Notre Dame Paris on Fire april 2019


Yesterday was such a heartbreaking one for millions of people, all over the world, of many nationalities and religions.

I was in Notre Dame on Easter weekend of 1974, when we were living in Germany. I am so sorry I never returned to Paris, though I have been in France.

A blog I read, From the House of Edward, wrote what I found to be the best expression of what needs to be said about this tragedy:






This morning at breakfast I spotted a flash of movement to the left, on the deck. A hawk, a red shouldered hawk, had landed. I see them from time to time in the yard, every few months, but never so close as on the deck. And then a few moments later the male, perched on the head of my St. Francis statue, was joined by a female. Most of the time I could not get a reasonable photo with my I pad, because the blinds were over the window and I was afraid moving myself to a better spot would spook the hawks into flight. A few times the female flew onto the deck  table and the roof and I could get a shot through the patio doors. Very exciting. I hope they will nest somewhere nearby. I love all the wild life that exists in our area, probably encouraged by the National park nearby.

blog apr 2019 hawk 4

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Such poor photos for what I saw…The peachier, redder, male is visible in the left window pane and you can make out St. Francis beneath him….

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blog apr 2019 hawk 2

Sorry I did not capture such an exciting moment with better images!

Your can read more about Red Shouldered hawks here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-shouldered_hawk


Ramps – A Memory

A blog I read every day made mention of ramps this morning and triggered some long ago memories. Memories of more than 40 years ago.

In the spring of 1975 my husband and I bought our first home in Richfield township just a bit north of where I am now. We were nearly a year back from our time living in Germany where Paul had worked at the university of Stuttgart, perhaps technical university at the time. We were expecting our first child and six weeks before her due date in late April we found out Paul’s sister Vilma had sold the house her mother was living in (we were living with her) and we would have to move out six weeks after our baby was born. I do wish she had told us this was about to happen, although we had been saving our money for a down payment. But we found a house we could afford on a street called Fox Run. Run is a word which means small creek in these parts. Our back yard adjoined part of Furnace Run Park. Fox Run ran into Furnace Run….https://www.summitmetroparks.org/furnace-run-metro-park.aspx

So one day, before we had moved in, we went to The Daffodil Trail and began walking toward our new home through the valley and woods. It took about an hour to get there.

blog apr 2019 ramps

Fairly soon we had to walk across a log over Furnace Run. What was I thinking of? Eight months pregnant and balancing my way sideways on a one log bridge over the creek with Paul beside me. Part way across we saw some people down on the valley floor, picking something from the muddy flood plain. Curious, we called out to ask what they were doing. “Picking ramps,” they replied. They went on to tell us how delicious they were. Their family came to gather them ever spring.

Ramps, I learned later, are Allium tricoccum.  Some people call them wild leeks or wild garlic. They didn’t seem to be the same plant I had seem in Germany called “wald lauch”. That might have been this:  https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiel-Lauch and people didn’t want to eat it.

Years later ramps became quite a fashionable food, though difficult to find. My friend Rosalie Steiner (  https://thickethouse.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/remembering-rosalie/) gave me some plants from her farm in Ashtabula and I grew it for a time. But it was never a favorite with us. We liked “real” leeks and shallots and onions best.

What was lovely about reading of them this morning was remembering being 44 years younger and the excitement of our first home and our first baby.

Tea Party!

What a difference it makes when the sun is shining! Today has been beautiful. I am seeing my daffodils begin to show yellow in the bud. Hope is coming!

Could you comment on whether you see a lot of ads on my blog, please. Someone mentioned that they did and I am considering upgrading to prevent this. Let me know.

Yesterday Alice and I went to Macaron Tea Room which was a birthday gift for me (my birthday is late January, actually).

It was so much fun. At one point a camera man for our local CBS station came and filmed us. There was also a mother with her twin daughters of about six years having tea and as we left a woman about Alice’s age came in with her mother. I sense a trend!

We each got the Afternoon Tea from their menu. One of the things we liked a lot was a Ukrainian Cheese salad tea sandwich. Hungarians have a cheese spread but it is completely different from this one. We couldn’t figure out the ingredients and they would not share them, either. And no joy online…Intriguing! And I had never had a macaron and loved the one I had yesterday! We both had elder flower tea but felt it was too much like chamomile and not much like the lovely fragrance and flavor of elder flower. Next time we will probably try something else from their long list of teas.

Experiences seem like such a better gift than things at this stage of my life, unless it is something really needed.

blog apr 2019 tea 2 first pic is under mar by error

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The scones were also especially delicious and served with the little dish of lemon curd, clotted cream and strawberry jam.

It is dripping above me as I write. The raindrops on the skylight sound rather loud. Earlier today my neighbor phoned to tell me of an enormous tree which fell across the road her house sits beside. She has a corner house. I had not heard the crash, but Donna thought it might have alarmed me.

