I’m never leaving here


I drove through the rolling green hills of the Driftless region of southwest Wisconsin today. The farm fields have sprouted; some are already knee-high with corn or soy beans. The hills are dotted with clusters of trees, grand old solitary oaks and pastures full of grazing cows or horses. The sky was bright blue with a few floaty white clouds. It was a nearly perfect early summer day.

I used to live in that area. I didn’t think I ever took the beauty for granted, but after not seeing it daily for the last five years or so — I was definitely soaking it in today.

I had a hand-drawn map on a piece of paper to guide me. The address didn’t show up on my GPS. In this now-city-girl’s opinion, it was out in the middle of nowhere. Absolutely gorgeous nowhere, though. I had never been to this farm before. The friend who lived there was the friend-of-a-friend with whom I’d have a few coffee chats over the years.
I had also had this woman’s daughter in my children’s choir at one time about 8 years ago or so.


The two friends were waiting for me on a lovely screened in back porch as I drove slowly up the long gravel driveway. I got out of the car, flung my arms wide and declared, “I’m never leaving! This is absolutely beautiful.” (This photo is the view from the screened in back porch).

We laughed and hugged and said hello.

I’ve written about my friend, Anne, before. And here as well.

The woman who lives on this gorgeous farm was diagnosed with an aggressive very rare form of cancer last October. She went from mammogram, to biopsy, to starting chemo in FOUR days. It was urgent. Her prognosis was never good. The doctors thought she wouldn’t make it through October. I saw her today, looking great and full of joy and love — about 9 months after that thought. She is fiercely determined, surrounded by prayer and LOVE.

We had peppermint tea and some delicious veggies, cheese (it IS Wisconsin, after all!), gluten-free crispy crackers, and dark chocolate covered cherries. A lovely tea party for three.

We chatted about family, about our children, about our lives. We talked about her treatment until she declared she’d had enough. We went on to talk about the book she had finished (during chemo!) and about her upcoming book signing. I bought a few for family and friends, and she happily signed them for me.

We talked about balcony people and about basement people. She said, “If you are on the stage performing at the very top of your ability and the balcony is full of people who love you unconditionally, who believe in you, who are your most loyal supporters — who is in the balcony?” I got teary and reached out my hand to Anne, “Anne Donovan.” She grasped my hand. I talked about how Anne has buoyed me through the years and not only me, but my children. Without fail, without reservation, without shyness. She is on our side. Always. No question. Ever. I’m incredibly blessed to have a balcony packed full of wonderful friends and family and colleagues.

Then she asked, “Who is in the basement? Who second guesses you? Questions your words, your motives, your actions?” Well, I could name a few people. But thankfully very few.

This woman inspired me. She gave me comfort and support today; she declared my life had already touched many lives for the better and predicted I would be continuing on that path. She hugged me tightly and she knew I was thinking I might not ever see her again. She saw my tears. She prophesied that I will be open to more joy and love than I can imagine. All three of us hugged and at least two of us were tearing up.

I took a quick photo of the three of us.

I will carry this sacred moment in my heart.




A voice heard halfway around the world

CS Lewis quote; image by The Tromp Queen, CC license.

Most days, I probably spend a little too much time on Facebook.
On weekends I probably spend a LOT too much time on Facebook.

But sometimes I’m deeply touched by the things I read and see there.
I’m flabbergasted by the kindness of strangers and friends.

I feel connected to people and places I’ll probably never see again (or ever see period).

Yesterday I made a new friend.
She lives in Hobart, Tasmania and I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Here’s how it happened.

As I was scrolling through my newsfeed, I saw a post about a conversation between two friends:


(at Starbucks)
FRIEND: I need a tea. Do you want anything?

ME: A new president.

Thinking the post was by a friend, I commented:

“I can’t believe it’s only been a week.”

Turns out the post was from another source and a friend had re-posted it. A short while later I got this very kind message from a woman in Australia who said my comment struck a chord with her which prompted her to contact me:

Please excuse me contacting you like this .
I normally wouldn’t. But I’m sitting here in Hobart Tasmania like 12 thousand miles from Washington and I was thinking exactly what you said

” I can’t believe it’s only been a week”

A cry from the heart or just a bemused thought or whatever.

