Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Alternative Energy Sources

When the  Mother Earth News headline caught my eye, I had to buy the magazine. It read, "Save money with DIY Solar".  I'm always interested in saving money, and  I wouldn't mind doing a little more for the planet, as well. A day or so later, there was  a story on the news about a local man who is self-sufficient.  He uses alternative energies, including the running of his truck with a wood powered engine which he designed. The exhaust surprised me...there was very little of it as the truck made it's way across his farmland. Interesting! http://www2.wspa.com/lifestyles/2011/may/28/upstate-man-turns-wood-energy-ar-1900825/

I don't know much about Solar Energy systems. My husband is a bit more saavy, but I intend to educate myself.  After all, we live in an area where the sun shines nearly all the time, why not harness it and put it to use? Alternative energy sources would help to relieve the stresses of  power companies in meeting the needs of their customers. The sun can produce in excess of  what our household would need and use, and it might be sold to power companies. I'm not sure how that works, but a little reading might inform me.

When we used to go to Pennsylvania, I took note that the Amish farms had old fashioned farm windmills which pumped  water from their wells.  That made good sense to me.  Electricity,too, can be produced by wind power and stored.

Rain water can be gathered in tanks and used to water gardens. It doesn't rain often in our area, but in the Spring, a couple of days of rain would give us a full tank on each corner of the house, if we hooked the gutter leads to them.  My husband talks often of his thoughts of a large tank set into the ground, and some sort of system that I don't understand, which would heat the water by solar, and run underground to the house.  I wouldn't drink it, but it might work for laundry and showers.

The headline read 'DIY'...do it yourself.  Um....I'm not sure about that !  Well, yes, I am. I have no doubt that my husband can figure it out, but how long would it take from start to finish?  He's very precise in his doing, and it's done well when he's finished. But it he's not speedy!  Would I live long enough to see the project finished and working?  What would be the condition of the house/yard/roof etc while the project is underway? 

I think I'll keep reading and passing the articles along to him, and we'll keep dreaming about the DIY part of it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunny,Hot and Humid

It's that time of year again... the time where the rain comes in very short stints, otherwise called 'scattered showers'.  It's the season of beginning drought, the time when the sprinklers are running in order to keep the growing things a healthy green.

It is also the season where the thermometer has stopped it's severe fluctuation, and the mercury seems to have settled somewhere north of 80 degrees, even on the shady front porch.  It's the weather that causes me to find a cool place inside the house where I can spend the majority of my time. It's sunny, hot and humid.

It is dilemna time, as well.  How long can I take the heat before turning on the AC?  Will the ceiling fans alone give me enough relief for awhile longer?  Last year I was able to hold out using just the fans until July.  It wasn't easy.  I'm thinking that with temps already at 90 plus on some days, the electric air will be blowing through here far earlier.  In any event, it will be turned on this weekend, I think, because we will have our family here for the holiday, and I want them to feel comfortable, especially since two of them have asthma! 

I keep the  thermostat set as high as I can that is comfortable. I do this because my husband hates air conditioning, and because if it's too cool inside, you really feel the heat when you go outside. It's like opening the oven door  and getting smacked with a blast of hot air.  Since my husband, who is always warmer than I am, likes to sit outside regardless of the temperatures, it's not so shocking to his system when he goes in or out.

I will admit it, I am thrifty and another reason to delay the use of the AC is that I'm concerned about the power bill.  The electric bill will climb during the months the AC is on. I am conscious of this, but it's the price one has to pay for living with shorter winters. In our former home, we used window fans, and had many trees which kept the house cooler, but the humidity was killer!  I'm glad that we have the option of cool comfort in the dog days of summer!  

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Am I Psycic or Intuitive or What?

Am I psycic? I don't think so, I don't really believe in that stuff, but you've got to wonder every now and then when that old intuition comes along and niggles you about something, and then....something similar to what you were thinking, happens.

Yesterday morning I woke up, and after a few minutes, I had the thought, "It's Memorial Day weekend, I wonder what's going to happen in this family this year."  I'm not a doom and gloom sort of person. In fact, I've actually been told that I'm 'an extreme optomist', a "Pollyanna" one who 'looks at life through rose-colored glasses."  I guess that's the way I appear to others. I do try to keep a positive outlook, but at the same time, I'm a realist. 

My question was prompted by the fact that  we have had two deaths in the family on two different Memorial Day weekends.  I'm not superstitious so  I really wasn't expecting anything unusual, other than a visit from the kids.  If you've read yesterday's entry, you know what happened. If you haven't read it, you'll have to do so, in order to find out what happened!

Over the years I've had  other experiences where I've had 'a feeling' that I couldn't shake. Once was when we were packing our VW van with three little kids and stuff for a Thanksgiving trip to Ohio.  I had the strong feeling that we shouldn't go. We'd been invited by a friend to join them for the holiday dinner, where he was living with his future inlaws. The first thing that happened on that trip was that we ran into a horrendous snow storm.  We made it to the house, and were greeted by our friend's future mother in law, but it wasn't at all friendly or welcoming.  It made me wonder if the poor woman had even been consulted about a family of five coming for a visit! 

 The first night we were there was extremely uncomfortable and tense. We went early to our room, which we shared with all of our babies. During the night, one of the children developed a cough. I thought it was due to the high and dry heat. She showed no signs of being sick.  The next morning at breakfast we were informed, with icy words, that the coughing kept the lady of the house awake 'all night', and that we should take that child to the doctor.  I assured her that the baby wasn't sick, and she picked up the phone and made an appointment for her doctor.  After some private conversation with my husband, we made the decision to pack up and go back home. We were obviously in a situation where we not welcome and definitely uncomfortable. 

The trip home, without going to the doctor, by the way, gave us an unexpected surprise. We stopped for gas where the man filling our tank noticed that we had a tire with it's threads showing through.  After a check of the other tires, it was determined that we needed two new ones.  We purchased those, and went on to complete our trip without incident. Had we not stopped at that place, I don't want to think about what might have happened with those bad treads!  It was a Thanksgiving holiday without family, without friends, without even a turkey dinner!

When I get those 'feelings', I give them some thought. It doesn't always change my plans, but sometimes I guess it should! Have you ever had those moments of 'intuition' ?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday: Plans and Waiting....

There we were...weekend planned, shopping done, chicken thawed, beds made and tent up.  Waiting for phone call to say, 'we're on the way and should arrive at ....." as usual.  Waiting. The phone rang.  Not daughter number 2, as I'd expectd.  It was daughter number 3. "Good, it'll be a nice way to pass the time...but why is she calling at this hour of the morning? She should be working." I thought.

It wasn't long before I found out. In tears, she blubbered that her father had been admitted to the hospital with breathing problems.  After I tried to comfort, and told her that worrying wouldn't help him OR her, our conversation was interrupted by a call she was receiving. "Call ya back, Mom!"
So now I found myself waiting more, for two phone calls from two daughters.  While writing this, I realize that the phone rang continually all day long, and I cannot accurately relate who called when or called back when or in which order the calls came in. (You may want to get out your score cards at this point.)  Suffice it to say that all four daughters called numerous times with individual updates and individual upsets.  Daughters number three and four were making plans to fly to Florida, at the suggestion of their step mother. Daughter number one was scheduled to go north on Sunday to in-laws, where father in law is recuperating from a foot amputation. Daughter number two  is cancelling our weekend plans and is waiting until she receives details on flights of daughters 3 and 4 before she decides how she will go to Florida and when.  Daughter number 1 doesn't know whether to go forward with her original plans or to go south and be with her own father.

How many times today did I speak the words, "Try not to worry about your Dad. It won't help him OR you."  I could have saved my breath, as no one who's worried listens to such advice anyway.  When I wasn't on the phone with one daughter, I was speaking to another. When there was a short interval having just spoken to each one and hanging up, I quickly called our church prayer chain.
The phone rang again, almost as soon as I'd given the coordinator the prayer request. When that call was interrupted on the other end, I instructed that daughter to call on my cell. We had to go to the grocery store.

