coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

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.  

Friday, July 22, 2022

Scarlet Hibiscus Time

One of our favorite Florida wildflowers, Scarlet Hibiscus, is in bloom.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

When a young woman dies in Kentucky

So often when you lose someone to an untimely death you ask why? Right now I'm screaming it from the mountain top.

Tom and I lost one of our grandchildren this week to a car accident. Melanie was one of Tom's grandchildren; however, I claimed her and her two siblings as my mine, too. We both loved her with all of our hearts. We only knew her and her amazing family since 2017, when Tom found his oldest daughter, her mother Robin, through DNA testing.

I first met her at a restaurant at City Walk, Universal in Orlando in July 2017. It was the only time our whole family was together. It was when my husband met his daughter R, and our daughter, M, met her sister. We were all so happy.

Her mother told me (in front of Melanie) that Melanie had helped organize a women's march at her college, and that she refused to wear make-up or shave her legs. I looked Melanie in the eye and said, "You're for me!" She smiled in that Melanie way, that smile that lit up the world.
She was only 25. She was brilliant, a Fulbright Scholar, a feminist, both logical and fierce in her quiet ways. I thought we had so much more time.

Sunday, June 19, 2022


I just read a post by 37th Dream/Rumors of Peace about friends of hers in 1967. She posted their senior pictures. I am in love with the hairstyles from the 1960s. They were so sleek and straight and gorgeous. Think Marianne Faithful or Patty Boyd. I also liked earlier teased (and sprayed) hairstyles with the perfect flip. And bangs. Geez-o-freakin' Pete! What I had to do to make my bangs stay straight for at least half the day, especially during humid summer months.

Naturally curly hair was a cross to bear throughout the swinging 60's. Growing it long and not having bangs helped weigh it down, but it was still too wavy to be cool. I tried ironing it. I used big oversized curlers.  Then Janis Joplin came along. I never struggled with my hair again, and the humid summer months were the absolute best for crazy hair.  

Me in 1969, feeling pretty darn good about my hair:

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Falling victim to the plague

Well, I got COVID. First our daughter got it, then I did. Then both our husbands fell victim to this plague. My daughter's children didn't get it for some reason. We also passed it on to Tom's daughter R's husband Ch. They were visiting us at the time. But R didn't get it.What a strange virus, picking and choosing victims seemingly at random.  

All of us are vaccinated and boostered and none of us were deathly ill.  For me it seemed like a bad chest cold, although I also experienced chills. I'm not complaining, having chills meant I could snuggle up in bed with both a top sheet and a blanket covering me. I miss being cold on occasion, especially when I'm in bed trying to sleep. There are only a couple weeks each year that this Floridian needs more than just a sheet.  

We were advised to use Mucinex and DayQuil, both of which really helped during the worst of it. All we wanted to do was sleep. Time stood still.  

I lost my sense of smell, which has yet to return. Not surprising since once COVID petered out and I tested negative, the monster left me with a sinus infection.  

Monday, May 23, 2022

Chewing on a memory

My husband bought a loaf of sourdough bread at the farmer's market. This morning I was lazy, and I didn't want to make breakfast. I wanted to grab something. I grabbed a piece of now almost stale sourdough. So good! As often happens, I chewed on more than just the bread.  

This "madeleine moment" reminded of the book Heidi, which made a strong impression on me as a child.  In this case, I remembered Heidi and her grandfather ate bread and cheese for breakfast. I may have cheese later. For now I'm just eating the plain bread, allowing my mind to wander.  

I may read that book again. There was a strong class consciousness throughout, and it may have been my introduction to class and inequality.  At least to an inequality that was clearly defined. Feelings, fears, and suspicions were justified. I have never been the same.   


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A pregnant thought


Please don't tell me that it's a woman's fault if she gets pregnant and she should pay the price. Believe what you want, but I think that particular belief is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and lacking complexity.  I don't want to hear it because it doesn't ring true.  

Don't tell me that a pregnant woman can always give her baby up for adoption. Have you ever put your young life on hold, carried an unwanted fetus for 9 months, went through labor and delivery and then gave it up to strangers at birth?  I know some of you have. If so, I will listen to your story with compassion and empathy. I will listen to your story over and over again, because I know you need to tell it. There are situations where a woman chooses to do this, and it is the best thing for her and the child. Her choice, because there are as many "best situations" as there are pregnant woman.  

Don't tell me that a fetus is a human being from the moment of conception. I accept that you believe this, but I don't. Beliefs are not facts. Up until the mid-19th century even the Catholic Church allowed abortions until the baby quickened because that is when they determined the fetus was ensouled. Then the Fathers of the Church changed their mind, because they can do that. Dogma is an enforced belief system. 

I'm not saying you shouldn't believe your religious or political dogma.  It is your choice, and I trust you to make the best choice for yourself. You have that right. We all should.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Taking time

I haven't been checking my blog, or reading the blogs I follow for a couple weeks. Sorry! I'll catch up with you all soon. Instead I've been obsessed over genealogy. I've been working on families for a niece-in-law, and for a nephew-in-law. 

I finished my niece-in-law's tree. Both her parents didn't know their fathers' genealogies, so that was fun to help them understand where they came from. I'm still obsessed with my nephew-in-law's family tree, and I will be until I've found every bit of documentation I can find going back as far as I possibly can. It's a game. I am so happy when I have a juicy family tree to explore.  

His last name is Newton. Of course, Sir Isaac Newton is a many times removed great uncle. He's likely the great uncle of almost all the Newton's in America. Sir Isaac actually helped me with this tree, pointing out to me which uncle of his (Sir Isaac's) my nephew-in-law descends from. Big help.  

Apparently when Sir Isaac was being knighted, he provided Queen Anne with a handwritten short tree that proved his connection to some Newton who was his relative. Stunning find.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

So, how do I fit in?

My husband became a great-grandpa again. His granddaughter S had a baby boy. He's a beauty, just like his 2 year old sister, CH. I claim these children as my great-grandchildren, too. After all, his daughter R is the half-sister of our daughter, M. Is that presumptuous of me? 

We've had this beautiful family in our lives since 2017, when Tom took a DNA test and he and R found each other. It was epic, wonderful, full of grace.  

I struggle, though. Not the wicked stepmother struggle of "what does this take from my family with him," because it takes nothing away. Love isn't a pie to be divided. Love expands. If you open your heart to it, love will fill you up like a balloon.

My struggle is trying to figure out my place. R was adopted at birth and she had a good parents. Her children had grandparents they loved. I can't be what I never was. However, if you can't be one thing, then you can be another. Even if you have to make it up as you go along. It's all good. 

Recently I found an old picture of her biological mother. I was surprised when the picture made me sad. Why did it make me sad? Because it looks like R has her birth mother's mouth. I want her to look like me! Ha! I'm a silly old woman.  

I made a quilt for H. It's not a treasured crib quilt. It's a lay-it-down-on-the-floor and get it dirty kind of quilt. I hope the first time he rolls over he does so on this quilt. 

Saturday, April 9, 2022

If Robbie had moved to South Bend in the mid-1960s

Blogger friend Roderick "Robbie" Robinson left a provocative comment on my last post. It inspired me to imagine what might have happened if he moved to South Bend, Indiana in the mid-1960's.  Instead, he spent a few of those years in Pittsburgh trying to figure out what this America thing was all about.  

South Bend was smaller, but still akin to Pittsburg then; industrial and gloriously ethnic. Had you moved to SB in the mid-1960s, Robbie, you might have hung out at bars my Dad frequented. He could be charming or he could be loutish. Totally up to you. But he would have initially tried to befriend you. And if some lunkhead made fun of you for being a "foreigner" he would have had your back. Seriously, he would have thrown the first punch.  

Dad often brought home people from other countries who had interesting accents. Sometimes he brought them home in the middle of the night. There might be singing. My personal favorite was the Irishman who told us about leprechauns. Dad would have put on music that he thought you MUST hear, like "Cleanhead's Back in Town" by Eddie Vinson. Perhaps you and he would have sang together? Unlikely, but this IS my fantasy. And if you had told him how you liked classical music, he would have listened with an ear to hear.  

He might have had you eat kielbasa with his Polish friends, or goulash with the Hungarians at the South Side Democratic Club. Certainly you and your wife would have joined my parents at a local joint for a Friday night fish fry.  

My Kentucky-born grandfather would have distrusted you, of course, but he might have taken you pistol shooting at the gravel pit. Or shown you his mermaid tattoo, or the American Eagle imprinted across his chest. He would have certainly taken you in his basement to show you how he made his own bullets, really an interesting process. Grandma would have made you Southern fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, and fried corn as the side. 

Well, that was fun. If only you hadn't moved to Pittsburgh instead.

Intersection of South Bend's Michigan and Jefferson Streets, 1968. Photo credit to Lou Szabo.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

A formative trip, 1961

My parents took the following pictures in 1961. The family was on the road, moving from South Bend, Indiana to Seattle, Washington where my father had taken a job as a tool and die maker at Boeing. The trip was 2,225 miles by station wagon. What an adventure it was for my parents and the five children jammed into that car! We stopped along the way at Yellowstone National Park, a memorable event.

I'm not sure where this was taken, but it might have been Wyoming.  

When we stayed at Yellowstone, the bears were pretty bold about eating from the cabin garbage cans.

On the road, we often stopped to take pictures of wildlife, like these Elk Moose calves drinking from a creek.  

And this one below showing a road that had been tunneled through a mountain.  

I was 10 years old when this trip was taken, but it remains vivid in my mind. In some ways that trip formed me. Coming from the corn belt, the flatlands, this was my introduction to the magnificence and natural beauty of the United States.  

This was the first time I saw my parents take pictures of landscapes and animals, and they were so excited about everything we saw. That made a strong impression on me. My childhood was transformed by this trip and this move. Although we ended up moving back to Northern Indiana only 3 years later, some changes were permanent.

Monday, March 21, 2022

How much drama is really enough?

I went to Tampa last week to serve as a chaperone for granddaughter E's high school theater troupe at the 2022 Florida Thespian Festival. 

I knew there would be lotsa drama, but sheesh! It was one thing after another. I can't bring myself to recount the technical problems, endless emotions, REAL highs, and REAL lows yet. Too soon. 

There are 49 students in E's troupe. Festival organizers were expecting 9,000 students to attend over 4 days of endless events. There were two large locations, and trolleys to take people back and forth to events. 

E played dramatic lead in a small one-act play that received "top honors" in that category. Some of her friends competed for voice, costume design, technical expertise, and set design. So much talent!

The large group, mainstage musical was presented at Tampa's Morsani Hall, which seats 2,610. It was jam packed with theater crazed teenagers who really knew how to "voice" their appreciation. Best audience ever! One of the other chaperones said it best when she quipped "They finally got the audience they deserve." 

E played the risqué grandmother with panache. She's always been one to steal the show with comic timing and outrageous theatrics. Can I tell you that she got the most applause at the curtain call? Because she did. It was deafening. They loved her and she loved them. She dazzled, throwing ostentatious kisses that would make Gloria Swanson proud! She pointed at the crowd and threw her arms up in the air waving "come hither" towards herself for more applause. The audience went wild.

The mainstage musicals were not a competition. They already competed last fall at district competitions, and only a handful of musicals were chosen from throughout the state to perform at the festival. Being one of those performances was the award. I'm glad. Lack of rivalry enabled the many troupes to mingle, support each other, and enjoy the moment.  

I'm so happy I went. I love that young woman.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Down on the ground.

I try to remain positive. Unfortunately, I'm down. I'm really down. Who isn't?

Of course there is a war taking place that is so critical, so important. If Valdemort is allowed to win the entire world loses. It feels like Star Wars, y'all! And that half of my country with their heads up their asses are whining about the price of gasoline. 

There are still people who don't believe in climate change, for crying out loud!  These are the things that keep me up at night, worrying on behalf of those who are too shortsighted to worry.

In addition, right now there are a number of "issues" with people I love in my large extended family. A death, legal battles, harsh realities limiting young people's options, unhappiness, struggle, drug addiction, alcoholism, emotional pain. You know what I mean. I'm not the only one. It seems like the more people you have in your life, the more possibilities there are for both great love and crippling heartache. 

Empathy! That gut feeling which, left uncontrolled, will lead to compassion, thoughtfulness, and caring. The revelatory fire that increases intelligence, insight, and ties us to our fellow humans.  

Opening your heart to love can seem like an act of courage in hard times. It is, but I do so want to be brave.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Troubles in the blogosphere

I am unable to comment on other people's blogs now.  I am also unable to reply to comments on my blog. WTH?

