Babies Are Coming

Apparently people were busy last year, because I have many baby quilts to make. I am happy that many happy couples did not give up on the world all together. I love making baby quilts. They don’t take forever to create and give me lots of creative outlet.

I make baby quilts that are meant to be dragged through the grass, have tea parties on and used to snuggle up in a car seat. I don’t make heirloom quality baby quilts. I want them loved and worn out so by the time the baby goes off to school the quilt is spent it was used so hard.

When Carter was born my childless college roommate gave me a “dry clean only” baby blanket. I think it is in the attic still in the box, never used as it was too special and precious.

So if you are having a baby and getting a quilt from me, please don’t consider it precious. Let your bundle of joy roll around on it and change their diaper on it if needed. It can be thrown in the wash and dryer. Your new baby can decide if it is a lovey.

Memorial Day

Somehow it doesn’t seem right to say “Happy Memorial Day.” What is happy about all the soldiers who have been lost to war? They deserve remembrance and gratitude. No one is happy to lose their life even if it is in service to their country. I am certain that most soldiers would prefer to come home and celebrate a free country with their loved ones. Sadly, we have had to lose so many to have this free country.

I think today of Ukraine and all her citizens are going though in order to remain free. It seems unimaginable that wars still exist. That sending young people out to shoot at each other is the way to get what you want is lunacy.

Somehow I feel that if mother’s ran the world we would have a lot fewer wars. Maybe not Margaret Thatcher, but most mothers. If world leaders had to send their children to the front lines first do you think we would still have wars?

Growing up in the time of Vietnam I had a poster on my wall that said, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” That is what I hope for this Memorial Day. No new young people to have to remember. War is never the answer.

No Assault Weapons At All

When Carter was little she had a friend whose family I knew hand gun in the house. I worried about kids finding a gun. Let’s face it, kids can find anything in their own house. So even if a gun was locked up the kid knew where the key was. So I would only ask that child to play at our house and not let Carter play at theirs. I worried bout kids bringing hand guns to school, but more about it being a show off issue and not one where they wanted to mow down a whole classroom. That still worries me.

Houses with hand guns are much more likely to have a child that is shot, than houses without one. Since I will never have a hand gun I felt like I was protecting my child the best way I could. Then the ban on Assault weapons expired in 2004. I should have started worrying then about semi-automatic long guns with high capacity clips.

I can see no use for assault weapons, except as weapons of war. Hunters don’t use, but school and grocery store shooters do.

I am tired of politicians trying to compromise with the gun rights side. I think we should make all assault weapons illegal. If you own one the government will buy it back from you. We shouldn’t manufacture them and sell them to individuals. If you are caught with one you get sent to jail. We can keep the second amendment and it only applies to non-automatic weapons like were available in the forefather’s time. I want back ground checks and no one under 21 can buy a gun. Most mass shootings have been done with an AR-15, why would we ever continue to sell or manufacture those or any gun like them ever again?

I still don’t like guns. I still think hand guns are more dangerous in the home than not having one, but I don’t think we are going to be a nation without guns. I just don’t see why any citizen needs an assault weapon.

Let’s at least get the most lethal weapons out of America. It’s time to stand up to big guns all together.

Ten British Actors – Maybe 12

It feels like every British TV show or Movie has many of the same actors. It’s as if there are only ten Brits and they can play any role no matter what. Yesterday I was working on a quilt, one of the many baby quilts I need to make this summer, so my TV was on. I tend to like to watch British anything because I can sew and listen at the same time. Seems dialogue is of the utmost importance in British shows and action is less important.

I turned on this movie called Operation Mincemeat, another unknown story of WWII. It stared my favorite, soft-hands Colin Firth, my friend. As I was sewing away I kept hearing familiar voices and I would look up to see an actor I had just watched in another show. Makes me wonder if there just aren’t that many British actors or if casting agents are just really lazy.

Well, my TV knows what I like and it went right on to another Colin movie I had never seen, Easy Virtue. once again proving my point that he stars in everything.

It’s Christy’s Birthday

Happy Birthday to my friend Christy! She is still VERY young, but today she selflessly did not celebrate her birthday so her third son could have the spot light as he graduated from Durham Academy. This is no surprise as she is a very generous person and excellent Mom. I hope that she lets us all make it up to her to celebrate her later.

Christy shares so many of the same passions I do. She is a shark at Mah Jongg, is the most talented needlepointer and loves afternoon tea. She is a much better baker than I am and always looks perfect. But she also can tell a great story and keep a good secret.

Happy Birthday Christy. I hope the rainy day did not interfere with graduation and that everyone still recognized that this is your day too!

Thank Goodness for Gardens

I needed some Garden Therapy today. I went out and enjoyed the beauty of plants growing vegetables for us to eat. I take no credit that this happens. It is a miracle and so much fun to watch how fast it happens.

