Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 We Remember: Milton G. Bustillo

Milton G. Bustillo had a dream. The 37-year-old computer support specialist made his living as an employee of Cantor Fitzgerald, but he envisioned the day when he could open his own café and pastry shop. He and his new family had found an ideal home in Toms River, New Jersey, and were preparing to relocate in order to make his dream become a reality. On September 11, 2001, that dream perished with Milton when the World Trade Center in New York City was destroyed.

Born in Barraquilla, Columbia, to parents who were struggling financially, Milton learned about big dreams from his family. His mother, hoping to alleviate their economic hardship, migrated to the United States and worked as a cleaning woman. For several years the family saved money she sent back to them in hopes of being reunited. When the goal was finally met, Milton, his father, and his three siblings joined his mother in the U.S.A. The family settled in Palisades Park, New Jersey.

Milton was a teen when his family moved to New Jersey, but he quickly adjusted to American culture. He was calm and empathetic, a man who loved to play the guitar, bake in the kitchen, and who made friends with ease. His began his career at the World Trade Center with Cantor Fitzgerald in 1992 and it was there, in 1997, that he met Laura Spordone, his future wife. Their paths crossed during the company Christmas party held at Windows on the World, a restaurant located a few floors above the Cantor Fitzgerald offices, and soon they were inseparable.

With his beloved Laura, Milton began building a family, which included Dana, Laura’s 7-year-old daughter, and Alessandra, the couple’s 8-month-old daughter. Laura and Milton wanted to marry before the baby’s baptism, so they took their vows on August 17, 2001. It seemed that life was opening up before them, that all their dreams were coming true. They had each other; they had their wonderful daughters; they had the vision of a new home and a new business.

Less than a month later, on September 11th, Laura, Dana, and Alessandra lost their devoted family man. Milton G. Bustillo was killed at work when a passenger jet, hijacked by radical Islamic terrorists, slammed into One World Trade Center at 8:46 am.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

9/11 We Remember: Patrice Paz

Patrice Paz was intelligent and capable, the kind of  person who could solve work-place problems. And she was dedicated, throwing her heart into her career. But her heart found a different focus when, in 1994, she took a solo trip to Italy. During her visit Patrice met Rolando Paz , who was also touring the country. Romance blossomed and they were married just a few months after their encounter in Italy.

Although Patrice remained a dedicated member of the Aon Corporation, she was devoted wife as well. She and Rolando made their relationship a top priority. She would call him, without fail, at his office every day. Every evening he would pick her up at 2 World Trade Center where she worked.

On the morning of September 11, 2011, Patrice entered 2 World Trade Center as usual, taking the elevator up to the top floors of the skyscraper where her office was located. At 9:03 am, around the time when she would normally call her husband,  radical Islamic terrorists slammed a highjacked commercial airliner into the tower. Less than an hour later 2 World Trade Center collapsed. Rolando would never again be able retrieve his lovely wife at the end of the day. Patrice did not escape.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Help Lady's Good Samaritan


This is Lady. Lady was hit by a car; the driver just kept on going. A witness called Animal Control. Lady was taken to the county animal shelter, but her injuries were too severe for the shelter to handle. A kind vet tech who works at the shelter knew what fate awaited Lady, so she took her to a vet herself. Lady required surgery to repair her pelvis and the vet tech paid for it. Now Lady is recuperating at the vet tech's home. Once she is fully recovered, Lady will be available for adoption through the shelter.

