Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BRRRRR!

We are iced in here at the farm, but we are warm, well fed, and with electricity. I wish everyone were so blessed.

Yesterday our daughter Katherine phoned and asked if it was pretty looking out our large curtainless windows. Although the roads were covered with ice, the fields were largely brown. I had to say no. But when we woke up this morning, it had snowed several inches, and the white lawn runs downs and joins the white snow-covered lake. It is beautiful. Gerald had filled the bird feeders just in time for this, and we’ve enjoyed watching the hungry ones feast out on our deck. Schools are called off. And kids (and some adults) are enjoying sledding and snow play. Schools are still closed tomorrow.

We had follow-up appointments yesterday with a dermatologist in the Saint Louis area, but we finally made the decision Monday afternoon that we better cancel that rather than go up a day early to try and beat the ice. We’d probably still be stuck up there at Mary Ellen’s if we had not.

We have not had mail nor paper delivery either day. However, Gerald says if we need to go anywhere, we can get out with his pickup. He was out and about clearing sidewalks today with a scraper on the lawn mower. Although he occupies himself with phone calls, photography, reading, and television, he gets cabin fever pretty quickly and finds excuses to pile on the outerwear and go outside for some task or other.

I haven’t been any further than using the washer/drier in the garage, which is pretty chilly right now. I have filed a few papers and written a few notes, but unfortunately, I have not managed to get into a book yet although it would seem this would be the perfect time to snuggle up with one.

I loved snow days when our children were still at home and in school. I loved being isolated, making hot chocolate for them with marshmallows on top, and using the days to work on the family scrapbook when I wasn’t helping them get in and out of snowsuits and boots.

It has been years since I have finished a scrapbook. I have boxes of newspaper clippings and mementoes of grandchildren’s drawings, but I no longer have the ambition to spread them on the dining room table and spend entire days reminiscing and sorting and pasting. I claim I am saving that project for my frail elderly years when I cannot get out of the house even in pretty weather. I suspect I may not be that ambitious then either. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I am enjoying the coziness of watching the weather in the warmth of home.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Meeting Maddux Mark

When the phone call came that our granddaughter Tara and husband Bryan were bringing the new baby to meet his three great grandparents and one great great grandmother here at this end of the state, we were excited. It has been a long wait for us to meet Maddux, who was born December 9. With the holidays and bad weather and icy roads, it was not wise to come earlier. Now the plan was to leave the Chicago area after the boys woke up on Saturday morning, and we’d be ready with a late lunch when they arrived at Woodsong. .

All the Southern Illinois relatives were eager for this visit. And we were equally eager to see Maddux’s big brother Aidan, who will be three at the end of May and is a delight. Gerald had spent a week being sure the tractor, the lawn mower, the mule, and the special grandchild wagon were all ready to go. He knew that he and Aidan would ride all of them during the visit. And within a couple of hours of the family’s arrival, they had all been used by Great Gpa Gerald and Aidan. I think Gerald pretty much let Aidan run things out there, although he did have to decline when Aidan wanted to pull Gerald in the little red wagon.

The Taylors were down for the day from Lake Saint Louis, and the Cedars came out from nearby Marion. Aidan had a big time playing with his mother’s younger cousins and their friends. The cousins also liked having their brief turns holding Maddux. With people coming and going, lunch turned into snacks and then into supper time with food in the crock pots.

We had spent the week planning menus and making plans for this especially happy weekend. And it was. Maddux was as sweet as we knew he would be. He did not sleep much after his arrival on Saturday when he was being passed from one Glasco aunt, uncle, or cousin to another. And then for dinner and evening at Gma Shirley’s, he was passed and admired and loved by all his Johnson relatives.

But with the deaths of two community friends, it was an especially sad weekend also. Gerry drove up from Georgia for a burial and funeral, and we were all grieving for these families. Nevertheless, Gerry had the pleasure of seeing his two grandsons along with the rest of us. That was very good.

He had already met Maddux at Christmas time, and Aidan had stayed at their house almost a week before Christmas. Aidan was so happy to see Gpa Gerry again. Despite some sweet genetic shyness, Aidan is a wonderfully good natured child who is pleased to see anyone who loves him, and all of us do. He has a smile that can make you feel like a million dollars. And to our amazement, when we talked directly to Maddux, he also gave brief little smiles. Tara said that just started a week ago.

