11 Things To Achieve Greatness

  1. Learn a foreign language early in life
  2. Live abroad (we chose Germany) or travel often
  3. Attend schools abroad (we chose Germany)
  4. Start music lessons as children
  5. Be a role model as a parent
  6. Learn compassion, understanding, respect
  7. Get a good education; practice your faith
  8. Work hard at everything you do (school, music, sports, job, etc.)
  9. Work well with others
  10. Be a leader and be kind; speak truthfully.
  11. Love yourself, your family and others; smile

Each family has different values and expectations. We are no different.  We valued education above all else.  We valued learning a foreign language and  playing a musical instrument.  We valued travel and living abroad and learning to become a tolerant individual who was understanding of others.  We wished our children happiness in life and allowed them to choose what they wanted to major in when they attended college.  We let them choose their pathways in career choices.  There were many role models along the way:  a grandfather who was an MD; a grandmother and aunt who were both Registered Nurses; both parents and another aunt had achieved Ph.D. and law degrees and worked in education and science research.


Our son chose to major in business with a concentration in finance. He then selected a law school and is a lawyer today.  Our daughter majored in English, pursued a paralegal certificate and then decided to study nursing and doubled up with courses to become an RN and earn her B.S. degree in nursing at the same time.


We celebrate their successes along the way. Our son with a promotion and now our daughter an award at the hospital where she works.  Described by her colleagues as kind, professional, pleasant, compassionate and willing to help colleagues, she was further described as a strong nurse.


Pleased and proud of both of them, what parent could ask for more? Kudos for the spotlight on you, Emily, and lovely note from the CEO.  Bravo to you, Tom, for the promotion and being selected to attend workshops.  You are both our pride and joy, and we would have it no other way.  What you have become makes us very proud.  Happiness in life to both of you.



Posted in college education, education, Foreign Language Learning, hard work, leader, love, music lessons, role models, study abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Grand Like Nowhere Else

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Arizona With Heart 

go to the Red Rocks

go to Arizona

Arizona is hot

Arizona is dry

dry heat comforts

dry air means to hydrate

hydrate often

hydrate loads

loads of cacti

loads of red

red sidewalks

red dirt

dirt and copper

dirt and lizards

lizards dart

lizards play

play and shop

play and sightsee

sightsee Sedona

sightsee Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon via mule

Grand Canyon tour

tour Tlaquepaque

tour Oak Creek Canyon

canyon rivers wind

canyon roads climb


climb higher to Jerome

climb one mile high

high water cascades

high elevations

elevations with views

elevations with vistas

vistas with endless valleys

vistas with colors

colors of many hues

colors for the soul

soul yearns

soul fills with love

love the layers

love the blue

blue sky

blue water

water in the canyon

water flowing

flowing in my veins

flowing to my heart

heart and mind




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Posted in Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon, red rocks, Sedona, Arizona | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona



Awe-inspiring red rocks surround us.

Breathtaking scenes are everywhere.

This beautiful place is heaven on earth.

It is peaceful. Comfort to the soul.

A paradise for artists, poets and writers.

The vortex attracts us and monsoon rains

come and go. We came here for the beauty

and found satisfying eye candy and more.

Words cannot describe the feeling of

being at ease in Sedona. Refreshed and

renewed, we return to our “normal”

lives but with many lasting memories.

Tlaquepaque awaits and beckons us.

My soul bursts with joy at the red

earth, the cactus, magnificent sunsets

and with the knowledge that I shall

return soon. The red rocks summon

and offer peace and serenity.

Posted in Grand Canyon, red rocks, Sedona, Arizona, Tlaquepaque, traveling across the country | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

5 Things To Do This Summer




  1. Pack sandals, shorts, sunglasses, sunscreen and sun hat.
  2. Bring camera, iPhone or iPad and a good book or two.
  3. Travel to those longed-for destinations.
  4. Book that flight and plan the activities.
  5. Celebrate a birthday and celebrate life and family!



These next two weeks will find me on a trip to celebrate our daughter’s birthday. She let me pick the destination.  She has never been to Arizona, Sedona or the Grand Canyon so Mom selected her favorite place, the Southwest.  On a cool day, the temperatures hover between 105-110.  On a hot day, the temperatures can reach 120.

It is monsoon season in Arizona now. Most people don’t know about the monsoon rains, but they are fast and furious with big raindrops pounding down.  Arizona also does not observe daylight savings as does the rest of the lower 48 states.

No matter what your travel plans are this year, enjoy the journeys and take abundant photos to share back at home with family and friends. Gute Reise!  Bon voyage!  Have a great trip!