The person who helped Lady doesn't make a lot money, so we are trying to help her with the cost of Lady's surgery.  Please hit the Chip-In button below to give toward Lady's surgery fees. Every little bit helps, so even if you can only give a couple of bucks, that will make a difference. Thank you for helping the helper!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Blueberries and Bears

blueberries yum bears run

Thursday, August 4, 2011

College for Dummies

insert it here

Wednesday, August 3, 2011



Tuesday, August 2, 2011


My daughter had a dental appointment down in Greensboro today, so I took the opportunity to check out a movie that one of my sisters recommended. I went to see Buck.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Sunflower Season


Thought I'd kick off the first day of August with a picture of our tallest sunflower of the season. Jesse is my sunflower girl; every spring she plants a variety of  seeds. We also get volunteers from last year's plants. Before the flower fully opened, the head of this sunflower almost touched the gutter. I wish I had taken a photo of that! But even with a fully developed head, this guy is pretty impressive. It's always fun to see what kinds of sunflowers will appear and which sunflower will reach for the sky.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Independence Day 2011


The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Jack's Corner


If you are ever in the Greensboro, NC, area and you want good food at decent prices, visit Jack's Corner Mediterranean Deli. The restaurant sits, appropriately, on the corner of Spring Garden Street and Aycock.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Next Half...

So half of 2011 is officially over. July has arrived, ushering in the second half of the year. I'm looking forward to the next few months and the activities they hold!

I have a daughter who will be celebrating her 16th birthday in July; can you believe it? She is so smart and beautiful and funny, but how can she be 16????? How can she be learning to drive a stick shift, talking about colleges, earning her own money, and buying her own stuff? Her special day is very close to our country's "birthday" so our festivities tend to overlap. Flag birthday cakes and fireworks in the evening. She is my jewel and she is growing up.

This month we will be participating in another family tradition: attending a Greensboro Grasshoppers game.  If you have never experienced an evening out at the NewBridge Bank Park you are missing out. The seating is affordable, the food is plentiful, and the silliness both on and off the field is a given! You just go with the flow and enjoy the fun. Oh yeah, there's a baseball game too.

Other things I'm looking forward to?

A trip to the US National Whitewater Center. We will insist that my 19 year old son  be our rafting guide when we brave the white water! It's his job, after all, and it's our job to embarrass him.

A drive to Virginia to visit my sister, and hopefully a trip to Fairystone State Park.

Participating in a memorial walk/run in September.

A night of watching the Greensboro Opera  perform "La Boheme".

A chance to take in a theatre performance in October as part of the "Free Night of Theater 2011".

An opportunity to see the Greensboro Ballet dance, perhaps their annual Christmas offering.

And maybe I will be lucky enough to listen to Bel Canto sing!

Monday, June 27, 2011



The Rockingham County Animal Shelter is located at 250 Cherokee Camp Road behind the Governmental Center in Wentworth, NC.

Phone: 336-394-0075
Shelter currently open to the public:
12:45 pm  to 4:45pm

 Please come out and adopt the dogs and cats available at the shelter!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Poke Redux

Remember these? 

A couple of months ago I posted pictures of the little poke army that was trying to take over the flower garden space in front of my house. I declared war on the unwelcome interlopers and proceeded to yank up any pokeweed that dared to spread it green leafy crown. I yanked and I yanked and I yanked...

Every time I went outside to do something, whether it was to take the dogs on their potty breaks or to work in the yard, I stopped long enough to evict yet another poke plant.

But the poke army is relentless.

Granted, I have stemmed the largest invasions, but I have not won the war. Still, I will soldier on. Perhaps, by fall, there will be no more little poke plants to pick. Perhaps. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What I Remember: Mrs. Cooper's Class

I remember this poem from 4th grade. Mrs. Cooper had a copy of it on a poster in our class.

The Eagle

HE clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The 1st Day of Summer


Just another day. 

WHAT is wrong with me????

I let a perfectly good reason to celebrate slide on by like yesterday's news. 

What happened to my "special occasion" skills? Where's my enthusiasm? My creativity?

Stick. Mud. Me.  


Monday, June 20, 2011

The Java House----Go There!

The Java House is conveniently located.


It has a warm and inviting decor. Not to mention a conference room, porch rockers, and wifi. On the weekends you can enjoy live music, all kinds! Bluegrass, jazz, acoustic, folk, country, pop, rock, blues, gospel, something for everyone. Or you can come to simply enjoy some quiet time, catch up with friends, or hold a group meeting. The staff is friendly and always helpful. The owner really cares about his customers.


