This morning I had to go out for an appointment.  On my way back I saw a lady, on this drizzly day, carefully raking the small garden in front of her home.  I am betting it was no more than a foot or maybe 2 by 10 feet.  Her care reminded me of the care “Grampa Smith”, our neighbor in one of our homes gave to his @20 X 40 garden.  As I drove home and thought of these two examples of care, it fit right into my theme that has been running through my mind this last few days.

There is no one size fits all in anything.

The beginning this thought came when I was told to ‘stage’ my house for selling it.  We are downsizing some since there are only two of us living here.  I was offended by some of the advice I was being given.  Having bought and sold over 10 homes in the last couple of decades, I am not new at this buying/selling thing.  The current thought in real estate is to strip your house of any presence of you living there.  De-clutter, unclutter, stage the house – the words that are used to tell you to get out of your home before you sell it.

I hope you noticed the two words used.  The realtors are selling a house.  I am selling a home.  There has to be a happy medium here.

As I thought about the sale of this house – our home – it came to me there is no one size fits all for realtors and staging either.  I thought more about ONE SIZE FITS ALL.  Does It?  I do not think so!

I back this answer up with a couple of current facts – statistics if you will of another product.  If there was a one size fits all philosophy out there we would not have 50 different brands of toothpaste according to Wikipedia.  Two countries seem to be the major manufacturers.  Japan and the US currently have the market.   The Japanese even have a brand called ‘”Etiquette Toothpaste”.  I wonder what it is like.

A great story in the research was “Tom’s of Maine”.  I remember when this brand was started in 1970 and trying to break through to the market.  The Chappell’s, Tom and Kate, were big into natural ingredients and wanted that in their toothpaste.  They began the business with $5000.  They sold it for $100,000,000. to Colgate-Palmolive in 2006 retaining a 16% share.  Congrats to them!

Backing up even more with another product we all use – toilet paper.  I could not find the exact number of brands that are out there.  I did find there are 6 manufacturers and Good Housekeeping has tested 20.  Imagining there are more than 50 brands with worldwide usage.  I did find a website that calls itself “The Encyclopedia of Toilet Paper”.  (1) It claims to have the history of toilet paper from 50BC to the present day.  It has much else including the fun fact that 72% of people first start their roll with the paper coming OVER the roll.  A question that is ageless – right?  Now you have an answer.

If there were a one size fits all we would have only one brand of toothpaste, one brand of toilet paper, one brand of coffee and I could go on.  The fact is we do not.  We have choices.

The question then becomes,  as I return to the premise of this blog about real estate,  “Why would we all want to look at sterile homes devoid of all the warmth that a families existence has brought to the dwelling?”  I would answer that with: “Take them to a model house”.  This house will have no knicks or dings anywhere.  A home on the market has had life in it.

There are many different kind of real estate buyers.  I have purchased houses to live in myself and create a home and I have purchased houses for rental.  I still try to find good bones in a building and obviously want it to be structurally solid with utilities in good working order.  My choices for either depended upon their use.

Decor means nothing to me as I see beyond it to what I can place in the house.  Our most recent purchase was an empty house, painted in a color I do not like and can live with.  It is carpeted throughout the living area and has oak kitchen cabinets.  I have no problem envisioning hardwood floors throughout with a white kitchen.  Anything and everything can be changed if the structure suits you.

Supposedly it is easier to sell a furnished house then an empty one.  Thus builders will put furniture into their model houses to help the buyer see themselves in this building.  While most model houses are lovely they seldom reflect my eclectic way of decorating so I have to look beyond their tastes.

That is my point.  As long as the house is clean, picked up and neat then decor should not matter.  The photographer that came to take the pictures of our home told me that she made her father put away all his reminders of his many travels to sell his house.   I wondered how he enjoyed living in his home from then to sale with no reminders of the joy of his life.  Did it sell his house any quicker?

Since 1990 we have sold 6 homes and 3 rental houses.  The homes were in various stages of furnishings .  Some had furniture others did not. Some were on sale in slack real estate markets, other not.  The favorite was the TN home that sold in 20 days for full price while we were on a business trip in Paris.  We did not stage a thing nor put away personal items.  The home was tastefully decorated and had our familiars throughout it.  We decided if we sell another home we simply have to put it on the market and go to Paris.  Sadly this trip has not yet happened again.

We have friends who are selling their home as well. They were told by their realtor to go through it and make it impersonal, to start packing their belongings and paint the walls a neutral color.  They did all of it as the marketing agents said it would sell better and quicker.  They worked extremely hard.  There were many showings in the beginning.  Their house is on the market still while they are contemplating lowering the price.  I hope they do not as their house is worth the price though the marketing people are now telling them differently.  It is a lovely home and will sell.  They are being told their drawback is that the lot slopes back.  Really – they liked it and bought it!  Someone else will as well.  How is staging going to change the shape of a lot?

Here we are being told to start packing our own things as well.  There are those who might say I am a wee bit stubborn as I refuse to live in a house that is not a home.  I have given in some by taking down most of our family pictures that filled our bookshelves.  I have removed any clutter from our closets.  All the clothes are hung up not on the floor.  We are going through our storage and tossing so those areas will look neater.  We are going through the office and disposing of books.  We close up the roll top desk to hide the real clutter.  In the meantime I am still comfortable here at home as I was in all the homes that sold furnished – there were 5 I believe.  This house will sell when our buyer is ready to buy.

It is my job to keep our home clean.  It is the realtors job to sell the clean home.  They hopefully will be savvy enough not to bring someone here who wants a ranch – we are a 2 story.  Hopefully if a person wants a first floor master they will pass us by as we do not have one.  If they want a completely finished basement they must move to something else as we have a craft room, bathroom, a storage room and a workshop in our basement.  Just as I am keeping up my end hopefully realtors do their homework as well.  Tell me they do not like my deck or do not like our craft room.  Solid comments.   To hear that the decor got in the way says the people did not want this house at all or had no imagination thus decor is an easy excuse.

Blessedly our realtor is understanding and supportive of my position on staging.  She believes she can sell our home furnished or not.  Some of the realtors she had at her open house seemed to agree.  My favorite comment was “Lovely home – I have someone I want to bring by when they are in town.”

I leave you with another thought.  There is no one size fits all being the first.  I believe this with all of my being.  No one size in anything!

The second thought is that your perspective is your reality.  I believe our buyer is coming.  I believe they will be here in God’s time not mine.  Our prayer was that the first person who sees this house buys it.  That prayer was not answered.  Now we are praying the buyer comes soon.  They will in God’s time not ours.  It is our job to take care of this home until they arrive.

A sweet friend of mine who lives with MS said this today as she was headed for a treatment…..

“When you have an eternal perspective, and your eyes are on the prize, the little things that can bring you down don’t seem so bad.”  Wisdom from a 30 year old!  Thanks Jenni. Making this my perspective my reality – I am not in control!






In the early afternoon.

I received a letter from a friend of mine recently asking why I had not blogged on the most recent political situations.  Those that have read this blog for awhile know that I was very opinionated in 2012.  After that for that matter as the changes taking place in our government were not met with much enthusiasm by some.

Today I have chosen to answer this one terrific fan with a blog.

I did not blog the whole month of February.  This was not from not having anything to say.  It was from my own lack of organization and not keeping passwords in one place.  I had forgotten my password to this blog and could not get into it to post.  I have spent the better part of an hour now trying to figure out how to get back here.  I had to come a back way through my other blog that I set up specifically for political posts.  The lesson here Dear Readers is to have all your passwords be the same or to keep them all in a convenient place.

This brought back to mine a dear friend who passed away all too early.  I remember her daughter telling me that they went in to take care of her business and found a little piece of paper that had all her user names and coordinating passwords written down.  She said it was easy to get things completed with this one piece of paper.  You have to know that I have now my own ‘one piece of paper’ with all my passwords to gmail and yahoo and aol and comcast and our banks and credit cards all written down.  The banks are in a bit of a code so hoping whoever is left can figure them out.

The title above is a reference to our #1 grandson who used to run into our house with his arms open wide and say “Grandmama I found you!” complete with the big hug.  That feeling of joy and happiness was exactly what I felt when I got into my blog.  It was a coming home for which I was very grateful.

To answer my fan, I have not blogged about the political agenda as the last time I was cast out by too many friends and relatives.   I am getting too old and cannot afford to offend many other people if I still want to have friends.

To my fan – In addition, I believe I am going to have my say. When I do it will be on my other blog so people not of my political persuasion and not caring about what I think or hearing any opposing views to their own need not view it.   My other blog is

I am now off to lunch feeling very accomplished and satisfied with the toils of this mornings adventures and writing.  I leave a quote………”I’ll be back.”




As we were preparing to sit down for dinner two nights ago our guest started to fill our glasses and I said. “And ‘she’ poured” using her name.  All three in attendance shared the smile and laughter and memories of lost traditions.

