Sunday, December 29, 2013


My husband and I married in August of 1958. We looked forward to our first New Year’s eve together but Dick developed some very badly infected sores on his feet and he spent the night in bed with his legs elevated. He felt bad about this and promised that he would make it up to me in the coming years.

New Years eve of 1959 we chose to stay home again, but Dick surprised me by starting a tradition that we kept up for quite a few years. We decided to do our celebrating on the 1st of each year instead of on the evening before and HE WOULD DO THE COOKING !

I was quite touched by this because the kitchen was definitely not his place to shine. He took it as a challenge and, after much deliberation, decided that we would have a noon-time brunch and would include new acquaintances that we had met during the year. We were living in New York City and would often meet people who were new to the area or just passing through. This was a good “ice-breaker” for them & they were happy to be included.

It was an eclectic mix of people so the conversation was lively and we hardly thought about eating. Then Dick announced that he would have brunch ready in 20 minutes and he and a friend retired to the kitchen with the door shut.

The next time they appeared they were carrying two large trays laden with hot rolls, butter and a large bowl of fruit compote. We were told to start in and find a place to sit...that they would bring the rest of the brunch to us individually. I was completely blown away when they did. Each plate that they served contained two perfectly cooked Eggs Benedict and 4 sprigs of asparagus. It was an elegant brunch and I couldn’t have done better.

This was the only cooking that Dick ever did, unless it was an emergency, but it was enough for me. I loved the fact that it was completely his idea and, despite the arrival of new children and new friends, he kept it up for years. It was a wonderful way to welcome in a New Year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Yes, Ginnie, there is a Santa Claus …

OK, so I changed the line and, although Santa seems a little peeved about it, I have good reason. Ginnie is a nickname for Virginia but I use it only on serious stuff like income tax statements and medical papers and that seemed a little glum for this entry.

The picture is of my favorite Santa who may well have been around in 1897 when 8 year old Virginia O’Hanlon sent this letter to the New York “Sun”:

Editor Frank Church answered her letter and it has become the most reprinted
newspaper editorial of all time. The second paragraph is the one that is repeated most often but I love the opening too. Here is a synopsis:

“VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. …

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. …

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! … Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”

Editorial page, The New York SUN, Sept. 21, 1897
Written by: Francis P. Church


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Remember these “gals” ?

They are the Easter Eggers that my daughter and son-in-law have brought South with them for the past 4 years when they come to visit each December…but no more.

Just like me they are now in retirement. They still lay an egg once in awhile but you can’t rely on it and that suits their new owner just fine. She loves chickens but not eggs !!

The “gals” have lucked into a very exclusive retirement community with about 8 other chickens. They are confined in a large fenced in area which is open to the sky but they do have a shed where they have nesting boxes and perches to sleep on.

That “open to the sky” really worried me because I know that hawks prey on small animals and birds but my daughter told me that their new owner had a solution for that. She’s outfitted her ladies with colorful vests with large eyeballs on them:

We think these vests were originally used to protect the chickens from the roosters but it seems to work just as well as a deterrent to hawks. One thing is certain … the chickens sure like to strut around in them !


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lisa in China (Continued)…

Lisa’s latest letter concentrated on their visit to Shanghai. She writes that the Western influence is very apparent in parts of the city with upscale shopping centers and sleek, modern buildings. Happily most of it is not like the tacky “U and Me Café” seen above. Shanghai is a city of great wealth with a very large international presence and unlike Pinghu, where they both teach, it’s easy to find Western food. She and her husband still prefer to stick to the many flavors of China however, since they will only be there for a year and want to immerse themselves in the culture.

With this in mind they visited Old Town and spent a few hours at the Confucious Temple and School. They had a lovely young woman as their guide who spoke good English and enlightened them about the famous and revered scholar, as well as traditions and symbolisms that originated 1000’s of years ago and are still ingrained in the people.


The Old Town is the traditional urban core of Shanghai and originally was defined by a defensive wall. Most of this was demolished in 1912 but the Old City still teems with people. The little alleyways and side streets are filled with Shanghai residents who still live in neighborhoods that reflect the Shanghai of long ago.

That includes these three friends, dressed in modern attire but enjoying the age old tradition of flying kites ! 


Lisa and her husband have 8 more months in China. I miss her but am so glad that she is living this adventure and sharing it with me … so I can pass it along to you !



Monday, December 09, 2013

The Good Olde Daze …


Right !!! Can you imagine an ad like this today ?

This next one reminds me of the great one-liner in the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. It’s when the elderly gentleman is trying to be polite to a female companion and invites her for tea. She thinks he is attracted to her and finally out of frustration he says, “I need to tell you that I am gay”. She looks absolutely stricken and then says in a barely audible and hesitant voice “You mean …as …in… happy ?

Then there’s this sweet little ad …kiddies and cocaine, what a combination. It was billed as an instantaneous cure in 1885 !

No need for a nap or a day off once in awhile for this busy housewife.  She was happy and content as long as she had Kellog's  Pep !!

And finally we have our friendly family doctor ...the one we all looked up to and relied on for good wholesome advice...


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

My Guardian Angel…

Some of you may remember that I fractured my hip in 2011. I had come home from a trip and was emptying my car when I fell over a rock and landed on the far side of my deck. I was situated where noone could see me and it was starting to get dark.

It must have been 45 minutes that I lay there, calling out for help at regular intervals. Finally I heard a small voice saying “is someone in need of help” and I yelled as loud as I could “Yes!” It was Felicia, the sweet lady in the picture. She had decided to walk down to the store instead of drive because it was such a nice night and that was very lucky for me.

She called 911 and they were there within minutes. One of the strange things was that the first thing I did when I got home was to call my two sons and let them know I was home safe and sound. It was a long trip and they were happy to hear from me. Imagine how they felt when the next call was from the police telling them I was on the way to the hospital.

But, back to Felicia.. We have remained friends and she visits off and on with her adorable baby girl.


Don’t you love her mode of travel?  Felicia says it’s much easier than carrying her little girl and she gets her exercise too. Words can’t express how thankful I was to see that lovely face as I lay there helpless. She truly is my guardian angel.