coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Those darn cookies

Christmas Eve is always my favorite time part of the holiday, and this one was especially festive and fun. We went to our daughter's house for a lovely dinner and good cheer. Hilarity ensued. The grandkids wore matching pajamas. Everyone was happy. I've experienced Christmas Eve 71 times, and on a scale from 1 to 10, I'd give this a 10.

On Christmas Day they came here for a mid-afternoon meal and presents. That was also a good time, despite the fact that most of us were up by 5 a.m. and needed a nap. My only issue is that no one ate even one of my cookies. Not one. So that's it. I'm done making a ridiculous variety of Christmas cookies. Done, I tell you! 

To be fair, my daughter makes cookies, too. I imagine they were sick of sweets by mid-afternoon on Christmas Day. All the more reason to pass the torch to the next generation in future years. There comes a time, and all that.  

Now they are all staring at me, waiting to be eaten.
I feel kind of sorry for them.  

Thursday, December 22, 2022

A beautiful day

I had a beautiful day yesterday. 

It was cold enough that I could stay in bed with a quilt on top of me. That's a lovely way to wake up, and rare in Central Florida. I made the most of it.

A friend gave me an online Jacquie Lawson JL Sussex Advent Calendar 2022.*  Checking on the day's surprises is the very first thing I do each morning. I watch the daily presentation, then find the day's elf (who does his little elf dance when I tag him), and check the special room to see what present there is for me to open. Yesterday it was an online puzzle! Such fun. I'll miss it come Monday!

I picked up the two grandkids at 12:45 pm, and we went to the movies to see Puss in Boots. We bought french fries. I was in heaven sitting there with the two of them. Every once in a while N would lean his head on my shoulder. Like I said, heaven! E is home from college, and it is amazing how calm it makes me knowing she is home.

Later, Tom and I went out to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. I had chicken mole, he had a beef burrito. We both had one of their signature margaritas, they are very tasty.  

And today I have leftover chicken mole in the fridge. I might eat it for breakfast. Oh geez, I had to go and google it because I'm an idiot. So many calories! Luckily I have a short memory.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Reflecting on Nancy, 2 years after her death

A million years ago I worked with Nancy. Old enough to be my mother, I was her supervisor. She was the first person I ever supervised. 

A gently bred Virginian, she followed her academic husband up north. She was a pianist, a classical music aficionado, a music teacher. Like many women of her generation, she eschewed career goals to be a stay at home mother. 

When her husband left for another woman, he assumed Nancy wouldn't be able to keep the large family home or care for their 5 children. He offered to take them instead, him and his new wife. Well, that did it! Nancy found a job. She worked to keep her children and the family home. She took in borders to supplement her income. She kept the kids and that big, aging, elegant house. When she related this story to me, years after the fact, her eyes were on fire.

When she died, I sent sympathy cards to each of her children. I didn't hear back from her only son. On the 2nd anniversary of her death, he replied. He'd refused to open the card out of deep grief, waiting until he was emotionally prepared to read it. Two years he waited! 

This is what I sent back to him:

Your mother was a wonder to me. Her passion for music, her children, and THAT HOUSE was remarkable. She was like that at work, too. She didn't just work with someone, she got to know them. She paid attention. She drew conclusions. She cared, often deeply. The faculty, staff, and students loved her.  

She could be stubborn, of course. I'll never forget how I bought her a new computer and she let it sit for a year until I worked up the courage to force her to learn how to use it. Yes, you get that from her.  

She would have understood and been a bit in awe of your decision to postpone reading that sympathy card/note for two years. A love, a loss, a pain so deep - well, she knew all that only too well. I'm actually consulting a thesaurus for the right word to use to describe her passion for the things and people she loved. It's a struggle to come up with the right word. Maybe intensity with a splash of rage? At her best, she was stunning.  

She surrounded her desk with postcards she received
from students and faculty over the years.


Saturday, December 10, 2022

What, this again?

For the past 24 hours the tree has been up and the lights have been strung. I'm almost sure I will summon the energy required to put the ornaments on later today. 

I'm in good shape for Christmas. Most of our shopping is done, cards are out, packages ready to be mailed, outside lights strung, and soon the tree will be decorated. Then maybe I will relax and sleep all night again. It's all so much. Too much, really. 