In the long run, Daughter number one is waiting until tomorrow and more information before she determines whether she'll go south or north for her vacation with one father or one father in law. Daughter number two left her husband home (a mutual choice) with the little girls. She took to the road in her car for the seven hour drive. Daughter three had to farm out her two daughters for the weekend, while she  and number four would fly to Orlando in the early evening. Daughter number two would be there to pick them up at the airport when they arrived.

Whew...I'm tired after all those calls and plans. I've still got one more call  to make or get this evening. When D.# 2 gets to the airport, she'll call me....if she doesn't, before I'm ready to go to bed, I should call her. 

So, the chicken planned for 3 good eaters and 3 bird-like eaters, for dinner was grilled with summer squash and zucchini, and the large loaf of soft Italian type bread was crisped. We've eaten it, the two of us, with great appetites!  The extra food bought for the weekend has been packed into the freezer and pantry. The tent sits in the sunporch and will not be occupied by our tiny little campers.  It will wait. 

I, too, will be waiting...for our next plan and  visit together, but first I must wait for a phone call, for news of my little chicks safe arrival in Florida, for news of their father's condition, and for sleep, which surely will not elude me after this busy day.

Friday, May 27, 2011


The other day one of my granddaughters, the absolute middle-born one, had her fourteenth birthday. I can hardly believe she's already that old, and it brought up many memories.  Her Mom lived with us during the waiting for her, and for seven years after that, so she's the granddaughter I know the most about.

I was present at her birth that morning.  Her Mom had been in a good deal of pain since Friday night, and all day Saturday. Finally the doctors determined that she wasn't going to be born in the usual manner, and they would deliver her by C-section.  A very tired Mama and a very weary Grammie, both who had little to no sleep at all since Friday, were much relieved to know that the waiting would soon be over.  As my daughter was prepped for surgery, I was given a set of green 'scrubs' and a mask, and a cup of coffee.  I dared not tell the nurses that I was dizzy with exhaustion, for fear that they wouldn't allow me to attend the birth.

A few minutes passed and I was taken into the operating room where I sat at the head of the table, next to my daughter's head.  At 5:06 AM, that sweet 7 lb bundle was born She was wrapped in a little stocking cap and a flannel swaddling, and placed into my arms. Her Mommy shed tears as she said, "Mommy, a girl! I got my GIRL!   We rejoiced in our moment of three generations, joined together by a powerful love and the miracle of birth.

While mother and daughter were taken away to have their individual treatments, I went back to the room to wait. I looked out at the Sabbath dawn and I was aware of a chorus of birds that seemed to be offering praise for this special day.  I offered my own prayer of thanks to God who brought us this new little miracle.  As I look back on that day, it remains in my heart as a very important memory...a wonderful time in my life.

On her birthday, when I woke to the sound of birds singing, the dawn was just breaking. I looked at the clock and it read 5:09 AM. My first thought that morning was of the little baby, now a beautiful young lady. I'm proud of her, and I love watching her grow to be whoever she is meant to be. I have no doubt that she will be as special then as she was on her first day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Eeeeeew!  Snakes!  I've never cared for those reptiles...or many others either, for that matter. My mother has always hated even thinking about them, and I guess I learned that at an early age, which probably gave me some fear of my own. As a chid in grade school, I wouldn't touch the rattle snake shed skin that a classmate brought to show and tell. Unlike my granddaughter, who actually held a live Boa Constrictor (with the help of a snake handler) while she was in grade school! Arrrrg! I can't imagine! and I will admit, that even a photo of one in a magazine gives me chills up my spine, and I can't wait to turn the pages!  So, call me a 'chicken'. Call me a 'whimp'.  Call me anything you'd like. I'm still not going to like snakes.

When we moved to this house, we heard from neighbors that there are black snakes around our neighborhood. The subdivision was new, and the homes had invaded their living space, so I imagine there were some around, but in the four plus years I've been here, I haven't seen one. Well, I take that back. One day in the road I saw a dead King snake (similar to the Black Racer, with a white belly.) Neither the black snake nor the King snake is dangerous, although if you startle them, they will bite you if they have a chance. It's likened to a large garden snake in it's personality.  The good thing about Black (and King) snakes is, aside from being non-poisonous, is that they are territorial. Where there is a Black snake, there will be no poisonous ones, like the local Copperheads. 

Our next door neighbor rang our doorbell on the Fourth of July four years ago. She looked as white as a ghost as she asked for Mike's help. He was not available, and when I asked what the problem was, she told me that she had a huge snake on her patio. I told her that Mike would be no help, even if he was around, as he's scared of snakes. (His only fear that I know of, probably due to spending time in the jungles of Viet Nam) She took off at a dead run for her house, with me following her and telling her to leave the snake alone and he would depart. She ran to the corner of her garage, stood there staring at her garden tools, finally chose a shovel, and ran to the left side of the house, where there was a gate in her fence. Then she ran to the right side of the house, where there was no gate. Then she turned and ran to her front door and through the house and out the back door to the patio. I stood outside the fence, while I heard the chop,chop,chop of the blade of the spade hitting the cement patio. Soon I heard her hollering at her dog, who was tearing across the back yard with the remnants of a 6 foot snake dangling from both sides of his mouth. Meanwhile, Alison brought the head of the snake, with it's mouth still opening and shutting, to me at the fence. I could see the white under the snake, and determined it to be a King snake.

In 2007 we went to East Hampton for 4 months. While we were away, Mom and the neighbors were watering our plants. One day, while Mom was leaving after watering, she saw a 'long,black snake' and she reported that she wasn't going to go in my backyard ever again, as if the snake wouldn't go in any other part of the yard. I had to chuckle, but didn't blame her much!  About two years ago, Mike and my brother were chatting on our front porch when they noticed a big Black snake winding itself up and over our front yard bird-bath. There must have been enough space between Mike and that snake, because he didn't head for the hills, but sat and watched as it slithered away to the rain ditch at the edge of the road. That same week, a neighbor on the road above us saw a 'huge' one on her front porch, where there was a bird's nest. We determined the snake was looking for the bird's eggs. 

Since that one Mike saw, which I named Ebony Squiggle, there's not been a report anywhere in this subdivision of a snake siting.  Whether Black snakes are 'good' snakes or otherwise, let me say this, I'm happy about that! I'll prove my point by adding a quote from my Arkansas friend who says, " Ain't no snike that's a good snike."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Hometown Waters

Last summer we went home to my hometown.  As we navigated the familiar streets, I heard  myself singing in my mind, "I have often walked on this street before..."  The air was full of the aroma of ocean salt. It's a beautiful area, so it draws the affluent, the tourists, the vacationers and second home owners. I cannot blame them for yielding to the temptation to spend time there. It is a place where, over the years,  local people lived hard lives and those who work hard elsewhere go to play.

The ocean and the bay beaches are magnets to both the year-round residents and the visitors alike. In summer, the ocean beaches are often so crowded that it's hard to find a quiet spot in the sand to place your towel, to lie down and 'catch the rays.'
 The waters have been far more to local folks than a playground. Many of them for hundreds of years have made their living on the sea as fisherman or shell fishermen.  While tourists spend enormous amounts of money for dinner in a seafood restaurant, the natives are dining on whatever they've gathered themselves or what their fishing friends have given to them. 

The harbors are dotted with marinas where fishing boats and pleasure boats too, are docked and moored, awaiting their trips on the water.

Town Pond is what you see when you enter the Village. It is where the early settlers watered their flocks of sheep. Today it is a welcoming site to those who visit and natives who are returning home from somewhere west of home.  In the winter, it freezes, providing a skating area for those who are athletically inclined, or want to brush up on their skills.

East Hampton is filled with water ways for swimming, canoeing, pleasure boating, or working. The sun sets over the bays and some of the harbors and coves, and I can honestly say that the sunsets cannot be surpassed.

Although we are very happy where we reside today, the waters of Home are what we miss most.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This Weekend...

My youngest grandkids are coming to visit again! The weather is promising to be extremely hot, record temperatures for this time of year.  There goes our plan to be outside at one of the Memorial Day events.  Why on earth these southern communities plan any outdoor events after mid-April is beyond my comprehension! The heat is stifling and the sun is far too intense to be standing in for any length of time.

Every year I have the hope of going to the Scottish Festival  held a bit north of here, but every year we find ourselves in sweltering conditions, and we pass on it. This year, we'd hoped to take the kids and grandkids to see their first hot air balloon festival.  Since both my son in law and one of his daughters is asthmatic, I don't want to put them in a potentially dangerous environment.

So, I'm thinking up things to do at home where we can get all the cold water and air-conditioning and shade that we'll need to be safe and healthy. We'll set up the big wading pool, and we can ALL climb in and splash, if we choose to. 

 Inside the house the men will chat about whatever men chat about, and we gals will do some arts and crafts together.

 We'll have my daughter's favorite grilled chicken with my homemade bbq sauce, and we'll eat it in the sunporch.  We'll have a little campfire and make s'mores as the sun goes down.  We'll set up our tiny 5x5 tent in the sunporch, and let the grandgirls 'camp out' for night, if they will!  We'll sing camp songs before they are tucked in, and pretend that they're in the deep wilds. Maybe we'll set up some little stuffed animals and we'll turn on the little white Christmas lights on  the beams, so they feel like they're outside. I wish I had some neon stars and a moon to hang from the beams.

The rooms will be ready and waiting for them.  The toy box in the closet is ready for invasion and the dress-up  box of costumes is available too. (That's always their first stop when they come through the door.)
We're making the shopping list to be sure the items are within reach for the menu.  I hope they are all as happy when they come here as Grammie and Papa are in having these visits! 

Monday, May 23, 2011


A few weeks ago I wrote about hats under the title 'Church Attire'.  In that entry, I made a decision to begin wearing hats to church again.  Since then, I've dug out my old ones, bought two new ones, and have begun the process of 'decorating' those chapeaus.

I've worn a few of them to worship services and last week one of our men, who sits just behind me, mentioned that he thought ladies hats always had flowers on them. Until then, I hadn't given much thought to decorating them, other than a ribbon hatband.  With Otis' statement ringing in my ears, I headed for my craft room to dig out some silk flowers.  I found a couple, but they weren't what I wanted, so I drove to Hobby Lobby to see what was available.  Fortunately, they had a number of things that were suitable, and better yet, they were on sale, as were the spools of ribbon.

Returning home, I got to work on an arrangement for my white hat.  The ribbon band was graduated shades of dusty rose.  Then I placed some sprays of  small white flowers with pearl centers with some dusty pink rose blossoms. When the design pleased me, I wired the flowers together and clasped it to the ribbon band.  From there, I moved on to organizing ribbon color to flowers, for future millinery use. 

Yesterday I removed the pink things from the white hat, and placed them, instead, on the wide-brimmed black hat, since I was wearing a pink and black outfit. The floral arrangement was placed at the back of the hat.  My efforts were not lost. I was pleased with the look, and many compliments came my way. 

I am still the only one who wears a hat regularly, but it's still early. I have the hope to inspire those ladies at church to wear the hats they've  been thinking about. They've been afraid to be the only one to wear anything on their heads. In the meantime, even if I'm the solo hat wearer, I'm having a grand time decorating my new fashion accessories! 

Sunday, May 22, 2011


These days I do not start the day without a cup of coffee. I pour just a little half and half into it, and I'm good to go.  It wasn't always that way.  I used to prefer tea. It's clear and warm and I drank gallons of it per week before I discovered that coffee was a much better waker-upper in the morning.

There was a time when I thought I didn't like the taste of coffee.  I'd always loved the aroma of it, but the taste just seemed bitter to me.  Then I went to work in an insurance/realty office where the coffee pot was on all day long, and it was easier to drink the ready-made brew than it was to fuss with making a cup of tea.  I discovered that coffee wasn't half-bad.  Maybe it was the brand that was used at work, I don't know, but I got hooked.

In other work places over the years, there were choices in 'additions' to the cup of brew.  Some offices offered half and half. Others bought non-dairy creamers, either plain or flavored. Other places had the choice of any of the above-listed items.  Sugar, artificial sweetners, and no sugar at all made their way into my mug at various times. I've weaned myself of the sugar addition, and the half and half is no where near the amount that I first used.  I can use the non-dairy stuff, but don't care much for it. However, when I stay in a motel, that's usually all there is to use, and it'll suffice until I can get a true cup of java.

I'm really not a coffee addict, as some are, though.  One large mug of hot coffee upon rising is all I have throughout the day.  It's the equivalent of two cups.  I don't drink it later in the day because I have enough trouble sleeping through the night as it is.  Rarely, in the heat of summer, I have yielded to a desire for a frappe, but as I say, it's not often.

I don't go to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts to obtain a cup of their stuff.  Believe me, they will never get rich on my purchases! Though the flavor certainly is better than what we have at home, I cannnot justify the cost!  What we have is convenient, and gets my engine reved in the morning, so I'm content!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21, 2011...Judgment Day???

Pastor Camping, in California, has been broadcasting on TV and a number of radio stations that today will be the day that the world comes to an end.  If you are reading this...you should know that I've actually written it on Friday, the 20th.  I figured I'd better not take any chances, you know. What if he's right?  (I ask that with tongue in cheek.)

Yesterday I posted on Facebook that since the world was going to end on Saturday, I had only one day and a few hours to spend my children's inheritance.  I knew that would inspire them to respond...and respond they did!  One of them said that I should, instead of shopping, head for the nearest Fed Ex office and send her share out so that she  could spend it before the end came.  Another told me to send hers because she has bills to pay. Another answered by saying that if the end came, there'd be no bills to pay.  Do I know how to prompt a conversation among the siblings, or what? Just mention money.

Actually, there's quite a bit of conversation being generated by this idea of  things ending on Saturday.  Some, most I'd venture to guess, think that Pastor Camping is off his rocker.  I don't think that, exactly, but I do think his conclusion is incorrect.  People of every religious, or non-religious, persuasion seem to have an opinion on the matter.  I'm curious to see how many will head for the hills, or to some 'special' spot to escape (?) or hide (?) or get aboard that 'glory train.'
No matter what happens, no matter what people think or do in light of this 'prophecy', I believe that we haven't heard the end of it.

What will the headlines read on Sunday?  "STILL HERE!!"  or maybe "MILLIONS DISAPPEAR!!!"  or "PASTOR'S PROPHESY FULFILLED" ?   I believe we'll read something on Sunday, and I have no fear that we'll be reading from any place other than our own, comfortable homes.   What do you think? 

I guess we'll have to just wait and see, won't we? 

Friday, May 20, 2011


Very rarely, before moving here, was I bothered by anything I could call an allergy. Oh, sometimes I'd get a tickle in my throat as the oak pollens would blow on the Spring breezes, but it wasn't much of a bother.  Here, it's another story.

I've yet to discover what it is that causes my eyes to get  itchy, swollen, red and goopy.  The first time it happened, I went to the doctor, who suggested that it might be something topical and that I should ride it out.  The next time it occured, I thought I'd seek the opinion of an eye doctor. His opinion was that I have 'extreme dry eye' and gave me the name of two over-the-counter products that would cause relief. They do cause my eyes to become more moist, but I don't see that it's alleviating the problem.

Yesterday I felt the condition coming on once again. Before any other symptom shows, my eyes feel very tired. I feel the need for a nap.  It is best to steer clear of me, as I'm not entirely pleasant to be around when I feel that way.  I tried to have a little snooze yesterday, but was unsuccessful, so I opted for an early night.  By the time I retired, I was feeling as if my eyes were falling out of my head. 

I went through the routine of  warm compresses to the eyes, as the eye doctor had told me to. This procedure, apparently, stirs the tear ducts to produce more fluid. Then I put the drops in my eyes,  I took a Benadryl tablet to alleviate the itching, and I toddled off to bed.  After sleeping quite well, I awoke this morning with one eye glued shut, and the other blurry with gunk. Again, I used the warm compresses and drops. This cleared my eyes, but the lids are swollen and itchy.  Since they, who are documented as 'those in the know', tell me that the  condition is not 'pink eye', it is not contagious.  I do not show myself in public, however, until all of this mess disappears, because I look like a frog and I don't care to answer a million questions of "what's the matter with your eyes?"

So...here I am, in front of this little screen, telling you more than you wanted to know about this ailment of unknown cause.  I'll 'ride it out' in the peace of  my home, and hope that it will soon be gone.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A is for.....

Ambition...of which I have little today.  Restless nights do not make for ambitious days.

Aches...those I have plenty of today. Again, restless nights.

Attitude... not bad, considering restless nights. (Are you noticing a theme here?)

Abigail... granddaughter who celebrated her 6th birthday yesterday!

Amy....daughter who is missing us, according to a morning phone conversation.

Affection...lots of that, here and there.

Aggression...from too many callers invading my household with their sales pitches.

Annoyance...toward too many of the above who really are just trying to make a living.

Adjustment....to afore-mentiond attitude. Apparently annoyance needs to be replaced with 'patience'.

Au revoir... that's all there is today, Folks!

Apologies...for a silly blog entry.   :-D

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Alive and Well...

The other day I realized that I'm getting old.  How did I come to that recognition, you might wonder. Well, aside from a few more gray hairs in the mirror, a few more lines on my face seen in photographs, a few more snaps, crackles and pops in the morning, there is the realization that I spend a lot of time 'remembering.'

Many of my sentences begin with "I remember when....".  That's not a bad thing, really. I'm glad that I still have wits enough left to remember anything at all!  But, I think maybe I remember more than I do to make remembrances to look back on in the future.  And yes, I fully intend to have a future!

I am alive. I am well. I am fully capable of getting around, albeit slower than I did once and with a bit of ache here and there. The light bulb went on and I saw that retirement is a wonderful thing, but that it doesn't mean always sitting down and doing quiet activities such as reading, computing and handwork.  It doesn't mean that we need to sit in our comfy rockers on the front porch, talking and watching the clouds go by until it's too dark to see.  There are days when we can enjoy doing nothing more than those things, but hey! We're alive....and well. It's time to live it up!

We've been in SC for nearly five years. We have always loved to 'explore' new areas, to discover what others may ignore or take for granted. Why are we not doing that here?  We go where we need to, and know those routes well. But there is so much out there that we've yet to find!  It's time to unwrap the unknown and live while we may.

I've decided to let my husband know that we need to stop 'wasting time.'  We're all living with a time clock, and it's ticking.  We're going to be dead too soon....and will be dead for a long time. Today's the day to use our lives...to explore, to discover, to be a friend to someone new, to help someone in need. Today is the day to beging living!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Saturday's Sorting

On Saturday while I was meant to be straightening my craft room, I stumbled across a box, still packed from when we moved into this house four years ago.  It was a treasure chest of papers, letters, receipts, bills, and documents saved by Mike's Auntie Lib, after they came into her possession from other family members.  It seems that they'd all saved letters from the writers, and then, when the writers passed away, they would send them to survivors in the family, who handed them down to others in time. 

We are lucky enough to have an unfinished letter from his GrGrandmother, written to her sister,Margaret, on the day her last baby was born, June 16, 1881. That baby was Mike's grandfather, and GrGrandmother Martha, passed away that same afternoon at 5 pm. We have letters from many of the ancestors, some whom I've yet to connect to proper blood lines.  They are wonderful history! They are often difficult to read, the handwriting is often shaky, or small, but they are clues to life in days long before I was born.

On Saturday I sat on the front porch in the shade, while the sun beat down through the humid air, and I went through the stacks of things within that box.  GrGrandfather Thomas, was Martha's husband.  He'd emigrated from Ireland, alone, in 1840 and later, his family joined him. He'd come with little, and worked his way up from stacking firewood on the wharfs in St Louis, to becoming a  a riverboat Captain, with at least eight sidewheelers and multiple barges. Some of the information we had was confirmed by receipts, but as I thumbed through and read the receipts, I discovered new information: boat names, barge names, bills of laden, freight bills, purchases. There was a four-page hand-written contract for the building of a new riverboat in the year 1855. Later, in the same box, I found a two page list of people, Captain, Pilot, crew and roust-abouts, as well as an inventory of all goods aboard when the boat was taken into service of the US Government on Aug 23, 1864, during the Civil War. At least two of GrGrandfather's boats were used to transport troops and supplies up and down the rivers. We even found orders from the Quarter Master, telling him where the boat was to be and when.

There were tax bills which gave us addresses for at least five homes that GrGrandfather owned. I stumbled across a list of the tenants, the rents they paid, the months of the year they were there. I discovered records of employees who worked on the boats, or on the 260 some acres where GrGrandfather grew orchards of apples. The orchard property was across the Illinois River in Missouri, and the farm overlooked the river, from the bluffs.  He'd built a huge T-shaped, two- story farmhouse with front porches on both levels. There were paid bills for materials for the twelve-room home in St.Louis  which he was refurbishing a few years before his death. He changed the gas ceiling lights, repapered and replastered the walls. He had a new kitchen put in, as well as new plumbing and rain gutters. Over the years, he'd been an industrious business man, and become quite an affluent one. 

There were receipts for the tiny white casket, velvet -lined for his 3 month old baby, Maggie, and the charge for the rented buggy.  There was a dentist bill, listing platinum fillings, gold crowns, and other dental work.  There was a receipted bill for a brand new buggy, with a full leather top and rubber sides that rolled up and down which would protect from the weather. I also found a jewelers receipt for a ladies gold watch and chain, $125, which was bought prior to his wedding to Martha in February 1869.  She is wearing the watch in a photo we have of the family.

There is nothing like this box of treasures to give us a true glimpse into a person's life. With every bit of paper, I felt as if I ws getting to know Capt. Thomas L. Mortland in a more intimate way. I think I will organize these things to give me a cohesive look, and perhaps put together a biographical sketch of GrGrandfather and his family members. I wonder what he would think, if he were here.      

Monday, May 16, 2011

Saving Stuff...

A friend recently wrote a blog about saving bits of string.  That's probably the one thing I don't save. We have lots of bits of paper to write shopping lists or notes on. My husband saves coffee cans and mayonnaise jars in which we keep our dry staples on the pantry shelf. I save bits of info about ancestors that I scribble on those saved bits of paper. (I even save, in my head, old phone numbers and  the birthdates and death dates of friends long gone. That, at least, doesn't take up any room in the drawers!)

I am prone to be the subject of family jokes because I salvage things that have use left in them. At every gift giving event, I race to save a large piece of wrapping paper, so that it can be used on another large, or several small, gifts in the future. I like to save ribbons and bows.  I cannot see the point of buying more of the same, when there's good use left in the item, just because somebody thinks I'm cheap or silly.

My parents were children of the Depression era. They learned early how to recycle, but of course they didn't call it that in those days.  It was a wise way to stretch a dollar, and in my opinion, it still is.  I tend to buy classic clothing so that I can wear it for many more seasons (or years, or maybe decades!) than if I choose to buy fad styles.  Call me cheap. Call me thrifty.  Call me a saver. Call me a recycler. Call me what you will, I will not be swayed from my mode of operation.

The landfills have less stuff in them because of this household.  The pocketbook has more dollars. I happen to be a huge fan of both!  Do you recycle? How do you feel about the subject? Do you think that most people are wasteful, or are more people doing good things for the future generations?

As for me, I think I'm doing my part to save one other thing...our beautiful Earth.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Auntie Lib

I had no thought of writing about her this morning, but since I awoke to a dream of her, she's very much on my mind.

