Archive for the ‘Life’ category

Family Matters

July 29, 2021

A baptism last week. A wedding this week.

Last Friday, we headed to the Midwest. We haven’t traveled on an airplane in over two years because of COVID-19, but when a family wedding celebration is on the horizon, we go! Our destination was not an easy place to get to. We drove our car to the park ‘n ride to catch a bus that took us to the airport. We boarded a plane for a two-and-a-half-hour flight. We then boarded a regional plane for another hour’s flight. Arriving at the small airport, we picked up our rental car and drove another hour and a half to our destination. In all, it took us thirteen hours. We missed the rehearsal dinner, but the Midwest heat and humidity were there to greet us!

Saturday – Wedding Day

The Bride – Our Niece

Parents of the Bride – A Nervous Dad

The Bride and Groom

Father/Daughter Dance

We didn’t get a family photo of my brother and two sisters, but we did play cornhole at the reception. What else do you do in corn country? (Notice the determination on my face.) I lost to a five-year-old!

Me!

Sunday morning, we did a reversal of our Friday travel schedule. I was immediately reminded why flying is not my favorite pastime. Besides delays, cancellations, and turbulence, other problems creep up. On our first flight, all I wanted was a cold glass of ice water. Problem One:  No ice available. Problem Two:  They ran out of water before they got to us! Really?? The second flight had a mechanical glitch that had to be fixed. And so, we waited until it was a go. Twelve and a half hours later, we finally reached home. Even though it was a short visit and there were a few minor problems with our flights, it was wonderful to be able to get together with our family and enjoy a day of celebration! Family matters!

When Life Gets in the Way…

July 1, 2021

Is the week over yet?

Every time I think I have a free moment, something else comes up. My creativity is on hold as I try to get my life back together.

I’ll be back next week – a calmer, gentler person!

The Heart of Friendship

June 17, 2021

KNOCK! KNOCK!

No one is home. I’m visiting a special friend today.

Take time to visit your special friends!

Making “Scents” of Life

May 27, 2021

When my Bloomerang tree presented itself with a bounty of blossoms, I was more than excited. I’ve always loved the smell of lilacs. From the day I discovered the tiny buds on the tree until the buds grew into full-blown lilacs, I was anxious. The weather was good. The weather was bad. The weather said frost and that frosted me. I wanted to take the tree inside to protect it, but it was attached to the ground. After a few weeks of worry, the buds slowly began to blossom. During that time, a robin built its nest in the crook of the tree. Going near the tree caused the mama bird to become overly excited. I learned to quickly DUCK as I admired the tree and the animal life growing in it.

When the blossoms were in full array, the glorious smell of lilacs wafted through the air. I was immediately transported to my youth. After a year of dealing with COVID-19, not seeing family or friends, wearing masks, grocery shopping at six in the morning, and being stuck inside the house, the scent of the lilacs lifted my spirits. It brought me back to a time when lilacs graced our backyard and life was simpler. It was a time when children could play in the park by themselves, ride bikes freely, walk to the store down the block, play outside until a familiar whistle called them home.

My life has been filled with wonderful family and friends and very few worries, but this past year I feel like the world has been turned upside down. An ugliness has crept into our everyday lives. We all need to work harder to bring calm and kindness back into our world. Sometimes I wish we could go back to when life was not as complicated as it is today.

It’s time to stop and smell the lilacs. 

Zoomed Out!

May 13, 2021

I love Zoom as a way of connecting with people. Over the past year, Zoom has been a godsend to keep me in touch with family and friends.

As a writer, I’m constantly on Zoom. There are writing conferences, critique groups, writing classes, author webinars, etc. COVID-19 has made writing conferences much more affordable now that they are offered virtually. Because of this, I’m taking advantage of more and more of them.

There are bad things and good things about these opportunities. Different time zones present a problem with my schedule. Too early. Too late. Dinner time. Length of meetings. A perfect Zoom/webinar lasts no longer than one hour. After that, my mind, ears, and eyes begin to wander. The good thing is that most are recorded so I can catch up later at my own pace. The bad thing is I tend to jump into Zoom opportunities too often. I need to rectify that. Right now, I’m backlogged, trying to catch up on webinars and conferences I’ve missed. All this is eating into my writing time. That is not good.

I am zoomed out!!

Did I mention FaceTime? Don’t get me started!

Thoughts of the 2020 Fiasco

December 17, 2020

2020 began as a promising year, but before we knew it – BAM!

COVID-19 burrowed into every part of our lives.

March of this year COVID rules separated us from family and friends. April: The Easter Bunny came, but the family didn’t. May:  Mother’s Day – another day of COVID rules. June:  Father’s Day – a repeat of Mother’s Day.

Then came a reality check. The pandemic wasn’t going away anytime soon.

Boredom took over as my husband and I settled into uninspiring daily tasks. Breakfast conversations revolved around what to have for dinner. Weekly grocery shopping shifted to early morning once every three weeks. COVID words slipped into our vocabulary – social distancing, herd immunity, super spreader, surge. Hairstyles and clothes morphed into “THE COVID LOOK” – not pretty!

Toward the end of June – cabin fever struck! We had to get out!

Wearing masks and carrying a cache of hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, we ventured out to see our daughter and family. No hugs. No kisses. But a welcome sight!

By July we formed our family bubble. Hugs and kisses allowed. Masks and social distancing be damned!  In August, September, and October we were on a high with babysitting and family get-togethers. Then…

BAM! A second surge!

Back to stay-at-home rules with no travel between our respective states. In November, my husband and I ate our tiny turkey gobbler in our ultra-quiet dining room. And now it’s December and COVID-19 is once again interfering with our precious family gatherings. Yesterday we did a socially distanced stop & drop and exchanged Christmas gifts at the parking lot where my daughter works. Once again our holiday plans are dinner for two at home. Santa, where are you?

Maybe someday I will get a professional haircut, buy some new clothes, and break out of this house to celebrate with family, friends, and neighbors without all the COVID rules. Maybe someday that vaccine will be available for everyone. Maybe someday we can call our lives normal once again.

Don’t forget to wash your hands!

For those of you who have had to deal with COVID-19 or other illnesses during this year, I send you healing thoughts and prayers. May 2021 bring all of us joy, good health, and happiness – a Christmas miracle!

The last thought…

As some of you may have noticed, there was no post from me last Thursday. Blame it on a busy day and COVID-19 fatigue!

Happy Holidays!

For the Love of Autumn

October 22, 2020

“As long as autumn lasts, I shall not have hands, canvas and colors enough to paint the beautiful things I see.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

“How beautifully leaves grow old! How full of light and color are their last days!” ~ John Burroughs

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ~ L. M. Montgomery

A Time for Hope

June 4, 2020

In times of despair, a bit of encouragement is helpful. Emily Dickinson’s poem of hope inspires and gives us strength to renew our faith in the world so we can move forward to make it a kinder and gentler place.

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Life During the Coronavirus Pandemic

April 9, 2020

During this COVID-19 crisis, many lives have been turned upside down. My husband and I are at home, sheltering in place. We have never been closer – maybe too close. For now, creativity is of utmost importance to keep a calm household.Oatmeal clipart cereal fruit, Oatmeal cereal fruit Transparent ... Our typical day begins with oatmeal, fruit, and coffee. On the weekends we spice it up with eggs, fruit, and coffee. The thought of it makes my mouth water. Yummy in the tummy? NO! I call it the Boring Breakfast Menu! As soon as our breakfast is finished, my husband wants to know, “What’s for dinner?” In the back of my mind I’m screaming, Really? We just had breakfast! I calmly look at him and say, “It’s a surprise .”

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In the middle of the day, we get some exercise walking around the neighborhood and keeping our allotted social distance from other walkers. Sometimes we go this way. Sometimes we go that way. Sometimes we walk in circles. If not walking, we’re washing our hands and sanitizing the house from top to bottom so it smells like industrial-strength Clorox.® Then we’re on our computers. I’m writing or blogging with ultra-clean hands, and my husband is watching our investments go up and down like a yo-yo. Best Television Clip Art #537 - Clipartion.com

After our surprise gourmet dinner, we settle on the couch to take in some television entertainment. Even though we have endless channels available, we can’t decide what to watch.

Our conversation goes something like this as we pass the remote between us.

“You choose.”

“No, you choose.”

“You choose.”

My choice is always the Hallmark channel, but that was recently banned in our household. For the past few years, my husband has patiently watched every new Hallmark movie. So, if I click on a rerun, he groans and, miraculously, a new channel appears on the screen. Our tastes are a bit different. Documentaries about flying insects are not at the top of my list. Sigh!

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The next day is the same as the last one. I feel like I have the starring role in the movie Groundhog Day, reliving the same day over and over. Or I’m a member of the crew from Muppet Treasure Island, and I’ve got… “Cabin Fever.”  

Cabin Fever Clipart

How long this seclusion will last is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, my husband and I take the best medicine available  —- no, not alcohol — laughter. It’s the love that binds up together!

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Coronavirus is serious. Take care of one another and follow the rules of shelter-in-place. We are strong. We will get through this. Lift up your spirits — laugh and hold your loved ones close. (I hope you have six-foot arms!)

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A Tribute to Tomie dePaola

April 2, 2020

On Monday of this week, Tomie dePaola, winner of numerous awards and accolades, passed away. He had an enormous talent for writing and using his artistic skills for illustrating books that have entertained young and old readers over the years. Most of all, Tomie was a kind and generous man who put you at ease the moment you met him. He was a treasure!

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In October of 2018, I had the opportunity to interview Tomie at his home in New London, New Hampshire for the Catholic Library Association Conference. To say the least, I was extremely nervous. When my husband and I walked through the door of Tomie’s studio, we were welcomed by Tomie and his assistant, Bob Hechtel. My nervousness melted away. After a short video rehearsal with the Catholic Library Association, we took a tour of Tomie’s studio, and then he invited us into his home for a tour. (See the tour here.) Afterward, Tomie and Bob extended an invitation to join them for a delightful lunch. A week later, my husband and I were back in New London for the scheduled interview. On the evening before, we joined Tomie and Bob for a delicious dinner with laughter and conversation. Life doesn’t get any better than that!

There was a special aura surrounding Tomie. He made you feel like you were his best friend. He was charming, a good listener, and told stories that made you burst into laughter. To know him was to love him!

Some of my treasures from my visit with Tomie.

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An advance copy of QuietA New York Times bestselling picture book.

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One of my favorite books.

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Tomie’s Christmas card that year.

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With Tomie’s passing, the world has lost a bit of its twinkle. Luckily, we still have the gift of Tomie’s books and art for which I am forever grateful!

 

 

 


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