Friday, August 9, 2019

Happy Birthday, Nadine'

She would have been 74 years old today. She was my first friend in Austin Joint School. She was taken from us way too soon. She was an amazing, unique person and I miss her.

It's hard to be the new person in a new school. My mom had married my (step)-dad in July. My whole life changed that day. We moved to a new home in a new town. I went from being an only child to having a younger brother and sister.

I was a skinny, sickly, frightened little girl. I had met some kids in my neighborhood, but they were all older or younger than me. I needed a friend at school.

That first day in the school yard at lunch recess was terrifying. And then, she approached me. She was a little thing, much shorter than me. She told me her name. She already knew mine as I'd been introduced that morning as the new girl. We were friends immediately.

From that day on, we shared so much. We shared apartments, heartaches, joys, marriages, children until that February morning when the phone rang at 6 AM. A silent killer called aneurysm had called on her.

I drove to Buffalo praying all the way. We gathered in the waiting room outside Intensive Care. We cried together, we prayed together, and then we stood by her bedside as she breathed her last.

What a privilege that I was allowed to be with her as she left this life. What a privilege that I had been allowed to be her friend through most of her life.

Happy Birthday, dear friend.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Happy Birthday, Paige

It's 9:06 AM, April 12. Forty-one years ago at this time, I was basking in the wonder of Paige Lynette Wolfanger, 7 lbs. 8 oz. She was beautiful with a little red fuzz on her perfect head. All the fingers and toes were there. My wonderful gift from God.

Fast forward forty-one years to a beautiful, intelligent, redheaded woman who, as far as I know, still has all her fingers and toes. She is still my wonderful gift from God.

Happy Birthday, dear Paige.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014


As is our Tuesday habit, we went to the movies today. Shortly after we retired we discovered that on Tuesdays, at Regal Theaters, popcorn was free. Free popcorn! Well, I was hooked. Over the years the popcorn has changed from free to $1 to $2, but it's still cheaper than the rest of the week and I am a real popcorn lover. In fact, I make Jim upgrade so I can have more of the bag we share.

As some of our closest friends have retired, they have joined us in our Tuesday adventure. Oh, did I fail to mention that not only do we go to the movies, we also go to Olive Garden for soup and salad before the movie? It has turned out to be a wonderful time of fun and fellowship.

All of that said, we have been seeing the previews for Noah for months, now. I cannot tell you how excited and anxious I have been to see this movie. I've read many of the articles written by Christians who were negative because it didn't follow scripture; that it was too environmental, that women of that time didn't have that much say in their lives, etc.

We talked it over and decided that it was, after all, Hollywood and what did we expect. We said that we would go see it and not be offended by it's lack of scriptural truth. In fact, Cal Thomas, on this morning's editorial page, said much the same thing. He said if Hollywood was going to acknowledge a Bible story, we should be happy and support it.

And so, off we went on our lovely Tuesday afternoon outing. 

I was NOT offended that it didn't totally follow scripture. I was prepared for that., What I wasn't prepared for, and what did offend me was that it was STUPID.  My husband said at the end of the movie that he was surprised we stayed through the entire movie. Usually, when a movie is raunchy or offensive in other ways, including stupid, we just get up and leave, I think we were just too astounded by the ridiculousness of it to even make a decision.

I'm not going to spoil this for those of you who plan to go by giving details of this flick. In fact, I think you should go. That way, when your unbelieving friends want to talk about it, maybe you can try to convince that  our "Creator" was much too smart for that scenario.

And now for the disclaimer. This wasn't written to be offensive to anyone who did, in fact, like the movie. As of this writing, no one has asked me to move to Hollywood to become a movie critic. So, remember, it's just my opinion.

Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm Back

Wow! I don't even begin to know where to start. It's been over three years since I have posted her on my blog. Why did I quit? I'd like to say I don't know, but I do. I became very lazy and found it so much easier to post little comments and thoughts on Facebook.

I have to admit, it was really hard to walk away from Facebook. Through it's posts I have reconnected with some old and dear friends, I have followed some wonderfully talented writers, I have seen pictures of friends' children and grandchildren. The connection to my cousins and their children ha been pure joy. But, as much as it hurt, I know I needed to walk away.

I am so grateful to be able to run back to my dear old blog for comfort and safety. Here, I hope to cultivate new friends, reconnect with old friends and welcome some Facebook friends to this new land of opportunity.

I have a plan on my "bucket list" to write more an do some essays about favorite, and not so favorite people, who have crossed my path in this past 69 years.

I hope there will be those of you who will join me on this venture.

Love and Hippo Hugs.

Monday, August 1, 2011


I think in my last post, I had just returned from visiting some of my precious family in Pennsylvania. I was feeling poorly, and perhaps complaining just a teensy bit.

I'm happy to report that I am finally feeling fit as a fiddle. The last of my ailments was my poor aching tooth. I finally ended up with a root canal which was a tremendous relief. Today I had the permanent filling and it is almost perfect.

I've wanted to write about my aunts since my visit to Pennsylvania, but am still not completely in the groove of posting here. Anyway, about my aunts....and my cousin.

My dad was one of ten children: Tommy, Mildred, Dorothy, Norman, Elsie, Mary, Francis (my dad), Margaret, Edward and Betty. They are all deceased except for my Aunt Mary who is 91 years old and amazingly sharp. A few years back, she was on a step ladder washing her windows when she fell and injured her back. The result of that fall was that she went to live in a lovely adult care facility.

My dad's youngest sister, my Aunt Bets, is 82. She and I have so much fun together. Spending time with her is a joy to me. She was a talented seamstress, musician and artist. She has lost most of her sight and is no longer able to quilt and paint like she once did, but she doesn't let that keep her from having fun. I am so honored to have some of her quilts and paintings in my home. She is not only my aunt, but also my dear friend.

