Friday, September 6, 2013

We've Moved!

Here's my new address:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Synchronicity will provide

I just got new business cards and wanted to pick up an Altoids container to hold them in --it's the perfect sized tin. I stopped in at Martins Southgate Drugs and found the Altoids, but then remembered to zap their barcode with my new BUYCOTT app. This is a wonderful new tool that scans the barcode and reveals the parent company and whether or not they have contributed to campaigns supporting GMOs. Alas, I was informed that Altoids are owned by MARS Co, which contributed $376,650 to NO on Prop 37, which was trying to demand GMO labeling. (Shame on them!)
I was so conflicted! I really wanted the tin, and how much, really, would my small purchase hurt MARS, I rationalized. I got to the checkout counter and, low and behold! There were these sweet tins, free and clear of campaign conflicts, made locally (Yelm) and "GMO free, no corn, sugar, soy, wheat, gluten or dairy." Hurray! Synchronicity in action!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

One thing leads to another

I got these orange shoes from Tom's (we all got to choose a pair--all 16 of us headed for the coast last month, as part of a lesson our patriarch wanted to impart)--they jumped out at me from the catalog. But I had nothing, really, to wear with them. I don't normally wear orange (or red). Then I was in the PX on Monday and saw this orange shirt on sale for less than $3.00. How could I not buy it??? Accented with my orange earrings (which I have also never worn before) I have gotten several compliments today already, and it is still morning. It reminded me of a poem my interesting friend Darlene Korbuszewski made up when we were in middle school together (she wrote many poems, but this is the only one I remember.)

"The fall leaves scream out their colors: ORANGE!"

That's it. But today I feel like I am screaming out to everyone: "I AM WEARING ORANGE!"

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Who knew?

Today I noticed for the first time the "31" nested inside the BR of Baskin-Robbins sign. I know. Amazing how unobservant I've been for the past 57 years (Baskin-Robbins has been in business for 67 years, but I'm not that old...)
It made me wonder how many "hidden" messages are out there in the Universe that have gone or go unnoticed by me. I am trying to be open to the hidden wonders out there and I believe that the more aware and observant and acknowledging we are, the more we are given to see. A quick Wikipedia search also let me in on the reason behind the 31 (I know, I bet everyone but me already knew this...)--so customers could try a different flavor every day of the month. I hope everyday of the month I see a new message and learn a new thing.
Here are the original 31 flavors. Which is your favorite? (Can you believe they offered Green Tea Tiramisu back in 1945??!! and what is a "Mille-feuille"? Something new to learn!)
  • Banana Nut Fudge
  • Black Walnut
  • Burgundy Cherry
  • Butterscotch Ribbon
  • Cherry Macaroon
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate Almond
  • Chocolate Chip
  • Chocolate Fudge
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Chocolate Ribbon
  • Coffee
  • Coffee Candy
  • Date Nut
  • Egg Nog
  • French Vanilla
  • Green Mint Stick
  • Lemon Crisp
  • Lemon Custard
  • Lemon Sherbet
  • Maple Nut
  • Orange Sherbet
  • Peach
  • Peppermint Fudge Ribbon
  • Peppermint Stick
  • Pineapple Sherbet
  • Raspberry Sherbet
  • Rocky Road
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  • Vanilla Burnt Almond
  • Strawberry Mille-feuille
  • Green tea Tiramisu


Saturday, July 6, 2013


My NikeBand quit a couple weeks ago, and the two weeks without it have seemed somehow freeing, as though I had some restriction removed. I wasn't concerned about how many "fuel points" I was burning throughout the day and I wasn't stressing over whether or not the website would be "down" when I would be trying to upload my data for the day. I got the free replacement band in the mail a few days ago and have sent off the defective one, but am waiting to wear the new one to be sure they accept the old as replaceable. If it isn't, I'm sending the new one back, rather than be charged anew for it.
Today I was plugging in my meals to MyFitnessPal and calculating how far/long I had to run to burn the equivalent calories and I was aghast that I was already 300 calories over my "daily allowance" and I hadn't even had dinner yet! Then I realized that my morning smoothie had somehow gotten recorded twice, and I breathed a sigh of relief that I was still "on track."
So I set out in the still-warm evening for my 3-miles run and really pumped it, working to break under 10 minute miles. Three miles later, gasping for breath in the heat and drenched in sweat, I look at the stats on Runkeeper and saw that I had only burned 123 calories. What??!! No way! I looked closer and saw that I had inadvertently selected "Cycling" for my activity instead of "Running." The app thought I was out on a leisurely 6-miles per hour bike ride instead of the intense 10-minute-mile workout I had done. Bleh. So I did a slow jog for 2 miles with the setting on "Walk" to compensate.
This wasn't my first technological breakdown, as my first NikeBand (I'm now on #3) quit the day of my first marathon, cheating me of an all-time-high fuel point moment.
Think the Universe is trying to tell me something? What can I learn from this? Maybe I need to become more of a minimalist--running for the "fun of it" (well, and for the fitness) but not to be so fixated on measuring and tracking and competing. Maybe I just need a watch, and not something that will tell me constantly how many calories I am burning, how many steps I am taking and how many "Fuel points" (whatever that means...?) I've earned.
After a year of tracking my food and exercise on MyFitnessPal--a free website that I really have enjoyed and has helped me to be more aware of what I eat and what it takes to lose weight--I think I "get it" and could possibly continue to eat healthy without the constant tracking.
This past year I have learned a lot about fitness, my body and what it can do (yes, run a marathon as well as place respectably in 2 triathlon sprints), health and nutrition (feeling my way towards vegetarianism), and have reached my ideal body weight goal. I believe it may be time to unplug...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kindergarten memories

