Friday, September 30, 2016


As September slips away, I am once again grateful, not only for all it has given, but that which it has taken as well, because in the losing there is often great gain.

My heart is fuller for the gift of children. September made me a mom, blessed me with two beautiful grandchildren, and gave me a second son in law.

September left us grieving us on 9-11, and my heart aching as it ushered my dad into eternity in 2009. It also left it softer and more tender. More aware.

How does a heart that has never grieved find compassion for the hurting? How does a soul who has never been ill find love and understanding for those who are sick?

September has brought both heartache and pain, and joy and gladness, and I am forever grateful.

Farewell to another sweet September...

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pretty Stones and Apple Pies

I wasn't entirely sure I wanted a gray and drizzly day, but it turned out to be a good one in spite of the lack of sunshine and blue skies. I got up just a little late, but Uncle Joe and Grandpa were downstairs to keep an eye on The Trio while I took a quick shower. While I sipped my morning brew and scrolled Facebook, I made the wonderful discovery that today is National Coffee Day. What could be better on a gray autumn day than coffee? Pie, maybe?

I sent the kids out to find "pretty stones" in the driveway and they returned a little while later with pockets bulging. They didn't know I'd purchased two lovely bags of polished rocks from the Dollar Tree and scattered them about on Saturday afternoon. They were quite delighted by their find and spent a bit of time sitting at the table sorting and classifying. A successful plan implemented. I must remember this trick next summer.

While the grandkids looked at their treasures, I started about baking. First a loaf of banana bread. Aubrey opted to help. She wore an apron, chopped walnuts, and stirred the batter. Once the bread was in the oven, I started on pies. "What do you love doing so much you'd do it for free?" (A line from a movie we recently watched.) Perhaps my answer is baking pies. I was blessed to discover my apple peeler/corer/slicer hiding in the cabinet with my pots and pans. It made short work of what is the longest, most tedious part of apple pies, and the kids loved eating the "apple ropes" that piled up on the table when I turned the crank.

There are now five apple pies cooling on the counter, just waiting for someone to love them. At least two have homes (well, three if I count the one that's staying here... ) and I am conjuring up recipients for the others

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Corncobs and Cucumbers

Corncobs and cucumbers are what I fed my little flock of chickens this afternoon. (I have twelve again... at least for now.) "Corncobs and Cucumbers" could also be a book about my father who left us for heaven seven short years ago today.

When I was a little girl my dad grew an incredible garden. There were all kinds of vegetables and we learned to love everything he grew, except for perhaps turnips. They apparently weren't profitable because I only recall him growing them once. However, he never grew a garden without sweet corn and cucumbers. It seems like we ate buttered, salted sweet corn and sliced cucumbers every night during the summer.

Long after Dad stopped growing a garden, there continued to be corn on the cob for supper, because Dad loved it so much that he found a farm stand where he could stop on a regular basis, ensuring his continual corn consumption. And cucumbers? Oh, yes! There were almost always cucumbers too.

I think, perhaps, if I should ever publish a book in his honor, "Corncobs and Cucumbers" would be a great title.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Feeling the Heartbeat

I found myself profoundly sad this past Sunday and into yesterday. Sometimes even what should have been expected can take us by surprise.

Two years ago we were attending a church here in town. During that time a friend from our previous church fellowship fell seriously ill. His body was ravaged by pancreatitis and he spent six months in the hospital fighting for his life. There were many tears shed and countless prayers uttered on his behalf, and because He is a God of miracles, our friend Doug lived another year and ten months before succumbing to cancer this past Saturday.

He wasn't the pastor or assistant pastor, but Doug was, in so many ways ,the heartbeat of Calvary Chapel Webster. He was the kind of guy who always had a hug and word of encouragement, and he never failed to be ready and willing to pray with anyone in need. He loved to prepare and serve meals, to work in the church cafe and coffee shop, and love on people. The last time I saw him, he motioned for me to come closer. I thought he was going to ask a question or tell me something, but instead he wrapped me in one of those Doug Hugs. He wasn't afraid to let any of us know we were loved.

This weekend is the adult retreat at The Castle in Franklin, Pennsylvania, the place where Doug so loved to serve. We won't be there this year, but we were last October. I remember being relieved to have him there, tired though he was, doing what he loved so much, working in the kitchen and blessing the socks off the rest of us.

