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The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Ruth M Hamilton

Ruth M Hamilton

I love to give gifts and I pride myself in giving gifts that truly match up to the person to whom they are intended. The specific event is not so important, it is the thought and intention which matter the most.

Mother’s Day is celebrated in the middle of May in the USA.  My older brother holds the record for giving the best gift to our Mother by being born male on Mother’s Day.  He was the first grandchild added to my Mother’s family tree and she was so proud to hold that honor.  The two daughters had to work very hard for this event and we never quite measured up.

My Mother was very proud of all of her children and extremely equal with her attentions.  She taught us all that we must work very hard to achieve anything in life, how to be good citizens and thoughtful people.   She wanted my brother to be an elementary school teacher, my sister to be a special education teacher and she thought maybe I could become a secretary because I was so organized.  My brother became a policeman, my sister a reading specialist and me, well (sigh) I write a blog or three.

My siblings had a hard time learning to read and I had dyscalcula (she just thought it was being lazy on my part); my siblings took on learning how to be great at what they did and to show her how wonderful they were.  My Mother hoped we would win scholarships to college and get awards for our efforts.  Rather she became the most requested 1st grade teacher in the district, not because she was a great entertainer, but because the children who left her classroom at the end of the year had a strong foundation to go forward and they felt good about school; had a sense of accomplishment.  She earned many a reward from the parents of her students and so many of her students attended her Memorial Service 5 years ago.

My brother did win the Volunteer of the year award before Mother died and she was so proud.

She was so proud of my sister for her frugality and talent with earning and investing money, at one time she thought she should have encouraged her to be an accountant, numbers were her forte’, instead of a reading teacher, which was so difficult.  Mother was proud of how hard she worked and her perseverance.  She was proud of how carefully my sister followed in her example and how disciplined they both were.

My Mother felt she had taken care of me by getting me to marry a man who would have a stable income and who she liked so very much and he would always make sure I had the basic necessities of life.  As a team, we brought her home after she fractured her spine and I took care of her 24/7 – right to the end.  I heard her confessions and there were no real regrets and I valued her clear global voice.

Her last Mother’s Day, she told me that I was an amazing mother – loving, guiding, kind, and creative – and she forgave me for sometimes yelling my anger; she apologized for being so critical of me at the time it had seemed appropriate.

Now is time for the best Mother’s Day gift of all – her grandchildren are doing her proud.  Those awards are coming this year – IT Girl has just won the highest honor for her master’s thesis at San Francisco State University and was nominated for another award for writing excellence.  Librarian Girl just had a week of 32 hugs from her students as she completes her first year of full time teaching.  Entrepreneurial Girl has been promoted in her position 2 times this year into management with her own car.  Dancing Girl will graduate from Law School this Mother’s Day.  Alaska Girl has her driver’s license and is moving towards high school graduation with honors.  First born Grandson, and oldest of the crew, is off teaching math and reading for the Navy having to leave his wife and children at home for a long period of time.

The perfect Mother’s Day gift is coming true and I think she knows – I’m sure of it.

Have you ever given the perfect gift?  Was someone proud of you?  Did you receive a great award for your talents?

Happy Mother’s Day !

If you purchase anything from this site from Amazon or Powell’s, I will receive a few beans in my bucket

TO Vered DeLeeuw  for winning the book FOODTRIENTS and the APRON from the author Grace O and TLC online book tours.

Related Reading:
The Smartest Woman I Know
Temple Grandin 

Who’s That Doggie in the Window?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
Zip in the Window

Zip in the Window ~McEown

At this very moment as my fingers tap the keys, ZIP is looking out the window in the door.  It is raining rather vigorously and the squirrels and cats are not out and about right now, but he is hopeful.  I have to admit when he starts to bark sometimes it is just startling and loud causing me to jump and bound nearly out of my chair.  Now he is racing to the other end of the house to check out the possibility of deer on the orchard side of the house, and the neighbor has company so he will soon race upstairs to survey her driveway for activity.   He is vigilant.

He naps often.

I often spend my time on the computer looking at artist’s work, it is my favorite part of Friday afternoons.  I like finding blogs and making the connections.   I have highlighted my friend Jane’s  local sketches and also asked Terrill at Creative Potager to share her work on my site.

Zip by Keith Palmer  February 2011

Zip by Keith Palmer February 2011

Then into my inbox came a wonderful drawing of ZIP done by Keith Palmer of North Pennine Gallery’s Blog.

Keith’s work often captures my imagination and makes me wish I could head back to UK and see the countryside that he shares; the sheep in pasture, the stiles, and the pubs by the sea.  His drawing of Edinburgh just drew me in and I could remember walking that mile and the crush of people.

So thank you Keith Palmer for my lovely rendering of ZIP.   I am adding a copy to the gallery wall going up the stairs to my bedroom…the whole family hangs out there.

Say hello to DORIS  (Keith’s Westie) for me!

Do You have a favorite spot you wander to enjoy the visuals of their art?   Please share.

You might enjoy exploring IT Girls photography BLOG  and liking her page!

As always we could use a share!  All the good spots are under the share button below.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket. (This now includes eBooks and Kindle downloads)

Related Reading:
For Such Beauty is Mine 
Ladybug Recreation or Re-creation
The Swan Thieves
Trust What You Get

A Short Story Full of Thanks

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

abstract_noteOnce upon a time 40 years ago, a young woman got a full scholarship to a small college in North Carolina.  The school did not have a full music department, but it had a wonderful music Professor who was very encouraging to the young woman and her dreams of becoming a vocal music performer.  This professor got her many solo spots at local churches, folk music sites, and concerts and helped her prepare a senior concert that would provide a demo tape for the next pursuits.  Meanwhile the young woman majored in psychology and practiced and practiced and practiced her singing.  In her spare time, the young woman worked on voter registration, environmental justice, and anti-war efforts while developing a quilt project in Appalachia with buyers in New York.

A concert hall was rented, musicians hired and reception orchestrated.  Several lovely dresses were purchased for the various sections of the recital.   Advertising was designed and a sound team was engaged for recording.  The concert was slated for May Day.   But that concert was never to happen, because on Easter Sunday in early April the young woman found herself in the hospital undergoing massive surgery for kidney tumors and stones.

It was a slow and steady recovery process which cost a great deal of money.  There was no running or jogging and weight lifting to keep in shape and the muscles toned – breath supported.

The Professor felt very badly and quietly cancelled all the preparations and when the young woman was released found tutoring to help her graduate on time and go on to graduate school of a different kind.  He also arranged for a chapel in the woods, a comfortable stool and a reel to reel tape recorder to be set up for a small recital to be recorded.  One duet partner, the Philosophy Professor, even made time to join the small group and complete the duet section.  Over the last 3 weeks of school the arduous first part of the concert was recorded reel to reel as the young woman sat on the stool and the professor accompanied the vocals.  The Irish and local folks songs, musical numbers and contemporary pieces were not completed.

The young woman went other directions, but when she was discouraged, she would find a way to listen to her tape and found courage again.  The reel to reel tape was translated on to a small cassette.  Over the next years that tape was played so many times it stretched and distorted, but it still brought comfort.

Then the cassette player gave up and there was no way to hear the music.

Last year 2011, the young woman – now much matured wished to hear her music once again.  She could not find anyone to copy the cassette in its sad shape onto a CD.   Then she thought of Jannie Funster the amazing poet, songwriter and recorder of Funsterland in Austin, Texas  – who said yes she could figure it out….Jannie arranged, for a small fee, for her sound guru – GEORGE to take the tape and transfer it onto a CD.  George not only took out some of the distortion noise but also removed some background interference – it is still in an empty church and some of the words are unclear, but it is now on CD and the woman’s MP3 and on her computer.

I listened to it on my cellphone during my last morning walk….and all the energy and feelings of accomplishment returned.   All the joy of practicing, and people caring, and every effort being made to attain a goal is right there and fills my whole being.   It is the best concert ever.

I am left with only the humblest of thank you’s to say aloud.  It means so much to me I do not know how to thank each one of you.

Thank you!

Mr. Robinson, Jannie Funster, the Postal Service and George the Sound man.

Enclosed with this Thank you note, Please find a small piece of the concert I wish to share with you….

This is an excerpt from an arduous 4 part HYMN by Ralph Vaughn Williams.

Patricia’s Recital Track 3

Did someone do something special for you that you would like to share the story of such gift?

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

Related Reading you might also enjoy
Happy Thanks Birthday
A Divine Listener
A Quiet and Necessary Thank You Note
An Apple of Appreciation for the Teacher 

The Smartest Woman I Know ~Ilene Beckerman

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011


This is a wisdom story about love and living your best life by trusting what you get.

It is a short read and it made me laugh and cry.  The illustrations match the words and also make you laugh until you cry.  I have read this book 4 times it is so delightful.  The best time was when I made myself a cup a tea and sat by the fire.

A 76 year old grandmother writes about the woman, her Grandmother, who took her into her home at age 12 when she became an orphan.  Took care of her older sister also and guided these two young women in the ways of the world with a spoonful of wisdom served up at the Stationary Store in Madison Ave. New York City.

Need to diet, you will find the answer here.   Work 7 days a week and still need to put supper on the table for everyone; always take a cab?  Your own bathroom is best.

Now add an Eastside accent and Jewish to the picture and you know you are going to want to give this book to every smart woman you know this holiday season.   It is the pearls.

Ilene Beckerman also wrote Love, Loss, and What I Wore, which Nora and Delia Ephron developed into a successful Off- Broadway play.  The New York Times said, “Illuminates the experience of an entire generation of women…This small gem of a book is worthy of a Tiffany box.”

I am sure you know someone who would love to receive a copy of this delight.  The TLC online book tours know it too…so they have arranged with the author and Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill to give away three copies for each review….Yep 3.
What you need to do to get a free copy is to tell me a short story about the smartest woman you know – or your grandmother – in the comments section below.  I am asking the Grandmother’s who live on either side of my house to pick the winners – one owned a bookstore and the other taught piano students for 50 years.   Hard core readers they are!

We make our selection for Halloween 2011.    You can do it!  Link this review up and tweet and Facebook and Stumbleupon….LinkedIn….I promise you will not be disappointed.

The Smartest Woman I Know

Love, Loss, and What I Wore

If you purchase anything from Amazon I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

Related Reading:
Hannah Coulter
To Be Of Use
The Long Goodbye
The Man of My Dreams