The Weekly Smile

I met my friend David in the summer of 1973 when I was 15 and he was 17. He was the friend of my best friend’s brother and about 8 of us began hanging around together that summer and into the school year. We partied on weekends, ate lunch together in school and got to take the school elevator because David had a key as part of the “AV”-“audio visual” crew transporting overhead projectors to and from classrooms. Pretty big deal back then. He graduated high school in 1974 but went to college locally so we still saw each other off and on. He married and asked me to be a bridesmaid in his wedding, a departure from the usual where the bride picks the bridesmaids, especially in this case as I barely knew the woman he was marrying!

Our lives took many different twists and turns through the years, but somehow the bond that was created in our teens never seemed to break. We have never been out of touch over the past 43 years, and try to meet for coffee a few times a year. Our differences never seem to make a difference- we both have the same point of reference from so long ago, know each other’s “history” as our own. I think our ongoing friendship speaks to how important those teenage years were, and even the friendship we shared in our early 20’s. We always seemed to be there for each other- I can remember turning to David for a shoulder to lean on during a bad patch with a boyfriend, someone he knew, and how our friendship got me through those troubling times.

David and Me At My Surprise 21st Birthday Partydavelisa1978

We met for coffee today, for the first time in a long time-and we sat for 3 hours catching up on what’s been going on. We shared a few laughs and caught up on what some of the others from the old gang are doing these days. I looked across the table feeling like it was only a moment ago that we were teenagers, so much of that time still so vivid in my mind’s eye- not believing the man sitting across from me is going on 61. I smiled remembering those days, some filled with laughter, some in a drug induced haze, some filled with heartache and tears. I smiled thinking how glad I was to have someone still in my life who remembers those times too. And how fortunate.davidme2016


Feathers on Friday: Eastern Phoebe

1One of the most familiar eastern flycatchers, the Eastern Phoebe’s raspy “phoebe” call is a frequent sound around yards and farms in spring and summer. These brown-and-white songbirds sit upright and wag their tails from prominent, low perches. They typically place their mud-and-grass nests in protected nooks on bridges, barns, and houses, which adds to the species’ familiarity to humans. Hardy birds, Eastern Phoebes winter farther north than most other flycatchers and are one of the earliest returning migrants in spring. The Eastern Phoebe generally perches low in trees or on fence lines, as did the one I saw below.004

dscn7522Phoebes are very active, making short flights to capture insects and very often returning to the same perch. They make sharp “peep” calls in addition to their familiar “phoebe” vocalizations. When perched, Eastern Phoebes wag their tails down and up frequently. They are small birds, only about 6 inches long. 2

Feathers on Friday

Daily Post: Underground

I grew up in a house across the street from train tracks. At one time they carried passenger trains, but during my childhood and still today, the trains carried cars or fuel or freight. As children we were able to cross over the tracks- always looking both ways for the headlight of a train, and occasionally seeing it in the distance but running across anyway. Sometimes we would stand and feel the air rushing by as the train passed and wave to the man who sat in the last car as we watched the train disappear down the tracks. Sometimes the train would idle on the tracks for hours, leaving us no choice but to use the tunnel or “underpass” that ran underground beneath the tracks.

It was dimly lit and dirty, empty liquor bottles strewn around or broken, and it stunk to high heaven. We would scream as we ran through as the echo was the only good thing about it, and somehow it made us feel safer, the sound reverberating off the walls and filling the empty space. After a young boy was killed trying to jump onto the train as it passed by, a fence was erected to prevent anyone from crossing the tracks. Now we had no choice but to use the underpass. Over the years it has been cleaned up and painted, but it is still a dank and unpleasant place to enter, and as I still live in my childhood neighborhood I sometimes do have to use it. I no longer scream as I run through, but I do still run. Something about being underground and not being able to see the staircase to exit as you enter from one side still unnerves me.1



and out I go!20150508_083432


Cee’s Share Your World

If you wanted to de-clutter where you live, what room / space would you start with?  (And why, if you’re feel like admitting to it.)

