Saturday, November 24, 2007

Something to consider as we select Christmas gifts this year.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I've shared our view before so here's an example of late autumn. Yesterday we had temps in the high 70s and today we're enjoying more seasonal 40s. The sun sparkles off the leaves which I can't quite capture and the colors truly are spectacular.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

11/16/07, 6:15 p.m. -- he's gone. . . ..

. . . the man who. . . . . . cradled my head against his chest during painful ear-aches and rocked me til my crying stopped. . . . allowed me to help him with home improvement projects when I was as young as 8 years old. . . . blew bubbles inside of bubbles with gum my brother and I collected on Halloween. . . . made me giggle with pride at the Girl Scouts father and daughter square dance. . . . bought a rag-top Rambler, painted it flat black, installed glass packs and took us for rides under viaducts so we could hear it rumble. . . . built a special sled so that he could take his babies for walks in the snow. . . . commuted 64 miles round-trip so that his family could have a carefree life in the suburbs. . . . believed I was pretty. . . . smiling with pride, pinned a corsage of tiny, pink roses on the pink satin and lace dress Mom made for my 8th grade graduation. . . . tried to teach me to drive stick-shift. (Mom finished the job.) . . . forgave me for hitting a curb and flattening a tire while learning to drive stick-shift. . . . hid his sadness when he and Mom delivered me to college. . . . got the family home safely during a bad thunderstorm when the brakes went out and all he had was the old-style twist and yank hand brake. . . . kept five siblings from killing each other. . . . hand-crafted a piano bench for me out of walnut and oak from Mt. Vernon. . . . shared a crying towel with me the day his mother died in our house. . . . drove thousands of miles with whining, cranky children on numerous memorable, family vacations. . . . kept his silence when I fell for the wrong man -- three times! . . . resuscitated the family dog --twice -- after heart attacks. . . . melted my heart when he turned and said, "I love you" as he walked me to my marriage ceremony. My Dad influenced my life and many more in ways he probably never realized. He challenged all of us to do and be our best and served as our example, protector, disciplinarian, comforter, and loving Dad and Poppy to his children and grandchildren. His wife/our Mom always came first and was his best friend, lover and mainstay for more than 62 years. Rest in peace, Paw.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Circling the Wagons

During the great migration to the frontiers west of the Mississippi, settlers circled their huge Conestoga wagons or Prairie Schooners, to protect themselves at night and when danger approached. The same sort of thing is happening in my family. Only in our case, we are trying to provide a circle of love and comfort as death approaches one of our members. I struggle with needing to be there and not wanting to make a scene. All of us are trying to keep our emotions at bay, but they're just under the calm surface we work so hard to maintain. I will go.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways , but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.

We've added years to life not life to years.

We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.

We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.

We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less.

We've learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.

A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it.

A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.Give time to love, give time to speak!

And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

If you don't send this to at least 8 people....Who cares?
--George Carlin
[George was considered a radical comedian in the 60s, 70s, and 80s and his "comedy" always hit the nail on the head. He's still brilliant!]

Friday, November 9, 2007

Just Keep Breathing

Despite the muffled hum of traffic, the only sounds penetrating the stunned silence are the soft cadence of a little clock and my mother's voice echoing in my head -- hospice. We knew the time would come, but kept pushing it farther and farther away. Just yesterday Janet and I planned the menu for Thanksgiving dinner at Mom and Dad's. Today I pray that we'll all still be together by then. Tears sting my eyes at the thought. During the last several weeks, I've found myself randomly weeping. Guess I'm still trying to prepare myself for the inevitable. I read somewhere that tears carry away toxins, so I let them flow when I'm alone. The weather seems to match my mood -- chilly, cloudy and still. Where do we go from here. . .. . one day at a time.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Cinnamon Pie -- Sin on a Pie Plate

People must have done strange things to get through the Great Depression. The following recipe is purportedly one popular during those dark days. It's a once-a-year kinda dessert in our house because it's so rich. But, oh, is it good! 1 10" unbaked, deep-dish pie shell 4 eggs, beaten 2 Tbs. ground cinnamon 2 Tbs. flour 2 Tbs. butter, softened 2 cups of sugar (the reason it's a once-a-year treat!) 1 cup of water Preheat oven to 375. Whisk everything together, in order (you can use a blender) then pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake for 40 minutes. It will set up when it cools. If you really want to gild the lily, top with whipped or iced cream.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Golden Rule for the 21st Century

The original Golden Rule says simply that one should treat others as one would like to be treated. Indications are that it may have slipped from the minds of today's tech-savvy, competitive types, thus a few hints: Rather than telling someone not to forget something, suggest that he remember something -- it's kinder. Remember to take your glasses rather than don't forget your glasses. Excuse me, please and thank you are not terms that indicate weakness; they are linguistic, social lubricants. Please use them. Rather than bumping into someone on the sidewalk, stairs or wherever one is perambulating while engaged in important conversation ("wuddaryagonnawear?"), take notice of approaching pedestrians, step aside and continue on your way. Rather than leaning on your car horn when you think another driver has done something offensive, such as pulling in front of one's own auto, let your blood pressure stay at a reasonable level and know that the dastardly driver's pressure is probably up from driving like a maniac and he/she will no doubt die from a stroke! THERE'S your revenge. When one's spouse/partner/roomate takes out the trash, thank him or her -- it's a dirty job. If one lives in an apartment building, put trash down the chute provided for it. You'll make everyone on your floor happy because fewer bugs, mice and rats will come looking for eats. Regardless of where you are, if you make a mess, clean it up. Other people and animals will appreciate it and you can be proud of yourself for making the world a better, maybe even safer place. Speaking of pride, watch for the pitfalls of taking pride in the wrong things; example: one's freshly couffed hairdo on a rainy day. Being poked in the face by the umbrella of someone who won't tip hers enough to get past someone else with an umbrella makes for bad feelings, possible injury and maybe a lawsuit. Men and boys who comment on the appearance of ladies with whom they are not acquainted prove that they have yet to evolve past their knuckle-dragging, grunting, hairy ancestors. Perhaps (just perhaps) they would view their behavior differently if it was their mothers, daughters, sisters or girlfriends being subjected to the same comments. Empathy and sympathy could be powerful tools if more of us practiced using them. Social skills are crucial whether one is attempting to get a job or propose marriage. Again, it's the linguistic, social lubrication that helps one get the desired results. Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you actually works!