August 10, 2017 – Everyone should paint a tree



In the past few years we were made aware that we had two dying elms on our property.  After a bit we decided to get them taken down. Except me being me I asked them to leave me 6 foot stumps.  Yes, 6 foot little trees.

The first year my darling daughter came up with all kind of things to hang on the trees and we told the grandgirls they were fairy trees.  They played out there and seemed to enjoy them.  The second year we redecorated after winter  and again the girls had fun playing with the trees.

Last fall as I was taking things off the trees I realized the bark was getting all weird and the tree was truly starting to rot. It was cracking and had lots of bugs eating away at it and there appear to have been cicadas living around it as there were the shells of the bugs that came out of the earth clinging to the bark.

So in a moment of inspiration I decided to peel off all the bark and then sand the wood and paint it.  By this spring there was very little bark on the tree but lots of weird colors and bug homes etc.  My first project was to sand as much as I could to get the gray stuff off and make the wood grain show better. I make the mistake of using wood putty to fill in holes and it kind of looks crappy. But where there is a will there is a way. Paint will cover all the flaws.

On one of our trips back home I went to the craft store and bought paint, brushes, podging(?) materials and some kind of sealant for the wood.  The painting is fun because unless you get up closed it actually looks pretty good.  I found a big knot on the tree and put a picture of the girls in it and painted around the picture. That is where the podge came in. They have been rained on plenty and so far the picture is still in good shape.  Today I finished the decorating around the top of the tree and started a family tree vine for the girls.  It will have their four grandparents, their parents and themselves on their vine and I may add the aunts and uncles and cousins.. In years to come they can do with it what they want.

Next steps after all the vines will be windows and then sealing and then more decorations.  Will post a couple of pictures of what it was like before today.  Then if I get all done that I will post a finished product picture.  Also have to dig up around the base and put down some new dirt and stones to make it look pretty and then in the spring I want to expand it and put in a flower garden.  Why not? You only live once right?

was going to write about my new revelations about my grandfather but will get to that later. Tree painting is more fun anyway and takes ones mind off of nuclear wars.



August 9, 2017 – Long Gone Away

At least that is how it feels.  I just have not been able to get into writing and then this evening I looked and found lovely comments and connections I had forgotten about.

It is a rainy evening at the School House but I am just fine here.  Today was special for me.   In doing genealogy I have found so many pictures of my grand aunt Madeline and her favorite cousin Bertha Slack Kavanaugh.  Well today I spent the afternoon with Bertha’s gr grand son and her grandson and his wife.

It was so nice to show them Madelines photo albums and they were able to ID and mark the names of who those folks were in so many pictures.  They also let me download onto my lap top over 100 pictures from Bertha’s albums.  So will be able to ID more family member in old family unmarked pictures.  Do yourself a favor and mark your pictures with the names of who is in them! I am not good at it and I can tell you it is a chore but later generations with thank you for it.

Then in looking at the note in the comment section I see that others interested in genealogy have contacted me so hope we can get together as well.  It is so much fun. And better to do it now while I still have my wits about me.

This past weekend we went to the DC/Baltimore area to visit our sons family and attend a family reunion.   Not everyone was there but those that were had a very nice time. My nephew Andrew has a wonderful home and property for a party like that. The little kids went swimming in the GunPowder Creek for several hours and us older folks had good visits.  A few folks I wanted to have longer chats with did not happen but hopefully sometime soon.  Everyone brought food so we were never hungry.  Grateful for having such a warm and loving family.

Summer is flying by and I can just wish it would last forever. I have been painting one of the tree stumps to make it a permanent Fairy Tree for the grandgirls.  Lots left to do on it and cannot seem to make progress because of the rain almost every single day.  I think tomorrow I will commit to working on it even if the grass is still wet unless the rain is coming down. When finished I will post a picture.

The political scene has not helped me any with my mood but I realize that when I write I feel so much better so taking the time to do this might end up elevating my endorphins to a better level.   Political speech is in the near future but for now I will try and stick with some family history etc.  Hope I stick with this because it is good for me.

Thanks to you who have been reading while I was not writing.  Would love some feedback on that A to Z challenge in April? My husband suggested that I take those very short pieces and make some of them into short stories. Not sure anyone would read them.  So feed back would be truly appreciated.