My sis just posted some pictures from her grandson's graduation from Kindergarten. One photo was of his essay, "What I learned in Kindergarten." It reminded me of what I learned in Kindergarten...
I learned:
  • To Paint! I remember being assigned to my easel, and given a full-body smock to wear (plastic-coated, I think, with several large pockets at the bottom for easy access to my supplies). I remember applying lots of wide swaths of color. I loved all the colors! That transfered also to coloring, where I could be happy for hours with the giant-sized box of 64 crayons....(I wouldn't mind having a box today, come to think of it...) But it wasn't just about the color, as our class was set to work one day "painting" the outside of the building...with brushes dipped in water! Just going through the motion of painting was good enough. 
  • It's ok to take a nap in the middle of the day. Another exercise I wouldn't mind re-instituting into my life today.
  • Achieving goals is rewarding. (I still have my Kindergarten diploma.)
  • I look really good in short hair. 

Paying it forward

Got an email from my mom yesterday. She had read the blog about the panhandler and shared her own version:
Your random act of kindness just paid off for me....I went to Stuart's kindergarten graduation then took him for mini golf and lunch at A&W.  I orderd the foot long hot dog and root beer float, he ordered nuggets and a root beer float. I wasn't too embarrassed to find the bill was $12.00 and I only had $5 left after paying for golf and water balloons. I had to cancel my order and just have Stuie eat.  The waitress brought his order and I said, "I am sorry but I can't leave you a very big tip (.90) as I thought you took credit cards but the sign says 'cash only.'"  I explained to her why I was short of cash.  She left and returned with my original order a few minutes later.  I said, "You must be mistaken--I cancelled the hot dog dinner."  She then told me that the man at the table behind me paid for it.  Seems a father and daughter were celebrating her going from second to third grade, and he overheard me explaining my situation. He told the waitress to bring the order and he would pay. Of course I got all teary and had to tell him about your and Rachel's experiences and promised him I would pass on his kindness in like manner.
And so it goes--paying it forward makes the world a better place, one hot dog (or taco) at a time!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Working in a library, I love the serendipity of finding random books/music/videos from browsing. (Well, I'm not really browsing. I'm helping with the shelving because we are down some staff members due to illness. But one has to look at what one is shelving before putting it on the right spot on the shelf, right?)
Yesterday I found a Ben Folds cd, and granted, it only had one song on it that I liked, but the message in that one song is very thought provoking. It is called From Above, from the Lonely Avenue cd, and the lyrics are:
They even looked at each other once
Across a crowded bar
He was with Martha
She was with Tom
Neither of them really knew what was going on.
A strange feeling of never,
Heartbeats becoming synchronized
And staying that way forever.
Most of the time
It was just near misses,
Air kisses
Once in a bookstore, once at a party
She came in as he was leaving
And years ago, at the movies, she sat behind him
A six-thirty showing of 'While You Were Sleeping'
He never once looked around
It's so easy from above
You can really see it all
People who belong together
Lost and sad and small
But there's nothing to be done for them
It doesn't work that way
Sure we all have soulmates
But we walk past them every day

And it's not like they were ever actually unhappy
In the lives they lived
He married Martha
She married Tom
Just this vague notion that something was wrong
An ache, an absence, a phantom limb
An itch that could never be scratched.
Who knows whether that's how it should be
Maybe our ghosts live in that vacancy
Maybe that's how books get written
Maybe that's why songs get sung
Maybe we owe the unlucky ones

So, have you found your soulmate?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Happy Endings

