Hurricane Irma – A “What if?”

Just 22 months ago, I was walking the streets of St. Thomas and St. Maarten, as our family joined together on a cruise to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. I’ve been in tears the past couple days, seeing the devastation of places I recognize and connect with so many special memories and people we met on the islands. It’s so difficult to truly imagine what they must be going through, and with so much destruction in Texas, the islands, what ever is about to happen in Florida… and now a serious earthquake in Mexico… so much help needed in so many places! It’s absolutely overwhelming.

So I’ve come up with a wonderful idea.

Today in my email, I received a badly timed ad from Holland America suggesting I might like to go on a nice little cruise to St. Thomas and St. Maarten in a month or two. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really think they are going to be up to having visitors in the near future. However, many of these islands depend on tourism as their primary industry. And if you look at the cruise itineraries, it’s clear to see that it’s a symbiotic relationship, especially during winter in the northern hemisphere.

So, what if?

What if each and every cruise line that sails the Caribbean would donate one big ship for the space of maybe 2-4 weeks to help out? Each could sail with about 1000 volunteers, rounded up from their own employees, passengers, mailing lists, social media… people who are ready, willing, and able to work at cleaning up, repairing, and rebuilding? Each ship could choose a port and arrive with 1000 volunteers who won’t need housing on the devastated island. Once on the site, the remaining rooms could be filled with local people who desperately need food and shelter. During daylight hours, the able-bodied locals, any spare crew, and the volunteers all work toward restoration, and at night they are able to return to the ship for meals and accommodations. Food would not need to be “normal” cruise fare. In fact, most of the ships we’ve been on lately serve a perfectly good buffet for all three meals, which would be quite adequate.

This seems like a win win win situation. Locals would have safe temporary housing and much needed help, and hopefully a much more livable and visitable town after a couple thousand people have worked there for a few weeks. The cruise line would have built good will both with the island and former and future passengers, as they surely would receive major media coverage, as well as tooting their own horns via email to their entire customer base. Additionally, they would be that much closer to having a favorite stop ready again for “company.” Volunteers would have the opportunity to help in a much needed project, feel fantastic about their contribution, and get a “free cruise” so to speak, as they worked hard by day, but were able to relax at night in a safe and secure environment.

I’m sure that in this day and age, there are regulations that would have to be dealt with, and it would require someone with skill and vision to make an operation like this happen, but no one can convince me that it’s something that could not be done if the right people wanted badly enough to make it happen. So, Holland America, Princess, Celebrity, Carnival, Disney, Norwegian, and all the rest of you, how about it?

Published in: on September 9, 2017 at 5:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Do Over

One of my biggest goals at the beginning of this year was to get back to blogging. I have really missed it! Then this year actually happened, and it started out with a bang. I’m the person who never goes to the doctor, but by the end of May, I did the math and realized I’d sought the help of a medical professional on average of once every 8 days. What a jolt for the person who only had an optometrist when the year began to suddenly have a whole list of medical phone numbers in her contact list! I’d also packed my suitcase for a trip on average of once every 21 days – which, admittedly was a lot more fun than all those medical doings. ;o)

Hmmm… I think I know why I didn’t start blogging – or accomplish much else – during the first half of the year…

As June began marching by, I decided I needed a do over. 2015 had to this point been far from the respite I needed after struggling with 10 deaths close to me, 2 more incidents that came very close to making it 12, and 9 trips in 2014. What if I tried to start fresh on July 1? Seemed worth doing, so I did a modest restart, and I’m happy to say that in at least some ways, it’s been a good thing. Life isn’t ever perfect, it would appear (only took me how long to come to that conclusion?), but so far the back half of this year is going a good bit better than the front half did. What a relief!

One huge goal is to be back here somewhat regularly. No magic wand is going to do catch up for me, and so much has happened since I was writing regularly… I’ve been wondering how I could ever find my way back into feeling comfy in my own blog with so much missing, and I’ve come to the conclusion that, like me, it’s just going to be a little different, at least until I get settled back in. I also thought maybe a quick summary would help me get my sea legs. To that end…

Things that are still the same:

  • I still knit – a LOT! (despite what the counter says on my sidebar)
  • I’m still spinning – but not enough
  • I still love my dolls, though my primary focus has shifted a bit
  • Remodeling is still a slow, but ever present entity
  • Clutter is still an ongoing problem
  • I’m still sponsoring Compassion children – though my little crew has increased a good bit 🙂
  • I’m still fighting to have enough hours in a day – and days in a lifetime, actually…
  • I still need to lose weight… again…
  • I still have a slightly off kilter sense of humor 😉
  • I’m still reading lots – but not likely to make my 100 book goal again this year due to “some” binge watching of YouTube offerings
  • My immediate family is still intact
  • I still believe that no matter what it may seem like at any given moment, God’s still in charge of it all
  • And my BFF is still just that! 🙂

What’s new:

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Permanent vision damage
  • Weaving much more seriously – though not enough, IMO
  • Studying Spanish in a deliberate manner
  • Practicing Irish whistle and bowed psaltery (Christmas gift from daughters) consistently
  • I’m an Apple girl now – computer, iPad, and phone
  • Geocaching
  • Pathtags (son of geocaching…)
  • Reborn babies
  • Sticker charts

What’s gone:

  • Several treasured friends have passed away
  • My father-in-law also left us at age 91
  • We now have only 2 cats, having nursed the others through their last days over the past couple years, single-handedly supporting our veterinarian in the process
  • My sweet Reya pup is also gone after being our faithful companion for 17 years
  • Several previously dear friends are no longer part of my life
  • Ten 30-gallon garbage bags full of clothes my daughter helped me weed out of my wardrobe during a grueling weekend – possibly the best birthday gift I’ve ever received! (Not to mention it’s the only thing on the “what’s gone” list that I’m actually glad is gone!)

Okay… Onward and upward!!!

Published in: on August 5, 2015 at 10:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Savannah Smiles???

I’m really hoping someone can help me out here. Hubby bought me a box of Savannah Smiles Girl Scout Cookies for a “treat” yesterday. He knew it was only second best, as I’ll never get over the loss of my beloved Lemon Pastry Cremes, but he was trying, and for that I give him credit.

So anyway, I opened the box – or rather ripped the top off the box, as it was glued so tightly it simply wouldn’t open gracefully, pried open the bag and looked at the cookies inside. They don’t look like the cookies on the front of the box. They don’t even look that appetizing, nor do they look like I remember Savannah Smiles looking a couple years ago when he last treated me. These look a bit shriveled, but my big concern is that they have these brown patches through them between 1/8th and 1/4″ and when not covered with sugar, rather shiny. Not to be disgusting, but they remind me of beetle wings.

Not looking like the box pic...

Not looking like the box pic…

I tried contacting Little Brownie Bakers, but their contact form just gave me an error message. Bummer!

Does anyone know what’s up with the brown spots? Do all Savannah Smiles have these now? Do they all look like mine? I’m oddly averse to eating them until I know for sure!

Please, someone come to my rescue!

Published in: on March 9, 2014 at 9:48 am  Comments (1)  
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Shame on NBC!

Have you been watching the Olympics? For someone who doesn’t otherwise watch television, it’s always a bit of a culture shock to have it blaring for hours every evening during the Games while I knit frantically on whatever I’m doing for Ravelympics er… the Ravellenic Games. It’s tough not to be moved by so many people who have put so much heart and soul into something they love, and I’m the probably rare American who can root loudly for athletes wearing something other than those weird Ralph Lauren sweaters Team USA was sporting at the opening ceremony. Show heart and have a great back story, and I don’t much care where you were born; I love heart wherever I see it. However, I digress…

What shocked me this past evening was the editorial presented by Bob Costas – that one about the Ukraine. It started out sounding like a good human interest piece, but it disintegrated into a political attack on Russia and Vladimir Putin. No, I’m not wearing blinders regarding the political situation, but there is a time and place for everything, and this was neither. In the opening ceremonies, there was a clear and distinct call from the International Olympic Committee to keep politics out of the Games. For these 16 days and within this venue, the plea was to let the focus be only on the incredible skills of this worldwide gathering of champions.  Much to the shame of Bob Costas, as well as NBC for allowing it, that line was more than crossed, and in prime time programming.

I’m thankful to live in a country that allows freedom of speech, but having that freedom doesn’t negate the need to be honorable. Where is the honor in the primary voice this fortnight of the Olympics in the USA bashing the host country within the confines of the broadcast of the Olympic Games? Would he, being invited into someone’s home for dinner, boldly diss the host during dessert? There are just things honor doesn’t allow, and Friday night, Costas crossed that line. Shame on you, Bob Costas, and shame on NBC!