Today Maddux was ready to catch up on his sleep, and we discovered he was just as sweet sleeping in our arms as he had been awake yesterday. I got my turn holding him in the church nursery, and the other nursery worker knew I deserved this special treat. She knew I’d be serving lunch when we got back to Woodsong, so this hour was especially important to me. Aidan was quickly involved playing with Toby, who was just a few months older than Aidan.

After lunch, the Archibalds packed their van and were on their way back to Aurora. I hope they are at home and asleep now.

Gerry drove up to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery at Poor-Do for the burial of Jeannie’s classmate Mark Mocaby. Mark had been a freshman when Gerry was a high school senior and they played basketball together. Afterwards he visited with other friends in that neighborhood until the time for Estes Hosman’s funeral visitation. We were to meet him there at the funeral home. .

We did, but the line was backed up for a long distance into the street, and it was bitter cold. We decided we had best not brave that long stand outside in addition to another long stand inside, and we left Gerry standing to pay homage to his friend. It was Estes and Chester, who taught Gerry about horses when we gave him a horse rather than a motorcycle at the end of eighth grade. (Gerry knew how to negotiate.) Estes and Cheyl’s daughter Jamie was the flower girl at Gerry and Vickie’s wedding almost 30 years ago.

Our hearts are heavy for the families of these two young men (one 60 and one 47). Yet we felt very blessed tonight before bedtime to have this long unexpected visit with Gerry as we sat and talked. He saw so many friends today that he had not seen in many many years, and we liked hearing about these folks also. We will have another brief visit with him in the morning before the 11 o’clock funeral and he starts the long drive back to Georgia. It has been an odd weekend—certainly not the undiluted joyful one we had anticipated.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sadness

I really did come downstairs to my computer to blog Wednesday night. But first I checked the emails, and there was a paragraph I wrote to a speakers’ newsletter that had been picked up by another writer. (The speakers’ newsletter is free, but we are supposed to “pay” for it with a tip occasionally, and I had sent my first tip to the newsletter.) Excited that someone had liked it, I forwarded it to our kids.


We have a family yahoo group, where all of us get our emails. A couple of our children were online and started emailing in response. This is one of my favorite things because usually it is late at night and everyone is a little slap happy. Naturally I think my children are very witty, so I love it when they start emails flying back and forth amongst us that crack me up.


After a couple funny responses, suddenly our son came online and asked if we knew that Mark Mocaby had had a massive stroke and died in Tupelo, Mississippi. The flurry of emails increased but went from being silly to being very sad. Mark, 47, was in Jeannie’s class, and she had thought so much of Mark. Evidently everyone did—the kids in the classes above him and below him in age. Mary Ellen remembered that all through high school, Mark had been in love with Mary Ann from Mississippi—much to the dismay of the local girls.

Once again I was tired and now sad and I forgot all about blogging. Our email grief expression was still continuing today. Mary Ellen, who had wanted to come to his funeral, had found out it was in Mississippi tomorrow, but Mark would be buried here at Mt. Pleasant up in the Poor-Do neighborhood, but we don’t know when.

Then as Gerald and I were finishing lunch, our next-door neighbor Scott phoned. A terrible accident had happened in our neighborhood. Scott and Sonja saw the fire truck, ambulance, and Air Evac helicopter go by, but Gerald and I had not. They had followed and like several other neighbors had been led to our dear friend Chester Turner’s farm. Chester, a widower who lost who only son shortly after the Viet Nam War, is a community favorite.


At 90 plus years, he still rides his horse to the Sikeston Rodeo over in Missouri each year. (Of course, he has some assistance and watch care from his very special horse-riding buddy Robin Roberts, who despite having her hands full with her in-laws’ illnesses and her photography studio, cannot stand the thought that anyone can not still ride if they love to do so as much as she does.)


Estes Hosman, a friend of Chester’s son and now like a son to Chester, had come over to help Chester cut down a bad limb from a tree in the back field. Chester was urging Estes to stop and let the wind complete the job when Estes said he would make one final attempt to cut through. He succeeded, and the limb somehow someway bounced up and hit him and killed him.

Neighbors and friends were pouring in throughout the afternoon knowing they could do nothing to ease Chester’s grief but at least he was not alone with it. Some, of course, were going to be with Estes’ wife Cheryl. Our neighbor across the road, who had gone through school with Estes and Cheryl, phoned sobbing to make sure we had heard the sad news.

In a small rural community like ours, one of the things I have observed is that everyone has so many connections to everyone else. Thus, when a tragedy like this happens, a multitude of people are deeply affected. Not just Estes and Cheryl’s classmates, but all of the classmates of Estes and Cheryl's two daughters, Jamie and Lori, will be grief-stricken for their friends.


