Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall favorite #3

This is Robert Frost's summer home in Ripton, Vermont (I took this photo about 5 years ago). As in Robert Frost of "The Road Not Taken".

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Growing up with the Bradys

There was an article in today's Boston Globe about the 40th anniversary of the first "The Brady Bunch" show.

I remember that we were planning to go to the L.A. County Fair on a Friday night (it must have been September 26, 1969) and it was the same night as the first Brady Bunch show. I really really wanted to watch the show. I think I was given the option of choosing the TV show or the fair. I chose the Fair. I was excited about The Brady Bunch but loved going to the L.A. County Fair every year. My favorite things at the fair were looking in all the new motor homes and the baking exhibits (duh). We never went on any rides and I don't remember getting overloaded on too much "fair food". I think I made the right choice going to the Fair (especially because now I can get all The Brady Bunch I want through Netflix). The Brady Bunch was definitely one of my very favorite shows. Remember when Alice erased the recipe off the chalk board but one of the kids had taken a photo so they enlarged it and got the recipe?

Brady brushes with Fame: Jan Brady showed up at Mulholland Jr. High one day (her friend was a fellow student) and Cindy Brady was behind me in line once at the ice skating rink.

Fall favorite #2

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I took this picture yesterday on Route 62 near Clinton or Sterling, Mass.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

As Sisters in Zion

Tonight I went to the General Relief Society Meeting. It was wonderful. I loved the music and the talks and that our entire Stake was invited to watch in one place (our building in Belmont). I'm looking forward to reading the talks, soaking in the messages again and adjusting to calling everything a "Relief Society meeting"!

Eleven years ago I was in Florida. My sister-in-law Kim and I didn't go to the Women's Broadcast because my brother Robes was on his "death bed" that weekend. The doorbell rang late that Saturday night and when I opened the door there were a group of sisters from the Boca Raton Ward there to see Kim. I went and got her and Kim stood in the doorway as her friends sang "As Sisters in Zion" to her. It was one of the most thoughtful and kind things I have ever witnessed. I think of that experience every time I hear "As Sisters in Zion". And I thought of it tonight as the choir sang that beautiful song.

Wanted: big map

I have high ceilings in my living room (which used to be the auditorium of a high school). They are eighteen feet high. Last year I finished a big red/white quilt that is on one of the walls. I have a framed print on the other wall but I've been wanting to find a big old school map in a roller to replace it. I think that would be so cool! Today I went to visit my friend Jana that lives out in the country (Princeton, Mass.). It was the town yard sale day and we snuck away from her yard sale to visit a few others. One of them was a guy who is an antique dealer/appraiser. We looked around (if I knew how to reupholster chairs I would have bought the $5 Martha Washington chair) and then got back in the car but I really wanted to ask him about maps so I got out of the car and went back. He said he had seen some old school maps but didn't have any. Then he said, "follow me". We went into his barn, up some stairs, and he had two big framed maps that he showed me. They are of the greater Boston area and have marks on them showing potential retail shopping areas. They were produced by the Boston Globe. I leaned down and saw the date on the map: 1962. He was selling two of them for $50 and one for $30. The frame is broken and the map is bent but I think I can straighten it out and I think I'd like it unframed. It is 48" x 54". It didn't fit in my car so Jana is going to bring it to me in the next few weeks. I can't wait to see my big map on my big wall!

Annual apple picking adventure

Today was a beautiful Fall day; perfect for apple picking! This year we went to Honey Pot Hill in Stow. It's more than just apple picking. They have hay rides, a maze, animals, a donut shop and even guys showing you where to park! I didn't get any pictures of apples but did get some pictures of some cute kids.

Friday night movie night

My friends and I were set to see the new "Fame" movie tonight and then I got email today from one friend saying she had to see "Bright Star". [The drama is based on the three-year romance between 19th century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, which was cut short by Keats' untimely death at age 25.] My friend loves tragic movies and this one did not disappoint. It is very good (the Boston Globe gave it ***1/2 stars--and they are usually right on). I loved Fanny's dresses and that she sewed some of them herself. It's a great movie.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dropping the R

Not long after I moved to Boston, I remember someone talking about "The Cos".  I was trying to connect what they were saying with Bill Cosby (the only "Cos" I knew of).  They were talking about cars.  This morning when I was leaving for work I had a brief conversation with my neighbor and he said, "It's going to be wom today."  Wom as in warm.  I understand Boston-ese better than I speak it!

