Friday, June 30, 2006

Son In Law

I have a great son in law. There are two qualities that make him a good son in law; (1) He loves his wife, and (2) He loves his children. He becomes a great son in law because he also loves me. He is wise, funny, and kind. He makes me laugh and he listens when I am in need of a good listener. He has seen me at my worst and still treats me with respect. I am so glad he married my daughter.

Happy Birthday, Gary.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I came home from a meeting last night to find that we had once again lost electric power. This seems to happen whenever we have a big storm. It is most inconvenient! When we woke up this morning there was still no power. In our house that means there is no way to make coffee. I am not nice without my morning coffee so I obviously needed to go to the local bagel bakery where they make very good coffee. As I sat there drinking coffee and looking over the morning paper I took note of the people who were there at eight in the morning. There were several like myself, alone at a table, enjoying coffee and reading the paper. Several people were treating this place as their office. They had their laptops and papers strewn across the table and seemed oblivious to rest of the room. I know my older daughter, who runs a business out of her home, comes here to interview prospective employees. There were several groups of men dressed in suits who appeared to be having a business meeting. The noisiest groups were several gatherings of senior citizens who were just there to socialize. There was much laughter and conversation at those tables. I found one older woman particularly fascinating. She was there when I arrived, sitting alone and drinking coffee, but she was not alone long. It seemed that almost everyone knew her. I counted seven who sat down and visited with her for a few moments before going on and several others who just stopped and chatted for a minute. She smiled, nodded and listened to them all. She was still there when I left. She must be a good listener. It was really a very pleasant hour.

When I returned home there was still no power. What could I do? Normally I would check the answering machine and look at my email, but that doesn’t work without electricity. I finished putting things away from our trip. I washed dishes. It was getting hot and stuffy. No air conditioning without electricity. I tried to turn on the fan, but the electric fan wouldn’t work. The power finally came on late this afternoon.

I was very frustrated because I was unable to blog last night. That seems silly since it had been a very quiet day and I really had nothing important to say. I just have gotten a bit addicted to blogging and reading the blogs of others. Why is that? I don’t think I am the only one who feels this way. Why do you like to blog?

Monday, June 26, 2006

White Water Rafting

One of the highlights of our Pocono vacation was a white water rafting trip down the Lehigh River. We thought it would be a fun trip to share with our grandson. At thirteen he is quite confident that he can do it all. We were told it was mostly a float trip with a few minor rapids. Obviously “minor rapids” means different things to different people.

We arrived at the check-in point and were assigned a raft. Each raft group had to decide on a captain for their individual raft. What? Where is the professional guide I expected? “Oh, we have four. There is Chris up front to lead the pack (there were about twenty rafts in our group and we never saw Chris again after he pushed his raft into the water). In the back Matt will act as sweep and make sure no one is left behind. Jenny and Bill will roam through the group in their kayaks to make sure we are doing okay.” I was not sure that was enough supervision for this novice group. Next we listened to the safety lecture. We learned what to do when the raft tips over, how to float down the river safely if you get thrown out of the raft and how to signal for help if there is a serious injury. I was getting nervous. Then we were off, floating down the river. At times the river was slow and peaceful. DQ jumped in the water and swam and played with others more adventurous than Grandpa and me. Pulling him back in the raft when the guides began to yell,” Everyone, back in the boats. White water ahead.” Then we paddled hard forward or hard back and tried to miss the rocks that were sure to catch us and flip us over. We successfully negotiated all the rapids and were quite proud of ourselves. DQ yelled as we finished the last one, “This is the best moment of my whole life!”

It was a great moment for us all.

The T-shirt I bought after the trip says, “You don’t quit rafting because you get old, you get old because you quit rafting.” I’m not sure if I’ll keep rafting, but I will keep on enjoying the all the adventures of living.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Home Sweet Home

We are home. My head is full of happy images from our vacation. There were three lovely, romantic days in a luxury hotel, followed by a week in the Pocono Mountains with our 13-year-old grandson. It was all good. Now we are home. The vacation was wonderful. I’ll share some of our adventures later this week.