My mother used to say we spend half our lives collecting things and the other half getting rid of them. I have to to agree with that sentiment. Over the last year I have begun to get rid of the excess that takes up space in my closets and on my shelves, the collections that I no longer care to collect. My husband is loathe to throw things away, always fearing he will need it for something someday. If I had forgotten I had an item when I come upon it, I really no longer need to keep it. Our basement became the repository for all things not needed but not ready to be thrown away- so I started there. I made a pretty good dent in cleaning it out over the summer and when I have a free day will continue

If you want to remember something important, how do you do it (sticky note on the fridge, string around your finger, etc.), and does it work?

It gets written on the calendar in my kitchen and I usually write it down on a list. I am a great keeper of lists, adding, crossing off, and finally throwing away when a task is complete or the shopping is done.

If you could create a one room retreat just for yourself, what would be the most important sense to emphasize:  sight (bright natural light, dim light, etc.), hearing (silence, music, fountain, etc.), smell (candles, incense, etc), touch (wood, stone, soft fabrics, etc.), or taste (herbal tea, fresh fruit, etc.)?

Sight. I need a view, I need natural light and at night prefer just one small light on, and I need the room to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye- photos, pictures. plants around me. My favorite place is working at my kitchen table with a view out my garden window.gardenwindow1

If you could interview one of your great-great-great grandparents, who would it be (if you know their name) and what would you ask?

I can only go as far back as my grandmother’s mother, she was a dressmaker and I would like to learn more about her life. She died young at age 52, the year my mother was born, from un diagnosed diabetes, and my grandmother also died young at age 62 when I was 17, so I never learned about her mother from her.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Grateful everyday for everyday, and looking forward to meeting my Aunt for lunch- I haven’t seen her in close to a year!

My Aunt and me in the selfies we have taken every year since 2011!2011-2015-collage

Share Your World


A Photo a Week Challenge: Ruins

Duke Farms is an estate that was established by James Buchanan Duke, an American entrepreneur who founded Duke Power and the American Tobacco Company. This is what is left standing of the Hay Barn. Following a fire in January 1915, the building remained abandoned. Doris Duke who inherited the estate from her father used the ruins as an outdoor sculpture gallery, placing individual marble statues of human figures in linear arrangements along the walls, which can still be seen today. 007



Feathers on Friday: Black throated Blue Warbler

4The black-throated blue warbler is a small bird of the  warbler family. Its breeding ranges are located in the interior of deciduous and mixed coniferous forests in eastern North America. Over the cooler months, it migrates to islands in the Caribbean and Central America. The adult male has a black face and cheeks, deep blue upperparts and white underparts, while the adult female is olive-brown above and light yellow below. Predominantly insectivorous, the black-throated blue warbler supplements its diet with berries and seeds in winter.

Sitting at my kitchen table facing a window that looks out onto a small tree I thought I spotted a flash of blue the other day. I grabbed the camera, stood on a chair and hung out the top half of the window in order to capture a few shots of the flash of blue flitting from branch to branch eating the berries. My patience paid off as I was able to get a few and then he actually headed for the ground under the tree allowing me to get more shots as he wrestled with a berry. I was also able to capture his lady friend, though not as clearly, but it was still a thrill to see the pair of them.




The Mrs.dscn7610

Discover Challenge: Animal

Both Sammy & Max were rescue dogs. Sammy was left tied to a fence in the snow of December, someone took him in and called us as they knew we had been looking to get a dog. He was trained, the vet figured about 5 years old, and so very smart. Two years later we brought Max home, another rescue, quite a character, our “mush ball” wanting nothing but to slobber us with kisses. Sammy barely tolerated him, but as the years wore on they found their place together, and Max was always protective of Sammy as he slipped into senility, living to age 19. Max died 2 years later at age 17. To say our lives with them were changed is an understatement. They brought us joy and laughter, they made us crazy with the predicaments they got into that gave us extra work, but the frustrations were always short lived. They left an indelible mark on our hearts that to this day, 6 and 4 years later I still cannot speak of them without crying.  It is sometimes hard to fathom what an imprint they make on our lives, how deep the love for an animal can run. People who have never had that bond don’t understand, cannot understand it. When Sammy died I was touched by the phone call I received from my brother in law. Though he is not a tremendous fan of dogs, and never had one, he called to say how sorry he was, that he knew how much Sammy had meant to us, and what a loss it was for us. I have always remembered that call, and his sensitivity to understanding that although it may have been a foreign emotion to him, he understood the depth of it for us.