I'm having a great time exploring recipes for possible Christmas bakes. I almost made my mother's fruit cake, but then I didn't. Too late now. 

We'll certainly make the cut-out cookies, overloaded with colored icings. Making and decorating these have been a part of our Christmas tradition since the dawn of (our) time. The grandkids are looking forward to this venerable cookie event. I am, too. This year we are making them gluten-free. Wish me luck.

Every year I say this is the last year I'm sending cards, but still I send them. It's kind of like when I say today is the day I won't have a second glass of wine. All good intentions until the time comes.


Never perfect, always too sweet, but still my family's favorite

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Talk that talk

Did you know there are 24 regions of American English? Not only do we pronounce things quite differently, but we have different words we use for "things." I came across this great article about it:

I have a Chicago Urban accent, even though I was born about 80 miles east. I say pajamas with the middle part sounding like jam. Does that put you off?

We often don't trust or respect each other if our accents or word choices are different. When I moved to New York State, I had to learn to talk differently. If I didn't, people in NYS would assume my IQ was lower than it actually is. I kid you not! Ask any Southerner, they get judged the hardest. But then again, they judge right back. 

Within each dialect there are upper and lower class differentiations. There are racial and ethnic distinctions as well. Judging each other based on preconceived nonsense is the national pastime. Human beings are a cruel bunch.  

In my heart, my mind, my dreams, I loudly talk Chicago Urban with a whole lotta slang. I'm "in your face" proud of it. I'm never more relaxed than when I'm talking to my people from South Bend.  

If I have written about this before, please don't judge me too harshly.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Fly home, little bird

When I wrote this (before the holiday), my granddaughter E was in the air making her way home for Thanksgiving.  It was the first time she flew alone. She is 18. Her first flight left at 6:00 am. I was up at 5:30 to text and make sure she made that early damn flight, because I'm a worry wart and an anxious freak. She did, no problems. 

It reminds me of my first solo air travel. I was also 18, making my way from Chicago to San Francisco. My friends picked me up in South Bend and drove me to O'Hare airport in Chicago. When I said goodbye to my mother, I clung to her and cried. All it would have taken for me to stay was for her to ask me to. But instead, in her greater wisdom she said "This is what you want, go do it." So I did.  

Me in San Francisco, 1970, turning 19

Friday, November 25, 2022

Murray the Cat: Hide and Seek

Grandson N came over after school today. The first thing we did was play hide and seek out back. I was it. I counted to 20. When I opened my eyes and walked out to look for N and Tom, I saw Murray the Cat sitting at the edge of the large split leaf philodendron, sniffing and crying. I walked over and spied N behind it. I tagged him. Then I said, “Murray, where is Tom?”  

First he jumped up in the air with pure joy. Then he slowly walked to the opposite part of the yard where he stopped in front of a large needle palm, behind which I could see Tom’s back end sticking out. Tagged him, too. Thank you, Murray. Good boy.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Birthright? part II

How many people see creativity is their birthright? Who assumes it is forbidden fruit, out of reach, not there for people like them? Who feels a creative moment must be stolen when no one's looking, especially when no one's looking?

I think creativity IS our birthright. There are so many ways to be creative, not just the arts. We all have certain gifts. Some lucky dogs have the means to develop those gifts. Some poor souls don't, unless by some inexplicable act of cosmic grace they are presented with an opportunity and run with it. This is the stuff of legend. 

Others do not get an opportunity, for an infinite variety of reasons. Then there are people who have the means but waste their talents.  Why? 

You say with blinding arrogance "Why didn't they pick themselves up by their own bootstraps?" Really? You know that's physically impossible, right? Show me a successful person and I'll show you a person who had some sort of help along the way. Even if it was only a teacher who encouraged you, an employer who took a chance and hired you, a grandmother who whispered affirmations in your ear. Or maybe you're one of those lucky dogs who ran smack dab into that inexplicable freaking opportunity referred to above? 

Still, I'm writing from privilege, aren't I? There are places where hope has no home. Try to imagine. Little wonder that there are so many angry, bitter people. What a sinful waste of talent exists in a world of haves and have nots.  

Is it naive to hope for a world where each and every one of us could expect to reach our creative potential? Of course it is. But still, I hope for that better world. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Birthright? part I

I'm in the midst of a New Yorker article about Emma Thompson and I need to come up for air. It's one of those articles so dense and chewy you never want it to end. 

