Gratitude


Brilliant Gift for Traveling Dad

We spent last June on the road. Steve hoped that his stingy watering program would keep our lawn from going jungle, but that plan was called on account of rain.  Our ever-loving (and seriously overworked) son sent a message telling us how bad our place looked, then followed up with, “I mowed it for you.  Have a good Father’s Day.” He couldn’t have come up with a better gift. Now, here we are gallivanting through June again.  We hear it’s been hot at home, so maybe Plan A will come through this time.  In any case, we hope our overworked son lets the lawn go and enjoys a day […]


Losing Faith 2

Our GPS leads us out of the darkness so unfailingly that when our friend Pat suggested the name Faith, we embraced it. Since then Steve began calling on Faith’s ways of finding reasonable rooms for the night whenever we grow weary. Our March road trip to New Orleans tested Faith on several evenings when pickings were slim, but between our Faith and Pat’s Siri, we found comfortable vacancies.  One evening Siri’s Trip Advisor ratings insisted on an inn a good way off our beaten path.  Without Faith the complicated cross-town zigzags would have been overwhelming, we didn’t despair. Over a late supper, we plotted our final leg, […]


Have You Seen My Mother?

      When Mom was two or three, she told her mother something that sounded like “yammer yada blaa boo” to my busy grandmother.  Mom put on her mother’s high heels, packed up the cat and a little rocking chair and set off to visit her grandfather who lived three-quarters of a mile or so up the road.  But Mom didn’t take the road, she dragged the chair and cat cross-country through ditches and fences, gulches and cactus. Her mother enjoyed the quiet for a while then realized what was missing and panicked.  Mom’s father had no trouble following the high-heeled […]


In Praise of Tuesday Afternoon Writers

One of my biggest pre-retirement worries was how to find a writers’ group to keep me growing. Good writers’ groups are a rare treasure, so when a woman I’d just met invited me to join her group, I answered by hugging her. Bless you Marsha! Our meetings keep me working when the going is tough, and feedback is important, but writers’ groups become so much more.  Shared writings are almost magical in their power to spirit us far deeper into each other’s experiences, gifts, and perspectives than conversation can. In kindling another’s courage to write what matters, I seem to open my mind extra […]


Cruise Makers

Our River Navigator cruise director and concierge do everything but sing us to sleep at night.  They give us maps on our way out the door to take tours, suggest things to see at every stop, and never stop working or smiling.  I really suspect that Veronika’s positive energy is some sort of superpower, so many details, so flawlessly executed, and all the while exuding FUN. Still, I’d have been in a bad way without Laszlo.  He showed up beside my dining chair a couple days into the cruise and said, “I’ve been shopping for you.”  He had gluten-free pasta, bread, cereal, and flour, so I could […]


Beach House Thanksgiving

As I mixed Grandma Marie’s stuffing this morning, I dredged memories of the celebration opus our family built around a Carolina beach house last year.  I wanted a full house for Mom, too long alone with her grief.  We all love her, but the kids are scattered from the Atlantic to the Rockies and ever so busy grappling life’s dragons.  Thanksgiving week on the beach proved an ideal no-refuse-offer. The waves, foamy gray, loomed so high that the sun sometimes shone through, illuminating the living green within.  One monster put three-year old Conner to flight.  His sprint propelled him ten times beyond its reach.  He’d never been to the beach; how was he to know what a wave might […]


Wanted: Happy-Thought Nazis 7/7/15

Our cruise director warned us before we disembarked that no matter how nice the hotel, leaving the ship always feels as if we’ve been expelled from paradise.  She was so right.  Our farewell banquet at the  hotel had little of the charm we’d been steeped in on the River Navigator.  We could hardly hear our table-mates.  The was service was slow.  The staff didn’t understand about gluten free.  And mostly, we’d lost the staff we’d come to think of as friends. Friendships were viral on this cruise, and I suspect that even for the Navigator,  we were a special group.  Early on I noticed that a number of us were militant positive thinkers.  No whine went unchallenged […]


What an Audience!

With my first book scheduled for publication I needed to become an orator extraordinaire, but how to get there?  I didn’t have to look far.  My TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) group is always in need of a program.  Better yet, support is their specialty.  I took my painstakingly constructed motivational talk to all the TOPS groups in the area. I needed the practice because our local coordinator had gotten my talk booked for the International Recognition Days conference.  I would give it for two audiences of up to 600.  Talk about a thrill ride.  Those folks came to have a good […]


A Way With Whales

If all our research trips for Cruisers’ Guide to the Sea are as good as the one we took to Gloucester, this dream I’m wading into is even better than I thought.  Thanks to Cynde McInnis and Captain Jim of the Cape Ann Whale Watch, Steve and I cruised the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary for a week. As a volunteer on whale watch tours, I used our commute to the feeding grounds to talk to passengers about kinds of whales and their eating habits.  When the first spout lofted, we educators ran to the wheelhouse to help spot and record sightings, making ticks on charts to count the times we saw specific shale behaviors or body parts. […]

Man at ship's wheel statue

Holy Gratitude, Blog Woman!

I spent over a decade trying to get my mystery novel to work.  It may take another five years to get it publishable, but I’m up for it.  My patience with computer issues is another story.  Seven minutes is tops before my gasket blows.  Fortunately  Steve has amazing fortitude for trying and trying and trying and trying until he finds a solution. Still the idea of creating the requisite book-launch website with all bells, whistles, Tweets, and filters seemed akin to curing cancer.  I called the university computer science department and pleaded for a good student.  That’s when the heavens […]