Max sleeping in the same bed with Sammy – giving comfort to him in his old agesammy maxbed


Share Your World

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I think I do even though it was not love at first sight with my husband. When I was 16 I was immediately drawn to someone who I would become involved with for many years- it wasn’t love as much as a physical attraction.

I wrote about my first meeting with my husband here

Wedding 1991
Wedding 1991

Your first car?

The year was 1978 and I remember it like it was yesterday. A friend took me to a dealer he knew, and we spent hours in the showroom. I decided on an Oldsmobile Starfire. Back then there were a myriad of colors to choose from, as well as interior colors. I chose silver with burgundy interior. I went for air conditioning which in those days wasn’t standard, and added more onto the price. I had enough to pay for half of what the car cost, so my father came with me to the bank and co-signed a loan for me. When I paid off the two year loan I felt I was a real grown up. I was 23.


Who taught you to ride a bike? How did it go?

My father taught me. We went to the parking lot of a nearby school and he let me balance and pushed me along until I got the hang of pedaling, and off I went!schwinn

Ugly and rich or beautiful and poor?

What an interesting thought- what is beauty really? It mostly comes from the inside I believe, and then is seen on the outside, making the person rich – maybe not monetarily, but rich in who they are as a person.

What was the first dish you could cook?

I learned to make Toll House Cookies as a child- chocolate chip cookies- but have no recollection beyond that. I only began cooking after I moved into my own apartment when I was in my early 20’s.alice lisa chanuka

Cee’s Share Your Worldshare-your-world2

Song Lyric Sunday

Our Song Lyric Sunday theme for this week is to post a song that has something to do with “nature”.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be about nature, just as long as there is a word or phrase that mentions a form of nature in the song.  

John Denver, was an American musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, activist, actor and humanitarian, whose greatest commercial success was as a solo singer, starting in the 1970s. He was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the decade and one of its best-selling artists. He recorded and performed primarily with an acoustic guitar and sang about his joy in nature, his enthusiasm for music, and his relationship trials. “Annie’s Song” was written as an ode to Denver’s wife at the time, Annie Martell Denver. Denver “wrote this song in July 1973 in about ten-and-a-half minutes one day on a ski lift” to the top of Ajax Mountain in Aspen, Colorado, as the physical exhilaration of having “just skied down a very difficult run” and the feeling of total immersion in the beauty of the colors and sounds that filled all senses inspired him to think about his wife.

When I saw the theme was nature John Denver immediately came to mind. I have put some of the photos I have taken to the music of his song. Hope you like it

You fill up my senses like a night in the forest,
like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain,
like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean.
You fill up my senses, come fill me again.

Come let me love you, let me give my life to you,
let me drown in your laughter, let me die in your arms,
let me lay down beside you, let me always be with you.
Come let me love you, come love me again.

You fill up my senses like a night in the forest,
like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain,
like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean.
You fill up my senses, come fill me again.

Song Lyric Sunday

Feathers on Friday : Baltimore Oriole

I spotted a Baltimore Oriole’s nest in  a tree this week, hanging high up from a branch. Their nests strike me as a true work of art. Cornell Lab of Ornithology says:

Baltimore Orioles build remarkable, sock-like hanging nests, woven together from slender fibers. The female weaves the nest, usually 3 to 4 inches deep, with a small opening, 2 to 3 inches wide, on top and a bulging bottom chamber, 3 to 4 inches across, where her eggs will rest. She anchors her nest high in a tree, first hanging long fibers over a small branch, then poking and darting her bill in and out to tangle the hank. While no knots are deliberately tied, soon the random poking has made knots and tangles, and the female brings more fibers to extend, close, and finally line the nest. Construction materials can include grass, strips of grapevine bark, wool, and horsehair, as well as artificial fibers such as cellophane, twine, or fishing line. Females often recycle fibers from an old nest to build a new one.



I am always amazed seeing how the nest looks almost crocheted together- woven together and hanging from a branch, strong enough to withstand the elements so high up. I spotted a Baltimore Oriole for the first time last Spring, and was able to capture a few shots. Their stunning orange standing out in sharp contrast to the surrounding green foliage or blue sky.baltimore-oriole




Trail Time

I was finally able to take a walk along my favorite neighborhood trail today. dscn7489The leaves here have really not started changing yet, I saw just a few smaller trees beginning to turn color. I did notice berries along the way dscn7484

dscn7490and a hint of color here and there- blooming bushes not quite done blooming yetdscn7486


I spotted a Yellow Rumped Warbler who managed to sit still long enough for me to take a few photos




A pair of ducks were snacking in the creek, but they were the only ones there unlike Springtime when the creek is filled with families. dscn7502Hope your week is filled with good things.

Song Lyric Sunday

Our theme for Song Lyric Sunday is to post a song you love that falls in the category of “singer/songwriter”.

Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose, and perform their own musical material including lyrics and melodies. The genre began with the folk-acoustic tradition. Singer-songwriters often provide the sole accompaniment to an entire composition or song, typically using a guitar or piano. The first popular recognition of the singer-songwriter in English-speaking North America and Great Britain occurred in the 1960s and early 1970s when a series of blues, folk and country-influenced musicians rose to prominence and popularity.

Judy Collins came to mind immediately as a singer songwriter I have loved since I was a teenager. The song Born to the Breed is written about her only child, Clark. In 1992 at age 33 he committed suicide after a long bout with clinical depression and substance abuse.

I was only nineteen
The morning you were born
With your hair fine and red
And your eyes like my own

Barely a woman
With only a song
I sang to make you smile
And held you all night long
Home through the streets
With you in my arms
Cold winter mornings
In a Colorado town

I’ve seen you stumble
You’ve watched me fall
You know I’ve got nothing
You know we’ve got it all

Trucks roll by and the rain coming down
Does that old parka keep you dry?
Sixteen years old out on the road
Trying to get to the sky

Back in September
You called me on the phone
“Ma, you know I love you
But I gotta be own my own”

“Comes a time in a boy’s life
When he’s got to be a man
Please don’t try to find me
Please try to understand”

Now he’s playing guitar
In a rock and roll band
Looking like a baby
Talking like a man

The life of a guitar man
Is a hard life to live
What can I tell you
You were born to the breed

Rain comes down, the trucks rolling by
I that old poncho gonna keep you dry?
Sixteen years old, January child
Trying to get to the sky

I’ve watched you growing
Through all these years
You’ve seen me stumble
I’ve watched your tears

Sometimes there was roses
Sometimes there was thorns
But I know you’re gonna make it
As sure as you were born

And I hope from what you wanted
You get what you need
I know you’re gonna make it
You were born to the breed
Sixteen years old, January child
Trying to get to the sky

Weekend Coffee Share

October has begun dreary and damp so I’ll invite you to come in and share a warm cup of coffee. Hard to believe September has come and gone- and school has been in session for a month already! What a month it was! This year I have started working with a different head teacher in the mornings who has been quite challenging to work with. She is just a few years younger than me and has been teaching in the school for over 30 years. It is unfortunate she has not updated her methods of discipline and connecting with the children, instead choosing to use methods from the 1960s’s, such as berating, punishing, ostracizing and assuming the child is guilty rather than innocent when something out of line occurs. I found myself running interference trying to stop situations before they occurred in order to save a child from her wrath throughout the first week of school. Did I mention she is a bully? That she bullies other teachers to get her way, and has never learned the meaning of compromise. She barks orders instead of asking nicely when she wants something done. Another issue was her adding to my “assisting duties” things that fell under her job description not mine, but she has gotten away with doing this for years because her assistants were young and afraid of her and never spoke up. Until this year. How to deal with a bully? Bully her back. We had a very heated exchange of words in which I told her right out I would not be bullied into doing her work, and that her classroom was a room filled with tension and unrealistic expectations of 1st graders, citing some choice examples. I pretty much got it all out on the table. To say she was shocked is an understatement. I felt great having gotten it off my chest. Surprisingly she must have taken  some of what I said to heart as since then there has been a lighter air about the class, though I do still need to run interference at times.

I feel so strongly about continuing to grow in our lives, to “get with the program” of what is going on in the today. We have come a long way from the 1960’s and though parts of what we learned then still hold value today, respect for a teacher, being polite, raising a hand to be called on, we have learned that children respond to positive feedback and will learn more as a result of being encouraged. I have learned to phrase things in a way that show the child I believe he can do it, that I want him to be successful even if it means moving his seat because the boy he is sitting next to is distracting him. In any case, that is what took up most of my September and filled my head at night. Here’s a drawing one of the boys gave to me, he told me it’s him and me, I’m the one in the purple. 20160928_173651

I would also tell you The Jewish New Year is tomorrow and I have some cooking to do. Two things I make every year are Tsimmes- a mixture of sweet potatoes, carrots, prunes and brown sugar. I also make a cranberry and apple dish with an oatmeal crust that can be served as a side dish or for dessert. Both sweet, as we look forward to the new year bringing sweet things.

Fall Sundays mean free concerts in our local libraries and last week my husband and I attended one. I will leave you with a little of what we heard, and hope you have a great Sunday!


Nostalgia:a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

Nostalgia: pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again.

The definitions sum up my feelings looking back on my childhood and thinking of  my father.

Me and Daddy in a photobooth in the late 1950’sdaddyselfiephotobooth

Climbing the dunes and running down together every summer at the beach

Always the bartender at summer family parties



Feathers on Friday

White-throated Sparrows are brown above and gray below with a striking head pattern. The black-and-white-striped head is augmented by a bright white throat and yellow between the eye and the bill, which is gray. You’ll also see a less boldly marked form, known as “tan-striped,” with a buff-on-brown face pattern instead of white-on-black. They stay near the ground, scratching through leaves in search of food, often in flocks. You may see them low in bushes as well, particularly in spring when they eat fresh buds. White-throated Sparrows sing their distinctive songs frequently, even in winter.

I love that tiny spot of yellow standing out in contrast to their brown and white.




Agree to Disagree

I know I am a pretty strong minded person, with ideas of my own and opinions of my own. I am open to listening to what someone has to say when they offer an opinion or idea that differs from mine, but as I have grown older I have learned to use the phrase, “I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.” Usually the person on the receiving end of my line becomes frustrated with that response and will continue to argue, attempting to still sway me. I am not interested in being swayed and find it amusing that they are unable to accept that I don’t agree with them. I would not consider imposing something I feel strongly about on someone else just because they disagree with me, so why can’t they do the same? Having different outlooks and sharing them is part of what life is all about. If we all agreed on everything what a boring place this would be. My friends and people I spend time with for the most part share similar values as me, but we don’t necessarily agree with everything the other does. We do respect those differences and perhaps learn from them, allowing us to both to continue growing and even sometimes to agree to disagree.385240_10150447427076654_657766653_10461098_1105778932_n


Cee’s Share Your World

This week Cee asks:

A class you wish you would have taken?

I suppose it’s not really a class, but I have always wanted to take voice lessons. As I have gotten older my voice no longer sounds as it once did. I would love to learn to harmonize and learn to breathe properly when singing and hit all the notes I want to hit. In the meantime I sing in the car wherever I go with the windows rolled up- and love every minute of it!

What’s your favorite comic figure and why?

Snoopy and Woodstock from Peanuts.

Name something you wish you could like.

I think I like most things as I can’t think of something off hand right now. I don’t like Sushi, but I don’t want to like it- the idea of eating raw fish or rice wrapped in seaweed just doesn’t do it for me.

Tell me about your first crush / first date / first kiss.