First diaper

I thought I'd try a little diaper embellishing. Pretty cute and very easy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall favorite #1

It's officially Fall! I'm going to be sharing some of my favorite Fall photos that I've taken through the years of living in New England.

Before I moved here, I thought you had to go somewhere to see Fall foliage. And then I moved to Boston and realized that the leaves on your own street are beautiful! This photo was taken near my last apartment. It's one of my favorite photocards that I make.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Me and the shopping spree

Tonight after work I dropped a friend off at a doctor's appointment and raced over to the CambridgeSide Galleria to buy some nylons. The Galleria opened in the early 90's. I was working in Kendall Square at the time and donated $5 to a local women's shelter and was invited to a charity opening at Filene's in the brand new mall. I went. I checked out the new store. I dropped my ticket in a box and didn't think anymore about it. Then I went on vacation to Denver and when I got home my roommate had me listen to a message on our answering machine. I was the grand prize winner of a $2,500 shopping spree at the Filene's at the CambridgeSide Galleria!

I had one month to decide what I wanted and then I had to go back on one day to get everything. I was stunned!! So what did I buy?!? [I wanted to buy a stereo and kitchen items but at the time the store only had clothes.] I bought 4 dresses/suits that were around $200 each (under any other circumstances I wouldn't have even touched them!). Shoes to match two of those dresses. A London Fog raincoat. A Coach bag. About 10 scarves and 20 pairs of nylons. A few sweaters. Some black Guess overalls (hey, those were cool in the early 90's). A nice suit for my brother to wear at his wedding. And some perfume. My friends started calling me "Lucky".

Every time I go to that mall I remember how fun it was to be the Grand Prize Winner!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ian!

Today is my nephew Ian's 22nd birthday. Last week he went back to BYU-Hawaii and I hope to reach him today to wish him a happy birthday.

Ian's birth-day is very memorable. Robes' ten year high school reunion was September 19th in California and Kim's doctor said if she was a betting woman, she'd bet that their baby would be born late. So Robes went to his reunion. The next day Kim called and talked of being in pain. I don't think she ever used the words "labor pains" because it was her first baby and she hadn't been in labor before. She went to the hospital and Robes sat on our couch in Van Nuys talking to her (and crying). Ian was born that night.

Here is an excerpt from one of Robes' human interest articles he wrote titled One Man's Escapism published in the Sun-Sentinel on December 10, 1995.

If something big is happening, I'm probably out of town.

Though my travels and travails don't always coincide during out-of-town trips, there have been enough incidents to make my wife worried whenever I pack my bags, which, as a sports writer, I do fairly often. Many of my personal milestones are memories from another place.

While I was in Los Angeles for my 10-year high school reunion, our first son was born two weeks premature in Florida. I frantically tried to catch a flight out, but couldn't get home until the following morning. Exhausted when I finally reached the hospital, 12 hours late for the blessed event, I pushed two chairs together and fell asleep under a bedspread.

"Sometimes this is a lot tougher on the father than the mother," an unknowing nurse cooed to my wife.

Kim wanted to vomit on me.

Guess who showed up at Sunday School?

This is Kip Thompson. The second bishop of the Arlington Ward. He's a legend! I looked up today during Sunday School and saw him upstairs through a window. I excused myself from the class and went to find him. He lives in Texas and travels ALL over the world for his job. Whenever I see him my favorite thing to ask him is "Where have you been lately?" And I hear something like this: I was in India for 3 days and then went to China for 18 hours. Then I went to Brazil for 2 days, Argentina for a day and then spent a day in Washington, DC. He's a high-powered guy at a big computer company. I was the president of the Young Women when he was bishop and have a lot of fun memories (and funny stories). He and his family made huge contributions to the church here and they are still missed. Kip is a great guy and it made my day to see him!

Stupid(est) movie

"Love Happens" was definitely one of the stupidest movies I've ever seen. However, I'd love to visit Seattle and this guy, well, he's easy on the eyes!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The perfect day for a Ward Clambake

Beach baptism

A little boy in my ward chose to be baptized at Crane's Beach today before our Clambake. All I can say is, it was very cool. That's the bishop accompanying "I Am A Child of God" on the banjo. Like I said, cool.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A little bit of Pyrex

My friend gave me this cute little red Pyrex bowl that she found at a thrift store today. She knows me well.

Buenas noches

I had dinner (Mexican food) with some friends tonight and it was a good night.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

No picture in 3 days?

I took this a few Falls ago on Charles Street in Boston.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More honesty

One of my dear friends and faithful readers ("Sister") shared this story with me today:

One year I bought 4 chairs for the bar in the yard. They were $25.00 each. I said I wanted 4 of them. They gave me one set of 4 in a large box (assembly required). The young girl rang them up and said $25.00. Sister, this could have been a great deal, but all I could think about was that this was going to come out of her pay when she was short at the end of the day. Right away, I told her that $25.00 was wrong. She had to get a manager to fix it. After he fixed it, he went over to the plant section and came back with some flowers for me. He was very grateful. I remember thinking - flowers just for doing the right thing?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BE honest

When we were kids we went to Sav-on on day with my mom (Nan) to buy a case of canned tuna that was on sale (and probably some other items).  I still remember the man at the store multiplying the price of the tuna on the box using a pen.  When we got home Nan realized that the man had undercharged her.  She piled us in the station wagon and went back to Sav-on to pay the money she owed the store.  The man was insulted that she implied he had made a mistake.  She was happy to teach us about being honest.

Last Friday I bought 4 discount movie tickets at work.  When I got them out to give two of them as a birthday gift I had been given 6 tickets.   Today I went back to return the 2 extra tickets.  The guy thanked me and said he had been short 2 tickets.  I'm glad I was honest.

I can't find one husband...

...and she's had 22.  No fair.

I bet she's the oldest living cougar!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Vintage quilt

This quilt was on my bed when I was a teenager. I used to lounge on it wearing my shoes. Now it hangs on a quilt rack in my bedroom. It was made by one of my great great (not sure how many greats) grandmothers and it is beautiful.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Seven months and smiling

Turning thirty

Today is my friend Alicia's 30th birthday. I had a little lunch for her and some other friends and when I emailed her asking what kind of cake she liked she replied: I love ALL desserts.....But I have a soft spot for your mint brownies!!!! So of course I made her mint brownies. Alicia is my day trip/movie/shopping/talking/all-around good friend.

Happy Birthday, Alicia!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I took this photo today! We had a more-rainy-than-usual summer which made the season seem shorter but at least we have our best season to look forward to. It's here!

Toy mobile

This car can be seen around Arlington. Today this car passed me as I was driving to the camera shop to pick up some reprints and thought, "I wish I could get a picture of it". Imagine my surprise when I walked out of the camera shop and it was in the parking lot next to my car! That's why I bought a small camera (so I can have it with me at all times). Call me crazy, but I think it's tacky to glue all your pez dispensers and happy meal toys all over your car. I wonder if the owner remembers where they got each item?!

Note: Click on the photo so you can get a better view!

September 11th

Three years ago I wrote this about September 11th.

Not long after September 11th, a woman from New York had a meeting with my boss at MGH. We chatted before her meeting started and she told me about a New York Times article that she had read and I asked if she would fax it to me. I dug through my files today and found the article.

Recalling a Neighbor Who Didn't Come Home

Part of New York City's unique social ecology -- impersonal at times, strangely intimate at others -- derives from the very height of its buildings. The vertical nature of New York City imposes on its people one of the most awkward but repetitive of human relationships: that with our fellow elevator riders.

Standing physically close to strangers in silence feels bizarre, but then again, so does any kind of gratuitous pleasantry. There is no right way to do it.

Yet as so often occurs in New York, the very peculiarity of the situation creates its own opportunities. At times, relationships emerge from these strained encounters. Like those tiny, hardy flowers one finds in parts of the world with the most extreme and inclement weather, small tendrils of social life tenaciously survive and grow.

In the elevator of my apartment building I have, quite literally, a nodding acquaintance with any number of people. One of these was an attractive professional woman whom I would often see on the elevator in the morning. She had a pleasant, open face and a chic but slightly old-world style of dress. Sometimes she would even wear fashionable hats, a touch that I found nervy and original. We would smile at each other as we headed out into the sunny or wet or autumnal days.

Two weeks ago, a few blocks from our building, she hailed me and fell into step as I walked. Clarin, as my neighbor is called, had seen a piece of mine in this column about one of my psychiatric patients who had died of cancer.

She had been particularly moved by the article because she had recently experienced the death from cancer of her male companion. Walking down the street, we chatted about the uses of psychiatry in such situations. We parted feeling much more like neighbors than we ever had before.

Two days later, when I finally arrived home on that terrible Tuesday, Sept. 11, I heard that Clarin had not returned from work. A neighbor took in her mail. Clarin's phone kept ringing. A close friend later told me there were 90 phone calls on Clarin's answering machine that day -- people who knew she worked at the World Trade Center checking in to make sure she was O.K.

Over the week, her bills, letters, and junk mail kept arriving. Sunlight streamed into her apartment. Clothes were delivered from the dry cleaner. She was away and yet still here in some disturbing invisible way; Clarin seemed neither alive nor dead.

Thinking back to our conversation, I remembered her description of her friend Jack's death, surrounded by people who cared about him. His death suddenly seemed like a luxury; a death that had some humanity and context, woven into the fabric of his own life and those around him.

Clarin had, quite literally, vanished into thin air. We kept seeing the image of the World Trade Center buildings tumbling down in a hurricane of debris, concrete, steel and asbestos -- but no people. Tiny mementos of lives floated down from the sky as papers settled onto the street with scraps of information or scribbled notes or lists. All other signs of the buildings' inhabitants had been reduced to a thick, dusty layer of ash. The days were clear and blue-skied, but the air smelled strange. Life both continued and yet stood still; nothing got done.

Slowly signs of life -- and death -- began to appear. In our building, candles were placed on the lobby mantel with a picture of Clarin. Then flowers appeared and more flowers. Six days after the disaster, the building held a vigil for her. People streamed down the stairs and packed into the elevators. The lobby was filled as we read a psalm together.

Friends and family described Clarin as a woman of unusual generosity, adored by a large circle of friends. We heard about her reading group, her organization of cooking marathons with her friends, her role as a one-woman support system for her fellow lawyers. I wished I had had more than my brief elevator friendship with her, cut off at its very beginning.

Yet somehow the gathering brought Clarin's life back to us out of the powdery, white smoke of the World Trade Center, back among the living. She was as vivid a presence as anyone standing in that room. It was a celebration of a life of great kindness and warmth. We felt the tragedy of her death, but she was no longer absent.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The September Issue

Wow! If you like fashion, clothes, bags, shoes, magazines, photography, New York, Paris, London, or documentaries go see The September Issue! I saw it tonight; you will love it! It's fantastic!!

Vintage apron

Today my mail included a letter from my mom, a request from my niece for a donation for her high school band, three hand-written notes (one of my very favorite things) and a small package from one of my dearest friends. I opened the package first and inside were two vintage aprons and a note that she thought of me when she saw them. I love them! One is red gingham and this is the other one. Thank you, thank you!

I wish I was a better missionary

Click on: Naisi Zhao: The Mormon Missionary

She's awesome and a wonderful example!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More patterns

I was telling a work friend about my recent pattern purchase at an antique shop in New York (there were 146 in the bag!) and she mentioned that her mother had a lot of patterns. I told her I'd love them if she was looking to get rid of them. Today I got this box of 55 patterns. And these 3 are my favorites.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pres. Patton

Recently "Joe" introduced me to brother so-and-so, an older gentlemen (I'm guessing he was about 70) and said, "This is Ellen Patton; she is the Relief Society President of the Arlington Ward." The man said, "Oh, I should talk to you about my wife." [I quickly thought maybe his wife wanted to join our book group or that they would be moving into my ward...] Then "Joe" said, "Brother so-and-so would like to get married!"

I guess what the older gentlemen had said was "I should talk with you about A wife."

Am I the president of the Relief Society or the president of a dating service?!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Clever craft swapper

My friend Angi and I do a craft swap. Right before she left for Seattle she gave me this cute Pyrex teacup pin cushion. I love Pyrex! And red! And sewing! 

Monday, September 07, 2009