong.

In a letter to the NY Times last week, on August 6th, Bruce Weinstein, author of “Ethical Intelligence” and “Is It Still Cheating if I Don’t Get Caught?”asks that politicians from here on out not try to distort what their opponent says.  He asks that they share their vision for America and to represent that vision accurately.  He also acknowledges that his may be seen as a naive request.  He believes that truth-telling must be the call.  We no longer have the ‘luxury of cynicism’.


In searching to find out who tells the truth most in politics it was interesting that each party believe they are the best.  I could not find a definitive poll.  I am certain it is caught in ebb and flow of varying degrees of half truths or white lies. 

The Tampa Bay Times politifact.com was most interesting.  The promo said, ‘PolitiFact.com is a project of the Tampa Bay Times to help you find the truth in Washington and the Obama presidency.’  This site has a truth-o-meter.  My favorite rating was a flame and the words, ‘pants on fire”.

There are also other websites like factcheck.org, snopes.com and then you can read whatever you choose and sort out if it is truth or not.  For me I rather hear the people speak the words themselves as I have said before.  In order to be an informed voter we must be informed with the REAL truth – not a biased source’s brand of truth.


August 13, 2012


The above date may or may not mean anything to you.  For me it is a wonderful day.  It is the anniversary of my maternal grandmother’s birth.  Kathleen Harriman came into the world in Bar Harbor, Maine. She had 4 sisters and one brother.  She married and had three children.  For the most of her life she worked in upscale ladies dress shops in Florida, Cape Cod and Bar Harbor.  She was a great saleslady and very attentive to her clients.  More she was a great grandmother and I am honored to carry her name.  She was not typical.  No rocking chair for Grammy.

She left her first husband in the 40’s.  That was an unheard of thing as I understand at the time.  She remarried.  She survived a fire that devastated most of the town and lost most of her belongings.  She moved where the job took her and her second husband.  They lived in an Airstream Trailer in Florida in the winter.  She was the first to speak about this – she smoked and didn’t inhale!  She carried a flask to card games with the ladies.  She had the best looking legs, my uncle used to say, of any old lady.  She was stylish to the day she died.  I do not believe I ever saw Grammy disheveled.   She rarely spoke up for herself or any issue to anyone and could tell an off-color joke like a bawdy sailor!  She rarely made waves.   

After she retired to Bar Harbor she and her siblings would have lunch together every Thursday.  The local paper did an article on them and called it “A Reunion Every Week” and included a group photo with the article.  Any of us who were in town on a Thursday would join them.  On occasion we took over multiple tables!

She wore rings that were costume and looked real and didn’t care which they were.  If she liked them she wore them. She had charm bracelets.  One of them had charms of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Her other bracelet had charms from her life and travels.  Together they made the loveliest tinkling noise.  It was hard to know what to do with them after she left us.  The grandmother’s bracelet was broken up and we each got our charms.  The other bracelet we put in a gold framed shadow box as we just could not cut it up.

One of the nicest things Grammy did for me was to support me in various ways. She rarely sent me a note when I was in college that did not have a $5 bill in it.  “Pin” money she called it.  One summer I lived with her – more shared her room – when she was living in her sister’s house.  We really got to know each other well then.  I would come home for lunch some days and would stop on the way and splurge on a cooked chicken and we would gorge ourselves on just that laughing at the decadence!!  One time when Grammy’s aunt was visiting and verbally tearing down my generation (the 60’s) I spoke up and back to her that we were not that bad.  After Aunt Ruth left, Grammy said, “I was very proud of how you stood up to her, Dear.”  We were always called ‘Dear’.  I was relieved to hear those words. They were wonderful as I was nervous I had overstepped.  Another summer she had my sister and I serve as her models for a fashion show held at a local hotel for the wealthy that summered in the area.  I got to wear a beaded top red cocktail dress.  It was really special and I love sparkle and beads to this day.

Two weeks before she died at age 86 in 1989 she was at our house for Easter dinner ‘dressed to the nines’!  She had on a black skirt and matching pink and black top and of course high heels.  She looked beautiful.  If you did not know it you would not see that she had cancer.  She usually had a drink and always told the person who was making it not to put in too much coke with the rum as it spoiled the taste.  On Easter she was having trouble tasting and did not want a drink though did answer my husband’s offer of a beer by saying that sounded great!  I think that was the first and last time I ever saw Grammy drink beer!  Two weeks later she was in the hospital.

Sunday April 16th at noon I called the hospital and my sister answered the phone.  I asked if I should get up there right now.  She said no rush.  I was scheduled to come up the next day which was the beginning of spring break for our kids.  The next morning we got the call that Grammy had passed away earlier that morning.  My aunt and I were on the road by ten.  Our families came up later.  As I said Grammy made no waves.  She knew we were all arriving for spring break so just like her she made it convenient for us to say good-bye and lose no school time for the kids.

She gave me the greatest gift before she died.  During that phone call we chatted and she sounded surprisingly good.  I said I was coming up the next day and I would see her then.  The greatest gift is love we are told.  I carry the gift of her last words to me in my heart now forever.

As I ended the phone call I said “I love you Grammy.”  She said “I love you too, Dear.” 




What is your favorite food?  Does it change from time to time?  How do you feel when you eat it?  Do you now like something that you previously would never have eaten?

I do not like New England Baked Beans.  I know it is weird being from Maine.  We had them every Sat. night for as long as I can remember.  I even make them for my own family.  I do eat most other kinds of beans though chili was not ever a favorite.  Not sure when it became a go to meal.  Meaning that it is easy and I usually have all the ingredients in the cupboard and freezer.  I just know I like chili red and white.

When I have company I like to have them not do too much work.  When last Friday started with pouring rain I did not want to go to the store for the planned chicken for dinner.  I decided to see what was in the freezer and sure enough there was hamburger.  My husband’s sister makes the BEST chili and here was a chance to watch and observe how it is done.  The clear thing I found watching the ‘chef’ at work was that she did not drain the beans of the juice in the can and she cooks it a lot longer than I do.  Lesson learned and plan on my chili being as good next time I make it alone.

Funny when you think of a rainy day it is soupy food.  The term comfort food came to mind.  We all have foods that just fit the bill of the day or the mood.  In the winter I want a hot long cooked beef stew with home made biscuits slathered with butter.  In the summer a juicy hamburger straight from the grill soothes the soul and keeps the house cool as it is cooked out of doors.  My aunt always had sliced cucumbers and I love cucumber sandwiches in summer!  What is your comfort food?  What soothes your soul?

I was thinking about this post as we headed for church this morning and that communion certainly is comfort food for our souls.  The fact is that for Christians the Last Supper had the words we all know – take and eat it all of you.  Christ was feeding us he wants us to have comfort in him.

The homily this morning could not have fit in more perfectly with my thoughts.  Monsignor was speaking about John 6:41-51 when Christ said ‘I am the bread of life come down from heaven’.  I am not a great theologian and yet I can draw a conclusion from the words that Monsignor shared with us from St. Augustine are ‘you become what you receive’.  The conclusion I draw from all of this and my own thoughts are that we need to be nourished by our comfort foods or our faith to become the best people we can be. 

Thinking there is some chili left for tonight’s meal.  The question I will now think on is: “Is it the food or the situation or the company that causes comfort?”  When we are at peace at our table with family and friends or the Lord’s table with our parish community do we not enjoy life just a little more?  Much to ponder….