First crush: David Fishman First grade. Wonder whatever happened to him, he moved away in 4th grade and the crush was forgotten by then.

First date: Can’t remember- I do remember dating someone the summer of 1972- I was 15.lisa-rich1972

First kiss? Don’t remember. First time I kissed someone who really mattered me to me I do remember- oddly enough I can remember where I was, who it was, and what I was wearing.

Who was your best friend when you were 10?

Lauri- she lived 2 houses up the block from me. We were best friends until we hit our teens and life changed and we grew apart. We reconnected on Facebook and have seen each other over the past few years.3girls2

What sign are you? Do you believe in astrology?

Capricorn. I can’t say I believe in it, but I do think there is some value to it and I find it interesting.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Grateful things in school worked themselves out somewhat and that I have the support of friends in school to get me through when the going gets tough.

Share Your World- Join in!


Thursday’s Special: Clandestine

There are some words that I love, their sound, their meaning, the way the letters when put together roll off the tongue. Clandestine is one of those words. Its meaning: private or surreptitious: kept secret or done secretively. It conjures up for me unrequited love, or love that cannot be, where a couple must steal away to meet, words left unsaid because of the haste of the meeting. clandestine1


Thursday’s Special

Join Paula’s Thursday’s Special-this week it is pick a word


Finally Friday

It has been a crazy week- between my catching the germs being spread throughout the classroom despite washing my hands every 5 minutes, leading to my first cold of the season, to dealing with six year old meltdowns for a variety of reasons, some having to do with how the head teacher chooses to discipline, leading to my running interference in order to avoid those meltdowns, and going to bed too late because I wanted to wind down by watching some TV, then becoming engrossed in reunions of Real Housewives which made me totally forget any drama going on in my classroom. I do hope to catch up with all of you over the weekend and hope you will forgive my late replies to your comments!! See you soon!

Feathers on Friday-Red Winged Blackbird

Cornell Lab of Ornithology says: The Red-winged Blackbird is one of the most abundant birds across North America, and one of the most boldly colored. A familiar sight atop cattails, along soggy roadsides, and on telephone wires. Glossy-black males have scarlet-and-yellow shoulder patches they can puff up or hide depending on how confident they feel. Females are a subdued, streaky brown, almost like a large, dark sparrow. In the North, their early arrival and tumbling song are happy indications of the return of spring.

I love to hear their call as it means spring is here! They are beautiful birds, the females so different looking from the males.redwing1




Feathers on Friday

The Weekly Smile

One of the boys in my first grade class has a mild case of Cerebral Palsy which makes holding a writing instrument difficult as his hands and fingers are not that strong. He always perseveres and never lets it him stop him. Today he handed me a sheet of paper with something drawn on it, saying “This is for you” with a big smile on his face. I asked who it was and he said “YOU!” and his smile got even bigger. And so did mine.mefromshai



Daily Post: Hike

My husband and I love to hike- I’m not talking about climbing up rocks and taking unmarked trails through the mountains- I mean taking long walks, preferably on a paved trail as it winds through the woods, or through a park. The season doesn’t matter so much- we’ll go anytime of year. Once we walked through a county park which passes through many towns. It was a six mile walk one way. We thought we would take two cars and park one at each end, this way we wouldn’t have to walk a round trip of 12 miles. We both drove to one end to leave one car and then would drive together to the other end and take our hike. We pulled in to park the car and my husband said “let’s leave both cars here, we can do the round trip.” Ever the optimist, married to me the pessimist, I decided not to be the negative Nellie, thinking it would be too far a walk, I agreed. Off we went, with our lunch and water bottles, on a sunny day heading out on our hiking journey. We reached the 6 mile marker and sat down to eat lunch, at which point my husband said, “maybe we should have driven the car here.” Left with no choice but to make the trek back , putting one foot in front of the other albeit walking a bit more slowly now. His sciatica began to rear its ugly head so we sat and rested more than once. We did make it back, happy at the end we had done the whole 12 miles, and grateful to plant ourselves in our cars to drive home. 20160911_134330