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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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

♫♫Where are you going, my little one...♫♫

I sang this to my babies as I rocked them, never able to get through the whole song.  A quarter of the way through, I would choke up and begin to cry because I knew where they were going -- each milestone, each step, each smile, represented a step away from us.  And that's the way it should be.  But it happens too fast.

Today, our youngest child turns 35.  Amazing that I haven't yet lost that baby weight...but that's another issue.  This morning I awoke reflecting on how we celebrate the announcement "We're having a baby!" and not "We're having a toddler" or scarier still, " a teenager"!  I think that  somewhere in the recesses of our hearts, we hope to hold onto that baby, that cherub, for just a while longer and be able to rock them, protect them, and hold them close.

From left to right:  Robyn, Michael, and Melissa.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Finding Our Joy

Right about now, 43 years ago Richard Anderson and I were married.  We gave no thought, at least I didn't, to how long we would be married, even though we both said 'Until death do us part."  It seems like yesterday, and yet it doesn't.  

Three wonderful, grown children and three sweet grandchildren later here we are.  Our secret?  We don't have one -- except maybe not having expectations and in having an uncanny ability to adjust and re-adjust.  Has it been an easy ride?  Hell, no.  We've had our share of 'knock down/drag-outs',  in-law difficulties (his parents; not mine), of many, many joys, some tempered with sadness, of  irritations, of crises, and with all the beauty and glory of raising three teenagers.  And actually, our middle child could easily have counted for two.  Luckily, I didn't kill her when she was 15 as she's a wonderful daughter, friend, and mother of her own little character.

We had made plans to have lunch today at Thames Oyster House in Baltimore, but as in  our life together, fate has intervened.  As I write this, Richard's 90-year old father lies in the hospital.  He has been there for a week, has pneumonia, and has refused food and medication.  He will be discharged from the hospital into the care of hospice in his home tomorrow, where in his lucid moments, he insists he be taken.  And so we acquiesce. And so we adjust.  We will celebrate our milestone tonight at dinner.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

And Then It Was Done...Or Not...

The difference is marked and the changes never cease to amaze me.  Even the next day, the lights seem less bright, less promising.  After all the anticipation and preparation, it's over, and my emphasis in the next few days will be to get it down and put away.  And I'm thinking...always thinking...

So to what do I have to look forward?  Beautiful winter days with pristine blue skies and crisp cold; gray clouds and air with the metallic smell and promise of snow; slow awakenings of perennials and the planning of this year's gardens; expressions of love to and by my husband, brothers, children, and grand children; surprise contact with friends from my past; travels and experiences yet to be planned; a new book by Harlan Coban or David Baldacci; laughing so hard I can't catch my breath; comments left by readers; and so very much more.  Not so bad after all.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas

We've started our Christmas rituals:  the decorating of the outside of the house; the family's going together to the tree farm to chop down the tree; the finding of said tree on the farthest corner of the farm and down the steepest hill (which, of course, means dragging it back up the hill).  When Poppy lay down on the ground to cut the tree, two-year old Tyler plopped down on top of him declaring, "I help Poppy."  I couldn't tell if Poppy was laughing or gasping for breath.

We don't have many plans for the holidays.  In the past we'd been invited to cocktail parties -- even at a few of the embassies -- and parties that friends have had.  Seems there aren't many parties being had this year.  (Of course there's always the possibility that there ARE, and we've not been invited.  You dance once with a lampshade on your head...)  I wonder if F. Scott and Zelda were aware they had become pariahs??))  Richard and I have talked about cocktail parties and while we love getting together with friends, neither of us enjoy attending large functions where we know no one.  Making small talk   is just not fun to me anymore.

I'm not planning on throwing anything grand, either.  So far, it's just the two of us.  We'll take the grands to the Middleburg, VA parade, to the Hampden neighborhood in Baltimore to see the lights, Richard and I will go to Mt. Vernon for a Christmas tour and dinner, but no parties...no extravaganzas.

So why decorate and why write Christmas cards, even to folks we don't hear from or with whom we have lost touch ?  We don't expect cards in return.  This is our way of letting folks know we are thinking of them:  the joy is in us.  The tree, the lights, the candles, the cards are our joy.  

Furthermore, what a perfect time to remind ourselves that there is magic in the goodness and kindness we all show one another.   And in this troubled world, where we have all learned too well not to look for sadness or controversy, the season is a welcome excuse for joy, for quiet altruism, for love.  Even for just a short time.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

How Quickly He Fell

I haven't had any real need to express myself until today and I'm sure that what I have to say will not curry favor.  But, this is my blog; my circus.

Some of you may enjoy football.  For those of you who don't follow it, this blog may mean nothing.  On the other hand, one would have to be a hanging salami to not have heard anything about our beloved Ravens' player, Ray Rice, and the trouble he is in because of his battering his wife, Janay, in an Atlantic City casino elevator.  After this was made known, Rice was fined and suspended from two games; this by the NFL.  The outcry over the laxity of the punishment was immediate as was pressure to NFL Commissioner Robert Goodal to do more.

Ray Rice was a favorite player of mine and a hero to many.  To say that I was chagrined by the attack is a gross understatement.  His attack on Janay was brutal as the allegedly 'recently' released tape shows.  The Ravens' decision to release him from his contract quickly followed.  So did the NFL's banning him from football for life.

Did Rice deserve some kind of punishment?  Absolutely.  Is the one he got just?  I'm really not sure that banning him from football for life is.

Now before some of you light torches and march on my home, remember I am not denying how serious battering another person  is.  But I get the distinct feeling that Rice is suffering the results of all the actions sadly NOT taken by the NFL on past egregious actions of its players.   I also believe that we all deserve a second chance.  To take away this man's livelihood forever seems wrong.  Rice and his wife are in counseling.  They need to work out their problems without the help of the public.  (And yes, I realize that they were the ones who took their problems out in public.)  He is already a pariah.  On Friday and Saturday of next week, fans will line up At M & T Stadium to return their Ray Rice jerseys.  This has to be horribly painful for his family.

Also, football is a brutal sport.  Players have ingrained in them the knee-jerk, vicious re-actions that are appropriate only in war and on the football field.  Once a part of a man's fabric, this becomes second nature and hard to turn off.  Again, I am not excusing Ray Rice.  There are consequences for every action we take -- a hard-to-learn lesson for all of us.  I am not sure, however, that these consequences for his actions are totally appropriate.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Meet Rocco

After our last cat got very sick and had to be euthanized, we swore we'd never get another pet.  Meet Rocco, who with his litter mates, was left without a mother at too young an age.



He's bounced his way into our baskets, our hearts, and onto our furniture, and mesmerizes us for hours at a time.

This past week Cheryl, a sister-blogger and friend, and I visited the National Arboratum in DC hoping to get a glance at the azaleas, rhododendrons, and lilacs.  Luckily, we're easy to please as these were really past their glory.  We did have a great walk through the beautiful woodland paths of the gardens.  We hiked through hill and dale and I realized that before my knee replacements, I would not have been able to do this.

What the NA DID have, however, are the most exquisite bonsai I've ever seen. Several date back to the 1600s.  This one is at late-comer, having begun in 1725!



The garden also featured beautiful sculpture.



I did not know that we had a National Herb Garden....


Unfortunately, the fact that their funding has been substantially cut was all too obvious.  I wanted to dive in and start weeding, particularly in the rose garden.  I wonder if they take volunteer groups?  It's still worth a visit.

I'm hoping to get to Brookside Gardens in Montgomery County during the first 'flush' of the roses.  These gardens are superbly maintained and beautiful.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pots and Plants and Dirt, Oh Yes!

 It's that wonderful time of year when I get to play up to my elbows in dirt!  I did my planning, purchased a few new pots, 



and have made one shopping trip to the nursery.  I split it up into a couple of trips because, 1) buying everything at once was becoming overwhelming; and 2) there wasn't enough room in my car.


I planted some of the purchases and will go back this week to do more.  It's currently raining and predicted to do so until Thursday, so if I don't mind getting a little wet, it's a perfect time to visit the greenhouses -- no crowds.
Meanwhile, my pots await...






We lost about 15 roses (all hybrid teas and two climbers) due to the polar vortex.  (But the stink bugs are still thriving -- go figure!) I'm not certain I want to replace them (roses NOT the stinkbugs, Bilbo!!), but I'll start looking around this week.  My shasta daisies, usually hearty, and lupines succumbed as well.   
Each year of gardening is unique; it's the beauty of it all.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Calm Seas and Blue Skies

Today I spent the morning at the gym; it was a good, sweaty workout. Tonight I should  sleep soundly.  Then I conquered the task of ironing patches on our grand daughter's Daisy/Girl Scout vest.  Once those patches are on, they're REALLY on.  The troupe numbers might indicate to some I'd been drinking heavily; I wasn't.  The good news is that they're on.




