Friday, May 31, 2013

Clepper Manor Fitness Program

I want to write something. I'm driven to write. Today, though, I have run out of time. I am doing the Clepper fitness plan. I have been pushing the medicine cart this week and standing most of my eight hour shift. I still like to walk outside for recreation, very recreational with the sniffing hound. My feet are hurting.
A few weeks ago, I noticed the charts did not feel as heavy when I lifted them for all the filing I must do. Helping with patients in bed, I discovered I had to hold back, as I may hit their head on the head board. My arms got stronger.
I'm hoping my feet and legs get stronger, too, as I continue this new task at my job. Trepidation at the thought of being responsible for twenty seven patients' medications and treatments made me uncomfortable. Can I handle this? I admire the girls who do this all the time and realize it does take us all about three hours to get those nine o'clocks passed, even on a quiet night.
Oh, we must not forget the diet. Eating? Not much for the eight hours. The best part of all this, is I'm not too hungry when I get home, so something to keep me from fainting is all I can do.
The temperature of a sauna and sweating most of the night also must contribute something to the weight loss. I don't want so much to be skinny as to be able to walk to the bathroom in  the morning, instead of the hobbling this old lady is doing now. Park Vista has an indoor pool for their rehab, do you think Clepper Manor could install one for the continuing fitness program? Not with two percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Notes Read in Front of the World

I think how Face book is the note writing of today. We loved writing notes, or little letters to each other, that grew in junior high and high school. My one friend, Amy, who's birthday was May 28, along with Sherry, wrote copious pages during study halls.
We didn't limit writing to study hall, though. I wrote in boring algebra classes or Mrs. Collins' history class to keep from falling asleep. Mrs. Collins droned on in a flat, nasal voice. I couldn't help liking her as a person, but she was pathetic as a teacher. Poor thing. Our morning class quietly kept our disinterest. But the afternoon history class, unfortunately, did not. One boy set off an M-80 resulting in giving the poor woman a heart attack or so the story goes. The weather, hot, made the non- air conditioned rooms an oven breeding discontent by seventh period at the end of the school year.
Amy wrote poetry, too. She grew up to be an English teacher. Later as young adults, she gave me several books to enhance my reading, like Grapes of Wrath, and Sophie's Choice. I've seen the movies. Sometimes it is hard to read the important books. Last year when I read To Kill a Mockingbird, I kicked myself for not reading it before then. Mom raved about it, too. As has everyone else, with good reason.
As we sat in high school, thinking we were smart, the sentences flew across the page. I still to this day, love those plain lined tablets, but give me a great pen. My boyfriend in ninth and tenth grade would draw a cartoon picture with the character saying our names with the plus symbol for every new tablet I got. He drew them in pencil on that gray cardboard. I traced very carefully over them with ink, so they would endure. I have lost them.
We seldom passed notes in class, so I did not suffer embarrassment often from the notes being read in front of the class. I got more than passing grades, so the writing didn't hinder. In fact, I bet it helped our writing skills.
We laughed with "Ha, ha." I thought writing BR for Baskin Robbins, hilarious. For awhile, my friends made fun of my Worthy Adviser aspirations and we used Grand Poo Bahs and Doo Doo Butts and variations of that theme. I didn't mind they made fun of it because I was secure in our friendship. The pomp didn't appeal to everyone.
I started reading a memoir Then Again by Diane Keaton and she, too, was impressed by the sister organization, Job's Daughters, a Masonic-sponsored secret club where girls in a pagentlike (Diane's word) atmosphere paraded around in long gowns. I'll write more on this book, a surprise that may have me reading into the night. Anyways, when I read that line today in the introduction, I felt validated with my love for Rainbow Girls when I was fourteen to twenty.
We abbreviated, but I do think we watched our grammar and spelling to a point. Along with writing diaries, note writing occurred every day. Over the summer, we had fancy stationery while we were imprisoned on family vacations. Or we bought funny cards and filled every inch with our hand writing.
Along with the poetry, we wrote stories as well. Descriptions of the teachers in study hall or the bored kids sleeping in various positions filled these notes, too. We saw, we wrote, we did, we wrote. Only when we shared did it seem to happen.
We were no Lewis and Tolkien, no space trilogy or hobbits. High school shenanigans, angst and fun filled the pages. One boy, who didn't go to our school, but his cousin did, did not appreciate my letter I sent via Tom. I guess he wanted that day's version of sexting. I never wrote to him again. So what, if we had made out in McDonald's parking lot. I never did that again with him, either.
My boyfriend and I exchanged notes regularly. He wrote in slanted printing. I could read it, a definite plus with letter writing. We expressed our love, our dreams and hopes for the future. He was frustrated, though, one time I painfully scribed the words to the Everly Brothers' All I Have to Do is Dream, stopping the record to get the words, then listening some more.  I think he expected a love poem written by me. I could be wrong, but I hold to that feeling.
I had forgotten how important expressing myself was, till I thought how I love Face book. My passing notes the fifty two year old's way. Just don't do it at work or you'll be punished. The notes are all ready being read in front of the world.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