I needed to be outside amongst plants who don’t need guns and don’t claim that guns are not a problem. I am so disheartened to see posts from grandmothers I know who are saying that guns are not the problem. Nurses and doctors I know who think that everyone needs a gun. Thankfully not all the grandmothers I know, or many of the nurses and doctors, but enough to make me shake my head.

Grandmothers, who I think would want to protect children, more than they would like to have a gun. Healers who have seen what harm a gun can do, but still think everyone needs one.

What we all need is a garden. We need to learn to plant and nourish things. We need to revel in the amazement of what the earth can give us if we take care of it. We need to sit quietly and think about not hurting each other. We need to think about the choices we make.

Please Don’t Say, “There are no words”

I have a lot of words for those people who respond to the type of massacres like Uvalde and say, “There are no words.”

Republican Senators have become experts at doing nothing about making this a safer country for Americans. They have all taken gun lobby money. The love of guns by the Republican senators is much greater than their love of humans.

No other country has these type and number of mass shootings that America has and the Republicans don’t care. Those are words that must be spoken. It will take sixty Senators to pass a gun control bill. The only way for that to happen is to change ten Senators.

I was watching Amy Robach on ABC interview the mayor of Uvalde today live on TV. She asked him about gun control and he had the nerve to say that guns were not the problem. He is the mayor of the the town where his citizens were just traumatized. His response was, “You can’t buy a gun in Chicago and they have more shootings than anyplace else.”

What kind of idiotic response is that. This man loves his guns more than his constituents and less than 24 hours after 20 children in his town were mowed down by an 18 year old with an AR-15. He had the nerve to defend gun rights and not consider that there might be another way. The other way is to remove people like this from office.

We don’t need gun control in one city and not in the town next door. Chicagoans can buy guns in Indiana and drive them into Chicago, that ‘s how that happens Mr. Mayor of Uvalde. We need gun control in the whole country. The only way that happens is with Congress.

If you are a republican consider who you are nominating. Please chose candidates who are not in the back pocket of big guns. When your child gets killed at school it will be too late to say, “I wish I had spoken up sooner.” You can still have hunting and target practice and have gun control at the same time. Other countries do it.

There are words! We don’t have to live in a country where the number of mass shootings is more than one per day, as it is in 2022. Don’t be silent. Don’t get shot.

Tired of Flags at Half Mast as Our Response

Another day, another 18 kids killed by a gunman while they were at school. This should never be a sentence anyone writes.

We know very little about the specifics of this horrific day, but what we do know is these children were killed by someone with a gun. How many shootings must happen before people we say enough is enough?

For all the politicians who take money from the gun lobby, you have the blood of these children on your hands. To the politicians who say they are constitutional originalists and that the second amendment says Americans can have guns, you are not being true to the founding father’s intent.

Muskets were all the founding fathers knew and single shot dueling pistols. If we are going to be originalists, then that is all anyone should be entitled to by the second amendment. All other weapons must be regulated. An eighteen year old should not have access to weapons of mass destruction.

I am sick and tired of flags at half mast as the consolation for the life of a child, or for an innocent person shopping at the grocery store.

Most Americans want gun control, even gun owners. It is time to hold politicians responsible for not doing their job. Stop the senseless carnage.

Some Drives Are Worse Than Others

I had a lovely day in Raleigh teaching Mah Jongg at two different beautiful homes. All went well in both classes. It began to sprinkle just as I was leaving my class. I got about five minutes away from my starting point and my weather radio started blaring about a Tornado and torrential rains in my Location. I pulled the car off the highway and into a shopping center parking lot.

While buckets of rain fell on my car, and winds wiped the lose plants for sale in front of the store around the parking lot, I talked to Carter on the phone to kill the time so the tornado warning could pass. After about 20 minutes the rain slowed down and I resumed my drive home. The amount of water flowing down the street I was on was significant, but I could still drive.

As soon as I turned onto Wade Ave. I realized I was in a very long slow back up of cars. I turned on my Waze on my phone to discover a big car crash on I-40 four miles down the road that had the traffic moving very slowly. I eventually got to an Exit, where I took a meandering route around the crash and got back on 40 after the crash site.

I decided I would take the Apex exit and drive up 55 to get home. I was the first car at the light at the bottom of the exit ramp and I saw about forty emergency vehicles across the street from me with a number of banged up cars in Jimmy’s Hotdog restaurant parking lot. Before I was able to turn left onto the road, a cop pulled out In the middle of the Intersection and tied yellow police tape to his mirror and across two lanes of traffic to the light pole on the side of the road.

I was now unable to turn left and instead turned right and went down to 54 to get home. As I was meandering my way home I encountered no less than six traffic lights that were not working, probably due to a power outage caused by the horrific storm. It took forever to get through each intersection. Apparently most drivers don’t know you treat a broken traffic light as a four way stop.

I finally pulled in our driveway an hour and forty minutes after leaving Raliegh. That trip is normally 30 minutes. Thank goodness I don’t have to go far tomorrow. When I relayed this tale to Russ he told me that the police activity I encountered by Jimmy’s was a shooting. Thank goodness I missed that part of the action.

Party Like it’s 1999

This week was more like my old entertaining self than anything has been in the last two years. We had 13 of Russ’ work mates for dinner on Wednesday. We had our friend Judy spend the night Wednesday. And tonight we had our friends Molly and Vicki for dinner. All this entertaining in a short period of time is more like the forty year old me than the sixty-one year old me.

Thankfully it is a muscle with lots of memory. The only problem now is I am too old to stay up this late and get up early to go teach all day tomorrow. So I am making this short and uneventful as far as a blog goes. Of course back when I was forty, throwing parties all the time, I didn’t have a daily blog. Just goes to show you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

We Need Immigrants

If you are not a Native American then you are an immigrant or a descendant of immigrants to this country. It amazes me how many people forget this. A number of years back immigrating to America was the dream of many people from around the world. People came and worked hard to make a life in this country. Often times those who came worked jobs that were lower on the economic ladder just to have a job. Our country came to depend on that labor. People who would pick fruits and vegetables, take care of our elderly in nursing homes, change bed pans in hospitals, cut the grass at your country club, wash dishes, pick up trash, take care of your children. We needed them.

Then we elected people who tried to keep people out of the country. Yes, they said they didn’t want illegal immigrants, but they also made it difficult and unwelcoming for legal immigrants. Soon we became a country that many people we would be happy to have here didn’t want to come to.

Over the last few years the number of new people coming in legally has fallen to a new low, according to Pew Research. More Mexican born immigrants are returning to Mexico than come, both legal and illegal. Why should you care?

This weekend three successful restaurants in Durham, Vin Rouge, Mateo and Gocciolona had to be closed on a weekend night due to lack of staff. These are small businesses that can not survive long without enough staff. The lack of immigration is hurting American business owners as well as their employees.

As baby boomer age, they retire and there are not enough workers to back fill their jobs. Many of the people who are “America First” are not going to have people to take care of them in their golden years.

We need to become a more friendly and welcoming country again. People who say they don’t want “others” to come and take their jobs are not the ones trying to hire people to keep their businesses alive. There are more jobs than people willing to work them. It is going to take time to earn back our reputation as a good place to move to as an immigrant.

Immigrants built this country. It has kept the country growing and thriving. We can’t just be a country of tech workers, we need workers at all levels. If you are worried about inflation let more immigrants in to work.

Shay’s Day

Our sweet girl Shay Shay turns 11 today! According to the Pedigree dog site she and I about the same age. It’s hard to tell exactly since labradoodles are not a breed and they never have doodle mixes on any of those websites. It’s kind of like having a name that was never made into a bike license plate. No matter how many times you search for yours you know it is not going to show up.

It is hard to remember life in our house before Shay became our queen. Carter was 12, and Russ was in his forties, oh so long ago.

We got Shay from down under labradoodles in Raleigh. We knew plenty of Shay’s cousins and loved their temperament. We had to have a recommendation from one of them to be considered to adopt Shay. She was one of three in a very small littler. Carter and I went over to Raleigh to meet the puppies when they were about five weeks old. The breeder was going to chose which one was right for us based on our visit.

Carter wanted the overly excited girl, but I secretly wanted the snuggly Shay and that is who we got. My father had given me a big check for my big birthday earlier in the month so I spent half of it getting Shay. She has been worth every penny.

Tonight Russ went to the store and bought a small package of ridiculously over priced steak tips. I cooked them up for her and she enjoyed them dramatically. She knew it must be her birthday because that is the only time there is steak in our house, let lone she gets it.

Happy Birthday to the best dog ever, the chairman of Ways and Means and proud ignorer of other dogs. We hope you have many more happy birthdays. You bring us great joy.

Still Working Nights

When I sold OPEX machines part of my job responsibility was to train the employees of buyers how to use the equipment. In the beginning most of my customers only worked day shifts so no big deal. Then I started to have more savvy customs who started running equipment on night shifts. Then I started having customers who ran three shifts.

It was not that hard to teach people how to use the small machine so training the night shift was a two hour job. But then Russ invented this monster machine, and it took days or nights to train people. If they ran three shifts I could work a twenty hour day easily. The price I paid for making the big bucks.

When I left OPEX I thought my life of ever having to work nights was over. I became a consultant so I often was flying at night so I could get into a clients and work all day. Flying at night is not as bad as training at night. Then I retired from that job. I thought I would not work nights ever again.

Now here I am teaching Mah Jongg at night. Tonight I taught in Ashboro, an hour and fifteen minutes from home. Teaching Mah Jongg is way more fun than training people to use an OPEX machine, but working nights is still work. I wonder if I will always say yes to work at nights? I could say no, but hate to disappoint people who have to work all day and can only learn Mah Jongg at night.

Making up for the Market

Yesterday was a crazy day. I cooked and cleaned all day as we were having Russ’ work leadership team for dinner. As a bonus his retired CFO Judy, was coming to spend the night with us as she had an appointment in Durham. It was a fun dinner and people stayed late until I told them it was a school night and they had to go back to their hotel.

Consequently Russ, the true introvert, passed out the second they all left. I, the off the scale extrovert, was up until 2 pm, trying to get to sleep. It didn’t help that I was having leg cramps in my left leg. After two hours of sleeping the cramps came back and I mistakenly woke Russ up at four when I got out of bed to drink more water to help my cramps. Then he was up.

All this is my explanation why I was so worthless today. After breakfast and visiting with Judy I ran some errands and met my friend Jan for lunch. We figured out we hadn’t seen each other in seven weeks, which is just crazy. I was so tired from lunch I went home and lay on the bed. I didn’t want to take a nap and get myself messed up for another bad night’s sleep. I didn’t want to see any news as the Stock market was diving. So I decided to play Mah Jongg online.

I played five games, reading email in between games. I won them all, even two singles and pairs hands. I thought, “Typical, I’m losing real money in the market, but I’m winning worthless points at Mah Jongg.” At least it made me feel like a winner.

For all my students you can see that you can win hard hands. You can see from the time in the upper left hand corner that I played those five games, bang, bang, bang in a row. I would rather have the market go up.

Pub In Heaven

This would have been my Dad’s 84th birthday. It is the first one with him gone. In this day last year I called him to wish him a happy birthday. While we were on the phone I mentioned to him that he had missed my 60th birthday two weeks before. He said, “I have a lot of guilt about that.”

I knew then that things with him were really not good. He had never missed my birthday. And if he had realized it and actually had guilt he would have made it up in a big way. It was obvious that he had completely forgotten about my birthday. He was certainly not himself. Not that he would let on to anyone that he needed help. He was much to stubborn and proud to do that.

So happy heavenly birthday to Ed. I hope you are having a great time with all your pals and that heaven has a good pub, where you can sit in the garden and enjoy a pint.

Can’t Beat A Southern Hostess

When the club I had been teaching Mah Jongg at decided that classes were taking up too much space and time, thanks to their overwhelming popularity, I had to move to teaching at people’s homes. Thanks to so many wonderful and kind women, classes have continued seamlessly.

Today I had back to back classes. First at the Kelly’s beautiful home, where she had everything set up and ready to go early in the morning. Her sweet dog Jewel greeted me and made me happy to be teaching at her house.

I had a one hour break between classes so I moved all my equipment to Dell’s house for the next class. Dell had invited me to have lunch with her before class. Having lunch makes me a much nicer teacher.

When I got to Dell’s I was met by her sister Julie, who is also in the class. She told me Dell had to run to the oral surgeon for an x-ray, but Dell had made my lunch. This was totally unnecessary. She could have told me she needed to go and I could have grabbed something.

Julie showed me into my place for lunch. It was beautifully set with a placemat and napkins. A chef salad, pimento cheese and cracker, cookies and a drink. That kind of hospitality is more than I expected, deserved or needed, but it did not go unnoticed.

Dell eventually made class and said we would have lunch next week between my two classes. Southern women are just such thoughtful hostesses.

Fire Pit Respite

It’s been a long couple of weeks. Lots of fun packed into a short period of time. I am not complaining, just feeling my age. Today we had a celebration breakfast at church to kick off the last leg of our Opening Doors campaign to pay for our new fellowship hall. It was a nice turn out of friends. I was happy to see people and enjoy a delicious breakfast in the building I love.

After church Russ and I had work to do to get ready for a dinner we are hosting here Tuesday night for his work. I am always happy to have his team for dinner, I just wish I had more time to get ready. Just when I think I am making headway on cooking or cleaning Shay comes in the house covered in burrs. This required me to pull or cut them out of her for an hour. No one was happy about that.

The treat for the day was dinner at our friends Hannah and Mick, with Michelle and Boris. Hannah and Mick have not just one fire pit, but two! One is outside their deer fence on the edge of a mountain. The second is up on their terrace behind their house. There was nothing more restorative than sitting by the fire with friends and having a great meal.

We need a fire pit. But first we need a renovation of our side yard, with an outdoor kitchen, covered sitting area and fire circle. It’s so much work and so much planning, but after sitting by Hannah and Mick’s fires I think we need it sooner rather than later. When will we have time to do this, who knows? I hope if we build it we will have time to enjoy it.


Feels like we have lost our traveling stamina after the two year pandemic break. Russ and I went to Chicago three weeks ago. Last weekend we went to the coast. This week we were in Boston. Used to be a normal schedule back in the good ‘ole days. Now we are wiped out.

Shay too is not used to this pace. She went to her sitters this week and when we were in Chicago. Last weekend she was with us, but the thing that all that had in common is she was with packs of dogs the whole time. Shay is definitely an dog-introvert. She is no pack animal. She likes to be the sole Princess. Have her people all to herself. Sleep where and when she likes it.

When we picked her up this afternoon she was wiped. The look she gave us was, “I am not leaving the house ever again.”

I am with her. I would like to have a little time off. Too bad it’s not going to happen like that. I am booked up to my eyeballs. At least I get to sleep in my own bed for a while. That is going to be what I do right now.

Fenway Graduation for the Win

Thank god we don’t have another child because it would be hard to beat having their graduation any place but Fenway. Today was the nicest day of the year so far in Boston. Perfect for us parents in the stands, perhaps a little too hot for the graduates seated in the out field. You realize how big Fenway is when you seat close to 4,000 students and they are no where near second base. It took over an hour for them to all process in from three different portals.

The parents and guests did a good job of practically filling the stands. Considering that we sat there for a couple of hours before the show began everyone was very well behaved. The happiness quotient helped.

The speakers were excellent. President Aoun summed up what Northeastern is about by saying the experience transformed your learning. He encouraged kids to not have a set path because an unscripted life is full of opportunities. The student speaker encouraged her classmates to enjoy the little things NOW and not to wait.

The view from Carter’s seat

The keynote was Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of Chiobani yogurt. He said he looked at other graduation speeches where they gave lists of ten pieces of advice. He started, first eat Chiobani Yogurt, second, be nice to your Mom. That was it, nothing else which pleased this mother so.

He went on with lots of other great advice like, “ You can ignore bad things or you can work to change them.” He said there is nothing more rewarding than showing up for others.

My favorite thing he said was, “Don’t turn away from things that make you uncomfortable. Comfortable people don’t do shit.”

He told the kids that despite some people calling them snow flakes, he knows that they are not. He said of this generation that they are survivors. He is certainly right given all that they have seen in their lives from 9/11, the crash of 2008, political turmoil, climate change, racial inequities, the global pandemic and the unwarranted war in Ukraine.

I was quite inspired by the kids today and the advice they got. I got a little teary. Thank goodness for this group of young people. Our world needs them.

After everything was over we streamed out of Fenway and miraculously reunited with Carter. The last of the official celebrations. We are thrilled and exhausted. Good job to her. Now go out and save the world.

Packing It In

Russ flew in bright and early this morning to join the festivities.he went straight to Carter’s and I walked over to school to meet them at the Explore event. It was so wonderful to meet the people Carter worked with for four years. I felt like I knew them already from the stories Carter has told. The Explore program is the best part of Carter’s college experience and I was thrilled with how much she grew from working at it.

I got a big hug from his friend Cameron, who I had never met, but he said he felt like he know me and I felt the same way about him. We walked through Campus meeting other friends as we did and went to Carter’s religious studies event, but her favorite professor was not there so we moved on.

Carter was getting her hair done so I walked up to beacon Hill to meet her and her best friend Estelle. After the hairdo we went to the Public garden to take some photos in her cap and gown. Actual just her gown since she just had her hair done. Thank goodness Estelle was there as stylist and photo aid.

After walking home I actually laid down to rest. My legs were still sore from my steps yesterday and today I only got 16,000. Russ and I went to meet Carter and Estelle at No. 9 Park for the big celebratory dinner. Now we are all dead. We have time to rest since the final actual graduation is tomorrow at five at Fenway. We will be walking there!


Today was my light day of Graduation celebrations, but somehow I packed too much in. Carter went to work first thing this morning leaving me at her apartment to pack up and make it look like I had never been there, or that a maid had been there. My college friends Suzanne and Sally were coming into town for a small reunion. I took Carter’s keys because I had trouble with her spare key.

We met at the Boston Public Library since we spend many hours discussing books. The old section of the library is about the most beautiful public building I have ever been in. As we wandered the rooms we found it hard to discuss all the important topics we had to cover. So when we got to the mural room, which had no books or people we perched on the benches and gabbed away. Feeling slightly sacrilegious for our mundane chatter in such a hallowed hall we decided to walk to the public gardens.

The late and cold spring meant that the greens were in full bloom now. The tulips were up, the fruit trees were blossoming and the trees were budded out in glorious green. There we perched again to continue our yakking on frivolous topics that brought us great pleasure.

We sauntered down Marlborough street to our lunch destination. Once there we dragged out lunch for a good two and a half hours. Still there were topics we had not yet touched on. We walked back to Carter’s apartment where Suzanne had left her car and picked up my suitcase and ran an important errand in Brookline. Suzanne dropped us off at my hotel and Sally walked to the train station to get home.

I changed my clothes and walked up the park strip of Commonwealth, back through the grande so to Beacon Hill to meet Carter and her friend Olivia for dinner at a lovely restaurant on Carter’s new street. It was a long, leisurely meal. The only real graduation celebration of the day. Exhausted, Carter and I Ubered home, with her dropping me first at my hotel.

As soon as I was in my room I stripped off my clothes and put on my night gown and my phone rang. Before I could answer it I realized that I had Carter’s house keys. It was Carter. We made a plan to meet somewhere not quite in the middle.

I had to go through the painful experience of putting my clothes, meaning my bra, back on. I walked towards Carter’s and she walked toward me and we made the hand off. I got back to the hotel and checked my step count for the first time today to discover I had walked over 27,000 steps today.

Tomorrow is our early day. I wonder if I will recover by then?

Graduation Extravaganza

We made our hotel reservations for Carter’s graduation a year in advance. Then she finished a semester early. There was no ceremony for December graduates so I was happy we had these reservations for the May festivities. After all that advance planning Carter called three months ago and said that her college of science graduation was the day before the day we made reservations for. She really wanted me to come so she invited me to stay with her since every hotel is booked.

Carter texted me this selfie from the parking garage, awaiting the processional

I am so glad I came. This was the ceremony where she got to walk across the stage and they read her name and shook her hand. The event was held in Mathew’s arena and Carter had to be in the parking garage at 4:30 to line up. I went over at 5:30 to sit in the audience. All the hard core parents who had lined up hours in advance had already staked their place in the bowl seats. They were dressed up and had signs and even a couple of noise makers.

I circled the arena and found the stairs to the balcony cheep seats. Score! I was able to get the front row of the balcony with leg room and an excellent view. I made friends with a women who worked at the psychology department who came to cheer for her work study student whose Parents had made the same reservations I had. (Seems like we should have been told about this ceremony a year in advance too.) Then a nice family with a daughter graduating, sat on the other side and we struck up a friendship too.

The procession started at six. We had been told the whole thing would go until 9:30, which seemed very long. Amazingly Carter saw me as she processed in and waved. She ended up sitting in a row right below me so my seat was perfect.

The speaker was a great woman named Dr. Shetty, who founded Ginko Bioworks. She encouraged the students not to pick a Job, but instead pick a problem and try and solve it, to live cheaply so you have freedom and chose a path of things that interest you. All great advice.

Then the Dean of the college of Science spoke and said, “There is no winner in life, just like there is no loser. Do something useful and laugh a lot.” Again a great message.

That was it for speeches. The giving out of the degrees took under two hours, but each student had a Slide with their photo, name, degree and a quote or words of thanks. It was very nice for such a big school.

My newly created posse in the front row of the balcony all cheered and screamed Carter’s name when she got her degree. It was no musical instruments, but nice to have a chorus when it was just me up there.

The whole thing ended by 8:30, a whole hour less than advertised. Thank goodness. Carter and I walked the very short walk to the Westland restaurant on her street. People on the street said congratulations as she was still wearing her regalia. It was a nice way to start the celebrations, of which there are many.

Damn Hand Maids

I’m furious with Margaret Atwood. If she had never written Hand Maids Tale many of these old white men politicians would not have gotten the idea that women can be put back in the fifteenth century. What the hell is going on. First the leak that the The Supreme Court has a draft out to repeal Roe, then Mitch McConnell announces that if Republicans take back the Senate they want to outlaw abortions in the whole country, now the Governor of Mississippi is considering ruling out other contraception. WTF?

Not wanting to have an abortion yourself is your decision. Deciding it for another human should not be your decision. Some religions believe life begins at conception, but not all religions. So now one religion gets to impose their religious beliefs on all others? What about those who have no religion? That is their right.

Things are getting out of hand fast. I know that many men have felt like everything that they controlled in the 1950’s has been taken away from them so if they can keep women barefoot and pregnant they might get back to being in charge of everything. I know it’s not all men and there are anti-choice women. But if women can’t have control of their reproductive rights something’s got to give. It probably should be sex with men. All that viagra and no place to put it.

Men can not have their cake and eat it to. No contraception, no access. Men really should stay out of the abortion fight all together and just let the women fight it out. No womb, no vote.

Happy Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day in America. A day to celebrate your mother. I was not with my mother today, but still spoke with her. Sadly she was a little under the weather. It has been quite a year for her. Last year at this time we had just moved her out of her Washington Apartment and were gearing up to move her out of her farm. Then she and my Dad moved into a new house. My Dad died three months later. She has now made the decision to move to a retirement community here in Durham. That is a lot of change in one year.

I am proud of how well she has adjusted to all these changes. I am especially thankful for my sister Janet for helping marshal her through these things with me.

I am hoping that by next mother’ day it will have been a much less eventful year. My Mom deserves things to slow down. So for now, I am wishing my Mom good heath and the ability to sleep through the night. Happy Mother’s Day!

Dog Parade

The best thing about visiting our friends Lane and Jon is the constant and ever changing dog parade. They have four rescues that add up to about a Shay and a half. Shay likes these friends, but they do tire her out quite a bit.

When I tell you what we did today you will understand how much life around here revolves around dogs. When we eventually got dressed we went on a walk that resembled a parade, five dogs walking four humans through the woods looking for owls. No owls were found, but the dogs did have fans.

Then after lunch we went for a ride on the boat. Four dogs rode mostly on the bow, regardless of the speed. Shay rode in her Daddy’s lap as she was the only dog who did not pass the swim test and needed to wear a life preserver. It was a good accessory as it gave us a handle to lift her on and off the boat with.

After a wild ride it was time for a beauty pageant photo shoot. Petunia, the one with the snaggle tooth and two different color eyes does not like to look at the camera as she views it as soul stealing. She would always win miss congeniality.

I am uncertain who is more tired, but I know that Shay will sleep well tonight. All this dog extroversion is hard.

Tired Old Lady

I’m tired and late to be getting to my blog. We are at our friend’s house at the beach. They have a house of dogs so Shay gets to come. She is exhausted from being with four other dogs. She did fairly well going on the boat with all the dogs, but now she is hiding in our room fast asleep. She was mad that we left her with the pack for so long.

We went to dinner at a very fancy French restaurant tonight. When we arrived a server came up to us and asked, “Has anyone greeted you yet?” We said, “No,” expecting her to do it, but instead she said, “Let me see if I can get someone to greet you.”

In my cheeky way I replied, “You could greet us.”

She ignored my offer and left us standing at the door. Eventually an older woman came along and said Hello and brought us to our table.

Later in the meal a young man who appeared to be afraid to speak to customers dropped our plates on our table ran away. I was interested in getting some pepper so when he ran back by, I asked for some and as he was running away from me he said, “I’m the runner, ask your server.”

This French restaurant obviously had very clearly delineated lines of responsibility. “Not my job” should be the theme of their HR handbook. It is very French.

Our server was lovely and our dinner was excellent. I just wish that service in good restaurants was more professional. Today the best service I get is from Chick-fil-a. They could teach the French restaurant a thing or two. It is always their pleasure to serve you at Chick-fil-a, regardless of their actual job.

I have definitely turned into an old lady now. Perhaps I am just tired and need a good nights sleep.

Covid Immunity Report

Seems like Covid is increasing here in Durham. I know a few people who have gotten it recently. The good news is they don’t seem to be terribly sick. Everyone in my house had it at the same time over Christmas. We laid low and got over it. I was having blood work a couple weeks ago and my doctor threw in two antibody tests just for fun.

Four months after contracting Covid I thought I might be able to contract Covid again if I wasn’t careful. Turns out that my antibodies were still going strong. There were two tests. One for antibodies to the big round circle of SARS Covid 2 and one for the Spike part of it. For the semi-Quant the reference interval, meaning you are negative for the antibodies is <0.8, my reading was >2500.00, meaning I was at the top of the testing range and they couldn’t see exactly how many I had because they had to stop counting.

For the spike semi-quant IgG the reference Interval is negative at <13.0 and I was >800.00. Again at the top of the counting range.

It will be interesting to get tested again in a few months to see what happens to my immunity. I had my booster before I got Covid and have not had a second booster yet since my immunity is so high. I am very interested in seeing what my numbers do. I am documenting it here in my blog so I can find the information easily in the future. Lord knows how long we might be tracking this thing.

I tell you all this to say that if you don’t have many co-morbidities, and can survive the infection you may be protected for a while. I am not a Medical person, I have no expertise, I am just sharing my experience.

To my friends who are currently sick, I am sending you good wishes for a quick recovery and lots of antibody building.

Despair over What Might Become of Roe

I am more than distressed about the impending Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe. As I have always said, if you don’t like abortion no one is forcing you to have one. But there are many cases where terminating a pregnancy is the life saving measure. Consider this tue story, I won’t tell you who the person is, but I can vouch for it’s authenticity.

A mother, with multiple children under ten, developed a life threatening condition that required a major operation. When she went into the hospital to have the life saving surgery the Doctor discovered she was pregnant. There were two choices, keep the pregnancy, and not do the operation, which would mostly like mean neither the mother nor the fetus would survive, or abort the fetus and have the life saving operation so that the mother could live to care for her already existing children.

The second option was the one the doctor and the patient agreed on. It was a medical decision between the two of them. No government intervention, as the government has no business in that situation. If Roe is overturned there are already many states who would make that situation against the law.

What has happened to this country that so many people think that they should have a say in a woman’s medical decisions? I notice no one is up in arms about legislating men’s medical decisions. What if we said that only men who are actively trying to conceive a baby, with their legal wife, can get a prescription for Viagra. Viagra is one of the most prescribed medications in America. In order to prevent potential abortions we should have say in who can take it. Perhaps we should have a local board of your neighbors who decides who can get Viagra. We certainly don’t want men who might impregnate women who don’t want a baby to have a leg up, so to speak.

