Archive | September 2015


Thank you, Mahek Mithare, for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger Award.  I am honored.
Do check out Mahek at
You are sure to find interesting, amusing and thought-provoking articles there.
Next, I nominate the following bloggers:
Rules are:
*Thank the person who nominated you
*Nominate seven other bloggers and let them know that you did.
*Share seven random things about yourself.
7 random things about me
I like to cook…basic, natural foods
I play piano, dulcimer and guitar
I live in a small town and really enjoy it.
If asked what my favorite flower is, I’d have to answer with a very long list.
I am fond of dark chocolate  and goood coffee
Autumn is my favorite season of the year
I have a cockatiel named Oliver, who scolds the cat when she misbehaves..and she minds him!




“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
Albert Camus


My front yard used to be known as the neighborhood weed patch.  The year after I moved into this place, I turned it into a garden, so I call it my “yarden.”


This year, we had just the right mix of warm weather and spring rain, so the yarden really flourished.  Umm, that includes the weeds.


For the first time in the three summers I have had the yarden, there were also lots of bees.  I had some last year, but nothing like this growing season.  They started early, in the chive blossoms, and have increased in number as plants have come into bloom.  I bet their honey is

plenty spicy:  They have especially frequented the rosemary, oregano and basil.  They also like the strawberry patch, melons, cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.  Hollihocks caught their attention, as did the bee balm.


One day, I was planning to dig up some button weed.  When I got out there, however, it was full of bees, so I left it.  I also discovered that they like dandelion blossoms.


All of this has inspired me to think about a bee friendly place as I develop the yarden even more.  I can’t say I am happy about leaving weeds; so I am searching for the right ground covers and plants to add.  I will leave some of the bees’ favorites, even if they are not my idea of “desirable”, until I find good replacements.  I have also found instructions for making a bee bath.
I invite suggestions.  Are there things that you have noticed the bees really liking?  I live in zone 6:  Our coldest temperatures can be as low as -10, though that doesn’t happen all that often.



I have often told my pastor that I feel like a tiger, trying to masquerade as a house cat.

With that in mind, here is my poetic advice for how to tame a tiger:

Don’t pull her whiskers
Or ruffle her fur;
Give her plenty of treats
That cause her to purr.
Find ways to compliment,
That delight and please her;
Avoid words and actions
That might hurt or tease her.

Give her what she wants;
Let her have her own way,
At least let her think so,
Or for sure, you will pay.
If you must correct her,
Speak words with loving care;
Tell her she’s doing well;
A tiger great and rare!

She really is  soft,
But won’t let you think so,
Till she knows that it’s safe
So her courage can grow.
With a little patience,
Some compassion and wit,
You’ll tame your pet tiger…
At least a little bit.


There is some etiquette for people to know when they approach an elder or person with a disability.

“Why should I be concerned about that?”

I’m so glad you asked!

I can think of at least two reasons:
*Sooner or later, you WILL be one of us.  You’ll either advance in years to the point that you’re and elder and/or you will lose abilities, until you are considered to be disabled.  Remember the Golden Rule – Treat others as you would like to be treated.

*When you practice such things as honor, courtesy, kindness, compassion and understanding, you create a beautiful atmosphere.  Again, these qualities will come back to you because you planted their seeds.

So then, this etiquette starts with a couple of attitudes:
1.  “I honor everyone I meet as a person first.  I do not let age or ability lessen their status in my eyes.”
Have you ever stopped to consider what makes a person?  Is it limited to doing or ability; is there more to us than that?
I say there is.  We are spiritual beings with souls; we love, create, hope, build, think feel, perceive and so much more.
To be reduced to ability or doing is a profound insult.

2.  “When I meet anyone, including someone who is older or a person with a disability, I don’t assume.”
I often have people act as though I am hard of hearing and cognitively challenge because I can’t see.  They talk more loudly, if they address me at all, speak in tones that might be used for small children or ask about me in my presence.  The truth is, I hear very well and am quite capable of intelligent conversation.

I have watched well-meaning people humiliate an elder in much the same way, physically putting him or her into a chair, speaking far louder than necessary.

Truthfully, people make assumptions about others all the time.  Usually, they are supposing that this person or that can perform given tasks.  In the case of elders and people with disabilities, the assumption is that we can’t.

So what would happen if we stop guessing altogether?

If you meet someone who can’t see, lay down all of your notions about who he or she is and what lack of eyesight might mean in terms of abilities.  It’s perfectly fine that you don’t understand.  Get to know the person first.

When you meet an elder, remember this is a person with a story and possibly some words of wisdom.  Show him or her the honor that is deserved.

Now for some practical etiquette:
1.  When you are first meeting a person who can’t see, say your name.  Think of it as being like a phone conversation:  You introduce yourself so whoever is at the other end of the call knows who you are.  Once that person recognizes your voice, you no longer have to identify yourself.

2.  Unless you are asked to speak up, please talk at normal volume.  This not only applies to conversations with people who are blind, physically challenged or aging, it also includes those who are  hard of hearing or deaf.

