As promised, I’m reblogging any posts you tell me were inspired by my thoughts on kindness. Judy’s blog is inspirational. She has a had a difficult journey, including the loss of her first-born son, Jason, when he was just five years old. I hope none of the rest of you have experienced the loss of a child, but if you have, Judy is there. She expresses her journey beautifuly through her music…and here’s her post:


Writing from my heart has led me to so many wonderful connections. Two months ago, I had the amazing opportunity to share my story. I was “discovered” by Remedy Health Media because of my inspirational writing about dealing with my dry eye syndrome.

I shared the experience of being filmed on the first part of this story:


To see the video at Remedy Health Media’s site, click the link below:


I think the most beautiful part of this video was sharing the experience with my childhood friend, Joni Lautman. We’ve known each other since childhood. I am currently living in the coop where I grew up – my parents are gone and I chose to live in my childhood apartment, rather than sell it.

Joni lived in the same coop and we played together from the time we were toddlers. In fact, there is…

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+ Cartoon drawing of two happy kids holding the globe. Copyrighted image.

Let it Shine

In the past week, several women I work with were facing illnesses, some serious, some not. They all had their concerns and found it difficult to work, but plugged away, at least one to her detriment.

She was frightened of losing her job because she’d taken too much time off. It’s not that she doesn’t believe she could find another; she knows she could. But she likes her job, is content with the environment and culture, and most particularly, really likes her supervisor. She knows that doesn’t always happen and she doesn’t want to lose it.

I listened to her, and I listened to another woman with serious back problems who is optimistic there are viable options to relieve her pain. While in the ladies’ room, I talked to a woman who spoke little English, but understood it well, about her family in Mexico, some of whom were hit by the earthquake last month.  They are all alive, with only minor injuries, but are facing challenges.

Talking to these ladies makes my job better.

We talk about small acts of kindness, and each of us has our own personality and ways of reaching out to others. In the area I live, drivers are respectful of each other, paying attention when someone signals they want to change lanes and allowing drivers to pull into traffic from side roads and parking lots.

I’ve never seen this anywhere else. It’s not as if I live in a small town. Traffic can be heavy. It’s courtesy, small acts of kindness. Unique to my corner of the world in many ways, part of the personality of this area.

I’m lucky to have a dedicated group of blog followers who, I sense, are prone to giving, each in their own way. I’ve gotten to know some of you fairly well through your writing, and I know many of you have distinctly different personalities than mine. Your kindness is perhaps shown in a way I couldn’t fathom doing myself.

I’m inviting you to share the ways you spread kindness on your blog, and I will happily re-blog anyone who lets me know of a post inspired by what I’ve written here. And since writing and blogging are also unique to the individual, anything you write that you tell me was inspired by this post, I will re-blog (okay, there are limits, but I will let you know if you’ve reached one, and I don’t think it’s likely to happen).

Some of you have things to say I believe some of my followers might relate to, so I’m going to re-blog some posts I see during the week or have seen recently that I found inspiring.

I look forward, as always, to seeing what you’ll  write.

Image (children holding globe) © lavitrei — Bigstockphoto.com (background) © aerial3 — Bigstockphoto.com



Lonely Road, Locked Away

A few months ago…and a few months before that…I told the story of a woman I loosely know who embezzled more than a million dollars from her employer.

That employer was the county government. She was in a lot of trouble.

This woman (let’s call her Judy) is dating the ex-husband of a friend of mine. Actually, he was my friend first; we worked together in the county’s IT department. Since I don’t believe in being friends with a married man unless I’m friends with his wife, I made sure I met Pam as soon as possible. It’s uncomfortable finding out a man you work with has been talking about you to his wife…and she’s not sure what to think about it.

Anyway, when they divorced, my loyalties leaned toward Pam. Her ex (we’ll call him Joe) began dating Judy, who looked remarkably like Pam. I mean, remarkably. Apparently, the similarities ended there.

I learned from Pam, who heard it from Joe, that Joe and Judy were convinced she’d get probation. After all, this was a first time offense, and she’d had cancer ten years ago. The prison wouldn’t want a 50-year-old woman with a history of cancer, right? I laughed out loud at that idea. Judy stole public funds for ten years, and the prison system could not possibly care less about your health.

She was sentenced last month. Today is her last day of freedom for nearly three years. She has concurrent sentences and this was a federal offense, and it adds up to her serving the whole time. I think she was lucky to get only 34 months. She could have been sentenced for up to 13 years.

I don’t know if it’s hit her yet, what she’s about to face and how long she’ll be there.

I have mixed feelings about all of this. What she did was terrible and foolish. Based on records published in the newspapers, she started out with a bang. It wasn’t a slow seduction into evil, for which I’d have more sympathy. It’s hard to know what to think.

Judy’s two daughters were out of her life long before all of this took place. They won’t let her see her grandchildren, and they’ve told her, actually, told other relatives, they won’t visit her in prison. Pam’s girls despise her, although for their father’s sake, they are courteous.

Speaking of Joe, he was planning to break up with Judy right about the time she was arrested. He stood beside her until now, but is ready to be free of the whole situation.

She simply doesn’t come across as someone who’s going to evoke a lot of sympathy.

Yet I don’t wish federal prison on anyone, particularly a 50-something woman with no background to prepare her for what’s ahead. People talk about “country club” prisons. That’s bullshit. There’s no such thing. Prison is a tough place to be, no matter what level it is.

Our jail and prison systems need an overhaul. Incarceration is meant to remove you from society, not punish you with subtle tortures until you learn you have no value. Remember, most of them will be back in society again, and need help to lead the lives they want to lead — and for everyone’s sake, should lead.

I wouldn’t have these mixed feelings if I believed Judy will be safe in prison. Being locked away is lonely and isolating, and that’s punishment enough. It’s a long day when so much is taken from you.

So my prayers are with her. Yes, she deserved to go to prison — but not one of the prisons in place in our country today.

Image Credit: ©cristina_conti – stock.adobe.com


Five Great Escapes in Film

Save this list for a rainy day.

Here are five of my favorite “escape” films — those that are just plain fun and easy to watch with their quality scripts, effortless performances and timeless humor.

I’ve reviewed all of these films on my other blog, Classic for a Reason, and linked to those reviews. Click on the titles to check one of them out.

Claudette Colbert John Barrymore in Midnight

Claudette Colbert and John Barrymore team up to tear apart his wife and her wealthy lover (and claim their hearts) — but she’s already fallen for a penniless cabbie.

Every Cinderella has her midnight…and Claudette Colbert meets her deadline in fine form. While her romantic co-star is Don Ameche — and he’s good in this role — it’s John Barrymore, her “fairy godmother,” whose performance stands out in wit and charm. The script is by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, an incomparable team, and it’s one of the last scripts of Wilder’s before he began directing his own stories. Also co-starring Mary Astor.

The Palm Beach Story
Joel McCrea, Claudette Colbert The Palm Beach Story

You can’t stop true love — even with all the money in the world.

Yep, another Claudette Colbert vehicle (hey, she was good), this time in a film written and directed by Preston Sturges. This is my favorite of Sturges’ films, and it always goes too quickly for me. Claudette and Joel McCrea are at a crossroads, and she leaves him to find a wealthier husband. She hasn’t forgotten her soon-to-be ex’s dreams, however, and insists any new man in her life fund his predecessor’s latest invention, This is a witty, sexy, sly film (all within Production Code standards, of course), with offbeat characters and a quirky ending. Co-starring Rudy Vallee, Mary Astor.

You Were Never Lovelier
Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth

Rita was never lovelier.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were an incomparable team, but he’s just as magnetic with Rita Hayworth — and she was a mesmerizing dancer. This is a witty film with a somewhat unpredictable plot line, at least if you’re familiar with similarc.f. films of the era. The music is beautiful, with songs by Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer. Set in Argentina (although there’s absolutely no element of that culture in the movie), there’s romance in spades here.

The Shop Around the Corner
the shop around the corner margaret sullavan  james stewart frank morgan

The audience knows what they haven’t figured out yet.

This is a sweet movie, no other way to say it. It was directed by Ernst Lubitsch, who was generally known for edgier comedies, but it still has that “Lubitsch touch.” Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart are perfectly cast as the sparring co-workers who, unbeknownst to either, are pen pals, each falling for the other through their correspondence. If it sounds familiar, it’s been remade a time or two, including the 1998 updated take on the premise, “You’ve Got Mail.” It’s just plain satisfying to watch this movie.

James Stewart and Harvey

Invisible? He makes himself known.

James Stewart in another great role — that of Elwood P. Dowd, whose best friend is a six-foot invisible rabbit. His sister wants him committed, but when she admits she’s seen Harvey herself, she ends up institutionalized. Elwood is oblivious to the doubt and scorn of others, and his child-like faith is ultimately what saves them all.


Muddled and Down

For some time now, I’ve been depressed. Not serious, suicidal-type depression, but a low-level unhappiness that has manifested itself in several unhealthy ways.

The most obvious is the stress eating. I hate to say it, but chowing down a share-size bag of Peanut M&Ms is satisfying (share-size, my butt). It makes me feel better. The problem is, I can’t eat like I used to without gaining weight. I’m finding it more and more difficult to fit into the clothes that used to flatter me so.

It’s not that I’ve gained a ton of weight. I’m about eight pounds heavier than I want to be, although truth to tell, eight extra pounds on me somehow looks like twenty extra pounds on your average woman. I guess I gain it in my face and tummy first, which gives one the appearance of bulk. Extra, unsightly bulk.

I’m working on changing this, everything from using the ladies’ room on the far end of the building to (yes) cutting down on the M&Ms. I’d like to cut them out completely, but I’m afraid my eventual response to that kind of deprivation would be binge eating.

My depression hasn’t stopped me from pursuing goals, but it’s slowed down things like writing for and participating in blogging. I don’t see glorious hope in the future. I don’t deny the problem; I’ve dealt with serious depression before. I have to wonder about all the people out there suffering from the same thing, whose lives are muddled by vague thoughts such as, “if I died today, no big deal.” Perhaps they don’t know it’s depression, it’s an illness, it can be treated.

Depression can be circumstantial, but it isn’t always. For me, circumstances are getting better, but I’m still down. I’m getting help, I’m taking steps to change.

But the struggle continues.

If you face these same problems, please seek help from a licensed professional. It isn’t something that can be helped by motivational speeches or a determination to push through the sadness. While these are difficult times in the world without sound leadership, that’s not the problem, either. There is hope, even though believing that may have to be an intellectual exercise for the time being. 


We Weep With You, Las Vegas

True Heart Too Hard

There are no words to express the depth of our grief. We stand with you. We weep with you. What happened in Las Vegas echoes in our hearts.




I don’t often post about my knitting projects here, but today seemed like a good opportunity to make an exception. After all, the prompt is “circle” and I have a project that was knit in the round, thus creating a circle.

This is my own design, one that was created for my local yarn shop, Mockingbird Moon. It’s a cowl with matching fingerless mitts using a truly fun — and high quality — yarn my LYS stocked up on this fall called “Dyed in the Wool” by SpinCycle. Loralee, who owns the shop, needed a pattern for the statewide yarn crawl coming up in October, and wanted to feature this yarn.

I played around with various designs using yarn from my stash (for those not familiar with yarn terminology, “stash” is leftover yarn from finished projects or yarn you’ve purchased believing the right project will come along someday — the former is what makes up my stash). Here’s what some of those samples looked like:

I took those samples in to Loralee, who decided on one and gave me some yarn from the store to knit up a sample cowl, both the Dyed in the Wool and a yarn named Alegria by Manos del Uruguary. Once I finished it, we realized there was plenty left over to make some mitts, so using the same basic design, I created a pattern for those and knit them up.

After displaying the cowl and mitts in the store, where it received a really good response, we learned that even though the original cowl is a full 24″ around, some people feared it would be too tight. It was easy enough to adjust the pattern to make a longer cowl, so the pattern now has two sizes.

CowlI really wanted the “right” pictures for this project. Loralee’s daughter Lydia seemed like a good choice for a model, unfortunately, she wasn’t available. So we thought one of the shop’s regulars, Heather, would be perfect. As it turns out, Heather’s niece, Kaylan, enjoys this sort of thing (and Heather doesn’t), and as you can see, she was the ideal model. Heather’s mom and Kaylan’s grandmother is my friend Yvonne, and I have to thank all three of them for their support with this project.

After writing out an initial draft of the pattern, I needed some test knitters, and three women graciously volunteered to knit a set and give me their feedback. Fortunately, the pattern didn’t need too much revision.

The cowl requires two yarns, and in addition to the Dyed in the Wool, one of the yarns used by test knitter Maureen was locally-spun and dyed, in a color named “ColPat.”  The color was given that name in honor of her son, Cole Patrick, who committed suicide several years ago. My LYS has taken on suicide prevention for fundraising, and proceeds from the sale of the ColPat yarn will go to that cause. It’s selling well.

The design looks like it uses stranded, sometimes called Fair Isle, knitting, but it doesn’t. Instead, there are slipped stitches, which create the two-color effect. The cable is a really fun dropped-stitch version, which can have a lace effect with certain yarns, or a more textured effect with others.

20504153_10154902012905668_1045306875_nThe pattern, which I named MoonDance, is available for sale on Ravelry.com, a social media site for knitters, crocheters and weavers. If you dabble in any of those arts and haven’t checked out Ravelry yet, do so now!!

I’m really pleased with the final result, as is Loralee. I don’t do a lot of designing, but when I do, there’s a great deal of satisfaction.

If you’re a knitter looking for your next project, I invite you to take a look at this pattern! Another yarn that would work well with it is Lorna Lace’s Shepherd Sport, which comes in numerous variegated colorways. That’s the yarn I used in the sample on the left above. They also have solids in the same yarn, which would coordinate well.

One note about the Lorna’s Laces variegated yarn: the color repeats are shorter, so the effect would be very different from the Dyed in the Wool. You can see that difference in the sample.

Thanks to everyone who helped me with this pattern!!


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