around the frame may 2011 – our experiences


I’m resonating your “Fallen Flower” comment in the March ’11 issue of Ninepatch. You said you needed to watch a heart-rending movie now and then to vent some of your own unexpressed sadness.
Me, too! One of the primary reasons I watch a Hallmark Hall of Fame production is because I KNOW I will cry.  My husband is an early riser so he is often snoozing in the other room as I weep, often leaving the story line to think of my own “tragic” or “joyful to tears” moments. 
Life doesn’t often resolve itself as quickly or easily as a Hall of Fame storyline. However, most of the time it does resolve itself to a satisfying, if not happy, ending.

Georgene (Apr.11) adds, “Life has gotten busy and public.  It’s not easy to shut down one’s defense system and weep.  The ‘Hall of Fame’ nights are cool. I work up emotions with each little tear-jerker commercial — then it’s easy to release those deep,  cleansing sobs when the climax of conflict resolves to that ‘Hallmark moment’ ending.”


Hi, Frances,

Wow, I can really relate to your story, “A Pergola Adventure,” in the April ’11 Ninepatch.  My husband and I found a contractor as a result of a similar “coincidence.” 
I had inherited an old home when my parents died.  We put our own house up for sale thinking it would take a while to sell and we’d work on fixing up the old one while we waited. When our home suddenly sold, we were overwhelmed and began   talking with salespeople in Lowe’s and Home Depot. No one person/ business seemed to be able to address all of our concerns. 
Then one day, we stopped by our contractor’s store — thinking it was a cabinetry shop!  It turned out to be a one-stop shop for practically everything we needed to have done: renovate the kitchen, redo all three baths, and replace all of the flooring. To complicate the matter, the aged house stood on a property over fifty miles away from where we presently lived. 
 To make the whole matter more challenging, we needed to vacate our newly sold home in four weeks. We wanted to move into the redone place!
Undaunted, the contractor promised to quickly finish part of the work so we could move in and stay while he and his team completed the rest. The man kept his word. 
When he later asked how we found him and his store, I simply answered, “God.” 
What else could I say?

Mary Bridgman (Apr.11) adds, “We had a similar experience on moving day.  Our furniture wouldn’t fit past the stairway railing, and I didn’t know what to do.  I called a relative who lives in the area, and within twenty minutes, help was on its way.  A carpenter disassembled the railing and then put it back together after everything was moved in.”


Dear Frances,

Thank you, thank you for your letter, your ideas, your book lists and especially for listening.
“Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.” I suffer if I stay with my husband and kids and suffer if I don’t. I am lost…or stuck.  Maybe just wandering.
I have today off from work. (I traded with a girl who needed Sunday off.) Dad went to visit my brother. My granddaughters all went to school. (A miracle.)  My daughter sleeps until noon so my husband and I have the house to ourselves. A chance to talk, right?
Wrong! A chance to scream at each other.  I am now in my room writing.
“Remember when I said all we had was sex?  I try to talk to him about my feelings and questions I have had for years that he won’t answer (or doesn’t know how to answer). Instead of giving me an explanation, he waves a catalog in my face and says, “I was going to order something to help our sex life. But, I guess now I won’t.”
I ask about feelings, he talks about sex.
He tells me we aren’t legally married and he doesn’t need me. He says, “You want out?  I’ll help you pack!”
He storms off like he always does. When he comes back everything has calmed down. Life goes back to the routine. That’s how it’s always been.
I keep journaling, seeing my counselor and I pray. I pray for guidance, wisdom answers, hope for a calmer life for me and my dad.  Dreams, maybe.
Thanks again for listening.
I like what that writer said, “All who wander are not lost.”
Love and prayers,

LindaSue (April’10) adds, “I am waiting for God’s plan. Sometimes it feels like I am standing still.” 


Dear Frances,

Earlier, I tried to open the new e-format of Mar. ‘11 Ninepatch you sent, but got frustrated and went on to other things. Today I found your “old format” in my e-mail.  I can open it and I will be able to spend time later this evening reading the issue, which is fun for me.
Funny how you mention feeling isolated from your old friends who live far away.  I feel the same way and I was thinking how much I miss the girl meetings that we used to go to. Those sessions changed my life for the better.  
I get isolated living in the country.  It’s my own fault, I know that.  Yet, I am not a particularly social creature.  I think that the damage from my family of origin made me hyper-vigilant with regard to developing relationships. Then again, it just may be the way I am.  I do miss the company of other women at times, though.   I value your friendship, such as it is, through e-mail and occasional face-to-face meetings when you are visiting here. I’m comfortable with my husband, yet he can’t do it all for me.
It looks like we may strike a deal with our horse trainer to trade Katie on a younger horse closer to Shaman’s age.  The trainer offered Bill some money for Katie the other day. He didn’t accept it, but began thinking about a trade since Katie is fourteen and Shaman is only four.  It’d be nice to have horses of more the same age.  The trainer will let us know what is available.  She has a contact with beaucoup horses available.  
 Happy day to you! Good to hear from you again.

