Saturday, September 27, 2008

The LEE girls ... my sisters and me ... 1958

Well, here we are ... 5 sisters with an age range from 25 to 33. Of course this was taken 50 years ago and our ages have changed accordingly!

We have Mary, the oldest girl, (bottom right) who, at the age of 62 obtained her Masters degree in Social Work (MSW) and worked in that field on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, until her mid 70’s.

Barbara comes next (middle top row). She and her Danish husband turned a small hybrid seed business into one of the largest on the West coast. They traveled extensively and she now lives on the grounds of her son’s thriving winery in California.

The middle child is Nancy (bottom left) who started an antique business with $50 borrowed from her husband back in the 60’s and watched it grow. She is now in a retirement home and her large inventory has yet to be dispersed ... it will be quite an undertaking.

Peg-Leg is my affectionate name for my sister Peggy (top row left). She is the most domestic of all the girls and is still providing a cozy and serene household for her husband of over 53 years. (Actually she provides that in two places, Cape Cod in the summer and Gainesville, Florida in the winter.)

And then there’s me ... top right. Nothing to report here since you know me pretty well if you’ve been following my blog.

Anyway, I found this picture and thought it might be fun to show you how my sisters and I looked 50 years ago. Little did we know then that wrinkles, saggy skin and brown spots would be waiting to claim us in 2008. But, all that aside, I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I live in an area that is famous for golf and anything equestrian. I am neither a golfer or a horse-woman so I kind of live on the fringes... but that doesn’t bother me since I have a variety of friends of all persuasions and we find many other things to interest us.

I was driving home a few days ago on Rt. 1 and passed a large horse farm where I often see horses, riders and their equipment. I think that they perform all types of competition there and it’s not unusual in the least to see hundreds of horses and their owners.

What WAS unusual was to see a horse-drawn hearse! I almost went off the road gawking at it. Sure enough, it was a hearse and the rider (although not the one in the picture) was formally dressed, as were the horses.

Since I didn’t know anyone there I was loathe to stop and get an explanation. There didn’t seem to be a body in the glassed-in box of the hearse...and for that I was grateful !

The more I thought about it I realized that it was probably someone showing off an antique carriage of great value. Perhaps the equestrian group was hosting a show, much like those that I’ve seen for antique cars.

Whatever it was it hearkened back to days gone past and it gave me the creeps!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CONFUSED ??? How about some straight answers !

(The following is not an original by me. However it merits reading. I admit that I am already committed to my choice for President...but, if I were not, this would surely turn the tide!)

“I ' m a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....
* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, different.'

* Grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, a quintessential American story.
* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

* Name your kids Briston, Willow, Piper, Trig, and Track, you're a maverick.
* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.
* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving
on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affair committees, you don 't have any real leadership experience.

* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you’re qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive and next in line behind a man in his eighth decade.
******************************* * If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2
daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and then left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a true Christian.
* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.
* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

* If your husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.
It is much clearer now…”

(PS: 9/19... I just listened to a speech by Palin where she actually said, "Welcome to the Palin/McCain race"....I wonder what John McCain thinks of being relegated to the number two spot?)

Monday, September 15, 2008


My father's workshop, a busy space,
But so many tools out of place.

Tools smeared by oil, others by grease,
Some should be labeled ‘rest in peace’.

Hammers hang longing to drive the spikes.
He leaves us room for broken bikes.

Slew of tiny screws, stack of wood,
Things he might use, things he never would.

My mother, his love, can’t understand
All of these things without a plan.

She brings ‘it’ up and he says “yes”,
But never has time to plan the mess.

He asks for a wrench, I hear of cost,
He always knows when they are lost.

Then he asks me for the pliers,
I think I saw them by the tires.

But he knows just where they are,
He had to look some, none too far.

It takes a man years to know his mess,
Where all his tools lie, more or less.

My father’s work shop, lots of space,
And every tool, he knows it’s place.

Written by our son Mark, age 24, 1983

Thursday, September 11, 2008

SACROSANCT…(adj: “especially or superlatively sacred or inviolable“) WHY ??

I don’t get it. What is sacrosanct about Sarah Palin?