Auntie Lib was actually my husband's aunt. She was as much a mother to him as was his own, and in the last years of her life was even moreso, since they lived much closer than his Mom did. I met Auntie Lib when Mike and I began dating, and he was living at her house in Sag Harbor.  I was immediately impressed with her delightful way of hostessing. Her door would open and she'd say, "Come in, Dears!" and immediately have her table full of goodies and cups of tea.

While snacking, there were many questions. Auntie Lib was very interested in everyone's education, careers, family. She'd been a teacher in her young years, and always encouraged everyone to go to college. She'd also been a counselor and so, she listened intently and was quick to pick up on any interests one might have, in order that she might steer a person in that direction as an occupation.  She had spent some time trying to keep track of family members, both near and far, and kept in written communication with cousins, their children and theirs too. Family was very important to her and she'd attempted to get as much ancestry as she could from others. She had scribbled notes which tied groups together. At the time, I didn't realize what a treasure of information she would offer me once I began tracing Mike's roots.

Auntie Lib, as I said, was a gracious hostess. She would open the door to some that others would not, including Jehovah's Witnesses. She would sit with them and have tea, while so many others turned them away.  I was never privy to those conversations, but she would have been polite, even as she explained her Presbyterian beliefs, and questioned them about all sorts of things. When they were finished with their visit, they would move along.  Other guests were treated the same way. She had many friends who brought their children, who later brought their children and who,much later,  brought their own children to meet that kind woman.

There is so much I could write about Auntie Lib, but I could also sum up her life in a nutshell by saying that she was a very 'independent,gracious woman.'  She'd lived a long lifetime, ninety -seven and a half years, and most of that time she'd lived her own way. She'd had experiences most of us would never know: from sailing to Europe on a freighter, watching WWII begin from a front row seat in London, fleeing the wrath of Mussolini after her husband had written an 'unbecoming' article about him in a newspaper he worked for. She hob nobbed with famous writers and journalists, even had a marriage proposal, before her husband's,  from her good friend, Edward R. Morrow (who was called by his given name,at that time)  She'd had her only son in midlife,  became a widow, and worked to support herself and her home in the years following. She drove her car, even on long day trips, until she was close to 90 years old and traveled across the country on planes until she was 89 years old. Her last years were spent with a live-in caregiver, as a result of having broken her hip. Being fiercely independent, she wasn't pleased with the arrangement, but she eventually resigned herself to the fact that she was under that thumb, and there wasn't much she could do about it. She made the best of it, continuing to keep herself abreast of world events by watching all the news she could find and reading what she could get her hands on.

Life was good to Auntie Lib...and vice versa. I admired her, and learned much from her. I was blessed to have loved her and to have been loved in return. I hope that my life will be looked upon one day as hers is by many who say, "I was so lucky to have known her."

Saturday, May 14, 2011


In the 'olden days' our ancestors made most of the things they needed.  Clothing, household goods, furniture... all were pretty much created out of necessity by those who needed them, or by someone else who would trade his/her craftsman ship for yours.  Things were usually too expensive for the average family to purchase, and so the treadle sewing machine would whir, or the hand tools would be put to use.

Some of us are fortunate to have some heirlooms from our ancestors.  I'm one of those who do. I have several patchwork quilts made by my female ancestors back to my Great Grandmothers, and perhaps to their mothers, as well. There's no one left to ask about the ones on my Dad's side.  It hasn't been used in decades, but as old as it is, it has some places that could use repairing. The fabrics in all of the quilts are well-past a hundred years old, and most were probably previously used fabrics for clothing, so they may be older still.  I hang these items outside for airing, usually in the Spring before the sun gets too hot, in order to preserve the color and the fabrics.  I wish that I could wash them, but they've got battings that are not smooth, and I don't care to have them 'bunch up' further.  The dry cleaner might be able to clean them, but I don't want to risk having them cleaned with chemicals, and so they hang outside for 'dust removal'.

I think about the many hours that were spent by those women who passed their skills down through our females bloodlines. Some of those bed covers are stitched by hand, others by machines, but either way, being a quilter myself, I know the time it takes to create such a work.  The women added that activity to their daily list of things to accomplish, and perhaps it was not done because they wanted to do it, but because winter was coming and houses got cold.

There's a chest in front of my mother's couch that she uses for a coffee table. It is a rustic sea chest which belonged to my father's grandfather. It's heavy and large, and I've often wondered how often it was lugged from land to sea and back again, full of items he might need while he was aboard the steamboat he ran from Sag Harbor to Connecticut.  I wonder who built the box, whether he did, or his father, perhaps, who was also a mariner Captain.

There is also a ship's model made by my maternal Grandfather. Mom carried it on her lap across every mile we drove when we moved here. It is precious to her and she would not put it down or let it get bumped and broken. (The one pictured here is another of the models he built. It is on display at the East Hampton Marine Museum)  We also have macrame items he made while in the US Coast Guard, and some of his hand-done calligraphy things.

These old things, and others from our family mean much to me.  We are in possession, too, of things from my husband's family. Some are not valuable, except for sentiment, such as old receipts and letters written  before the Civil War times.  We have a box full of each, that has been passed on from family member to family member from then 'til now. We often wonder what we should do with them, as only so many can be displayed or placed in a scrapbook.  Perhaps they should go to a museum, one local to the area where the original owner, Mike's GrGrandfather the riverboat owner did his business.  He did much carrying of  Union troops and supplies during the Civil War  and was even paid by the Government for the loss of one or two boats to the War. We haven't got that check, signed by U.S. Grant.  Mike's mom had it, but when she died, we don't know where it went.  It was never cashed because Mike's Irish immigrant ancestor stated that 'this country has been good to me' and he didn't want to cash it. 

Whether worth a cent or a million dollars, we are pleased to own such items from our family members. These are a part of our history, and we're proud of them. The quilts that I have that my mother has made, and other items created by her hands, as well as those lovely things hand-crafted by my daughters are just as important to me.  

As we collect from those who live today, as we create our own bits of handiwork, we know that they will become heirlooms for someone else in the future years. We only hope that they think they are worth keeping safe, as we do.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Grandfather

From time to time, a memory comes to the surface. Recently I thought of my Grandfather and one memory led to another. My mother's father passed away when I was just a  toddler, so I don't remember him at all.  My father's parents, on the other hand, lived close by while I was growing up, and I saw a good deal of them. 

Thoughts tumble as I remember Grampa. He was always dressed nicely, even at home, but especially when he was out in public. Even when he was retired, most always he wore a shirt and tie, and if he needed a light jacket, he'd put wear a wool flannel shirt over top, buttoned all the way, including the top button.

 He had a vegetable garden between his front house and the little cottage in the rear of the property.  There were also grape vines out there. He would work the garden with his hoe, dressed in clothing that I was unused to seeing him wear.  His gardening outfit was a pair of cut off  dark green work trousers, and a high-topped pair of heavy shoes. He was a firm believer in wearing 'proper shoes'.  In fact, one time while I was visiting at Grandma and Grampa's house, he was not happy to see the shoes I was wearing, and that very afternoon we cleaned up after gardening, and drove to the shoe store. There he purchased a pair of  ankle-high, brown Buster Brown, lace-up shoes.  I don't remember  being very fashion-conscious at the age of five years, but my mother wasn't pleased to have me wearing those shoes!  However, wear them I did, because Grandpa bought them and she'd never have hurt his feelings. Aside from that, my Mom was never one to waste something that was useable.

My Grandmother was the cook of her home, but Grandpa sometimes cooked breakfasts. He'd fry ham or bacon, and then stir up some 'griddle cakes.'  He'd pour the batter into the hot, cast iron, black frying pan, and it would cover the entire bottom of the pan.  He told me that you have to watch and wait for all the bubbles to stop on the top before the pancake could be flipped.  Somehow, those breakfasts are remembered as the tastiest of all I've ever eaten.