Thompson has had a full life, complete with joy and sorrow. She's bright, articulate, hard working, funny, creative; absolutely amazing, really. What strikes me is how matter-of-fact she is. What she is missing is anxiety, the absence of which is stunning. 

Emma's had bad things happen, everyone has. She reacts appropriately to any given situation, then moves on. I could be wrong, but I don't think she has spent significant time cowering in the recesses of her psyche, damaged and anticipating the worst. How did she escape that? Or does she just do a good job of hiding that part of herself? 

Perhaps it's that she was born into a family of actors? She had parents who valued intelligent expression, encouraged an appreciation of comedy, and were of reasonably comfortable means. They were supportive of her. Having "enough" money helps. Knowing one will have the means to achieve a dream IF one has the talent must be comforting. Creativity would seem like your birthright. My shoulders relax just imagining.  

And I begin to think.

Thursday, November 10, 2022


Another ridiculously heartbreaking Florida election cycle, and then a late season hurricane two days later.  Need I say more?  

Monday, November 7, 2022

Hungarian Goulash!

My brother, Big D, came for dinner last night.  He was on a business trip and stopped over to visit. We grew up in a super ethnic enclave in South Bend, Indiana, with a Hungarian bakery, businesses, etc. Our church was Our Lady of Hungary, which offered the early morning mass in Hungarian. My four younger siblings went to Our Lady's parochial school. Although we are not that ethnicity, growing up there introduced us to an amazing Eastern European cuisine. Of course I made Hungarian Goulash for dinner. It was fabulous.  Here's the recipe:


3 pounds beef, I use thick cut of lean beef, like round

1 onion, sliced

2 – 3 cloves of garlic, split in two

3 Tablespoons paprika (Hungarian sweet style - see photo)

1 small can of tomato paste (6 oz equals 170 g)

4 - 5 potatoes, peeled. Cut into 1 ½ - 2 inch chunks

5 carrots, scraped and cut about an inch thick

bay leaf

hot water - almost to a boil

salt, pepper


Cut excessive fat off meat and cut meat into 1 ½  to 2 inches cubes.*  

Roll meat cubes in mix of flour, salt, and pepper to coat. Brown meat in skillet. Transfer browned meat to slow cooker.  

While browning, put a  3 qt. (2.8 liter) pot of water on stove to heat. 

After removing meat, pour some heated water to the skillet, and stir in a bit of salt/pepper/paprika to flavor the juice in the pan.  

Add 2/3 can of tomato paste to the rest of the water left in the heated pot, and stir. Add salt/pepper/paprika.

Add both skillet juice and tomato paste/hot water over the meat in the slow cooker - enough to fully cover the meat and make it soupy.  

Add sliced onion, bay leaf, and split garlic pieces. Add another tablespoon of Hungarian paprika. Then cover and simmer on low for 6 hours in slow cooker.  

Add carrot pieces about an hour after you put the meat in the cooker.  

Add potatoes about an hour after you add the carrots. 

Salt and pepper to taste.

I confess I probably use more than 3 TBS

Saturday, October 29, 2022

New clothes

I've been on a spending spree since warm weather clothes went on sale. I wear warm weather clothes for at least 10 months of the year, so fall sales are when I buy! 

I desperately needed new t-shirts. I tend to wear clothes until they fall apart. Not out of any philosophical imperative, but because I am lazy and I hate to shop. Plus, I'm uncomfortable with new clothes. Unless they are 100% perfect in my eyes and on my body, I tend to let them hang in my closet and "age." Sometimes they never get old enough. It's weird, I know. Just one of my many charming neurotic quirks.  

Consequently, when I find something I like I usually order more of them. I just ordered a t-shirt I quite love, so I ordered two more. All in the same color because that was the only one left in my size. I toy with the idea of wearing a standard uniform for the rest of my life. This shirt and a pair of cropped jeans would do.

It's such a great shirt.  I felt comfortable in it immediately.  

My messy closet.  The first one on the left (navy blue) is the one I just ordered three of.  The red shirt has been hanging in there for at least 4 years.  I've never worn it.  The blue flowered shirt have been aging for over a year.  

