Sunday, May 29, 2011


How do you like my cornfield? I decided on a whim to plant some corn since I was given the 4 seedlings that you see here. They were about 12 inches high. I planted them in a sunny spot about 3 weeks ago and look at them now ... strong and healthy and topping the 3 foot mark.

The funny part is that I have no idea what variety of corn this is. I also have no idea how high the stalks will grow and if I will actually be able to harvest an ear or two. I love fresh corn and would get a big kick out of eating from my own crop!

I just hope that the deer will not notice my 4 little stalks. Surely they wouldn’t deprive a nice old widow woman like me of her small crop ... or would they???

I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NOT LOST ... just hidden

This was my husband’s workshop and I have just recently repainted it and tried to spark it up a bit. The original structure burned to the ground in 1985 and this is the replacement.

While working on the building I remembered that Dick, my husband, had a concrete pad poured and while it was still wet he had scribbled the title of a poem ("Know Your Mess") that our oldest son had composed for him in 1983 … and the date of the pouring. I was sure of this but for the life of me I couldn’t find it on the pad.

Dick died in 1990 and the barn and the concrete have taken a lot of wear and tear since then. I was very disappointed but figured that his writing had worn away as well. Then I remembered the old technique of dry-brushing over the concrete to see if it would show up … AND IT DID

I can’t tell you how much this means to me. Here’s the poem:

“Know Your Mess”

“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.”

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wedding bells were ringing …

… not only for the royal couple !

Two young friends of mine took the “big step” recently too, and (although their wedding held few similarities with the big event in London) I have to admit that the idea to paint a commemorative tray for them came from seeing the ones being sold in honor of Prince William and Kate.

Richard and Kelly’s wedding was held outdoors and over 200 well-wishers were there to celebrate. It was a glorious occasion and will be long remembered by all those who attended.

My little tray was nothing like the elaborate ones that were made for the royal couple … no gold edging for instance … but it was made to serve the same purpose … just a small remembrance of the glorious day when my two friends become as one.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Recently I decided to try out this easy plan for reducing stress. You simply settle back in the most comfortable position of your choice, close your eyes and start counting slowly ... the whole time visualizing your stresses taking wing.

I do as instructed and start counting ... ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR ... I barely make it to FIVE before I see my auto insurance payment sprouting wings and drifting away.

“Wow, this is really working” I think. SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT ... and suddenly I’m taking flight. I can’t see my own wings, of course, but I trust that they have sprouted. I feel myself lifting high and I float with ease and complete serenity. I wonder where I am but it doesn’t really matter. I am stress free and it’s an amazing feeling.

I continue to count ... THREE HUNDRED AND TWO, THREE HUNDRED AND THREE .. and I find that the fog seems to be lifting and I am gently settling back to earth. But, wait, this is not earth that I touch but a sort of heavy wood.

I'm on a ship and if I’m not mistaken I’m “walking the plank”! I try desperately to stop counting. I can see the water roiling below me but I can’t stop the count. I’m up to THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY and a great weight is pushing me off the edge.

As I plunge to my death I wonder what happened to my wings. I hit the water and realize that nothing can save me now. I can’t swim and I’m taking on water fast. I can’t remember a more stressful time but I keep on counting … FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHT…FOUR HUNDRED AND NINE …

Suddenly, with a jolt, I awake and find that I am back in my own room. I breathe a huge sigh of relief. I’m alive and the stresses of my live seem mediocre at best.
“I can handle those”, I say to myself… ”THIS COUNTING THING REALLY WORKS !”

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Una memoria squisita…(a sweet memory)

I’ve been doing some Spring cleaning and while re-organizing a closet I came across this large carry-all bag. It was from the San Lorenzo street market in Florence, Italy and it brings back the memory of a very special day.

I remember it so clearly. I was spending a month in Italy with my good friend Douglas and we’d decided to take a break from each other and to go our own way for the day. I decided to wander the streets and I soon found myself at the famous San Lorenzo street market.

This is a seemingly endless conglomeration of souvenir carts and stalls, most of them under colorful tents, with sellers hawking their wares. They literally bombard the buyer and I was not in the mood for this so when I saw a group of shoppers enter
a large building I decided to follow them.

With surprise and delight I realized that I had found my way to the famous indoor Mercato Centrale food market. It is, basically, a huge, two floor, open expanse, with hundreds of individual stands displaying fresh foods as works of art.

The main floor is devoted to meat, cheeses and dry goods but it was the upstairs that took my breath away. This area consists solely of fresh fruits and vegetables…a cornucopia of colors, shapes and sizes for the shoppers consideration.

It was a delight to watch the local women bargain for their daily groceries. The good natured bantering was carried on with lots of laughter and many hand gestures and they included me in on the fun.