When Grandma died, I was a few months past my eleventh birthday. I missed her terribly. I can only imagine how it felt for Grandpa. He stayed alone in his house for a few years. During that time,  he took a few short-term trips.  Frequently he went off for the day, and on occasion, Grampa would invite me to go along with him.  One time, he took me on a trip to New London, Ct.  In order to get there, we had to take two small car ferries, and a larger one for the trip from Orient, NY to Connecticut.  I remember holding Grampa's soft-skinned hand with the large,raised veins as we walked up the hill from the ferry pier to the city street.  As we stood in front of the restaurant where we would have our lunch, we looked down toward the water, and he said, "This is where we began."  I'm sure the comment was lost on me then, but all these years later, after doing some ancestral research,  I know that he meant that our earliest Beebe family arrived in New London from Great Britain.  How I wish I'd been interested sooner!  I'd ask so many questions!  

Our lunch at the restaurant was fun for me, as our family rarely ate anywhere but at home or in a family home.  It was sharing the time with my only Grandpa.  I didn't know what to choose from the menu, and he invited me to have a 'hot turkey sandwich.'  I agreed, and when the meal  was delivered to the table, Grampa chuckled at my reaction.  I was expecting hot turkey meat between two slices of bread....not a plate full of mashed potatoes,vegetables, and hot turkey on a slice of bread, all covered with gravy!  But, I wasn't disappointed when I took my first bite! To this day, I cannot see the hot turkey sandwich on a menu without recalling that date with Grampa.

When I was a teenager, there came a day that Grampa decided he didn't want to live alone anymore.  My parents and he had worked something out so that he could come and live with us. Construction began on our house, so that Grampa would have his own room and bath.  He had use of the entire house, but other than to make his own breakfast and lunches, and to share our evening dinner with the family, he stayed mainly in his room. He rocked in  his chair and he read voraciously.  Every two or three days, he' put on his necktie and off he'd go, on foot, with the library as his goal.  He'd walked and he whistled as he walked. I perceived that he was as content as he could be as a widower who chose not to drive any longer.

My Mom tells me that he was uncomplaining. No matter what she cooked for a meal, he ate it without complaint. He complemented her, especially when she'd gifted him with a flannel shirt that she'd made him. He wore it often, and it fit so well, I'm sure that he really liked it.

Grandpa passed away at the age of 84 years.  When he did, he left a legacy of kindness and love of children. He'd been the father of three, but raised only two, as his first born was stolen from him by Scarlet Fever at the age of six.  He had seven grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.  His love for all of us was evident throughout his life, and not only for us, but for the many, many neighborhood children who went to visit him over the years. What a joy it has been for me to hear from a large number of them in the last few years as to the way he remains one of their favorite childhood memories.  I'm honored that Grampa was mine to share with all of them.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Lilacs... other than Hollyhocks, I believe they are my favorite flowers.  I love their color, their shape, and especially their fragrance. I can almost smell it now, as I breathe.  There were huge Lilac bushes on the side and behind my Grandmother's house on King Street, and every Spring they'd burst forth in glorious display of dark and light purples and white, too.   When the house was sold, they were ripped out and not replaced. IMAGINE!!!  I think that's criminal, but it wasn't my call.  We also had a number of varieties of them at our old house in East Hampton, but here in SC, there's not a sign of a Lilac. I've yet to find one to plant here that will endure the weather we have.  It is one thing I remember of our old home town and one that I miss most.

My husband speaks often of the Canadian geese. That is what he misses most.  We used to sit on our back deck and watch flocks of them fly over, heading toward the west in the morning  and in the evening, making their return trip to the east. We sit on our porch front porch here, and it's a real treat when a pair of the long-necked geese travel across the sky to somewhere far beyond our house.  We love to hear the honking, and occasionally  we do. from some pond out of our view in the wooded area south of us. Still, I remember how thrilled Mike was last November, when we were back home, to see huge flocks in their organized 'Vs', noisily making their way to their destination. Yes, more than anything, he misses those geese.

We live now in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. We have no salt air here, no beach grasses, no ocean beach for many miles.  Even though it was years before we moved that we'd been to the ocean to swim (due to crowds and expensive parking permits), we did drive to look at it nearly every time we got in the car.  There was a joke in my hometown that locals had to 'go look at the ocean to be sure nobody'd pulled the plug.'  Nobody had, and I can rest assured that it will still be there whenever we go back to East Hampton.  I have no concerns that a board of decision makers will choose to change the direction of the pounding waves or the structure of the sea.  It comforts me to know that it will be changed only by Mother Nature herself. As I say this, I want to add that I'm also grateful for those who do make decisions to preserve the beauty and history of the place where I grew up.  I applaud the efforts of all involved in maintaining and controlling the integrity of the area. The sea and wonderful. clean, sandy beaches is what draws huge crowds to the Town, and I can honestly say that I understand why.  There is nothing like the beach in East Hampton. I wouldn't trade a tropical one for East Hampton's oceanside, or bayside.  That being said, I'm very content to live here in the shadow of the mountains, and I find that I appreciate the viewing of the ocean even more now than I did when I lived there.

I cannot bring an ocean beach to us, but we can travel across the state to the coast, if we want to. I cannot bring the Canadian geese to our skies, but I can shop for some Lilacs that I've heard will live in this weather. I think I'll do just that!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Don't you hate it when you see children's feelings being hurt by mean children?  I think we've all seen it, or maybe we've been the one that someone is being mean to. I've never understood why meanies get such a thrill over hurting others.

My little granddaughter posed the question last night to her mother, "Why are popular people so mean?"  My daughter replied, "Maybe the greater question is, 'why are mean people popular?"  The poor child is being outcast by some she'd like to be her friends. She would be a friend to all, and doesn't understand their need to ignore her or to show her unkindness in word or deed.  She's too young to be able to walk away and take no stock in it. She's taught that we should all be 'sweet' to other people, to apologize when we've wronged someone, and to think before we speak.  This elementary school occurance doesn't line up with what she's been taught and practices.

Another granddaughter, older and in middle school, was the most delightful, well-loved student in preschool and elementary grades. She was thoughtful and considerate, helpful and kind to everyone. When she moved to middle school, there were those who determined that she should be called names and left out of activities.  At that age, most children want to be 'popular' with their peers, and she, too, had deeply hurt feelings.  After two years of ill treatment, she's standing up for herself. She doesn't speak to them with unkindness, but she will not bow to them, either.  One day she showed her bravery, and perhaps antagonized the situation, by sitting down for lunch at a table where she knew they always sat.  One of the "meanies" told her that it was 'their' table. After looking around, she announced that she didn't see their names anywhere in the area.  They said, "We've sat here since grade school". Her answer was, "Well, I'm sitting here today."  When another student walked by, the "meanie" announced with sarcasm, "You might as well sit at this table. Apparently anyone can sit here!"  The other student didn't sit, but my granddaughter stayed in her seat.

It's so hard for people, young and old, to be treated with such disregard. I hurt for my granddaughters, as I was one of those who received the 'not worthy' status from some kids in school. I was not athletic, so I was always chosen last for every team. I wasn't a cheerleader. I was a part of the school play, but certainly no where near the star of the show.  And, I didn't care about those things, but I did care about the cliques that were very obviously avoiding anyone who wasn't in them.

It doesn't occur only in schools. It seems to be a part of every organization. I would think that by the time people grow to adulthood that they would leave that immature practice behind, but some don't. It may be that they are so self-absorbed that they can't see that a quiet person has something to offer, if asked. Maybe they just want the glory for themselves of doing it 'all' .  I don't know. 

I know only this, that my grandchildren are hurting and that theres's nothing we can do to help them, other than to teach them not to hurt others. It's one of those lessons that comes with the 'school of hard knocks'. It cannot be taught by others. As they live, they will need to make choices to be the kind of people they want to be.  They will have to grow their own 'tough skin' and learn to let things roll off their backs.  But, I also know that it's not an easy lesson to learn.

Monday, May 9, 2011

"G" is for....

