Home again…

I’ve been traveling…nothing new there, but this time I came home with a sore throat and pain in my ears.  I waited a few days and then went to my doctor who prescribed amoxicillin, and here I am at 3:42am, not feeling much better than I was three days ago.

I’m supposed to leave on Tuesday morning for Israel and I’m concerned that I might not be a able to.  I so want to go to Israel.  I want to walk where Jesus walked, perhaps even touch a stone or tree trunk or lean against a wall where He was.  I want to return to America healed of all of my infirmities.  How many people go to Jerusalem for such a desire?  I know that Jesus is everywhere, and yet I still seek him.  I want an encounter.  I want more of Him.  I never thought about Jesus that way when I was younger…perhaps it  is this darkening world that makes me yearn for more light.  I want to glow with love from Jesus.  To be kinder, more loving, more attentive, more like Jesus.

So if by chance you are also awake at 3:50 in the morning and see a light on in someone’s home, maybe I’m that neighbor and that’s what I’m thinking about.   May the Lord bless your days.

Waiting for my Back-Pack (serious post!)

While not blogging, I am traveling.  I was going to combine the two, but I forgot to.  A weak excuse for some but this time I was really glad I didn’t bring my computer, since we were the victims of a smash and grab in Oakland, CA and our backpacks were stolen. We were notified last week that someone found them ransacked and tossed and we are now waiting to receive the box with the backpacks and whatever the thief left behind.  The experience was unnerving and we felt quite violated.  I now have trust issues.  Just kidding, but I will be far more aware of what I carry with me and what I leave in my car!

Anyone traveling to Oakland, CA, please be aware that this type of crime has become incredibly common.  We were parked in a church parking lot attending a wedding reception in broad daylight.  There were video cameras and people around, including an outside caterer, and we never expected it…so please be careful.

Oops, it was my ADHD, or something like that…

Well people, it seems as if I forgot to keep blogging because there haven’t been any[dates…not that many people would notice as I haven’t got a huge following – yet!  But tonight my brother-in-law asked if I had been keeping my blog up (and he knew I hadn’t) and I gave about six excuses.  He accepted none of them and since I don’t want to disappoint anyone, here I am.  The final reason I gave was “because my hand shakes and I can’t type well with it” – to which my niece said, “No, you use dictation and we set it up that way for you!”, and I said “Exactly! Because I was dictating to my computer and I heard my husband come into my studio and this is what happened to my blog while I was dictating…SANDRA, WHERE ARE YOU?…no! stop talking! WHY DO I HAVE TO STOP TALKING? because I’m dictating my blog..WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THERE? Dictating I just said! I’m trying to write! BUT YOU AREN’T WRITING, YOU’RE IN THERE TALKING…WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO? I’m not talking to anyone, I’m dictating! Stop talking, you’re ruining my blog!! I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT I JUST WONDERED WHERE YOU WERE!  I’m right here – go away! WHY ARE YOU MAD AT ME?  I JUST WONDERED WHERE YOU WERE. I’m not mad at you. YOU SURE ACT LIKE IT.  I’M GOING TO WATCH TV IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE LIKE THIS.  Never mind. I can’t write now since I have to correct everything on the dumb page now.  I’ll come watch TV with you”

My brother-in-law was finally satisfied with this explanation and there you have it.  I’ll write tomorrow!  Dictation feature is now off.


Gardening with Groundhogs


It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything…with good reason.  I planted a summer garden as I do every year and since there has been plenty of rain, it is growing well.  Let me rephrase that…whatever has managed to grow despite the eating habits of groundhogs, is growing well.  I have several raised gardens that are waist-high for ease of weeding and I grow all my salad ingredients in those.  Over the years I have tried several varieties of bush beans, bush cucumbers, and small gourds – as you can imagine if you are a gardener, these types of veggies grow rapidly with vines and my raised gardens were soon overcome and dangling their fruit everywhere.  That was the beginning of my warfare with vermin…

I am a day-dreamer by choice and when weeding my garden I often slip into a memory that involves my full attention and therefore I no longer know that I am even pulling weeds.  This has resulted in, yes, you guessed it, pulling out my vegetable plants, but worse, touching things like beetles, worms, and prickly weeds.  Once, as I reached into a tangle of sweet pea pods, I felt something furry and immediately flung the furriness into the grass by the garden.  I cringe even now as I recall watching a small mouse shake itself back to life and stumble off to hide.  I naturally screamed.  I’m not fond of mice or snakes.  I washed my hands at least ten times after touching that mouse.  Ick!!

Snakes take part in growing a garden and although I recognize this on an intellectual basis, I have a problem being in the garden at the same time that a snake is visiting it. They are not reliable sources of mice control either as was evidenced in the last paragraph.   Suffice it to be known, the snake population has diminished since I have been living off the land here but there remains one four foot long snake that hides under my generator near the garden.  I know it’s there, but I scream everytime I see it and it slithers off – no doubt disgusted with me as well.

Yesterday, I proudly took my husband to see the wonderful growth of the garden and shrieked in total dismay when I saw that another culprit has decided to educate me as to the foibles of growing your own food.  My zucchini and green beans had been decimated by a woodchuck/groundhog…is there really a difference?  My heart was beating, my voice strident and angry as I exclaimed over the ravaging it had done.  I drove to the local Agway store and purchased a Hav-a-hart trap.  I could tell from the conversations that I had with the cashier there that I had little chance of catching it.  So far he has been right about that!

Today, I am going to throw in a few more goodies to entice the groundhog into his certain capture, but until then another friend has suggested using ammonia and pouring it into his hole.  I’ll keep you posted…




My “Pen-a-log” continues…

A startling day of rain, dark clouds, and the realization that I may have more than 300 writing implements filling old cups, dresser drawers, and baskets hidden under counters.  Since I have nothing else on my agenda today other than my “to-do” list, which I never “do-to”, here goes…


  1. Yuma Recycling Center in Yuma, Arizona.  A family owned (but now sold) business for 36 years.  My oldest brother started it and retired from it having processed every kind of metal, plastic, cardboard, and paper known to mankind through its gates.
  2. Stirling Castle in Stirling, Scotland.  I’m definitely keeping this pen since it looks like an arrow.  Actually I have several of them and could fill a quiver.  Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most historically important sites and deserves to be on everyone’s list of things to do when visiting.
  3. Duraflame.  This is a pencil and will be useful to start a fire.
  4. Comfort Suites.  Nothing memorable about this.  In fact, I’m kind of embarrassed to have the pen!
  5. The Rock Church.  Wow! Two pens from Yuma, Arizona in one batch!!  I attended this church with above named brother and another sister.  Great music and very friendly people who care.
  6. La Quinta Inns and Suites.  Clean.  I remember that much.  I think it was in New Jersey?
  7. Mel’s Diner in Bonita Springs, Florida.  50’s theme and crazy paddles to hold while you wait in a line too long.  The paddles have the names of bands and singers that were popular during the 50’s and early 60’s.  I feel old when I’m there because 1. There are usually retired people there and 2.  I recognize the names on the paddles. My favorite item on the menu is the Salmon Club sandwich.
  8. Town Place Suites.  Yes, I said I traveled a lot and on road trips this type of 3 star hotel comes in handy.
  9. Viejas Resort and Casino.  Located in Alpine, California and a half hour from San Diego, Viejas also has a great outlet shopping mall across the street – if you have any money left from the casino.  I usually start at the mall and then wander  into the casino, hoping that I find that one lucky slot machine that I missed the last time I was there.  I know you’re beginning to think that I also gamble a lot, but think about that…I couldn’t afford to travel that much if I did since I’m a loser!!!   Not in life, but certainly in a casino!
  10. BITE ME BBQ.  Seems to be an appropriate follow up to number 9.  This restaurant is in Wichita, Kansas and is absolutely mouth-watering.  More on Wichita later, I’m sure.

I’d like to throw this out also… (not my back, that’s why I started a blog!  I couldn’t move and needed something to while away my time while I stayed home)…if you see the name of a pen place that you’d like more info on, please comment.  I’ll share what I know!

“Penning” my story

Good morning.  By the time I finish writing this blog though it may well be into next week.  I travel quite a lot and I don’t necessarily collect normal souvenirs.  Sometimes I simply take the pens and pencils from hotels that I stay at or the restaurants I eat at and toss them into my suitcase. Consequently over the years, I have probably 300 pens/pencils in containers everywhere in my studio. I’ve been cleaning out a lot of of my acquired trinkets and the pens have definitely got to go. This blog will therefore begin the process of helping me to both clean out these items and remember the places that I have been. It will therefore be a totally disorganized travel log which I will refer to as my “Pen Time Memories.”

CLUSTER 1 (scientifically referred to as a “grab sample):

  1. A Pinocchio pencil with a bobbing head on a spring.  That was in the village of Collodi, Italy near Florence.
  2. An “I Love New York” pencil.  I live in upstate New York and love the beautiful mountains and valleys up here and enjoy going to the city for their museums and plays once in awhile, mostly when I have company from another part of the globe and they want to venture into the city.
  3. Ah…The Inn at Mayo Clinic.  It’s a Marriott operated Inn, located and adjoined to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.  It is incredibly convenient for early morning lab work and MRI’s, etc.  Once parked and checked in, one never has to leave the building, rain or shine.  On site restaurants and in room kitchenettes.
  4. This one reads, “My Lucky Pen” from the Barona Casino in Lakeside, California.  I do not recall ever being lucky there but their food is excellent, accommodations very comfortable, and I love it when their casino employees form a line and sing, dancing their way through the casino and giving out lots of $5 and $10 dollar bills…which you promptly put back into the slot machine that you just lost $100 in!  Fun!!
  5. The Hampton Inn.  Always a safe bet when I’m on a road trip.  The beds are super comfy and their coffee is great!  If you’re not happy for some reason, the management always makes it right.
  6. Capital Region Upright MRI.  Located in Latham, NY, this is definitely an easier option for MRI’s.
  7. Lexington Vacuum Cleaners.  Haven’t a clue where this came from!
  8. Homewood Suites.  Also by Hilton.  Beds are not as comfy as the Hampton Inn but it’s a great place to stop on a long road trip to do your laundry and if you have children with you, usually you can get a 2 bedroom suite with a kitchenette.  There are also nightly dinners held in the common area of the hotel at their restaurant.
  9. TD Bank.  Always pleasant and helpful.  Located on the northeastern side of the USA with a few branches in Florida.
  10. Esplanade Zagreb.  A luxury hotel in Zagreb, Croatia.  Their breakfasts were exquisite.  The rooms beautiful.  The bed very very firm.  Location wonderful.

Was that painful?  It’s amazing that I grabbed only 10 writing implements!  I think that going forward I will always do only 10.  So now, I will choose to keep only the Pinocchio pencil to give to a child and the Zagreb pen to keep.  It’s quite heavy and writes well.  I’m sure I paid dearly for it!


“Is this normal?”

Today it rained and I made a list of all the household things that needed to be done, both outside and inside.  Obviously I couldn’t do the outside things because it was raining, so I made that list really long.  I also know it is going to be a very rainy week so I even added a few things that I’d never do.  For some strange reason the list gave me a huge sense of satisfaction in a job well done.  I stuck the list on my “to do” pile and looked around my studio for something new to do.

I’d like to take a moment to describe my studio.  It is quite large, 20′ by 30′, cathedral ceiling with windows on the West, North, and South sides.  On the side without windows I have a built in bookcase with cabinets below.  Crammed full…but that’s another story.  I also have a coffee pot and cabinets, and a large stainless-steel sink for my many art projects.   My studio is set up with comfy seating on one side and my work space on the other.  Supposedly I am to create masterpieces of one kind or another, but to date, other than my lists, I’ve created next to nothing.  I do, however, have a lot of unfinished masterpieces.  I’m hoping that by sharing my life with anyone who wants to read along, that I will be encouraged to write, paint, and create.  Feel free to suggest, critique, and be my neighbor in this venture!

Referring back to my title today, my nieces and a nephew stopped by to help me with “computer stuff” and I heard my older niece exclaim to her brother, “GUESS, just GUESS, how many emails Aunty has!!!”  She kept looking at my phone with amazement on her face.  My nephew, half paying attention, glanced up and said what he thought would be a crazy number.  “3,000?”

“No.”  (I felt it was a very harsh “NO!”- at least that’s how I heard it…)

This response from his sister brought him to full attention and he turned to look at me.  I shrugged my shoulders.  His sister said, “Try 24,589.”

All eyes were on me.  I smiled and countered with, “Well, actually, there are more like 54,000 because every time my emails overwhelm me, I just get a new email address.  I can start fresh!  Isn’t that normal?”

Their eyes met and exchanged looks that only had meaning to them.  When they left after dinner, I furtively erased at least 60 emails. 😔