Published in: on February 22, 2014 at 7:58 am  Comments (2)  
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Rainbow Bridge

Just a short post to say that sweet, shy Smokey Jo quietly crossed the Rainbow bridge at about 1:30a January 27, 2014. One of the three kittens gifted to us by Inky in 1998, her tough appearance led us to first identify her as a male. Once we straightened that out and our younger daughter convinced Daddy to let her stay with us instead of becoming a barn cat, she became a much loved part of our family.

Smokey was the very definition of “Fraidy Cat.” The first time we brought a Christmas tree into her world, she disappeared upstairs, where she remained for the next month, forcing us to install food, water, and a litter box to our second level. Whereas her brother, Tyg, would rush to meet visitors at the door, no one EVER saw Smokey. That would include the folks who cared for our pets when we travelled. We received more than one panicked call from caretakers who were greatly concerned that she’d gotten out or died, which was never the case, of course. Smokey would no sooner have slipped out of the house than I would jump off a 200′ cliff.

Despite her fears, Smokey adopted our 55 pound dog as a second mother. I’ll never forget Reya’s agonized expression the first time this tiny gray furball snuggled up for a nap, but over time the adoption became a two-way agreement, with Reya also taking over the job of cleaning Smokey’s ears. Most of Smokey’s final days were spent curled up beside Reya on the dog bed that our cats occasionally allow Reya to use.

Smokey’s other distinction was being our premier – and actually only – biscuit maker. None of our other cats has ever held a candle to the kneading that little gal subjected our laps to when she decided to settle in for a nap. She spent countless hours napping on my lap while I did my computer work, doing wonders for my ability to stay on task. It’s oh so hard to boot a sleeping kitty off my legs!

Smokey’s last few years brought many visits to the vet as she battled thyroid problems she inherited from her mother and shared with both her siblings. Her lifelong problem with her sinuses developed eventually into an infection that we just could not beat, and after a valiant struggle, her little body had just had enough. It was time for her to leave. Although we miss her greatly, it’s a relief that she’s no longer in pain. And it’s nice to picture her reuniting with her mom and brother in a world beyond.

Published in: on January 28, 2014 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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24 months and more in review…

It may not look like it, but I really do love my blog, and I really miss blogging regularly! Oh, to be able to publish blogs straight from my brain without the necessity of finding time to actually type them out… I’d really love to catch up by posting all the blogs I’ve written in my mind, share all the amazing (both good and bad) things that have been keeping my life anything but dull, but of course, the reality is that if I didn’t have time to write about them over the past two years as they happened, I’m never going to have time to catch everything up now. And maybe it doesn’t really matter. I mean, do you really want to know  all the details about what was happening in my life two years ago?

That’s what I figured. 😉

So, I’m going to do a capsule summary and share more about stuff if it happens to be germane to a future post. With no further ado and in no particular order…

Yes, despite what the sidebar shows, I’m still knitting and spinning, though especially in 2013, my production was dramatically down. Why does time have to be so finite? Maybe I’ll be able to share some of my favorite finished projects with you in the future.

I’m also now weaving somewhat seriously instead of just dreaming about it a lot. 🙂 I’m loving it and sure wishing for more time! I’ll share some of what I’ve been making in future posts. I still have to take pix – when I find the time…

I was introduced to Geocaching in January of 2012. I took to it like a duck to water, and though he didn’t fall headlong quite so quickly, hubby eventually caught the bug, too, making it the one hobby we enjoy together. In my first two years, I’ve cached in 11 states and over 125 counties, and am approaching my 2000th find soon. I will add that this winter has been brutal for geocaching, and I’m really glad that I completed my 1 year streak, finding a geocache everyday for 366 straight days, last spring instead of doing it over THIS winter! Whew! In addition to hunting caches, I’m really enjoying placing them when I can find the time. My favorite placements are the puzzles I’ve created, and this past Saturday, my most recent one, Alley Cats, was published just after the caching event I hosted. Like so many other areas of my life, my ideas far exceed the time I have available. I probably have another year’s worth of puzzle ideas queued in my head!

A fellow cacher introduced me to pathtags about 2 months after I found my first geocache, and another addiction was born. I’m waiting for delivery of my 30th design right now and have several more in the works. That doesn’t count all the designs bopping around in my brain.