There’s no place like home.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Niagara Falls

Yesterday I rode The Maid of the Mist to the base of Niagara Falls. It was totally breathtaking. I had already stood at the brink of the falls and watched as millions of gallons of water spilled over the edge in a mesmerising roar. I got dizzy watching it and felt the ground tremble with the power of all that water. The experience in the Maid of the Mist was far more awesome. The sound was deafening. The mist from the falls completly surrounded us and blocked our vision of everything except the water falling all around us. It was wonderful.
We are staying here to celebrate our fouty-fifth anniversary. They claim that this is the honeymoon capital of he world. We did in fact see two wedding parties yesterday. Mostly, thought the town is filled with families and senior citizens.
We have a wonderful hotel room overlooking the falls. In the cool of early morning the mist rises up high above the falls. In the afternoon sun a rainbow always spreads it's arch across the falls. I never get tired of looking at this beautiful sight
Now I can happily cross off one more on the long list of places I want to see.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Library Card

Today I went to the library. I pulled out my library card and it just crumbled and fell apart in my hands. I don’t know why it did that. I have been using that card for over forty years and it never fell apart before. When we first moved to Bowie there was no library. I remember the great joy we felt when our new library opened. I was there that first day to get a library card, and I have used that card well. That card fell apart today. I now own a brand new library card. In fact, I have two cards. One goes in my wallet, the other hangs on key chain. Very cool.

We are leaving tomorrow for a trip to Niagara Falls. We are celebrating our forty-fifth wedding anniversary. My husband has packed his binoculars and bird books, his camera, and his GPS (his favorite toy on a trip). I have sharpened all my pencils and bought a new drawing pad for the trip. I have books on tape, (the purpose of my trip to the library today) to listen to along the way.

What do you bring for entertainment when you go on vacation?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I have been taking a drawing class since I retired two years ago. At the start of each new semester we are asked to draw our hands. This is used as a measure of our drawing skills. Hopefully the drawings improve over time. The new semester just began so I have been studying my hands. Drawing is mostly about seeing, really seeing the object to be drawn. What do I see?

My hands are getting more interesting as I get older. The veins are far more visible as they snake across the back of my hand. The skin is looser, with lots of wrinkles and fine lines. The fingernails are cut short in an effort to keep them from splitting, but there are several splits and ridges in the nails. There are a growing number of brown spots scattered across the hand. My niece once asked my mother why there were so many brown spots on her hands. Mom replied that those spots were love spots. The more brown spots you have the more people there are who love you. If that is true, then many people love me. On the ring finger there is a wedding ring. It represents a long and happy marriage. I am blessed. These hands have thrown baseballs, tended babies, wiped away tears, washed dishes, cared for the sick, applauded the wonderful, and have been raised in worship. Young hands are smooth and unwrinkled. They hold onto dreams and possibilities. My hands are wrinkled and spotted. They reflect a full life, full of sorrows and full of joys.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Tonight it was approved that I serve as a deacon for my church, Christian Community Presbyterian Church. I feel honored and humbled to be asked to serve in this way. I also feel surprised. Me? Really?

At the ordination service I will be asked, ”Do you trust in Jesus Christ as your savior and the head of the church, and through Him believe in one God, Father, and Holy Spirit?” I can answer that I do. I will be asked, ”Will you seek to serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love?” I will certainly try. I will then be asked, ”Will you be a faithful deacon, teaching charity, urging concern, and directing the people’s help to the friendless and those in need? In your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?” I will do my best to be a faithful deacon.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Aroma Moods

This afternoon I went to a spa party. A room full of women gathered to sample an assortment of lotions and potions and possibly buy some of the products. We washed and exfoliated our hands and then enjoyed a lovely hand massage. After that we each got our own basin and sat together soaking our feet in a lovely peppermint foot wash. When was the last time you sat with 20 women while they soaked their feet in warm, scented water. The conversation can get pretty interesting. After soaking a while we scrubbed our dry feet with a defoliant and then soothed them with a lovely peppermint foot lotion. My feet are so soft and clean. The demonstration then became a sampling of the various scents of body butter. This rich, creamy lotion comes in many scents. One is surely right for whatever your mood may be. Some scents were said to be calming and relaxing, guaranteed to take away your stress. Other scents are invigorating and stimulating, they will wake up your skin. Some scents are sensual and passionate, to be used for special moments. I wont tell you which scent I purchased.

