Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thank you

June 2011 has been a banner month at With almost 200 more visitors than June 2010 and just about twice the page views.

I appreciate you for stopping by. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What I Love

Faced with hearing, "Sorry we are not hiring, over and over this summer," my daughter is putting together a show of her photography from the Galapagos Islands. "Maybe I can sell a few prints, and make some money that way," is her thinking. Taking charge.

Smart young woman! Always thinking; always figuring a better way.


While walking I was mesmerized by this simple field with its layered composition of color and texture. From the two tone clipped lawn to the yellowing fluffy backdrop field, and right up to the mostly, but not raining, clouded sky. And then I saw her.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

To Bee or Not To Be

My walking route takes me past a patch of milkweed. And every time I pass, I check the stalks for monarch butterfly caterpillars. None yet; but I have enjoyed watching the flowers develop and bloom. And today I got to visit with this busy bee.

While walking, sometimes I just walk, other times I listen to my mp3 player. Today, I opted for the player and Gurumayi's talks from the year 2002, in which she talks about abiding in silence. There are many topics she brings up in each (approximately) 70 minute talk that one can spend a lifetime pondering. The one topic that struck a chord today is, "Think well of others. And think well of yourself."

How often do we see the good in others, but we hold ourselves shackled to past deeds? There can be no growth if we are not willing to be as generous with ourselves as we are with others.

What I Love

When tv is not available, looking for snails and creating structures out of scraps of wood and number 12 nails becomes all the rage.

Parents watch for signs of their children growing and maturing. This week the girls hit another milestone. They no longer need me to bait their hooks, nor do they need me to release their catch. Though I was asked to assist when the middle one reeled in a Rock Bass. It was a beauty.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rain or Shine

Rain or Shine the hunt continues. So often we let the weather dictate our activities. How freeing and exciting it can be to know it's okay to go out in the rain.

Taking life slow has it's advantages. There are so many new and exciting discoveries to be made.

And then there is fishing with your sister on the leaning dock.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The true rainy day pay dirt

Nothing brings out the sometimes slimy yet satisfying critters like soft rain. The count: 5 salamanders - 2 different species and a toad. Not to mention the countless slugs or the 8 deer sighted at dusk.

Where do your dreams take you?

Notice I said do instead of will. Think about it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I forgot how young, read small, she is until she put on my rain jacket during our walk.

Visitors in the Night

It might say on some deed somewhere downtown that we own the land where our house is located. It might say somewhere downtown that we are a family of five. But really, there are many more of us than meets the day time eye.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'm half expecting to see Marlin Perkins

Ever since throwing in the gardening towel, and opening up our backyard as "Woodchuck's Vacation Club," the amount and diversity of wildlife is brimming on staggering.

Red and grey squirrels, chipmunks. 2 (count them 1, 2...) ground hogs, and rabbits and baby rabbits beyond counting. And let's not forget the baby painted turtle. Really Marlin Perkins can't be far.

Last week there were 8 squirrels, at one sitting, eating something out of the grass. The woodchucks are called couch and love seat -- respect of their size. Big and bigger.

Last night we set up the wildlife camera to catch our nocturnal guests in action. In the past we have seen raccoons, skunks.... no so good, and snakes in infrared images.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The thing with socks...

once you finish one; you still have knit another. While turning the heel I was thinking about some of the different life turns and turn arounds I've weathered. The life lesson: There is a blessing in every situation. We don't always see it at first, or at second, or third, but it's in there. If not for us, for someone else we meet along life's path.

We are all knit into the same sock of life.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Continuous Sense of Service

Nurse: Would you like a popsicle?
Little One: (a bit drowsy) Yes
Nurse: What flavor?
Little One: (after some sleepy thought) Can I have a grape and could you bring my mom a red one?

Even anesthesia can't change her.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Guess Who - Part II

The other day I wore my tshirt with the quote:

"This boy will be famous. There won't be a child in our world that won't know his name."

And when a dear friend came bearing the gift of grape popsicles for the little one, she read the quote and asked, "Is that Jesus?"

Google the quote, and imagine being that famous. Recognition without the name.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Love You Too, Mom

"Love you too, Mom."

That was the reply I got when I said I wouldn't be walking her, my young teenager, into the temple for her friend's Bat Mitzvah. Still in my pjs, for the drive by drop off, I didn't think it was appropriate for me to be seen in public, but for a drop off -- marginally okay.

Still in my pjs because I had been on the phone with spa reservations for her first spa treatment. Still in my pjs because I made pancakes for her breakfast. Still in my pjs because I was cleaning up the kitchen.

I asked if she wanted to wait for me to shower and dress appropriately for a house of worship. She gave me the look and walked out of the house.

She is very lucky I drove her. I'm still seething, still in my pjs.

Guess Who?

"This boy will be famous. There won't be a child in our world that won't know his name."

Don't let this image fool you. It's not what you think. Have a guess? Post your answer in a comment. More tomorrow...

Friday, June 17, 2011

And two hawks in a pine tree...

Riding my bike to work is more than a lesson is car dodging; it's a feast of nature. Many a trek I've seen Baltimore Orioles flying into roadside bushes. Lately it's been all about avoiding the baby chipmunks. Last week I was fortunate enough to share the road with a snapping turtle.

Life puts opportunity in our path. You just have to peddle slowly and keep your eyes and ears open.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Remember my plea for information on Mr. Melvin Emrich? Well, it pays to be dogged dedicated. For now, Mr. Melvin Emrich is present and accounted for. Yesterday I emailed an image of his marker to the Veterans Archive in Worcester, MA. And when I received a reply, which included this service record, I was figuratively dancing in the cemetery, with yippees and hoorays echoing off the trees.

Present and accounted for. Mr. Emrich you have been found.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And now back to our regularly scheduled...


I haven't knit a stitch since February. That's a longtime for a knitter.

Knitting is synonymous for relaxing. It's a puzzle worked in yarn that results, usually, but not always, with an item that can be worn. As in this case a sock.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Where do you go when the well runs dry?

Do you stick around with your bucket poised for rain? Or do you leave in search of a fresh spring? Would you venture out alone?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stress Relief

Some days, some weeks, some months the to do list is daunting. Daunting to the point where knowing what to do next is elusive. The key to stress relief is to move forward. Do one thing that will move you closer to goal. It could be making a phone call. Making a list; starting a list, or getting the paper and maybe the pen set aside to make a list. One very small step, in the right direction.

Keep moving.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Moving Wall

The girls and I paid our respects to the soldiers killed during the Vietnam War. The Moving Wall is in Natick, MA until Sunday, June 12th. Viewable 24 hours a day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Really, it's your best feature?

On a recent trip to the mall I laid down the rules to the teen tribe. Stick together. Stick together. Call me every 30 minutes. (I would be in the mall.) Stick together and no going into the stores that displayed mannequins adorned in nothing more than panties. The girls giggled.

Looking them in the eyes, I said, "I mean it. If I see you in those stores; we're leaving."
Silence, until my own had the courage to ask why.

And this was my answer:

"The other day I saw a woman wearing a pair of hip hugger, very low cut pants. Clearly visible above the belt line and below her cropped shirt, was the waist band and more of her bright red thong. Advertisement. Look Here.

I wanted to go up to her and say, "Is that all you are good for? Really? Is your sexuality the best it gets for you? No brain? No compassion? No common sense or allegiance? Is it all about your panties?

Ladies, you are more than your underwear. And shopping in store that sells women as sexual objects, degrades you and every other woman in this world.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Graphic: Life and Death

Come the end of the school year my job at the cemetery will terminate. I am busy composing my last letter to the trustees, and I will deeply and sincerely miss it. For the job has awakened a real sense of responsibility to "my" interred. I know exactly where they rest. I pray for them all. Regardless of date of death or vault type.

Today while out gathering as much data as I could from the stones, I came across this poor bird: stillborn. We have more than I would care to mention of human stillborn interments. And it saddens me. Children laid to rest before their chance to shine.

Poison Ivy

We all have heard about poison ivy. I am assuming the majority of us, at 20 feet, could pick out its shiny leaves of three from a woodland line up, and still many of us have inadvertently come in contact with it. Itching to beat the band, and declaring calamine lotion as our new best friend.

Inappropriate social media behavior is like poison ivy that won't clear up -- ever. Once an email, image, tweet, fb, video or blog post is out on the internet, there is no getting it back. If intriguing enough, for good or bad, and the word viral comes to mind.

Rule of thumb: If you don't want your mother to read it or see it, don't send it.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Rich or Richer?

You can be rich or you can be richer. What will it be for you?