I took this with my cell phone from our wedding album. Sometimes, it is good to see things out of focus. Like waking up in the morning with the love of your life for thirty one years. Heck, focus or not, I love waking up with him. Don't get to do it often enough. Sorry for the bad grammar.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tired and How to Beat It

Another day of sleepiness, this time because of sleeplessness between four and maybe six thirty. I can't hardly think. I need a nap before work, yet I put it off. I read a blog on "why" about writing and activities we do as writers. The successful things for one prove to not work for another. He advised us to ask why we do things.
I'm doing soul searching. I grow a bit dismal when I look at my page views. I feel sad when I see no comments. I do get comments on the Face book account, and when I e-mail a post to a friend.
I start talking about one of the real reasons I endeavored on this adult writing career, David and Mary Thompson, the Pierces, James Satterfield. I hop to life. I tingle at the research I'll do. I form stories around what I think happened. I love this history.
I wonder should I write a different blog. A specific one about cooking on a cast iron griddle for a year kind of post. Well, I'm kidding about cooking, but the one topic blogs do gender more traffic, it seems.
I go back to why I started posting on a blog. For my mom's stories to be told before I forgot them. To share my faith. I always want to encourage along the way. I pray a ray of hope will shine through. But what if my ray feels faint, how do I generate that hope?
I can't generate it. The Light comes from above, from Jesus. I need to focus on Him. As I  laid awake this morning, but didn't want to leave my bed, I prayed some. Why do I write? I do want to make a living from it, as I grow more weary with nursing. I do want to glorify God and hopefully show some answers to someone's questions.
I think of Elijah when he was depressed. God allowed him to only sleep and fed him by the ravens. I think sometimes, I need to sleep. I need to quit striving. I do strive when I get down, like now. I think I will be happy with writing as my career, but then wonder, if I am ever happy? I am tired. I know I need to rework the last chapters of Summer Triangle, yet feel unable to do so with time constraints and lack of sleep.
I think a twenty minute nap may help. Putting all this in God's hands is the biggest boost. I read posts on Face book. One writer needs a breakthrough. The Presbyterian church posts Matthew 7:7-8 about ask, seek and knock. Beverly Lewis writes "I'd rather write than most anything. If I go too long without getting my words down, I have a tendency to become if part of me is somehow denied." Oh, confirmation of my desire, too, makes me wish I had climbed out of bed to write. It may not have been too bad.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Fake New England Weekend
 I'm going to post pictures from our day yesterday in Poland, Ohio. I wrote last year about our trip to Poland Forest. A little more than a year later, we made it back as a whole family with Mary Ellen.
Many events scheduled in New England this weekend, that made me wish I could jump in that transporter. Lobster weekend in Mystic, Connecticut, David's second cousin's daughter in the lead role of Legally Blonde at Oyster River High School in New Hampshire and a praise night at church in Massachusetts, not to mention celebration of Jersey shore come back after Sandy with Southside Johnny in concert at Atlantic City. Even if we lived in Norwich still, there is no humanly way to have done all that. Life is like that, huh?
We enjoyed Poland and the feel of New England with the old homes, the people looking like when we lived there and the weather. I told David, I wanted to go to New England this weekend and that this was pretty close. We both smiled as we commented almost together, "Even down to the weather."
Since I was what my mom used to call owly (out of sorts, crabby)

today and my niece is coming over for a cool night beside the fire with hot dogs and s'mores, I'm writing quickly. Pictures tell the story tonight.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Duck Drama

As promised...
A few days ago on my walk through Buhl Farm Park while the sun shone and it was a bit warmer, I sat for a few minutes to talk to my husband on the cell phone about drama at work, adding names because that is easier. The bench beside Lake Julia welcomed me as this seemed complicated. As I talked, the sun sparkled on the small ripples. I watched the mother ducks with their ducklings. One mother scolded a woman on the shore over the dam.
What was going on? I squinted to follow the irritation. The mother duck got angrier. The woman turned to cross the road. She walked back with a bundle in her hand. I thought, she can't feed the ducks, we're not allowed and it's not good for them. What is she thinking?
Soon, a wee bundle of brown feathers scooted from her hands. The mother duck called to her baby and shooed the flock further out in  the lake. Another mother and her brood hurried away from the scene, too.
The woman stood watching when the park ranger parked his patrol car and  sauntered up to her with his gut hanging over his belt. They talked. He probably told her not to handle the waterfowl. Another couple joined in and four people discussed duck troubles. The mother duck floated way off to the middle of the lake.
Harrison sniffed around the bench, then quizzed me as to why we had stopped. I gave a minute by minute detailed account to David on the phone, as the drama unfolded. He thought, My woman is losing it. Their conversation didn't carry over the distance. Soon, the group disbanded. The duck families swam to the opposite shores. Will this woman ever pick up a duckling to join with his family again? The mallard drake steamed over, but mother duck had things under control. The drama over, and no further work drama to report, I said good-bye. Harrison jumped to continue the walk.
No point, only fun for a Saturday night.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Duck the Curves