Last week my daughter called me to "confess" that she messed up. She was upset that she didn't follow through quick enough on a prompting to help someone. A woman in line at Panda Express in front of her had her card denied and had to leave without her food. Said empathetic daughter told the cashier she would pay for the woman's items, but by then, the woman had left and couldn't be seen in the vicinity, so the moment passed. Flash forward to my recent experience. I was at a stop light and saw the unkempt old man with the ubiquitous cardboard sign. The only word I noted, which was darkened, was "HUNGRY." I knew I had no food in the car and rationalize it's no good to give money, and then the light changed and I moved on. But immediately my daughter's recent experience came into my mind and I thought, "I can do SOMETHING right now." I drove the few blocks to Taco Bell, bought the Big Box Meal and turned back to the intersection, hoping the man would still be there. He was. I rolled down the window and extended my offering, calling out, "Dinner?" He ran over, took the food gratefully and said, "Wow! this is great! Thanks!" I drove off, but not without emotion overtaking me and tears pricking the corners of my eyes. I called my daughter to tell her what had occurred and why. Her experience had prompted my actions.
But the story didn't end there. That night I lay in bed and remembered that my scripture study that morning had been cut short, and I wanted to finish the chapter I had started. I turned to where I'd left off 12 hours earlier and read:
11 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have atasted of his love, and have received abremission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own cnothingness, and his dgoodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of ehumilityfcalling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing gsteadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
 12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the alove of God, and always bretain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the cknowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.  
16 And also, ye yourselves will asuccor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the bbeggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
 17 Perhaps thou shalt asay: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
 18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
 19 For behold, are we not all abeggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
 20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a aremission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out hisbSpirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with cjoy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
 21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to aimpart of the substance that ye have one to another. (Mosiah 4:11-21)
I was overwhelmed with the Spirit, testifying to me of the love of my Heavenly Father, His mindfulness of me and my family, and how He wants to bless us. I was grateful for this opportunity to be receptive to His promptings, not only to help another fellow human being, but to comfort my daughter and uplift her, and to received this special "God wink" through His scriptures. My heart is filled with joy! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

National Running Day

Today is (most likely among many other "national days" celebrations) National Running Day. As this fact was unbeknownst to me when I made the decision last night to run this morning for the first time in weeks, I'm going to label this a coincidence. The slow 2-mile run went well and my previously injured knee felt good during and after so that bodes well. Also coincidentally, my daughter called for advice on running shoes, so I guess the spirit of the day has permeated our subconscious.

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” – George Sheehan

"Every day is a good day when you run."
-Kevin Nelson

Monday, May 20, 2013

right number

In seminary this morning one of my seniors asked what the requirements were to "letter" in seminary. I had no idea, as I had never heard of such a thing. I told him I didn't know but I would find out today and report back in the morning. Then I promptly forgot about it. Several hours later I am sitting at work when my cell phone rings. It is the area supervisor for seminary asking for Brother Bushman...nope. Not at this number. He was apologizing for dialing the wrong number when I stopped him and said, "but wait! Don't hang up! I needed to ask you what the requirements are for lettering in Seminary." I wouldn't have remembered if I hadn't seen his name on my phone when he called "in error." But we both know it wasn't an error at all, was it?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Daily Dose

Saw this article and loved the sweet, simple testimony that is recognition of the gifts of God in our lives. He hears us and answers our prayers! I have begun teaching an early morning seminary class with about 10 high school juniors/seniors. One student lingered after class today and said, "Isn't it great when you pray about something and right away, Bam! an answer is right in front of you?!" He didn't elaborate on what his prayer had been or what the answer was, but I agreed that those special God-winks are wonderful to receive--those divine messages that our Heavenly Father is close, He hears us, loves us, and wants to bless us with what we need and sometimes even what we want. I cherish this opportunity to once again immerse myself in the scriptures and prayer as I prepare daily for this hour with these valiant young people who give up their sleep and time to get a spiritual start to their day. It's humbling and exhilarating at the same time as I feel the Spirit reaching them through these lessons.

Sweet Synchronicity

These chocolate chip cookies were leftovers from a library program today and were sitting in the break room tempting me. I don't usually like store-bought cookies, but I've been experiencing a sweet-tooth lately and couldn't resist. After I ate it, I of course, felt bad. BUT THEN....I was checking my email and clicked on a link from my newsletter, which led me to the new aafes bx/px Facebook page. Where I found this. The first post on the page announced that today is National Chocolate Chip Day!! Got to love a coincidence like that, so...I ate another cookie!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Just say "yes!"

I was asked yesterday to teach a class for a women's group on green smoothies next month, as I have become a vocal advocate of their yummy goodness in my circle of family/acquaintances. I had a "deer-in-the-headlights" moment at first, thinking, "uh oh, that is going to involve research, preparation, time (of which I seem to have a diminishing quantity daily) etc., as they would want to know the whys and wherefore of including specific ingredients, the nutritional values and other weighty aspects. But I said, "sure!" because...that's what I do. Then this morning, in my inbox there appeared this lovely newsletter article providing exactly the information I need. Love it when the planets align so tidily.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Who are your villagers?

We all know the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child," but have you ever applied it to your own experience? Who are the influential people in your life, past or present, who have shaped and influenced you?

