Peace sign


It comes at us from every angle.

Negativity, divisiveness, bigotry, false platitudes, outright lies.
It infects our thoughts, enters into our most intimate conversations.
It affects our neighbors, friends, family.
It is exhausting.
But only if we let it in.
Turn down the noise. Find your own center.
Look inward.
Reach that place of peace that is personal.
A beatitude worth remembering…
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
Posted in Entertainment, Family, Inspiration, News, Politics | Tagged , | 40 Comments

Birth Order. The Follow Up.

big family


According to the comment thread from a year ago, most bloggers/writers are first-born children. It was not even close. My very unscientific results:

First Born – 31.   Middle Child – 4.  Last Born –  3  Clone – 1.


The order in which you arrived in your family might have had influence in your development and your personality.

While this is not hard science and open for debate, these attributes were studied by psychologist and author Dr. Kevin Leman for years before he published The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are in 1982.

To provide a bit of a summary…

First Born: Leaders, Perfectionists, Cautious, Structured, Controlling, Aggressive, Approval-Seekers, especially of those in authority.

Middle Born: People Pleasers, Peacemakers, Diplomatic, Secretive, Rebellious , Diverse in skills, anything that is different from older sibling.

Last Born: Social, Outgoing, Manipulative, Charming, Attention-seeking, Fun-loving, Potential to be financially irresponsible.

There are exceptions that are noteworthy. Gender matters; the first born son and the first born daughter will have similar traits, no matter who else arrives in the family. If there is a time gap of at least 5 years between children, the birth order structure starts over.

Twins function as one unit, adopted children are dependent on the age they were when arriving in the family, and divorce and remarriage present their own unique issues, as Dr. Leman says “blended families don’t blend; they collide.”

And then there is the only child. Without sibling competition, this one has all his parents’ attention and resources, but also all of their expectations.

Only Children: Leaders, Conscientious, Perfectionists, Mature for their age, Diligent, The Super First Borns.

Old Woman in ShoeHis book has undergone several revisions, the latest published in 2009.

His presentation was light-hearted and funny, but the first time I heard Dr. Leman speak to this topic, my jaw dropped.

At least among the 10 siblings that my husband and I share, his theories held up… remarkably, sometimes painfully accurate.

Note: I wonder if I could guess the birth order of my WordPress friends ? Where do the writers tend to fall ??

Posted in Art, Childhood, Education, Entertainment, Family, Humor, News | Tagged , , , , | 141 Comments

Feeding the Enemy

animals food cups peanuts chipmunks eating_wallpaperswa.com_95

We knew he’d been living  in the front yard for a while.

What we didn’t know was that he was munching on the tomatoes, leaving them on the vine.

Then, he got sloppy.

He left seed drippings around the outside of the pots.

Busted. In broad daylight.

Like most of us who grew up with Alvin and those adorable cartoon chipmunks, I was always delighted to see them. Until now.

He was eating them green. By the time we caught him, 10-12 tomatoes were ruined.

We had just come to terms with the rabbits and squirrels in our yard.

But this one was bold. We caught him mid-meal.

We tried blocking the entrance to his abode. He just dug out another hole.

Maybe we could devise a trap, and relocate him to the woods ?

And then, a simple suggestion.

“Maybe they are just hungry…try feeding them something, like peanuts in the shell ? “

It worked. The peanuts rapidly disappeared from a grove of evergreens, and the tomato pilfering ceased.

Such a simple, non-violet approach.

I wish we had thought of it before I picked a few dozen green tomatoes, to ripen indoors, just in case.

There’s always a new lesson to be learned. We’ll know better next year.

Posted in Family, Food, Gardening, Nature, News | Tagged , , , | 107 Comments



I have spent a lifetime with earth tones, in other words, the color of dirt.

Neutral colors are appealing to the vast majority of potential buyers, or so we have been advised for decades by folks in real estate.

Over and over again.

By definition:

“Earth tone is a color scheme that draws from a color palette of browns, tans, warm grays, and greens. The colors in an earth tone scheme are muted and flat in an emulation of the natural colors found in dirt, moss, trees and rocks.”

Tans, taupe, browns, beige, white have dominated in floors, walls, furniture, carpet, etc. I could dress it up with varying colors of pillows, throws, afghans, accent rugs, wall decor.

But when you strip it all down, it is still the color of soil.

It has always worked well for the husband, who is a basic brown, hardwood and leather kind of guy.