Just as the entire community was devastated a few decades ago when Estes’ father was a victim of a coal mine disaster. Other miners in our community risked their lives trying to get his body out until they were forbidden to continue. He remains entombed there. And then we were grief stricken when Chester and Maribel’s only child was killed in a car accident after safely surviving Viet Nam. Later the community was saddened when Estes’ mother died of cancer. The ties and relationships between people in a rural community are varied and deep.


Our Mary Ellen had to call her friend Stacia in Oklahoma because Stacia used to baby sit Estes and Cheryl’s daughters. Of course, she was saddened for her classmate Bruce, Estes' nephew. Our son Gerry, who was friends with both Chester and Estes, immediately said he must arrange to come home even though he was at the airport getting ready to depart for California and fly back tomorrow. Oddly, before he got on the plane, he had a text message that the tournament was called off, and suddenly he was free to drive back home and absorb this loss and see if he can work it out to come up.


Crab Orchard community is a sad place tonight, and I am only too aware that life is often short and very precious to those who love those lives.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Busy Week Did Not Help My Absent Mindedness

Well, I just this moment discovered that I did not blog on Wednesday night. Why? I have no idea! I proudly announced at Writers Guild on Thursday night that I blog twice a week, and I thought I was telling the truth. It did not occur to me then or until now that I somehow missed Wednesday night. What was I doing Wednesday night? I have no idea. Probably surfing. Or maybe I went to bed early. I cannot even remember. Ah well.

As I have written before, I have been absent minded all my life, and unfortunately aging has not improved things. Well, that is not quite true. I use a lot of tricks and techniques now that I did not know to use as a younger person. I write lists and mark off tasks accomplished. I try to keep everything on a calendar. I establish routines and know to do certain things automatically. (Writing on Wednesday night is one of those certain things, which shows that technique is not fool proof.) Enough of this nonsense. I just called myself a fool, and I totally disapprove of that, so I will be quiet about my failure and get on with tonight’s blog.

It has been a busy week. My daughter Katherine’s aide had finally gotten back her car from being repaired and took her children to school Monday morning. Then a semi-truck driver ran a stop sign and plowed into her and totaled that car. She was very grateful her daughters had already been dropped off when the truck slammed into her car. She was injured too much to work again until Friday.

As I mentioned, we had Southern Illinois Writers Guild on Thursday night, and it was great to hear Harry Spiller speak again. We’ve missed him since he retired from the college last spring, and we recognized him with a plaque and a life membership in the guild, which he sponsored from 2001-2008.

As a former English teacher, who always considered myself a linguist as opposed to a grammarian, I enjoyed again hearing him confess how he had always failed English and was considered hopeless by those who taught people how to write. Of course, none of those discouragers have ever written a book, and Harry has published twelve now and is read by scores of people, who would never had read the English teachers’ books if they had written any. Having a story to tell beats correct grammar anytime in my opinion. I felt the same way about public speaking. I used to tell students that having a good speaking voice and good delivery was worse than worthless if there was no content there worth delivering.

Speaking of stories to tell, Gerald and I took the three grandkids here at Woodsong this weekend—Trent, Brianna, and Sam—down to Vienna this afternoon to hear Tony Gerard’s newest one-man enactment. That is not quite accurate. Perhaps we should say one-man and one-dog enactment. Gerard was accompanied by his huge beautiful dog Pelo, who was very important to his impersonation of an 18th century American hunter.

His fictional character Jean-Baptiste was the son of a French man and a Kaskaskia Indian mother. Fortunately, before his father drowned when Jean-Baptiste was a little boy, his father encouraged him to learn English in addition to the French and Kaskaskian. And though he struggled with this third language, he was able to communicate with us in his heavy accent as he struggled for the right English vocabulary. Jean-Baptiste was an excellent story teller.

Gerard said he collected those stories from others’ tales in his reading of history and from his own experience. Without mastery of the English language, Jean-Baptiste was nevertheless quite compelling. He had great ability to help us visualize with his hands as he acted out his adventures.

Pelo’s sweet gentle nature was apparent as he wandered amongst us and charmed us. Yet we had no trouble believing Jean-Baptiste that Pelo was friendly with people but vicious with bears. Gerard’s knowledge of history was amazing as he answered impromptu questions from the audience.

Of course, I had to admit to Mary Ellen and Brian when they came back from their weekend trip tonight that my own knowledge of that era is so limited that I would not have recognized a factual mistake if I had heard one. But part of Gerard’s talent is to make his character so believable that you do not doubt that Jean-Baptiste was being accurate in his account of his life in the 18th century here in our part of the state.

