Tuesday, September 11, 2007


This morning, first thing, I lowered the flag to the half-mast position. September 11 will never come and go unremembered for as long as I live. This is true for most Americans, I am certain. There are those who still remember Pearl Harbor with the same devotion.

Six years ago, I was a preschool teacher on an excursion to the library with my students and other teachers. The hour 8:45 came and went without any particular notice as the class listened to the librarian read a story. This was followed by a craft time.

At 9:00, we were collected by our dear bus driver Gil who looked at each of us adults with pure terror in her eyes. I will never forget how pale and upset she looked. Gil had the radio on and the news was terrible. A plane had crashed into the north tower and all hell had broken loose.

One of the teacher's husbands was a construction worker in NYC at the time, and she began to weep softly. Just as news of the first jumpers came across the airwaves, I asked Gil to please turn off the radio. The little ones had become frightened, too, and were now asking questions. "Why are you crying, Mrs. M? What's wrong? Why are you all sad?"

By the time we had arrived back at school, the entire parking lot was filled with parents' cars and in less than 5 minutes, all the children had been scooped up and taken home. I was grateful for those concerned parents. I was grateful that the children would be home in the bosom of their families because, in my own fear, I had no idea how the day would end or if any of us would live to see the end of that day. It seems almost laughable today, but then it was my reality.

Today, another Tuesday, I think of all those who live in New York City who must rise again to the day despite their fears. May God bless them and all of us.

Monday, September 10, 2007


The rain is raining all around
It rains on field and tree
It rains on the umbrellas here
And on the ships at sea

Or something like that. Just remembering this off the top of my head...Stevenson, I think.

So, yup, it's raining. We need the rain. It matches my mood. I am hoping that in the same way that the plants need water despite being beaten down by it, that my spirit will be renewed even if I currently look a lot like this...drooping.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Needed: A Good Laugh

All those whacky little forwards that friends email me can be really annoying, but every now and then I find a keeper. And, lucky for me, I can share it with you and all because of You Tube. It's called Remember.

Here's a fun blog from a gal who gives me a laugh almost every day. She says that she's menopausal, but she looks too young. Anyway, visit her blog and have a chuckle on me right here at Just Livin' Large.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Not even sure that "decluttering" is a real word, but it's something that I think about every single day. It used to fill me with dread. No more. Now, I can't wait to get rid of things...like roses that are not quite up to snuff even if they did just arrive yesterday.

Anyway, this passion to get rid of things extends to almost anything with one notable exception — I have been collecting Country Living magazines for many many years. They have a special place in an old trunk at the foot of my bed. When the trunk gets full, I must purge. But it looks as if I have a lot of room yet.

However, this heavy trunk did result in my having to have my bedroom floor reinforced.

The things that I am willing to go through to satisfy my habit!

Leaving you with an article from Martha Stewart, loaded with links, called 100 Reasons to Get Rid of It.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mother Theresa and More

Last week, when news of Mother Theresa's perpetual dark night of the soul was revealed in anticipation of the new book Mother Theresa: Come Be My Light, I felt such sadness...deep deep sadness.

This might seem odd to some because I am neither Catholic nor have I ever endured 50 years of abandonment or pain. According to the article I read, Mother Theresa wrote that the silence was so great that she looked and did not see, listened and did not hear. Just reading those words again, I feel that same pang that I did when first reading them. After all, this is Mother Theresa we're talking about...the wee woman who gave the lowliest of the low grace, mercy, and love just the way that the Lord did.

Strangely enough, I have been comforted by a humorous column written by Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald. You can find his article right *here. My favorite quote from this article follows.

"You know, sometimes, I think atheists have a point. When you see nothing, when you feel nothing, isn't it logical to conclude it's because there is nothing?...I think the only reason I don't go with them is because of all those other times when you do see...something. When you feel so connected to something so vast it defies comprehension. It fills you. It settles you. It gives you peace. And you say to yourself, 'Lord, where did that come from? It couldn't be my imagination, because I couldn't imagine anything so...perfect.'"

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Slow Process

The contractor assured me that he'd be all done with our addition by the fourth of July...this year. He began in August 2006 and, so far, I see few signs that he'll be done before Thanksgiving. Good thing that I am a patient person. The price that we agreed upon has not changed except for the extras that have been tossed in.

Because of budget constraints, we didn't hire an architect. Might have been a big mistake, but it has been fun to look at those early representations that I worked up on PAINT and to see the reality of it now. We still have a long way to go, but I thought I would document two items for now.

This is the picture that began it all...

Source: Pella.com

And this is where we are so far (try not to laugh)...

It's not much, but it's all I have for today. Hopefully, before another year passes, there will be more to show.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

It's a Banner Day

Oh, yes, it is. If you haven't visited before, I am in the middle of banner woes. I've seen all the wonderful ones that other bloggers have and I am jealous.

Yesterday, I spent much of the day visiting banner tutorial sites where I discovered that my fascination with creating blinkies was going to be a help...or not. Anyway, I think I've now created six banners. Very bad ones. So pardon me while I continue to fuss with it until I land on something that feels right.