It has been oddly busy these past weeks. Alice had guests, a family where the father was the son of friends from Hungary. While they were all out touring Cleveland, Andy parked his car in an area where he should not have. He didn’t know that, but it is better not to mention it to the people at the impound lot when one is paying the fine! I had to drive him there, about a half hour from home. When he was home again he realized that an interior light was not working. He took the car to Auto Zone and worked on it for hours without success. Not only was the light not fixed but the car would no longer run…The people there were very helpful and stayed fifteen minutes after closing time trying to help him! But no joy. So he called me and I went to pick him up. That was not quite as far as the Cleveland Impound Lot. Next day after his time at the Grand Jury (he is doing this for two months and finds it very interesting. Grand jurors get a lot of education about our laws.)  he went back to Auto Zone and was able to fix the car so it would run again though the original light problem is not resolved. He then had to drive my car. which he’d had to borrow, back home and I had to drive him back to Auto Zone so he could get his car home again. At the same time the bathroom renovation we are doing (having done, really)  had begun. Lots of banging and drilling and removing the cast iron tub after sawing it in half…Exciting discoveries of the weird arrangement of drains and vents from the original building in 1964. Well, it is a disruption, but it won’t last forever and I hope I will be happy with the result.

Emily was here for dinner Friday. She was alone as she was the Sunday and Friday before that because Ingmar and my granddaughters are spending spring break in Germany visiting relatives. Ingmar’s sister has a Shire horse which the girls rode several times. He stepped on Clara’s foot once, but it was not a serious injury. Emily has been helping me do my taxes with Turbo Tax. More fun!

Alice and her family are doing a spring break weekend in Pittsburgh and their dog Pepper is visiting us for the time being.

We may have sunshine by Monday! Alice and I may be going for my birthday tea at Macaron. It is lovely to have things to look forward to.

blog mar 2019 tea room


When I woke up on Sunday, March 31st, I discovered March was going out like a lion! I really did not expect this!

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blog mar 2019 mar 31 more snow

These photos were taken through the windows and screens but though they are blurry, I imagine you get the idea of our weather!


Random Local News

Really, it is rather quiet around here lately.

Em and my granddaughters were here for dinner Friday night which is always fun. I was able to give Emily her little joke gift which she enjoyed. I bought her some judgemints as we are all fans of the indomitable RBG.

blog mar 2019 judgemints for Em

I found these on Amazon, in case anyone else would like some.

Thursday, my oldest DD Alice, left for a week in Budapest to visit her 92 year old aunt. All of my kids are very attached to this maiden aunt who worked very hard to have a real relationship with her nieces and nephews. In August she will be 93! She complains of slowing down and has several health issues, but mentally she is sharp as possible. Her mother lived to be 102 years old so there are some good genes there.

I’ve known for a long time that a grand jury operates differently than a “regular” jury and now I am learning more about this. My DS has been called to grand jury duty which lasts two months! I had no idea. He’s been telling me about how it works without telling me anything about specific cases. They are paid the princely sum of $20.00 a day but my mother always impressed upon me that something is better than nothing. Andy is happy to see this aspect of democracy in action and be a part of it. His paternal grandfather died shortly after a stay in a communist prison in Hungary at the end of the 1940s when the Avo, the Secret Police, were running things and there wasn’t much of democracy in evidence. This is a really sad story and I believe I’ve said enough about it here.

Something wonderful showed up in my mailbox! A blogger whose posts I’ve been reading for a few years, and who is a very accomplished weaver, has been making wonderful towels and sending them to people as gifts. The work is amazing and the towels may last longer than I do! This is so generous of her. If you read her blog you may recognize her work, but I won’t name her here because I haven’t asked yet if I may.

blog mar 2019 towel 1

The above photo is sort of zoomed so here is another which is less so:

blog mar 2019 towel 2

I was able to chose this color from among three. It was my husband’s favorite color and one I like very much! I think it is a Shaker pattern. Perhaps the weaver will correct me if I am wrong here, which is all too likely.

I am also very happy that today is the first day of Daylight Savings Time. I love having more light at the end of the day, especially as I often have insomnia and miss some of the light earlier. Spring is on the way.


A Word

Remember my post a few weeks ago in which I mentioned words people had misheard in songs or hymns? It was here: https://thickethouse.wordpress.com/2019/01/07/hymns-and-other-confusions/

For more than 20 years I have been getting Anu Garg’s A Word A Day and today I learned a new word which is one I should have known when I posted those misunderstandings.

The word is Mondegreen. ”


noun: A word or phrase resulting from mishearing a word or phrase, especially in song lyrics.

Example: “The girl with colitis goes by” for “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes” (in the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”).


Coined by author Sylvia Wright when she misinterpreted the line “laid him on the green” as “Lady Mondegreen” in the Scottish ballad “The Bonny Earl of Murray”. Earliest documented use: 1954.”
Of course, this word did not exist for the first nine years of my life……But it is here now.