So those are my two surviving aunts. My cousin, Sally, is ten years older than me and was my idol when I was a young girl. She is still a beautiful woman and being around her makes me happy. Sally has been a widow for two years now, but lives near her children who adore her and try to take care of her....sometimes to her dismay. You can tell by her picture that she is still a bit of an imp.

I love and enjoy these women. Sadly, I only see them, at the most, twice a year. And there were years where I was so involved in raising my own children and spending time with my immediate family that I didn't see much of them at all.

Last summer my cousin, Sandy, who is next oldest to me, passed away suddenly. She had just retired from the full time Methodist ministry and had only spent one night in her new home before she died.

My own brother and sister, both younger than me, are also gone. Now more than ever, my extended family is precious to me. So, whenever possible, I love to get together with these beautiful ladies and go to lunch. We always have a good time together. My Aunt Mary and Sally both love potato pancakes, so often we go to a little local bakery where they serve potato pancakes.

Being with these ladies brings back so many wonderful memories of my childhood; family picnics, Sunday dinners, birthday celebrations, Christmas, Thanksgiving. I am so blessed to have had the privilege of growing up as part of a large, loving family.

I love you guys.

~Hippo Hugs~

"Where can a person be better

than in the bosom of their family."

~Marmontel Gretry~

Friday, July 15, 2011


Have you ever been in a position where you know full well you need to do something, but just cannot seem to force yourself to get to it and do it. Well that's me. The last time I posted here was April 18, 2011. That was a long time ago. About that same time, I just plain quit visiting all the blogs of my dear friends. Just quit.

Now, here I am, trying to explain myself. And to be completely honest, I really have no explanation. We came back home from our winter trip to Nevada and I just did nothing. I've looked back over this past several months and tried to conger up a reason why I became so lethargic and unexcited about life. I certainly was not depressed in any usual sense. I just felt as if I was suspended in time and couldn't really move forward.

Admittedly, we were expecting to receive a call any time to go out to Chicago and help our daughter who was moving into a new (to her) house and due to red tape, the call didn't come until July. But that, in itself, shouldn't have kept me from posting on my blog....or for that matter, reading other blogs.

I did manage to weed, plant and mulch in my flower garden.

And wash the windows on my porch. But for the first time in my married life, I did not wash all the windows in my house this spring. And guess what? My house is still standing. I, however, don't look out the windows.

By the time I was just coming out of my stupor, both our girls came home for a few days. This was a real tread and I did spend some time preparing for that. They came specifically to pay tribute to their grandmother who passed away in February. Since neither of the girls could make it at that time, we planned a little memorial for her.

They made their favorite "Grandma W" cookie and toasted her with then. The brought bubbles and blew them into the wind.

Grandma always made little creatures called "rock babies" with them, so they made rock babies for her grave.

We had a short, but delightful, visit together before they each had to head back to their homes.

And I ended up with cellulitis. The doctor thinks I somehow got it in the cemetery. That led to antibiotics which led to a pretty ugly reaction, which led to some other problems that I am just now getting under control. On top of that I had a crown on one of my back teeth. It hurt from the beginning and we spent two weeks trying adjustments only to finally decide it is dying and I need a root canal. I have had a toothache for nearly a month.

I still believe none of the above reasons are why I haven't been writing. I'm still pondering the reasons, and may never have an answer. In the meantime, I am determined to get back to business. So, as I go off to read some of your blogs, I hope you will find it in your hearts to forgive me and begin to read my paltry postings once again.

~Hippo Hugs~

Monday, April 18, 2011

Raising Money for Camp Scholarships

We're on our way back to Upstate NY, but I wanted to share with you our last HURRAH in Las Vegas. Sometime last fall, our son in law, Brian, decided that there should be a fundraiser for their pet project, Potosi Pines Christian Camp. He put his head together with Tracy Brown, the camp administrator, and his wife, our daughter Gretchen, and came up with a great idea. Of course, Jim and I weren't about to be left out of this project, so we extended our Nevada stay by a few days so we could be involved. The evening was planned at a local United Methodist Church and called upon all the churches in the valley to participate. The evening included music by three wonderful groups. The first group to participate was a delightful Barbershop Quartet made up of two men and two women. What fun to listen to their wonderful harmony. That music was followed by a really cool group of young men who played a set of jazz tunes. I was disappointed that there wasn't a dance floor. The final group was a contemporary Christian group from Gretchen and Brian's church.
This is the group from Advent UMC warming up. This lively group had us clapping and tapping.

Believe it or not, this is a cake. This wonderful creation depicts a cabin at Potosi Pines Camp. I slept in one of these cabins with eight young women the first time I went "up the mountain" to camp.

Another part of the evening was a silent auction that netted $1,500.00.

This precious lady baked and donated 300 cupcakes, some of which are pictured below.

These peanut butter and jelly cupcakes were definitely my favorite.

Gretchen, Brian and Jim created 300 dessert shooters; cherry cheesecake, s'more and banana pudding. All I can say is "Yummy".

Jim worked hard in the kitchen all day long.

Gretchen and another volunteer putting finishing touches on the "Shooters".

One of my contributions to the gathering was to iron tablecloths. I ironed 40 cloths which I calculated was 8,000 swipes of my right arm.

The event was a success because of the hard work of many volunteers, raising $5,000 for camp scholarships. We are looking forward to next year and hoping to make even more money for kids.

It was a wonderful couple of days spent working with our "kids" on a project dear to their hearts. We've left them and are on our way home with hearts full of joy and love.

~Hippo Hugs~