Oh yeah. They serve coffee.

A mind-boggling array of coffee creations: espressos, iced coffees, French press, lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, mochas, frappuccinos,  and  cups of steaming hot specialty java, regular and decaf.

Or, if you crave something besides coffee, you can have:
hot chocolates, smoothies, floats, iced lemonade, hot and iced teas,  apple ciders,sodas, juices, bottled water AND
cookies, danish,  Carvel ice cream cakes, doughnuts, frozen concoctions, chips, and a wide variety of baked goods and light breakfast/lunch items

So, bring your friend, bring your book, or bring your dog, but


Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Great Pizza Debacle...

started off as the great pizza lunch. Last week Food Lion  had an excellent sale on Tombstone pizzas-- 4 for $10--so of course I bought four. Today as we drove home from church my daughter asked me the question, "What's for lunch?" A question, I might add, that I dread every single time. Why? Because the entire extent of my lunch planning generally goes something like this: Lunch time. What do we have? Peanut butter. Jelly. Bread. Ugh.

But wait! Down in the freezer a Tombstone pizza is just sitting around, waiting to be cooked. I know! We'll have pizza!

And so we did. Well, sort of. I slapped that bad boy in the oven thinking about how great it was that we could have a lunch for $2.50 and still have food left over. I pulled the bubbling pie out while congratulating myself on buying such a good deal. I continued to be happy about my cheap Tombstone pizza as I proceeded to slice it with my pizza cutter, until....

I created a pizza catapult. That's right, I flipped the darned thing! In my rental home I have almost no counter space and the counter top I do have is currently warped. My shiny pizza pan was resting on an uneven counter surface. When I enthusiastically rolled the cutter over the pizza, I was pushing down hard, and the pizza pan obeyed the laws of Newton and Murphy.  The pan rocked and freshly-cut hot steaming slices of pizza flew everywhere. On the counter. On the floor. On me.

At that point, I wasn't too concerned about the pizza on the counter or the floor because of the pizza on me. The 400 degree cheese and sauce splatted on bare skin and remained plastered there, burning, burning, burning.....

The skin on my left hand was being toasted! I needed to immediately run cold water on the burn.   Fortunately for me I was standing adjacent to the kitchen sink.Unfortunately for me, our dogs had heard the sound of food hitting the floor and, with Superman-like speed (faster than a speeding bullet, remember?) they had converged on the food/floor location.Normally I appreciate their enthusiasm and focus when it comes to cleaning up organic messes in my kitchen, but today wasn't a normal day. My hand was sizzling and I needed to get to the sink right then.  A Dane the size of a pony stood between me and cold watery relief while two little terriers scrabbled around my feet, threatening to trip me if I moved. So I resorted to that time-tested canine training technique---I bellowed.

I screeched, I hollered, I cursed. I howled invective at all my canines as I lunged for the sink, shoving dog bodies out of my way. Of course, faithful and sensitive companions that they are, the dogs just kept hoovering the pizza scraps, mostly oblivious to my pain and suffering.

So that is how my great pizza delight turned into the great pizza debacle. The dogs enjoyed their unexpected bounty, my daughter was able to salvage a couple slices for lunch, and I limped off to the bathroom to de-pizza pie pizzafy myself.

All that for only $2.50!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hanging Rock State Park

We like.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Susie's Law: Justice Served

 Meet Susie. In August of 2009, Susie, a pitbull/shepherd mix puppy, was beaten so badly her jaw was shattered, then she was doused with lighter fluid and set on fire. Somehow Susie managed to run away from LaShawn Whitehead, the person who had horrifically abused her. Two weeks later, a man walking his dogs in a local park discovered Susie. She was deeply burned over half her body, her ears had been torched off, and she was covered in maggots. She was barely alive.

Susie was rescued from the park and received top notch medical treatment while in the care of the Guilford County Animal Shelter. Amazingly, she survived her ordeal and was nursed back to health. Susie was eventually adopted by a Donna Lawrence, a wonderful woman. But what happened to Susie's abuser?