3.  Speak in the same tone and manner that you do with other adults.  Nobody likes to be condescended to.

4.  Let others take the lead in determining what they like and what kind of help they need.  If you are asked to assist, let the person direct you.  I have known plenty of people who were injured because someone insisted on doing things his or her own way.

5.  Let courtesy and respect be your guides.  This is a good rule for meeting all people, regardless of how “different” they may appear to you.

6.  You might notice that I use the words, “people” and “person” a lot.  This is deliberate.  A pet peeve of mine is phrases such as, “the elderly,”  “the blind” or “the poor.”  We are not inanimate objects or projects; we are as human as the most capable, wealthy, prestigious ones around.  This goes back to the first attitude above.  Approach people who are observably different with integrity and openness; be pleasantly surprised by the friendly response you receive.

7.  Relax; be yourself.  Hmmm, this would be a good approach for meeting all people, don’t you think?


631_little_old_ladiesI was talking to a friend who lives with her mother so that she can assist her.
One of their regular outings is to the local senior center, where her mother, whom I will call Anne, is among peers and has the opportunity to visit.
My friend was telling me that a number of people have started approaching her without addressing Anne at all.
How sad.  This 99-year-old woman has had a lifetime of working, volunteering and serving the community.  She is intelligent and well-informed.
She has a hard time hearing these days, so one might have to repeat things, but once Anne gets it, her answer will be good.
When people address her daughter, they miss out on pleasant conversation with her; Anne misses the pleasure of interacting with friends.
How rude:  Anne is still a whole person.  Being left out is dishonoring and demeaning.  My friend says that Anne has left the gathering feeling hurt on more than one occasion:  Something that doesn’t need to happen.
Anne is by no means alone in her experience.  My late nephew, John, called me two years ago when his parents and he were at a family reunion.  He felt so hurt because people either didn’t acknowledge him or talked down to him.
I myself go through this on a regular basis, at stores, restaurants, Church, family gatherings and just about anywhere people are together.  I have learned to cope with this unpleasant experience by staying away or advocating for myself whenever possible.  Sometimes, I simply have to let it be and concentrate on the people who include me.
I have learned that this is not wrong with me or even about me in the first place.  IT is about people’s own fears, discomfort, assumptions and yes, prejudice.  I understand this all too well, and I don’t accept it as all right or necessary.  People are capable of learning and maturing.
We are all far more alike than we are different.  We all want to be accepted and included.  Even people with the most severe disabilities among us perceive and feel.  I cringe when I hear family members or care givers talk about the person who has the disabling condition in that one’s presence, especially when their words are disparaging.  I think of someone I know who runs a group home for people with developmental disabilities:  She told me that one young woman can be such a nuisance, while that person was standing beside me.  On another occasion, I had a family member thank me for letting my sister stay with me, while my sister was standing right in front of us:  Dishonoring and uncomfortable.
There are people I know, who greet me as an equal and treat me with dignity.  They don’t seem to need a lot of time to get past my visual impairment.  Instead, they speak to me directly and expect an
intelligent response. One example of this would be a sales person with whom I did business yesterday.  He spoke to me; he answered my companion when appropriate.  I spent a nice amount of money at his store.
If you are more like this gentleman, you can be a great deal of help to any of us who are at the receiving end of attitudes and actions that push us away or down into the “less than” place.  First, you are wonderful models, which make you powerful advocates.  Next, if you can redirect or coach people without condescending to the elder or person with a disability, please do.
So what can be done if you find yourself among those who act in fear, discomfort and assumption?

First:  In all honesty and without shame, start with your own struggle.  You likely have no idea about what it is like not to see or hear.  That’s okay; in fact, I don’t expect you to understand, since that is outside of your experience.  You do know what it is like to have interests, feelings and treasures that you would like to share with others.  You know what positive connection feels like and how to offer that as you interact.
You do want to be accepted and included.  You know what it feels like to be put down or left out:   Such occurances are common to each of us.
When have you felt most honored?  What was that like?  How could you share that with people around you?
When do you feel best about yourself, especially in relationships? How can you build on that?
What gifts do you have to offer?
How willing are you to receive from people around you, even when they seem to be quite different?
The real cure, after all, is to know and love yourself so that you can reach out to others and be open to who they are.


Start with cucumbers
And a good recipe
Then anticipate
How delicious they’ll be.
Get out vinegar
And pickling spice,
Turmeric, garlic;
Dry mustard is nice.


Peel and slice onion;
Make sure it’s very thin;
Maybe some peppers,
Red, yellow and green.
You might want some dill
Perhaps celery seed;
Just be sure you have
Everything you need.


Once you have them made,
You can put them away
To brew and season
Till some winter day
When they’ll taste so good
With sandwiches and such;
On top of burgers
To add a nice touch.


Then there are pickles
Of the unwanted sort
That leave one frustrated,
Irritable and short;
They’re not for eating
Or enjoyment you see;
But a messy plight;
A big quandary.


These kinds of pickles
Are obviously not sweet;
I prefer the ones
Meant for us to eat.
So get out the cucs
The vinegar and spice
To make the real things;
That’s my best advice.