Exactly that. A week in time. There’s 52 in each year. If things are 208 times worse in 4 years god help us all long before then.

My apologies again but you struck a chord in me. Peace.

This was my reply:

Thank you for your words. I had planned to try to bury my head in the sand for the next four years, trying to naively believe all will be well. Every single day it is more apparent that I can not in good conscience pursue that passive path. My comment was a cry from the heart; I appreciate being heard.

I was having a bout of insomnia. It was about 1:30 am here and I don’t know what time there, but I’m guessing 17 or 18 hours since it is almost literally half-way around the world.

We chatted (via Facebook Messenger) about the new US President and various issues, then meandered on to family and common interests.

I spent a little time trying to figure out if she and I had any mutual friends.
We didn’t.
This was truly a serendipitous connection.

We decided to become friends on Facebook and just started our first game of Words with Friends together.

A person can never have too many friends — virtual or otherwise.
Being kind is always a good thing to be.

Who knew? Famous Friendship Series: Cassatt and Degas

Cassatt stated that her first encounter with Degas’s art “changed my life,” while Degas, upon seeing Cassatt’s art for the first time, reputedly remarked, “there is someone who feels as I do.”

NPR recently featured a story about the friendship, mutual admiration, art  — passion? — between Edward Degas and Mary Cassatt.

Read it here.

I am a fan of both painters.  I love the movement, the color, the subjects they chose, and their individual voices.

Knowing of their connection makes me feel that I know them both a little bit better.

Little Girl in a Blue Chair by Mary Cassatt


Little Girl in a Blue Armchair is full of Degas’ influence. First of all, he brought the girl to Cassatt — she was the child of his friends. In a pretty dress, she sits slumped in a chair, hand behind her head and legs spread apart. She looks bored, exhausted and not at all dainty or proper. Other big blue chairs and a sofa are in the room — “like bumper cars,” Jones says. A window in the corner may show Degas’ direct influence. 


There is an exhibit at the National Gallery featuring the work of both these artists:  It runs May 11 to October 5, 2014.

Quotes from the NPR story and from the exhibit home page.

Who Knew? Ella and Marilyn

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt…it was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him – and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status – that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”
– Ella Fitzgerald

When I saw this photo, I was immediately interested to find out more about the relationship between these two amazing women.  Then I found this quote from Ella.  What a story!

I see respect and friendship in this photo.  I wonder what they talked about.  To me, it is obvious they enjoyed each other’s company, though.

Quotes from Ella:

“I sing like I feel.”

“I know I’m no glamour girl, and it’s not easy for me to get up in front of a crowd of people. It used to bother me a lot, but now I’ve got it figured out that God gave me this talent to use, so I just stand there and sing.”

“The only thing better than singing is more singing.”

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”

“It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.”



Quotes from Marilyn:

“A girl doesn’t need anyone who doesn’t need her.”

“Ever notice how ‘What the hell?’ is always the right answer?”

“A wise girl knows her limits.  A smart girl knows she has none.”

“Most importantly, keep smiling — because life is a beautiful thing, and there is so much to smile about.”

“I believe that everything happens for a reason.  People change so you can learn to let go.  Things to wrong so you can appreciate them when they are right.  You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself.  And sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

Marilyn Monroe in Canada, where they were filming a movie. The image belonged to the magazine Look and was given to the USA Library of Congress in 1971.

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”

“Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything.”


Other Who Knew? posts I’ve written:

Related articles about Ella and Marilyn from others:

Mid-February Weekend Haiku: Singathon and Goodwill

image by davidmulder61 via Flickr CC
image by davidmulder61 via Flickr CC

Feb 15

Playing piano
in the Bayshore rotunda —
Girlchoirs East and West.

Fingers on Steinway.
First MCC gig complete.
It’s where I belong.

image by viewerblur via Flickr CC
image by viewerblur via Flickr CC

Feb. 16*

Goodwill shopped so long
Customer thought I worked there.
Not a good idea!
I would spend more than I earned,
though it would be lots of fun.

Browsing for sweaters:
Cashmere, lambswool, angora.
Cute skirts:  Goodwill finds!
Mutant Ninja Turtle (lunch) box.
Cobalt blue vase with daisies.

*Tanka form 57577

Thank YOU and Accidentally Deleted Media?

This image shows the view from the carpark &qu...
View from the carpark “Rest and be Thankful” near Arrochar in Scotland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Tromp Queen Readers and Followers,

T H A N K  YOU for your support, encouragement, comments and inspiration.  I’m thankful for each and every one of my readers and followers.

I never dreamed that I would find friends through writing a blog, and I’m so thankful for the wonderful people I’ve met and gotten to know here.

I’m grateful that I listened to the urging of five vociferous Facebook friends for the nudge (shove!) they gave me to begin writing a blog.  I’m enjoying it more than I ever dreamed I would.


An administrative note:
I saw a notice in my dashboard or stats that said I was using more than half of my media storage space.  I thought I should go back and delete photos from my library to create more space for the future.  I assumed that if the photos and media were already IN a blog post that they would be “safe.”  I am not completely sure, but I have seen some evidence that this is, in fact, NOT the case.  I checked my fabric covered tiles post and many of the photos were NOT showing up.  My request of you is this: If you are reading any of my older posts and see “missing” pictures, please let me know!!  I would greatly appreciate your help with this.  I am trying to read through all the posts to check the media, but this is December and I am a musician (which translates to busy, busy, busy).  😉  THANK YOU!!!

Liebster Liebe

image from tiaras and trianon

It’s The Liebster !

The blogosphere is truly a marvelous place where there’s a lot of support and encouragement given without reservation  to fellow bloggers. It’s truly an amazing feeling to be part of this beautiful community. The Liebster awards symbolises the encouragement given to bloggers and it also encourages us to interact more with each other.

I am excited to be nominated for this fun award by The Glass Bangle.  Thank you!

Details follow:

  • Each nominee must link back to the person who nominated them.
  • You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
  •  You must pick the next 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award, each with under 200 followers. (I’m making an executive decision to stretch this to 300ish so I can include several of my favorite blogs).
  • You must come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  •  You must go to their blogs and notify your nominees.
image from thehappycoffeebean, at blogspot.com

Since I was nominated for The Liebster by The Glass Bangle, in this post — http://theglassbangle.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/its-the-liebster/ — I will answer here the 10 questions she asked her 10 nominees to answer:

  1. Which is your favourite time of the day ?
    In Her Down Nest
    In Her Down Nest (Photo credit: Tabbymom Jen)

    Definitely the time when you have slept really well, just barely wake up, and then realize you do NOT have to get up.  Then you go back to sleep under your cozy down comforter.

  2. Given a chance to relive one day in your life which day would that be ?  
    Physician performing a physical exam on a newb...
    Physician performing a physical exam on a newborn baby after a Caesarean section. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The birthday of my oldest child.  I would NOT allow the Dr. to knock me out after the C-section until I got to hold my baby!  (I didn’t have a choice, they just did it.)  😦

  3. Which super power would you like to possess ?
    The Parr family. From left to right: Elastigir...
    The Parr family. From left to right: Elastigirl, Mr. Incredible, Violet and Dash. Bottom: Jack-Jack. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Super powers are a slippery slope.  Hmmm — no capes.  I learned that from “The Incredibles.”  I would say (and I know this sounds cheesy) but the ability to make people feel loved, confident and at peace.

  4. Which is your favourite aroma, something which makes you take in huge breaths ? Probably spiced cider or apple pie.  Cinnamon.  Definitely where it’s at.  
    *Cinnamon straw
    *Cinnamon straw (Photo credit: Darwin Bell)

    (Coffee is a close second).

  5. Write one word which symbolises the person you are.  Musical

    Probably the best piano I've ever played.  Absolutely gorgeous!
    Probably the best piano I’ve ever played. Absolutely gorgeous!
  6. Have you fallen in love with any object at first sight ? All the time!  Fabric mostly.  But other things, too — vases, earrings, beautiful things of every sort.
  7. If you are given a day free of all responsibilities, a day to do whatever you wanted, what would you do ?
    Sleep in :), Have a great breakfast with family and/or friends; Go to an interesting museum or historic site (preferably in Europe); either perform in or listen to a breathtakingly beautiful concert, shop for fabric or books or jewelry; take a hike (or a taxi) to a gorgeous natural area to take photographs;

    take a coffee break, read a fantastic book, and then nap in the sun on blankets.  Follow up with a bonfire party in a forest (or a catered dinner party on a veranda overlooking a body of water) with all my closest friends and family.

  8. What’s your favourite comfort food ?
    Another tough one.  Warm brownies.

    Warm chocolate brownies P1540979
    Warm chocolate brownies (Photo credit: tomylees)

    (But there are many foods I could choose)

  9. Which movie character has taken residence in your heart ?
    A scene with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy after a ...
    A scene with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy after a swim in a lake is recognized as “one of the most unforgettable moments in British TV history”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth)

  10. Which is the weirdest combination of food that you’ve had ?
    In Cozumel —

    seafood pilaf w/ octopus, squid, etc. but no squid ink — the closest image I could find to what I ate

    seafood pilaf (octopus, squid, mussels, etc.) with squid ink sauce (black!)  Delicious.

The blogs I nominate for The Liebster Award are
(insert drumroll here):

The Spirit of Troy drum line at Navy Pier in C...
The Spirit of Troy drum line (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Soul Gatherings
  1. The Quilt Meister
  2. Second Memory
  3. pomegranate and chintz
  4. Lucie The Happy Quilter’s Blog
  5. 3and3Quarters
  6. DreaPhotograph
  7. marsowords
  8. Sometimes There is Beauty
  9. The Artsy Wanderer 
  10. The Thrifty Queen Speaks (I just discovered your blog today, but I feel we are kindred spirits!)

These would be in alphabetical order if I had more patience and better luck with this wacky editor!

I want to thank a few fellow bloggers for their friendship and frequent comments, though they have too many followers or have already participated (or decline to do so) in the Liebster:  The Green Light Lady, Apple Hill Cottage ,  and Soul Gatherings. I am also continually inspired by Sue’s writing and photographs on the Daily Echo.  I will add The Greedy Reader to this list as well, though she is a recent kindred spirit find I look forward to future interaction with her in the blog world.  (If they care to answer my any or all of my 10 questions in the comment section, I would love to hear their answers.)

Liebster-wanna-bees, here are your 10 questions.  Please answer them in a soon-to-be-written blog post.  (No pressure, but I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!)

  1. What song is stuck in your head right now?  (If not now, then most recently?)
  2. If you are given a day free of all responsibilities, a day to do whatever you wanted, what would you do ?  (I’m borrowing this one from The Glass Bangle)
  3. Tell me about the name of your blog.  How did you come up with the name of your blog?
  4. Describe one of the most breathtaking places you’ve ever seen and how it affected you.  Where and when did you see it?
  5. What is your favorite food?  (Please share the recipe as well if you can).
  6. What are the next three books I should read?
  7. Do you have a favorite poem?  What is it and why?  (If you don’t have a poem, I’ll take a quote from a person, book or movie).
  8. What music do you listen to when you want to relax?
  9. What are three odd things about you that most people  don’t know.
  10. Tell me about a vivid sensory image.  It could be something you heard, saw, smelled, felt, or tasted.  What memory is associated with it and why?

Thank you all for reading, following, commenting in, on and around my blog!

5 stitches and a tube of glue

quilt and photo by qurikyjazz aka Jill
quilt and photo by qurikyjazz aka Jill

This date is the one year anniversary of the day after the night I cut my finger badly with a rotary cutter.
Badly enough to warrant a late night trip over the river and through the woods to a not so nearby ER.
Badly enough to need 5 stitches (including one through the fingernail) and a tube of glue.

The tale has a happy ending, so don’t be afraid to read on.

Here is the summary of that eventful night that I wrote up as a Facebook note last year on the “morning after,”  November 9, 2012:

finger stitches2 finger stitcheshere begins the Facebook note

So here is the whole “finger” story for those who need to know gory details.

I am at a quilt retreat with 9 fabulous quilting friends in a lovely house in DeSoto, WI. We arrived last night and will stay here til Sunday morning.

After sewing a couple of bindings on nearly finished quilts, I decided it was time to begin a brand new project. It was only 10:30 pm so I was not yet breaking the quilter’s rule of “don’t cut after 11 pm”.

I cut five skinny strips with a strip cutter and then — the next cut
— OUCH —
I had my left index finger on top of the groove I was cutting in! I knew I had really sliced it hard, so put pressure on it instantly and went straight to the sink. I ran cold water over it and kept the pressure on it.

Several people there gave advice (–there is never any shortage of advice with a bunch of quilters in the room!–) and we decided I should keep the pressure on, hold it above my head and get ice on it. I had the pressure on it for about 45 minutes or so, but bleeding still wasn’t stopping.

One friend started looking on her phone for the closest hospitals. Finally, after an hour and a call to my husband and to my on-call Med Associates nurse and advice from a friend (You are a pianist, it is your livelihood, you should go if you think you need to) — I said let’s go. Jean and Christina were the designated ER crew. By this time it was nearly midnight and though I had a pretty good bandage on (thanks to Christina and several of my well prepared for emergencies friends). I was worried it was still bleeding under there and worried about infection and healing and about how deeply it might have cut.

We went to Waukon, Iowa which was about 20 min. away. The nurse took one look at it and called the on call Dr. to come. He arrived a good long while later. He gave me two shots to numb it and started stitching it up. He was quite the comedian. I asked him where he went to med school and cracked, “Oh, was I supposed to go to med school?” Hilarious. He had several more jokes as we went along.

The result was five stitches including one THROUGH my nail! He used a tube of dermabond to seal it up. He said the pain would be numbed mostly for five or six hours. He said Friday it would hurt but by Sat. it should be feeling better. He thinks I will be able to play Sunday night for the concert if it is bandaged up to give it some protection while I play.

We got back to the house at about 2:30 am. Christina and Jean even sang on the way home to keep me entertained.

We saw several varmints, a deer and a train but managed to complete the trip safely.  🙂

those eyebrows
those eyebrows (Photo credit: inajeep)

If you don’t know what a rotary cutter is, Google it. It is like a round razor blade that is VERY very sharp. It cuts multiple layers of fabric all at once.

photo via flickr mollygolightly
photo via flickr mollygolightly

Another highlight of late night ER trip was the very handsome orderly DAN. Jean can give more details, if anyone needs to know. 😉

Final season cast (2008–2009)
Final season cast (2008–2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

here ends the Facebook note

The cut happened late on Thursday night. Careful readers will notice that I had a CONCERT the following Sunday afternoon. One of my jobs at that time was piano accompanist for two university choirs. The concert usually involves about 1 hour or more of pre-concert warmups and run-throughs and then the concert itself which can last anywhere from an 1 to 1 1/2 hours usually. For this concert we had some special guests playing with us so the warmup time was extra important.

Steinway & Sons piano

I had bandaged the heck out of my finger to prepare to play. I wrapped it and covered it with a “finger cot” (which looks like a tiny condom for your finger in case you’ve never seen one of these things!).

An example of a finger cot
An example of a finger cot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway, it was a little painful during the warmups but I could stand it. What I couldn’t stand was the feeling of all those bandages, though, so between songs I took the bandages and padding off and just put the little finger condom thing back on.

THEN….I accidentally hit my finger underneath the piano as I was adjusting my skirt or something. O.M.G. It hurt. It throbbed. I was surprised that blood wasn’t pouring out of it. I nearly burst into tears. The special guest (clarinet) asked if I was okay and I said (nearly in a sob) “No, I just bonked my finger and I have five stitches in that one!” He was horrified. He had no idea I was playing that way. By this time the director noticed I was in pain and was concerned immediately. When I explained what happened he gently said, “You’ve got to leave the bandages on.”

I said I needed a break to re-bandage, so they grabbed a replacement pianist from the choir. As they continued without me, I ran to the dressing room and let the tears go. I couldn’t see how I could possibly get through this concert. The music at this level is always challenging, always demanding — even on a regular night it is easy to make mental or technical errors if you aren’t on top of your game. But I was beginning to doubt whether I could physically do this or not in my current condition.
In my bathroom haven, I looked at my finger. The stitches were intact. There was no bleeding. Yes, it was painful. Painful didn’t begin to describe it. But it didn’t look like there was any new damage.

After the tears subsided, I took a deep breath. I decided I COULD and WOULD do this. It didn’t matter how much it hurt for the next hour or so — I would get through it. I decided there was no way I could hurt my finger badly enough to cause further damage by playing normally in the concert. I don’t know if what I told myself then was true or not, the important thing is that I believed it at that moment and believed it for the next hour or so.

I splashed cold water on my face. I tidied up my ever crazy looking hair. I gathered up my courage and went back out there.

We did it. I made it through. It is still very difficult for me to listen to the CD of that concert. I hear several places where I am hesitant or where there are a few blurby notes, but I think any casual listener would not be able to tell I had I a severely injured finger that night.

My finger? Thank God it is completey healed and nearly back to normal. There is the teeniest trace of a scar and a very very small loss of sensitivity, but it could have been much much worse. I’m grateful, thankful, and blessed.

The quilt? It is nearly finished. I still need to put the binding on.

I did manage to finish the quilt top and get most of the backing pieced that weekend before we left the retreat. Later that fall, I had it professionally quilted (QuilThyme). I chose to put fabulous orange minky on the back and picked out some cool quilting patterns to complement the modern look of the quilt.

Names I considered for this quilt
“Over the River and Through the Woods to Waukon ER We Go”
“I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends”
“No Tears For Me and My Finger” (Argentina…)
“Waukon The Wild Side”

I’ve decided to call this quilt “Five Stitches and a Tube of Glue” unless someone out there comes up with a better name for it!

Here is a preview of the almost done quilt:

This post is the explanation I promised in an earlier post: Quality Time with Quilt Friends — These tables are protected by a special type of mat that is used with rotary cutters, wheel-shaped razor-sharp cutting tools that can slice fingers as easily as several layers of fabric. (I will explain how I know this in another post, another day!) https://haskerj.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/quality-time-with-quilt-friends/

Actually, I’m jealous

AgraceA woman in a thrift shop said this to me yesterday, and I took it as a nice compliment.  “Actually, I’m jealous,” she said when commenting on the friendship she observed between me and my dear friend, Anne, as we shopped in the Agrace Thrift Shop in Madison.

Anne and I had planned this day for ourselves several weeks in advance.  Neither one of us cared at all what we did, but we just wanted to BE together.  I call this “friend time.”  What you do and where you are doesn’t matter.  What matters is having the luxury of time — lots of it — and the opportunity to talk about anything and everything.

After doing a bit of shopping in a fabulous artistic hip fabric store and having a delicious lunch of Indian food, we spied this Thrift Shop across the parking lot from the restaurant.

No big discussion needed. We went inside.

We browsed.  We got separated and found each other several times.  At one point I walked over to Anne carrying a juicer saying, “I think I need you to talk me out of buying this.”  (The juicer was only $7.99 and looked in great shape.  I’ve been considering trying juicing as a means to be healthier, but haven’t taken the leap to buy a juicer yet).

Anne immediately said, “Oh, I can do that.”  Then without missing a beat she went on to tell me several reasons why this one wasn’t that great.  I said, “Okay” and then walked over to put the thing back on the shelf.

A little later Anne came up to me with a small stack of CDs saying, “Will I like this music?”  I looked them over and said yes I thought she would.  As she walked away she said, “Just so it isn’t Wagner” (which made me smile.)

via Flickr creative commons; Ed and Eddie’s photostream: San Francisco Opera poster for The Ring Cycle by Wagner

I hadn’t looked at the CDs so I wandered back there to peruse them.  I thought Anne was nearby so I said, “Anne, how about Chopin and Schumann?  I think you would like this one.”  A woman came around the corner and said something like “Chopin sounds good.”  I looked up and said, “Are you Anne?” — which in hindsight might have sounded a tad bit snarky but I meant it in a friendly way.

Handknit sweaters

A little later I was trying to talk Anne into trying on a cool patchwork sweater. Anne was saying she didn’t trust her own judgement on sweaters anymore since she won an ugly sweater contest with a sweater she owned and liked.  I said the sweater “looked like her” but I thought it might be too large for her, but it wouldn’t hurt to try it on.

At that point, the woman (the same one who responded to my CD question) came by and said she had enjoyed listening to our conversations and our manner of relying on each other’s advice.

Then she said it:  “Actually I’m jealous.  I wish I had a friend like that.”

I was speechless.  My first thought was to say, “We’ll be your friends!” But then I realized that was impractical.  Neither Anne nor I live in that town, and we are making quite an effort to keep our friendship in tact now that we are nearly 3 hours apart rather than just around the corner from each other.  By the time I got through all those thoughts, the woman had drifted away so I didn’t have to say anything at all.

I was (and am) left with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  I’m thankful to have a friendship that just by being is noticeable and exceptional in a good way.  I’m extremely blessed to have not just one friendship like this, but several — each unique and enriching.

The rest of the day was great, too.  We went to a fabulous bead shop, then to a practically perfect coffee shop (where we dissolved into tears for just a few short minutes), and then browsed the adjacent “Absolutely Art” store.

Latte swirl2
Latte swirl2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s hoping you have a friendship that could be a source of envy. If you don’t, then open yourself to the possibility.  Invest your time and energy with people who share your passions.

Be a good friend and you will create a good friend.
At least, I’ve always found this to be true.

image from Pinterest

Who knew? part deux re-do

amelia and Eleanor

In my first “Who knew?” post, I included several quotes from the two women.  In that case it was Martha Graham and Helen Keller.  I realized tonight I did not include any quotes in my “Who knew? part deux” post.

In that second post, I commented on the friendship between Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Being adventuresome, outspoken, and intelligent women, they said many memorable and challenging statements during their lifetimes. I’ve chosen several of my favorites to share with you.

Enjoy!  I hope you feel as inspired by their words as I do.

Amelia Earhart quotes:

Amelia Earhart by aircraft
Amelia Earhart by aircraft (Photo credit: San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives)

On anticipation:

Anticipation, I suppose, sometimes exceeds realization.

In my life I had come to realize that when things were going very well indeed it was just the time to anticipate trouble. And, conversely, I learned from pleasant experience that at the most despairing crisis, when all looked sour beyond words, some delightful “break” was apt to lurk just around the corner.

Amelia Earhart and Lockheed Electra 10E NR1602...
Amelia Earhart and Lockheed Electra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On action and purpose:

The most effective way to do it, is to do it.

There are two kinds of stones, as everyone knows, one of which rolls.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.

Never do things others can do and will do if there are things others cannot do or will not do.

Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done.

Roots on Roots... Tree on Tree

On kindness:

No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed.  A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.

Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart (Photo credit: San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives)

Advice for women:

A girl must nowaways believe completely in herself as an individual. She must realize at the outset that a woman must do the same job better than a man to get as much credit for it.

photo by quirkyjazz
photo by quirkyjazz

 Love of reading and school:

Like many horrid children I loved school, though I never qualified as teacher’s pet. Perhaps the fact that I was exceedingly fond of reading made me endurable. With a large library to browse in, I spent many hours not bothering anyone after I once learned to read.

Image from Hubble telescope


After midnight the moon set and I was alone with the stars. I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, and I need no other flight to convince me that the reason flyers fly, whether they know it or not, is the aesthetic appeal of flying.


Amelia Earhart's Lockheed 5B Vega

Courage is the price that
Life exacts for granting peace.

The soul that knows it not
Knows no release from little things:
Knows not the livid loneliness of fear,
Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear the sound of wings.

Red-capped Robin (Petroica goodenovii)

Nor can life grant us boon of living, compensate
For dull gray ugliness and pregnant hate
Unless we dare
The soul’s dominion.

Each time we make a choice, we pay
With courage to behold the resistless day,
And count it fair.

poem by Amelia Earhart

Deutsch: Mohnblumenfeld in Flandern, Belgien.

(end of Amelia Earhart quotes)


Eleanor Roosevelt quotes:

On Light:

Fire burning bright
Fire burning bright (Photo credit: Droidicus)

What is to give light must endure the burning.

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

Determination (Photo credit: Gulfu)

Courage and Fortitude:

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’  You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

English: Photograph of Rosa Parks with Dr. Mar...
(ca. 1955) Rosa Parks μεand τον Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do what you feel in your heart to be right– for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

Curiousity (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart. Don’t be concerned about whether people are watching you or criticizing you. The chances are that they aren’t paying attention to you.

For it isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.

flag waver

You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.

Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.

Life Lessons:

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.

The most important thing in any relationship is not what you get but what you give.

LIFE Magazine (September 27, 1923)  ...item 3....

One thing life has taught me: if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests. They come to you. … All you need to do is to be curious, receptive, eager for experience. And there’s one strange thing: when you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else.

01-21-13 Learn Something New
Learn Something New (Photo credit: roswellsgirl)

I have never felt that anything really mattered but the satisfaction of knowing that you stood for the things in which you believed and had done the very best you could.

Happiness (Photo credit: baejaar)

Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product.

Happiness (Photo credit: 4nitsirk)

I consider those are rich who are doing something they feel worthwhile and which they enjoy doing.

Roosevelt flying with Tuskegee Airman Charles ...
Roosevelt flying with Tuskegee Airman Charles “Chief” Anderson in March 1941 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You rarely achieve finality. If you did, life would be over, but as you strive new visions open before you, new possibilities for the satisfaction of living.

It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death.

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.

Clam Shells on the Beach
Clam Shells on the Beach (Photo credit: camknows)

(end of Eleanor Roosevelt quotes)

Who knew? part deux

This image is the work of Underwood and Underwood (active 1880 – circa 1950) and is from the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, a gift of George R. Rinhart. Image taken March 2, 1935

Looking at the expressions in this photograph (above) I see friendship, joy and mutual appreciation –(admiration? Yes, I think so!)

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
― C.S. Lewis

“This standout photograph from the The One Life: Amelia Earhart exhibition which closed recently at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. captures the friendship between Amelia and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, two pioneering women of their day. Eleanor was a crusading First Lady, working tirelessly for social justice, while Amelia set new records and flew solo across the Atlantic, proving that the “glass ceiling” did not apply to the skies. One evening after dinner, Eleanor and Amelia flew over Washington in an impromptu night flight. Amelia wore an evening gown during this adventure, an image which captures the complexity of their roles as contemporary female role models and boundary-breaking leaders. After her death, Eleanor wrote of Amelia that “a nation is poor indeed when it does not have men and women with this kind of spirit.” That spirit is apparent in both of the vibrant, courageous women depicted in this photograph.”  (quote from National Portrait Gallery facebook page)

Amelia Earhart and Lockheed Electra 10E NR1602...

Amelia Earhart and Lockheed Electra 10E NR16020 c. 1937 http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/earhart.newdocs/earhart.electra.jpeg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Li...
English: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum ID #65732 Eleanor Roosevelt at United Nations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m always intrigued to find out that two famous people from two different spheres of life are (or were) friends.  I’ve always assumed that most famous people are in reality pretty lonely.  Yes, they have a lot of fans but I would think making and keeping true friends is quite difficult if one or both are famous.

What a joy it is for any of us to realize that — Wow!  I really like this person I just met!  We could be friends!

Complicate that moment with fame and fortune (time, distance, commitments — whatever) and friendship doesn’t have opportunity to take root.

Amelia Earhart was a driven person and her life story is publicly recorded.  She took her first flying lesson in January of 1921 and six months later had bought her first plane!  Think about that for a moment.  In 1928 she became the first woman to fly the Atlantic ocean.  She continued to set aviation records throughout the rest of her life, breaking barriers and raising the hopes and dreams of young women worldwide.

Eleanor Roosevelt‘s life is a matter of public record as well.  I had never really read through her amazing list of accomplishments and am amazed at the scope and depth of her commitment to social justice and equal rights.  Her work was especially focused rights and opportunities for women, African-Americans, youth, and coal miners.  Eleanor was a force to be reckoned with no matter what she set her mind to, it seems!

The image of these two amazing women taking an impromptu night flight over Washington, D.C. is one that makes me smile.  I wonder what they talked about!

Click here to see an image of Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt just before boarding a plane for a round-trip night flight from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore. During the flight, Mrs. Roosevelt took over the controls for a few seconds, ca. April 21, 1933.

Click here to see another photograph of these two women together in the plane on that short flight to and from Baltimore.  In the photo aviator Amelia points out the White House to resident First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Apparently I can be talked into starting a blog.

Recently several facebook friends encouraged me to create a blog.  Since they guaranteed me five followers, I decided to accept the challenge.  While I’m not sure I have any thing earth-shattering to say, I will share thoughts, images, and possibly a few random rants in an effort to entertain and hopefully inspire my quintet of followers.