Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Last Wednesday, our internet provider informed us he had numerous messages that our internet was out.  It was then I remembered turning off the power strip for the Christmas tree which also contained the plug-in for the internet thing-a-ma-jig.  He then asked us never to unplug it again.  Problem identified.

So that night as I got on my knees under the tree to specifically unplug the lights (not the power strip) I lost my balance, which is otherwise as precise as an atomic clock, and fell head-first into a small tilt table (which tilted graciously) slamming my head and left hip to the floor.  I went over like a top-heavy bowling pin, all the while thinking - this is just the sort of yule tide event that adds to the nostalgia of Christmas!

Husband was already nestled snug in bed with visions of the long run carrying oysters to Harrisonburg dancing in his head.  Therefore I hobbled off to bed to await the holidays with a throbbing hip.  Joy to the world.

Husband, finally home from his run, determined the solution to be a separate power strip for the tree lights.  Friday morning saw him on his back deep under the tree accomplishing that end.  Problem solved.  Then I heard him say, "I can't get up."  Problem #2 identified, to which there was only one solution, since all that was reachable were his feet.  When I checked behind me I realized I had to be the one to grasp him by the ankles and hobble backwards until his head cleared the tree.  He got up on his own.  Problem #2 solved.

Our family will all be together this year, and we wish all of you a happy loved-filled Christmas.

PS:  Show love to someone who needs it.

Monday, October 15, 2012


On Saturday, as I lay resting on the sofa, a familiar face appeared at the window.  It was my only surviving aunt and her husband Bill.  There is no better news than the sight of them looking so well and happy.

Nellie Pearl Strigle Berger Braxton and LtCol Leon E. (Bill) Braxton

She at 86 and he at 95 motored up from their home in Tampa, FL, to visit relatives and friends along the way, their ultimate destination in Pennsylvania.  They recently relocated to a small rental home on an island off Tampa, finding retirement community living too full of "old people."  I think that was the right decision.  

Bill has just written his third book in partnership with a friend, "Birth of a Legend, The Bomber Mafia and the Y1B-17."  He was a flyer in World War II and kept friends with his whole crew, some of whom lived near us.  The book is a comprehensive account of the bombers of that era and the pioneers of aviation who contributed so much to the building of today's air force.  It is so interesting to be able to hear accounts of his experiences 70 years ago which began at Langley Field, Virginia, just a few miles from us.

The Cover of the Book Bill co-wrote with CAPT Arthur H. Wagner USCG (Ret)
This book may be ordered online at www.trafford.com
or email orders@trafford.com.

It was so great to see them.

And so hard to say goodbye.

Monday, September 10, 2012


This morning is glorious.  The air is cool, clean and filled with the bright golden hope of autumn days to come.

The View Out My Back Door

I saw on Waverly Lane the wild flowers my mother-in-law so loved and went and photographed them in her memory.  She had tiny little vases on her kitchen window sill filled with the likes of what I saw growing.

When it comes to beauty, Nature has no equal.

Blues shimmering in the morning sun remind me of 
Husband's mother, who wore the color so well.

Before her death, her son John (who died in 1984) planted this Rose of Sharon Hibiscus at the edge of our yard on Waverly Lane.

A beautiful Reminder of Those Now Gone

Plants are preparing to replace themselves by producing seeds in great quantity, and preparing for the long winter's nap to come.

The Magnolia Tree with Seeds for New Trees

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


My mother once informed me that in conduct with the opposite sex, a girl must be in charge.  As a four-year-old, this didn't mean much to me, but I took the core caution to heart and as time went on my posture toward men became mostly defensive.  Actually Mother had me so frozen with fear that I didn't thaw out until 1960.

It is amusing that for so long women's monthly tornado of female mood swings have been given as evidence of unsuitability for high office.  The hormonal hand on the doomsday button was always the implied fear for the safety of all humankind.

Then it should be mentioned that men are governed by debilitating powerful hormones also, which nature found to be successful in procreation, and they are not anchored to any monthly cycle but are in force all the time.  They render men mostly disconnected from reason and ready to pounce with the speed and good judgement of a mousetrap upon any willing or seemingly willing female, forgetting completely about the doomsday button.
Dance at Bougival by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
And a one, and a two (as Lawrence Welk would say)
She is dancing in her virginal off-white attire trimmed in passionate crimson, 
he appears to be dancing and planning his next move 

This is the source of confusion that men experience when seeking to explore the subject of rape.  Subjective paralysis overcomes their ability to think straight, as they empathize with the male pursuing the irresistible goal of sex:  Was he the victim of deliberate seduction?  Did she say no, but mean yes?  What did she expect dressed in a hot-red bonnet like that?   How dare she dangle her goodies under the nose of so helpless a victim, ever willing to excuse himself from culpability.

As Mother said, they can't help themselves and all other men believe in their victim-hood.  I think they have run that play for too long.  The good old boys want to go back to the 50's when women wore pearls and only dreamed about enjoying safe sex.  They are stepping all over feminine toes and thinking they're entitled to the privilege.  I think they misjudge us as well as our secretions, which will happily shut down the whole reproductive process when we are raped, as Mr. Akin said.

I think it is time to stand up for ourselves as women and tell the males wielding all the power to stop being so hysterical and just lie back and enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


August here on Waverly Lane has been hot, humid, stormy, and rainy - all conditions favoring the growth of nature's selected grasses, weeds, native seedling trees - everything but what you planted in June, which is shoulder-deep in thick masses of unwanted wild growth.

In order to keep pace with the green invasion, Husband and I set out on our personal lawn-mowing equipment:  the Cub Cadet (me), and the Toro Zero Turn (Husband).  He sits proudly ensconced between his steering levers as a king on a throne holding two scepters, while I sally forth on the "regular guy" Cub Cadet.  I notice a "sound" coming from my mower deck and get taken to task for mowing too close and bending something.  After his stern lecture, in which he belittles my competency and also defames my noble vehicle as a piece of "*#@!," we resume our work.

After an interval, I notice Husband is on foot beckoning me over and preparing for censure, I conclude I've done something else wrong.  This time, however, he is unusually smiling and pleasant as he asks me to pull him out of the deep ditch that outlines our side of Waverly Lane.  On arriving it was obvious Husband had tried gambling another dangerous edge and lost.

An Unusually Pleasant Husband 
Being Rescued While Wearing
His Biblical Slogan Tee Shirt

We hooked the Cub Cadet to the Zero Turn, in spite of their previous animosities (see wildonwaverlylane.blogspot.com/2011/10/dueling-in-sun.html) and go on with our mowing.

After the lawn is trimmed and beautiful, there was gratitude, and conciliation, and a little tear or two from the wind heron, who was overcome by humidity.

Zero Turn:
"Thanks for Pulling Me Out and You're Not a Piece of #@*!"
Cub Cadet:  "You're OK, if no one else is available."

(Sniff, blubber) "If Only a Group Hug Were Possible!"

Monday, August 20, 2012


As parents, Husband and I have been described as unstructured slackers and even delinquency contributing bad examples.  We humbly admit that in steering the family ship of state, we have had our share of dragging bottom.  But all's well that ends well, if it ever does end.

Our Three Endure Hardships to Accomplish a
Cross-Country Family Experience (1977)

In spite of our shortcomings, we behold our three offspring and can only feel happy and thankful, whatever their present circumstances, to have them in our fold and their friends too.

Baby Sis, Middle Sis, and Their Friends
Cathy and Judy

At our recent get together, we were joined by several of their friends and listened to reminiscences of times past.  We got step-by-step how to manually strangle a cheating spouse; how to enjoy the ambiance of a gay resort though heterosexual; how to survive a reckless driving ticket (82mph in a 45mph zone...and you thought that would go unnoticed?); how to deal with mentally-compromised adult trick-or-treaters who show up a day early at your house way back in the woods.  Those are just a few highlights.  You had to be there holding your sides laughing!

 There Were Lots of Good Stories

Time and again people tell us that is is rare for families to want to be together, to want to help each other, and to truly show their pride in each other.  Even though we know we made missteps in parenting, Husband and I love what has resulted.

The Three Sisters

Monday, August 13, 2012


Happy seventeenth birthday to you and your dimples!

Remember when you came into the world and found yourself
wearing a weird little hat from Finland?  I do.

Remember when they outfitted you like Kareem Abdul
and got you a little guy plastic goal?  I do.

Remember when they took you to baseball games
and you ate it up?  I do.

The playground was fun, I know you remember that.
I do.

Some amusements made you light up that
didn't involve a ball.  I remember that.

You always enjoyed outdoors, the clipping, the cutting. 
I remember.

Most of all I remember that sunny sweet smile and
those dimples.  I do.

Friday, July 27, 2012


You came into the world ready to party!

And you did!
(Taken in your college years)

As a small child you wanted to be "a horseback rider 
and a rock 'n roll singer."

And you were!

You were athletic...

And glamorous...

And glamorous...

And glamorous...

And glamorous while being a terrific aunt!

And married!  And glamorous...


Tuesday, July 17, 2012


101 degrees Fahrenheit was the reading on the thermometer as we traveled South to Avon Beach.  At journey's end our upstairs enclave felt heavenly.  A half-story compromise, the bedroom had its high points, where you could walk upright, and its low points, where you voluntarily crushed your own skull against beams tapering down to allow the addition.

Sea Oats Fringe The Dunes In An Evening Sky

Too fagged out to do the beach that first afternoon, we rested hoping to see a little TV.  Thankfully, we both lived through the hard times when TV's had no hand-held changers; because this little TV had no changer, requiring one hand always be on the set.
Given that out of 500 channels, there may be 2 worth watching, the hand on the set did some heavy duty.  I decided on the "Mentalist" marathon on A&E to the disappointment of Husband, an "American Pickers" and "Weather Channel" man.  In an effort to keep me happy, he went to sleep.  He knows the way to my heart is him asleep.  Win, win because he loves sleeping.

We recovered our spirits and took ourselves across the road to dinner for the "Early Bird Senior" Special.  It was fried shrimp, fried french fries, and coleslaw in a paper cup.  Everything was evidently fried the day before and left in the grease.  The coleslaw was all white and limp.  To the early bird goes the worm, and a worm would have tasted better.  They must be thinking:  old people.  What can we do to make your happiness complete?  How about a shove downstairs?  Help, you've fallen and can't get up?
You're welcome.

After that dinner, we wrapped ourselves around a tree trunk (python style) to crush the fried food and aide indigestion.  More "Mentalist" and sleep for Husband.

That first night, Husband got up 3 times, bumped his head 3 times, and cursed vehemently 3 times on his way to the bathroom.  The next night we switched beds, and I didn't (get up, bump, and curse).

Our Path to Avon Beach

Day 2 we walk the beach to Avon Pier, collapse under the boardwalk and converse with a dog tied there.  The dog panted and complained about being tied in the heat with no fresh water anywhere.  We told him things would get better and at least he didn't have to walk the beach back home.  Back in front of our house, we sit in beach chairs and let the surf wet our bottoms, the sand soothe our feet.  This day we did not venture into the surf, which was wild with energy.

From This Perspective, It Looks Calm...It Isn't.

On Day 3, number one daughter was in the water, so I ventured in, was smacked down at ankle depth, and remained rolling laterally in nature's violent agitator until a hand pulled me up by my suit, which I made sure was still covering all my lady parts after such a  furious discharge of energy.  Struggling to my feet was all the exercise I needed for the day as I remarked, "Boy, that was scintillating!"  

Our last evening, we took the family to dinner for seafood.  On the way out there was a torrential downpour of rain.  Back in our half-story boudoir, we dried out, watched the lightening in the night sky, and went to sleep to the pulsing sound of the surf, dreaming of the good old days when the surf didn't knock us down at ankle depth. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Recently we spent three nights in Avon, NC, and below are pictures of our outing.

The Comfy Little House We Stayed In

The View From Our Bedroom Window

The Still Life On The Path To The Beach

The Beach

The Mockingbird Who Serenaded Us Every Evening

Lush Beach Greenery

Our thanks to number one daughter for allowing us to intrude on her vacation, and to number two daughter for caring for the critters at home.  We enjoyed the time away.

Friday, June 29, 2012


Blessings are reality interpreted as kind advantage.  Our need to express thanks for our fortunes and existence gave birth to religion.  To use that conduit to infinity as a cruel weapon is the antithesis of praise; it defames religion, but is so like humans at their basest.

Growing on Waverly Lane
My Iris

Shame, disgrace, financial ruin, ill health and death should never be considered as deserved; neither should the smugly righteous be congratulating themselves that they avoided such fate.  The Germans have a term for this, "schadenfreude," which means "your misfortune is my enjoyment."  That is the root of gossip, the passing on of damning tales of others' misbehavior or misfortune.  The teller feels somehow comforted in his moral superiority.

Growing Wild on Waverly Lane
Queen Anne's Lace

I always feel somewhat sad upon having to hear these tales.  As John Donne wrote, "...each man's death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind..."  I include grief or misfortune along with "death."  I guess, as the TV talk righties would say, I'm just a pinhead.  So may it ever be (amen).

Our Front Field of Wild Flowers on Waverly Lane