Flying Off Today!

Time for a visit South to spend lovely time with family.  Our son and his wife await me for a brief visit filled with hugs.

Mr. & Mrs. Parrot and beautiful flowers are courtesy of my niece in Costa Rica, Sally Rose Dolak.  Thank you so much for your sharp eye and beautiful photography.

Time to be silent until next week.  Until soon!

Posted in family visit in Florida, parrots, Sally Rose Dolak photography | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Time to Kick Back!

Now that the work is done,
it’s time for the inviting
bench near the beach.

Sitting and relaxing, I
watch the sunset
and listen to the

ocean and birds
in the early evening.
Stress flows from

me and takes flight
over the ocean’s waves.
Now calm encircles

Me. Worries have gone.
I am once more at
peace with the world.

Note: All photos in this blog post are courtesy of my daughter, Emily Catherine. Thank you so much for your constant inspiration to me and to others.

Posted in relaxation, stress, sunset | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you, Annika Perry (, for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. This  is a peer appreciation award given to bloggers who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.  What a lovely honor!  I am humbled.

The questions sent me to answer are the same to those I have nominated. Good luck to all.

What was the driving force behind the creation of your blog?

My blog was created after the publication of my book, a poetic memoir, A Past Worth Telling. My weekly blog covers similar topics as in my book about my life and places I have lived in and visited.

What was your vision for your future in blogging/writing when you first started this blog? How has that vision evolved?

 A storyteller at heart, I have always loved poetry and topics of peoples, places and life. As my life changed after retirement, I had more time to devote to my art forms and love to talk about family, ideas, music, languages and travel.

What age were you when you realized you loved writing?

 My recollection of the exact moment can’t be pinpointed but as a high school and college student, I delved into more writing and found great satisfaction and enjoyment from this form of communication.

How has your life changed as a result of the electronic age? Is it better/worse/the same?

YES. It is better/worse/the same. With new eras such as the electronic age, certain activities became easier and more enjoyable.  I recall typing my Ph.D. dissertation on a typewriter as well as editing the manuscript.  Everything had to be so precise and on 100% cotton rag content paper.  Imagine my dismay at the local copy shop when they refused to clean the glass top to the printer.  My manuscript was rife with stray black marks.  Refused by my university professors, I resorted going directly to the source at IBM and, after explaining my dilemma, the understanding employee said the local copy shop employee had been too lazy.  He had several large copiers at his disposal and after approving a sample page, he then copied my entire manuscript plus required copies at no charge.  At that point I decided that while technology can sometimes make our lives easier, it can also be the bane of existence.  When computers work, they are wonderful companions.  When systems are down, they are sore spots of contention.  I prefer never to rely solely on technology.  I still  love the good old-fashioned cursive writing or typing a manuscript and manually editing.  Great source of eye hand coordination and connecting with the brain.  I also have been known to write my poetry in cursive in various journals to later type into the computer.

What was the very last website you visited today?

 My niece Sally Rose Dolak lives in Costa Rica and blogs mainly her beautiful photography so I normally am eager to see what surprises she has in store.

If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?

 Probably I would have liked to travel more and perhaps get those degrees in Music and in Art. My childhood was a very happy one.

How would your life be different today if that one thing from your past were to change?

 Good question. I would have more food for thought and more stories to tell with photos to accompany them.

If you have children, tell me…how did your parenting change from the time you had your first child until the time you had your last?

 As an older mother and both children born 3.5 years apart, I would say my parenting changed with the second child. I personally didn’t care what experts or books said about the sleeping child.  We tried a crib with our son until he kept getting out by himself.  With our daughter, we had a family bed so I don’t recall that she ever slept in a crib.  I/we were more patient parents because we were older when they were born.

Tell me about the funniest experience you’ve had in the past month.

 Funny tasting coffee when I accidently added salt. Now I drink it black. ( Don’t ask how that happened.)

 What do you have planned for the upcoming holiday season?

 Travel to Florida to visit our son and his wife. And travel to Prague, Vienna and Helsinki this August with my talented husband and tenor.  We will be singing with the Berkshire Choral International at the castle in Prague (Dvorak’s Stabat Mater) which has been on our bucket list for some time.  (Happy Anniversary to Annika and husband!)

My nominees include the following who share inspiration in their blogs:

Sally at

Clare at

Andrea at

Bette A. Stevens at

Edward Roads at

Anne Mehrling at

Peter Klopp at

Mabel Kwong at

Walt Page at

Mary Clark at

Libby at

Note: Some of you may have award-free sites which is just fine.  Receive a smile and compliment from me.  Thank you to the blogging community in general!  What wonderful and interesting writers you are!

Note: Beach scene photo is courtesy of stellar photographer Emily Nemecek.