Here's my top 10:

1. & 2. My parents. Of course. They are the first influences on any child. My mother's example is one of generosity, love, humor and selflessness. She is always putting others first. She can laugh at herself and has a flair for bringing smiles to others. I'm sure my love of service and the gratification it brings is her legacy. My dad, also very selfless, was the first person most of his family and friends thought of if they needed help of any kind, and especially in the department of mechanics. Growing up I thought he was the smartest person ever. When I went away to college I would call him and describe the noises my car was making so I could get the right diagnosis before going to the local mechanic. His love and trust in me gave me the wings and the courage to succeed. They both epitomized unconditional love.

3. & 4. Holly (Olson) Hastings and John DeVilbiss. Friends during high school who had the courage to reach out to me and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with me. Their examples of righteous living amidst teenage angst and peer pressure were extremely important and served as role models for me. Don't even want to imagine where or who I'd be without their influence.

5. & 6. Missionaries! The two missionaries who taught me the gospel (once I was directed to them by Holly) were Orson West and Larry Johnson. I'm so grateful for their willingness to sacrifice two years of their lives to serve in that capacity. They were very patient with me as I questioned them again and again, but they were firm in their testimonies and convictions so that the Spirit could reach and teach me. Our family is still in contact with Orson, forty years after our baptisms. He is an example of the scripture in D&C 18:10, 15-16:
10 Remember the aworth of bsouls is great in the sight of God;
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one asoul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the akingdom of my Father, how great will be your bjoy if you should bring many csouls unto me!

7. & 8. Teachers. In high school it was William Boyle, who taught Latin, and Rita Mallahy, who taught English. Their enthusiasm and love of their subjects helped me to not only want to learn those subjects, but to want to learn, period. I could tell that they really loved their students and teaching as well. Having a teacher show interest in you at that age is very nurturing.

9. & 10. Gospel teachers, Jim Foley and Vern Wolf. Jim was my seminary teacher in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Seminary is the religious instruction for teens. He taught me the Book of Mormon that year and his classes were so interesting! I learned about Chiasmus, and likening the scriptures to my life, and looking for the positive in every day. Now I am a seminary teacher (again!) and call up the inspiration and influence of Br. Foley as I teach the youth each morning. Vern Wolf was a Gospel Principles teacher I had at Brigham Young University. He took my knowledge and testimony of the gospel to a whole new level. Every day was inspirational and thought-provoking. He challenged us to write out our testimony and conversion story and that exercise has remained a reference point for me to this day.

Who are your villagers?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

lemony goodness

 I decided to cut back on the supplements I was purchasing, looking for similar benefits in natural avenues of diet. The purpose of one in particular was to balance pH and maintain alkalinity. The day I made the call to the distributor cancelling future orders, I came across this blog.
But not just that one; a subsequent Google search of "benefits of drinking lemon water" brings up 1.5 million hits! What caught my eye, although all the benefits were worthwhile, was "4) Balances pH Levels. Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods for the body." Yay for happening upon just the right information at just the time it is needed!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

So, where are YOU from?

It was lunchtime during the Chamber of Commerce Mentor & Learn event--an annual presentation where business leaders give teens in the school district an idea of what the business world is like. I was sitting with one of the presenters and my fellow event-planners. One of the women told the presenter that she had attended the same school in Canada mentioned in her presentation. As we asked about her educational path that took her to Canada, she said she had first attended Mt. Holyoke, as she had grown up in Massachusetts. Well I grew up in Massachusetts, so I had to asked, "what town?" Yep, same as I: Fitchburg! As we compared notes, I learned that she was there after me, and had attended Applewild, a private school. I had an immediate flash of memory, long buried, of visiting Applewild in an attempt to obtain one of their scholarships. I recalled being in a room at a table by myself, and being given a photograph of a girl in a field and asked to write a short story about it. (I must have been about 12 at the time.) Evidently they weren't sufficiently impressed, as I didn't get the scholarship, but attended the public Memorial Junior High School instead. I remembered a feeling of wounded pride and rejection at the time, but now I see that it was meant to be. Memorial was where I became best friends with Holly, from the only Mormon family in the town, who introduced me to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And, as they say, "The rest is history."

Do you ever look back and see the course your life has taken, the twists and turns, the decisions and diversions, and wonder at the divine plan that must be involved?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

(Easter) Bunny Food

I've decided to downsize the number of supplements I've been taking, one of which was to maintain the alkalinity in my body. I thought I would just focus on eating more foods on the alkaline scale. But I'd been putting off getting out my list of foods and actually stopping the shipments until this morning, in my e-inbox was this article on the perfect alkaline food: Romaine lettuce! Yum! Costco here I come!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Knowing your place

I read an interesting blog post here on the link between family history and children's self-esteem. A study done by MARIAL followed several families with children aged 9-12, recording how often the family discussed ancestral stories, including stories of the parents when they were young. They discovered that the more children know about their family's history (family stories, hardships, occupations, triumphs, anecdotes) the more psychologically resilient they were. The children who participated in dinnertime and casual conversations of family stories had higher self-esteem, fewer behaviour disturbances and a greater sense of their ability to positively affect the world around them.

Do you know where you came from?  Your place in history? Here's a photo of "Grammie" Ethel Grant surrounded by her extended Gilchrest family. Ethel is the young girl center front.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Field trips!

For a presentation in April at the Timberland Regional Library Friends and Boards Forum, I will be talking about doing genealogical research in the field. Literally. This gravestone rubbing is one that I made back in 1988 when my dad and I drove from Massachusetts to Vermont on an ancestor hunt. We knew the cemetery was on the "Old Niles Farm," which, of course, no longer exists, but undaunted, we headed out to the small rural community of Halifax, Vermont. After a few false starts, and asking directions along the way, we parked the car alongside a promising-looking field in the general vicinity of our destination. It was summer--hot and muggy--and as we caught sight of the cemetery, the mosquitoes caught us. Swarms of them! We reversed our steps, drove back into the village and bought mosquito repellent, then tried again.
The cemetery consisted of about a dozen stones, in varying degrees of decay, fallen over and forgotten among the weeds, but sheltered under the trees.
This rubbing, made that day, is of Sarah (Frink) Niles, my 5th great-grandmother: "Late Consort of David Niles, who died in the revolutionary service, at White Plains in 1776."
As important to me as this find was, more important was the occasion to experience it with my dad. He was gone from us six short years later, and I cherish the memory of that adventure with him.

Perfect Timing!

I started participating in EveryMove, which gives you points and rewards for exercising. One of the first rewards I chose was an Elite membership in Runkeeper (I've been using the free, limited version since last fall). It's been a back-and-forth for a couple weeks now trying to redeem the reward and get the Elite version working on my account, but today it went through and I got to look at the fitness plans and goals they offer. I picked a training plan for an "under 2:15 half-marathon." Rich and I had previously set a goal to participate in the Lakefair half-marathon in Olympia, WA and as I looked at the training plan on Runkeeper, if I started next Monday, I would have exactly 16 weeks (the suggested training plan schedule) to the day of the event!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Heirloom story

I'm teaching a class this morning about Genealogy and Family History (do you know the difference? Answers here) and mentioned the importance of family heirlooms. Here is a photo of a photo of my grandmother, Ethel Frances Gilchrest Grant, at age 18. As a homemaker, she would wear a housedress during the day to do her cleaning, cooking, etc. Then right before her husband arrived home for dinner she would change into a new (clean) housedress. She made two quilt squares using fabric scrapes from her housedresses, but they never became a quilt. I put these wonderful heirlooms into hoops to preserve them and the story of her life as a conscientious homemaker.

[Below is a photo of "Grammie Grant" as I knew her, in the early 1960s]
Tribute from her son, Donald: "My mother was a very easy-going person, always finding the good side of people. I never heard her say anything bad about anybody. She would say, "if you can't say something nice about a person don't say anything." She loved people and was always a pleasure to be with. She was a good mother to all us kids and did most of the bringing up of us alone because Dad worked nights--4 to midnight--for over 20 years. She was a good-looking lady and a nice soprano singer. She sang in the church choir and taught Sunday School. She also was quite a poet and wrote a lot of poems and read them over the radio station. She played the piano and sang at home practicing for church. I remember my dog would howl every time she sang; she had a very strong high voice and when she hit the high notes that dog would go nuts! I'd say, "Ma, he can't stand your singing!" and she'd say, "well then, put him out!"
She was a great mother and I wish she could have lived longer so I could better repay her for what she did for me. She never got to go anywhere or do anything because my father was either working or hunting or fishing and the lack of money and us kids kept her tied close to home. She was a very religious lady and got a lot of comfort and pleasure from her church. Your mom lived with my parents for a year before we got married and for the two years that I was in the service in Germany. They were very good friends. I remember one day I was giving Annie heck about something and my mother grabbed me and said, "Now you be good to that girl and don't you hurt her!" So from then on I was out-voted.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Luck of the Irish

The PageTurner library discussion group I lead this past week was "Into the Beautiful North" by Alberto Luis Arrea. The last discussion question was, "Where did your ancestors emigrate from? Do you have any family stories from your heritage?" I shared some stories from my Irish immigrant ancestors, which were fresh in my mind today, St. Patrick's Day, and prompted me to write them down here to share with my own family.

Denis and Bridget (O'Brien) Connolly lived in Skibbereen, Cork, Ireland during the Irish Potato Famine. They toughed it out through the worst of it, but by the 1870s, the future for 11 children was bleak. Seven (Cornelius "Con", Patrick, Dennis, Thomas (my great-grandfather), Dan, Tim, and John) of the 9 boys and Ellen, the oldest girl, had all emigrated  one-by-one, to Massachusetts. They didn't stay in the city, but moved out to the rural communities of Dunstable, Pepperell and Groton to farm. In the 1890s, Thomas, now married to Ellen Kiely with 3 children (3 others died in infancy), caught Gold Rush Fever and traveled to the Yukon to stake a claim in the Klondike. He was there for two trips and a total of about 5 years, just eking out enough to pay off his farm before coming home. [I have the letters he wrote to his wife while he was away.]
Ellen (Kiely) Connolly was not very pleased when her youngest son, Francis Gregory, fell in love and married a French Canadien, Beatrice Edna Hawley. She had picked out a nice little Irish girl for her son, and although Bea was Catholic, it wasn't enough to prevent Ellen from treating Bea poorly for the first few years of their marriage. For financial reasons, Bea and Francis had to initially live with Thomas and Ellen for those first years. Bea worked in a shoe-string factory in E. Pepperell while Francis worked at the Ford Motor Company in Fitchburg, repairing engines. Bea's shift went late into the evening and she would come home after dinner had all been cleared away. Ellen would greet her with, "there's cold potatoes in the ice box. They've been cooked once, I'm not heating them again!" and leave Bea to fend for herself. Bea's daughter, Anne (my mom) remembers Ellen staying at their home for extended visits and as a child, didn't notice any ill will--Bea never said anything negative about her mother-in-law--so Ellen must have worked out her issues eventually.
Bea and Francis left a legacy of hard work and determination. They build their own home using free "hurricane" lumber (harvested from the local forest, blown down by the strong winds), then helped three of their own sons to build their homes. During World War II Francis, too old to serve in the military, served as an Air Raid Warden in his local community of Dunstable. He was issued a helmet, a whistle and a flashlight, and would patrol the area looking for Germans (Dunstable is located near the former Army Base of Ft. Devens.)
Mom grew up not realizing she came from a poor family, as they always had food to eat (slaughtered their own pigs and chickens) and clothes to wear (hand-me-downs from her older sister, and gingham dresses made from grain sacks provided by the town.) It wasn't until she took a job in the "big city" of Fitchburg and saw how others lived (running water, flush toilets, electricity) that she realized how primitive her life in the country had been. Maybe that is why she became a hoarder of hats and shoes...I love you, Mom, Happy St. Patrick's Day! I love my Irish heritage!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bright side

Home concentrating on pain management:
• getting TLC from Husband
• instructing Husband on the fine art of green smoothies (including how to cut an avocado.)
• finally making progress with the audio book version of Atlas Shrugged.
• watching back episodes of Bunheads
• nope. I've got nothing else...

Friday, March 1, 2013


Pre-op visit to the hospital this morning, I still wasn't convinced I should go ahead with it. I admit, I was looking for a sign, some answer to my decision. I visited with Dr. Brumley (right) and turned to leave him to head to Pharmacy for post-op drugs when Dr. Tubb (left) happened to come down the hall. Dr. Brumley identified him to me as the surgeon who would do my surgery and introduced us. Dr. Tubb was very nice and explained further the need for surgery. What are the odds?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

To applaud, or not to applaud...

At the RUSA workshop I sat at a table up front and as is my habit, began the clapping for each presenter as they were introduced. I slipped up once and NO ONE applauded. Sad. It brought back enforce the memory of the event that initiated my custom to be the applause starter...
Rich and I were in England in 1979 and took the Tube out to a remote London suburb to see a Shakespearean play. There were only about six of us in the audience and none of us were saavy enough about the play to recognize the scene changes in order to applaud at the appropriate moments. Finally we were feeling uncomfortable with the silences and began to applaud when we felt like it, spurring the others to join in as well. By the end, the talented cast were getting the recognition they deserved from the audience, but ever since, I have tried not to be shy about being the first one to clap. Yes, sometimes I get it wrong and am embarassingly alone in my applause, but that is better than the alternative, in my book.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I can help you with that...

said the Fates. I had recently read this article on ways to fight early Alzheimer's and was doing all the suggestions but one:

"Use different parts of your brain by performing activities such as writing with your non-dominant hand, walking backwards, or brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand."

Since breaking my wrist last weekend, I now get to practice that exercise ALL THE TIME! I think I found my silver lining.

Monday, February 25, 2013

It's a Gorey life

My daughter gave me an Edward Gorey puzzle for Christmas. Very difficult! I had helpers during the holidays but it has lain neglected for weeks. I finally got some down time when I was home sick a few days ago and finished it--just in time for Edward Gorey's birthday!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Two become one

Rich had this great idea to take all seven grandkids to the roller rink. Fortunately Jason (son-in-law and dad to 3 of said grands) accompanied us, giving the 2 moms a special evening together kid-less. I had just started out onto the rink floor with the 4-year-old when my feet flew out from under me and i broke my fall with my left hand, thus also breaking my wrist in 2 places. I handed off my charge to Rich while I assessed the damage and went for some ice, though I was fairly sure of the break. As I sat with an ice pack on my wrist, the 11-year-old came by to check on me and informed me that "Grampa fell too!" Yep. He and Norah got 3/4 around the rink when he lost it and went down. So we were able to leave the group in Jay's able hands and Rich drove us both to the ER where he was given a sling for a hairline fracture and (after 5 tries) I got my radius bone set and a full-arm cast put on.