What scent would suit you best today?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Field of Dreams

This morning I watched my grandson play baseball. He was full of dreams. I watched him as he waited for the game the start. He was pretending to catch and throw the ball, the perfect play was in his head and he was acting out each step of his role. I listened to him and the other boys while they waited for their turn at bat, “I’m gonna’ hit a grand slam home run!” There is nothing finer than the baseball dreams of an 11-year-old boy. The pain of striking out was almost too much to bear; the broken dreams were a hard reality. Hope and dreams returned quickly and he once again stepped to the bat, confident and full of dreams.

Friday, June 09, 2006

An Anniversary

Twenty-two years ago today our beautiful daughter married her college sweetheart. The wedding was beautiful. They are still smiling and still beautiful. Happy anniversary Laurel and Gary.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Today I took a day off of retirement and went back to work. I sometimes sub for the nurse that took my position in the doctor’s office where I worked for 20 years.

I was up early, dressed and on the road at a time when I am usually enjoying my second cup of coffee and reading the morning paper. Walking in the door I was greeted by smiles and hugs from my office mates. We have shared a lot of life over the years and it was good to see everyone again. I looked at pictures of grandchildren and heard about the latest cruise. The patients were all happy to see me again, (except for the four year old boy that needed three shots.) I have cared for these people for many years and they feel like my family. I heard more stories and saw more pictures. All that was fun. Then there were the charts, mountains and mountains of charts that needed to be dealt with somehow. I called patients about lab work, sent reports to other doctors, and called in prescriptions. Then there was the filing, the endless filing. And the cleaning. And the restocking. And the ordering. Too much work and not enough time.

There was a big traffic mess on the beltway, so the ride home took nearly an hour. I was home long enough to change clothes, grab a sandwich and head out the door for a meeting at church.

I remember why I retired. It was a great job, but it was just so time consuming. I’ll repeat it all tomorrow, but then it’s back to retirement for me.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Woman Attacks Mountain

Today one woman (me) attacked a monster of a mountain. The mountain is about 12 feet high and about 60 feet long. This mountain is the border between our house and the next-door neighbor’s house. During the years when we were raising children, and then during the years when I was working full time, the mountain became an overgrown jungle of weeds. It was truly ugly. Now I am retired and I finally have some time to attack this overgrown mountain. Today I pulled weeds, dug holes, planted hostas and daylilies and spread mulch over the front 20 feet of this ugly mountain. It is beginning to look much better. When I finished I was covered in dirt and sweat and was truly exhausted. This feeling of fatigue that comes from working hard is a rewarding sort of tired because I know I have accomplished something. The mountain is still winning the war, but today I won a small battle against the weeds and put the overgrown jungle into retreat.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Peanut Butter

I really like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I don’t think we ever outgrow this basic sandwich of childhood. Today I had a variation on the standard PB&J. I had peanut butter and banana. It was yummy. Peanut butter is a very versatile food that combines well with so many other foods. My father-in-law, a very picky eater, ate peanut butter & bologna - ugh. Bonnie, my high school buddy, ate peanut butter & pickle sandwiches- gross. Dr C, my employer, used to sit in the lunchroom and use a tongue blade to eat peanut butter straight out of the jar. He’d wash it down with a can of beer.

What do you eat with your peanut butter? Do you have any original suggestions?

Monday, June 05, 2006

How Old Are You?

Today I was watching my grandchildren play when some neighbors came over to play. I chatted with them a few minutes, just getting to know them. I asked Jerry how old he was. “I’m seven, but I’ll be eight on my birthday,” was his reply. I then asked Ada how old she was. “I’m ten, but I’ll be eleven on my birthday.”

I smiled as I thought about their answers. Why is it that people so often tell me how old they will be on their next birthday instead of how old they are today? I know the kids are anxious to grow up and can hardly wait to be older, but it’s not just the kids. When I ask some of my older friends they say, ”I’m going to be 75 on my next birthday.” Perhaps when we pass seventy we are just so grateful for each new day that we are just praying to make it to another birthday. This phenomenon is not limited to the young and the old. When I was working in the doctor’s office I frequently asked people how old they were. The answer I most often heard was, “I’ll be x on my next birthday.” I used to assume that the birthday was coming up in the near future, but no, the birthday was 6 or more months away. Are we really all anxious to another year older?