Big Guy and I must have had a premonition about the severity of this winter as in August we booked a cruise to the Caribbean on Holland America's MS Nieuw Amsterdam - the same ship we traveled from Barcelona to Venice on two years ago.  We had a lovely time and really enjoyed the warmth.
We cruised out of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.  What an amazingly busy port -- seven ships awaited passengers last Sunday.  But they really had it together.  From the time our taxi dropped us off to our being totally checked in was fewer than 20 minutes.  We then waited only another 20 to board the ship.

Again, we had an armed Coast Guard escort leaving port, which always gives me chills.  When they escort a ship out of port, they put their vessel between all other port traffic and the ship that's departing.  The weapon is almost bigger than the young woman standing behind it.



Folks lined up to take pictures of the ship leaving Ft. Lauderdale.


It's a magnificent sight when the mammoth cruise ships go through.  Our ship was not one of these -- we prefer the smaller ships, but it's still a neat sight to see.

We made four stops:  Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Key West -- basically cruising around Cuba -- which was within sight.  We got off the ship only twice:  once at Half Moon Cay to swim in the most beautiful water I've ever seen...


and where we could see the ship as it awaited our return.



And finally at Key West, where the temperature was almost 90° and the humidity about 83%.  We had planned to have lunch at a favorite place: Conch Republic Seafood Company, walk around, and then enjoy some Key lime pie at Kermit's, but the heat really got to me and I needed to return to the ship.  I guess my body just wasn't used to that much warmth.  



We returned home to Baltimore on Sunday, where we were met by an inch and a half of wet snow and sleet.  We've had spring temps all week though, and perennials and bulbs and starting to pop through.  Life is good.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

We've Done Something Right

When  raising children, especially when they reach teenage years, one is just never sure how they'll turn out.  There were times when my husband would have to literally pull me off my middle daughter and make sure she never walked in front of my car while I was driving.  There were times with all three, that I questioned what possessed me to want children.  I fear I was not alone.  (Those of you who raised near perfect children may want to stop here, but please stay with me as it gets better.)

Fast forward 15+ years.  Our children are now 38, 37, and 34.  Our son has two children: a fourteen-year old girl and a two-year old boy.  Our middle daughter has a five, soon to be six-year old, girl.  Our youngest has no children, but is up to her schnutz in horses, dogs, and cats.  Her kindness to these animals and her way with them so very pleases her father and I.

My point is that when we see Michael with his children, Melissa with her daughter, and Robyn with her responsibilities and skill with animals, we are so very proud.  

Each year Melissa throws a huge party for her daughter's birthday.  At least a hundred are invited, and very close to that hundred, if not more, attend.  She hires moon bounces, ponies, face painters all to entertain all these wee ones and often their older siblings.  She invites parents, grand parents, and extended family. 

Last year's party was a huge success. (Daughter in yellow, son in blue, and me in aqua).


Kids of all ages had fun.



This year's party in in the planning stages.  I had one question for daughter -- "Why so big?  Why so many"?  Her reply:  "When I was little I remember in regard to birthday parties, someone was always left out.  Sometimes it was me; sometimes others.  The ones left out always feel bad.  I swore that if I ever had children, no one would ever feel that way because of me."

And I guess that says it all.

Monday, March 10, 2014

And We Feared Computers Would De-Humanize Us

Well Tabor at One Day At A Time and Mage at Postcards have really gotten a lot of us thinking about why we write our blogs.  Me, too.  I began writing KATHY'S PEACE a few years ago because of the nudging, prodding, okay, downright harangue of one Cheryl at MyLadeda.  At the time I did it because of the novelty, now that I've left my classroom and all my wonderful colleagues, it's an important connection to me; a reminder that I'm not alone.

I don't post as many of you do - on a daily basis.  I wait until I have something to share.  And I must admit when I log on and see "comment awaiting moderation" I am overjoyed!  Pathetic, huh?  But it's true.  I wish I attracted more comments, but the ones I do get are profound and heartfelt, and I'm thankful.

Both Tabor and Mage have brought into question the effect their -- I guess all of our blogs --  have on others.  I think these talented scribes might sometimes overlook the fact that a kind word, an interesting photo, a crafted phrase have the effect of ripples on a pond.  Their pasts, their posts continue to change us all.  And more than this, we've all made friends -- people we would have never met.  Amazing...