Henri Landwirth, robbed of his childhood, by being interned at Auschwitz, has to be one the richest people I have ever heard about. (And it's not about the money.) After his unspeakable ordeal, he became a very successful business man, and did amass a financial wealth. But instead of grasping his money close to his chest, he has opened his arms; extending them towards sick children. He does it to give them the childhood he missed out on.

My little one has memorized the rules for her favorite girls summer camp, Camp Mattakeesett. All ten are important, but the one rule that will ensure her life is brimming over with riches is: Have a continuous sense of service.

You can't be poor when your heart is full.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Chinese Fortune Cookie

"Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."

Failure and opportunity, you don't usually see those words linked in the same sentence. But, it's true. Each and every moment of our life is a learning moment; failures included.

What did you learn yesterday? How will it shape your today?

Monday, June 06, 2011

"Too bad you don't use it."

At a recent social function one of the faithful volunteers discovered I have a PhD, in biophysics, no less. By her look, anyone for miles around could tell she was shocked. After all how could anyone who put a croc button of Mickey Mouse in her sneaker be that educated? (Really, it's not about the mouse.) But I digress.

Her next comment, "Too bad you don't use it," sparked the reply, "Oh but I do, every day that I live and breathe."

An education, information learned whether in a classroom, or a lab, or in life, is for keeps. Short of a biochemical/medical failure it can't be taken away or returned. It's not part of a lending library. True I don't calculate the energetic activation and regulation of the coupling factor in spinach daily -- or even yearly, but I do use, (some would say, "over use") the organizational and planning skills so required to conduct experiments.

A family calendar, or coordinating a community event, requires just as much mental processing as preloading ATP with a radioactive terminal phosphate. One big difference is the calendar, though hot with activity, doesn't require storage in a plexiglass box.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Ground Hog Vacation Club

After years of using strong persuasion to keep our almost half acre free of summer interlopers, I have raised the white flag, and thrown out the welcome mat. This year's seasonal guest is the size and shape of a small couch. Probably the largest we've hosted and with our salad bar of a lawn, I'm sure he or she will grow to overshadow any and all neighborhood raccoons or dogs, but probably not the current bear.

And of course, the bunnies are welcome as well.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Rest Assured: They Notice

We live is what is reported to be the largest town in the United States. Until recently, I had forgotten it is a town with all its hustle and bustle. And what brought me up short were three very separate events in the span of 2 days where it was made apparent: people notice.

1. At work. A woman came into the office requiring assistance with her husband's military marker. I knew who she was and remembered her husband. Offering to help, I asked, "Where's George?" As she drove us to his resting place, she mentioned, "I see you with your daughters. Your oldest must be graduating high school this year. And your middle one has shot up like a bean pole. You have a done a lovely job with them." I was taken aback.

2. We had the trees cut down in front of our house. As I walked to the school to pick up one of my girls another parent, who I've seen around town but our children don't play together said, "Hey, you had some pretty big doings going on at your house today. Those trees were huge." I didn't even think he knew who I was, never mind knew where we live.

3. While waiting for a daughter's music lesson to finish I dozed off in one of the backroom chairs. Through the fog I heard someone calling my name. It was another parishioner from our church. When I said, "I can't believe I fell asleep," she replied, "I'm not, you do everything."

People notice.

The Internet: It's A Funny Place

Twice I've come across text or image that I have put up on this blog: that has been subsequently shared out with proper reference. At first I'm caught off guard, with an odd sort of feeling, and finally -- amazement. To think, someone actually thought something I wrote or a picture I snapped was worthwhile to snag and publish again.

Thank you.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

What happens when the well runs dry?

After her death, it was discovered in Mother Teresa's writings that, at times, and at times for very long periods of time, she did not feel God's presence in her life. And still she pressed onward. She never gave up. She still saw Christ in the distress of the poor.

What do we do when we feel as if we are standing alone in the cold?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Waves Upon Waves

The last few hours have been interesting when interesting is used to mean crazy and surreal. Waves upon wave of thunderstorms, some spawning tornadoes, cut across our state. This video from Springfield shows a twister traveling up the Connecticut River. We lucked out with high winds, accompanied by booming thunder, lightening, and understandably nervous children.

Funny thing, we are having two massive pine trees taken down tomorrow. After the last high wind storm about six weeks ago, when they lost some rather large branches, which thankfully missed the house, cars and people.

The tree man dropped off some equipment and commented that the top of one tree is dead and hollow. It will be interesting to see how much of the trees, if any came down in the storms.

The Governor declared a state of emergency. We will see where our efforts can be put to good use in the morning.