News on a Cold Dark Day

Some bright news, first. Today is the 126th birthday of my favorite author, D.E. Stevenson, aka Mrs. James R. Peploe. She wrote more than 40 books which have delighted and interested her fans since the 1930s. She has brought together a group of friends in an online discussion group (or DEScussion group) still going strong since 1997. We’ve met in Boston, Mass., where her papers are held at Boston University, in Edinburgh, Scotland where she was born and raised, and in Toronto as well as many smaller meetings, several at my cottage in Chautauqua, NY. And now many of her books have been republished in both hard copy and Kindle format. What joy!

At http://www.destevenson.org/ you can read all about my favorite author.

Last night I was unhappy to see that I had no internet, and still had none this morning. But Spectrum, who took over Time Warner Cable, has amazingly excellent service. We had a technician out and then when he found that there was  not only a tree on a cable in our yard and but also a problem pole to pole, he arranged for a truck in front of our house in no time at all. On a Sunday afternoon! The problem is now fixed, but in a week or so they are returning to bury the cable. I was very impressed by how helpful the technical support people were.

Last Friday I went with my daughter Emily, my two granddaughters, and great nephew and niece to see the Revere High School production of A Christmas Carol. It was wonderful, even if a tiny bit scary for my granddaughters at one point. But a joy to watch. So overall, I think my news is more weighted on the good side than the bad, even though it’s been a rather dark and dreary day, and I personally accomplished little.

Art Sometimes it takes me all day to get nothing done


Winter Wonderland?

As part of the large storm coming toward us from the southeast yesterday, some branches fell on power lines last night and we had no power from about 8:10pm until nearly 1:00am…How nice it is to have electricity! We do have a lot of flashlights and candles, but we are so dependent on electricity for so much of what we do these days.

This morning we had a winter wonderland, though I didn’t get photos quite early enough. But it was still fairly “wonderful”.

I 11 16 2016 ww 1

Today Em and my granddaughters are coming to dinner early because we are all going to our local high school to watch a performance of A Christmas Carol this evening. A great niece and great nephew are coming, too. Our local high school has a great theater department!

Local News

Today Clara ran in the 5k race that Sofia was in a few years ago. https://thickethouse.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/sofia-on-the-run/

Afterwards they went out for a celebratory brunch at First Watch. But not before struggling a lot to get Ingmar’s van out of the mud in which it was stuck! They ended up having to go home to clean up and change clothes before brunch.

Last night Alice and Emily had their dance performance. I was able to watch it streamed on the Bocskai Radio station’s Facebook page, from John Carroll University. It was rather magical and brought back many wonderful memories of the years my children were involved in this every Tuesday night and then slept overnight at my Mother’s so they didn’t have to drive the 30-40 minutes home and could get to school in time the next day.

I now have a working IPAD which I am trying to get used to using. I bought this in May. It was a Woot special deal suggested by Alice but we had all manner of problems with getting it to work. And when all the missing pieces had been found it was discovered that the person who sold it still controlled it. Woot was very helpful about sending us a new one. We think we were not the only people who had this problem. But I have it working now. So many possibilities! I’m taking photos, listening to podcasts downstairs, using my new, wonderful and very inexpensive speaker. Getting audible ebooks from the library and listening to them. Here are a few of the random photos I took, getting used to this new-to-me technology.

I Nana;s flowers

Nana’s (my grandmother’s) Thanksgiving plates are again up on my hutch cupboard. I think she bought them in the late ’30s.

I st. francis

St, Francis statue on my deck, showing the loss of the apple tree which was always behind him…When the snow melts I will be clearing off the deck for winter.

I Fias flowers with Al 11 18

Sofia made this flower arrangement with guidance from Al! She proudly gave it to me last Saturday when we had “movie night” and all watched Incredibles 2 together at Al’s.  Didn’t she do a great job!

I really should learn to edit these photos and eliminate wrinkly table cloth and kindle, notebook, allergy pills, eye drops, and random paper from the scene!

I cime nov 18

Not our coat of arms which is a little different, but one from a distant relative and friend from Budapest. Theirs is  older than ours which is from 1795.

I fall from inside

This one is meant to show the far less than usual autumn color in our back yard.

I wrapping paper

Last, and probably least as well, a wrapping paper I found on amazon which has pleased all my grandchildren who have had it on their birthday presents. They all love animals.

And that’s pretty much all, folks!




Current Events

Alice and Emily have been going up to Cleveland a lot lately, going for rehearsals for the upcoming performance of the Hungarian Scout Folk Ensemble. This will be the 45th anniversary gala performance.

Alice dance poster 2018

When they were in high school they were both very enthusiastic dancers. Emily was even a choreographer for a time. Now they are performing with the alumni group! http://www.clevelandregos.org/ And they both still really love dancing!

Alice dance 2 nov 2018

Here are my two daughters practicing together at the Cserkesz Haz (Scout House). Tomorrow is the dress rehearsal and the performance is on Saturday evening at the Lakewoood Civic Auditorium.



Desultory Post Again

Years ago, no idea how many, I used to think November 3rd was the day around which fall ended and the cold weather began. But that has not been the case for a while and it certainly isn’t now. It’s been quite cold for a while and no real Indian Summer, so no real great fall color. We’ve got a bit here and there but nothing as it should be and I would be surprised if it happens at all, now.

