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.


Friday, October 26, 2018


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.

Friday, May 18, 2018


I really love including people in on all sorts of occasions.  Having come from an Italian family -- it's not an occasion until 10 or 15 others drop in.  There are so many fond memories of everyone sitting around the dining room table, the one that now graces my dining room, and the laughing and sharing and wonderfulness of it all.  We also joked that in an Italian family, if someone didn't agree with you, they obviously didn't hear you.  Thus meals were generally a little louder than in other households, but always lively and fun.

Most of our elders are gone, and so we celebrate by inviting friends and extended family to our home, or to a restaurant, or time out on the boat or visiting gardens  to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, spring,  a week without rain -- whatever.  We do so gladly, and not expecting anything in return, except maybe friendship and/ or the chance to be included in other's lives as well.  And most folks do just that.  But some, while espousing gratitude for having been included and while still remaining friends, never think to include us in whatever they celebrate.  And I wonder why.  And sometimes I feel slighted.

Will we stop including these folks?  Probably not.  But I fear I am being selfish by thinking the way I do, and perhaps presumptive.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Who Could Possibly Take Issue With Trader Joe's?

In a word:  I.

Given, Trader's is a pleasant, happy even, place to shop.  The employees are generally helpful, congenial, and engaging.  Their products are of quality -- the pizzas and flatbreads, for instance, are excellent and the pricing under Trader Joe's label, is considerably below that of other brands.

Their meats are a great buy; nuts, olive oil, cheeses excellent.  And I could go on and on singing their praises; but that's not my point, is it?

So what's the problem?

1.  The parking lots of every Trader's we've ever been in are tight and ingress/egress poorly designed.  Could it be the same firm?  Perhaps an entire firm of non-drivers?

2.  While of excellent quality, the produce is not local.  I could be wrong about this, but have asked different store personnel and they've concurred.  And while this is not a game changer for me, we do like to shop locally, particularly in our growing season.  And so we do.

3.  THE ISSUE is this:  We try a lot of their products or products they feature.  We get hooked.  We crave.  We buy.  After a few months the products disappear.  Specifically, a decaff green tea we LOVED.  The same with a lavender body wash and hand soap.  (At least I found these on the internet and can buy  in bulk).  

We weren't so lucky with their French roast, decaf coffee-- superior to many expensive brands (we've tried them all) -- rich and flavorful.  And alas, gone. (They still carry the caffeinated version, however).  And the product that prompted this rant:  Trader Joe's frozen arancini (little Italian rice balls filled with cheese).  We love them, our grand daughter loves them, everybody loves them, and they are no more.  Discontinued.  Nada.  Try buying these from Amazon!  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Why I Could Never 'Follow' The Pioneer Woman

When I began blogging  the friend who had initially lighted my interest in blogging suggested I 'follow' Ree Drummond:  The Pioneer Woman.  So I visited her blog.  I really enjoyed what I read and left a comment.  Soon after, however, I knew I would neither return to her site, nor would I ever 'follow' her (subscribe to her read feed (for those non-bloggers who may be reading this)).

Let me begin by saying her blog is well written and informative; her photos beautiful.  I believe we could even be friends.  We'd talk about her lovely, well-behaved children.  She might even laugh when I told her that I feel that sometimes children are a punishment from God.  

Ree and I have much in common as I am a pretty good cook -- actually -- I'm better than 'pretty good'.  Granted, I don't cook for as many as she does, but I have in the past.  I don't use as much garlic or hot sauce as she does, but that's okay -- to each her own!  Her cooking show is informative and entertaining; I could share a lot of my family's Italian recipes and she could tell me what a skirt steak is.

Maybe I could  help with her home-schooled kids' English lessons, since I'm still a certified English teacher.  She could teach me why cowboys don't take their hats off at the table -- I'm sure there's some good reason -- and I could tell her why as a teacher, I slow down when I see prison work crews on the highway looking for past students.  We'd have great fun.

So why won't I 'follow' her?  After I left the classroom I began blogging as a means of meeting people; connecting with others who have similar enjoyments; making friends.  Fellow bloggers understand how thrilling it is to see that someone has left a comment.  And although Ree may want to reach thousands of folks, she has different goals.  I am certain I'll never get a reply to my comment or a blog visit from her.  And that's okay.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I Am Ground Zero

In light of the 'Serenity Prayer,'

God grant me the Serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change,
the Courage
to change the things
I can, and
the Wisdom to know
the difference,

I've decided  in the hope of maintaining sanity and some peace, I will take the following measures:

I am "Ground Zero".  I will be cognizant of the needs of others; purposefully instigating kindness and compassion wherever I can and will eschew recognition for such.  In other words, doing good for the Heaven of it.  All it takes is one light; one person.

I will ignore all mention of things political -- namely anything involving the candidate for the next four years.  Any mention of that man's name, or that of his family, will be blocked.  Kind of like Voldemort in Harry Potter -- "He who must not be named".  His name, antics, family will not be spoken of in this house.  He is anathema to me.

I will work quietly and definitely for the greater good, supporting those individuals and agencies that provide relief and quality of life for others both nationally and worldwide.

I will pray for our evolution from this myopic, ego-centered, hypocritical, and ignorant society to one that recognizes goodness, decency, and worth in all of us.

Monday, December 12, 2016

It's Going to Take Some Time

I'm foregoing a Christmas letter this year.  Maybe because it would read like a page from the Book of Job.

It has been a terrible year:  full of trauma and loss.  I know that we're not the only ones and my prayers go out to all the others who are finding the Christmas joy, still beautiful, still awesome, but a bit contradictory to the way we feel.

And just to clarify, there are still Blessings to be counted:  a wonderful marriage and husband; three gorgeous and kind children (two of whom have WONDERFUL mates) and four grands who are all doing well (my mouth to God's ear), a successful family business, fantastic brothers, and the kindness of many around us.

Yet, the losses are substantial:  my mother three weeks ago; my friend and next door neighbor two weeks ago; and about 13 extended family/close friends before that.  

We managed to decorate the outside of the house, but have skipped the inside...is this a metaphor or what!?   I just don't have time to heal before Christmas.

Monday, September 19, 2016

♫ I see Trees of Green; Red Roses, Too..♫

It was been a very, very trying summer for us, not totally without joy, but we have really taken quite a few gut-wrenching  hits.  

Two of the hardest ones -- our four-year old grandson tripped and fell onto a fire pit.  Although our son quickly grabbed him and got him to cool water almost immediately, Tyler suffered second and third degree burns on his face, neck, and hands.  He was air-lifted to Bloomberg's Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital where he remained for several weeks under the care of angels in the form of nurses.  He continues to improve, and believe it or not, his scars are minimal. He's quite a trooper.

Then, the first week of June, my mother had a stroke which has left her, a woman who still took care of her own finances -- and did so expertly, who walked three times a day and still argued politics and discussed current events  -- needing assisted living.  She can walk with assistance, but does not have the use of her arm.  Cognitively she is good.  Now we are faced with some very big changes that we will make regardless of our readiness, regardless of our liking.  

Since June we have lost more than several close friends.  It's just been one of those times.

These times of intense difficulty and grief occur in all our lives.  And in spite of them, we must continue to find the joys; they are always there even though we must sometimes search for them -- the laughter of children, the kindness of strangers,  conversations with friends, "the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night..."