Posted in Arizona, birthdays, monsoons, traveling across the country | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

An Ocean Respite


Downtime, breathing space,

a change of pace – this was

reason enough for the short

trip to the ocean at Southampton.


Benches awaited us in the

sand. We sat, watched and

waited for each wave to

roll in from the distance.

Then up, up and over with

a crash along the beach.

Sounds of gulls in the sky,

boats, fisherman. Cares


floated away and into

the ocean. Again and again.

Then still our souls. Breathing

steady again. A sandpiper


walked past. The ocean accepted

our prayers, swept them away

leaving smooth pebbles with

each new wave. Savoring


the sights, sounds and

colors, we have replaced

cross words with smiles.

This respite has renewed us.






Posted in beach, boats, ocean, sand and waves | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Nostalgia for the Good Old Days

My story begins in Massachusetts where I was born. From age 5, I recall a smoke bush outside the window and playing all day long outdoors with my sisters and neighborhood friends.  There was a grand piano in the living room.  The house was purchased complete with furniture from two maiden aunts who died.  It was a great place without electricity and plumbing.  The house was probably built in the 1880s and indoor plumbing and electricity were not common.  Lest you think we used an outhouse, I’ll ease your mind by telling you that my father installed electricity and plumbing before we moved into the house on the top of a hill in Monson, Massachusetts.  It was a magical place for us.


Things I remember when I was a young girl included the following:

-we listened to the radio

-we had no television

-we had no car

-we had no computer, internet, wifi, etc.

-we played long hours outdoors in the neighborhood and only came in for a quick lunch

-on rainy days, we played imaginary games indoors, cards and created paper projects

-we picked blueberries

-we walked one mile down the road to catch the school bus

When we were sick and stayed home from school, we listened to radio plays such as The Lone Ranger on the radio complete with sound effects. The first time I viewed this program on black and white television, I sat holding on to the chair and frightened at some of the scenes.  At the time I was probably 7.  The phones were the big black rotary kind attached to the wall and had party lines or shared phones with neighbors.  It amazes me that my parents walked everywhere (grocery shopping, doctors, church) and only got a car with our move to Sturbridge.  My mother did not get a driver’s license until she was 35.  I waited until I was 19 because I saw no need since I could not drive at college.

M A age 20002

Still and all, we were not deprived. Our lives were rich and filled with adventures. We were happy and healthy and knew how important friends and family were.  We had a big garden with a variety of fruits and vegetables which later in Sturbridge, my mother canned for use during the winter months.  I watched my father chop and store wood for our fireplaces.  Sometimes, as a treat, we roasted marshmallows and baked potatoes in the fireplace.  We played board games and cards and later practiced piano.  Life was great.

We collected little frogs which jumped in the grass as my father mowed it with a manual mower. We saw our share of harmless snakes which to little girls seemed dangerous creatures.  Many hours were spent in the woods behind the house collecting Fall leaves which we pressed between sheets of wax paper and hung in the windows.  We also nibbled on wild blueberries and checkerberries.


Sometimes today, I wish for unfettered play for children. I wish the electronic gadgets were turned off , and kids explored nature.  When blueberries were ripe, we took little pails and went blueberry picking or better known as carrying pails mostly empty.  Instead we had blue mouths and fingers. We were happy in winter too building snowmen and getting bundled up in snowsuits to sled down the hills in our backyard.  I miss my mother’s blueberry and apple pies.  The big thing I wish for today’s children is less micromanaging by adults in their lives.  This includes less organized sports for very young children.  The old adage comes to mind:  Let children be children.

Grandma & Emily 19920001


Posted in blueberry picking, Massachusetts, Monson, MA, Nostalgia, unfettered outdoor playing | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Nature’s Entertainment


Living in suburbia with protected

wetlands nearby provides a myriad

of entertainment. Over the years we

have had strange, unexpected encounters.


The big fat frog in the flowerpot

or little bunnies scampering hither and fro,

eating us out of our vegetable garden.

Dancing deer eyeing the two apples


hanging on the trees and in an instant

gone. Not as easily seen as smelled are

the skunks. The talk of the neighborhood

was the rabid red fox in daytime.

Our front step provides shelter and

housing for the chipmunks. As he worked in the yard,

my husband mentioned a garter snake.

I don’t miss its slithering.


having grown up in Massachusetts with

them and larger ones in Colorado. Most recently,

our bird population has multiplied.

Nothing quite as lovely as birdsong.


If only I could speak their  language!

Birds are housed now in new abodes

which they seem to discover rather quickly.

Nature never disappoints. So much joy!





Posted in birdsong, deer, joy, nature, snakes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments