About Me

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I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Now More Than Ever

I posted this after the last election, never realizing its poignancy and relevance would actually increase.  I do not know Jeremy Mitchell, but I believe he's brilliant.

I listened as they called my President a Muslim.
I listened as they called him and his family a pack of monkeys.
I listened as they said he wasn't born here.
watched as they blocked every single path to progress that they could.
I saw the pictures of him as Hitler.
I watched them shut down the government and hurt the entire nation twice.
I watched them turn their backs on every opportunity to open worthwhile
dialogue.
I watched them say that they would not even listen to any choice for Supreme
Court no matter who the nominee was.
I listened as they openly said that they will oppose him at every turn.
I watched as they did just that.
I listened.
I watched.
I paid attention.
Now, I'm being called on to be tolerant.
To move forward.
To denounce protesters.
To "Get over it."
To accept this...
I will not.
I will do my part to make sure this great American mistake becomes the
embarrassing footnote of our history that it deserves to be.
I will do this as quickly as possible every chance I get.
I will do my part to limit the damage that this man can do to my country.
I will watch his every move and point out every single mistake and misdeed in a loud and proud voice.
I will let you know in a loud voice every time this man backs away from a promise he made to them.
Them. The people who voted for him.
The ones who sold their souls and prayed for him to win.
I will do this so that they never forget.
And they will hear me.
They will see it in my eyes when I look at them.
They will hear it in my voice when I talk to them.
They will know that I know who they are.
They will know that I know what they are.
Do not call for my tolerance. I've tolerated all I can.
Now it's their turn to tolerate ridicule.
Be aware, make no mistake about it, every single thing that goes wrong in our country from this day forward is now Trump's fault just as much as they thought it was Obama's.
I find it unreasonable for them to expect from me what they were entirely unwilling to give.
-Jeremy Mitchell

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Confessions of a Multiple Sneezer

The top of the morning to you!  Today is the 17th of March, a day set aside to honor St. Patrick who banished the snakes from Ireland (I always wondered if these were metaphorical snakes).  We do this by wearing green and drinking ourselves senseless.  And on this particular day in 2020, not a bar is open -- at least in Maryland.  Let us all pray that perhaps St. Patrick will re-appear and banish the snakes in DC and that the DTs of all the country's celebrators are quick and harmless.  At least we can all still wear green and raise a glass in the privacy of our disinfected and socially distanced homes.

Within the last two years I have become a multiple sneezer.  My mom was one; my husband, too.  She sneezed three or four times; he three -- and the loudest sneezes I have ever heard.  I mean the cat actually runs for cover.  I digress.  

It doesn't happen every day, but when it does I sneeze between 11 and 15 times.  I'm not sure why.  And in this viral crazed environment, (being topless wouldn't get as much attention) it is politically dangerous to sneeze in public, and...   Shades of Salem, and the reintroduction of the dunking bench...

Monday, March 16, 2020

"And the People Healed"

Like the man in the TWILIGHT ZONE episode, who wanted nothing but to be left alone with books, I've yearned for solitude.  What a boon -- to be able to read, cook, muse, without interruption!  A long snow day without the the snow.

And like the man who is eventually the last man on Earth, stuck in a library, WITHOUT his much needed glasses, I am, having been given my wish, not sure what to do with myself.  Like many, many others.  

On this second day of quarantine, our daughter-in-law doubts if they can keep our two grands (eight and four) from killing each other.  I remember what it was like being stuck in the house for only a day or so with teenagers bouncing off the walls, and I hope for the best for all the mothers and fathers out there...

We have enough food, reading materials, jobs that need to be done around the house and outside.  We're hoping to go down to the boat this week, to do some sanding and painting so we can put it in the water by mid-April. I can also begin to plan my garden.

Perhaps we, as a country, needed this: the solitude; the introspection; the quiet.

I came across this this morning.  It resonated deeply.

"And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and grew gardens full of fresh food, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

"And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
"And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed."
~Kitty O'Meara

Thursday, June 6, 2019

While At The Mercy of Others



Walking into the Johns Hopkins Cancer Center was both humbling and scary, but I was greeted immediately by one of their many concierges.  He took both my hands and said, "You're new here; we're going to take very good care of you."  He directed me to a registrar who confirmed my information and gave me a badge to wear.  The badge had a GPS chip in it; my doctor knew I was there and how long I would be waiting, and if I wanted to, could sit in their cafe, and the doctor's assistant would come and get me.  Amazing.

My surgery went well.  The surgeon was able to extract clear margins, and the seminal node is clear.  I'll start radiation in a couple of weeks; chemo is a remote possibility.  I'll also do hormonal suppressant therapy for five years.  Those treating me were competent and compassionate.  I am beholden to them.

I'm well.  I'm happy.  I'm blessed.


"To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier
because you lived here.
This is to have succeeded."

from ROBIN by David Itzkoff taken from Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, April 19, 2019

Take Care Your Wishes

Notre Dame Cathedral virtually burned to the ground this week; still more immigrants seek asylum; our country 's divide grows as those corrupt and hate-filled saturate the news with anathema and their power.  Temperatures wold-wide have increased two degrees, and Mother Nature becomes more and more violent in her response.

More importantly, this is the week I was told I have breast cancer.  I saw the mammogram; I intrinsically knew it didn't look good; I saw the look on the faces of the technicians and the radiologist;  I saw they wouldn't look me in the eye,  and yet I was devastated when told.  I waited until my husband left for work, and then sobbed.  

I wonder if the fates heard me when I've frequently said I don't want to grow old.  Frailty terrifies me.  What I'm feeling now is a close second.  I'm at the mercy of others.

I mourn the loss of my normal.  I mourn that a part of my body that I love is now sick.  I see the shirts that boast, "These are fake; my real breasts tried to kill me,"  and while I appreciate the humor, I cannot join in with the laughter as something I treasure, with which I've lived for 67 years is sick and will soon  be under the knife.  And as trivial as it seems, I'm saddened by my soon-to-be bald head, and wondering if I can learn how to tie a scarf, a pretty one that makes me look as if I'm handling my illness well.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

THE CHRISTMAS CARD PROJECT

I do a lot of thinking while doing jigsaw puzzles and I complete a lot of puzzles.  My latest seedling came in the form of  -- oh hell, why don't I just get to it.

I send Christmas cards.  Not necessarily to those who send to us, but to folks I want to wish a Merry Christmas.  (Gone are the days when I kept track and sent only to those who sent greetings to us.  I send cards to those I want to let know we're thinking of them.)

What if, after all  the cards on my list were sealed, stamped, and mailed, I made a new list of all those who have slighted, somehow hurt our feelings, even cognizantly so,  (I'm not including those who've committed serious crimes, not that there are many times, if any, I've been victimized; that might not be a good idea -- for lots of reasons) and sent them cards with heartfelt greetings. 

I don't intend to make these folks feel badly, well not real badly, but it might awaken in them an epiphany.  But more than seeking a response in someone else, I think this might affect me more.  

Friday, October 26, 2018

THE TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN'

Early voting starts here in Howard County today.  My hope was that voter turnout would be substantial.  We've got really good, ethical representation in this state, and the races here as not as controversial and heated as those of our neighbor's to the north and the south of us.  My expectations were met and then some as it was mobbed.  A hopeful sign, I think.




Our clocks turn back this weekend as well, although I wish we could just keep a national standard time all year.  My body always takes a few weeks to adjust and I really dislike it getting dark at 4:30.

Our leaves haven't changed yet, but this is beginning.  The maples have a bit of color; our nights are getting colder so this should help a bit.

Meanwhile, the inside and front step of the house look seasonal. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Changing the Issue

I am the proud (but tired) mother of two assertive daughters.  When the older of these two was a teenager, we worked hard learning not to change the issue.  We had to.  She did not suffer fools gladly and could be confrontational and very impulsive.

One time when she was announced as homecoming princess at an all-school assembly (I taught where the kids attended), a faction of the student  body who were disappointed their candidate didn't win, booed and jeered her loudly.  Melissa gave them the finger.  What those girls had done was unacceptable, but Melissa's actions (though justified) changed the issue, making it difficult to discipline those who acted wrongly in the first place. (We worked hard to practice the announcement to be again made at the homecoming football game.  Her dad and I would boo and jeer, and Melissa would smile and wave graciously.)

There are other examples, but my drift is clear.  Bad stuff happens.  People say and do socially inappropriate things.  It is our response, however, that is commensurately important.  

Anyone living through this political nightmare can see this firsthand.  The allegations are horrid.  The response to these allegations even more despicable, and have moved me to tears more than once.  Whether or not the accusations are true are no longer the issue.   What is now even more distressing is the callous, misogynistic senators’ attacks or dismissals the victim, the histrionic demeanor of the accused, and the disgusting response of a sitting president.  And as paramount as the original issue of sexual misconduct is, the greater and more distressing is now the response of those elected to represent us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Late Summer Trimmings

Here in Central Maryland, we are well into August of this very wet and sultry summer.  The good news is that everything is green, but that green may very well be algae.  

We've stopped watering our container plants, continued to fertilize, and since this is the time when plants tend to get 'leggy' and stop producing flowers, everyone got a trim.  This will encourage growth from the core.  Hopefully.

I've also pulled out all the leggy zinnias and re-planted seeds.  I'm hoping to have flowers in October.

Within the last four months, I've switched from a PC to Apple, and I'm still not able to post pictures from my iPad.  You'd think it would be easy.  It probably is, but I'm not yet able to figure it out.  Everyone keeps telling me it's intuitive, but evidently I'm not that smart.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Running Toward Danger

Today I awoke with a strong sense of loss and soon learned that a Howard County firefighter had died very early this morning in a seven-alarm blaze due to a lightning strike.  Firefighters...such a special breed of heroes.  Those who run toward danger not from it.

This loss is especially close to home as our son is a firefighter/EMT for Baltimore County.  I feel for the family of this young man and for all these heroes.