Growing up in a small town we were lucky to have a weekly newspaper.  It was filled with all the news of our town and the other three towns on our island.  We had the sports news, the editorials, obituaries and of course each town had their own local columnist that weekly would report on the happenings of our community.

One would find news of relatives who were visiting.  There would be information about local elections.  We would read of our townsfolk going to visit their families elsewhere.  Social events were reported as well as school activities.  I had a short paragraph the year I earned my bicycle.  My mother thought it a great way to let the town people who bought my greeting cards know that I had indeed completed the task and had a new Royal English bicycle.

There, every now and then, would be the news of a social occasion with a note that “Mrs. Jones poured.”  As a kid I thought this very odd to be interested in who pour the liquid refreshments, normally tea or lemonade.  As I grew and began to be schooled in manners and etiquette I learned that it was a grand honor to pour.  We had a great many wealthy people from the cities that would come to our community in the summer and our news then would have more than its share of who poured what. To me it simply sounded like additional work!

Let me enlighten you that it is or was a great honor.  From the article I have referenced (1) you will read below and understand why it is or was important to note them as “pourers” as they are held in high esteem.

It is an honor to be asked to pour tea. The pourer is considered the guardian of the teapot, ‘which implies sterling social graces and profound trust.

I believe much has been lost by the loss of these small practices.  It might not have really been important who pour your cup of tea.  What may have been important was that people cared enough to live with manners and exhibited them regularly.  Perhaps some of this should be passed on in school cafeterias?  It might bleed over into our world and make it a nicer place?

I have to come to and accept that times have changed.  In many ways I have too.  While change is difficult for me and not necessarily good, times changing can be a positive thing and I must accentuate that – ever a goal of mine to live in a positive manner.

Easy to do as I watched our friend, the “pourer” drive off this morning to complete her trek up the East Coast from Florida to Maine.  Alone.  Our aging beautiful friend is 70 and driving herself to visit her family.  A good change for the better I would think.  Unheard of years ago.  Women rarely went anywhere alone let alone drive alone.

I too drive alone all the time and think nothing of it.  I know women in their 70s when I was young would rarely have even contemplated taking off on their own, let alone drive on their own.  Interesting change in thought, society and probably more to the point health.  Change is our only constant I have come to believe.  We either rail against it or go along on our own paths taking the good and leaving the bad.

As I am writing this I am thinking that perhaps we owe some of this to the Feminist Movement though I believe the women of my age would have come to this on their own.  I think we were already dropping some of the norms of our parents group by more of us going off to college rather than stay in our home towns.  It is hard to make a judgment as the 60s spawned much change.

I begrudgingly accept the fact that while I am a feminist, only in that I believe I have a choice in all I do, I was not a marching bra-burner as my Dear Friend who just left to complete her drive today was. She worked outside the home I stayed in it.  She is a great housekeeper and I am a drop it as I want to kind of housekeeper.  I cook and mess up she cooks and cleans as she goes!

I laugh as we are so very different in actions and beliefs.  Yet we rarely stop talking when we are together!  We disagree on lots of things and still find each other’s company enjoyable.  Isn’t that the great stuff of which life is made?

I smile and will go about this day having enjoyed this visit.  We both return to our lives after a brief memory that friendships are what really is important.  Our friendship was born when our boys began kindergarten and a group of mother’s decided we needed to have a ‘coffee group’ which we did every Wednesday for many years.  The fact that our particular friendship has lasted this long I am certain surprises most of the other moms as the two of us would sometimes be at opposite sides of an issue and screaming at each other.  The further fact is that it has and I am glad!

Despite marital changes, logistical changes, philosophical changes we are still friends and I think this small nicety makes my world happier and it will bleed over into my day and month and year.

Friendships make the world a better place to be.  Peg poured!






I awoke this morning at 5:33AM after a full night’s sleep.  Last I knew it was 11:30PM.  I did not wake in the night.  This may be normal to others – for me not so much!  I awoke with my mind racing from thought to thought.  I tried to calm my brain and relax.  I lay there for the next hour plus meditating thinking reviewing and planning.  It was quite simply unusual that I slept let alone woke with energy of sorts.  Is this how 2014 is going to end?  Unusually?  That will be interesting if nothing else.

Tonight we are going to Raclette for dinner again.  A tradition started last year when my sister gave us the grill for Christmas.  Our guests all enjoyed it and we had such fun.  Three of them were 13 and under and up for anything!  Tonight after raclette we will finish our game of Monopoly and then watch a movie which has yet to be selected.  A quiet evening so not sure what the unusual will be.

Wait a minute – perhaps I will be winning the lottery.  Yesterday playing scrabble with friends on facebook I got three Bingos.  A Bingo in scrabble is when you use all seven of your letters as one word.  I am not the greatest scrabble player and am still on the learning curve.  For me to get one Bingo is unusual.  Three in one day is outrageous.  With that in mind I am going to buy a lottery ticket today!  Maybe a powerball as well.  I am going to encourage my boyfriend to do the same.  His luck has been outrageous too.

For Christmas the grandson in residence this year asked for a Pokemon Monopoly Game.  Of course Grandmama got it though did not opt for the one that was for sale for $149.  Seriously that game sold for $149.  Have no idea what was in it.  We got a lesser priced version.

This game is the same as the original with the exception that the properties have Pokemon related names and the pieces as well are shaped like Pokemon players.  I am currently using Pikachu.  Whoever or whatever  that really is in the game I have no idea.   I normally play as the thimble so the shape is different.  My two favorite spots of Baltic and Mediterranean are now Geodude and Onyx.   Perhaps you know these better than I.  To me they are still Baltic and Mediterranean with brown bands and different names.

I have loved playing Monopoly all my life.  My BFFs and I would play it for hours even if there were only 2 of us.  We used a house rule that any fees or taxes would go into Free Parking and if you land on it you get those funds as a windfall.  Well it seems our kids have stepped this up and the bank ponies up a $500 bill to fund Free Parking each time it is taken.  One could easily make a political comment about the funding of our Nanny state here yet I will refrain for any lengthy diatribes.  I complain about this funding each time we start and play anyway as I said I love to play Monopoly and board games in general actually.

Our first game playing this new version we were 4 around the table.  The Free Parking was funded and off we went.  Free Parking was taken in that game approximately 10 times.  We lost count though all agree it was 9 or 10.  Of those ten times, my boyfriend got it 7 at least.  It was bizarre.  He won the game.  Something he has rarely done.  Even when we played alone together I usually won.

Last night we began game #2.  Free Parking was funded and off we went yet again.  My boyfriend took Free Parking 6 of the 7 times it was won.  Two of those time were consecutive.  Not ever in all my days playing this game have I seen such luck.  The game was put on hold for bedtime for the 10 yr old.  We will finish it tonight and it is anyone’s game actually even though the Free Parking Impresario has over $3000 from winning it so many times.   I suggested my boyfriend buy a lottery ticket also.

To finish up the year a few comments on older posts.  I was the Willow tree.  The contradiction here was that I, as scattered as a Willow tree, am a fanatic about a straight un-mangled tube of toothpaste.  I am not a squeezer.  My tube is straight and clean and the boyfriend mangles!

I also heard from many cat lovers that toilet paper in their households necessarily has to come up from the bottom.  If it comes out from over the top then it is a toy not a necessary bathroom item!  I bow to their wisdom.

Thus ends 2014 and many will say what a year it was.  I make no judgments about that.  I will look back on occasion to this year with smiles and tears.  I will look forward to 2015 with angst and hope for what is to come.

As I was lying in bed this morning in a meditative state of sorts I thought I am thankful for the smiles and tears, the joy and sorrow and look forward ever to what comes tomorrow.

…………as you sing your “Auld Ang Syne” remember it is about  friendship and health and good will and that  I have already wished that for/to you and yours this day…..may 2015 bring you your heart’s desires.  It is promised to us in the book I read in Psalm 37:4.




Funny little four letter word.   As a noun it denotes a mark or stain, flaw, blemish on your person or character or reputation.   As an action it can denote recognition or in the case of sports to stand-by.  We can add the word to and you have to blemish, to sully, to locate to name a few actions.  As an idiom we often say “that hits the spot”.

How many of you have called “I get shot-gun” to claim your spot in a car?  If you watch the comedy, “The Big Bang Theory”, you know a character Sheldon has “his spot”. A spot can be euphoric as from Zelda Fitzgerald when in the movie “Zelda” she told F. Scott that she liked the “spot” where his shoulder cupped her head as she lay in his arms.  She referred to it as “my spot”.  The scene was probably taken from the actual quote:

“My dear, I think of you always and at night I build myself a warm nest of things I remember and float in your sweetness till morning.” ― Zelda Fitzgerald

Inanimate objects can have spots as well.  I often tell people when I move that I do not rush to place furniture as I wait for each piece to find its favorite spot.  While a bit eccentric of me, of course, it works.  The furniture which used to walk all the time years ago now seems to be very happy where it sits unless holidays or other seasonal occasions disrupt it – i.e. a better vantage at a breeze.

Plants are the same.  They require a wee bit more attention and yet they often find places that they thrive and grow the best.  For me that is pure happenstance.  I have no green thumb.  If you remember I wrote a  blog about watering my plants only when the peace lily is wilting or on Water Wednesdays whichever came first.

DCF 1.0A few years back my sister gave me three shoots of a plant.  I had admired it in her house and wanted a plant like it with slim plain green leaves that was NOT a spider plant.  IMG_0378I have no idea what it is and did not know it flowered. Though I think she said hers did which surprised her as well.  For the longest time this plant was three long leaves in the plastic cup in which she gave it until I finally transplanted it.  Now there are multiple leaves and most recently a flower  of sorts.  IMG_0379This plant has found its spot for sure. I found out the name as well.  My sister said it is called “Queen’s Tear” and there will be more to the flower.  What fun to watch.


IMG_0381The same with my Christmas Cactus that I have not ever moved.  It is so happy it blooms at Easter sometimes and this year started it’s blooming at Thanksgiving.  May have to rename it to be a Holiday Plant as it is all encompassing.

Do you have a special “spot”? I did.  I thought I would be anywhere but Maine as I escaped to go to school and get out of the stuffy town that was my home.  I have spent the rest of my life trying to get back.  Each place I have lived has been a special “spot” for me for the time I was there.  I was able to find joy and happiness every place I have lived.  I have remained opened to the possibilities of life creating “spots” as I needed.  There are multiple spots for me.

There is nothing like it for me when I drive north across the Kittery Bridge in Kittery, Maine.  It is less happy going south.  Crossing the Trenton Bridge onto Mount Desert Island brings peace.  Leaving another mindset.  Walking through the door at 141 Tremont brings a smile to my face each time I enter.  On occasion I have stopped and called the builder to thank him for believing in my dream when no one else did.  Sitting at our table filled with family is a favorite spot.    I am with Zelda in that my husband’s shoulders are a favored spot.

As I am finishing up these thoughts on this tiny four lettered word, it comes to me that perhaps the most needed “spot” of all is peace within our hearts.  If we have that then the world of special spots can be anywhere can it not?




This week has been fraught with prayer for people who are ill.

On Tuesday we got an email from out of the blue about  friend that we had last seen on April 27th.  Dick looked good and full of humor and working as always at our ministry we share with he and his wife.  The email on Tuesday the 6th said:

“We are humbly asking for your prayers for Dick, he will be having a triple bypass surgery tomorrow, May 7th at about noon.  This was unexpected, as he wasn’t having any chest pain but had been feeling tired and was out of breath some times.  The doctor sent him for a stress test and the test where they put dye in his veins, about a month ago and the results were inconclusive so yesterday he had a cardiac catheterization and they found 3 major blockages.  The doctor tells us his heart muscle is strong and has not been damaged so they feel very positive about the results.  He is currently in the hospital and will be until about 5 days after his surgery.  I know in the end it is up to the Lord and he will answer all our prayers.”

The surgery went well despite finding a fourth blockage.  Prayers for Dick for an easy recovery.

Another  friend of ours, who also works with us in ministry, flew to Tennessee to be with her sister as the sister’s husband is fighting to come back from an April 28th surgery to insert a heart pump as he awaits a heart transplant.  The poor man has had two additional surgeries as he had blood clots.  To date he is off the vent and this morning the post said:

“Morning update: he had a good night–breathing is good. Creatin level up this morning–watching that. Goal today is to sit up on mobile bed chair. I got a happy to see you, when prompted, this morning. They will probably give him blood this morning. Hasn’t needed bipap since yesterday–leaving it up to nurse–May need after getting him up. Baby steps in this dance.”

It has been almost two weeks.  Prayers for Charley that today is the beginning of the uphill direction.

This last post said “baby steps in this dance”.  I immediately knew what needed to be shared on this facebook post.  I went to google to find it for sharing.  I found it and many other interesting bits when I put in the words ‘Dance With God”.  I have the google link below.  I was surprised to see the author is unknown.  I printed this out years ago and it sits atop my desk where I can read it every day so I not ever forget who is in control.

Sometimes a blog writes itself as the words pour out of my head and or heart.  Today the post is shared as I believe these words are important.



Author unknown

When I meditated on the word GUIDANCE, I kept seeing “dance” at the end of the word.  I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing.  When two people try to lead, nothing feels right.  The movement doesn’t flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.  When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another.  It’s as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word GUIDANCE.

When I saw “G,” I thought of God, followed by “u” and “i.” “God, “u” and “i” dance.  God, you, and I dance. As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

My prayer for you today is that God’s blessings and mercies be upon you on this day and everyday. May you abide in God as God abides in you. Dance together with God, trusting God to lead and to guide you through each season of your life. This prayer is powerful and there is nothing attached. If God has done anything for you in your life, please share this message with someone else, for prayer is one of the best gifts we can receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards; so let’s continue to pray for one another.





Much was made of the current resident of the White House making a mistake when he tried to repeat the Aretha Franklin song after a concert earlier this month. (1) I am not so sure he did flub it as I thought he did say the ‘e’ before the ‘s’ and not going to argue the point nor is this a political post. I save those for the Corner Soapbox.

What this is about is kids and respect. I had the opportunity yesterday while visiting with my 97 year old aunt and her daughter, my cousin, to speak about some of my very little cousins. We were sharing how we have such wonderfully well-behaved little ones in our family. These particular children are full of respect and it is refreshing with what is happening in the world as a whole. Or perhaps to be more to the point what we see through the media of our world. I am convinced that most children in our world are respectful yet we see the worst on TV. Smart mouthed and disrespectful to all.

This topic brings me a bit further as I contemplate the issue of respect. I saw the following on facebook – posted by our own son. He is correct had he not shown respect to his elders he would STILL be grounded.

If I had spoken to my parents the way some children do now,

I wouldn’t be here to share this status.

Some children need to learn the meaning of respect.

Share this if you agree.

When does respect end? The answer of course is NEVER. We are to, according to the book I read, “Honor our Father and Mother” and “Love One Another” and “Do unto others as you would have done to you”.   Perhaps that last is the most important and what is being instilled into the well-behaved in our world. That was surely drummed into me. I was not to be mean to my friends as I did not want them to be mean to me.

I suppose you could look at that as self-centered yet I believe it is other-centered as you are putting goodness out into the world without a thought of the return. The general belief would be that if you put out good that the same would return. What if it doesn’t? For me I do not worry or care as I know I have done my part. I have sown seeds of kindness and will reap goodness. Those who sow seeds of bitterness or uncaring or thoughtlessness will also reap a harvest and I am thinking it might be a harvest of bitter fruit.

As I watched my cousin care for my aunt and I helped in getting her to the car as well, I am pleased and happy. These feelings come from a couple of places. One of course that my aunt is still here and going strong at 97. The second is grateful that I can be a part of her life in helping ever so minutely as well as enjoying her company.

Same for my parents. I am blessed that my dad is here at 92 and that my mother (the third one and blessed Dad chooses great women) is here too and I enjoy their company. They are quite independent and find it hard to accept help though we are all ready to do whatever they want. Being 12 hrs away and unable to make daily visits, like my brother and the two of my three sisters (one is also a couple hours away) who live on the island, I try to call at least once a week. I delight when I can show my love for them through some act of service to be of help in some way.

Most recently I introduced them to my new favorite of crock-pot meals. I brought up a small crock-pot for our cottage which turned out to be just the right size for them. Immediately it was decided we would trade and I got their bigger crock-pot for the cottage and they kept the smaller one. Great fun and a good trade all around it seems.

The delight for me is more than a simple trade of crock-pots. The joy was mine by being able to offer something to make life easier for them.  It made me happy.  I love and respect my parents so much that I believe that I am called as their child to remember them daily in some way or another.  That may be only in my prayers some days!  Along with calls and gifts at Christmas and birthdays (which of course are always sent ), I send the occasional ‘just because’ gift of a movie or a book. These things are done out of love and respect and leave me with feelings of happiness. Being other-centered and giving and doing for them leaves me very satisfied and maybe that is selfish! There is perhaps also the hope that one day my children may love and respect me enough to show me the same kindnesses.

I think I was taught and shown RESPECT at an early age though my parents. I believe I am trying to live a life of respect and love through my choice to live an other-centered life. Why do I live this way? Perhaps the odd thing is that giving to others brings much back to me in happiness. So the question again is am I truly other-centered or in giving and loving the happiness I receive am I being self-centered? Food for thought!!!