I’m 65, but I’ll be 66 on my next birthday. How old are you?

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Today I watched as 2 sisters were baptized. Nicole and Lee Ann are 12 and 13 years old. It was a sweet ceremony as they confessed their faith in Jesus and were baptized into Christ while their entire extended family and the congregation watched. My mind wandered back to 1952 when I was 11 years old and I was baptized.

Brother Scott finally finished the sermon and stepped down from the pulpit to offer the invitation. “If there is anyone here today who wants to repent of their sins and be baptized, you can come now as we sing the invitation song.” Brother Smith steps up to the podium then and begins swinging his arm. Brother Smith leads singing by swinging his arm around and around in a huge circle, and the congregation begins the song. “Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Are you fully trusting in his grace this hour? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?” I step out into the aisle and walk down to the front of the auditorium where Brother Scott is waiting and sit on the front pew. After the song is finished he takes my confession. He asks, ”Susan, do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?” I answer that I do. Then I walk into the dressing room, which is up a fight of stairs behind the baptistery where my mother is waiting with tears in her eyes and a big smile. She hugs me tight. She has pulled out the clothes for me to wear – a long heavy cotton gown. I change into it quickly and mom leads me to where the steps lead down into the baptistery. Brother Scott appears from the other side. He has taken off his suit jacket and is wearing big rubber waders to keep his clothes dry. He takes my hand and leads me down into the water. The water is about 3 feet deep. He puts one hand on my back and raises the other hand heavenward. “Upon your confession of faith in Jesus Christ, I now baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Then I hold my nose and he lays me back into the water until I am completely immersed. When I come out of the water I feel a sense of total purity. I know that all my sins have been washed away. I am a child of God. I go back up the steps where my mother is waiting. She holds me tight. I remember that her dress got all wet. I tell her that I feel holy.

That day will always remain in my memory as one of the most important days of my life. That was the day I decided to follow Jesus. I have been on a journey following Him ever since.

I hope Nicole and Lee Ann will remember today as one of the most important days of their lives.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Sometimes I just love living here in Bowie. Today was one of those days. I spent the day at Bowiefest, an outdoor celebration of our town. There were booths by all sorts of civic and religious groups. There were rides for the kids. Children were dancing and old people were singing on 2 different outdoor stages. There were all sorts of yummy foods – I had a fresh roasted ear of corn, a smoothie and a cone of sweet roasted almonds. I think that was a well-balanced, nutritious lunch. I was there to work in the booth that was promoting our local hospice. The best part of the day was all the people. It was so good to see old friends and catch up one another’s lives. I got lots of hugs from people who have been part of my life over the past 40 years of living in this town. I love living in Bowie.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Today is my son’s birthday. He is 39 years old. This is a surprise to me because I am defiantly not old enough to be the mother of someone that old, never mind the fact that he has 2 older sisters.

David was a quiet little boy who loved to read. One night when he was about 6 he called me into his room late one night. He had something important to tell me. “Mom, I like A the best.” I asked him why. “A has Africa and animals. I like all the animals.” He enjoyed looking at our World Book encyclopedia and volume A was obviously his favorite. I knew then that he would always have a thirst for reading and learning. He has filled this mother’s heart with great pride and given me many moments of laughter.

Now I watch him as a husband and father and feel blessed. He is a good man, full of faith that sometimes amazes me.

The picture shows him wearing an aluminum helmet his sister gave him to protect him the aliens who were trying to zap his brain waves.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I love having my family nearby. It is good to be able to share so much of their life.

Both our daughters went out of town today. That left gramma and grampa in charge of getting 4 kids to their activities. At 6pm our 16-year-old grandson had to be his drivers ed class. At 6pm our 12- year- old granddaughter had to be at softball practice. At 6pm our 11-year-old grandson had to be at baseball practice. The 8-year-old just tagged along with us. Of course all of these activities are in different places. I remembering doing this all the time when their parents were this age. It was just part of the daily routine. Now I am just the pinch hitter as the kid’s chauffeur. I love being able to be there when they need me. I am glad that I am the gramma and it is no longer my main responsibility. It is one of the perks of getting older.