Grateful....I am honestly one of the most fortunate people I know of.  While I'm sure that there are others who were born into good, solid families, I hear of so many who weren't.  I was raised by loving parents with their heads screwed on straight, with old-fashioned values, and the ability to correct a child without jeopardizing the respect they deserved.  The phrase, "because I'm your Mother and I said so" was heard by my teenage ears  many times over when I tried to wiggle out of a negative response to one of my requests. Don't get me wrong. There was a good reason for my parents saying 'no' to some of my wants. The word that most often fits that reason is "Protection."   I had pretty smart parents. They knew that what I was asking to do, in my naive youth, could bring me trouble in some way.... so they protected me from that. There were times, when I was a bit older, that I was given permission, and an opportunity to prove that I knew right from wrong. As I made the right choices, I was given more priviledges to exercise my decisions. Rarely did I go against what I was taught.  For that, I'm grateful.

Grandchildren....those little people born to my children. All of my life, my greatest goal was to become a wife and mother. Grandchildren are a bonus! I'm not sure that my goals even included a thought of grandchildren way back then, but once my children began to marry, I began to dream of new  family members to hold and play with and spoil.  We have reached  eight grand-people now.  It is our desire, and yet we hold little hope, that we will have more babies to add to our numbers. We have one more child who may bless us, eventually, with  his offspring, but he seems to be in not-such-a-hurry to settle down.  That is fine, but I hope we'll still have energy enough to play with them by the time he enters fatherhood.   Meanwhile, we enjoy those precious grade schoolers to high schoolers, and miss the baby cuddling and enjoy the sweet, innocent things they say that make us laugh.

Giggles....seven year old Selah recently announced that she knows what she wants to be when she grows up.
When asked by her mother what that would be, Selah said, "a comic stripper."  It sent her Mom into a fit of giggles, which her little girl didn't understand.  Of course, Selah was thinking 'illustrator'....but the double intendre was not lost on her Mom! 

Gardens...Thought it's more difficult these days to do what it takes to have a decent looking garden, I love to see my growing things.  Most of what we plant is perennial blooming things, so there's only weeding and pruning to do. I have one more bed that I'd like to get planted, and that is a bit more work. The weeds need to be decimated, the borders set, the dirt dug (SC red cement-like clay!), and soil placed into the boundaries. Then and only then can we place the plants that patiently wait in their pots. Sometimes they've waited so long that they've sent out roots from the pots and attached themselves to the ground. Still I wonder how the little roots have the ability to penetrate that clay when even a jack hammer would have trouble! 

God.... how good He is to give us such pleasures in life....giggles, gardens and grandchildren. For those and so many other things, my heart gives thanks!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Over the past sixty-three years since I made my entrance into this world, I've learned much from my Mother.
I thought I might share a few of those things.

1) I've learned that our views on things are often quite different, and that it's ok.

2) I've learned that I'm very stubborn, and according to Mom, that I come by it honestly.

3) I've learned to be myself, whoever that is at the moment, but in doing so, I should remember to be compassionate, kind and forgiving.

4) I've learned that nobody's perfect and that everyone has a slightly different idea of perfection.

5) I've learned many crafts...knitting, quilting, crocheting and other wonderful pastimes.

6) I've learned that you cannot make a person be who you want them to be, and to accept each one as they are.

7) I've learned that I don't know everything, and that listening to elders, especially my Mother, can be quite enlightening.

8) I've learned that I'm very fortunate to have been born into the family God gave me.

9) I've learned that I really needed that correction that my parents gave me, even though it wasn't pleasant at the time.

10) I've learned that she did so much for me as I grew up, and I've learned to appreciate that.

11) I've learned that there's no sense in complaining...you just have to change what you can and ride out the things that can't be changed.

12) I've learned that as she ages, she needs me more ...and that it's an honor to be able to help her.

13) I've learned that love grows with time...both her love for me and mine for her.

14)  I've learned that I've learned much from my Mother...and that no matter how old I get...that I still need her.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Another New Look...

I'm having a grand time with these blog decorations!  I think I've found one that I can live with for a few minutes.  But then...we'll see! Again, thank you, Aunt Amelia's Attic for giving me some instruction on this. Without her, I'd still be looking 'blah'.

I've been exploring 'free blog designs' and finding many.  I'm saving the sites, so beware, there will probably be lots of  blog wardrobe changes in the future.

And speaking of wardrobe changes, around the time of the Royal Wedding, I wrote an entry about hats.  Yesterday, after my short cut, I went through my hat box, and I tried them all on.  Since I feel now that my head is too small in proportion to my body, I think I shall add a chapeau on Sunday.  I've an assortment of them, including two 'dressy' ones and many more casual straw ones.  I'll pair them up with proper outfits, and perhaps I'll feel a little more 'balanced.'  Or, because noone else wears hats very often, I may feel even more conspicuous.

Isn't it amazing how terribly prone to vainity we are? We discover it when we are faced with something about our looks that we can't easily accept.  Some of us wear make up to cover age spots or freckles, or just because we think we look better with a layer of something over our own skin.  Some of us color our hair when the first sign of gray appears.  We step on the scale and it shows numbers that are 'too high' according to our thinking, and so we  decide to change that by dieting and/or exercising.  If we are dissatisfied with our wardrobe, we go shopping and we change it.  We make changes because we like changes, even if we think we don't.

It is the same with our homes. We want them to be comfortable, to look cozy and welcoming. We want them to be up-to-date in colors and furnishings.  In our yards, we plant our gardens, which change on their own, according to the seasons and growth patterns of the flowers and bushes we put in. 

Certain changes come with life and others are made by our decisions.  Attitude adjustments, live-changing decisions, physical re-do's or redecorating...none is a bad idea in my opinion.   What do you think,  dear readers?

Thursday, May 5, 2011


It's taken a few days, but I've finally wandered through the rough and ragged paths of technology, jumped through the hoops of Blogger, climbed the mountains of despair, and come out the other side.  No longer am I locked out of my Blog, nor am I told that my password is incorrect.  Good Grief, Charlie Brown!  I thought I was going to have to create an entirely new blog journal using a different and unfamiliar new site.  Thankfully, not!

That being said, my entries today will be more random thoughts.  There's probably something swimming through my mind that would be worthy of tapping out with my dancing fingers on the keyboard, but for the life of me, I'm not able to withdraw it. So, if you will, humor me and be patient!

Yesterday Mike and I helped my friend, Sue, get to the hairdresser.  Sue had slipped a few weeks ago, while having a pleasant afternoon of hiking through the woods and having a picnic with her daughter and her children. When her foot slipped in the leaves, her ankle turned hard and she broke 3 bones in her lower leg. Sue's daughter-the-nurse, and her 14 yr old granddaughter had to drag her back up the slope on their picnic tablecloth, accomplishing the feat in an hour's time.  Suffice it to say, that now that she's home, her leg is braced and she's unable to put weight on it. She's got a walker and a wheelchair, and she's allowed to drive,  but she can't navigate the  exit and entrance to her house without help. There are four steps up and down. Anyway, we were able to get her 'prettified' so that she could have her photo taken for the church directory.  She was happy, and is quite cheerful and determined not to let her limitations slow her down much. 

For the last few weeks, I've been very aware that my hair was 'too long.'  Of course, if Aunt Sis was here, she'd tell me that it looked nice, and that just when it 'starts to look nice, you chop it off.'
Well, it was too long...for me!  So, I went this morning to  "Cutting Loose" and one of the lovely ladies there cut it. No longer is it too long....far from it!  It's now 'too short'....waaaaaaaaaaay too short! But, no use crying of clipped curls. They will grow back, in their time, which will be within weeks. Until then, I'll be pleased that it will not get messed up by the wind or rainy weather. The only thing that will bother it is sleeping on it, but that's easy too. When I wake up looking like a cockatiel, I'll go 'soak my head' and brush it into place. Tada!  Wash and wear hair!