Nothing. Lashawn Whitehead eventually was found guilty of burning personal property--Susie--and because of the laws on the books at the time, he was given a suspended sentence and probation. That was the extent of punishment an animal abuser could receive.

A tidal wave of outrage spread across North Carolina, where Susie had been tortured, and spread across the region. Backed by concerned citizens, Donna Lawrence and Susie became the focal point of a campaign to change animal cruelty laws in North Carolina. Their efforts were rewarded when a  law was passed that addressed both animal abuse and neglect. The malicious abuse, torture, or killing of an animal became a Class H felony and a stiffer penalty for intentional starvation of an animal was enacted.

In June 2010  Donna Lawrence and Susie were  present when the new law, dubbed "Susie's Law" was signed by the governor. The penalties attached to Susie's Law went into effect in December 2010.

Susie was one of the lucky ones; she survived and is thriving under the loving care of  her owner. Across North Carolina countless animals have silently suffered and died due to cruelty, neglect, torture, starvation, and dehydration. Now and finally, their torment has a face and their plight has been witnessed.

And now, justice will be served:

When Science and Art Intersect...


Monday, June 13, 2011

Death of a House

It's so sad to witness the slow demise of an old home.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

James 1:27

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

I never get tired of...

bunny rabbits
beautiful sunsets

Friday, June 10, 2011

2 Corinthians

For we have this treasure in jars of clay...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What to say today

what to see today

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Exactly 3 Months

Today, June 8th, marks exactly 3 months until my 52nd birthday.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"It's never too late to be what you might have been."

"It's never too late to become who you might have been."

George Eliot?
Probably not.

Monday, June 6, 2011


What else is there to say? He captures the irony perfectly~

Sunday, June 5, 2011


When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice storms do. Often you must have seen them 5

Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells 10

Shattering and avalanching on the snow crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed 15

So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun. 20

But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter of fact about the ice storm,
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball, 25

Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them, 30

And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise 35

To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground. 40

So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs 45

Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May not fate willfully misunderstand me 50

And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk 55

Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Robert Frost 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

George Gray

  I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me --
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one's life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire --
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid. 

Edgar Lee Masters
Spoon River Anthology

Friday, June 3, 2011


Insert thought here. Don't have any.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


One of the seven deadly sins.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


So we have entered the sixth month of 2011.

My daughter's 16th birthday is a little over one month away.

(she wants a cheesecake birthday cake)

My 19 year old son will soon be guiding white water rafts at the U.S. National Whitewater Center:

And I will be trying to get my life together, as always.


Pray for me...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day: A Mother/Daughter Adventure

Today, on Mother's Day, my lovely daughter gave me a mother/daughter afternoon, all on her dime. She took me out to eat at my restaurant of choice for the day, Stake N Shake, then later in the day she treated me to  Coldstone. In between the early dinner and dessert, we enjoyed handbag shopping...well, okay, we enjoyed dickering over handbags because we couldn't find one we agreed on...and we made forays into Barnes & Noble and Old Navy. We also wandered all over the Friendly Center window shopping while we finished our ice cream.

Blue skies, good eats, and delightful company--thanks Jess!

Saturday, May 7, 2011



It's been one of THOSE kinds of days, so I need a reminder to let it go;  this, too, shall pass.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Seal Team 6

Thank you. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Apostrophe Redux


I have contacted twice about the errors in this article and still they remain, so I consider the errors fair game for a blog post. Notice the improper use of the apostrophe.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

The Undead, or Perils of Pokeweed Part 2


To recap, last year I sowed a packet of 'wildflower mix' seeds in a flower bed by my house. Unbeknownst to me this particular packet included pokeweed seeds. Where I come from pokeweed is considered an invasive noxious weed, and my opinion on the subject mirrors this attitude. So this spring, I mounted an attack on the original pokeweed plant still lurking in my garden. My first plan of attack was to dig out the old plant, taproot and all. Ha! Take that you cursed pokeweed! Ding, ding! Round one to me!
But wait--- pokeweed isn't so easily vanquished. I may have rooted out the original plant, but all its many berries fell around it. Even with the mother of all pokeweeds gone, the progeny lives on. They merrily sprout up all over my flowerbed in batches and bunches, virtual tribes of poke.
They cluster under my baby sunflowers and flock around the perennials that have begun to bloom. They march through the dirt, a little poke army, conquering by sheer numbers. They even send out hordes to hide amongst the blades of grass in a brazen attempt to overrun the yard.    

