Saturday, September 30, 2006


The town of Scottsdale is one of the largest art centers west of the Mississippi. On Thursday evenings all of the small galleries in the art district stay open late for artwalk. There are hundreds of art galleries showing many different varieties of art. Most of the galleries serve wine so you can sip wine and admire the paintings and sculptures. Some of it was beautiful and pulled me right into the paintings. Some of it puzzled me. What was the artist trying to say with these colors? I loved portraits of old women with sparkling eyes and a face full of wrinkles. I wanted to talk to the people in those paintings. I was intrigued by the landscapes with a path leading into the unknown area out of the picture. Where would that road lead me? I wanted to buy a watercolor of a magnificent eagle, but, as beautiful as it was, I couldn’t afford the bargain sale price of $5000. It was a lovely evening.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


There are no words that adequately describe the awesome beauty of Sedona. I have seen many pictures of these red rocks, but was still unprepared for the emotion felt when I was actually standing in the presence of these wonderful monuments to God’s creative ability. One of the best places to feel God’s glory is at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. This chapel is built into the side of a red rock cliff. There is great symbolism here of Christ’s church being built on a rock. It was the desire of the builder that this place would be so charged with God that it would spur a person’s spirit godward. I certainly felt God’s presence in that place.

In the town of Sedona we picked up a map of the several vortexes in town. Sedona is well known for energy vortexes. These are said to be subtle energy forces coming from the surface of earth that interact with who a person is inside. This interaction of energy is supposed to leave one feeling uplifted for days afterwards. We did stand at the Bell Rock Vortex, and even though we missed the Harmonic Convergence, I am feeling pretty good today.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Taliesin West

Yesterday we toured Taliesin West. Taliesin West is the winter home built by Frank Lloyd Wright. What an interesting place! It was far less and far more than I expected it to be. It was definitely far less grand than I expected. Wright built it more as a camp than a house. The buildings are made of stone quarried from the local area and it blends in so well with the environment that you don’t see it from a distance, the roof was just white canvas, so you felt like you were in a glorified tent. We sat in his living room where he loved to entertain. I sat in a Wright designed chair that was not very comfortable. Chairs like it manufactured now sell for $500,000. (I’ll try to post a picture of me sitting in this half million dollar chair.) His home reflected a very intelligent, eccentric, self-absorbed man.

The thing that inspired us about Wright was that the vast bulk of his work occurred after he was eighty years old. During his last twelve years of life he produced over a third of his work. Being old does not mean you have to quit being productive.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Yesterday we flew across the country to Scottsdale, Arizona. This is a true vacation, no children, no grandchildren and no schedule. We have never been here before and just decided now was a good time. We exchanged a week of our Florida timeshare for a week here at the very posh Weston Kierland Resort. The weather is warm, about 100 degrees today, but it really doesn’t feel that hot. Our room overlooks the golf course so we are surrounded by green. Once we leave the resort, though, the world becomes dry and brown with a beauty that can only be seen in the desert. Saguaro cacti dot the landscape. The McDowell Mountains rise up from the desert and the sky is clear and blue.

We went into Scottsdale’s historic district today and looked through lots of interesting shops and galleries. We ate lunch at the Rusty Spur Saloon. It is advertised in all the tour books as the last of the real cowboy salons. It was a lot smaller than I expected only eight tables and a small bar. It was a fun place with good food though. I did wonder how my daughter, the roving restaurant reviewer would describe it. The walls were covered with dollar bills that people had thumb tacked to the wall. Many of the bills had hand written notes on them. There was a board covered with names of all those who had made it into the worm club. I’m sure some of you who go to bars more often than me can explain the purpose of this club. A country musician was in the corner singing county western songs. He added a nice sound to the place. There was a catalogue of all the souvenirs they sold. It had the usual tee shirts and caps. They even sold souvenir condoms. I could see this might be a useful item, but not something I had ever thought of as a souvenir. Would I put it in my scrapbook?

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I wish you all a happy and joy filled Autumnal Equinox.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


My children and grandchildren have introduced me to many different types of music, much of which I really do enjoy. Today, though, I spent an hour singing my music. I helped with a sing-a-long at the senior citizens center and was surrounded by the songs of home. It was like comfort food for the ears. These were the song I heard my mother sing and the songs I listened to on the radio. It was such fun to sing “The Whiffenpoof Song” and “Chickery Chick.” I sang “I Want To Be Happy” with a perky 102-year-old lady who truly made me happy. My favorites were songs from the musicals. In a time before CDs or DVDs I went to the movies over and over again just to hear songs like “Oh What A Beautiful Morning,” “I Believe” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Music is such a powerful and wonderful blessing!