I finally got to Wisconsin for the first time in my life last June. Beautiful state! I can’t wait until we can go back again for longer. One step close to Bucket List item of visiting all 50 states…

By some miracle, we made it clear through 2013 without a death in the family – primarily our furry family being the concern. With 4 chronically ill pets on a total of 7 for-the-rest-of-their-life prescription meds, and the dog now being nearly 5 years over her life expectancy, we never dreamed we’d still have the entire menagerie into 2014. That’s about to change, though, as sweet, timid Smokey Jo is bravely padding her way toward the Rainbow Bridge as I type this. Her little body is just too tired to go any longer, so she’s going to join her brother, Tyg, probably within hours. As sick as she’s been, I thought this loss would be easier. I was wrong.

Another loss that wasn’t so easy to bear was the death of my sweet, stubborn father-in-law. He lived 91 really good years and 19 really lousy days, blessed in both, we feel. His death hit me far harder than I ever imagined, and though I wanted to blog a eulogy for him, I found myself totally unable to actually put it into print. Honestly, that was when I really slipped out of regular blogging – and many of my regular life activities. (I’d hate to tell you how many thousand unread emails my inboxes are currently harboring, and I just can’t seem to catch up…)

I discovered Megapolis and HayDay – probably mostly to my detriment, but such fun…

I also discovered Craftsy. For the most part, totally awesome, except they have condescended to partnering recently with a yarn company I don’t admire. Also, if you order multiple skeins of yarn from their supply section, they won’t guarantee matched dye lots, so caveat emptor. I’ve been on the phone several times over that particular problem and will notate my order in the future to cancel my order if they don’t have matching lot numbers. Otherwise, I’ve really been having fun with the site and have completed or at least partially completed a number of classes now, including Tunisian Crochet, Double Knitting (have done before, but learned some great new techniques), basic rigid heddle weaving, and making my own lip balm, body butter, and salves, among others. I’ve signed up for quite a few that I’ve not watched or that I have viewed without doing the projects yet, and have found them to all be very well done. Check out when you get a chance, and sign up for their newsletter to get all sorts of specials. I chose a new class last night on a special offer that let me pick any class on the site for $19.95. For lifetime access and great quality, that’s a fantastic bargain, and with everything from cooking to fiber to sewing to fine arts and photography, there’s something to appeal to pretty much every creative spirit. Oh, and they also have quite a few free classes available!

Hubby cracked the floor of his shower, so the kitchen ceiling is soaked and collapsing yet again. It’s a true thorn in my side! For now it means a bucket on the kitchen floor under the split. Eventually it means he’s going to get his bathroom remodeled for the second time whilst I wait impatiently for the first time for mine. Sigh…

My reading record last year was more dismal than it has ever been. Thankfully I’m off to a much better start this year!

I also started out last year with the delight of music, as I resurrected my dulcimer, dug out my Irish whistle, upgraded my flute, and finally got a violin. Things were busy, but delightful for a few months, then life gave me too much else to deal with, so they are all waiting patiently for me to come play again. For now, the whistle, which lives at my computer desk and can be picked up and tweedled for a moment here and there, is by far the happiest of the lot.

And I’m now sponsoring 5 little girls through Compassion International, the newest of which shares both my name and birthday. So much for saying 4 of them would be more than enough. 😉

Okay, that’s enough for now, I think. Besides, I can’t think of anything else to add to the list, though I’m sure I’ll have more the moment I publish this. Isn’t getting older a wonder? 😀

Published in: on January 27, 2014 at 7:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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2013 in review

Despite my pronounced absence this year, I’m pleased to see YOU were here! Thanks for the visits, and here’s hoping for a sane 2014!


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Published in: on December 31, 2013 at 4:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Compassion for Children’s Futures

I’m slipping out of Neverland, where I’ve obviously been lost for quite some time (writing blog posts in my head instead of in the reality of cyberspace), to write a very important post tonight.

I’ve sponsored children since I was 13 years old. About 5 years ago, I had the opportunity to stand in one of those homes you see on the late night appeals on TV. I’ve seen a toddler recoil in fear from a toy – something he’d never seen. I’ve been blessed to speak to adults who were sponsored children. And I’ve read the recent USA Today report that states with certainty that child sponsorship DOES make a difference in children’s lives.

I currently sponsor four beautiful little girls – Dayana and Hilda in Honduras where my daughter served as a missionary, Faviola in Guatemala where my very first sponsored child lived, and Heidi in Peru, the source of so much of the gorgeous yarn I purchase.