I’m not meaning to be flip about this for it is a very serious situation. But it feels like all the legislation hurts women and men are off the hook. Well, you men who are against Roe, I suggest you keep everything zipped up. Child support is a big kick in the wallet. Be careful what you wish for. The law of unintended consequences is more powerful than you think.


Birthdays in the realm of the digital are way better than in the analog world.  The only problem is one is so inundated all day with kind and heartfelt messages from friends, near and far, and even some people you hardly know, that you hardly have time to do anything else on your birthday.  I am not complaining.  Thanks to all you friends who made my day special.

Besides the digital well wishers I had a very fun in person day.  Lunch with some friends at the Wadu, my favorite outdoor special lunch spot.  I have to say the Food and beverage manager really came through, providing the regular menu and not the graduation week menu and we all had the chopped salad.  He even gifted me mine!  Thanks, James Holcomb.  

I came home to a giant floral display on my front porch – Three beautiful arrangements.  It took an effort to get them all in the house.  I opened the cards on each and all three were from my sister Janet!  Way over the top Sista J! One would have been spectacular, but 3!  I called to ask her if she had just given the florist such a big budget that they had to break it into three arrangement.  She said she wanted me to have flowers in multiple rooms.  I am just going to say I’m sorry you all don’t have her as your sister, because I am winning the best sister contest.

Another friend, Laurie, left me a present in the garden.  A potato growing bag, planted with Yukon gold potatoes.  I’ve never grown potatoes before and am looking forward to this adventure.  You grow them in the bag! Who knew?

A big deal happened because Russ came home early from work.  Now that he has gone back to work in the office I miss having him around.  He gave me a gift he sneakily bought in Chicago without my knowing.  I was very unsuspecting.  Carter called and we celebrated.  She gave me the best gift yesterday, tickets for us to see Funny Girl in NYC with her.  I love experiences best of all.

My mom called and both Mom and my father-in-law gave me needlepoint so I am set.  I could hardly ask for a better birthday.  I was sorry that a few friends were sick and I wish them a fast recovery.  

It was a fantastic birthday. Needless to say I ignored all news today so I could have a good day. And it was, thanks to you!

30 Fabulous Years

On this day, twenty years ago, I was sitting at lunch with Carter who was three and a half. I told her that it was Daddy and My tenth wedding anniversary. Since she was already good at math, she looked at me and said, “Where are all the other kids then?” I guess her three year old mind thought that you get married and children automatically come along. Maybe she thought they were like wedding presents.

I had to explain to her that we had a life before she was born and we waited until we got just her. She was worth waiting for. That didn’t satisfy her, she wanted some older siblings.

So here Russ and I are, married thirty years and are happy as the newlyweds we were. No kids at home. So Russ gives me this card this morning and I laughed for about twenty minutes.

I am so lucky that he kept at me in those years when he knew me at work and I didn’t pay any attention to him. I am very thankful that his boss, Bill Lile, sent out that company wide email, “Please congratulate Russ Lange for getting his Masters in Electrical Engineering at night, while working full time. He also just was awarded five patents.” After I read that I wanted to know who this brilliant guy was and lo and behold it was that engineer who had been hanging around me on business trips, but I didn’t give the time of day to.

As I told Carter when she was 13, “If you are looking at someone you think you like, turn around and notice who is looking at you.”

I am one lucky girl that Russ Lange liked the way I presented his inventions to rooms full of strangers, who after my exciting description of all the features would buy them like hot cakes. I just thought he was one of those strangers. Thank goodness he is so tall and he was hard to ignore. Happy 30th to the best husband I could ever have. I couldn’t invent a better one.

I’m Late

How did it get to be May already? One third of the year is gone and I have hardly blinked. Now that we are a family who does not have to follow the academic calendar things should be different. We should be able to enjoy each month, instead they have flown by unappreciated. When Carter lived at home May was the busiest month of the year. It was exams, and end of year celebrations at school. We don’t have that. We still have our anniversary tomorrow, my birthday the next day and Mother’s Day next weekend. In between is May the Forth be with you, Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day. See everyday in May is a holiday, at least the first week. Oh Yeah it’s May Day today, without a maypole we didn’t really celebrate it.

I have yet to put any flowers into pots or totally finish my vegetable garden. The front zinnia garden has not been planted and my terrace has no flowers. All because I didn’t realize it was May already. I could blame our very long and cold spring. Maybe my teaching schedule or travel. But I used to be much busier and still had time to get those things done. Perhaps I am just getting older. I may not be as productive. Maybe I don’t have any events at my house that make me spruce everything up.

Russ used to ask me if we could have a dinner party. What he really wanted was for me to clean off the kitchen counters and he knew a party meant it would get done. We haven’t had a party in years, two to be exact. Maybe it’s time to plan some parties. I guess I should go buy some plants and give them to Russ for our anniversary. That might be the only way things get done. It’s May. I’m late. Before I know it it will be September.