What songs are like comfort food for your ears?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


My mother would have been 101 today. Mom was my hero. I would like to be just like her.

Today I have been thinking about how she could make us laugh. She usually didn’t mean to be funny, she just was. Before she and dad married she decided to buy him a pedestal ashtray to sit beside his easy chair. He opened the gift at her house and said he would just leave it there and use it at her house. “But, William, I wanted you to take it home and have it there” He said he didn’t think his mother would allow it in the house. He asked if she had really looked at the pedestal. She looked more closely at it and discovered the pedestal was a provocatively posed nude. She blushed and admitted she had not noticed the naked woman. One year she gave my dad several pair of cute socks for Christmas. They were decorated with cute smiling pigs and the initials MCP. “Mom, do you know what those initials stand for?” Her response was, “What initials?” she had given dad socks indicating he was a male chauvinist pig. She was again embarrassed. Another time she made a chicken casserole for a big family dinner. It looked great! Then we tasted it and found it was not edible. “Mom, what did you put in this? It is too hot to eat.” She said the recipe called for two cans of green chili peppers, weren’t jalapeno peppers the same thing? Whenever mom got caught in a mistake she would laugh and make it into a wonderful moment for all of us. Life was too precious to get upset by the mistakes she or any one else made. Her laughter was infectious and covered a multitude of life’s problems.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another Elegant Party

Yesterday we had a big party at church to honor Dee. Dee has just retired after serving the church for over 20 years as a pastoral assistant. She is a wonderful, caring lady who is much loved by everyone. This party required more work and people than a tea party for grandchildren. Instead of seven and eight, the average age was seventy and eighty. Many people cooked and prepared decorations and favors for this party. We severed of homemade turkey salad, cranberry salad and blueberry muffins to 250 people. The tables were decorated with angels, which had been lovingly made, by a group of older women. I spent Friday and Saturday in the church kitchen helping to get it all ready. The work was actually a lot of fun because of the friendship and love shared by all the helpers. We laughed and told stories and got in each other’s way. After lunch there was a program to honor Dee. The program was just right. Dee glowed in the love that was showered upon her.

Isn’t it fun to do something for someone you love?

Friday, September 15, 2006

New Store

A new grocery store has opened here. Today was the grand opening. It is big and beautiful, and they have a little of everything. The produce section had lots of wonderful fruits and vegetables. I had never heard of several of them before. The management figured that these would be new to many customers and had put up little signs that described the flavor and how to cook these strange looking foods. Today it felt like a party in this new store. It was crowded with curious, friendly shoppers. I visited with friends from all over town as we browsed and ate some of the many free samples that were offered today. I left the store full and happy and didn’t even buy anything.

Don’t you just love checking out new stores?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

5 Teenagers

Yesterday we celebrated my number five grandchild’s thirteenth birthday along with my second grandchild’s seventeenth birthday. That means I have five teenage grandchildren. I think I must be old. I’m not sure when they got so big. I must not have been paying attention. How can I be old enough to have five teenagers who call me Gamma?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

An Elegant Party

The table was set with the best china. Lovely white linen napkins were in place on the lace tablecloth. The guests, wearing elegant hats, were sipping Kool-Aid with their pinky fingers sticking out. We had tea sandwiches, which we had cut out with cookie cutters earlier and arranged lovingly on a crystal plate. The plate was garnished with fresh berries and chocolate. My guests, ages seven and eight, and I were having genteel conversation at our elegant tea party. “My children are always so noisy when they return from school. They disturb my quiet reading. I find I must stop and play ‘I Spy With My little Eye’ with them. Then they will be quiet again,” says my eight-year-old granddaughter. I admire her wise child rearing practice and ask how she handles her servants. “Well, I find that when the butler has done a good job, it is good to throw a dollar into his hat. A little extra money seems to keep him happy.” We then discuss which boutiques we have found best and where to shop for handbags. After we have eaten all the sandwiches and chocolate we decide to go watch “The Little Mermaid.”

I love being a gramma.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Where were you on 9/11? What did you do?

I was working at the doctor’s office. There was a TV in the waiting room for the patients to watch while they waited. Suddenly we were aware of something unusual going on. It was reported that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. What a terrible accident we thought. How could that have happened? As the events of the morning unfolded on the TV it became more and more difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. The office was full of patients, and taking care of them seemed like the best thing we could do. Then a plane hit the Pentagon and my world seemed to stop. My son works in the Pentagon. Was he okay? Was he alive? What was happening? Our office is located near Andrews Air Force Base and it shook as the planes scrambled into the air. I tried to concentrate on my work, but I kept shaking as I thought about it all. There was no word from David and no way to call him. Dr D came and hugged me. “Any word from your son? Just breathe.” Patients came, were cared for, and left. The noise of airplanes permeated the building. In the afternoon I went outside and listened to the planes and prayed. My coworker found me there. She said, ”Your daughter is on the phone. She just talked to David. He is Okay.” Then the tears came and I could breath again.

That night many of us gathered at church for an impromptu, informal prayer service. We felt angry, afraid, and confused. We found comfort in being together and sharing the emotions of that terrible day.

My son is alive and well. Other families could not say that. So many died. So many more continue to die because of that day. The world is not the same.

This morning I went to school with my granddaughter to celebrate grandparents’ day. There was a short musical program and time to visit in her third grade classroom. She is bright and happy and was proud to introduce her gramma to her classmates. In many ways the world is still the same.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Homeland Security

I drew this picture of two abandoned lookout towers at the beach where we played this summer. Similar towers are scattered up and down the Atlantic coast. They are relics left over from World War II. During World War II people who kept a vigilant lookout for submarines that might be trying to launch an attack on America manned these towers. During that same time my father-in-law and other volunteers climbed to the top of the Bank of America building in our little California town. The bank building was six stories high, by far the tallest structure around. They watched for enemy aircraft. They were armed with binoculars and a chart of pictures of enemy airplanes. Lookout towers and volunteers on tall buildings were our homeland security system.

Technology has improved. The old towers stand empty. Do you feel any safer?

Saturday, September 09, 2006


The storm of last weekend is long gone. This morning the weather was perfect, just calling us outside. We decided to go visit Annapolis, one of our favorite places to spend time. We forgot that there was a Navy football game today, which delayed us a while as the midshipmen marched from the Academy to the stadium. It was really a neat sight. Thousands of young men and women in their dress whites marched by while the navy band played rousing marching music. It was a stirring patriotic sight. After the parade we went to the City Dock and enjoyed lunch on a patio beside Ego Alley. Ego Alley is a small inlet off the Annapolis harbor where beautiful yachts come in and turn around, just for the joy of seeing and being seen. It is always a busy place full of interesting people showing off their expensive toys. After lunch we cruised out under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on one of tourist boats. The sky was blue, the sun was warm and a cool breeze made the day perfect. The water looked like a field of glittering diamonds with the sun reflecting off of it. The bridge looks very different looking up from the water. Up on the bridge there is nonstop traffic zooming by. The scene below is calm and peaceful. From either perspective the Chesapeake Bridge is quite an impressive sight. We obviously weren’t the only ones who wanted to be out one the water today. There were thousands of sail boats to be seen enjoying the afternoons breeze. They were a beautiful sight.

I hope you found time to see something beautiful today.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


People frequently ask me what I do all day now that I have retired. The answer is, “Whatever I want!” This week I am working as a substitute nurse for two days. This is the job I used to do. I come home exhausted too tired to enjoy anything else. I am so thankful I am not that tired all the time anymore

Retirement is wonderful. I stay very busy, but I do start the day later and go a little slower. I read more. I take art lessons at the senior center and find great pleasure in drawing pictures of this beautiful world. I sing one day a week in the senior chorale. That is a great group of friendly people who think parties are a required part of the program. I spend time visiting people who are sick and lonely. I hear lots of good stories from little old ladies who need a friendly ear. I teach Sunday school and laugh at the antics of my second graders. I am learning yoga. I love yoga. Tonight is bell choir practice. This is the first practice since May and I am really looking forward to our new season. When we get it right the bells make glorious music. I play with my grandchildren and go out to dinner with my sweet husband. Retirement is wonderful. I highly recommend it.

Monday, September 04, 2006


The remains of hurricane Ernesto blew through here last Friday. It brought lots of rain and lots of wind and knocked down several trees, which took down the power lines and left us without electricity for three days. I hate to complain, but being without electricity for three days causes a lot of inconvenience. Electricity is something I usually just take for granted. I flip the switch and the lights are supposed to come on. This morning I am very aware of the blessings of electrical power. I am sitting here at the computer, sipping coffee brewed in my all-electric kitchen, while the dishwasher hums in the background and my music is playing on the CD player. The air-conditioner is cooling my hot and humid house, and the lights are all working. A normal sounding morning brought to me by the power of electricity.

Yesterday we grilled all the meat in our non-working freezer. I won’t have to cook for several days now. This morning I threw away the remains of food in the refrigerator and freezer that were probably unsafe to eat. We spent several hours cleaning the remains of the storm from our yard. There was no serious damage. No one was hurt. It was an inconvenient week-end. I am counting my blessings.