Hilda 2x3Heidi 2x3Faviola 2x3Dayana 2x3

I love getting letters from my sponsored children and their families and watching them grow. I love knowing how much difference I can make in these young lives, and in the lives of their families and also their communities. I love knowing that Compassion makes sure that my girls will have the opportunity to learn about Jesus. And I love having these four sweet faces on my desk, reminding me to love them and pray for them regularly.


So, this Sunday is Compassion Sunday. I want to share the love with you all. I want to give you a little nudge to consider taking on the responsibility of sponsoring a child who needs your love and prayers. Click on THIS LINK to go to my Compassion Sunday page and choose a child who needs you. Set up your sponsorship this weekend and then drop me a comment on this blog post sharing your child’s full name, birthday, and country, and I’ll contact you privately for your address and send you a stand like the ones you see in the photo holding my girls’ pictures. For the price of one dinner out each month, you can change a life forever! Please join me and make a difference!

Published in: on April 20, 2013 at 6:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Yes, it’s been forever since I blogged. It has NOT been forever since I THOUGHT about blogging, though! Life has just been insane this past year, and I’ve given up trying to guess when it’s going to settle back into normal. Hence, there will be no resolution about blogging more regularly in this post. I’ll do what I can. However, I just really need to blow off some steam tonight on a topic that has been very much on my mind recently – propriety.

This first sprung to the forefront of my thoughts last weekend when I attended a wedding shower. I’m still totally blown away when I think back to some of the things that happened. When did it become acceptable for wedding showers to become pornographic? The worst part of the event came when all the attendees, which included some people who barely knew the bride-to-be, along with some of her older relatives, were handed a “How Well do You Know the Bride?” quiz. Questions included asking what was the bride’s favored conjugal position, where was the most unusual location she’d engaged in same, and with how many different men. It made the question about her preferred style of undies look tame. To be quite blunt, I don’t know that information about another person on this earth, nor do I really want to. And yes, I found it offensive to even be asked to speculate about it – and I was shocked to be put in such a position that I had to decide how to handle something like this in a social situation with people I didn’t know well, but who put on a front of doing everything just so.

Not having really gotten past the surprise and discomfort of that situation, tonight I got a message from the bride’s mother, whom I’ve seen only twice in my life, and to whom I’ve never even been formally introduced, that I was not to knit at the wedding OR the reception. Note: she’s seen me two times, and one of those two times, I was knitting in public. I’m not even sure the woman knows my name. Now whether or not I would actually have considered knitting at either of the two events doesn’t really matter (would definitely NOT have knit at the wedding, but if the reception is a bore, it would have at least crossed my mind…). The thing that gets me about this is that this woman clearly believes she has the right to tell ME how to behave in a social setting, and that very seriously offends me! If I didn’t happen to care very much for the groom, I would NOT be going to the wedding at all – period. I’ve got better things to do with my life than hang out around controlling, judgmental people. How can someone believe it’s more socially acceptable to exercise that sort of control over someone they don’t know than it is for that person to sit quietly knitting in public? However, there’s a part of me that feels extremely sorry for this woman. Just imagine how terribly unhappy she must really be inside if she honestly believes she has to make all the people in her visible world live up to her personal standards of perfection! Glack!
There was a time in the not to distant past when a woman who did not carry her needlework with her was considered lazy and what happened behind bedroom doors between a husband and wife was considered private. If it wasn’t a married couple, it was considered scandalous. I’m having a tough time seeing the changes I’ve encountered this past week as being progress.

So, the joy sandwiched in the middle of these two events was the lovely compliment I was paid two days ago. I was spending the day with someone I’d never met before, and I was just being myself – something that it took me many years to learn was okay to do. He commented that I don’t seem like the sort of person who is much worried about what people think, and I couldn’t have been happier to hear those words! I like that I finally have learned to be comfortable in my own skin. God has only ever made one me, and if I spend my entire life trying to be somebody else, then I’ve wasted my individuality. Does this mean I have a license to be crude or hurtful? No! But it does mean I have the right to wear the clothes I want to wear, not wear make up, not like eating fish, celebrate only the holidays I feel like celebrating, hold the beliefs I want to hold, have the interests and hobbies I have, etc. I’m not hear to live the life someone else thinks I should live. My life and choices are between me and God. The fact that someone could see that in me with just one afternoon together and commended it was truly a nice thing. 🙂

Published in: on July 20, 2012 at 4:02 am  Comments (1)  
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2011 in Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Published in: on January 3, 2012 at 4:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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