It was hard for my daughter, who has always been an artist, and wanted more color. When she moved into her first home, she went with teal, yellows, blue, grey, gold, etc.

It is glorious, I am so impressed. And she finally has her color palette.


Too much ?

In the past decade, I am drawn to red. Especially in the kitchen and family room.

It might be connected to change of life issues, or maybe I’ve just stopped caring about potential buyers.

One thing they say about white/neutral tones is that it takes longer to tire of them.

Not sure that is true for me.

If I’m gone for a few days this week, it might be that I’m painting our bedroom.

Maybe purple, yellow, or blue ? Anything but white.

***** Post inspired by Erika’s new blog look, which features a neutral background, and is so easy on the eyes.

All New!!!





Posted in Art, Beauty, Entertainment, Family, Home | Tagged , , , , | 62 Comments


 “I ran to Minneapolis, where it’s cold, and I figured I’d keep better.”


Valerie Harper as Rhoda.

Rhoda Morgenstern

A simple quote from an older sitcom that speaks to me today.

I hate the heat.

We are stuck in the summer soup that is heat and humidity.

For years, the goal was to move away from the Northeast U.S. weather, retire to someplace warm.SummerHeat

A place without harsh winters. A place without snow.

We had a 4 year stint in South Carolina. On our house-hunting trip, we commented to the realtor that there were no visible children in this community.

We quickly learned…they “summer” indoors. They don’t emerge voluntarily until about October.

There was no real Autumn, the brown leaves fell a little bit at a time. I missed Autumn.

Flowers bloomed all year long. While lovely, it always denied us the anticipation of a welcome Spring.

There was no snow. The first year there, we wore shorts to cut down our Christmas tree.   There was something so very wrong about that.


A snowy reminder.

So we ended up back in our home state of Pennsylvania.

The year we arrived here, there was a blizzard, almost 40 inches of snow in 2 days.

My kids were elated. The neighbors blamed us.

Now, we are free to go anywhere.

There are still some family obligations that are keeping us grounded here, but there is so much more to it than that.

I think we just might stay. Or move even further north.

And no one is more surprised than me.

Posted in Beauty, Entertainment, Family, Nature, News, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 87 Comments

Poke Salad ?

My plans for a busy day were ruined the moment I downloaded Linda’s new book.

It was much anticipated, maybe from the moment I met her in person last summer.Poke

She and her mother have a gift for telling a story.

And it shows.

They took me back to a time and place that made me understand a lot more about my own family, and how they survived the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

They did it with love, devotion to family, tremendous sacrifice, hard work and most of all, a sense of humor.

Thank you for proving that it is possible to put that storytelling tradition in words on a page.

And thank you for ruining my plans of yesterday.

It was a delight.

**The book is now available in Kindle. I didn’t want to wait for the paperback.

Her blog :


Posted in Art, Books, Entertainment, Family, Food, Humor, Writing | Tagged , , , | 73 Comments


What’s a Pommel Horse ?

I was about to see for myself, upCliparts close and personal, in 9th grade gym class.

Coming out of Catholic school, where physical education meant “Red Rover” in the paved schoolyard, I was in for a shock.

Uneven parallel bars, rings, balance beam, vault, rope climb, pommel horse.

What sort of fresh hell was this for a 13 year old in a stiff cotton gym suit ?

It was bad enough to discover that I had to quickly learn team sports; field hockey, softball, basketball, volley ball, soccer.

But then, the indoor gym equipment surfaced.

In the 1960’s, we were expected to participate in all events.

cartoon monkey climbs on a rope / sportsFloor tumbling was okay, the springboard helped with vaults, I did have a sense of balance, the parallel bars were fun, and maybe my favorite.

But when I looked at the rope hanging from the 50 ft. ceiling, with a 2 inch rubber mat underneath, I knew I was in trouble.

The rope, and the suspended rings were the most challenging for a 70 lb. kid with no upper body strength.

I might have gotten 6 ft. off the ground, I try not to remember the details. I don’t remember anyone mocking me for the effort.

Maybe it was a kinder, more gentle time.

I was more preoccupied with the humiliation of a community shower. And trying to remember the combination for my locker. And how there were no hair dryers for use after swim class. And how I would survive to get to high school.

It all comes back as I watch the Rio Olympics with respect and awe.



Posted in Childhood, Education, Entertainment, Exercise, News, Sports | Tagged , , , | 70 Comments