I’ve never before or since had such a delightful time in a market and I remember coming away from the market not only with a bog of dried apricots … (the most delicious ones I’ve ever eaten) but with a whole new outlook on grocery shopping.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My friend FILIPPO...the “mad” Scientist/Inventor

“Rumors of my demise were grossly exaggerated”, the young man stated as he caught me in an effusive bear hug. This was my introduction to Filippo, my husband’s eccentric best friend and ex-roommate

The year was 1958 and we were all living in New York City but Filippo had been “missing in action”. He was a scientist/inventor and spent a lot of time out of town researching his projects. I was glad to finally meet him. Now I could put a face to the name that my husband spoke of so frequently.

Filippo was small in stature but his dramatic flair made him a daunting personage. He had been born and bred in NY City and was the prototype of the Italian male with sparkling eyes, a thin pencil mustache and a small, pointed goatee.

One of his passions was the stock market and, shortly after we were married, we received a frantic call from him. He was “out in the hinterlands” and couldn’t get his hands on a “NY Times”. He asked Dick if he could read off the NYSE results for the day.

I started to hand the paper to Dick but he shook his head at me and went on to give Filippo a list of the reasons why this would be extremely inconvenient...not the least being the fact that he would have to get dressed and go downtown to get the paper! After some further haggling Filippo agreed to buy us each a steak dinner upon his next trip home in return for Dick getting the paper and reading the results to him. He said he’d call back within the hour.

After he hung up the phone I reminded Dick that we had the paper but he just laughed and said, “Oh, I know’s just something we do”. It was more like 3 hours by the time that Filippo rang back and when he did I was amazed to hear Dick say; “Well, Chappie, I have bad news. You know that our dog is paper trained and it took you so long to get back to us that I had no choice but to use that paper for Tiger. She’s sitting on it right now, as a matter of fact.”

Then he sat back with a big grin and held the phone away from his ear. I could hear Filippo fuming and fussing on the other end and every once in awhile Dick would throw in a sympathetic “Uh, huh” until I finally heard an exasperated sigh and Filippo caved in. “O.k., o.k….I give up“ he said, “ Get your d__n dog off the paper and I’ll buy her a steak dinner too !”

This was just the start of a lifetime filled with good-natured bantering between Dick and Filippo and, although Dick has been gone since 1990, Filippo and his wife Mary have remained good friends. They drove down from New York just a few weeks ago for a three day visit and it was wonderful to renew old times.

Being 82 hasn’t slowed him down a bit !!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Training Maneuvers … Pope Air force Base at Ft. Bragg

It was July of 1978 that we heard, and FELT, the first blast ! We, my husband and I, could not imagine what was happening. Even the windows were shaking and the BOOMS seem to get louder as the minutes went by.

Little did we know, when we moved to North Carolina, that we would be so close to Ft. Bragg where the army conducts training operations and maneuvers. We were to learn that this is an on-going thing here and that the guerilla training is the final exercise before Special Forces students graduate and receive their assignments.

After almost 33 years here you would think I would get used to the sounds but it is still enough to jar me awake at night and is a constant reminder that war is never far away.

My most vivid memory having to do with these test maneuvers was also in 1978. In those days Ft. Bragg was much less restricted than it is now and you could actually drive from our house straight through the base as a short cut to the center of Fayetteville.

That is exactly what my husband and I had done one afternoon and we were returning home around 9:30 at night. We had just left the Ft. Bragg compound and were proceeding on a stretch of road that was part of the Pope Air Force base. It was very dark and deserted.

All of a sudden we heard popping sounds and we stopped the car to see what it was. We watched in amazement as thousands of flares lit up the sky and we could make out low flying troop planes with their hatch doors opening wide. Then, as if on cue, the paratroopers all jumped at once.

The sky was teeming with tiny floating figures held aloft by their parachutes and slowly making their way toward the ground. Our vantage point didn’t allow us to see them actually make a landing but we did see two of the fellows get caught in tree branches.

We never could figure out why they lit up the sky so the men could see what they were jumping into instead of just practicing during daylight? But I’m glad they did. It was a surreal scene and one I will never forget.

Monday, May 02, 2011


For some reason I’ve become enthralled with hubcaps. It all began with my last car. This was a pre-owned Acura that had wintered in Massachusetts and the wear and tear really showed on the hubcaps. I figured this was no big deal and that I would just replace them ... but, little did I know how pricey that would be !

Even the little (less than 3”) center cap that I wanted was priced at $30 EACH.

As it turned out it’s a good thing I didn’t waste the money because that’s the car that was totaled. Now I’ve replaced the car and my current hubcaps are in much better shape ... and they even have the little emblem in the center.

So now I’m all set … right ??

Wrong ! I find that my obsession with hubcaps continues even though the need for them is gone.

It’s become a game that I play while I am on the road. I am fascinated with the fact that a round circle could have so many configurations. Just when I think I’ve seem them all, I spot a new design. It’s endless.

I really do need to get a life ...