We understood that he did not know what year it was nor did not understand why the Fench missionaries said Jesus wanted him to only have one wife. We also could clearly see that here was a man who knew the woods and the animals and the people who roamed them with first-hand knowledge, and he did not need mastery of the English grammar to share those stories.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Variety Is the Spice

This first full week of 2009 has been full of varied activities: INR reading, working on a feature article, visiting Jari Jackson, Kroger’s Senior Citizen Day, Center Church monthly business meeting, doctor’s appointment, prose and poetry reading at Hardee’s, visiting my daughter Katherine, going to the new restaurant at Goreville, attending our first swim meet at Edwardsville to see our neighbor Katie Cully win every heat she was in, and finally today in addition to worship, hearing Bob Jackson tell his family story at the Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois about the death of his dad’s sister and husband during the days of the Charley Birger gang. Yeah, I did a little house work and cooking too this week, but it sounds as if I mostly ran around. Oh, I finished putting up the Christmas decorations. I think. I usually find something left behind and probably will again this year.

The varied activities have allowed me to see a number of people, so that has been very good. At Kroger’s, I warned Gerald that on this special day for seniors I usually see people I have not seen in years. Sure enough, I ran into Jean Harrison and we had a lovely visit. Come to find out, Gerald visited with my cousin Dick Stanley in the parking lot. I also saw my friend Laura Parks.

Our small Southern Illinois Writers Guild coffee house group may not have seen a lot of people, but we saw a lot of places. After skipping meeting in December, we were to have our monthly prose and poetry reading at Latta Java. However, we forgot to remind Terrance Henry that we were meeting again, and we found our venue all locked up. Along with just enjoying seeing friends we had not seen for a couple of months, we stood on the cold sidewalk looking longingly inside and debated what to do next Since we had folk who’d arrived not just from Marion but from Cobden, Carbondale, and Carterville, we didn’t want to quit after all that effort made to get there.

Numerous phone calls later and thinking everyone coming had arrived, we left a note on the door and headed to Western Sizzling’ hoping they’d allow use of their little extra side room. They probably would have but by the time we all arrived, it was too near their closing time for our reading session. (We won’t mention the late arrival there of some the out-of-towners who ended up at Menards. Our directions were evidently less than clear, and one car carefully followed the other down the wrong road.)

Not to be deterred, we next headed to nearby Hardee’s. I had not been sure I would read that night, but I did not want to miss being able to claim that I had participated in a book reading at Hardee’s. Steve Fessler was back from Thailand, and we enjoyed his essay written while there. Roger Poppen read about taking his parents to Watertown, North Dakota, to visit some family and to take pictures of them standing at sites of their early married life in the city where Roger was born. His description of their memories was a microcosm of American history. Jim Lambert really enjoyed this description because he had just spent Thanksgiving with relatives in Watertown.

We had a lot of fun on this progressive parade through the streets of Marion; and as our president said later, he felt the writings we shared were extra good that night. You are invited to join us when we meet again on Thursday night, February 12, at 7 p.m., but we won’t promise that we will have as much fun.

After a lovely time visiting with Katherine Friday afternoon, she was persuaded to go with us to the dinner Gerald had arranged with his brothers and wives, Keith and Barb and Garry and Ginger. We were going to check out The Old Home Place Restaurant that Patrick and Tina Barger opened this week at Goreville. Since Goreville is where I spent summers as a child and the location of our family roots, I am always happy when I am in that town. And since Patrick and Tina are special people, we were eager to see their restaurant. We were not disappointed. Every detail had been well planned with an excellent menu, a covey of sweet-faced friendly young waitresses, and Tina’s creation of down-home d├ęcor making a warm comfortable atmosphere.

If you want good food and generous servings, you’ll find it on the south side of Goreville on Route 37, where Old Home Place is built on the lot where the Borums’ barbeque eatery had stood. If you want to see friends, you’re likely to run into them there. We immediately walked by Gary and Janet Hacker of Tunnel Hill and Floyd and Gloria Stout of Vienna and then kept finding more friends and relatives as the evening continued.

We have wanted to see our eight-year-old neighbor Katie swim, and the Cullys invited us to go to Edwardsville for a swim meet at the YMCA. This was a first for us, and we had to be impressed not just with Katie (which we certainly were) but with all the youngsters’ speed and dedication. There were probably close to two-hundred kids there with parents, grandparents, and siblings in tow.

