Thursday, December 29, 2011


( Some of you will note that I’ve already posted this once; but since it so aptly expresses my hopes for the New Year I’ve decided to repeat it here …)

"Knock, knock”…. “Who’s there?”… “Apple”…. “Apple Who?”

“Knock, knock”…. “Who’s there?”… “Apple”…. “Apple Who?”

“Knock, knock”…. “Who’s there?”… “Orange”…. “Orange Who?”

“Orange you glad I didn’t say Apple again?


Now, that’s about as simple as it gets! But just look at the joy that it gives to this happy little girl. She revels in the fact that she’s been so clever and howls with delight.

The older I get the more I wish I could go back to that time of my life. I’ve just about had it with this crazy world of ours, where greed reigns supreme. I can’t imagine growing up in this atmosphere.

I know that I can’t change the world but I can certainly try to improve my small part in it so I’ve decided to cut out all the “stuff” that has been running my life...all those extras that I thought I couldn‘t live without. I find it very liberating. The more I cut back, the greater freedom I feel ... an exhilarating experience.

So, here’s the plan for me from now on live simply and to take each day as it comes. To share what I have with others and, above all, to be thankful for what I have.

Oh, yes… and to keep on being silly… “Knock, knock” ... “Who’s there? ... “Repeat” ...“Repeat who?” ... “Who, who, who.”

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Another amazing gift … and it goes full cycle !

On my last trip North I visited with my sister Peg who is in a nice nursing center on Cape Cod. In the evenings her husband and I had time to do some reminiscing and he happened to mention the HUGE collection of shells that he had stored in the basement.

The shells were ones that my mother had collected over the years and most were labeled with the name of the shell and the place and date that it came from ! He said he hated to get rid of them but that his family had taken their favorites and they were just taking up room and would I be interested in them?

I have a dear friend here in North Carolina who does amazing things with shells and I decided to bring them home to her. I did just that but only after I took some for myself and my three children did the same.

Now, fast forward to the present … and a wonderful “present” it was when my friend gave me these adorable hanging ornaments that she made using two of the shells. She chose ones that had been labeled by my mother and it is so special to see her handwriting.

When I sent this picture to my brother-in-law (who gave me the shells) he emailed back that he’d love one to give to his wife in the nursing home. “She will love it”, he said and I know that she will. I can just see it hanging on the bulletin board in her room and it will be a wonderful remembrance of our mother and her love of collecting.

Just another example of the joys of recycling.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


All of my friends know that I am a big supporter of KIVA, the organization that gives micro loans to budding entrepreneurs all over the world. So, I was thrilled, but not surprised, when I received this great gift.

It is (as you can read) a donation to World Vision and is a share in buying two oxen and a plow for a needy family. My friend, (whose husband is a career officer in the Special Forces and has recently returned from Afghanistan) knows the cumulative value of giving donations to those less fortunate.

I had not heard of World Vision but, knowing my friend as I do, I am sure that she checked out the legitimacy of the organization before making it her choice. I find that it is a Christian relief organization and is one of the largest in the world. They operate in more than 90 countries and have been active since 1977. “Right now, around the world, they are working in partnership with more than 100 million people in their struggle against poverty, hunger and injustice, irrespective of their religious beliefs.”

I may be naïve; but I think it would be a different world if we all gave in the same manner.


Sunday, December 18, 2011


When my father died in 1960 my sister Barbara inherited his large stamp collection. As I mentioned in an earlier post Dad had collected stamps since he was a boy and even sold off some valuable ones during the depression in the 30’s.

Among his collection was a box of Christmas stamps dating back to the early 20th century. About 10 years ago Barbara sorted through the box and found that there were many duplicates. She decided to make use of them and very creatively designed the plate that you see here. Barbara started with a clear glass plate, glued the stamps to the bottom of the plate and then covered it all with red felt. It was her Christmas gift to me that year.

Actually the idea of Christmas seals was not original to the United States. It started in Denmark but became a national program here in 1908. The seals were sold at post offices for a penny each and the proceeds went to the Red Cross and the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis.

The Red Cross withdrew from the arrangement in 1920 and from then on it was conducted exclusively for TB. President Roosevelt, who suffered from Polio, endorsed the campaign in 1936 and it took off from there. Today, since TB has become curable, the Christmas seals benefit the American Lung Association and other lung related issues

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


My choice for nightly news is ABC and I love the fact that they’ve taken up the cause of “Buying in America”. I even had the perfect chance to do so recently. My son asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I told him “a set of bath towels to match my newly painted bathroom”.

Right after I’d told him that it occurred to me that I hadn’t designated the “made in America” type. I rushed to the internet and googled what I wanted and it gave me quite a few choices. I chose the 1888 Mills brand that I picture above. The “yellow chiffon” color will be perfect and I emailed the info to my son post haste.

One of the many stories that ABC related was about a college student who decided (after watching their series) to decorate her new dorm room with only articles made in America. She turned first to the catalog that her college put out promoting everything from furniture to linens to books, and she found that none of them were made here. When the ABC team pointed this out to the powers that be at the college they were stunned, as were the curators at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington when it was proved that none of the items in their gift shop were made in America !

Our young student stuck to her guns and, with the help of her friends and her parents, she was able to decorate her entire room with “Made in America” items. So often you hear the excuse that it costs much more to do so; but they compared her bill to what she would have paid for comparable items and found a difference of just a few dollars and most of her things were of a better quality.

The other fact that thrilled me was that jobs are being created because so many people are jumping on the bandwagon and companies are expanding. So, now I’m a believer. How about you?

(PS: The Smithsonian now has a gift shop with ONLY made in America objects !)

Friday, December 09, 2011

HARRY MORGAN … 1915 - Dec. 7, 2011

Somehow it seems fitting that Harry Morgan died on Dec. 7th. Although “Mash” was set in the Korean War (not Pearl Harbor) his portrayal of the beloved Colonel Sherman Potter was the epitome of the best that a serviceman can be in wartime.

I remember him too as the sidekick of Jack Webb in “Dragnet”. That was a favorite of my husbands and mine in the late 60’s.

When I heard the news that he’d died I was surprised at how much it affected me… I guess it seemed like he would be with us forever. As a good friend wrote to me, “I think we can both feel a sense of loss for a wonderful actor … someone who was a part of our life.”

But then I read that he’d had a full and varied life for 96 years and I realized, instead of grieving, that I should celebrate that. I think if I am honest what I was really feeling was an awareness that as I grow older the losses will become more frequent.

So, thank you, Harry, for all the countless hours of entertainment that you’ve given to me and to others and for making me aware that I need to treasure every hour of every day that is left !

Monday, December 05, 2011


Some people will see nothing more than a battered old cookbook; but I see my mother sitting at the kitchen table, leafing through the pages to see what she’ll cook for us that day. She loved and relied on this book and I don’t think it ever let her down.

It is the Lily Wallace “New AMERICAN COOK BOOK” and the

original color was this bright blue. There’s a notation she made on pg 279 next to Deviled Salmon that reads: “good. July 20, ‘44”. That makes me think that she probably got the book brand new as a gift. I would have been 11 years old then and can actually remember how much my sister Peggy and I loved making cakes and other desserts. I’m sure the recipes came from this book.

I have no idea when Mother put a new cover on the book but it was probably sometime in the ‘50s. She was still living on her own in the early ‘80s and it was then that she passed the book on to me.

Here are a few of the recipes that I’m sure I’ll never try … and will probably never see in another cookbook: Shrimp Shriggle, Fried Tripe, Pigs’ Feet a la Russe, Fried sauerkraut and Beef & kidney pie with spaghetti. However, the recipe for Yorkshire Pudding is the best I’ve ever found and I use it often on holidays.

It’s so easy to run to the computer when I want to know how to cook something … but it can’t compare to the warm feeling that I get every time I open the pages of my very old “New American Cookbook”.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


I don’t watch much TV and carry just the basic cable in order to see the latest news and, of course, JEOPARDY ! So, when I was recently in a place that offered over 20 stations I decided to see what I’d been missing. Now I’m happier than ever that I don’t waste my time and money on the garbage that is clogging the airways.

I specifically recall an interview with a man named Simon Cowell. He was taking us on a camera tour of his $12 million-dollar home in Beverly Hills. I’d never heard of the man and gathered, from his attitude, that he would be shocked to know that there was one person alive who actually didn't know his name. When asked how it felt to live in that grandiose house he grinned and said, “I’m just living the American dream”. I wanted to reach into the screen and choke him.

To my way of thinking he epitomizes the ego and greed that is rampant world-wide nowadays… “give me more, more and more and to Hell with those left in my wake.”

On a happier note I heard Hugh Jackman interviewed too and was uplifted to hear that he’s created a charity coffee shop in New York which will raise money for good causes. He said he’d been greatly influenced by Paul Newman and wanted to emulate him. (The “Newman’s Own” brands have yielded almost a quarter of a billion dollars ($250,000,000) for a ton of worthwhile causes and those numbers continue to grow.)

I know that there are others like Jackman and Newman but they are the exception. Just imagine what our world would be like if that elite club of the world’s wealthiest could forego that 2nd yacht or a trip to Abu Dhabi and put the money where it would help someone besides themselves? Now that’s what I’d be happy to call “the American dream.”