Saturday, October 22, 2022


When I was a child in the 1950s, and a tween/teen in the 1960s, birthday celebrations were low key. In my family you got a homemade cake, and your favorite meal. Candles were lit, the song was sung, and one felt special. We didn't get presents. That probably sounds harsh, but it didn't feel that way. Being acknowledged was enough. It's all about the food, y'all!   

My childhood birthday meal was always stuffed cabbage with mashed potatoes, and a white cake with vanilla frosting. I'd still choose that as my birthday meal if cake was a requirement. 

Now I'd prefer fruit pie, or hey! maybe pecan pie. However, our Orlando area grandkids prefer white cake with vanilla frosting, so that's what I ask for. With vanilla ice cream, for crying out loud. One really must have a decorated birthday cake with lit candles when children are present. When they grow up and there is no longer a need for candles or cake, I will demand pecan pie. Or maybe peach. Cherry?  

Last year my daughter and husband asked what I wanted as a present. I replied "BBQ potato chips, a whole bag all to myself." They laughed, but I wasn't kidding. If I could have a whole bag all to myself, I would be so freakin' happy. I hate to share, don't you?

What would you like to eat on your birthday?

Monday, October 10, 2022

Tremen State Park, NYS

I just returned from a fairly short visit to the Finger Lakes region of New York State.  Ithaca to be exact.  I wasn't there long enough to see everyone I love, which is always hard.  One day we went to Upper Tremen, a spectacular section of Tremen State Park.  It's one of three amazing State Parks in Tompkins County, NY.  Here are some photos you may enjoy.


Friday, September 30, 2022


We are safe and sound and lucky as all get out. My heart goes out to all the people who weren't lucky. What devastation this hurricane has brought to parts of the Gulf Coast! 

My husband is taking the plywood off the outside of the bedroom window and I write this. Soon I'm going to drive over to our daughter's house (about 15 minutes away) to see if they got their power back, or if they want to come and stay with us until they do. Yesterday they said no. Since I haven't heard from them today, my assumption is their power is still off and their devices have run down. Surely young N will want to spend a day watching TV and playing video games? 

Their power went out for them about 11:30 pm as the storm hit Central Florida hard late Wednesday night. Ten year old N sent me a text after midnight with only one word, "Grandma." I didn’t read it when he sent it because I was asleep. Saw it about 1:30 am when I got up to check on things. Broke my heart.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Laundry and all that

I'm sick of doing laundry. Every single week, you know? It gets old. I don't mind organizing laundry and putting loads in the washing machine; however, I hate taking the clothes out of the dryer and folding them. Then you have to put them in the right drawers or closet! There's no end to it.  

It could be worse. When we still worked I ironed my husband's shirts every weekend. It was a labor of love. I never enjoyed it. I remember a professor whose wife refused to iron his shirts. Instead of ironing them himself, he wore them wrinkled. It isn't that I wasn't sympathetic to his wife, she was a working woman. I knew my husband would do the same. No way was I going to let him go to work looking rumpled. My choice.   

Retirement is a simpler life. Better in so many ways (e.g., t-shirts). I guess I shouldn't complain. In fact, writing this pet peeve post means I'm going to go get the sheets and jeans out of the dryer, where they've been sitting for 3 days, quietly waiting.  

And it seems we might have a hurricane hit Florida next week. I really should do as much laundry as I can before the power goes out.  

Don't judge me unless you've folded fitted sheets

Tuesday, September 13, 2022


A commonly repeated theme in my dream life is signing up for classes and then just not showing up.  For some reason, I don't take the trouble to drop the classes, I just stop going.  Sometimes (in my dream) I wonder if I should just show up for the final exam, but I've never read the materials.  It's very unsettling.  

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Poetry in emails

A dear friend sends me poetry via email. Not poems she has written, but poems she finds and likes. I must admit at first I thought,"What the hell?" But then I started reading them, ha! What a joy.  

I often struggle to relax enough to read. Anything. I'm not kidding. I do read, but I have to wrestle with an angel first. Concentration is something I earn. A good story helps.   

Forget about meditating, it's just not gonna happen. So, receiving poems from her is good for my immortal soul. Perhaps there is balm in Gilead?  

Here's the latest.  

Future Plans

When I am an old, old woman I may very well be
living all alone like many another before me
and I rather look forward to the day when I shall have
a tumbledown house on a hill top and behave
just as I wish to. No more need to be proud—
at the tag end of life one is at last allowed
to be answerable to no one. Then I shall wear
a shapeless felt hat clapped on over my white hair,
sneakers with holes for the toes, and a ragged dress.
My house shall be always in a deep-drifted mess,
my overgrown garden a jungle. I shall keep a crew
of cats and dogs, with perhaps a goat or two
for my agate-eyed familiars. And what delight
I shall take in the vagaries of day and night,
in the wind in the branches, in the rain on the roof!
I shall toss like an old leaf, weather-mad, without reproof.
I’ll wake when I please, and when I please I shall doze;
whatever I think, I shall say; and I suppose
that with such a habit of speech I’ll be let well alone
to mumble plain truth like an old dog with a bare bone.

Our great granddaughter is one of my role models 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Do you have the time?

I have a short attention span.  When I was a kid, I used to entertain myself by reading encyclopedias. When I'm bored its fun just learning things quickly and in short spurts. Now I entertain myself by asking google just about anything.  

I was thinking about “time” this morning, the concept of time, that is.  I googled “time” and here are some of the things that came up.

How old is concept of time?

Artifacts from the Paleolithic suggest that the moon was used to reckon time as early as 6,000 years ago. Lunar calendars were among the first to appear, with years of either 12 or 13 lunar months (either 354 or 384 days).

Time - Wikipedia

Who created the time?

The Egyptians broke the period from sunrise to sunset into twelve equal parts, giving us the forerunner of today's hours. As a result, the Egyptian hour was not a constant length of time, as is the case today; rather, as one-twelfth of the daylight period, it varied with length of the day, and hence with the seasons.

About time - Mathematical Association of America

Is time an illusion?
According to theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli, time is an illusion: our naive perception of its flow doesn't correspond to physical reality. Indeed, as Rovelli argues in The Order of Time, much more is illusory, including Isaac Newton's picture of a universally ticking clock.Apr 16, 2018

The illusion of time - Nature › articles

What is time made of?

Time comes from every particle within our bodies, including our DNA that is made of these same atoms and particles. Time is the frequency of longitudinal energy waves. However, time is not constant. It changes with motion.

What is Time? – EWT - Energy Wave Theory

Does the past exist?

Events in the past and in the future do not exist. The only reality, the only thing that is real, is the present. This idea is called Presentism. This idea, however, runs into some serious problems when you start taking into account relativity.Nov 10, 2019

Are The Past And Future Real? The Physics And Philosophy Of Time

Can we travel back in time?

Time travel to the past is theoretically possible in certain general relativity spacetime geometries that permit traveling faster than the speed of light, such as cosmic strings, traversable wormholes, and Alcubierre drives.

Time travel - Wikipedia

It goes on and on with questions and concepts.  Really fun.  

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Roof Rats and Palm Trees

We are in the habit of leaving our cat, Murray, outside for a while after dinner/supper (your choice, depending on where you are from) until we go to bed at night. Our back yard is fenced in, and he hasn't shown interest in venturing beyond. He loves being out there alone in the dark.

We let him out if he wants to, of course. He's in charge of us. I wish I could say he is a benevolent master, but he's not. He's self-centered and quite demanding. You know the type!

He killed a rat the other evening. It was his first big "kill" and he was very excited, absolutely beside himself. It was the first time I've seen a rat in our yard, so I was both pleased and horrified over the "kill." It's complicated. In all sincerity, I apologize to all the soft-hearted rodent lovers out there. I'm afraid I would make a terrible Buddhist.  

We had noticed he's recently been obsessed after dark, sitting at the bottom of our palm trees in the back yard, looking up and stalking "something." 

It was a roof rat. Apparently, they are especially fond of living in palm trees. Notice my wishful thinking in pretending it was just one roof rat? We'll see.

"Call them what you want–roof rats, fruit rats, black rats–but they’re all the same thing. These are the same rats that spread bubonic plague and fleas. They’ve been with humans for centuries, and throughout that time, they’ve been less than ideal house guests. Rats spread far more diseases than the frightening Black Death, though. Others include murine typhus, salmonella, rat-bite fever, and leptospirosis, to name only a few."