Teams set up lawn chairs in a circle in their assigned “down spot,” and from there we traipsed back and forth to the pool when Katie’s events came up. She was in the final four and won the coveted jacket for her age group. Her hard work (and the hard work of her parents) getting up and traveling to Rend Lake for early morning practices and lessons had paid off. The Cullys insisted on treating us to an excellent dinner at Eckert’s, and after some “short cuts” that Scott and Gerald prided themselves on, we wandered home by back roads and got home by 9:30 to stop for our mail and newspapers and arrive home for a good night’s sleep. (There is a reason short cuts was written with quotation marks.)

Listening to Bob Jackson’s story this afternoon about our county during the roaring twenties was fascinating, and again I saw friends and met new ones. But I will have to wait till another day perhaps to report or write an article about that. I do want to explain, however, that the roaring twenties here involved the roar of gun powder and the first bomb dropped in the United States—at the infamous Shady Rest. Bob gave concrete examples of news stories of that day with factual errors (such as his dad’s name being wrong and said to be from Ozark, MO, instead of Ozark, IL. I thought his explanation of how some involved told the story several different ways (usually to protect themselves) and, thus, finding accurate facts about any past event is difficult, and we need to be careful what we believe. That situation has not changed in the 21st century.

Several of us were surprised to find out the Williamson County Historical Society now has a several-volume collection of Oldham Paisley’s newspaper stories from those days. Bob said we could contact him to buy them, but otherwise we can wait until March when the Society resumes their Thursday afternoon openings of their museum located just off the Marion square.. (The museum is closed during December, January, and February to reduce the expense of heating the old building, which once was the home of the sheriff and also the county jail.)

The next time someone asks me what I want for Christmas, I will be able to tell them I want this collection of Oldham Paisley’s accounts of the feud between the Birger and Shelton gangs, who terrorized our county. Mothers shooed their children into their homes when they saw the gangs’ cars approaching their neighborhoods loaded with armed men.

I could tell Bob still grieved for his father’s loss of his sister and husband—the aunt and uncle that Bob never got to know except through his research. (A topic very painful for his father to talk about. Bob learned about the murders when he overheard adult conversation when he was eight.) I was touched that he had taken a cherished childhood toy—a little rubber motorcycle—and used his artist skills to turn the driver into his uncle Lori Price dressed in his brown state patrolman uniform—the same one Price died a bloody death in when the gang kidnapped and killed Price and his wife Ethel.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What Are You Doing?

When I used to answer the phone and have a friend ask, What’s ya doing?”, I always felt stumped It was obvious to me that I was answering the phone, but I knew that was not the answer that the caller wanted. They wanted more than that.

So I would search my memory and try to remember what I was doing before they interrupted what I was doing with the phone call. Sometimes I did not care to tell them, so I would have to create an acceptable (less honest but not a lie) answer and hope to please them and get on to the subject they had called about.

Being the curious type, I have been wondering what in the world is Twitter. Tonight I explored Twitter for five minutes and discovered that “What are you doing?” is the question I must answer. I became all shy and brain frozen. I just clicked off until another time. Fortunately I had not asked anyone to be my friend, so I didn’t feel like I was hanging up on someone. I decided to wait to answer until I could say something ore interesting than “trying to figure out what Twitter is all about.”

I knew the President-elect had his Twitter account hacked this week. One news show talks a great deal about Twitter. I hate feeling like someone from the 20th Century. I want to be hip. I like the name: Twitter. It is cute and light hearted and makes me feel good to hear it. Twitter! Isn’t that a clever sound? But what is the point?

What am I doing? Again you know that I am typing on Twitter. Should I say what I just did before I started typing on Twitter? Or should I say what I plan to do next after I quit typing on Twitter? Do you really want to know: “I just took my meds” or “I’m going to brush my teeth so I can go to bed.” I am not sure I have any friends who want to know that much about me. Hmmm. But just in case you do, that is what I am going to do: Brush my teeth and go to bed.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Clearing Out to Start Afresh

It is that time of year. Looking back and looking forward. Although I had taken down the door wreaths and the many table top accessories and small items lining the books on one book case, both trees were still up yesterday morning when the phone call from Mary Ellen came. Her family was sleeping while she was driving, and she was getting sleepy too. So she phoned to get her dad to talk to her, so she’d stay awake. They were trying to make it home to Lake Saint Louis from their holiday trip to Florida since the kids had friends to meet and things to do (of course) and so did the adults. Gerald suggested they meet at Cracker Barrel for breakfast, but a later phone call pleaded to just come crash here at the farm. Of course that was fine with us. All the beds were empty.