So how about you – a question of the day – do you put others before yourself or put yourself first? Realizing of course that there are times, as the airlines tell us when we fly that we need to hook ourselves up first to oxygen, when we have to go first. As a general rule do you enjoy doing for others? Do you care for babies, teens or parents? Other-centered? Self-centered? Questions of the ages. I think I have written about this more than once as well!!! Still pondering it seems…………….




I had hoped to post more this month and hope and action simply did not meet – at least for blogging.  I managed to get my Christmas shopping done.  The packages got mailed and our sock project was once again completed this year.  Look at it – three things.  It hit me late last night as I was preparing the third of a real surprise for this Christmas how many things come in threes.

The surprise that arrived last night and completed three surprises for the season cannot be discussed until tomorrow as it is being handled as a gift.  It was the kindest most generous gift and the best thing is the giver has no idea what a gift he gave.  The other two surprises were ornaments.  They are doing double duty as they are combined with a third ornament I had no idea I would receive.  Again the story of three.

The first of the three ornaments arrived and brought me to tears.  It was in a small package and wrapped in a plain brown paper bag folded.  The outside said to share with another sibling next year.  I had no idea what was in it and since it was not sealed I believed the intent was that I open it right away.  I did.  All of a sudden tears welled up and spilled out of my eyes.  I could not believe what was in my hands.  It was a Rudolph ornament.  At this point the reader is saying -‘ yes, so what it is Christmas so what is the big deal?’ 

The ornament in my hands was over 50-60 years old.  It was THE Rudolph from my childhood tree.  I S__1540remembered the note to share it next year and thought what a wonderful thing my younger sister had started.  Tears rolled down my eyes as I shared the story of how the two of us would argue every Christmas as to whose turn it was to put Rudolph on the tree.   When I left home I bought a Rudolph for my own tree.  It never was as cute as this one.  Though our youngest grandson asked when told the story, “Where are his spots?” and left unimpressed.

This morning I was reminded in a conversation with the same sister that as children we did not buy new ornaments.  What were on the tree each year were carefully packed away.   I had not even thought of it until now really.  We rarely if ever got a new ornament for our tree as kids.  For our children I bought a new ornament every year and when they married I packed them up and gave them to them for their trees.  Interesting memory and the packing away carefully as a kid must be why I save boxes and rebox every ornament every year.  Painstaking yet I remember the glass ball that would break on occasion and how sad Mumma was at those times.

S__1540 (1)The second of the three ornaments was from our #2 daughter.  She remembered that we sing “Happy Birthday” every Christmas morning to baby Jesus and then put him in the manger and celebrate His birthday by opening our gifts.  The ornament is a Hallmark Cupcake that says ‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ on it and when you push the button it plays the song.  Tears again of course and joy.  When we had early Christmas on Saturday morning the grandson in residence put the baby in the manger as the cupcake played.  A real addition to our Christmas.

The third ornament was opened this morning.  In the same conversation with my sister she asked if I liked the ornament.  I said I did not know it was under the tree.  She told me the words ‘open before Dec 25th’ were on it.  So as we were chatting I went to the tree and retrieved it and opened it to find Linus beside Charlie Browns Christmas Tree.  When you push the button he speaks the piece that he does in the TV show.  S__9541

“And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

It is wonderful.

So the gift of three this Christmas – The Three Ornaments.  Christmas ornaments 2013The Three Wiseman.  The Father, SON and Holy Spirit and for us three beautiful Grandchildren who we will see over the course of this holiday season.  We are blessed.

As we celebrate the birth of our beloved Savior who brought hope and light to the world let us all share the hope and light and love in our hearts.  See Three again…..threes in your life?

May God Bless you Everyone.  From our home to yours, Merry Christmas 2013.

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…Christmas tree 2013






On Saturday I made my annual August trek north to one of my favorite places in the world, Head of the Harbor Cottage.  It was really an uneventful day though there was some traffic and a couple of accidents.  It seemed like more accidents than I have normally experienced.  I like traveling on Saturdays as there is less traffic.  I also like that I was going north when many were coming south to get to the beaches for the weekly turn-overs. By the time I got too far north for those last week of summer vacation fans it was well after the 3-4 o’clock check-in for rentals that traffic was almost non-existent.

The thing about traveling on a Saturday is that talk radio is full of repeats.  I am lucky enough to have Sirius satellite radio so I can get a better selection of radio than normal.  Still the news was old and I am becoming very jaded about it anyway.  No one does anything except talk and threaten.  It gets old and tired.  Thinking that might be the case I was proactive and ordered some CDs to play on the way.

Oh no not music my friends – I can get that on the radio.  These were specific and anticipated.  I ordered myself two recent Garrison Keillor CDs.  One was ‘My Little Town’ and the other simply entitled ‘Stories’. I knew I was in for at least 6 hrs of entertainment.  I listened to some news and music for the first part of the trip to catch up and pay attention as I varied my route.  Once I was on the familiar road I put the first CD ‘My Little Town” into the player.

I was off and back in a place I wish I could actually visit.  I was in Lake Wobegon, where ‘the men are strong, the women good-looking and the children above average’.  I so want to visit this place as it reminds me of my own hometown.  Perhaps that is why I like them so much as I can interchange his names with those of my own memories and the poignant or humorous story remains the same.  Only the names have changed.

I wend my way driving yet I am off in another part of the country in my mind.  I smile at the sweetness of one CD track and I laugh right out loud at others.   There was one point when I wondered if I should not pull over as I was laughing so hard.  It was then that it occurred to me that other drivers might wonder what is going on in my vehicle.  Here was a mature – face it – old woman driving an old white wagon laughing hysterically even slapping the wheel.  Is she nuts?  Is she on some sort of medication? Is she on a hands free phone?  I didn’t really care.  The enjoyment of the words floating from the dashboard had me caught in a little town in the Midwest.

I absolutely love Garrison Keillor.  My husband has no worries as this man is happily married as am I.  I love Keillor as a performer.  I have seen him on TV and he is still as good as on a CD alone.  I love the tenor of his voice.  I love the intonation of the words.  I love the pictures he draws in my mind from his descriptions of Lake Wobegon and the people.  I am in awe of his talent and prolific imagination.

He takes trials and turns them into triumphs.  This annual August trip is the fifth of its kind.  This trip is to go out to dinner at the Bar Harbor Inn with my girlfriend.  Seems silly to drive all day to spend a week to go out for a dinner one night over-looking the water.  I cannot imagine not being here for this celebration.

We go out to dinner every August 28th – two of us at a table set for three.  We order three drinks, one a single malt placed in front of the empty place setting, and we toast the birthday girl that left us suddenly in January 2009.  When people have been friends since they were born it seems the least we could do to honor her life.  I wonder how Garrison Keillor would tell our story?  I know that it would end with the men being strong, the women good-looking and he children above average.  I could use all of those words to describe our friend.  She was strong, good-looking and above average.  Rest in Peace Shirley, you are missed and remembered with love.




RIP Lee Hodges or better known to his friends as “Fuzzy”.  The announcement on his facebook page read:

Just got very bad news my uncle Lee Hodges died this morning in an accident. He was a very special man and will be missed terribly. I love you uncle fuzzy R.I.P.

This is not the first obituary I have seen on facebook.  It seems to be the new hometown newspaper.

The paper said:

 57-year-old killed in Parkville crash

July 5, 2013

A fatal crash claimed the life of a 57-year-old man in Parkville on Friday morning.

Just before 5 a.m. ET, emergency personnel responded to the area of Harford   Road and Knoll Acres Road.

Robert Lee Hodges Jr. had been traveling southbound on Harford   Road near Knoll Acres Road when he crossed the double yellow line.

His 2002 Ford F-150 crossed over the northbound travel lane, left the roadway and struck a tree.

Hodges was transported to Franklin   SquareHospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No other vehicles were involved in the accident.

The internet said:

Posted: Friday, July 5, 20135:26 pm | Updated: 5:40 pm, Fri Jul 5, 2013.

Bel Air man dies in Harford Road accident

A Bel Air man died early Friday after the vehicle he was driving on Harford Road left the road and struck a tree.

The Baltimore County Police Department said Robert Lee Hodges Jr., 57, of the 200 block of Timber Trail, Bel Air, was traveling southbound on Harford Road near Knoll Acres Road at 4:49 a.m. Friday when his vehicle crossed the double yellow centerline.

The 2002 Ford F-150 driven by Hodges crossed over the northbound travel lane, left the roadway, and struck a tree, police said.

Police and medic units responded to Harford   Road and Knoll Acres

Mr. Hodges was transported to MedStarFranklin SquareHospital, where he was pronounced deceased

I have not met Robert Lee Hodges.  In fact I did not even know his first name was Robert.  I met him on facebook from my friend Penny who knew David who knew Gary.  Gary and David knew Lee.  Lee asked me to be his friend.  I was honored to click yes.  Had hoped one day since some of us were in the same area that we might meet.