His suffering has ended, but his passing leaves a gigantic hole. I pray that those of us who are left behind this time around will learn from his example, and if each of us can love even one other person like Doug loved all of us, the world will be a better place.

I'm still feeling a little teary, but then again, tomorrow will mark the seventh anniversary of my dad's passing too. It's just a little harder this year than some of the past ones...

Monday, September 26, 2016

Chicken Soup, Because

I'd planned to bake a few pies today, but after my morning appointment and a stroll around the shopping plaza, I opted to make chicken soup instead. Autumn made me think of soup, and though it was a warm sunny afternoon, by the time we ate it was cool, dark, and rainy. Perfect.

I couldn't decide which of my ladies would be most tasty, so I picked up a big package of chicken thighs from Wegmans. Garlic. Onion. Mushrooms. Celery. Carrots. My kitchen smelled absolutely yummy with chicken baking and vegetable sauteing.

The chickens knocked at the door, but when I inquired, I found they had no interest in helping with the soup. "You've got to be kidding me!" said the first chicken. She was not impressed in the least. In fact, I thought I heard her say something about my intelligence, but I can't be entirely sure. Her look is telling though.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Car Show

I spent the morning wandering from one place to another; BJ's, Saver's, the new Super Walmart,... the East Coast Hot Rod car show... I had my camera along.

Nice, eh? (I'm practicing my Canadian, just in case I go back anytime soon.)

Friday, September 23, 2016

My Friend Flossie

My sister and I went to visit our brother today. We had taken him out for a drive, returned him to the residence, and were on our way home again when I looked over at her and wondered why she was flossing her teeth as she was driving.

"Rachel," I said, "You shouldn't be flossing your teeth while you drive..."

"I'm not," she replied, "I'm trying to get this necklace out of my hair." (A recurring problem with said necklace.)

I was relieved at the time, but now that I am home and rethinking it, that doesn't sound safe either.

She dropped the offending chain into the console of the car. "It looked at first like you were flossing your teeth." I told her.

"I don't have any floss in my car," she told me. "I used it all up."

Well, that's a relief...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

My Favorite Broom

It was a busy day with The Trio. Since I wasn't home Monday-Wednesday, I decided to catch up on some housework. Or try to. Silly me. I got to one room, the kitchen, several times over. And I did two loads of laundry. The clothes, sheets, and towels are washed, clean, and folded. Well, the clothes and towels are. The sheets need to be put back on the bed. No sense folding them.

We've taken to keeping the chickens in while the kids are here, that way I don't need to worry about the silly rooster chasing the kids. I let the birds out when Leta came but Simon stayed in the sandbox until the chickens had made their way up into the yard. He looked rather wary when he climbed out of the sand and found the rooster watching him from the opposite side. "Don't run," I told him, and I took my broom over to escort him safely to the porch. Gotta love that broom!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tired and Cranky

I am beyond tired and probably fighting something that wants to make my eyes ache. I was already cranky this morning when I found a cold and empty coffee pot on the kitchen counter. (so sad...) I solved the problem by making a fresh, hot pot and poured some into My Favorite coffee cup along with a dab of French Vanilla creamer.

While my morning coffee brewed, I checked my computer and ordered myself a lunch at Panera Bread. I picked it up on my way to see my favorite chiropractor. I had time between leaving his office and getting to work, so I called my favorite Hannah and chatted with her for a few minutes. Daughters are a nice thing to have. I arrived at work with enough time to change from street clothes into my work clothes. Good thing I changed because my boss made a visit after lunch.

It was a long and sleepy afternoon, but it was also my short day. I got home while it was daylight and even collected today's offering of eggs. We have more than we can eat at the moment, so I decided to use several in a bread pudding this evening. They're small so I beat up six instead of four. I added raisins and sprinkled the dish with cinnamon and nutmeg. It baked for an hour and came out sicky sweet and not looking like any bread pudding I've made previous. It does help if one actually adds the eggs... Maybe it will be funny tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

North of the Border

Yesterday morning (which seems like just yesterday on one hand and a long time ago on the other), I hopped into my vehicle with my overnight bag and headed for Canada. I crossed the border without incident and arrived at my destination just a little over three hours after leaving home. Somewhere between Fort Erie and Niagara Falls I called my husband for clarification on directions and discovered my phone was a bit persnickety in a foreign country. (Did you know Canadians are foreign? Ha ha! Or maybe we are... :0) )

My bloggy friend Linda made us a delicious lunch and we had a wonderful visit. It was our first face to face meeting, and the first time I've gone to another country to meet one of my friends. The time flew by and it was soon time for me to go. I did not turn around and head for home. That wouldn't be any fun. Instead I headed for the home of my (husband's) cousin Tracy and her husband Jim. We shared dinner, pie and ice cream, and talked until the wee hours of the morning, whereupon we decided if I was to arrive at work on time today, it might be a good idea to go to bed.

I left Tracy's at about 8:15 am and headed back toward Rochester. Three hours later I was at work and on time. It was a nice, but very short and slightly tiring trip. I think if I do it again, I'd like to have a little more time to meander. There are a lot of things to see and do in the Niagara Region.

No photos of me and Tracy. We were just too tired. But there are a few nice ones of Linda and me.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Starship Applepies

It's pie baking season. The apples are ready and the air has a certain crispness (not to be confused with "Christmas"). I spent the afternoon in the kitchen. My new kitchen is beautiful, but I don't know where anything is anymore. I felt a little bit discombobulated. I have no clue whether or not I kept my apple peeler/slicer. If I did keep it, Where I put it is a mystery.

Tomorrow I am going on a journey. I am taking apple pies and going to meet my friend Linda for lunch. After my time with Linda, I will meet up with my husband's cousin Tracy. If things work out, I will see a childhood friend as well. It's a long drive. I just might stay overnight with Tracy and drive back in time for work on Tuesday morning. Guess I should pack an overnight bag, just in case.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

This and That

My job interview on Monday went well and I loved looking into four year old faces that surrounded me. They asked my name, and then told me "No, it's not! What's your name?"because Martha is the name of the woman who runs the daycare. I'd thought I wanted a full time position, but I've been rethinking. I decided perhaps part time would be better.

I left the other Martha a message on Tuesday afternoon. She left me a message today. Now I have to let her know what days and hours will work for me. What can I commit to?

Since I want to save a couple of days for the grand darlings and myself, I'm thinking I might keep Thursdays and Fridays free. The pay at the daycare is less than I am making now, but I'll save 40 minutes a day in drive time. I think I could get used to that.

Yesterday my sister Rachel and I meandered the back roads of Newark, NY, and today I am off to wander the Pultneyville garage sales.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Leaf Collections and a Long Walk

The trio was here for the morning. I was surprised to walk into the kitchen and find an extensive leaf collection littering my island table. Have I told you they like collecting?

I never cease to be amazed (and sometimes dismayed) at the assortment of items and where the young scientists decide to lay out their treasure, but being a good grandmother, rather than object, like I would have had I caught them sooner, I picked up my camera to record the joyous occasion.

I find it interesting how personality shows up in something as simple as organization. Simon's leaves were a large and random assortment while Lucas laid his smaller collection out in rows. They were quite pleased that I bothered to record their activity. I hope it doesn't encourage them too much. Maybe I need to find them a spot in the barn for all their rocks, leaves, and feathers.

In an attempt to stay active, I took another walk down the road this afternoon. It's a mile and a half one way, and just over a mile the other. Today I took my camera and was distracted by bees in the goldenrod at the edge of my own property. In spite of my attention deficit, I did make it down the road and back again in a decent amount of time.  On my way home a large dog spoke to me from within his invisible enclosure. I named him Guardian and will call him Guard for short, even though I don't have a clue who he belongs to. I think it's a good name.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016



That's this week's word. Authenticity holds hands with vulnerability. They go together. I'm rolling these words around in my mind, kneading them together, and praying they combine properly...

On a different note, I interviewed for another job today, One that's closer to home, closer to my heart, and closer to being a kindergarten teacher (even if it isn't).

Monday, September 12, 2016


(It's last week's word. Because sometimes there is a "word of the week.")

I've never liked feeling or being vulnerable, but I'm learning that vulnerability is a necessary part of life. Putting it into practice takes courage...

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Around Here

Our friends across the street belong to a Volkswagen Club. They gathered today and we took a walk over to look at the vehicles. Always wanted a Bug when I was a little girl. I like the old ones best.

Naughty One has not been seen in a couple of days. We are worried. And sad.

Update- He's home. He won't tell us where he went or what he was doing, but he's back and we'll sleep better because of it.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

I Went to Work on Saturday

Seems like I spend a lot of time away from home. I guess life gets busy, and maybe that's a good thing. This morning my sister asked if I'd like to go out for a ride and take photographs, but I'd had a restless night on top of the busy week, and will be completely busy next week as well. I told her my heart wanted to go but I really felt like I needed to stay home. She ended up going alone. I ended up... going to work?

It was almost 10:30 am when a text came through on my phone. It was my boss letting me know the regular weekend companion would not be there. She wondered if I might like to pick up some hours. My house needs to be cleaned and I was exhausted from a night of staring into the darkness, but I took her up on the offer. I told her I'd work today, but I wouldn't be "dressed for it." I wore my regular clothes today and liked it. My friend was anxious, as usual, but for some unknown reason I felt like I had an extra helping of patience in spite of not enough sleep last night.

I hope I sleep tonight or my eyes might fall out. I have a busy week coming up and I really, really need my beauty sleep. (Mostly I need it to maintain my pleasant disposition...) I've cut back on my coffee consumption, but kicked up the iced tea. Maybe too much. I was good today (only one cup of coffee and 8-10 oz iced tea), so if I don't get a headache from caffeine withdrawal, I just might sleep like a baby. Is that a good thing? That's a good thing, Right?

Photos courtesy of last Sunday's drive to Dansville.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Practicing Compassion

Thinking about it... Working on it... Treating myself kindly, that is. Trying to remember to put my own oxygen mask in place before attempting to help others. It can be hard to do.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Fame is Fleeting

It was my  l-o-n-g  day. Tuesdays always are.

I got up in time to leave just a little bit early and got to Ladies' Prayer before the entire gang showed up. I also left a little early. A stop at two different banks and a drop-off at Goodwill were squeezed into the half hour before my appointment with Dr. Dan the chiropractor.

After my appointment I drove around the corner and pulled into the parking lot of an old one-room schoolhouse and put in a call to my youngest daughter. While I talked to her, a gentleman also pulled in, parked his truck, and hopped out with his camera. He took a few pictures. One of the front of the building, and a close-up of the plaque gracing the face too.

I finished my call with Hannah and got out of my van. I wondered why the man was interested in the building and decided to tell him about the set of letters carved in the upright beam on the south side of the schoolhouse. We chatted a bit before I found out he was from a local news station and was doing a little piece on the First Day of School.

He asked if I would trace the letters with my finger so he could take a photo (This is Hannah 12 years ago...) and one of my friends said she actually saw me on the 5 o'clock news. I missed my fleeting moment of fame while sitting in the nursing home dining room at supper. ha ha!

For the story about Grandpa's initials, click here.

I did not take my camera with me today (I've been admonished before...) so you have to do with old photos.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Tuesday Treasures

Our drive south Sunday afternoon took us down Rt 19 through Fillmore and Houghton, NY where we saw a few old treasures. Outside the Fillmore Collision Services in Houghton were these two treasures, parked side by side and smiling.

I can't help but think of old children's books, and for some reason Lois Lenski's Mr. Small comes to mind. I don't think he drove a truck quite like this, but maybe one similar. (It's that kid in me again... Can't help it.)

On the outskirts of the town of Fillmore, on Rt 19A was this old building, along with another rusty relic parked outside, I know nothing of the building or its history, just found that it caught my eye as we drove by. The roof of the the structure had collapsed on the east side of the building. Another jewel lost to the the sands of time. I often wish, as we drive these roads through the countryside, that I could remember my childhood rides with Mom and Dad because we passed this way on our visits to Uncle Joe's house. Spin the clock back 45 years and what would this place have looked like?

Sunday, September 04, 2016

The Barn Collective

We went for a ride this afternoon. Thought we might catch a glimpse of the hot air balloons in Dansville, but, in spite of the beautiful day and the Festival of Balloons..., there was not a basket in the sky. Launch times are 6 am and 6 pm. We opted not to wait 4 hours.

While we were out, we took a drive to find Uncle Joe's farm in Caneadea. The farm was still there but the barn was hidden behind trees. So sad. Ah, well. I can still see Sally Sue calling "Here, chick, chick!" as she threw feed in the driveway.

Down the road a short distance, we found an old barn that made for some nice pictures.

One day I'd like to find a barn I can go inside of and take pictures. I'm hoping for fresh hay, chickens in the hay mow, a litter of kittens, and some cows. Oh, wait. That would have been Uncle Joe's...

More barns at Tom's Barn Collective.