Call me dense but how can the Republicans get away with declaring “hands off” Palin? What makes her any different from all the other politicos running for office?

Here is a woman who could (heaven forbid!) become the actual President of the United States, and yet the press is being asked to treat her with kid gloves. We need, and deserve, a thorough look into all the aspects of her life ... not just the white-wash that is being presented.

You’d better believe that the merest hint of wrong-doing by Obama or Biden would be fair game for the opposition and the same needs to go for Palin.

Ever since Bush was re-elected I’ve lost faith with my fellow voters. How could we (in 2004) possibly choose to continue the preceding 4 years ... but we did, and look where we are now???

It’s pretty obvious that I am not a sophisticated political maven. I am just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill voter (who has been voting for over 55 years) and I intend to make my small voice heard on election day. I pray that there will be many debates between the candidates before that day comes.

I also pray that my fellow voters have matured enough to be able to put aside petty prejudices about race, color and gender. The rest of the world is watching closely ... the least we can do is to insist that the press scrutinize our candidates just as closely.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Recently I listened to a young man lead a discussion on “Spirituality In My Life”. He was released from prison a little over a year ago but he has almost 4 years of living a clean and sober life. This means that he learned about sobriety while still in prison. It made me think of all the selfless members of Alcoholics Anonymous that I know who week after week carry the message to the inmates.

The recovery rate of prisoners is very low. But, then the recovery rate is low for all of us...only one in 10 will stay sober, according to some reports. As another young friend of mine says “I feel sorry for the 9 who don’t make it but I want to be the one who does.”

The AA program is extremely simple...just 12 Steps that, if practiced faithfully, will change a life. It is almost impossible to explain the program to a non-alcoholic so I never try. Everyone has to find their own path and I feel that I’ve finally found mine, and have for more than 19 years. I listened to a nun tell her story once and she had this great line. She said, “If you spot it, you’ve got it!” (If you don’t get that it’s a pretty good bet that you’re not “one of us”).

I looked around the room this morning and marveled. We were a group of perhaps 60 people from every walk of life represented by all colors, races and genders, with an ex-prisoner leading the discussion. Among our audience were 4 doctors, 3 lawyers, a priest, a dog trainer, 4 counselors, 4 or 5 from the nursing profession and a multitude of ordinary workers. It also included a fair amount of retirees (myself being one of them) and some men and women from the seedier side of life who were just starting the journey.

Some people say that AA is a cult and some say it is a religion. Both descriptions are wrong. I am not a religious person but I have found a faith in a Higher Power “of my understanding” in AA. That basically means that I believe there is some sort of power that I can’t define but I know that it is NOT ME.

There are no restrictions to becoming an AA member and the “ONLY requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Espionage … The OSS … World War II … and JULIA !!

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t at all surprised to hear that the feisty Julia Childs was a spy for the US decades before her world wide fame as a chef.

She has always been a favorite of mine. Black and white TV was just coming in around the time that I was in the early 50’s...and I would hurry home after my classes in order to not miss a minute of her TV cooking course.

My favorite show was the day that she made a Lemon Pie and piled on the meringue. She had beaten the egg whites until they were stiff as a board and she’d used a spoon to ease up little white spikes over the entire pie. It looked beautiful and I figured the next step would be to slip the pie in the oven under the broiler to brown the tips of the meringue.

But, oh, no...that was way too tame for Julia. She ignited an acetylene torch and proceeded to wave the flame over the top of the pie until it did, indeed, take on a lovely golden hue. I think it was a great surprise to the staff also because they could be seen in the background looking shocked and backing away from Julia. Of course you could tell that she gloried in their reaction. She loved the dramatic and the bizarre.

The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was the predecessor of the CIA and one of their problems at the beginning of World War II had to do with the German U-boats. Sharks would bump into explosives that were placed underwater, setting them off, and warning the U-boats instead of sinking them.

This was Julia’s first gastronomic feat of note. She and a few others literally “cooked up” a shark repellent that was used to coat the explosives and the problem was solved.

For years I’ve thanked Julia Childs for proving to me that cooking can be fun and exciting. Now I can thank her for her patriotic bent also.