Nite nite.


April. 29, 2017 – A to Z Challenge – Y

Today was a very long day.  The first event was the Drug Take Back Day at the Niskayuna Town Hall. Was there from 9:30 until 2 PM.  Then home and a nap then out to dinner at our friends. Home at 10:30 and had to watch the Samantha Bee alternative to the Correspondents Dinner.

Turns out this is the last night of the A to Z Challenge.  There are 5 sundays in April this year. So Y in the letter but I just might throw in a z for fun,  I am very tired so this is going to be short…

Short Story = The Bar Story

Jerry loved to go to the Turnkey Bar on Friday nights.  It was always filled with lots of women who worked in the fashion industry since the Turnkey was located in the middle of the part of Manhattan where all the designers offices are.

His favorite plan was to stand at the end of the bar with a beer in hand and wait to see if any of the lovelies were waiting for someone or appeared to be alone.  He never acted impulsively.   Then once he had made his decision he would walk over and offer to purchase a drink for her and chat her up about her work, where she came from etc.  He always agreed with anything she had to say.  After about 10 minutes he would make the decision in his mind whether to continue the chat or to move on but he never closed the door.

He would talk up at least four women every Friday night and then get himself another drink and make the decision as to who he wanted to end the evening with.  He was so agreeable in his discussions that many of these women totally fell for his lines. He was for sure a yetman who figured out which person would be the most advantageous to go back to.  Most of the time he actually did score and since he was only interested in one night stands I guess that worked for him. Made for a happy Friday night every week for him.



April 28, 2017 – A to Z Challenge – X

I was startled this morn to find out that “The Deeper Meaning of Liff” does not have any words for X.  So I googles weird words that start with X and got a few.  I am not sure how many people read any of this or if they have found it interesting or what but at least for me it has been an exercise in doing quick writes every day and using my imagination.  I never think of myself as being very imaginative but this has been fun and a challenge to myself.  So many challenges in life and this is very minor compared to others.

Although I have a headache I am going to write something short this evening.   I found three words that I thought might be fun to use starting with X.

Short Story – The Xanthippe Woman

After lunch today it was so lovely and warm that a walk in the park before going back to the office was called for.  My mood was high and full of hope for a lovely fall.

The park has dense wooded areas and the trees were starting to change colors.  The weird summer weather must have upset the balance of nature and the xanthophyll had greatly influenced the leaves as they turned this year.  There seemed to be little red there at all.  It would have make a pretty picture.

As I was day dreaming along my way I bumped into a xanthorus woman.   She actually had that shade of red that looked like her head was on fire.  It also appeared that she had no sense of humor because as I said I was sorry she turned on me and started to shout about how rude I was and that I was probably texting and not watching where I was going.  If she had bothered to look she would have seen that there was no phone in my hand or anywhere to be seen.  I looked right in her eyes and told her I had been admiring the colors of the trees and was sorry I had not seen her coming.  Of course she had her phone in her hand and appeared to have been on it at the time of the crash.

She yelled some more and then stormed off.  I thought how sorry I felt for her on this beautiful day in the park with the trees so colorful and the sky so blue.

April 27, 2017 – A to Z Challenge – W

Gerald was quite the fellow.  He lived in a great big Victorian house on a lane just outside of the village.  His parents had left him quite a bit of money so although he worked at the local library it was never with any great energy.  Just a way to say hello to the village residents and maybe to find a sweet lass from time to time to ask out on a date.

Marriage was not in the cards for him but he was not lonely.  His cousin Miriam had moved in with him several years ago and the two of them made quite the pair.  She was very neat and prim and managed to keep everything organized.  Gerald on the other hand was quite good at woking.   She found it amusing at first but later started to wonder about him.  Did he have dementia? Had he suffered a brain injury in the past?  She could not figure it out.

At his job in the library he was a worksop.  The others who worked with him really found it to be annoying.   His desk was filled with post it notes with lists and more lists.  Always stating that everything  was urgent.  It became a game with the other library staff tracking the number of minutes a day that Gerald spent making lists of things to do that he was never able to accomplish due to his list making.

And in both settings he would come walking into either the kitchen or the staff room and all of a sudden develop that blank stare.   You would almost count the seconds as he stood there and thought to himself, “what the hell did I come in here for?”  Then he would turn around and walk out and go back to what ever he had been doing before.  Miriam always tried to figure out what it was he had been looking for or coming to get that he had totally forgotten.  The library staff wondered if he was going to realize he had missed his lunch again.

Gerald had the propensity to entertain those around him and that made him a special fellow to all who knew him.


April 26, 2017. – A to Z Challenge – V

Short Story – The Challenge of a Vollenhave

What a gorgeous morning!  I woke up before 6, worked out, showered, had a lovely breakfast of an energy shake and a bran muffin and then headed out to work.  The endorphins were in great shape since I felt like a million dollars.

The Manhattan streets were busy as usual and at times it was a fight to get across the various streets.  Everyone seemed to be extra hurried this particular morning.  Deciding to slow down and not join the rush I moved out towards the curb and made my legs slow down. Great feeling not to be pushed around by the attitude of others.

My pace made it possible to actually look around and check out everyone, well not all but a general look around.  All of a sudden I heard a voice calling to me.  As I looked  across the street I was John, an old acquaintance waving to me and mouthing that I should stay put and wait for him.  Darn, now this was going to be a predicament.  I was going at a pace to get me to work just on time.  If I wait for him I am going to be late.  What to do?

Since our eyes had met I could not pretend I did not see him.  When I arrived at the corner I waited while he crossed the street.  My business card in my hand at the ready.  He rushed up and tried to give me a big hug and a kiss? That was totally weird.  Alas I took his hand and put my card into it.  I told him I was going to be late for work but if he was going my way he was free to join me other wise he could call me in an hour at work.  He looked disappointed since he was going the other direction.

As he walked away my day began to return to its former state.  The morning was glorious and life was good.

April 25, 2017 – A to Z Challenge – U

Short Story = The Big Day

My brother and his wife had the first baby of the next generation in our family.   It was a sweet little girl named Sarah.  I went to see her at the hospital and she actually had brown curly hair even though she was brand new.  She was adorable.

After they brought the baby home and had some time to get their acts together they invited me over for dinner one evening.  I offered to bring some of the dinner but they said no, they would provide everything.  I was kind of wondering why they would not let me help out.  But after spending some time holding my niece Sarah and enjoying that time with her they asked me a big question.  Would I be Sarah’s God Mother?  I was taken back by this request.  Bobby and I had both been raised in the Catholic Church but neither of us spent a lot of time in church once we grew up. But I agreed because it really was an honor.

They planned to have Sarah baptized in the spring when the weather would be good.    They also had to join the local church and they told me we all had to attend classes before the Church would baptize little Sarah.   I agreed to attend and figured I would just go through the motions.

The classes comprised of four evenings of two hour sessions.  They really wanted to make sure that this baby was going to really be a catholic and not just an exercise in making grandma happy for one day.   I kind of found myself getting into the lessons and thinking a lot about what I was agreeing to.  I would bring her up Catholic if something happened to her parents.   I would support them in bringing her up Catholic.

One night after the class we went out for coffee.  We had been to three weeks of classes at that point.  Bobby and Silvia were joking about the classes and that they had no intention of following through with raising Sarah as a Catholic after the baptism.  I was kind of taken back because I really had begun to understand that you should not do such a thing if you are just doing it to make Grandparents happy.  I held my tongue.

I went home and thought about this so much.  What was I going to do? Bobby was my brother and Sarah my first niece.  The Baptism was planned for a month from now.  The time to talk to them would be difficult.   It had to be done.

The following week I told them we needed to talk and I explained to them how I really understood what the teachers in the classes were talking about.  Why were they doing this if they had no plan to follow through?  They were totally taken off guard with my comments.  They assured me that it would be okay and they were not planning to raise Sarah as an atheist and I should just trust them to do the right thing.   I felt a little better and went on home thinking things would be okay.

I did not want to be an Urchfont and spent so much time during the week thinking about what to do.  It was painful that Sunday morning, going into Church for the first time in years and standing up in front of all those people swearing to do something I was not sure I would ever be asked to do or if asked if I would follow though.

Hopefully that day will never come and I won’t have to find out what I would do. But in the mean time I intended to spend a lot of time with my gorgeous funny little niece.