Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Becoming Edith Bunker

With holiday cooking in work or at least in planning stages, we may wish to review some of our domestic habits that become a tradition when done for two or more years consecutively during a holiday season. This being said, I have been having flashbacks to a particular episode of All In The Family featuring Edith Bunker and her son-in-law Mike. In this episode, and I paraphrase…

Edith is reading a magazine and Mike is watching TV, both are in the living room. Edith’s timer goes off in her apron pocket.
 Mike, looking around says “Ma, do you have something in the oven?”
“Yeeeeessss!” in her usual shrill voice.
“Aren’t you going to check on it now that the timer has gone off?” he asks.
“No.” she replies. “I have five minutes to do that.”
“Huh? How do you figure that?”
“She explains that “I don’t want to start anything new in the next five minutes that will keep me from taking the cake out of the oven when it’s ready, so I set my timer five minutes ahead.”
You can tell by the look on Mike’s face that a major brain cramp is setting in. “What?” he says. She explains it again as he shakes his head like Bugs Bunny.

Now this is where I come in. I recently found myself setting a timer for what might be the first time ever while cooking, for the sole purpose of staying in the kitchen, in order to NOT start another multi-tasking project at dinner time, so I would be prepared to take something out of the oven. WHAT?!!! That’s what I said and I was the one doing it! And if you think that was one long run-on sentence, then you should have been there for my brain cramp at the realization that I had indeed become Edith Bunker!

What a moment! Now, I have to spend my conscious cooking time de-programming myself from the Edith Bunker Syndrome. Should I set my timer 10 minutes ahead instead of five? Should I not use a timer at all and just stare at the clock? It’s a conundrum I tell you. And when did all this happen? I haven’t a clue. One day it was just there. Now I must get rid of it.

I think I’ll just order take out. There, it’s settled. Now where’s the menu?


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bare Bones

As the bright colors of autumn fade and fall to the ground, let us notice the beauty of the bare bones that support the colors. Stripped of their plumage, the trees and shrubs are here to stay through the coldest season. The roots intact, grounding for the harshest elements, brace for Mother Nature in her shallow days and darkest nights. For these trees and shrubs will be here, the very first to greet the breath of spring.

With the colors stripped, please enjoy the many shades of grey boiled down to the bare bones of black and white as they settle in for winter.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Reunion Pics

SHS Class Reunion pictures have been added. Please see the new tab labeled "Reunion".



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fairy Photo Op

Last night at the SHS 40th class reunion (OMG…I can’t believe it been that long!) we found a SMFairytales photo op. Paul C. was there with his lovely wife Dennise and he graciously had his photo taken to add to our blog. Our first male contributor!

BTW…he has volunteered to drag out old photos and dig up old stories for us…and I quote…”Have I got stories for you!”

A great time was had by all!


Paul & Dennise

Cathy, Paul & Linda

Cathy, Paul & Linda again!

Cathy, Paul & Linda...Third times the charm!

Question of the night...And how long have you two known each other?
Answer..Have we got a story for you!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

T’was the Season

There is a long held tradition at this time of the year that goes back to my SMFairies days. I believe it started with the onset of Hallmark and continues to this day. Yes, that would be the selling of Christmas cards…door to door by little children with cherub faces. We at St. Mary’s were no exception.

Each year we would be handed a cardboard carrying case filled with the year’s most treasured Christmas art with holiday verse. We had all we could do to lug it home with our book bag also in tow. “Look, Ma! Christmas cards to sell!” “Oh, goody,” seemed to be the silent reply. For our neighborhood was loaded with SMFairies. How many neighbors could we connect with when there was a line of kids with card cases streaming down the street! It was a dash as mad as an Easter egg hunt to be first at the neighbor’s doorstep!

Thank God for grandmothers! They were always good for a couple of boxes. It’s almost as if grandparents were placed here to help on these occasions because there were always such occasions year round. At a dollar a box for cards, they were a great help to the fundraising cause. There were also the dedicated neighbors who looked forward to the annual purchase…”you can count on us,” with a wink and a smile. It made it all worthwhile, even to the youngest of us.

The parents pulled up the slack through sales at the office, friends and extended family. It was amusing to see the parents carrying the cases to and from the house, even to us kids….for this was a family affair! “How’d you do at work today, Dad?” “Hmmmm, so, so”, said the silent face! “Great!” we said with enthusiasm, for there was a prize to be won by the student with the most sales.

I can recall the prize, even though it varied per year. My brother and I never won it though in spite of our best efforts. It was a celebrated, framed certificate with a photo op to be published on our honored bulletin board in the main lobby. Each year a small statue was given to those in first, second and third place. Such acclaim in the annals of our time at SMS!

Each year we still see the student troops armed with bags and cases of holiday wares to sell for school fundraisers, both public and private schools alike: holiday giftwrap, tissue, colorful bags, ribbons, candies and nuts, candles and delights to trim the tree. Please give generously when you hear the knock at the door or the doorbell ring for we can all say…”Been there, done that!” as we recall our personal sales histories.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Celebrate Me Home

Well, tis the season. Actually the season I speak of started last week with the radio stations playing Christmas music 24/7. At first there is the usual panic of “Oh no…Christmastime again, so soon!” Within a minute I settle into singing. Last week I was driving with my son and grandson on a fine-enough-day to have the windows open in the car. As I crank up the music, and sing loud enough for the neighboring cars at the red light to hear me, my son rolling his eyes in his head, my grandson and I sang at the top of our lungs…”Santa Claus is coming to town”. For half an hour we sang to our hearts content.

Today, while driving alone, I got to settle into some of the other songs that are lumped into Christmastime that hit a soft spot in my heart. Kenny Loggins songs are always in this genre. I got to hear Celebrate Me Home. WOW…never get tired of hearing this one! I thought it appropriate to write about it as this is the time of year for family and friends to gather. It’s tradition with the month of holidays ahead and for gatherings such as class reunions which have become popular at this time of year. A song like this is a call to gather the clans…friends, family and all of humanity…those happy and sad, in good shape and bad, with all of our flaws and imperfections we reach out to one another. It warms your heart it does.

With the hustle and bustle that accompanies the season ahead, please take time to sit and enjoy the quiet moments in between the noise. Grab the cup of chamomile, daydream and celebrate your own moments of your life. As you find the calm, center and regroup your thoughts, let a smile of comfort come across your face. I love Christmas. I look forward to it year-round. My personal ‘mantra/theme-song’ that I carry around in my heart, even during the high heat of summer, is We Need a Little Christmas.

Find a song to celebrate your life and carry it with you wherever you go. If you don’t have one, try starting here…


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bird-Day With Maxine

For a stress-free Thanksgiving, let Maxine walk you through it in style….her style, that is!
Live, laugh and never count the calories!



Monday, November 21, 2011

Morning Star

Earlier this year I wrote an essay titled “Let There Be Pockets”. This essay is a follow up of that dream fulfilled.

One day an individual awoke to see the Morning Star in a new day dawning. He looked upon this star in a new way.
“Have I seen you before?” he asked himself. “If so, why have I not recognized your light?”

For this poor soul had an epiphany the day before…’a stranger smiled upon me.’ “How is it that this simple act made me feel so warm inside?” he thought. “Perhaps I shall try it tomorrow…give a smile to a stranger.”

And this individual did go forth throughout the land giving a smile here and a smile there, noticing that each time he gave a smile, he got one back. The feeling of warmth grew. As the days past, the collective of smiles shone throughout all the land. This individual also noticed in passing the new neighbors and friends that now smiled back on a daily basis, that the smile, rewarding as it was, did not meet all their needs. For there were those who were hungry, others illiterate, others in need of medical attention, some without shelter from the elements. The question he posed to himself was… “Can I do more?”

For this poor soul was not poor in pocket. As he walked the land he called home he had noticed all the empty pockets on all the smiling faces. “For I have a coin or two I can share as I walk to the market daily. Perhaps it will help.” Along the way he passed a coin to a child, then to another, at first for the folly of it all. Something remarkable happened. He noticed the children squealing with delight and then running to give it to the parents. The parents nodded a courteous smile in return. While in market, he observed the coins being spent for a family delight to be shared…a book, a tool, a bun, a sweet dessert, an occasional ribbon for the ladies’ hair. “I have made a difference.” he said….”But have I made an impact?”

On the next market day he made inquiries about the people of the town to the vendors. “You know these people better than I do.” he stated. “Is there more that they need?” The vendors gladly gave their opinions on behalf of the greater good. “I shall see what I can do.” he thought to himself.

He laid a plan. He laid a foundation. He laid the money on the table before the council. They accepted his generous offer. For he laid before them a plan to build a cooperative center to serve the needs of the people who have smiled upon him when they had nothing more to give but their smiles…for they gave from their hearts. In turn they opened his heart. In turn he opened his pockets.

The building was modest in design, a single structure, but with many rooms. One housed a classroom, one a clinic, one a library, several artisan shops, a cooperative exchange for goods and services within the village and temporary housing for those transitioning to this ‘smiling town’. “I made a change, at last. I hope my vision takes fruition.”

The cooperative center was accepted with open arms. The townspeople had a place to educate their children. The craftsmen immediately set up shops to train apprentices. The women took charge of the goods and services exchange. Here they brought their skills in child care, homemaking, cooking and gardening with a co-op store for their handmade goods, food and gifts. Within the clinic, each face that entered left with a clean face and a refreshed smile with a token candy for good measure in pocket. Those who passed through town had a safe place to stay and if they wished, could join the community of smiles.

A year passed. The time had come to name the cooperative building as it was common to celebrate ‘name day’ for one and all. The crowd cheered and yelled….”Speech, speech!”

This individual was merely a modest man who wanted to, and chose to make a difference. He explained to one and all his story of his first smile from the townspeople.  The audience smiled back the warmest smile yet…a cycle complete in a year’s time. “What’s the name?” the crowd shouted! “I choose to name this center Morning Star!” he replied. The crowd cheered! The artisans immediately started planning a custom sign to be hung over the door for all to see. The ladies planned to make gifts to sell in honor of this name. The children danced and made songs and rhymes in its honor. Ribbons and flowers streamed through the air. Music from the merrymakers filled the streets. The councilmen delighted in the celebration of life before them, absent a year before.

This individual stepped back from the crowd for a moment surveying all before him. “This is perfect”, he said. The joy, the laughter and community before him have come full circle because of one smile cast my way. For he had wanted to make a difference…a smile…a coin…and he did. But he noticed above all the opening of hearts and hands in the stability of the community. For their pockets were not lined with the burden of gold, but clinked with joy for the comfort of contentment. For their smiles and coins passed from their hearts to hands now circled the community in perpetual motion.

He had wanted to make a difference, instead he made an impact. The greatest impact was on him…a single smile.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giving Thanks

As we approach Thanksgiving week, with most if not all of the shopping and planning complete, let us take time to think of those less fortunate. It can be a daunting task, acknowledging the less fortunate, as they are so plentiful. As our lives ebb & flow, so do the lives of the less fortunate. Difficult as it may be for them to keep hope alive for a brighter future, they do it through the help of the angels of mercy who manage the shelters and soup kitchens. These volunteers have made it their mission in life to keep the dreams alive on behalf of the poor.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Mt. 5:3

All pantries accept food donations and monetary donations in all amounts. Online donations suggest a dollar amount. If the suggested fee seems to stretch your budget a bit too much, perhaps consider a group donation from a collective of family, friends and/or co-workers this holiday season. The small sacrifice of the cost of a single cup of coffee in a ‘kitty’ will collect to a modest donation in a day. It’s a simple gift. If this is too taxing on your budget this year, which is understandable, then a prayer and a smile to a stranger will pass on your highest and best intentions to those in need. If you care to give more, please volunteer.

Below is a list of local shelters and food pantries with their websites. All are in need this season as usual. Give from the heart.


Main Spring House, Brockton, MA              508-587-5441      
Volunteers of America: Mass. Div.
Salvation Army
Pine Street Inn
Greater Boston Food Bank
The Boston Project
Brockton Enterprise article; Immaculate Conception Church Food Pantry, Stoughton, MA
The Charity Guild
Food Pantries

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Five or Less

I've found some simple recipes for everyday life that are five or less ingredients. There are numerous websites for such recipes. I've selected a few for your review! Hope they help for everyday or to get a jump on the holidays.



Friday, November 18, 2011

Kiss the Noise Good-Bye!

Maybe it’s just me, but I am looking forward to the packing up of the leaf blowers. They hurt my ears.  I prefer the quiet and solitude of nature. Summertime landscaping may make the yards beautiful but can take its toll on the ears especially during the fall leaf clean-up. Out come the lawnmowers, then the weed whackers, lawn edgers, hedge trimmers, mulchers and last but not least, the leaf blowers to clean up every leaf and particle of dust in sight. Technically speaking, they do NOT pick up leaves and dust; they merely blow them about till they cross over to the neighboring property. Occasionally you can notice a landscaper look about to see if anyone sees him going too close to the property line of the neighbor, as he moves about in stealth with the noisiest apparatus since a 747!

Each year I laugh at the silliness of chasing every leaf on the ground while the wind laughs right back with one more leaf falling….preferably from a neighbor’s yard! There’s a delightful futility to watching people try to control Mother Nature!  I love to garden, even weed. There’s a cycle of life to participate in. With a little TLC, water and effort you are on top of things.  But I don’t obsess. Nature has its own agenda.

My sister-in-law has a beautiful garden every year.
“What’s your secret?” I asked
“There’s no secret. It’s not magic. It’s not rocket science. It’s hard work. You must do it every day. You just commit to doing it.” She said.
You should see her garden! Each year a different color scheme! Sweeeeet!
“But the blooms on the flowers!” I said.
“Oh, that…I use twice the fertilizer!...and well water. Weed daily.” She said.

But, as the fall comes, she cleans, she rakes and she plans and prepares for the next year. In doing so there is no obsession with the leaves falling and where they will land for there is still time to watch each petal drop with its glorious splendor of color, one petal at a time, dotting the earth.  As the colors fade they are absorbed back to Mother Nature in their own way. As the winds blow, the leaves blowing from one yard to another create another color harmony swirling overhead. Try and create THAT with a leaf blower!

Now don’t get me started about street sweepers!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Angel Meditations

As we muddle through our day, some days, we need a little extra help along the way….something a little bit different than our traditional prayers. I have found some very nice & very short angel meditations on You Tube. They’re good to start your day before you walk out the door in the morning, a brief pick-me-up during the day or a quick meditation to unwind leaving the day behind you. Hope you enjoy them.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Saint Theresa's Prayer

We can always use an extra prayer to help us through our days & nights. This prayer passed amongst us through email yesterday. It seems only fitting to post it. Peace be to all who call upon her.

St. Theresa's Prayer

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that  
has been given to you.

May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let His presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to  
sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us . .

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pink Glove Dance

I have been meaning to do a follow up on Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Very specifically has been the

“Pink Glove Dance Challenge”

that has caught my eyes through the media. There have been so many wonderful corporate responses with large participation, each one as good as the next. I considered putting these on our blog, but chose to select one that truly comes from the heart. It won my heart because it is local…from a neighboring town, and a Parochial School, much like ours was way back when: Ursuline Academy, Dedham, MA. As participants in the Pink Glove Dance Challenge, they have posted their dance on YouTube.

It is a delight to watch these honorary “fairies” as well as faculty, dance, sing, and celebrate in unison with all the other participants of this dance challenge….a celebration of life if ever there was one.



Friday, November 11, 2011

On This Veteran's Day

All those that have fought against tyranny while defending our freedom

The family, friends, neighbors and community maintaining our homeland in their absence

All those of past generations that keep the spirit of freedom alive in their stories

The younger generation, our children, which embrace those stories and ideals to be carried forth into our future

All…civilians and enlisted alike…that bear the torch of freedom in their hearts and minds with a cry for freedom and equality in not just our great nation, but all nations around the world

All who have stood, still stand and will in our future stand and fight for equality for all God’s children


Thursday, November 10, 2011


Ok, so I couldn’t wait just one more day. I’m one day early to post this, but they are great words and I couldn’t contain myself!

As a mentor of mine gave to me, so I give to you. On this auspicious day of 11.11.11, may your inner light shine forth as inspired in this celebrated work by Marianne Williamson in her book A Return To Love.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Let your light shine in all you do.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Frosty Moon

We have been blessed to have a reprieve in the weather from the early October snow. This, the 11th full moon of the year, may be hidden from us tonight by clouds and rain. There was a beautiful glimpse of it last night in one of the clearest skies ever. Before the frost moves in permanently, enjoy the days and this beautiful moon.  


Monday, November 7, 2011

Life in Black & White

As I was surfing the web again, I came across some black & white photos by Prudence Kohl. These were located on my favorite e-card site:

The photos are beautiful to say the least and her verses of inspiration remarkable. All the black and white photos in this e-card category are an essay unto themselves. I hope you enjoy them.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Beauty to Point the Way

I have found this PowerPoint presentation of photos and verses online. It is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.



Saturday, November 5, 2011


A smile - is a sign of joy.

A hug - is a sign of love.

A laugh - is a sign of happiness.

And a friend like me?

...that's just a sign of good taste!

We'll be friends until we are senile.

Then we'll be new friends.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The four-letter word!

Yes, you heard it right…the “S” word! No, not that one! 
S-N-O-W!!! It’s in the news and in the weather and on the streets. Yuck! And it’s only just the beginning. Grab the windshield scrapers, bags of salt, boxes of sand and kitty litter. Shovels and brooms now stand guard at the door. Next are gloves, scarves, hats, caps and earmuffs lining our coat pockets. Boots!!! It seems I just packed them away.  I was wearing flip-flops yesterday!

I can’t believe it’s here. What happened to the Indian summer? Gone I guess. We’re still waiting for the leaves to reach peek color!

Well our snow is gone with the balmy follow up. There are still over 200,000 without power. Fortunately I’m not one of them. 

The snow has passed and the trees are still turning red and yellow. I guess it ain’t over till it’s over. The snow may be here spotting the ground but winter is still over a month away. Maybe there’ll be an Indian summer yet.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Saints Day

Today as we unwind from Halloween, I thought it would be nice to honor all that the world holds dear. Here is a collage with hearts in all shapes and sizes…. for if we are not all saints, are we not all dear in the hearts of one another?