Thursday, January 28, 2010


Some of my long-time blog followers may remember when I first wrote about the buzzards that used to flock to the huge trees that rimmed my property. (“PROGRESS” defeats my TURKEY BUZZARDS” , Nov. 2007)

The trees were part of a 50 acre plot that was bought by a developer and the first thing he did was strip the land of lumber, leaving it bare and ugly. That was in 2007 and it ended my love affair with the buzzards. They simply disappeared from my property because they had no lofty branches to beckon them.

I missed them terribly because I always had the feeling that they were watching over me. As I mentioned before … “I loved to watch them leave their perches in the morning. They would slowly shake themselves awake and then, just as slowly, lift their huge wings and swoop on up and into the air. But they always circled back at least once, as if to say, “We’ll be back. Have a nice day.”

Imagine my delight when I went in to our little town this evening and saw them circling and landing on the water tower. Of course it’s not the same as having them within the distance of my house but at least I know that they are nearby.

I gave them a wave after I took the picture and, if I’m not mistaken, they remembered me. How do I know? They sent that lone buzzard out to dip his wings at me before he settled down with the rest !

Saturday, January 23, 2010

1957 prize winner … “The Relay”

In late 1957 I was working in NY City and it was there that I met my husband-to-be. Richard had just left an interesting stint with “LIFE” magazine. He had been an assistant photographer and, although it was a heady experience, he wanted to get out on his own.

He was launching his own career as a free lancer in the photography field when we met, but I never tired of the stories he told of his 4 years at “LIFE“. He actually took a portrait shot of Margaret Bourke White and she wrote a lovely letter to him stating that it was one of the best portraits of her that had ever been taken. I still have her autobiography but I’m sorry to say that I lost the letter years ago.

I have often wondered what would have happened to Dick’s career (and our life together) had he stayed with “LIFE”. The picture that you see is titled “The Relay” and it was one that he took on assignment for “TIME” magazine. It was shot in Madison Square Garden in late 1956 and it won first prize for the category in the 1957 issue of “PHOTOGRAPHY ANNUAL”.

This should have been the start of an illustrious career but it was cut short by sickness. He was a very brittle Type 1 diabetic and it made it impossible for him to continue in a business that required odd hours and much travel. He died in 1990 at the age of 59.

My daughter and son-in-law have a small gallery of Dick’s photos in their home in New York. They are photos that he had printed and mounted himself and “The Relay” is among them.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Is SKYPING on your “to-do” list ????

Ok, I know I’m one of the last to get caught up on all the new technology that our world has to offer … but this one really floored me.

Here you see my sister and her husband (in Gainesville, Florida) chatting (yes…chatting, as in talking out loud) with their daughter and son-in-law in Alaska ! I’m in the background taking the picture but they could see and hear me too.

My reason for being in Florida was to visit with my sister. She has been bed and wheelchair bound for the past 6 months…thanks to Parkinson’s disease. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was thrilled to see her able to get up on her feet, with the help of a PT girl and her devoted husband. She also retains her sense of humor and is back to emailing and helping me with the answers to crossword puzzles !

But I digress. I was writing about SKYPE. For the very few of you who don’t know… it is a software application that makes it possible to make voice calls over the internet … including video conferences.

As a matter of fact I saw the movie “It’s Complicated” recently and that was the first time that I saw SKYPE in action. There was a hilarious scene where Alec Baldwin’s bare body (not a pretty sight) gets SKYPED to his ex-wife’s boyfriend’s computer. Even explaining that to you is complicated so you can imagine how it applies to the movie.

I still have dial-up service to my computer so I guess it will be a long time before I will get SKYPE for myself. That just may be a good thing !

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

NAMASTE …“The light within”

The first time that I became aware of the word NAMASTE and learned of it’s significance was when my friend Douglas and I visited a dear friend who was married to an Indian man named Praveen.

She is American by birth but spent 8 years living in India when she and her husband first married. Although the bulk of their married life had been in the United States they still retained their Indian way of life. I had gotten to know her very well and was used to taking my shoes off whenever I was at her house. I had also enjoyed many an evening sampling delicious Indian fare and learning how to eat “Indian style”.

However, when I visited with Douglas I was intrigued to see that both he and our host, Praveen, put their hands together, made a small bow to each other and murmured “namaste”. When we were alone I asked Douglas about it and he said it is a salutation used in the Hindu religion. Evidently it can mean many things but to Douglas it meant “I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me”.

Now both Douglas and Praveen have passed on but every time I see a person using the namaste greeting it reminds me of them. The four of us (Douglas and I and Praveen and his wife) shared many hours together and even a weekend trip once.

It was just one more example of how life’s experiences have taught me that we are all so different … but, at the core we are all the same.

Friday, January 08, 2010


For the last three years my daughter and her husband have closed down their antique barn in New York in the brutal winter months and have come south to stay with me until April.

The first year they arrived with their dog Wren. Then last year they had adopted a small dog named Bella and, of course, she had to come too.

This year was a bit of a quandary because they’d added 4 chickens to their household and it would be unthinkable to leave them behind. Soooooo … what does a kindly mother & mother-in-law do? She has a chicken coop added to the back of her house and gives it to them as a Christmas gift !

Now the whole family is happily ensconced at my house. Here you see my daughter and my son Mark’s child Faye giving them their daily feed.

These beautiful ladies pay us back by giving us four eggs each day and who could ask for more than that? My only concern is, “what will happen next year ?”

The answer, of course, is for them to move the whole “kit ‘n kaboodle” down permanently and we’re working on that !!

Monday, January 04, 2010


I’ve always been enamored of these sweet bugs. They look, to me, like little old ladies dressed in their Sunday best. They are fun to watch as they scurry along on our vegetable and flower stems outside. They are a great boon to gardeners too as they help rid them of aphids and spider mites.

This year, however, I have a problem ! I been inundated with Lady Bugs INDOORS. Why have they suddenly appeared? Where did they come from and do they present any health problems for me?

Having none of the answers to these questions I turned to the Internet and here’s what I found. Evidently the Lady Bug that we are familiar with is not the beetle that invades our homes. These are an imported species and are the multicolored Asian lady beetle.

These beetles congregate in large numbers during the late fall and cluster on the sides of homes or other buildings. They do not spend their winters under bark or leaf litter like the regular Lady Bugs do.

The Asian lady bugs, once inside the house, hibernate until the warmth lures them out and they begin crawling about. They don’t seem to feed on anything, nor do they damage anything in the home. They also are not carriers of diseases, nor do they sting.
So I guess I have nothing to worry about, and, after all, they will only become pests if I allow them to “bug” me (pardon the pun).