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

I know nothing

I don't know, do you?  Probably not.  It's all so freakin' complicated. 

In all seriousness, what is wrong with so many people in this world?  People who litter, refuse to wear masks, won't recycle, really, really want to believe the lies of thugs and tyrants, don't believe in science, want all the power and money for themselves, try to hide historical truths, blah, blah, blah.  I'm so tired of stupidity, hatefulness, and meanness of spirit.   

I think Western leaders have been brilliant with their unified front and kick ass sanctions against the evil one.  But I hate that once again, their brilliance and ability to act as a unified force for good is sidetracked by those who would destroy the world for their own gain.  

Yesterday's New York Times was filled with war news.  Halfway down there was a small article that caught my attention.  It should have been the top story, dammit!

Today, again half way down, was this:

What the Hell?  And I do mean Hell, because this power grab in the Ukraine smells like a lake of burning sulfur.  

P.S. After posting this, I find I can no longer comment on other people's posts.  Please know I'm reading your posts!  What a world.  

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Volunteering for love

Granddaughter E is an actress. Anything related to the theatre is her passion, as natural to her as breathing. Her specialty is comedy, but she can perform any role well. It is her gift.

Her high school troupe won the district thespian competitions for a musical and a dramatic play. They are going to the Florida High School Thespian Festival to compete later this spring. She has a meaty comedic role in the musical. She is the dramatic lead in the play.  

My daughter, her mother, asked if I wanted to go with her to the festival to serve as a chaperone for 4 days and 3 nights. That's a long damn time! Of course I said yes, even though I've been dreading it like the plague ever since I said yes. I don't really like to spend days away from my husband. Also, chaperoning busloads of high school Theatre Geeks will be "challenging." They are so ... dramatic.  

However, the chance to spend time as three generations of women is irresistible. 

I know I'll get on their nerves.  I look forward to writing about it.

She's unique, and she shines brightly

Saturday, February 12, 2022


This month our grandson N turns 10 years old. I started this blog 10 years ago while I was babysitting for his older sister while their parents were in the hospital attending to his birth.  

His older sister, E, was 8 years old when N was born. She had been the only child for a long time, and did NOT want a sibling. She wasn't interested in babies. The whole pregnancy hoopla annoyed her. When asked to help come up with a name, she offered "Toilet" as a possibility.  

When I got the call that N had been born, I wandered into Eislinn's room to tell her.  She was playing on the floor with her fanciful little characters. I gleefully announced, "N was just born!" She glanced up with a sour look and softly dismissed me with "I'm busy." 

She came around in the fullness of time.  The two of them are quite close despite the 8 years difference in age.  

At first...

And eventually...

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Toil and Trouble

Ragu Bolognese! It took forever, probably because I followed a recipe. 

I began by transforming pancetta and garlic into a smooth paste. Because I live in the modern world I used a food processor. I fried the paste in butter (!) until the fat was rendered and the metamorphosis complete. I chopped the Holy Trinity (celery, onion, and carrot) gloriously fine, and added that mishmash to the cauldron*. Damn, my friends - I was cookin'! I was turning base materials into gold.

When the veggie/fat seemed utterly transfigured, I plopped in a pound each of ground beef and pork. Fifteen minutes of chanting** browned the meat evenly. I imposed my will with a wooden spoon, chopping and hacking to break it into small pieces. 

I added wine, a pinch of nutmeg, salt, and whole milk. Well, I didn't actually have whole milk, so I used my fearsome powers to turn half and half and a little skim milk into whole. Don't judge me. For a few uncanny moments I feared I didn't have nutmeg. After ransacking the spice rack, I found it. Or maybe I materialized it? Who knows?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the stove I heated stock into which I dissolved tomato paste and puree. I folded the red liquid into the meat, bringing the heat up until it bubbled and spit. I covered the pot, lowered the heat, and simmered the whole mess for a few hours. I degreased the sauce once even though the recipe didn't ask me to. I just had to. 

Before serving, I melted in two more tablespoons of the Philosopher's stone*** and added 20 turns of ground pepper. That's what the recipe asked for, 20 turns. I obeyed.  




Saturday, February 5, 2022

Formerly the Aging Female Baby Boomer

 Old blog, new name.  I decided to go with Years That Answer for my new name.  Cheers.