I’m entering another time of doctor’s appointments and blood work to be done. Also a lot of lawyer’s appointments which I rather enjoy because they come with spending time with my children. One day last week it was combined with grocery shopping with Alice and Andy at Trader Joe’s which is rather distant from where we live (about 30 minutes drive) and a lovely lunch at the Paladar Latin Kitchen in Woodmere. I had my first apartment there about 50 years ago and Alice and Andy wondered why I chose to live there. It was miles away from family and friends and miles away from my job! I didn’t have a car in those days. I tried to explain that a friend of my employer at the time had talked me into renting that place. I only lived there for six months (thank heaven) but it was a great living experience. I had about twenty five cents left over after the most basic budget and really could not afford to live there. In every way it was a terrible choice but I did learn a lot about making choices! My next job paid quite a bit more. My next apartment was a third less expensive. I bought a car. I was near job, family and friends. I was only twenty one years old when I left. Yay!

Every Friday Emily and my granddaughters come for dinner. Recently, they came early so we could go together to The Magical Theater Company in Barberton to see Flora and Ulysses, based on Kate DiCamillo’s book of that title. I had been a bit worried because last time I was at that children’s theater, when Emily who is now 41 years old was eleven, the seats had been terrible. But recently they had a huge renovation and the theater is really wonderful inside. Yes, a lot can change in thirty years!

I have a lovely photo from their website of the new seats with their pale blue plush upholstery, but I cannot seem to make it upload….

Emily magical theater coEm flora and u it all began with

The theater is wonderful inside now, and so was the play. I don’t quite know what to call it. Magic Realism for kids? I had looked up the book on amazon.com so I had a slight idea of the story, but don’t really know how to describe a play based on a squirrel who is sucked into a Ulysses vacuum cleaner and emerges with magic powers which include the ability to write poetry, type, and fly. There are two human children who have traumatic problems with their families. They are a little girl, Flora, whose parents are in the midst of a divorce and a little boy whose father has recently died. His remarried mother has sent him to live with an aunt for a time because he pushed his stepfather’s truck into a pond. He now believes himself blind, with traumatized eyes and always wears sunglasses…….. That said, there is quite a bit of humor and amazement in the production and perhaps the biggest part of my enjoyment came from watching the reactions of the audience, especially, of course, the laughter of Sofia and Clara.

Ulysses the Squirrel is a puppet and the puppeteer is wonderfully skillful manipulating Ulysses and also narrates a lot of the action. Both my daughters and their children attended last year’s performance of The BFG which featured life size “puppets” in the production. (Both my daughters call them puppets, though I’m not sure they were.) They loved that production and I’m sorry I missed it!

As a rather surprising fund raiser, one of the cast sold raffle tickets on stage before the performance. The winner could have his or her photo taken with the cast member of his or her choice. This was framed and given to the winner after the performance. Fia and Clara got my last two dollars for this, but no winners….Still, the cast comes out on stage and the audience gets to go up and talk to them afterwards.

The Magical Theater Company began the year I married, in 1972, and is still going strong. They also travel to schools in the area to perform. I loved all the theater available for kids during the times we lived in Budapest and am really happy that we have this theater so near us. It’s Magical!

Busy Days…..

alice sept 30 2018 steven n steam 3

Steam in the valley is over now, but a few days ago Alice and Stephen accidentally came across old 765 around the Bath Road Crossing and followed it all the way to the Akron Station…Stephen was very excited about this!

Alice sept 20 2018 with Steve at steam

We celebrated Stephen’s Eighth Birthday last Saturday! (Fill in all the cliches about the rushing by of time!) There were fifty two guests with both families and lots of friends! Thank goodness the weather was good and we could spend some time outside! Stephen is very interested in rocks and minerals since Andy gave him a lot of cool specimens from his collection. Stephen was eager to do lots of odd jobs to earn money to spend at Mama’s Rocks in the valley. But sad to say, that little shop seems to have simply vanished. It’s gone, alas. We’ll see how this hobby can continue. But meantime, Stevie asked his Mom to make him a geode cake for his birthday celebration and she achieved something rather amazing.

Alice Stephen 8th birthday geode cake

I didn’t know one could buy rock candy and use it so creatively! But now I do.

I gave him a hogwarts express lego set which I think he has completely finished building already.

Alice Oct 2018 stephen working on HP express

Alice oct 2018 Stephen hogwarts express

Meanwhile, the weather has turned quite cold! I was briefly afraid that the furnace was not working correctly, but that turned out to be wrong. All is well. Life moves on toward those cold weather holidays and shorter hours of daylight. I’ve already bought three Christmas gifts which is quite unlike my procrastinating self.

Alice was at the cemetery last Sunday and was very happy to see how the orange mum from last year had come back and bloomed wonderfully. Paul loved mums and orange-gold ones were his favorites. And along with it is a very healthy Rosemary – for remembrance.  In the spring one can divide up a chrysanthemum and set out many new plants which will be beautiful in the fall.

Alice chrysanthemum 2018

Today, I am just back from Silver Linings Day at what used to be Hillcrest School but is now renamed Richfield School. This is my third such event which the second graders put on for their grandparents. Somehow I was not able to attend the one for Clara’s class. First we all go to the classroom of our second grade grandchild and get to look around and they give us little presents they made. Stephen gave me a lovely bookmark which I will certainly treasure. We also fill out questionnaires which are designed to find out who is the oldest grandparent, who came the farthest to attend, who has the most grandchildren, who the most great grandchildren…who has a special talent…..

Then everyone goes to the auditorium/gym/multipurpose room. The students sang three different songs for us and recited two  poems – all were a bit designed to make grandparents become somewhat teary-eyed! Then the results of the survey were announced and each winner or two were presented with enormous chrysanthemums by their grandchild. The oldest grandparents were 88 and 89 years old. The farthest away came from Texas. One man had fourteen grandchildren. One grandfather was former NFL player, Dave Robinson. It was a lovely event, and I doubt I will be going to another one since Stephen is my youngest grandchild. I’m so glad I could attend today! I was worried about the amount of walking that might be needed, but Alice, who was helping set up the chairs, arranged for me to go with Ingmar who dropped me off at the door and then I returned with Alice.