Linda Rosenthal (Mar.11) adds, “We’ll get to see some horse pictures and make decisions in the coming weeks.”


Hi Fritzie,

Our April weather refuses to leave winter behind, but that is okay.  I don’t go out and spend money when it is nasty out. Just read my books and magazines.
Not a lot to report.  I’ve been fighting depression again.    My second son, Bryan, still needs mental help.  Eventually, he is going to be on the street because he refuses to do anything to help himself.  It really makes me sad. 
I spend a lot of time with his son, Bryce, who turned out to be a really nice young man.
Happily, the cats are doing well.  Mr. Gray checks out the birds every morning. They are coming back much to his delight.  I still don’t let him out.  He roams too far from home and the neighbors don’t really love him like he thinks they do.  Funny cat.
Hope this finds all is well with you and family. Take care my friend, will talk to you later.
Patricia (Jan. ’11) adds, “Even though it’s mid-April and chilly, my husband has started our garden. He put in the onions.”

Hi Frances,

I just got back from a trip to the Southwest.  Loved it — especially the Grand Canyon.  I walked the same Bright Angel Trail that brothers Ellsworth & Emery Kolb did in the early 1900s. 
Kolbs were photographers who took pictures of the tourists who rode mules down this trail.   Quickly, they developed images and sold visitors their photos. The brothers also made a movie of the Grand Canyon taken on the Colorado River boat trips there which ran for sixty years.  The tourist mule trips still run on the Bright Angel trail several times a day. 
In the large colorful book I bought at the Canyon, there’s a photo of Ellsworth Kolb with his camera hanging from ropes attached to the canyon wall.  I took this book to school where I volunteer and showed it to my little first graders.  It was neat to see their excited faces and hear their questions.   
Blessings to you Frances.
Dottie (Mar. ’11) adds, “I am so grateful I am healthy enough to be able to walk as much as we did and to have eyes to see these wonders of the world.  Time to reflect and thank God.”


Interesting dream you had about being pregnant with having a baby you carried sideways! Hahahahaha!  Maybe it indicates a rebirth of something in you.
I had a dream that is out of the ordinary, too.  I often think about my high school choir director after all these years, because he was so influential to my singing. Since I am going to yet another reunion this summer, I think about many of those old people and things I did. 
In my dream, I saw him after all these years and he looked pretty good. (Probably better than he REALLY looks.) Anyway, he kissed me on the cheek and said, “Thanks for all your hard work.”
Isn’t that interesting?  I woke up feeling good about everything.   Probably I needed a pat on the back!

Barbarajean (Apr.’11) adds, “At least you are not getting graded in your new dance aerobic class!  I AM, in my Tai Chi class. I absolutely hate it.  It is far more strenuous than I expected, and also emotionally draining.  The teacher keeps repositioning me, and I want to hit him.  I have to get through it, but am disappointed the class is so hard.”


Hi Frances,
As I think ahead to my coming summer and new lighthouse volunteer work, I recall last year’s.
Last year was so tame there is nothing much to write about. No storms or heavy fog.  We had some cool, cloudy days and some warm sunny days, not too much of either. 
One new experience I recall was we saw a brownish “hummingbird moth” buzzing around our petunias one evening.  I was fascinated! The creature sounded like a hummingbird and looked like one, except it had moth wings.  I could see it clearly sucking juices from the flowers as it was at my eye level. 
Another morning, I was outside early watering the potted red geraniums at the base of the lighthouse. I looked up and saw a bald eagle. As it perched in a nearby tree, its white head feathers shone in contrast with its brown body.  Not the first one I’ve seen but, it’s always a special sighting.
   The entire two weeks at the lighthouse were pleasant and relaxing.
 Life is good!
  Many blessings, dear friend,
Diana (June ‘10) adds, “Just got back from wintering in Texas.  Had another great season of motorcycling with the Gold Wing guy.  I’m at my youngest daughter’s home in Michigan for the summer months.” Editor’s note: See


A person has but one mind –

James (Apr.’11) adds, “The one mind may take many different directions.”


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