The Synchronicity of this is that his injury is to his right (dominant) side and my break is my (dominant) left. So now,  he holds the can while I turn the can-opener; I hold the bread while he spreads the butter. Together we can still get it done!

life lesson learned

The fingers of my left hand became swollen when I broke my wrist a couple nights ago while rollerskating. The first thing I did after getting up off the rink floor and feeling the extent of the pain was to remove my rings and tuck them into the pocket of my jeans. I recalled the incident 18 months ago when I had a bicycle mishap which resulted in having to get my lovely onyx ring cut off my finger. On seeing my ringless, swollen fingers today, husband says, "It's a good thing you had that bicycle accident."
Could husband be turning into an optimist?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Do you have a favorite number? Do you see it everywhere? Does it hold special meaning? I don't go in for numerology, per se, but our family (husband) has had a "relationship" with the number 33 for awhile now. I realize there are others who also see significance in this particular number as can be explored here, and I would often have encounters with 33 myself, but lately I've been thinking that 11 (or 11:11) is actually "my" number...
I'd been seeing 11:11 frequently and it always seems to give me pause, but I didn't know why. Here's an excerpt from an article by Uri Geller that seems to put my feelings into words:

For many years the numbers 11:11 have been mysteriously appearing to people all over the world. Often appearing on digital clocks, the sightings of 11:11 tend to occur during times of heightened awareness, having a most powerful effect on the people involved. This causes a reactivation of our cellular memory banks. There’s a stirring deep inside, a hint of remembrance of something long forgotten. The appearance of 11:11 is also a powerful confirmation that we are on the right track, aligned with our highest Truth. Throughout the years, I have personally encountered thousands of people all over the world who, have experienced repeated sightings of 11:11. They all want to know what is happening to them and why. What does the 11:11 signify?...
When the 11:11 appears to you, it is your wake-up call. A direct channel opens up between you and the Invisible. When this happens, it is time to reflect on whatever you are doing for a moment and Look Larger. ...You can enter the Greater Reality if you wish pray or meditate and seed your future and also, you can be seeded by the Invisible. You can ask for help in some specific area of your life or simply listen quietly and receive a revelation. The appearance of 11:11 is an always beneficial act of Divine Intervention telling you that it is time to take a good look around you and see what is really happening. It’s time to pierce the veils of illusion that keep us bound to an unreal world. You have been chosen, because you are ready, to step into the Greater Reality. To lead the way for others into a new way of living, into a Greater Love. To ascend from duality into Oneness.
The 11.11 is the bridge to our vitality and oneness. It is our pathway into the positive unknown and beyond.

We call them G-D Winks. Some may say it is just a coincidence, but if seeing a particular number (33, 11, et. al.) provides the above stimulus for reflection and openness to inspiration, I am keeping my eyes (and mind) opened.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I recently blogged about finding the perfect mug but now I realize it was incomplete. In the same staff cabinet I discovered its mate, the yang to its yin. Lovely!

Experienced riders want(ing)

"What's your riding experience, ma'am?"
"I owned and rode my own 16-hand quarter horse for eight years."
"Alright then! We'll give you "Missy". She will do whatever you tell her to."
"Giyup, missy!" Nay.
"Look lively, Missy! Let's at least trot." Nay.

Maybe we'll let loose with a bit of a canter for a few feet, then trot for a few more yards while the wrangler is yi-hawing right next to us, but for the most part of our two-hour ride along the beach, Missy preferred to saunter along at the same pace as the rest of the well-worn mounts. (You can see from the photo that one of them was a draft horse!) I have to say there was a bit of false advertising here, from Back Country Wilderness Outfitters, as their brochure claimed the 2-hour ride was, "A little faster-paced ride to the southern tip of the beach. This ride is advisable for confident riders, ten or older." I think I would have trusted "Missy" with my 6-year-old granddaughter on her back.