I started a diet the other day...calorie counting.  I'm not good at diets...because all I think about is food. You have to be aware of everything that goes into your mouth when you're trying to lose weight, and I probably can lose more without being on a diet, because I don't constantly think about food!  So far, I'm doing pretty well in my choices, and though today was difficult as I was craving chocolate, I did not give in.  I've  measured portions, checked them against the calorie list, written down everything, and surprisingly, I'm not hungry.  Yay for me....so far.  I have no grand illusions that I'll ever be very slim...I do, after all, have 'chubby genes', but I can get into the habit of eating more healthy choices and portions.

Though I could go on about nothing for hours, I'll wind this up, and hope for better things from inside my naked head tomorrow!  Be well, sleep well...and pleasant dreams, my friends.

Monday, May 2, 2011

the Camper

As I sat on the front porch having conversation with my husband, we discussed going on a camping/bluegrass weekend at a friend's place on a mountain north of here.  We both agreed that our days of tent camping are probably over, as the last time or two we did it, we weren't very comfortable. Sleeping on the ground is never the nicest accommodation, but when you're younger, you can endure anything for a night or two. At our age, now, even the idea of a tent with a queen-sized inflatable bed doesn't thrill us.

We discussed the rental of a camper trailer.  Our Pastor has one that he's trying to sell, and it's much too big, as is it's price tag,  for us to consider buying, but if he would like to rent it for a weekend, we'd go for that.  He has rented/lent it to folks when they've needed it.  It would give us a good shelter, should the weather be less than desireable, and it certainly would provide a nice sleeping arrangement. Because we like to be outside and enjoy cooking out, we'd probably used the camper only for sleeping.  As we discussed all this, one thing led to another, and soon we were remembering another camper in our past.

Years ago, I heard of a pop-up tent trailer for sale on a radio show, we decided to drive to Watermill to investigate. It looked decent enough, though it was an older model. There were some minor repairs to be done that were pretty obvious, but nothing  that required much cash outlay or effort. We made the deal with the owner, and off we went with our trailer, our minds buzzing with dreams for future camping trips.

Time passed, and the camper hadn't had anything done to it, but to raise it now and then to air it out.  We hadn't remembered when we purchased the thing that we'd need a transfer of title of ownership, in order to get license plates for it. It took us a very long time to reach the seller, and when we did, he had no idea where the paperwork was.  It wasn't road ready, so we thought that when it was, we would get some 'lost title' paperwork from the DMV, and go from there.   In the meantime, we'd clean it and talk about what changes we'd make in it...such as recovering all the cushions on the seating. It was old, and though it was clean, it was that wool-like, scratchy, 70's brown plaid upholstery.

A friend came by one day, and looked it over from top to bottom, informing us that the fork from trailer to the pulling hitch had been welded in the past, and none too well. He didn't think it was good for the road. 
That would be an  expensive repair. It also needed two new tires, the ones that were on it were dry and flat at that point.  Disappointment and sensibility put the brakes on our spending any money on it. It seemed that we'd use it just to sleep in for backyard camping. The grandkids would get a kick out of that.

Since two of our grandkids lived with us, we decided one night that we'd 'camp out'.  Kimberly was about four years old then, and she was an excited little camper. It would be a great chance to find out how she'd fare in a real camping situation.  Her baby sister stayed in the house with their Mom for the night.  As luck would have it, a thunderstorm came through during the night, and it kept me awake for most of the time Kimberly and her Papa slept. Not just the noise kept me awake... but a cool dripping of water on my foot was like Chinese torture.  In the morning, we discovered that there was another leak in the roof, just near the ceiling light. A puddle on the floor beneath the fixture proved that point.

Suffice it to say that there was little camping done, even in the backyard, using that trailer.  When we moved here, we certainly weren't going to drag it with us. The fate of the trailer turned out to be the junkyard.  As we remembered this time in our life, my husband pointed out that he's always having fits if he has to pay $100 a night for motels on trips, and he'd spent a whopping $300 on a camper which was slept in twice, in our driveway!  We got a good laugh out of it...and I was once again reminded that it doesn't pay to be as thrifty as all that. "You get what you pay for" comes to mind, but I kept the thought to myself!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Have you ever collected Autographs?  No, I don't mean those of classmates and family, in a book made for that purpose, thought I have two of those from my teen years.  I'm thinking more of signatures from celebreties or famous people that have made their way  into your presence.

When I was cleaning out a box one day, I discovered a few slips of paper which bore the names of Roy Scheider, Robert Morse, and Paul McCartney.  Mr. Scheider was an actor, best known for his role in the movie "Jaws".  Robert Morse is an actor who's been on Broadway, TV and in movies.  Most everyone knows who Paul McCartney is, and since he is the most famous, and my favorite autograph giver, I'll share the story of how I obtained his signature.

It was 1978, I believe. I had  my 4 year old, Amy, with me. Since she was the only one of my five children who were with me, I'm thinking we might have been to her eye doctor appointment. On the way home from whereever we'd been, we stopped at a department store, Woolco, in the Bridgehampton shopping center. As we approached the entrance of the store, there was a crowd of people there, and one of them told me that Paul McCartney, and his wife, Linda were in the store. I didn't believe it!  They pointed out a wood-sided station wagon which was parked in the fire zone and I was told it was the singers' car.

Amy and I went into the store, and spotted Paul and Linda in the check out line, with a large orange foot locker.  I took Amy's hand, and we went back outside as I told her that he was a famous singer and that we had some of his music at home. She knew who the Beatles were, even at the young age. I asked her to watch the door, and when she saw the man with the big 'orange suitcase' come out, to yell, "Hi Paul McCartney!"  (oh! the things that mothers put their kids up to at times!)  So, being my good little girl, she did just that when the couple came outside.

Paul decided he'd play this game with Amy. He walked toward us, in the direction of his car, as he turned his head from side to side, pretending to look for the little voice who had said his name. As he did, he said, "Paul McCart-en-eee, Paul McCart-en-eee, WHERE'S Paul McCart-en-eee?" saying it just the way Amy had.  He bent down low, so he was eye to eye with Amy, as she hid behind my legs and looked over her glasses at Paul. He said, "Are youuuuuuuuu Paul McCart-en-eee?"  She continued to look over her glasses at him, while she shook her head and pointed to him.  He stood up, and stood in front of me smiling. I stammered, "I used to be one of your biggest fans" (meaning when he was a Beatle...I hadn't gotten into the music of his current group, "Wings".) DUH...how dumb did I look?!  He grinned, understanding my nervousness, and he joked, " Used to be? USED to be?!  Well, don't stop NOW!" I said something like, "of course I won't!" and he handed me his autograph!  Siiiiiiigh....what a sweet memory!

 I once asked Alan Alda for his signature. He was shopping in the IGA in Bridgehampton when I saw him that day. I'd let two other opportunities pass when I'd seen him earlier that year, and I wasn't going to let this one go with a try.  So, when he was standing in the aisle, reading the ingredients on a box of cereal, I approached him, shyly and respectfully asked, "Excuse me, Mr. Alda, I wonder if I might have your autograph?"  He looked down his nose, over his half-lensed glasses, and said, "I'm sorry, I don't give autographs, but I will shake your hand."  Well, ok, I thought, I'll take what I can get.  I had seen many of his movies and liked watching him on tv on "Mash" and I was somewhat disappointed that I couldn't get that little slip of paper with his name on it.

But, I also understand that these are just regular people are doing a job which makes them famous. They may want to live as normally as other people do, but they're often hounded by fans or photographers. It must get annoying at times.  On the other hand, they make a good deal of money at what they do, and it is because of the fans that they are paid so well for their work.  So, they must expect this following of theirs and not expect to live peacefully when they're 'big name' people.

Ah well, I've not seen a famous person in many years, and even when I did while I lived in the resort area where many would vacation or reside, I left them alone.  I suppose I'd outgrown the desire to collect signatures, or maybe I felt that I'd reached the ultimate in the procurring of Paul McCartney's autograph! I still treasure it, but one day it will find it's way into Amy's scrapbook with the written memory I have of that day.  She knows, today, who he is, but does not remember  that afternoon.