While they slept, I turned on the trees for the last time thinking they could still feel a bit of holiday spirit when they woke up—which wasn’t until noon. They were ready to head out the door, but I’d already doubled our left-over pot of chili from the night before, so they were persuaded to have a bowl of chili first, so we could hear about their trip to Disney World and their visit with Brian’s mother.


This afternoon the decorations quickly came off the upstairs tree and it is ready to be stuffed into its box in the morning and crammed back in the closet.. The guest room bed is covered with its ornaments and earlier removed accessories that still must be boxed. I climbed onto a step stool and took down the angel looking down on us from the cabinets in the dining room.


Just to get started, I even took a few ornaments off the downstairs tree, which has the accumulation of keepsake items from 52 years of marriage. There are some pretty plaid bows Jean Harrison gave me on a gift many years ago (20 or 30 years?) and a bright red and yellow bow from a flower arrangement that Hua-ling Hu brought to us at Woodsong once. There is an adorable white miniature plastic cowboy boot with attached tag promoting Kathie DeNosky’s first romance. She gave it to us when she spoke to Writers Guild, and I loved it and knew the tree was the perfect place for it.


There are many ornaments made by our children and grandchildren—including some made from toilet tissue tubes to slip over branches. There are some made by Texas relatives and Wyoming relatives and some made by my sister-in-law Ginger before her stroke. There is a red poppy bought on the street one Memorial Day from an American Legion member. I put it on the tree in remembrance of all the fun my friend Lynn and I had selling poppies in Anna for her grandparents’ veterans group.. (They treated us to lunch at a restaurant, which was a big deal to me. Lunch came with vegetables served in cute little white bowls beside your plate.) Leukemia claimed Lynn’s life a year ago right before Christmas, so I lingered over that poppy. There are so many many ornaments and memories to be mulled.


That tree will take more time than the more stylized tree upstairs did, which didn’t have that many ornaments. (The upstairs tree has always been decorated with artificial roses and blue and silver ornaments.)


I am eager to finish up Christmas tomorrow, although I will probably still be sending a few belated cards and thank you notes next week. On Christmas Eve I had to follow my usual tradition of realizing that some cards would have to go out late. I started in early December with cards to shut-ins first, then the cards I carry to Sunday School rooms to pass out at church to save postage. ( I do this in honor of our late friend Helen Beasley who had her little G.A. girls do this so we could give more to our mission offering. I conscientiously added that postage saving to my mission check.) Then I addressed cards to all the relatives—except some whose addresses had been misplaced. Finally this year, I started on our lists of friends. Then suddenly it was Christmas Eve and time to celebrate whether the cards were finished or not. I always think I will do better the next year and get cards out earlier, but so far I never have.


I love the plainness of January after the richness of December. The house bared of decorations pleases my eye and refreshes my spirit just as much as the color and brightness did when the decorations went up. I cooked white beans and corn bread for New Year’s Day, and that menu has tasted good also after the richer holiday fare.


With the holidays behind us, I look forward to a reestablishing a daily routine. And I want to use the cold wintry days ahead to go through some closets and chests and see if I cannot buy some storage space by eliminating unused items. Most of all, I want to unclutter my office, but that may never happen. Papers, pamphlets, and books accumulate almost as quickly as I can sort and throw out. We will have to wait and see what is accomplished in 2009. I am looking forward to it, but grieving the violence plaguing the planet. I wish we could throw out hatred and misunderstanding and start afresh.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Twice As Nice--I Hope

When I started blogging, I think I assumed there were some sort of “etiquette rules” in effect. I remember someone telling me that I should not write in all caps in emails—that was considered shouting and not appropriate in emails. I have decided now that we are making those “rules” as we go along. Probably “practices” is a better word than “rules.”

I say all that to say this. Originally I did not think I should put the same blog on two different sites. I have decided that was silly. So this year, I will be posting the same on AmazonConnect and on Blogspot sites. So if all goes well, there will be two blogs a week on both sites. That way readers can find the blog on whichever site is more convenient for them.

I will try to keep writing on Sunday and Wednesday nights, but I will probably often times write a day or so late. Then it will be another day of the week when I finally get around to writing. Or I might skip a week or so if we travel or I get too busy.

If anyone wants me to email the blogs to them, I can do that easily. Let me know. I liked the idea of letting folks check in when they had the time to do so.

Happy New Year to each and all of you!

Sue