Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Just another Senior Moment

Some friends and I were comparing “Senior Moments” recently and I told them about the time a few years back when I received my vehicle registration renewal form. I was surprised to see the words “NO Inspection Required” written in red under the due date. I thought that was odd but then I figured that maybe North Carolina was instituting a new 2 year inspection thing and I was happy to save that part of the cost at least.

I decided to pay the fee on line but it kept kicking me out and finally, in frustration, I headed to the local DMV office.
When I finally got to see a clerk I handed the paper to her while explaining that I had no idea why I hadn’t been able to pay the fee on line. She answered that she could no nothing for me until I had the vehicle inspected. Well, you can imagine how I jumped on that …pointing her to the “NO Inspection Required” line written in red on the form.

She didn’t even bother to answer that. She just gave me that look that young people have when dealing with seniors. Then she took her pen and circled the words in red and dismissed me with the words …“Come back after the car’s been inspected”.

I was confused, as you can imagine, and when I got to my car I decided to take another look …this time with my glasses on. Oh, no. Very clearly in red it was written: “
NC Inspection Required”

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Olana estate of Frederic Church

Frederic Church (1826-1900), one of America’s premier landscape painters, made his home on 250 acres of prime land in Columbia County, NY, overlooking the Hudson River. It is a short distance from where my daughter and her husband live and is a favorite place for us to visit when I am with them. I'm sure it will become my niece Wendy's "go to" place also since she just moved to the area.

Church was greatly impressed by the Moorish architecture that he saw in Middle Eastern cities like Beirut and Jerusalem and he styled his estate to replicate his Persian fantasy. Even the name of the home, OLANA, is Persian.

Today OLANA is a New York State Historic Site. Luckily, with the help of the Olana Preservation, most of the furnishings have been preserved exactly as they were when Church was alive. The contents are an eclectic gathering of furniture, tapestries, rugs, bronzes, paintings and sculpture,  collected over a 30 year period and are representative of his many interests. The color scheme, the stenciling and the mosaic creations were all designed by Frederic Church. He even had furniture made to his design.

Frederic Church was a student of Thomas Cole, widely regarded as the first exponent of the Hudson River School of painting. He then went on to become one of the best known landscape painters in America. His home at OLANA offers magnificent sweeping vistas of the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson River and the Taconic Hills and he preserved these views in his paintings.

Even when OLANA isn’t open for viewing it is a treat to visit. We’ve done that in all seasons and find that wandering the picturesque grounds is just like being part of a masterpiece as grand as a Frederic Church painting.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

We are not born as RACISTS.

You've got to be taught to hate and fear. You've got to be taught from year to year,
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear. You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid of people whose eyes are oddly made,
and people whose skin is a different shade. You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late, before you are six or seven or eight,
to hate all the people your relatives hate. You've got to be carefully taught,” *

* lyrics from the 1949 musical “South Pacific” by Rodgers & Hammerstein

Monday, July 15, 2019

"My Halcyon Years" ... a book

… and did I read this book?   No, actually I wrote it and I'm thrilled to say that it is finally finished and for sale on Amazon.  The definition of the word HALCYON ("a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy") aptly describes the book and my big smile on the cover reinforces it.

February of 1943 was a pivotal time for  me.  I was the youngest of five girls living in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts (a suburb of Boston) and my 10th birthday  was fast approaching.  Our country was deep into WWII by then but I was too young to truly understand what that entailed.  For me it was mainly a time of great drama so when my father asked me if I has a special wish for my big day I had a ready answer.  "Dad," I  said, "I want a British sailor" and that's exactly  what I got and where my story begins.  Little did I know how exciting the next 20 years would be.

I lived it.  I loved it and I hope you will enjoy reliving it with me.  This is just a partial list of all the star studded people, situations and career choices that fill the pages of "My Halcyon Years" …

WWII (visions from the home front),  Sylvia Plath (my High School class mate), Benny Goodman,
Margaret Bourke-White,  John F. Kennedy,   Howard Cossell,   Gregory Peck,    John Entwistle,
KEY-T TV,  Santa Barbara, Ca.,  WABC Radio,  New York,  NY.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A walk back in time …

The last thing that Matt and I expected to see on our trip home from Beaufort, South Carolina was the ruins of a burned out church. We were traveling along a lovely tree lined road where the trees were dripping with Spanish Moss and we almost missed it. At first glance it looked like the sort of Italian ruins that you would see in Rome.

When we stopped and walked inside it was like turning back the pages of history. This was the remains of the red-brick Sheldon Church, built in 1757.

It was burned by General Augustine Prevost's British troops in May 1779, less than 25 years after it was built. It was then rebuilt in 1826 and given the name of Sheldon Church of Prince William's Parish. 40 years later, in 1865, Sherman's 15th corps under General John Logan once more burned the church to the ground. This was considered as part of Sherman's march to the sea.

As I strolled the grounds I could hardly believe that this place had once been the scene of such devastation. Now it is a peaceful tourist spot but it‘s also a reminder of the futility of war and man’s pursuit of it. 

Saturday, July 06, 2019


For years I've watched the 4th of July Washington, DC festivities on C-Span. I've always been impressed. Patriotism was always front and center but the music and the speeches were simple. They were like down-home examples of the unity and love that was being expressed in millions of towns across the country. We were truly celebrating America's Independence Day.

Fast forward to this year's tacky show of grandeur and military strength. Who would ever have believed that we would see a stage setting constructed in front of the Lincoln Memorial and grandstands occupied by invited ticket holders that consisted of Trump VIPs, followers and donors to his campaign? It was ludicrous as was his long and tiresome teleprompter reading.

And the big question is … WHAT IS THE COST FOR ALL THIS ? .
.. and just how long are we going to allow it to happen? In all my 86 years I have never seen anything to top what Donald Trump is doing to our beloved country. I have a feeling that our real shock will come after he's left the White House … when we the people get the bill !

Monday, July 01, 2019

A blogger friends “Stand Uppity Garden”

I can't believe that it's been 7 years since I traveled to Virginia to meet and enjoy the weekend with my blogger friend Possum of “My Little Corner of the World”. What a delight it was and look at the lovely garden that welcomed me. 

Not only is it gorgeous but it is a testament to her spirit and creativity. She was in a severe auto accident back in the 70’s and was told that she would never walk again but she would not accept that verdict. Now she does walk on her own two feet but it isn't easy. Her great love is gardening but bending over or sitting on the ground, or even on a low stool, is almost impossible for her so, with the help of some friends, she built her first “Stand Uppity Garden” (as she calls it) in 2009. However they didn’t use treated wood as it would have affected the produce so it did not stand the test of time.
She still loved the idea though and when she found Smart Pots her problem was solved. She mightily improved her idea of a standing high garden by using their 100 gallon Big Bag Bed.
They come in a variety of sizes and can be used for any and all of the projects in her amazing garden. The largest bag opens to a diameter of 4 feet and holds as much potting soil as a 4x4 garden. It is extremely sturdy and she can make as many “uppity” gardens as she wants by just putting a Big Bag Bed on top of a sturdy base.

And the smaller bags? They come with the complete endorsement of the many cats who roam and relax in this outdoor paradise !