Murray "Murder Mouth" the Cat - my hero


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Mowing the lawn

My husband is old school. At 70, we still mow our own lawn because he "can mow his own damn lawn." I like his spirit, and I like doing yard work alongside him. He mows. I edge.  

We never "edged" a lawn before we moved here. We didn't need to up north, where actual lawn grass is grown. Here in Central Florida, that soft, lush northern grass won't grow. There are specific grasses passing for lawn grass here. St. Augustine grass comes to mind. 

We don't care about the perfect lawn. In fact, we wish it would dry up and blow away. The grass in our lawn grows sideways, not straight up. The blades shoot up, but the plant has woody roots that grow to the side. That's why edging is required. If we didn't edge, our grass would creep over the sidewalks and into the street. The homeowners association and our neighbors would pitch a fit, for sure.

And then there is the hidden cost of "taking care of your own damn lawn" in Central Florida. While mowing today, my husband had a Cuban tree frog jump on him, mowed over a fire ant nest (getting numerous fire ant bites), and was stung by a yellow jacket. 

Florida is not for the timid.  

Never fear, the white stuff is sand blown up by the lawn mower.

I pull this piece of grass out of the ground.  They get really long.

Grass and weeds growing over a square concrete slab.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Buying shoes for the boy

I offered to buy new school shoes for grandson, N. 

I struggle figuring out things like the right size, what's cool, what's appropriate. A couple of years ago I took him shopping alone for new shoes and got shoes that were way too big. The parents had to take them back to exchange them.  

My daughter, M, was supposed to go with N and me to the shoe store, but she was sick. So I took him alone. Again. Surely they knew it wasn't a good idea, right?

As always with N and Grandma, it quickly became a comedy of errors. For some reason (COVID?) the store had removed all the metal shoe measures. Instead, they pointed us to diagrams on the floor where you put your foot down and try to guess what size you are. I don't want to guess. I want to know. 

Twice I kindly asked an employee to go get me the metal measure. He said he would, but he never did. Remember when there were actual shoe salespeople who fit a child for shoes? Not anymore. It's all a guessing game now. No service, no metal measures, no help. Just N and me squabbling. 

N liked the first pair he saw. Adidas high tops. Based on the guessing game, he tried a few sizes on. I went with the smaller size, as he said they were comfortable. We bought them and I took him home.

Surprise, surprise, they were an entire size too big. His father took him back to the store to exchange them. He made N look around and try on other shoes. They ended up getting two pairs for the price I paid for the way too big shoes. N seems happy.  

I refuse to take him shoe shopping alone in the future. 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, July 2022

Yesterday, Tom and I went on the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, and then on to the city of Mount Dora for Cuban food. It was a much needed distraction from reality. This is some of what we saw along the drive.

A big guy in the water on a hot, humid day

a cute little marsh rabbit, minding his own business

A shot along the canal, such beauty sustains me

Egret, fishing no doubt

a scrappy female grackle

A raccoon, just walking by

a great egret being chased away by a heron

The heron, triumphant

The big payoff, eating picadillo (me) and grouper salteado (Tom) at the Copacobana in Mt. Dora. There are so many interesting things on the menu, but my heart belongs to picaddillo. I can't bring myself to order anything else.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Expressing sympathy is hard

Any effort to connect and console a person undergoing grief is amazingly helpful. Social media now allows for immediacy and increased contact. I'm not one who thinks that is a bad thing.  I'm one who has been relying on FB more and more.  I will continue to do so.  We appreciated every heart, tear, and caring emoji, as well as the kind comments. It's a beautiful thing, love and caring.

We received a few sympathy cards via snail mail recently. 

In the future, in addition to the helpful immediacy of social media I will also send a sympathy card. I'll stop worrying about being perfect, and I'll just try to connect. I must admit I had forgotten how potent and magically personal sympathy cards are. We live and learn.

I still remember a card we received from our friend Salli back in 1995, when my brother Fred died in a car accident. What will always stay with me was when she wrote "I don't know why these terrible things happen, I only know they do." I'm not sure why that meant so much, but it did. Maybe because it was an honest sentiment?  

We received the following from a friend, Marianne, who has had her share of loss. Some may prefer a more formal declaration of sympathy; however, this was absolutely perfect for Tom and me. This is exactly how we felt about losing our granddaughter, Melanie.