Yesterday, I was floored by reading Marion's (Bugs) obituary. A feeling of reading my father's obituary flooded over me and I found myself, not just shedding a tear, but sobbing. I had been trying to express that the other day in Steel Hunkies, about men who took pride in their work, and loved their families. Thinking of the eleven year old boy left at home, as I was forty years younger than my dad as well, added to the impact.
Life threw me that curve yesterday, because I had planned on writing about Duck Drama I witnessed at the park the day before. Instead, I wanted to pay tribute to Bugs, or Lamp as he was called in his later years. My girlfriend on Facebook wrote very well about him, too. Yes, it is someone our age dying, but I think it was more than that. A pride that someone our age succeeded in life, but left too soon. Yes, we face our mortality, but I have hope that he instilled into another generation the ethics we learned growing up.
We never know what the day will bring. James wrote we shouldn't brag about what we will do on our own strength because it may not be there. We need to add God willing. This is not to be just a tag on, either. We need to listen and follow God's voice and plan.  We can't pray our plans and ask God to bless them. Life is full of surprises and disappointments.
I read with joy the pre-school and kindergarten graduations on Facebook. The mothers' comments about what they will be like in twelve or thirteen years when these kids graduate from high school. They are crying now at the way time has flown. I will be denied that as my youngest had too many health issues to graduate with her class. I hope not to sound like a naysayer. I do say, though, enjoy each moment, not thinking it may be the last, but just enjoy the moment.
Gratitude flowed into me, as when this girl participated in preschool, loving it, that I could be observing her. I tried not to live too much through her, but as any mother knows the pride of great performances, it is hard to not love their accomplishments. Two years ago, a friend of this daughter's died in an automobile accident, six weeks out from her graduation. My thoughts kept coming back to me that mother was robbed. This spring, I am thankful, I still have my daughter, but I miss what I had planned.
She will make it. She gets better every day. High school is not the end of the journey, only the beginning. I guess I grieve for many things, but I have also learned to see beyond these circumstances and take joy in the master plan of our Lord. He is with me all the way.
Enjoy the moments, not with anticipation of what will be or may not be. We don't know. We can plan, we must. Yet, we need to be pliable, willing to bend with the wind or duck the curves.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Good Bye, Marion
Good bye to one of our own. West Middlesex graduates. He lived the life in the Valley. I am proud to see the young man I graduated beside have lived such a full life. We did grow up with great values. I wished I had tasted his "mean" rack of ribs. Good bye.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Steel Hunkies

I'm pondering today what is different than forty, fifty years ago. The steel mills produced more than jobs then. Men made good livings. They had benefits and generous perks if you worked hard, and long. As I mentioned a couple years ago, my father had the thirteen week vacation every four years. He only enjoyed it once because of his accident causing early retirement. But even on the off years, paid one month vacation could be used.
I had a teacher in high school, who talked about the lure of the steel mill. Many of his generation worked the summers, making money to pay for their college. The end of the steel era may have been in sight when Jerry talked about this in the mid seventies, but the few years earlier, it was not. He chose to be a school teacher, not because of better pay, but because he wanted to teach. Many at the mill could not understand this, he shared. The mill paid very well and teaching, then, did not.
My friend married a man who did not want a factory job. He wanted to wear a suit every day, not be covered in soot and grime. He left New Castle area for a good paying job in a factory in Massachusetts in the early 1980's. Soon, though, he left that to be a car salesman and moving back here, he still is.
My husband in 1980, would have been contented to have left school and work as my father did in a steel mill. By then, the mills had ground themselves to the ground, to this day, not back to former glory. He enjoys producing a product, coming home and enjoying family. The Navy provided discipline and a trade of electrician.
Is it our generation throw back to the dreams of our parents who wanted more for their children? We all expect our children to get that career to change the world. Yet, many don't want their children to leave the Valley. Kids feel the pressure to perform, now. What about the ones who want to stay near family? The steel mills are gone. The Steel hunkies are no more.
They are told to get a college education. They are told they can do anything. I feel for those, who go to college and find this isn't for them. They cannot come back to the steel mills. They haven't for years. We lost many to Texas and other states providing jobs, that our valleys couldn't sustain.
Now, the kids have to do retail jobs or fast food. I am not against education or bettering oneself, but I wonder if we have expected our children to walk on water and set them up for failure?  I see so many leave college after a year or two. Even if they graduate, the careers they have studied for are not readily available.
I'm just wondering where have the Steel Hunkies gone? We have no equivalent for the comfortable producing lifestyle where we can dream better things for our children.