His posts were as eclectic as I am and I liked his patriotism and faith.  He was, from his posts, very conservative and loved the Lord.  He was engaged to a pretty lady as her picture was on his page as well.  He had 631 friends and the most varied musical interests.  One day it could be Flatt and Scruggs and another it could be the Stones though from his posts I have the sense that Led Zeppelin was a favorite. He was facebook’s own DJ sharing at least one or two songs a day.  He seemed to have a great sense of humor as well.

What more do we really need to know of a person?  They live they work they provide for themselves and their families and they live a good life.  I think that is quite a legacy to leave.  A life well lived today is nothing to sneeze about.  The other thing is that if you have touched someone in a special way I believe there is a good star on your chart in heaven.  From the condolence messages – over 20 to the original post and now well over 50 on Lee’s page I believe his gold star count is rising!

John Donne is one of my favorite poets.  He wrote the poem entitled “No Man Is an Island”.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

I did not know this man and yet my world has changed a bit today with this news.  He posted the Pledge of Allegiance every day and I liked that and felt a sense of pride as I would read it daily.  I shared his world and he mine so we were connected and I am diminished with this news.

The last post on Lee Hodges page said:

July 4, 1776, The middle of paragraph 2 of the Declaration of Independence reads:

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers and the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Well people…I think we are there now!!! God save US…

He then posted three songs one by ‘Pure Prairie’, one by ‘Poco’ and his last post was by the ‘Rolling Stones’.  Since there were no others I guess he went to bed and went to work.  On his drive I believe it was decided that it was time for him to meet the Lord.  I have a feeling both were overjoyed and smiles broke out in heaven leaving the tears on the floor of this earth!

I post this pledge to honor a man I do not know and a facebook friend I wish I had met.





Today I am in prayer all day long for a friend of mine.  I got a message a week or so ago from his wife that she was anxious to talk to me.  Give her a call as they are home for a couple of days.  This beautiful couple has been part of our hearts and family since 1997.  She was the first one to appear at our door as we moved into our home in Ballwin, Missouri.  She had a flower and a box of chocolates.  Friends for life for that alone.

They soon endeared themselves to us and hopefully we to them.  The message simply said she had wanted to talk.  I thought I cannot wait to chat it had been too long.  Then we had to go to Maine and to RochesterNY and to NazarethPA and clean and pack and unpack and I did not call.

I got an email from mutual friends yesterday saying that the husband was going in for a heart cath today.  On Tuesday he is having a 5-6 hour open heart surgery to repair a badly damaged mitral valve.  It is elective at this point.  The doctors say he is in great health and this is a good time to do it before he gets any of the classic symptoms and it is a dire situation.  His wife is a nurse so he will have the best of care.  Who knew?  To see this man he is the picture of health.  He is thin, exercises by playing tennis regularly and is energy personified.  You never do know!

So today I am in prayer for them both.  I cannot imagine one without the other.  It would be like salt without pepper or a yin without a yang.  So I am praying for the surgeons, the nurses, the staff to be guided in their skills by the loving hand of God that this procedure and subsequent surgery will be textbook – smooth and correct!

For me I am going to try to find their cell number to send a text.  I will not waste time nor energy in remorse for not calling.  I failed again and wallowing in it does no good.  Prayer is better!  Please Lord let out dear our St. Louis Don Quixote be soon be back to health to joust at more windmills with his beautiful Dulcinea!!!

Lesson learned AGAIN to not put off………….




The title is the catch phrase for Rachel Ray.  She whips up these yummy dishes and then tells us that this could be ‘what’s for dinner tonight’.  These food filled dishes sit there on her counter looking lovely as they are presented with all the flare of the professional which she is of course.DCF 1.0

We are having guests for dinner tonight and I have no idea what I am going to serve.  Several choices have been running through my mind and none of them have stopped and taken root.  Well except the dessert.  That is all decided.  I saw a strawberry recipe in the newspaper yesterday and it seems so simple and will hit the spot.  I even have special dishes that my sister gave me years ago in which to serve it.  So today I am working backwards it appears.

Usually I can plan a dinner with no problem.  I know what I am going to serve buy the appropriate groceries and go from there.  This is a dinner redo as it were.  Last week we were going to get together with these same friends.  I ended up waking up bent over with an attack of sciatica and could not move let alone make a meal for others.  I had to email a sorry to them only to discover they made a ricotta pie to bring with them. I really was feeling even lower when I read that on the email.  Until I received the following email from them later.

‘We are taking the pie to a ME friend’s house tonight who is ill. We are also taking dinner for her, her husband and her mother-in-law. I prepared it this morning and afternoon. We will eat with them as well. This misfortune of your back has brought great fortune upon our friend’s household. See you next week.’

My response to them is that I ‘love pay it forwards’.

Isn’t that the way though if you pay attention.  We make plans and God laughs and shows us HIS plan.  That same evening last Thursday turned out to be a night we needed to be alone as issues had to be dealt with and they were uncomfortable.  Had we not had the evening to deal with them the meal could have been full of tension.

Have you ever simply made a point to sit and review a situation that was changed only to discover the change was better than the plan?  I do it all the time and the only explanation I can come up with for it is that God had a better plan for me.

DCF 1.0All this still does not solve the problem of what I am going to serve before the strawberry dessert?  I guess I will go to the store and see what pops out at me for meat and go from there?  Life is such an adventure is it not.  Before I take off I will do one more thing to prepare for dinner!  I will get the puzzle off the dining room table.

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…(and the grocery store)






Two weeks left of this one year challenge to myself.  I am lining up topics and honing in on a direction for this blog.  Still not certain of the changes and do know that there IS a change coming.  Until then I am going to utilize my time this morning as a journal and sending well wishes to some special people.

It is coming around to graduation time again.  This week we ordered supper from The Great Wall Restaurant.  Their flyer says

“Szechuan, Hunan & Cantonese Cuisine

Chinese Food To Take Out & Eat In”

AN ASIDE:  A smile is crossing my face and a chuckle is in my throat. Those who know me and even some of you who have been reading for a long time may look at the previous two sentences and know I will make sense of it at some point.  Yet they are such totally different thoughts!!!

It really does make sense.  You see the owners of the restaurant live across the street from us.  When I call for take out she recognizes my name and says “157 right?”.  I get an extra hello and they always give us a discount.  Their food is so good I am uncomfortable taking the break.  The thing that eases it is I think they do it for all in our subdivision.  The other thing is I take them a large box of goodies, cookies, jams, breads, at Christmas.

I do not even know their names.  They rarely interact with us and are rarely out “playing” or working in the yard except to mow the lawn once a week.  Still we have seen the 2 boys grow up these last 7 years as they come and go from school.  When the food arrived this week it was being delivered by the oldest.  I asked where he was in school now and he said a senior with two more days to go!!!  We chatted briefly about where he was going and the school he was now attending as he had on a shirt with the school logo.  So thus Chinese food and graduations do go together!!!

I got me to thinking about celebrations and remembering that today is my husband’s sister and her husband’s wedding anniversary.  I think it is their 54th.  A few years back we all gathered in Florida for their 50th.  Every year is special for a married couple.  The longest married couple found this year in the US was over 80 years I think.  Anne and Tom have a real shot at that as they are very healthy and take good care of themselves!!  Hope they have a great day.  I remember their 40th well.  We were unable to attend that party as we were in Paris.  We toasted them on that day and will remember them tonight in our prayers.

Another anniversary is coming up next week.  It is the 11th anniversary of some of my dear ‘old’ friends.  I may have mentioned them earlier – certainly I did her as Liz’s birthday card was one of my first posts last June.  She and her husband, Dale, were both childhood friends of each other and me- and still are friends.  As kids they used to fight in school and NEVER dated nor wanted to do so!  As life happens paths are not straight and the winding road led them back to a dinner with another friend which led the two of them to talk and talk and talk and then the wedding invitation arrived.  Could have knocked me over with a feather!!!  Life is good and next weekend they will celebrate their anniversary.  They celebrate their love and lives every day they tell me as they awake thanking each other for their happiness.

No matter what you celebrate – be it a big day or simply the fun of going to get a grandchild for the weekend make it the best day ever!  You have a choice in that!!!




I had intended to write about one specific birthday today with additions of two others that I knew.  When I went to face book briefly I saw many other birthday wishes being offered to friends and children of friends and acquaintances of friends.  May evidently is a big birthday month.  Looking from that perhaps a conclusion could be made that September is a month for romance?  Shine on Harvest moon?

Today is my Aunt Pauline’s birthday.  She is my dad’s young sister.  She is 88.  She is one of the kindest women I know.  I do not think I have ever heard her say a bad word let alone speak ill of anyone.  She cares for her family and worries for them and others.

I often think about her as a young woman.  She is and was very pretty.  As quiet as she is now I am assuming she was very shy.  It intrigues me as to how she came to marry my uncle.  He was a gregarious fun loving and big in stature as well as nature.  They were an interesting couple.  He gave her the world almost literally as in their later years they traveled often in their RV in the US and other countries.

One of my favorite Aunt Pauline stories is about a car.  After my mother died she, and Dad’s other two sisters, helped out as often as they could.  One summer day my sister and I wanted to go swimming as did my two cousins.  Aunt Pauline pulled up in this huge blue Cadillac with fins as large as an airplane’s almost.  It was a new car and she said she told Uncle Archie that she would only drive it occasionally as it was too ostentatious.  As a kid I thought it was wonderful – it got us to the lake and that was all I cared about!!!

I think I can probably say without too much exaggeration that the best gift she received was on her 46th birthday when her only son and his wife gave her her first grandchild!  I mean really how do you top that?

That grandchild, Matthew, was the first in the line of second cousins.  Matt’s dad is the LE2 I spoke of a couple of days ago.  His wife Janet, my sister Paula (named for Aunt Pauline) and I were all pregnant at the same time.  Matt came first in May.  Our son came next in June and my niece was born in July.  I have some really cute pictures of the three of them when we would get together.  We lived away from the other two so this only happened occasionally for us.  The other two cousins grew up together.  So Happy Birthday to Matt as well.

The last birthday is Miss Joanna.  She is the daughter of one of my BFFs.  Unfortunately my best friend died suddenly a few years ago.  I know I have spoken about her previously as we honor her every year on her birthday with a toast!

After she passed away Joanna and I remained in touch through emails occasionally.  This led to a continual contact so much so that when I was in Maine last month I invited her and her crew down for a Sunday dinner with birthday cake as they ALL have birthdays in May.  Happy Birthday today Joanna, and on the 13th to Drew and the 15th to Maia!!! I already wished Trish a Happy birthday on May 7th!!!

I joke that Maia is 2 months to the day younger than our grandson Beau born on March 15th and I think we ought to simply betroth them and keep the family connection going forward!

May the birthday month.  What a wonderful way to celebrate life!  I celebrate these wonderful people today!  We could also celebrate John Wilkes Booth (?), Donovan, Pat Summerall, Rick Santorum and Bono who were also born this day!!!

I love birthdays and am grateful for every one I get.




I have been watching the news like the rest of the world has this past week.  I did make a point not to let myself get inundated with it.  By that I simply mean I turned it off occasionally.  In the 24 hr news cycle of the day we can become very jaded by watching news all the time.

I saw the horror as the reporters were on scene first thing on Monday.  I could not believe my eyes.  I lived in Boston and know much of that area.  I enjoyed walking and shopping there.  Note not necessarily buying.  I was a lowly secretary and barely made rent and food.

Boston is a fun town and very diverse.  When I lived there in 1968 I had two girls across the way one from India and one from Panama.  The guys upstairs were from Iran.  I did not know much of their culture and now understand why they rarely spoke to me other than the occasional hello.  The guy downstairs was from Illinois.  My two roommates were from Massachusetts.  I did not give terror or fear a thought.  I was naive and friendly and believed everyone else would be the same.  We lived in a secure building key to get in the door and key to get in the apartment.

It appears from what I have heard that these two boys were similar.  No large warning signs that they could commit such a heinous act.  Makes me wonder has the world gone mad?

This past weekend I was with a group of very dear people as my husband and I worked further with the ministry we have given 25 years to foster in this world.  On Friday evenings we enjoy a social time.  The conversation was centered at the time around, “Did they get him?”  The second bomber was supposedly cornered in Watertown, MA.  His brother was dead.  We were all discussing the current events.

I heard this one sweet lady say, “I prayed for him.”  I stopped in my tracks.  I thought about what she said.  I went to her and said, “How kind of you to do that I am not sure I could.”  She replied that despite what he had done he was someone’s child.  He had a mother and a father.  What she did and what she said has stayed with me all weekend and I am certain will for a few days to come.  I thought this friend was pretty special and now I am thinking Sainthood!!!

I am not so certain I could have those feelings immediately yet are we not called to do that in the Christian faith?  Turn the other cheek?  Pray for those who persecute you?  When one of our kids does something what is the first thing we say?  You are grounded? Go to your room?  Maybe there is a better way?

I am certain the mother of these two young men is disappointed maybe even horrified by what they have done.  Not sure of this, yet being a Christian mother I would be.  Our children can disappoint us.  Our children can often make mistakes.  They make poor choices – certainly not on this level – still poor choices.  Can we forgive and move on?  Perhaps this is the toughest part of being a parent isn’t it?  There also have to be consequences for some thing of course I understand that.  Yet don’t some parents throw the baby out with the bath water to use a phrase?

In the end I think I will try to emulate my friend.  I can see the mistake and am called to pray for those who have done wrong.  Even the simplest wrong doing by even our own perfect children.  It occurs to me as I sum up that this may be the difference of a parent and a grandparent.  If a parent used the grandparents lens to look at things, the children might be reprimanded though not quite so harshly while yet still learning right from wrong?  Maybe that would be a good thing???




Keeping the French flavor from this week.  Du Jour meaning today!  Today Time is on my mind.  Tonight we ‘spring forward’ as we move the clocks ahead an hour and lose an hours sleep.  Oh Joy!!!  I cannot find enough sleep now I am going to have to toss away one hour!

When I was a kid this was a favorite time as we could stay our and play longer in the evenings.  As I grew it became less and less important and then changing the clocks to fall backward to a snugger darker dinner hour became my favorite day.  I wrote about that last fall.  Tonight or early this morning rather we spring forward to more daylight time.  I had to look up the reasons for this inane practice.  Wikipedia seemed informational enough for my purpose today.

Daylight saving time (DST)—also summer time in several countries[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] in British English, and European official terminology (see Terminology)—is the practice of advancing clocks so that evenings have more daylight and mornings have less. Typically clocks are adjusted forward one hour near the start of spring and are adjusted backward in autumn.[8]

The modern idea of daylight saving was first proposed in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson [9] and it was first implemented during the First World War. Many countries have used it at various times since then. Although most of the United States used DST throughout the 1950s and 1960s, DST use expanded following the 1970s energy crisis and has generally remained in use in North America and Europe since that time.

The practice has been both praised and criticized.[8] Adding daylight to evenings benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours,[10] but can cause problems for evening entertainment and other occupations tied to the sun.[11][12] Although an early goal of DST was to reduce evening usage of incandescent lighting (formerly a primary use of electricity[13]), modern heating and cooling usage patterns differ greatly, and research about how DST currently affects energy use is limited or contradictory.[14]

DST clock shifts present other challenges. They complicate timekeeping, and can disrupt meetings, travel, billing, recordkeeping, medical devices, heavy equipment,[15] and sleep patterns.[16] Software can often adjust computer clocks automatically, but this can be limited and error-prone, particularly when DST protocols are changed.[17]

Arizona never did nor does move their clock.  Sometimes one of my BFFs is 2 hrs earlier others 3.  Very confusing.  We still manage to talk and her kindness to call when she perceives distress in my blogs in wonderful and usually timely.

The next thing that went through my mind speaking of time was the song “Time in a Bottle” by Jim Croce.  He had a short lived career.  He wrote the song “Time in a Bottle” in Dec 1970 after his wife told him she was pregnant with their first child.  The words tell the story.

Time In A Bottle

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day
Till Eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I’d save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with

According to the internet this appeared on his debut album “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” in 1972.  The song was never intended as a single until Croce’s untimely death in a plane crash in September of 1973.  The 7″ vinyl became his second and final #1 hit posthumously.

His son Adrian James “A.J.” Croce was born Sept 28, 1971. AJ grew up in California with his mother Ingrid.  At age 4 AJ was completely blinded by a brain tumor.  Between ages 4 and 10 his eyesight gradually came back in his left eye.  During this time he began to play the piano while listening to music.  He played his first “gig” a Bar Mitzvah at age 12.  By 16 he was playing in clubs in the San Diego area.  His house burned down when he was 15.  He forged on married and has two children.  He has his own recording label and 6 CDs the last being released in 2006.  He has been a front man for famous performers, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles to Earth Wind and Fire, Santana and Rod Stewart and on most if not all late night and early morning TV Shows.

This young man’s perseverance is a testimony to his mother I believe and his father’s legacy as well.  Father’s and sons, mothers and sons, mothers and daughter and fathers and daughters.  Interesting subject referencing time and how we are impacted by unforeseen events.  They can make us or break us.

TIME TIME TIME….special days as in spring forward. I noted earlier this year that there are days when we know exactly where we were and what we were doing at a specific time when unforeseen events occur.  Today is one of those for me.

As I grew this day became my cousin’s birthday.  Sam and Liz’s anniversary – I wish everyone could know this special wonderful couple.  It also is my friend Laura Clark’s birthday – another very special person.  I celebrate those days now as the joy of this day.

Yet no matter how old I become I never can forget where I was when Alice Tapley came to get me in my class on that Girl Scout Wednesday.  My world changed on this day many, many years ago.  I can only pray the ensuing years of my life have been a loving kind testimony to those who raised me from that devastating time.  If I could have time in a bottle……..





I have decided I am a sprinter rather than a runner. Of course the fact that I never put on sneakers to do either is completely irrelevant. In this case I really do not like sneakers as shoes. I’ll wear anything else just not sneakers.

Think of the name ‘sneakers’. Who wants to wear shoes that have a name like that? Sneaking connotes furtive, secretive, slink, skulk or thievery. These are comfortable shoes I understand. They lull you with comfort to do furtive things? I know silly! I simply do not like sneakers.

I see people running or jogging all over the place. They are in parks or roads or on treadmills. Did you ever see one of them smile as they were doing this? Who wants to do something that has you grimace or sullen the whole time you are participating in this activity?

I looked up runner in the online free dictionary and came up with all these meanings.

run•ner n.

1. Sports One who competes in a race. 2.a. Baseball One who runs the bases. b. Football One who carries the ball. 3. A fugitive. 4. One who carries messages or runs errands. 5. One who serves as an agent or collector, as for a bank or brokerage house. 6. One who solicits business, as for a hotel or store. 7.a. A smuggler: a narcotics runner. b. A vessel engaged in smuggling. 8. One who operates or manages something: the runner of a series of gambling operations. 9. A device in or on which something slides or moves, as: a. The blade of a skate. b. The supports on which a drawer slides. 10. A long narrow carpet. 11. A long narrow tablecloth. 12. A roller towel. 13. Metallurgy A channel along which molten metal is poured into a mold; a gate. 14. Botany a. A slender creeping stem that puts forth roots from nodes spaced at intervals along its length. b. A plant, such as the strawberry, having such a stem. c. A twining vine, such as the scarlet runner. 15. Any of several marine fishes of the family Carangidae, especially the blue runner (Caranx crysos), of temperate waters of the American Atlantic coast. Also called blue runner.

Look at all these meanings. Toss out the ones about sports, the ones about furniture and floors and you are left with some sly meanings. Bank Collectors, narcotics smuggler, gambling, creeping vines and channels that move molten metal? All pretty questionable ideas? Smuggling- Gambling – creeping – who wants to be a runner?

Again I note who wants to participate in any activity that does not let you smile?

Now look at sprinters. The definition of them is simple. Not lengthy like that of a runner. The definition of sprint is ‘a short run at full speed’. A sprinter does small things quick and fast.

AHAH! That is me! Blogging is writing a thought in short form. Well except when I go onto many tangents. Then I can become a creepy vine entwining myself with words though, on second thought, there is usually one thought involved so still sprinting. This analogy is getting tricky. Sprinting does have an element of running as of course you are actually doing that activity. The difference is there is a short distance to the goal instead of miles. Sprints are usually referred to as some numbered meter dash. Dash is quick and short so the form of running to complete this is a sprint. PHEW! There back to the original short spurts which I believe are truly me.

I like water color painting vs oils as they dry quickly and you have to get your color down and set before the drying. It takes thought and quickness and in about 1 +/- hr you have a picture. Sometimes I have taken my time or a couple of days, not months or years, if it is an intricate picture like the fall landscape I did for our son-in-law. I used little water treating the medium more like water based acrylic paints than the sheer water color. Oh I’ll never be a master. I like to play with paints like any little kid!

When I take on a project I make a plan, carry it out.  I am all in and full of passion until it is done. Unless of course it is a lengthy needlework project like a quilt or embroidery piece. I lose focus and have to be reignited to do another sprint. Multiple sprints and the project is complete.

Like housework – oh so boring and my chosen field. I can only do it well if I look at it as a series of sprints. One room this day another the next. The laundry piles up and I get it done a sprint at a time. The trick is to not let it linger in the house or on my mind. Here I can fail and I can then feel pangs of guilt. Realizing that I am a sprinter is allowing me to let go of some angst. To know myself and to be able to divide things into pieces lets me sprint to the finish.

That is really me in a nut shell. I am a Jill of all trades master of none. This knowledge allows me to try many things and not have to worry about being successful at any. This way I have lots of fun and variety. Is not variety the ‘spice of life’? My life is thus pretty tasty!!!

The only place I can think of where this does not apply to me is in love. In this area I am an iron man. If I love you or call you friend I am there for life whether you like it or not!!!




My morning took a curve after I read my facebook wall.  I usually do not do that first thing and today I did.  Perhaps the Blog Gods did not like my intended subject.

As I was cruising down my wall I stopped to watch a clip of a father/daughter dance at a wedding of a young girl whose father had passed away before the wedding.  Her brother created a nice gift for her dance.  I cried.

I passed by the political items and the cartoons sharing a couple and ignoring some.  My favorite ones are the ones where people are glad they woke up and Obama is President.  Waiting for the other shoe to drop when they wake up with less pay and more taxes.  That will not ever be acknowledged I am sure.

Then there was a simple post from one brother on another brother’s page to tell all those who were his facebook friends that his brother had passed away.  I was stunned.  I was further stunned by the rancor that was posted from a friend who heard the information this way.  My heart went out to the older brother left behind trying to do the best he could with the information he had.

Chuck was my friend from childhood.  His dad was my one of my dad’s employers.  His mom was “Anna” that I wrote about earlier.  She was one of my surrogate mothers and a dear friend.  I read the post by his brother John and sat in surprise.  I moved on and at the same time knew I was going to share memories of Chuck on my blog.

I went to look at Chuck’s facebook page to see what was there.  I retrieved his obituary which was so very well written for the man he became.  I congratulate the author for capturing the essence of this man.

Charles “Chuck” W. Johnston

BANGOR — Charles “Chuck” W. Johnston passed away Jan. 31, 2013, from a heart attack at his home in Bangor. He was born May 7, 1947, in SouthwestHarbor, to William and Anna Flagg Johnston and spent a majority of his life there.

He worked in all aspects of the tourist industry on Mount Desert Island and in Florida in the winter. Chuck was fascinated with fast cars, motorcycles and boats and had many during his life. Some bordered on the absurd performance-wise and he enjoyed pushing them to the limit but he never endured an accident. The obsession with speed often made it uncomfortable to ride with him, but this could be partially overcome by the silly grin on his face. Chuck was always willing to help others deal with their problems often forgetting his own needs in the process. He was a big man with a big heart that just could not take the strain that he put on it but that did not stop him wanting to get out and around.

He is survived by his brother, John of Bangor; and two nephews, John and James Johnston of Bangor.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the spring. Burial will be in the family plot at Mt.HeightCemetery, SouthwestHarbor.CHUCK

My friend Chuck had an infectious laugh.  It was a combination of Snidely Whiplash, Snagglepuss and a 10 year old kid getting their favorite toy for Christmas.  I loved to hear him laugh.  We spent lots of time together as kids playing games.  Stadium Checkers being his favorite.  I could not ever get the hang of it and he beat me every time.  He had rheumatoid arthritis I think that was it.  His knees would swell up like basketballs. There were many days he could not go to school.  We played ‘indoor’ games.

One of them was his tease for me to ‘Remember that day the 7th of May’! I always thought it was a famous day in history.  Turns out it was simply his birthday and he did not want me to forget it!!!

He left our school his freshman year and went away to a private school.  We would see him in then only on vacations and summers.  By then we were all going different directions and would ‘hang out’ occasionally.  Our contact was sporadic.  He became a real child of the sixties as I stayed on the edge of the culture never venturing to take a taste.  That was the last time I rode with him actually.

We were both living in Boston and went to a party together.  He loved to speed and I was petrified.  Had no idea where we were going.  Turns out it was a ‘pot party’.  I didn’t ‘do’ pot and really wanted to shoot him at the time.  The experience was interesting for sure.  It was then I discovered I wanted nothing to do with this drug.  The people were all sitting lying lounging and passing this stuff around.  Where was the fun?  There was little talking and no dancing!

I declined every time the joint came my way.  While I’d always trusted Chuck I was a little confused until he ‘protected’ me.  One of the people there became a bit upset that I was not participating and Chuck stood up and told him to leave me alone.  He took me out and home.  Contrary to my kids beliefs I never did do any drugs.  It was not my scene.  That night Chuck learned that and we spent the rest of the evening talking and talking.  That was it.  Chuck was gone from my life for years.

He married and my folks said she was lovely and he seemed very happy.  He divorced and went through some bad times.  He came to live with his mother and I got to see him every summer then when I would go home and loved that he was there.  After her passing he moved to his own place out of town.  When visiting I rarely got out of my hometown let alone an hour away to see anyone.  Time was usually too short.

On my birthday calls or when he would occasionally call me I learned he was happy and had a group of wonderfully eclectic friends who loved and cared for him.  He always sounded happy and I would make plans to try to get up to see him when I was in Maine.  Last time we spoke was when I tried to get him to come to Dad’s 90th birthday.  He was ill and despite all that sounded happy even jolly.  Chuck would have made the perfect Santa Claus!

There are those who have spoken ill of him in my presence and it hurts.  There is no perfection in this life.  We all make mistakes and bad choices.  What exists if we want it  is caring and kindness and kinship despite any blood relationship.  We are all imperfection at our best.

Piglet asked Pooh, “How do you spell love?” Pooh answered, “You don’t spell it – you feel it.”  Chuck demonstrated it in his life for those that cared to see it.  I am grateful for occasionally being in that circle and feeling love from this friend of mine.

I’ll ever remember that day the 7th of May rather than his last day.  Rest in Peace Dear Gentle Old Friend.




I have not done one of these in a long time – a catch up on all the things I think about and/or do not take the tie to write down.

I cannot find Iamrising and still sad about that one.  I tried to contact her through another source on her site.  I received no answer.  It is my prayer that she is well and writing another blog with a new name.

I got a new coffee pot $16.99 Black and Decker works just fine.

The water in the refrig just started working again.  It is ghosts!  No! The resident ‘jack of all trades’ did a search on the internet.  Seems this is a common issue for this model. One guy had a repairman out three times – three charges too – only to discover from web searching as we did that you need to adjust the temps as the pipe can freeze.  Not sure how the temps got lowered in the first place – oh well we are working again and no repair bill.

I got another tote bag for Christmas.  This goes to two of my posts – the one about tote and the Keep Calm one.  My new bag is a great sturdy canvas with the red original logo on it.  Love it and using it!!!

We  are still feeding the birds and subsequently the squirrels.  We have taken steps to raise the feeders and that has been of no consequence.  Our squirrels, I have determined, have the strongest will and toughest butts in the world as they regularly get hit by BBs and they come back for more.

In case you missed it Oxygen has canceled ‘All My Babie’s Mamas’.  The Kardashians are still on TV.

Mitt Romney got 4 Pinnocchios (nose growing lies) from the Washington Post when he said that Jeep was moving jobs to China.  He was attacked by the Obama campaign.  Jeep denied it.

Brent Snavely, Detroit Free Press5:04p.m. ESTJanuary 15, 2013

Under the agreement, a Chinese automaker will build one model for sale in China.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Fiat and Chrysler Group have reached an agreement to expand passenger car manufacturing and sales in China, officials said Tuesday.

Under the agreement, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd. will build one Jeep model in China for Chrysler for sale in China. A specific model was not announced.

Zeng Qinghong, general manager and chief executive of Guangzhou Automobile Group, and Mike Manley, Jeep president and CEO and head of Chrysler’s international operations, signed the agreement at Chrysler headquarters here.

In September, Guangzhou began building the Fiat Viaggio in China.

The Christmas decorations are now all down.  With the exception of the wreath I get each year from Maine. It still smells wonderful so I put it on a large silver tray and am using it as a centerpiece for a few more days until the next trash night.

I am three days shy of two thirds of the way to my goal of writing for a year.  Still not sure what I will do when that goal is reached.DCF 1.0

Last week I wrote on not feeling well that turned out to be something I ate.  Well do not say anything unless you expect to have consequences.  Instead of wending my way up highway 95 today I am sitting here typing.  I have symptoms.

My eyes are watering and itchy.  My head is stuffy. My head aches.  My body aches.  I am cold and then I am hot. I am quitting and giving in.  I have symptoms.  I do not label the symptoms as a disease as I do not want to make it comfortable and thus stay around.  The symptoms can each go as they end.

I am hoping and thinking I might get on the road tomorrow and the weather is not supposed to be as kind as what I am looking at today.  My stamina certainly right now is not at a level to succeed in a 12 hr drive.  I am ever the cock-eyed optimist.

The realist says the trip is off for awhile.  …..sad really and there it is…




This week preparedness has been on my mind.  I even wrote about it.  Yesterday it was very apparent that we – meaning me – have become lazy.  Or worse did not know how to fix things in the beginning.

THE INCIDENT:  The water in our town tastes horrid to me.  I have to admit I am spoiled by the well water we have had and do have elsewhere.  We prefer to drink the filtered very cold water that comes from the refrigerator.  That sentence in and of itself speaks to laziness doesn’t it?  What happened to an ice cube in a glass of water?  Ice cube made from a tray in which you have put water and set in your freezer not have it spit out of a chute in the door of the appliance!

I went to get a glass of water and nothing happened.  The water did not come out.  To this I said out loud to the general public, “The water in the fridge is not working.”  I tried again and then almost in a panic I said the same thing only louder.  I do not know what I expected.  Was the tone of my voice going to make this thing magically work?  Was my husband going to turn into Mighty Mouse and save the day?  Fact is the water in the fridge does not work and the ice cub maker and the crushed ice maker do.  Do I call a repairman for this? Not sure.

THE POINT: What it brought about in my mind is that many of us have become very reliant on our conveniences.  Could we do without?  Further I was thinking of all the disposable stuff we use.  Do we not know some basic skills to fix things to reuse them?

I pondered.

Our son show his son over Christmas how to make wind chimes for gifts.  I knew it was in creation.  When I opened it Christmas morning I was duly appreciative and of course tearful.DCF 1.0

{This Grandmama cries when a pin drops.  Poor Caleb our 8 yr old grandson was so flummoxed when I opened a gift from him that he had made with his mom.  It was a plaster square painted in yellow with a red heart in the middle of it with other colors and glitter.  It was one of the first gifts I opened and I really started crying.  His face was priceless.  He could not understand if I was sad or what.  The teachable moment was that I was able to explain so he could understand that sometimes in Grandmama’s tears are a good thing.  Later that morning when I got teary over a gift of the movie “Serendipity” his reaction was a face and shoulder shrug that said ‘there she goes again’!}

Sorry I do get carried away.  The point was our son knew HOW to make a wind chime.DCF 1.0

What do we know HOW to do today and are not some of the skills being lost?  The fridge was given the once over and after reading the book and examination it was determined it may be beyond us.  We changed the setting and are waiting a couple of days to see what happens.

The toilet that was not working properly was fixed yesterday.  Many other chores big and small around our home are handled by us.  We call the repairman as a last resort unless it would nullify a warranty.

Could the average person fix the handle of a toilet by changing the plunger system?  Are they currently able to do the tiniest of household fixes?  Do they know how to sew to fix a seam in a pair of pants?  Do they, and I am using ‘they’ loosely and figuratively, know how to fix a car?  Change the oil?  Fix a lawnmower?  Change that wheel?  Tire?  Fix a washing machine?  How about simply cooking?

I am afraid skills are being lost.  I can sew and do most needlework projects and fixes.  I have even in my lifetime made a suit coat with welt pockets for my husband.  Used to make him wool slacks regularly zipper fly and all.  I made my wedding dress.  Granted it was simple satin with chantilly lace sleeves still I made it.

My husband can fix most things around the house.  If we added up all the repair costs we have not had to pay over these last 44 years it probably would buy us a nice little vacation somewhere.  That is not even taking into consideration all the oil he has changed in our vehicles or the mufflers or other minor car repairs.

So I ask again are we prepared?  I look at NJ/NY after Sandy and see these people having to rebuild their lives and my heart physically hurts for them.  In the next web news I see these residents all pitching in to help each other.  Communally there are probably enough skills to do it all up just right with the exception of electric or anything else that has to be hooked up to the city by union employees.  These are people of my generation and maybe older or our sons age. Could the grandchildren make these repairs or will they have to rely on the government to come to their rescue?

I have shingled a roof, doing the capping of the whole thing alone and put board and batting on that house.  It was our neighbors and she taught me how.   In one of our homes I removed one concrete columns in a basement – it was in the way of decorating – and replaced it with a post and lintel arch made of 8X8s.   The house is still standing!  I changed the tire on one of our cars over and over as there was a slow leak we could not find.  Our children have been shown all the skills we know or where to go look for information.  Their children will be educated this way as well I hope.  What of the children in our society who have no parents or parents that pay no attention or are addicted or too busy?  We need not to lose these skills.  We all need to be jack or jills of all trades or hire someone who is a jack or jill.  That is the other thing the tradesmen and skilled workers are fewer and fewer.  Hopefully they will not go the way of the needles and pins man!

You do not know the ‘needles and pins man’?  Years ago when I was a very little girl back in the dark ages a man would come to our house every year maybe twice a year and sell needles and pins.  Mumma was a seamstress on her own and worked for “Some’s Store” doing alterations in our home.  I remember little about this man except a slight figure and warm smile.  It was the same with the Grand Union Tea man who came around or the bread man or the milk man that all went door to door.  No longer.  Somewhat sad…and there it is.