But I am merciless. I pluck, pluck, pluck every little poke I see. I pluck the tiny red stems one at a time. I pluck whole handfuls all at once. I yank them, dig them, fling them. Sure, there's some collateral damage when a tiny violet gets caught in the destruction or a desirable volunteer seedling is felled along with the invaders. It's the price I'm willing to pay. Guerrilla warfare, baby.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What a Wretched Man I Am!

"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7: 24-25

Lord, what a wretched woman I am! Every single day I fail to be the person I should be in you. I take one shaky step forward and stumble backward into the mud. My mouth utters blessings and curses, my heart is full of conceits and deceits, my mind strays from the righteous path like a stumbling drunkard. I am slothful, unmindful, hardened, unfocused, ungracious, and unloving--and that's before lunch!

Yet you love me anyway. You sent your Son to save me anyway. And  you tell me that your mercies are new every  morning. As long as the sun rises and I draw breath,  I have a new day, and in it, your tender care. What is man that you are mindful of him? Who am I that you are aware of me? 

Thank you these gifts--freely given, without strings. Thank you for the love that abides, forgives, restores. 
When I look at what I can accomplish, I feel so discouraged and defeated. Satan rejoices in my defeat. But when I ask you to help me, with your mercies new every morning, I feel a sense of wonder, even as I struggle. You have already won and Satan is defeated. 

Who will rescue me?

Thanks be to God--- I am rescued through Jesus Christ my Lord.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

George Louis Poudrier

My father, George Louis Poudrier, was born on April 24, 1926. He was raised in Quebec,Canada, Trois- Rivieres to be exact. I know so little of his family history or his childhood and I regret that every day. My dad died on March 11, 1997, taking his stories with him. As far as I know, all the people who could answer my questions about him are gone too.

He was a good man, in many ways a brilliant man, and underneath it all, a gentle person. He was also a suffering man who lost himself in a pharmaceutical maze that became his prison. That's part of who he was, but not the sole part. I only wish I had known him better, heard his story, written it down.

I lost my chance on March 11, 1997. If you have a mom or a dad who are still living, don't lose your chance. Their stories are far more precious than you can imagine.

Trois-Rivieres between 1900-1920
Ursuline Convent Trois-Rivieres
Two boys in Trois-Riviere around 1900-1920.

photos courtesy Mario Groleau

Easter 2011


Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again.  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ecce Homo: Good Friday


 John 19
       Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.  The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe  and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

      Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”  When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

     As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.” The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

   When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid,  and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.  “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

    Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
    From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
  When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.
   “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
  But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
   “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
   “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
  Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

    So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.  Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).  There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

    Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.  Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.  The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
     When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,
   “They divided my clothes among them
   and cast lots for my garment.”
So this is what the soldiers did.

    Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,”  and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

    Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”  A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.  When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

   Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.  The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.  But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.  The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.  These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced."

   Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.  He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.  At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.  Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Perils of Pokeweed


It started out innocently enough. I bought a package of mixed seeds designed to attract birds and butterflies and planted the seeds in an area around my shrubs. Little did I know that, among the desirable seeds, lurked an insidious invader. Pokeweed gained a toehold (roothold?) in my flowerbed.

Pokeweed prejudice is what I have, and I practice it without excuse. Pokeweed is, well, a weed-- a pushy, raggedy, gaudy weed at that. One tiny pokeweed seed quickly morphs into a monster tap root, thrusting branches willy-nilly in a bid to outgrow any plant in its neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Annie Get Your Gun


 "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better"

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