Monday, May 20, 2013

I Made a Mistake...
 The Masonic Temple is now The Corinthian, a banquet hall. This is the dais the Worthy Advisor, Mother Advisor and dignities sat on. You can see a bit of the wonder in this picture. The lush green carpet and throne like chairs, imagination needs to fill in.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

No Delays

Sunday is almost over with thirty five minutes to go. Rented movies place an urgency on me to watch on time. Yet, if it is not compelling, observing it can be a torture. Lincoln fell into this category, tonight. I also felt overpowered by sleep this evening.
I had a busy day, so I noticed the droopy eyelids near seven o'clock. My body gave into the slumber and the love seat in the living room aided my release. The movie pushed into the DVD player woke me up, since I felt obligated to watch it.
I enjoyed my writer's group as it was a smaller gathering. I became better acquainted. Two have been published a long time, so I gleaned all I could from their conversation. We sat near windows at a coffee shop. Barnes and Noble has essentially made it known they don't support writers anymore. Some of the group are even published on Nook. The people in the store could agree with the writers but the story is this comes from corporate. Oh, where are the locally owned book stores any more? Years ago, they told me they met at Stigliano's in Hermitage.
Jerry Stigliano couldn't compete with the online book ordering as consumers eliminated the middle man of a store. I have my theory that Jerry's heart wasn't in it as much as when he started. I do miss his store, the fireplace and Vance, the big orange cat, doing the cat things, like sleeping wherever he wanted. I understood, but wished as Jerry closed shop that we could have supported him more.
I travel to Boardman, not a hardship once a month on a Sunday. My daughters rode along and shopped. We shopped some more, rode through Mill Creek Park, showing off the Cinderella bridge, ending up at Cracker Barrel. Then I took in the sunshine on the fresh green landscape, as Katie slept and Mary Ellen read her new book. As I approached home the tiredness from the day slipped on me and I shook it off to make it home.
Harrison seemed to know as he nudged my hand, but content to lay beside me on the love seat. So I reach my bed soon. I'll be up for the morning cool walk. I can't put it off. In western Pennsylvania to let a day of eighty degree temperature pass is a sin in my opinion. No delays from a movie, rented or not, should be allowed.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Writer Influencer- Part 2

As I wrote yesterday, my mother adored Anne Morrow Lindbergh and of course, her hero husband, Charles. Mom belonged to a book club, where to start it, one could buy a tremendous amounts of books at ridiculously low amount of money, with a "free" gift included. She spent a lot of money on books that we all enjoyed. She always read her gift before she gave someone a book. Easier to do with the old hardbacks than the modern day paperbacks that are so expensive.
Mom ordered those two compilations of diaries and letters. Her enthusiasm encouraged me to read them. As I noted yesterday, Anne's descriptions of her life drove a desire for me to write like that. I found, though, like Anne, I craved the quiet of writing, finding it hard to write when life ran with activity.
I missed writing about life's adventures while they were happening. I slept in and didn't have my morning time alone to write, on trips, especially ours to Scotland in 1986.  She taught the solitude of writing. Introspection in isolation I gathered from her books.
I kept this habit until just recently. Main Street, I started in the quiet of early morning. Fear of discovery, shyness, and doubt surrounded my journey. I find I am like Anne, that way, too. I love my solitude, yet when thrust with people, I find I love that, too. I'm not sure I would love the "cops-and-robbers pursuit...I felt like an escaped convict. This was not freedom." of her courtship and marriage to Charles. Servants were bribed. Every move spied upon. Writing censored because their high sense of privacy. Charles warned her to watch her writing because the world may read it tomorrow.
I think now, how different the world is. We don't have great firsts. We do have paparazzi, but those stalked rather invited the noise in their lives. Charles only did what he loved, not seeking the fame. Anne truly did not seek it. "Fame is a kind of death." She even stopped writing in her diary for three years. A lid was clamped on her expression. Now Twitters attract attention and all tweets are public by nature.
Years later, most likely the 1980's, a theory made public that Charles actually kidnapped and killed their son, Charles, Jr. My mother became mad at that. That generation believed in their heroes.The Crime of the Century stamped an impression on my mother. She angered often at the "historians" searching for dirt on her heroes.
Anne's descriptions and her habits stayed with me. I had somewhat put her out of my mind over the years. Last August, when we drove through New Jersey, a sign pointed to their home, where the infamous kidnapping occurred. I knew where the books were in our basement and I grabbed them to refer to the pictures. I read snippets, promising to read the book again. My journal keeping for years followed the pattern I emulated from these books.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Writer Influencer- Part 1

Another influence in my writing was Anne Morrow Lindbergh. My mother adored her and the books of her collection of diary and letters published in the 70's thrilled Mom.
Mom raved and raved about this heroine, who caught the eye of the famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh. She bought the two books, Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead, and Bring Me a Unicorn. I, too, read them. I emulated her writing on mundane activities. Her entry on the delicacy, a bowl of corn flakes, prompted many descriptions of mornings and the joy a spring or early summer morning bring to my heart, in my private journals. I started, when reading her diaries, a habit of writing more than the list of the activity of the day, but added my thoughts and emotions.
As I try to write this I am seeing I need more time than I have to write, before I need to go to work. One of the ideas I picked up from reading these books, that I started reading again last night, is to write in private. "A cloistered life of books," Anne named it. As the notoriety of her famous life with Prince of the air, crept into her writing time, she felt it suffered for a while.
Her book, Gift From the Sea, I bought many copies and gave to every woman I knew, sisters for their birthdays, and to nurses, parting gifts when I moved from job to job in my early twenties. A slim book packed with wisdom for the modern woman, I may need to revisit.
I will continue this tomorrow when I have more time to write.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Afternoon Comes Too Soon

I'm getting closer to choosing the cover for my novel, Summer Triangle. I am totally trusting the professional helping me. At first, I had a bit of a preconceived picture in my mind. I gave her just a few snippets of ideas, since this is totally new to me. I am amazed at this final mock-up fitting the essence of my story.
The writer's group asked me what category I write. I am still at a loss to where I fit. My faith is a strong influence in my stories, but I don't want to say Christian Fiction, not that I'm ashamed of being a Christian. Main Street is set in the early 1900's, but I don't really bring the history of the time into it, with no mention of WWI or the Spanish flu. Yet, it could be considered historical fiction. Summer Triangle also defies a genre. Modern day, but not a romance or mystery or any set category. It is life.
Women stories could be my category. So far, I have felt comfortable only with writing from a woman's point of view. I do delve a little into the husband's thoughts, while the main character in Summer Triangle is unconscious, but then leave him alone. I don't want to really be in a man's mind.
After a night of staying up too late, listening and watching You-tube videos of Southside Johnny Lyon, missing my David Lyon, I regret allowing myself to be trapped in the draw of the endless loops. On a crisp spring day, I didn't want to fall into the afternoon turn routine of almost watching the sun come up. Too much to do in the sun and on pay day to waste the morning. Being pay day also means little food in the house, so on we go to a fun place to eat, as I run out of morning time.
My heart is in writing. I got side tracked last night. I felt too tired to concentrate, but not tired enough to go to bed. Tonight, I must, because these perfect mid-spring days don't last forever. Afternoon comes too soon.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I'm watching the Gary Cooper/Helen Hayes version of Farewell to Arms. Even though, when I had read the novel, I knew it wasn't modern dress, the movie brings to focus the times. I think how often, the writer and reader work together with the imagination. The reader fills in gaps, and sees the scene in his own way.
As I have been reviewing the cover for my novel, the image catches the eye, but should not tell the whole story. I had read before about choosing the cover, to not really show the main character's face, the reader wants to fill that in themselves. Some of the most pleasing books, though, for me, were the old ones on the glass door bookshelves at home, with just the gold print on a black, brown or green cover, with the intriguing title and no write up. Words on the page the only marketing to a young reader.
Covers, though, do invite. I think of the paperback I bought in Hamilton's Drugstore when I was in sixth grade. The picture of hippies holding hands stared at me by the window, full faces, flowing hair, I had to buy it. I can't remember the whole plot, yet some of the images remain of the commune, the old hearse they drove, his hand on her belly while they slept. Actually, I can't remember the plot at all. I'm sure the book is long gone in an incinerated dump.
Covers have an importance, now, that before was not as necessary. A black cover with stern gold set would not attract notice on Or maybe it would. Maybe a purplish blue one with only a summer triangle of stars.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

No Time Tuesday

Where did Spring go?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Legacy from Generations

Many of us have to depend on others memories for our stories of great grandparents. I never knew any of my great grandparents. I'm so thankful of Becky, my dad's cousin, writing a few stories about Rebecca Hart Thompson. We stare at old tintypes and black and white photos, trying to make some connection. I have a picture of David's Grandmother Lyon on my dresser as a young girl, around eight, I would think. She looks so spunky in that image with adult relatives, staring at the camera.
I know she had red hair and a temper to go with it, although, by the time I met her, as the red faded to a pure white, her temper had been tamed. I saw some of that indignation at the oldest great grandchild's wedding as Grandma knew Ray was to help in the ceremony. He had grown a beard for some local centennial, leaving him unrecognizable to her. She fumed through the whole ceremony at the impostor, her chin set and eyes steely. When Ray came up to her, she hardly acknowledged him, till he greeted her with, "Grandma."
As we journeyed to Emporium on Saturday, I thought how I want to write all the stories of our ancestors. The peace of the mountains poured into me. I thought of the lumbering business, in which, those many years ago, Jesse Skillman, Grandma's father, endeavored. My mother-in-law's father rode the rails, as a brakeman. The Nickler's, the Metz's, the Skillman's and Lyon's all have stories so worth telling.
I wondered, too, at the love story in the house we stayed at this weekend. My mother-in-law helping her husband with his coat. He doesn't want to be long without Ellen. They have lived in the house for sixty three years, will be married sixty seven this June. Dad's memory, destroyed by dementia, still knows his wife, yet all he forgets irritates her at times.
Their great granddaughter, Cassandra, wrote a beautiful tribute for her Grandma Ellen for Mother's Day. I dared anyone to read it without a tissue. I was already weepy this weekend. Cassandra is not the oldest great grandchild, but she is eighteen and privileged to spend almost every Sunday worshiping with her family and Sunday dinner, the old fashioned kind, at Great Grandma's.
In a few weeks at the Alumni Banquet, she will be a fourth generation to graduate from Cameron County High School. I remember when her aunt did it, twenty five years ago. Four generations, still living, all in the same town. She will have double, because, even though Grandpa Lyle doesn't know her or what the big dinner will be about, he will be there, along with her great grandma, two grandparents and parents, who beat the odds of early marriage by staying together.
Cassandra called her Grandma Ellen, an angel. I know blessings abound in this family because we are family, honoring God, family and country. Stories of love, endurance and hard work from the mountains that they call hills.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Lazy Saturday

Going to Grandma's

                         Happy Mother's Day- enjoy your family this weekend. See ya, Monday....

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Our family, my parents, were always politically minded. They watched the TV news, sometimes had two newspapers coming into the home as well as news magazines. On vacations, we visited the presidential libraries of Eisenhower and Truman, as well as the historical homes of Lincoln, Washington, Ike, Buchanan. Across the line in Niles, OH, the McKinley home had not been restored, yet, or I'm sure that would have been a Sunday afternoon excursion, as it has been with my girls, now.
History and politics went hand in hand. We watched both conventions, wall to wall. I continued that after I was married. Enjoying Mondale's honesty about raising taxes to pay for all his social programs. I applauded it, actually, earning my vote. And what young woman in the early eighties could resist voting for the first major party female vice presidential candidate.
We were passionate about debating, but politeness reigned. We didn't call each other names, or say degrading words about the other side. We may have believed Reagan was heartless because he called ketchup a vegetable, but we always said, he'd make a great neighbor. We could see qualities of value in each man.
For me to get involved in the Synod of the Trinity's Youth in Government seminar in Harrisburg was only a natural development. I'm sure my mom read about it or Dad heard about it a session meeting. Bob from my church and Lisa from Sharon First Presbyterian church and I ventured for this week sponsored by the Presbyterian church. We met at Lisa's home on Highland Road, her father was a doctor, a vision into a different life. I considered any family that used a hired cleaning lady a step above us, at least. They had several side rooms, Bob and I waited in one for Lisa. My father drove us the five hours to Harrisburg on a dreary February day. I snuggled under a pink flowered bought quilt, while Bob and I talked about the fun of missing school. Lisa joined in some, but she was a quiet stranger at first from a different school.
Bob stayed at one big inner city Presbyterian church, while we girls slept in another, barrack style. I believe they fed us one or two meals a day, sometimes a snack at night with a group activity. The three of us spent all the time we were given alone together, eating at wonderful restaurants and shopping at album stores- remember those, mostly head shops. Bob gravitated close to me because a clerk, who actually had nail polish and mascara on, but was male, wanted to hit on Bob.
Harrisburg, a big town, yet possessing small city quirks, like openly gay men, homeless people, begging physically impaired, street musicians. We were three sixteen year olds stuck like glue to each other, alone, exploring this strange world from Sharon, Pennsylvania.
We had workshops, hearing a KDKA reporter assigned to Harrisburg, who happened to also be a Christian, in one. I remember listening in the morning to the radio after this week feeling more of connection to Sandy. We visited the capital building for a meeting with Rep. Pratt. He managed to get jobs for my dad. Later, his wife was my maternity instructor at Jameson School of Nursing.
The weather mixed rain and snow, but I still fell in love with the small city life with the walking in the night,under the street lights and bustling restaurants. I still love oregano on my roast beef hoagies and just about anything else.
I attracted a boy, who was hesitant to approach me because he thought Bob was my boyfriend, then he thought maybe we were brother and sister. He finally found the answer on Thursday that Bob and were friends since babyhood, only. He moved fast after that. He wrote and called, but even though he lived south of Indiana, Pennsylvania, we couldn't do much dating. He was going to take me to prom, but I think SAT's got in the way. Just after he started at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, he walked to West Middlesex one day to see me. Oh yeah, I met him once at Westminster College in New Wilmington, he was there for something with his youth group, the summer before that, after Harrisburg. I remember being very nervous driving our silver Nova with him in the car with me, only about my driving skills, not him per say.
Harrisburg taught me the basics of state government, but I needed more. So again, Mom scouring the paper found the Washington Workshops later that spring. A whetting of my appetite and dreams for political or journalist career continued from this trip.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Career Formation

I find it amazing what four cups of coffee can do for my feeling of well being. Yesterday, I didn't get my cups in at all. I woke early to walk the dog before a prayer meeting. I didn't even have breakfast. We were out of coffee, so I didn't even get any before work, took a nap, instead. My head started the beginnings of a throb near the end of my shift, but slept almost immediately after arriving home. Still woke, groggy and a bit out of sorts, but Sha-Zam, four cups of coffee and I feel like a new woman. I think a few of the hilarious videos I saw this morning, also helped. Jokes, belly laughs and humor add years to the soul.
I am ready to chose a trail and follow it this morning. Back to high school and my first newspaper assignment when I learned diplomacy. The first thing I ever had published in The Smoke Signal, was a poem I wrote about Karen and I at the Canfield Fair, when everyone thought we were twins. I submitted it in eighth grade. They didn't catch my misspelling of Ferris wheel, which put a damper on my accomplishment with critics. Still, I had made the paper.
A few years later, I joined the newspaper staff. My first assignment was to interview the head of the cafeteria. I had known this woman since babyhood. She was a classmate's grandma. We all hated the school food, yet, the guts for an investigative interview failed me in the presence of this kind woman, with a underlying defense. I said diplomatic before, but I think I crumbled under facing authority. I did not expose why the food tasted terrible, but instead wrote about government regulations and limitations set on this steely grandma. Grandma Boots worked with what she had and how dare we whipper-snappers question her. End of story.
Another assignment I picked was on John Belushi. Not too hard, didn't get to interview him. I read Newsweek, and maybe another source. I'm not even sure I had seen his movies much. I knew him from Saturday Night Live. Maybe I saw Animal House, I know I made a reference about his character and that John may some day serve in the Senate. Sadly, he never made it past his extended adolescence.
Writing for the paper held me to deadlines. Something had to be written quickly, with editorial feedback. We had round tables, sorting out ideas. I still wonder at how much different my writing would have been if I had a keyboard, instead of an electric typewriter, or my mom to edit and type for me.
We watched All the President's Men, the other night, when I was thinking back on my career decisions. This movie influenced my writing and political thinking, the desire to be in Washington. Nursing proved always the safe way, the fall back, the good part time job for a mother.
As my favorite poet, Robert Frost wrote and as I quoted before, the path I chose has made all the difference. I didn't have the guts to be an investigative reporter, yet, with nursing, I had to learn to dig to get to the story, read behind the words, look at all the surroundings. As I entered home health, with the boss accompanying me on my first visits, her word of advice, "You need to be a detective."
I have carried those words with me, still remembering the respect I held for Boots, the head cafeteria lady.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

Rabbit Trails

I don't have the time or desire to write just now. Stayed up too late and even though I woke at seven, I made myself stay in bed. Sucked into a TV show on hulu. Why? I can stay away from it for a while and lose interest. Why do I have to watch it today? It will be there anytime. I don't know. Weakness, I guess.
We are having an unusual string of sunny days. I feel I'm in California. I loved my first visit there just before my eighteenth birthday. I will read my journal from that time and write more on that later.
I'm going over the first drafts for my novel's cover with the designer. I like the initial copy. I e-mailed more ideas.This process reminds me of a boyfriend who drew the cover for reports I did in school. My report on Julius Caesar, he drew a dagger dripping with blood. I loved how he drew. I loved that he was so creative. I know he still is, but it doesn't effect my life now.
My husband is creative with his words. I think like so many of us, if we had grown with tools we have now,  he could have been a great writer. His letters when he joined the Navy ached with the heart of a young man ripped from his familiar surroundings. He was twenty four and never really been away from relatives, although, he had left his home. Of course, the purpose of boot camp is to break the spirit of young people. At twenty four, he felt refined instead of broken, being six years older than most of his boot camp companions. His report of the first chapel service, the first thing they were allowed to to go to unrelated to boot camp, revealed the awakening of spirit.
I think of this now, as he left May 11, 1981, a shaking young man, the day after Mother's Day. Ray drove him to Pittsburgh. I thought yesterday of that weekend we spent together, enjoying spring weather,  hiking the paths around the Shenango Reservoir. The bittersweet sorrow of leaving so we could have a life together, later. The promise, I would write every day, as my dad wrote every day to Dan when he was in boot camp, kept.
I sacrificed and loved the drama of it all. No we weren't in a physical war, although the Cold War is a war. The Rainbow(International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, a Masonic organization) ritual has a part named Patriotism. I filled in for Lakeview Assembly that summer for initiation, memorizing that part. How appropriate, I felt.
Spring musings I guess today is. Rabbit paths all over the place and like a beagle slightly distracted by another dog and his owners, I hope tomorrow to get back and stay on some path.

How's Your Picture?

My picture for the year is the Lion of courage. I took it of a new sculpture in Buhl Farm Park. I inventoried 2013 so far. How is my lion looking in spring, almost six months into the year? I ventured into a new path of nursing, leaving the roadways to be in a more tactile leadership role. I guess that took a lot of guts to leave the familiar of twenty years.
I'm about to launch my publishing career. The idea scares me. I know I have a good product, but all the technicalities, the financial issues, the sitting down to get it all together try to fell me. That lion roars to tell me I can do this.
I read somewhere, God doesn't give us strength, He is our strength. Jesus is my righteousness. I can do nothing to earn that. Jesus did it all. So, does God give me courage or is He my courage? I know for sure, I need His courage because mine may be foolish, rush ahead, stupidity.
I dig for that courage as I put forth my point of view. It is becoming more unpopular to stand up for a cause if it is different from the politically correct. Funny how abortion is a woman's reproductive rights, but the abortions of girl babies in India and China is a human rights issue. And now, I observe only gays are the salt of the earth. We can't even say what they do is wrong. They are applauded. Even when I write a reasonable explanation, I am called many names, as well as ignorant. I am not surprised by this backlash from people standing for tolerance, as long as it is tolerance for their ideas, only. The marketplace of free ideas is now a dead end place.
I think sometimes, I shouldn't say anything about these topics. Will it affect my novel sales? I strive to be a strong woman. Do I have to bow to popular beliefs? Why is no compromise OK for some, but not for me? Do I have the courage to stand? If I can't write about my beliefs or speak my mind in love, what is my life worth? What kind of strong woman am I?
I saw a picture about Susan B. Anthony. The feminists made her an idol till they found out she was pro-life. Bob Casey, Sr., former governor of Pennsylvania, excluded from speaking at the Democratic Convention because of his pro-life views is another case of silencing opposing ideas. I suppose if I lose followers, I am in good company. Courage in spring, when young men go to war. I must be true to myself. I only ask that people think for themselves. I listen to both views, I have chosen a path less traveled by and that has made all the difference.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Somewhat Wordless Saturday

I'm definitely having time management issues. Today I have a Mother's Day tea at our church. Suddenly, I have no time to write, before a much needed shower. I'm sharing pictures from yesterday and will write later on my picture of the year and the meaning of a lion in spring.

Enjoy a spring day in Sharon, Pennsylvania.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Time Slipping

I'm having one of those days with so much creativity bursting out from me, but to sit and write is difficult. Time is fleeing from me, as the hour approaches to shower for afternoon turn. Some days I feel everything is against time. Best plans, time management don't stand up to my people loving traits.
I took pictures today on my walk, I need to download so I  can get some prom pictures later. I see many on our stroll. The song:
 Make new friends, but keep the old, 
one is silver and the other's gold. 
The circle's large, it has no end. 
That's how long I want to be your friend.
Plays on my lips. I still have a hard time remembering the Brownie Smile song, but that big old Brownie smile graces my life.
I run into Loraine, who always has dog biscuits for the dogs that walk the park. Harrison will never let me pass her by. Then we meet Virginia and the ladies, Maggie and Abby, her dogs. Oh, I realized the new one, Mikey, wasn't with them. We stop briefly for a blond princess ballerina to pet Harrison. She is having a delightful day with her grandma in her sparkling pink hat and tutu.
I want to do so much more. I weep at the time slipping. I am glad it is Friday.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Prom Photos

 Many asked or commented on my prom pictures I posted yesterday. The girl in the white was not me. My sisters are thirteen months apart in age and I am younger than my siblings. Being four in the age of innocence, I spent the hot spring day playing outside all day while the sisters prepared for prom.
My father joked often that I could hear the camera click- when cameras clicked. The time for coming in for supper had most likely arrived. I appeared, fascinated by the transformation of my sisters, the first prom for both of them. I rushed to stand beside these princesses, quickly my brother and grandpa held me back. Dad snapped these photos of me. Uncleaned, but always ready for the camera. Grandpa must have been there to watch me, while my parents snapped pictures at Grand March at the high school.
Dan and Glen States, a few years later were the subject for next photos, 1968. Dad must have been working afternoon turn. Mom took these prom pictures. I had calmed down by the time I was seven. I fascinated over Dan's date's silver sparkly shoes. She was not a girlfriend and didn't fawn over me. The ice princess could have been her role. At seven, princesses continued to enthrall me.
Last year I wrote about Mary Ellen's junior prom, my first as a mother.
Prom season is upon us. Spring is fleeting, the flowers fade, but I love the promise of spring. This year, prom is anticlimactic. I work afternoon turn. We are keeping it low key, but can't beat the price of one dollar for the dress. Pictures to come after Friday. I'm encouraging Mary Ellen to come to Clepper Manor. A beautiful courtyard graces the grounds. I hope the kids will stop for a moment.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

 Prom over the years...