It had been years since I'd ridden, and many more since the days of owning my own steed, but its a bit like riding a just don't forget. And I can testify that there is nothing that comes close to owning your own horse and having the freedom to ride as fast and as far as you choose.
I'm afraid this pin will still remain on my Wish List Board for the time being.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Horse sense

I've been thinking about my horse-riding days when I owned Pride of Nebraska, a 16-hand quarter horse. Rich had bought some knives online recently and gave one to me--a wrangler's knife that has a hoof pick on it. It called to mind my teen years when I used such a tool frequently with Nebraska.
As I prepared for a genealogy workshop this week I experimented with some mobile apps for recording memories and recorded as an example the story of how I got me knee scar (taking a spill off Nebraska).
This weekend we took a quick getaway trip to the coast. I slipped the knife in my pocket "just in case." Near the beach we happened upon an enterprise offering horse riding along the shore. I showed Rich my Pinterest board "wishlist" and the pic of a girl on a horse on the beach, hair flying, arms outstretched as she cantered along. He said "go for it" so I did. I had high expectations but the pin will remain for the time being. But that's another story. I did get to use my knife though. Not the hoof pick, but I cut "Missy's" apple with the blade for her treat at the end of our two-hour walk along the beach together.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The whole experience

I don't get attached to too many things, especially when I have started down the path of minimalism. I am trying to implement the habit of getting rid of one thing if I bring something new into the house. But...I have taken over possession of a mug I found in the staff room cabinet. There is an eclectic assortment of mish-mash in there, and I usually try to bring a cup from home, but this one recently appeared and it spoke to me. Its minimalist design, cool, matte finish and neutral color gives me a feeling of peace and calm just looking at it. And when it is full of my Good Earth "Sweet & Spicy" tea...ahhhh!

Learn then do

I attended a RUSA conference in Seattle last week and learned from Anne Mitchell (Ancestry Anne)   about different ways of searching in for varied results. Came home to my library job and got a call this morning that gave me an opportunity for hands-on practice with that very thing! The patron was looking for an application for enrollment in the Five Civilized Tribes from 1896. A search of her ancestor by name yielded no results, but when I went through the collection THIS way: Search > Immigration & Travel > Citizenship & Naturalization Records > U.S. Native American Applications for Enrollment in Five Civilized Tribes, 1896 There it was! At first glance I only saw the index, which information the patron already had, but by choosing to "browse this collection" I could put in the parameters from the Index and arrived at the actual application documents. Turns out it was a DIFFERENT Thomas Giles, not her ancestor after all, but the search was productive in that it ruled OUT info and gave me new knowledge in search techniques. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quirky little synchronicities

My son-in-law, Benjamin wanted to read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, so I said I'd read it with him. I couldn't find a copy on the library shelf, and ended up having to download the audiobook from the elibrary. I started listening to it in the evenings when I was in bed, but it is slow going....I've been at it for a couple days now, and today I was reading in a fitness magazine about ways Olympians built healthy habits. One (Kayla Harrison, Judo Player, ranked #1 in US and #4 in the World) said, "I read Atlas Shrugged before bed sometimes. It puts me to sleep because it's so long and monotonous. You can pass out and then pick it up, and they're having the exact same 70-page conversation!" So much for reading those classical "must reads"...kinda like the feeling I get trying to watch Citizen Kane and wondering why it is [supposed to be] "the best film of all time."

I also checked out from my local library a couple books on gardening. I was particularly interested in one called, Zen In Your Garden, by Jenny Hendy. We are planning to re-do our backyard and I want a place that is restful and conducive to meditation and reflection; a peaceful retreat from the world. Then today I found delivered to my inbox at work an invitation to tour a park called Chase Garden not too far from here. It is a Japanese-inspired zen garden on 4+ acres. Definitely need to go there!

Marathon updated

It was a foggy, cool morning. Got up at 6, ate a half banana and a tablespoon of almond butter, then dressed/stretched quietly so as not to wake any Fillmores. but Brandolyn got up to see us off. We found the park easily and got one of the limited parking spots, which soon filled up. Temps were about 33 degrees as we started out across the bridge, which was pretty slick. I decided not to wear my jacket over my running clothes and carried just my waist belt with my 16 oz. of chia-honey-lime water, some clif bloks, my iphone for Runkeeper, and my facecloth (don't ask...). The first 1/2 (down and back to Woodinville) passed quickly. I decided not to change out my liquid fuel for the second bottle, diluting the one I had at the Gatorade stops instead. Rich called me a few times with words of encouragement but I found it to be a distraction and awkward to have to dig the phone out of my pocket and break into my breathing rhythm to answer. ( I'm afraid I wasn't very polite the third call when I asked him not to call back. Kinda like a woman in labor though, right? Excusable?) With only about 100 runners, I quickly felt like I was running alone, which was great, as this was a run against only myself, what I can do, what my goals were. I wanted to run the whole way, and I wanted to finish under 5 hours. I accomplished both, only walking in and out of the bathroom stall twice, and finishing in 4:53:56.
The best part of the day was rounding the last corner and seeing 7 grandchildren jumping up and down on the bridge yelling, "Yay, Gramma! Hooray!" They all raced with me to the end, then made an archway of hands for me to run through--a gauntlet of love. I felt very supported and loved. A great way to start the new year!