On The Blackwater

Musing on retirement, writing, puppies, and whatever else strikes my fancy

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Spending my life in 20-year increments: DC, Calif, Maine, & now in the BlueRidge Mountains of VA, where my YoChon, Sadie Mae, has started to blog...

Friday, October 30, 2009


Such fun with the darling little preschool kids at church. Cool rainy weather moved the party indoors, although we were able to have our Trunk or Treat from the trunks of our cars in the parking lot by holding that part after the indoor party, earlier than scheduled so it was still light out.

Sadie Mae loved that part of the event...she greeted each little child with happy yips and her 'circle of joy' that she does out of pure happiness, tangling me in her leash of course. Nothing like little kids and little dogs!

There were tiny bumble bees, dancing ballerinas, cowboys, even a slim girl wearing a long gorgeous devilish dress, red sparkles, stand-up collar...and glittering silver shoes. We were in Dick's truck, so my camera languished back home in my car. Darn.

We had glow collars for each child. What a good idea that was, and of course parents and friends guided them from car to car. No cars were allowed to enter the parking lot after it began. Oh, I forgot to mention two darling 3-year-old lambs, twin girls who loved the cakewalk indoors. That was possibly the favorite event, with cupcakes and other treats for the winners to select from.

When we first began this event, there were some who disagreed with holding it. We have it the Weds before Halloween so it doesn't interrupt other plans. But these are very young children, too young to go door-to-door, particularly in this day and age, even in this small town. It's a protected event in every way possible, and judging by attendance, it has become a delightful party.

Happy little children, laughing and dancing around. What a joy!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Some friends nest comfortably in my past life, ever caring, ever loving, just there as a song or a scent or a phrase brings them to mind. They haven't changed in my mind, even though I know they must have changed as I have.

I imagine them as small puffy...maybe a soft orange...orbs floating in a darker sky. I know I could still call on them if need be, and they would be there for me, as I would be here for them.

Our only real contact now is Christmas...or Hanukkah...or non-denominational cards once a year. I still send out a Christmas letter so relatives and close friends can keep up with what we've been up to, but I keep it to one page with (hopefully!) no bragging.

Lots of contact continues with church family and friends we see often.

I don't feel guilty or neglectful about those orange orbs...we build our lives as we learn from everyone we meet.

No big message here; just some thoughts I've been having.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall in all it's glory

Let's see if I can remember how to post pictures. I wanted to take some pix this afternoon in the bright sun, but of course it clouded over. Still, I think I got some nice color...

Anniversary (Poem)

From Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac for 10-13-09. He sends his WA to a gazillion folks via e-mail, and gets permission from each author, so I believe I can share...

by Jason Whitmarsh
She says he isn't as funny as he used to be. About fifty percent as funny maybe less. He thinks, but doesn't say, no, it's you, you're depressed, you don't find anyone funny anymore. She thinks, but doesn't say, I've always been depressed. I've never found anyone funny--except you, once.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


It dawned on me that one of my fears has been worrying about ending up like my younger brother. He is much like the Collyer brothers; he wanders through corridors between huge stacks of newspapers, invites all his friends over, having them bring food, for big outdoor feasts. No planning. Just food. Never did realize until now that hiding the facts of any work he did, usually part-time and not very often, would result in a miniscule Social Security payment when he turned 65.

So I need not worry any more. I was careful to work full time (and sometimes part-time on top of that) in order to raise 3 kids alone after a divorce. I wasn't that neat and tidy...see my previous blog!...but was fortunate enough to marry a man who likes things put where they should be. He never nags, but the neatness rubbed off on me.

Newspapers are thrown out as soon as they are read. Books? I have several ceiling-high bookshelves and plan to purge some to donate to the library. I'll keep my shelves of author-signed books. My kids and grandkids can put them on eBay if they wish after I'm gone.

I'm thinking seriously about getting one of the new Kindles just because it would be so easy to read in bed rather than a heavy book.

Meanwhile, brother-mine, I know you are happy with your routine just as I am delighted with mine!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lake Writers and the Collyer Brothers book

I expected some of the older members of Lake Writers to identify with the Collyer Brothers book, but it was a much younger member who was intrigued, and who had read excerpts from the book. (She, as I, loved Doctorow as a writer of course.)

It's funny but not unexpected that I, at the age of 10, was one of those folks mystified by the discovery of the two brothers, both dead in the house and buried under tons of stacked newspapers, through which they had created tunnels to get through all the tons of items the one brother had hoarded.

Doctorow of course had to imagine conversations between the brothers, so he is careful to tell the reader that this is a novel, a work of fiction. Incredible...

If you are intrigued, Google 'Collyer Brothers' and you will find pictures of the exterior and interior of the house when the police came in to find out what had happened to the brothers.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall is here!

Beautiful fall colors, but I'm hopeful the predicted rain doesn't strip the red and orange and yellow from the hardwoods. Will take some pictures if the leaves remain...

My very favorite time of year, with the brilliant leaves~

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stories for My Book

I'm still trying to pull together my book about recipes, but am gaining a bit of momentum.

One of my church friends is famous for her Italian Cream Cake, which has 2 pages of handwritten directions! She says it takes a bit of time to make, but is SO good.

I'll bring a copy of the recipe to our Lake Writers meeting tomorrow, so they will know I am still struggling but making some headway after all.

Remember: If anyone has a funny story involving food, I'd love to hear it. There's no way, for example, to write about stuffed eggs(!) but I'm going to include a 'recipe' anyway, as everyone has her own way of fixing them. Isn't it funny that men hate hard boiled eggs but will stuff themselves with stuffed eggs. It seems there are never enough of those at any church function.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Interesting book I'm reading, Homer & Langley

I was 10 years old when the story broke in the papers about the Collyer brothers; you have to be a certain age to remember all the commotion and conjecture!

The brothers lived in a tall Victorian house in what was then a very nice part of New York. Their parents died, and the 'boys' inherited the house. Homer became blind, and Langley kept trying to 'heal' his blindness with diet and other strange things.

Langley decided he would publish ONE newspaper that would cover everything in the world, so he began collecting papers until they were stacked to the ceiling and only small tunnels existed for them to get around. Then Langley began collecting anything and everything. When the house was cleared out, they found a Model T Ford in the upstairs dining room! Langley had taken it apart, brought it into the house piece by piece, and rebuilt it.

The book is written as a novel by E.L. Doctorow and is getting rave reviews. Check it out on Amazon if you're interested; I paid about $10 for used (only it was brand new).

I love it when I find a book I can't put down...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

20-year increments

I've lived my life in 20-year increments...first in Washington, DC, where I was born, then in Sacramento where my 3 children were born, then in Maine, and now in Virginia...which is 10 years, 10 (at least!) to go.

I have friends here who have never lived anywhere else, and sometimes I envy them the closeness they have with their families in this same area, but sometimes I feel they have missed out on so much by not traveling out and about.

Just thinking out loud~

Saturday, October 10, 2009

All I want~

"All I want is a warm bed and a kind word and unlimited power!"

Quoted from someone named Ashleigh Brilliant. Love it!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Music and Memories

I listen to Sunny FM in the car. They play music from the 80's, and it is incredible to me that a song will be played and I am instantly transported back to those 80's. I welcome memories of who I was dating then, where we went, even who I was dancing with to some of those selections.

Who was it that said: music is the background for our lives? Ah, yes. There I go, driving down the road, 'dancing' in my car seat, grinning like crazy.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


The other night, we drove just a few miles to hear our former pastor, Larry, deliver a passionate revival. We've missed him terribly; the Methodist church keeps promoting him higher and higher. His current posting is just above NC, his home and where his parents and other family now live.

Larry made an interesting comment. He said he'd forgotten how FLAT it was down there. He said 18 years up in this area caused him to just love the mountains, that he could raise his face to the BlueRidge, day or night, and feel such strong pleasure, lifting his spirits. He was happy to have this 4-day revival surrounded by the mountains.

I'd never thought about that, but it is so true.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Need a little help from my friends

Well, friends, here's a true test of friendship. Do you have any funny stories featuring a cake? Anything that has happened that you recall or heard about? It has to involve a cake or cakes.

I'm working on a book called: My Church is Making me Fat! (with recipes) and I've stalled. I mean, what can you write that is funny about eggs? Churches serve platters and platters of stuffed eggs. I did find something I'm working on about potatoes, believe it or not.

Please let me know. And if you have fave recipes, dump them on me. I may just do a page or two of recipes alone!