Today is also back-to-school day here in the Northeast. In honor of that, and all my former years of teaching, I'd like to share a video of Taylor Mali. Apparently, he is or was an English teacher and his sense of wit and humor is razor sharp. Writing this blog has proven that my proofreading needs improvement so that's why I've chosen The Impotence of Proofreading. It's a bit racy so take warning.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Pemaquid and Points Beyond

"Throw roses on the sea where the dead went down.
The roses speak to the sea,
And the sea to the dead.
Throw roses, O lovers--
Let the leaves wash on the salt in the sun."
-Carl Sandberg

What a beautiful day my daughter and I enjoyed at the ocean yesterday!

A few days earlier, I had received an email from my dd who said that we should spend the day Sunday going to Pemaquid Point and other places. My daughter so rarely invites me on day trips that I thought that she had me confused with one of her friends, but when the Google map arrived, I emailed her: "Are you talking to me? Because, if you are, I'd love to!"

The day began at 9 a.m. and we didn't return home until nearly 13 hours later. What a fun time!

Just popping in a few of my photos now...

After leaving Pemaquid Point, we traveled on as far as Belfast
where we shopped at The Cherished Home. My daughter loved the colors that Genie has pulled together for her rooms. It was very soft and feminine. I even purchased a couple of items...a table runner and a flip-flop flyswatter. Maybe now I can keep my own flip-flops on my feet.

The day ended with ice cream of course! Thanks, darling, for a beautiful day and for teaching me so much about enjoying a stress-free driving time!!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

When Morning Fills the Skies

After a fitful night of tossing and turning, dreaming about weeding plants that had long, ugly roots, but were easy to pull, I awoke with the words from an old hymn in my head... When morning fills the skies, my spirit awakening cries, may Jesus Christ be praised. Odd juxtaposition of thoughts, eh?

Well shoot! After I've been fiddling with this blog for days, editing, moving stuff around, tweaking, etc., I discovered that this blog is not set to private; never has been, never can be. Ha! My apologies to anyone who may have revisited and discovered this. Anyway, from now on, I shall just leave it as it is. Maybe. If I can stand it. I've been slogging more than blogging. Perhaps I'll be able to have more fun with it now.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Welcome, September!

I love the beauty of autumn with weather that is crisp as a Macintosh. It's not that summer doesn't have its delights, but autumn is my season and September is almost my favorite month.

Yes, I know that summer is not technically over for a few more weeks, but it "feels" like autumn and that's the important thing. There'll be fairs, fires, apple orchards, and apple pies.

The trees are already beginning the blush of the season. My neighbor's maple is tinged with melon hues...utterly charming.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blueberry Muffin Day

There was something about my apron collection and the gorgeous day yesterday and, of course, the fresh blueberries waiting in the refrigerator that made it feel like a blueberry muffin day. Such days have to be bright and sunny with low humidity.

I actually couldn't find my favorite apron and then I remembered that it was still hanging over the cupboard door at my mother's. When I called and asked her if she noticed anything out of place in her kitchen, she couldn't think of a thing, but laughed when I asked what was hanging in the corner.

The apron wasn't the only thing that I couldn't find. I spent quite some time looking for my recipe book. With construction going on for over a year, many things have been packed away and the recipe book was one of them. Still, I found it eventually, and despite finding a blueberry cake recipe with the blueberry stains all over it to prove that I have used it many times, I couldn't find a muffin recipe.

The berries had been picked by a friend of my mother's and given to her. My mom, in turn, had brought them back from her vacation and given some to me. The blueberries had been carefully and cleanly picked, but still needed some sorting. One problem was that they were picked and stored in a container much too large, which caused a lot of squashed berries. I hate to see them go, but they make an awful mess unless used in a berry pie. I cleaned even the squashed ones and ate them with cream. No sense in wasting one since blueberries are my favorite berry.

I have a friend who often tells me about the inadequacies of my pantry. She has a point. Yesterday, when I gathered my ingredients, I had no flour, no sugar, and no eggs! The printed recipe that rests on the table is *To Die For Blueberry Muffins from All Recipes.com* I couldn't resist the title. "To Die For" sounds fantastic, doesn't it?!

Using a cookie scoop works perfectly for getting those muffins a uniform size and for less muss and fuss. I can be such a sloppy baker!

The finished product. They really must have been "to die for" since there were none left this morning!

P.S. I am still learning about formatting. Repeated edits in hopes of fixing it have failed so my apologies for those who, like me, find it completely unattractive. I'll keep trying to get it right.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cross Creek

Right now it's early morning and I am blogging instead of folding the laundry. I don't plan to fold any laundry today either here at my own home or at my parents' home where I am caring for my grandmother. Nan is a good sleeper and loves to sleep in until nine every morning. This gives me the chance to run home for a couple of hours and do whatever needs doing...like blog writing.

We, Nan and I, spend much of our day reading. She is reading a Catherine Cookson novel and I am reading Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Rawlings is perhaps more familiar as the author of The Yearling. Marjorie would have made a wonderful blogger. Cross Creek is the story of her life in Florida. Although not one bit politically correct, it is still rich and wonderful. It was, after all, written in a different time. Nevertheless, I'm loving it.

My book is a vintage volume purchased from Abe Books for a mere dollar. I love the heron embossed in silver on the cover.

Vintage books are lovely things!