Posted in blogging, favorite bloggers, The Sunshine Blogger Award | Tagged , , | 31 Comments

The Language of Silence

Resigned and with a heavy heart, I sang
at Joe’s funeral today. Tears welled
up as the family placed hands
on his casket. I surrendered

to the moment, yet found courage.
My faith sustained me. At such
times, I realize I am there to serve
others. I can be a source of strength.

He was a young medical student whose
time on earth was cut short. A young
man of faith with a family of faith.
What will they do from here?

Focusing elsewhere I sang and prayed.
At such times, we need to reach out
and support one another. When will
the family find the energy of purpose again?

They will ask for eyes of faith.
Ask for peace and quiet. Hugs.
For now: silence. Prayers.
The language of silence.

They will support one another.
Serve one another. Pray together.
There is a reason we celebrated
Joe’s life. He has found the light.

What do they do from here?
Cry, pray, hug, breathe,
eat, work again. Play again.
Find the solace of silence.

Posted in finding solace, funeral Mass, solace | Tagged , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

How We Met

Intriguing how people meet
their life partners and choose
to marry. Luck and chance are
sometimes involved. Or fate?

Some choose to marry high school
sweethearts. Not in the cards for me.
I was in graduate school and teaching
at a university where my husband was

also a grad student. We had seen one
another from afar, mainly at soccer
matches. Then socially at a party where
many students were. We struck up a

conversation and had numerous ones
over the ten years of our courtship.
Graduate school and research
are sometimes long and involved.

Ours became a long-distance relationship
when my husband moved to a different
state to pursue grad work. I continued
my grad work. We managed many

trips and flights back and forth over
the years. Then his job after finishing
brought him to Upstate New York. We
continued our conversations. We married

in Virginia. Fate and choices intertwined
to weave our lives together. From our
vantage point, the views were spectacular.
Now older and wiser, we were more patient.

Being in the right place at the right time
worked for us. We shared similar values and
a faith. Time teaches us perspective. We
have had joys, sorrows, mistakes and magical

moments. The events of our lives shaped
us into who we are today. Neither of us
resembles our twenty-something selves,
but we have shaped each other’s values,

attitudes and tastes. Had we not met in
that place and time in grad school, our lives
certainly would have been different. Our
most important influence has been family.

Family stories are told of how people met.
My own parents met when both of them
were students in Boston. Had they not
attended the dance, they might never

have met even though both were from
towns in Massachusetts just a few miles
apart. Our habits and happiness have
a continuous kind of enchanting poetry.

Posted in chance, fate, long-distance romance, luck, Massachusetts, meeting our spouses, right time and place, Upstate New York | Tagged , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Making Bread by Hand!

Year six of 4-H foods was making
yeast bread from scratch by hand.
Dad watched me as I kneaded
the dough, pushing it four times
with the base of my hand and
finally rotating it quarter turn.

Sometimes I added flour to
the board to prevent sticking.
As I kneaded and rotated the
dough, I felt it getting smoother
and finally forming some bubbles
under the surface. About 5-6 minutes.

Lightly greasing the bowl, I placed
the dough inside and covered it with
a clean towel. After a couple hours,
I checked to see if it had doubled.
I punched it down again, divided into
two and put each half in bread pans.

Covered once more with a towel,
I allowed the dough to rise and
after it had doubled again, I heated
the oven to baking temperature. I
brushed the top of each loaf with egg whites
and put into the warmed oven.

The smell of fresh bread baking reminded
my Dad of the Polish bakery in Massachusetts.
I discovered so much satisfaction from learning
to bake bread from scratch. When it
was still warm, a slice with butter which
melted had a taste like no other!

M A age 20002

Posted in 4-H Foods Year Six project, allowing dough to rise, knead the dough, Polish bakery, Uncategorized, yeast bread by hand | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

New Days as a German Instructor

Holding books and papers in my arms,
enough for a class of thirty new students,
I entered the classroom, wide grin on
my face and eyes sparkling. I began

the new quarter as I was accustomed:
speaking only in German, greeting my
new students, gesturing with my arms as
I walked from around the desk.

All sixty eyes were focused in anticipation.
Making eye contact with them and showing
confidence, I continued telling them
how pleased I was they were with me.

Bulging eyes widened and met mine.
Glances and flinching of some in the
class. One tentative hand shot in the air.
A shaky, soft voice, hesitatingly spoke,

asking Are you sure you have the
right room and class? Verbalizing my
shock at discovering I was standing before
a class of Spanish and not German,

my face and ears flushed. I mumbled
something all the while wondering, this had been
my room last quarter. I gathered my books
drew in a breath and moved to the

German class. Why hadn’t I paid
closer attention to classroom numbers?
Overcoming my embarrassment, I began anew,
speaking in German and relieved.

I chalked this up to being a new college
instructor. Would anyone notice how
visibly shaken I was? The foible of
being the new kid on the block!

Posted in new German instructor, teaching a new quarter, university teaching | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments