February Local News

Interspersed with gray and chilly days we have wonderful gifts of sunny days and warmer temperatures such as today, which is rather making my heart sing….

Alice has been adding extra cheer with beautiful flowers.

Alice Jan 2016 flowers and table cloth gift

Alice and Stephen had a lovely visit with Alice and Barney who are, as always, amazing hosts! Nothing is too much for them to do to delight a small child.

Stephen Feb 2016 being spoiled by Barney bacsi

Do you think these are enough desserts for one small boy?

Stephen feb 2016 with Alice neni

Some fun with Alice neni….

Stephen feb 2016 in the leaves at Alice nenis

A time playing outside is always satisfying!

Stephen feb 2016 at Alice nenis having lunch

Stevie’s opinion of the whole day……

Alice Jan 2016 Muggy with Alice and with Stephen

And finally – Alice shared two photos that touched my heart. One is of her, nearly forty years ago with her beloved toy “Muggy” and another of Stephen, enjoying the very same monkey!

Need I say that life is good?

I have really neglected January 2016, haven’t I! Much has happened since my last post

Before it is too far past Martin Luther King Day, I want to share the lovely drawing my granddaughter Sofia did to commemorate it. She is a great lover of birds and a lot of her drawings are about them, so I wasn’t surprised that the protesters from the 1950s all turned out to be owls… An owl with a pearl necklace. An owl with a top hat. All of them holding signs saying, “We want freedom”, and “We want to be treated fairly”.

Sofia Jan 2015 martin luther king day drawing


Although the end of 2015 was unusually warm, even including the Christmas vacation, January has proved the truth of, “when the days begin to lengthen, the cold begins to strengthen”. But that’s all to the good for grandchildren who have been enjoying a  lot of skiing…Last weekend they went to our cottage and skied at Peek ‘n Peek. http://www.pknpk.com/ And besides skiing they went snow tubing, something I’d never heard of before. It’s like tubing behind a boat, except you do it downhill on snow…….

Nathan January 2016 at the Point with Stevie

Here are two brothers on the beach(Ha!) at the Point.

Nathan jan 23 2016 ski club at boston mills for 4 gkids

And four grandchildren at ski club today at Boston Mills. I heard that Stevie had a breakthrough and now likes to ski since he can do it so much better now. And Nathan’s teacher is using him as an example for the other kids. Maybe he will love this sport as much as his grandfather did! I loved skiing myself, until bad knees rather put an end to it around 1992. But when I first learned in the ’70s, what a joy it was…How proud I was when one of my brothers in law told me that,  “You ski like a 12 year old boy who is determined not to be left behind.” I know it didn’t say much for my style and technique, but maybe for my enthusiasm.

My days, this January, have been busier with Artist Way activites – the three morning pages handwritten first thing every morning and the Artist’s Dates once a week. And I’ve been working on a watercolor of a sort of fantasy city, not done by any means. Still in the study phase while I try to understand what it’s all about. We had to miss class last Sunday and tomorrow is going to be a longer class with communal soup afterwards. I am making savory things in muffin tins to bring.

The other activity taking up my days is Stewart’s Caring Place.  http://www.stewartscaringplace.org/

I’ve been aware of this for years. I think I began receiving mail as early as 2010 but never got my act together enough to do anything about it, or even go to see the place. I have been trying to find a silver sneakers yoga class close to home and at a reasonable hour, but hadn’t succeeded and when I mentioned this to a therapist I see, he suggested Stewart’s Caring Place.  It was begun years ago by a woman named Mimi Surloff whose husband Stewart had died of lung cancer. He was quite young and as a widow myself I was very sorry to hear this. But after, because they had not been able to find the kind of support they wanted, she began this foundation in his memory. It has all manner of supporting activities for people who have had cancer, or are in the midst of treatment. So now I am doing two exercise classes a week there, and have had a workshop about making skin care products at home and also had nearly an hour of Reiki treatment. All free. There are a lot of things offered and they are also available to the families, and amazingly, if I wanted to do something at a time when I was watching one of my grandchildren, they would arrange for a person (whose background had been checked) to come and watch that child while I was doing the activity. Their room for young children is a delight, and they also have a room for older kids, and all the facility has WiFi.

Besides many sorts of classes, and social events and special workshops, they have a large room with wigs (and hats and scarves) for people who need them because of the effects of chemotherapy, and they have make-up classes and help for those who lose their eyebrows. They also have volunteers who are financial advisers because the cost of having cancer is sometimes overwhelming for people and it’s not a time when one is usually good at making wise decisions. Oh, I think this is a wonderful place where I have already met some very good people and I’m very happy it’s in my life now.



Yesterday morning I finally regained access to my rocketmail account. I was beginning to think it would never happen and gave myself little  pep talks about how that was ok, and life would go on. But seriously, there are several sorts of information there which I need for taxes, health and business which would be sad to lose.

And now, they are not lost. Only my confidence is lost. I think I must have “hard copies” of important information and not trust yahoo. Still, I now have my password written down and hope all will be ok. And they did help me, and a lot of the problem, perhaps all of it, was my own fault.

Birds bluebirds from nytimes 2008

These are blue birds of happiness, and life beginning again.

And very shortly I will be off for my second class of The Artist’s Way. We had a blizzard this morning and I was afraid it would be cancelled but Carolyn emailed everyone that she has a warm fire going in her living room and hot mulled cider for us to drink. I am eager to be off!

Sad News

art marianne gelmo

This painting is by Marianne Gelmo. It is making me feel better.

Yesterday when I was having a problem with my ancestry account, their support person told me to delete all my temporary files. I unchecked the part about logins, but apparently, it was not enough.

I now have two problems which may never be resolved and make me very sad. I cannot access my rocketmail account, which is something that has belonged to yahoo for a million years.

And now, Yahoo offers no live support. I do have a cell phone but they did not send me the verification there as they said they would. The email account to which they might send it is gone lo these many years. And


They have a help center which is not able to help me. I think if I could talk to a person, I could get this fixed. But I doubt I will be able. For after trying many phone numbers I ended with a recording that said that


This is such poor service I cannot imagine how to express what I think of yahoo. but I have had this account since, perhaps 1997. So much is stored on it….So much that I do not want to lose.

My other email is kristijalics@gmail.com.

You can reach me there.

I’ve tried to resubscribe to the D.E. Stevenson yahoo group which I co-founded in 1997 under the gmail account, but it only takes me to the yahoo and I cannot access that. I somehow lost that  password.

Trying to solve this. And I’ve called the Federal Trade Commission and the FCC and now the Fereral Information Center will be next. I wonder if my senator can help?

Meanwhile, here is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson which may make me feel better. Or not.

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing
anything that is beautiful
for beauty is God’s handwriting
– a wayside sacrament.
Welcome it in every fair face,
in every fair sky,
in every fair flower,
and thank God for it as
a cup of blessing.”
I know this is not a serious problem as problems go in the world but it is a very saddening one……………………………………………………………………
Andy thinks I am too upset too soon, jumping the gun…….He’s right!



The time from Christmas Eve until  the first January day back to school has always been a strange time, a sort of out-of-time time, actually.

It’s been very busy this year even though we had only the fewest flakes of snow for fun for the grandchildren….There have been a lot of social events. On Wednesday 22 people in my family (including myself) spent a day at Cedar Point’s Castaway Bay Water Park. They were roughly half grown ups and half children and most of the children were 11 or under. It was fun, but noisy and the younger children were not that easy to keep track of! But that was not so much my problem and they were all found quickly.

Castaway bay mapThis map makes it look smaller and simpler than it felt when going from one area to another ! The pictures of this water park are from their website, but give some sense of what it was like.

Castaway wave poolcastaway bay toddler pool

casatway bay bucket of water

I think you get the idea! The next day was the 31st and I was tired from all that fun! I almost decided to stay home from the New Year’s Eve party at my daughter Alice’s home. But luckily I changed my mind and Andy drove me there and back again. I brought along a Crosley Cruiser record player (which can play 3 speeds of records) I had bought as a Christmas present to myself and the newly rediscovered recording given to my mother in 1948 after she and I were on a CBS radio quiz show together when we visited Aunt Ned and Uncle Jim in New York. My cousin Bobby was working for CBS at the time and I think he arranged for this to happen. It was strange to hear something from so long ago, but sweet as well. And then we all enjoyed the wonderful Raclette party Alice and Mike hosted. Emily brought her own Raclette and Alice had gotten one from Emily for Christmas so it worked very well.

If you are not familiar with the little table grills for Raclette you can read something about them here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raclette.

Alice Racletter nys 22015 6 2ndAlice raclette nyrs 2015 6 first

There was an amazing amount of food! And we were only seven adults and four children.

Alice raclette nyrs 2015 6 3rd

Andy, Mike, and Ingmar – three brothers in law….Mike complained that his head always looks too small in group pictures so Andy is leaning way back to fix that.


Alice raclette nyrs 2015 6 4th

Alice was really happy because her best friend from high school who has lived in Seattle for many years was in town and able to come to the party!

Friday and today were pretty quiet “catch up” days. But tomorrow my new twelve week course of The Artist’s Way begins at three in the afternoon. I am really looking forward to this. I took the class last year but had very low energy because of thyroid problems. I should be doing better this year!

I have not made any real resolutions for the year. There are some things I will probably always be working on, but I suppose my main idea these days is that I want to live each day, really each minute, with awareness and gratitude.



Holy Holidays

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows; —
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are; — a Fairy Tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

Christmas et verbum caro factum est

A Joyful Christmas

(Note of explanation) for some reason WordPress published this December 25th post before my December 18th post and I have tried to fix this as well as I could….It is not perfect. Sorry!



I think I am coming down with a cold again and only hope it will not be the kind that lasts forever! But despite this, and with a lot of help from Alice and Andy, we got everything ready for our usual Christmas traditions. We celebrate mainly on Christmas Eve and Alice, Mike, Andy, Nathan, Stephen and I were gathered in the candlelit kitchen singing Advent and Christmas songs from our family songbook. We take turns choosing and going around the circle. With Stephen so young and not able to read yet we have a lot of Frosty the Snowman, Deck the Halls, and Jingle Bells, but not only those.

Christmas 2015 Andy reading nativity

Then Andy reads the nativity from St. Luke and we sing some more. And the doorbell rings to let us all know that Baby Jesus and the Angels have left. The youngest ones race into the living room and see the tree and the gifts. It is a crazy time of opening gifts and I always think we could do it in a more calm fashion, but it never happens. And it certainly doesn’t matter.

christmas 2015 ertzgeberge nativity with candles

After we go into the family room and have a  lovely supper with wonderful cookies and beigli (the traditional Hungarian nut rolls). Both Nathan and Stephen got lego sets from me and also from Baby Jesus. He uses a different paper….And as soon as they finished eating and drinking eggnog they rushed over to the sofa to begin working on lego. Both of them….Everyone was filled with a sense of wonder and joy


I am trying to fix the fact that my Christmas post was published after my Dec. 18th post…..

Even if WordPress did lose the draft of the post I was just working on which had several paragraphs and two photos on it already.

I’ll try try again…..

On my way home from babysitting for Stephen this afternoon I noticed IT WAS SNOWING! Yeah! I hope the children will get lots of snow for winter fun this vacation!

Alice spent most of the afternoon with Nathan’s class, teaching them a crafty way to make a cute owl out of pine cones and felt, among other things. I wish I had a photo to show you the darling demonstration model she made of three of the owls perched on a bit of pruned off birch branch. I hope I have one soon.

But I have another owl for you. Today is Nathan’s real eleventh birthday and he woke up to discover an owl in his doorway with his acceptance to Hogwarts! It’s so wonderful. He was very excited.

Nathan dec 2015 birthday greetings from a wonderful Mom

This evening is the Hungarian Girl Scouts program and Sofia and Clara are in the performance and needed their hair braided. So dear Aunt Alice came over and did this. (Their Dad does not have confidence in his braiding skills, plus he is baking madly for tomorrow’s last market before Christmas. ) Emily is flying home from being on a grant panel in Washington, D.C. and will miss this. But they look very sweet.

Sofia dec 2015 with Clara for hung scout xmas prograrm

A few days ago Stephen went to the home of some friends to see The Polar Express….All the children dressed up in their Halloween costumes to watch this Christmas movie. Don’t ask me why, please!


Stephen dec 2015 polar express

It can only get better from here.


  • Not a single snowflake in sight here – we’ll be having a green-brown Christmas instead of a white one. But I am not complaining, as I can cope with winter much better this way :-)

    The girls look so pretty, shame we can’t really see their braids. The group of friends with Stephen look like a bunch of kids who know how to have fun! I do love that astronaut suit, you know.

    How wonderful to wake up on one’s 11th birthday and find a letter from Hogwarts!

  • I like the “News From the Thicket House” and these ones have a taste of Chritmas. All children are lovely and seem to enjoy themselves. Adults are keep pretty busy!!! :)
    And your site belongs to Hogwarts as far as magic is concerned: this is the third time I am writing my comment. It always diappears before I can press the key “send”. Are you a magician, Kristi? :)

    • Not a magician, but if I were I would never make your comments disappear! I love getting comments.

      • Everybody likes comments! I like comments. And I like answering comments. And I have even received comments on my FB page and by tweets and by e-mail. I am surprised by the number of DES group members who read my blog and when I feel blue (as during these days) it gives me some light.
        But to read the Thoughts from the Thicket House always gives me a smile and I always feel like writing a comment. This lifts the blues as well. :)

  • edit this on December 19, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Reply brendacoffeeteabooksandme

    Those kids are absolutely adorable!

  • No snow here, indeed it is so warm I have a PRIMROSE in flower, outside in the garden! It was 17degC in parts of the UK yesterday. It will be a green Xmas. But still something to look forward to. Your grandchildren all are building enviable memories, hope the Scount evening went well. Do Fia and Clara speak Hungarian, or maybe the Hungarian scouts ‘work’ in English? Also hope Ingmar did well at the market and Nathan’s birthday went very well, which Hogwarts house does he want to join?

    • Sofia and Clara speak English, Hungarian and German. Hungarian Scouts only speak Hungarian and they also go to German school. I hope to do a post in the next few days about the wonderful party last night.

  • those cute Halloween costumes are too cute not to be used for other occasions! and so are, in fact, the traditional Hungarian outfits.

  • Such an imaginative family! Merry Christmas, Kristi, to you and all the family!

  • Oh my gosh! They are super adorable, costumed or not. Wishing you all a Mele Kalikimaka from the islands, Kristi!









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