around the frame sep 2011 – our experiences

Dear Fritzay –

            Wow! Can’t believe I am   back fromCalifornia. I spent some good times with my older son while there.  We talked about some of our shared history and it was cathartic (for us both, I believe). He’s OK just as he is. I want to stop my fussing over his diet, and lifestyle choices, etc., etc. After all, don’t I expect my kids to accept me just I am?

            Encinitas is so lovely, the beach goes on forever. I spent time almost every day at  Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self -Realization temple and meditation gardens. Also walked and walked and walked on the beach. This is the gift that I can accept.

        Speaking of acceptance, had a real culture shock when I returned home. My younger son had been home for a week and the house was an indescribable mess. Yikes!

        Love to you,



     Liz/Moascar(Aug.’11) adds, “I loved  your August ‘11 flat tire story and the accom-panying photos. Angels do walk among us!”


Hi Frances,

            Wow! Your flat tire story really strikes a loud chord with me. Your flat tire created a beautiful situation in which all those BK staff members came together to assist you (without even being asked!) and one of them even learned something new — how to change the flat.

Unfortunately, the story I have to share describes the opposite — how worlds fall apart and a bitter division is formed by a situation beyond anyone’s control.

            I called my far-away, seventy-plus parents to give some good news — but quickly got embroiled in their melodrama. It was like flipping a TV channel: I was enjoying a peace-ful day, SWITCH!, Armageddon.

            My mother told me she blew a tire on one of their two cars, and drove home on it. Now my father wants her to call the tow truck, sit and wait for the car to be repaired, and pay for the repair out of “her own” money.

            Automatically I said, “I’m sorry to hear that! Accidents happen!”

 She replied, “Well, tell HIM a curb’s involved! I said, “Mom didn’t blow the tire on purpose! Sometimes life happens and we have to make the best of it.” I asked my father how he would feel if he’d blown the tire and then someone had yelled at him about it.… 

By the end of the call, he was quieter and calmer. But two days later, he called and said my mother is “on the warpath again,” crying, avoiding him, telling him she wishes he were dead because he never changes. And he doesn’t understand why she’s so upset and what he’s supposed to change.

For all my counseling and compassion, all my parenting of my parents, “nothing changes” until the people involved want to change. This situation has tested my codependency habits.

I’ve been trying hard not to give advice unless it’s asked for, but I got sucked in to this drama so quickly. I felt like I didn’t have a choice, but in retrospect, I know I did. I could have said, “Well, you guys can call me when you’ve sorted this out and are calmer. I need to go now.” I could have told them to call the psychiatrist, get counseling, talk to a priest — anyone but me.

            I promise myself, “I’ll do better next time!”


Theresa (Aug.’11) says, “I know all I can change now is to show compassion to myself. It has been a challenge to release the negative energy created by this situation, but I am letting go.”


Hi Frances, 

My adult classes start again

in September.  We will be reading, The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt.  It follows the ad-ventures of several inter-related families from 1895 through the end of WW. I have just finished, A Death in Vienna, by Frank Tallis.  This was a mystery. Also, The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer and quite a few others.   

We seem to have been very busy this summer.  Lots of yard work, walking the dog, having friends over, etc.  It has been hot and dry here after a cool rainy start.  My gardens are so pretty.

            I had mulberries on vanilla ice cream for dessert at a friend’s house this summer.  I don’t think I have ever had them before.

            Looking forward to resuming our face-to-face friendship.



            Louise (July’11) adds, “I have been three times to see performances by my favorite dance group, Garth Fagan.  It was energizing.” 


Hey Frances!

            Mulberry trees. Where my family went for our week long Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quaker) at Illinois Yearly Meeting in McNabb, IL., there were a lot of mulberry trees.

I remember what fun it was to eat them when we were not in bible class and other activities.

We have some aroundSouthern Indiana, too, but I only find them where I don’t want

them. I have to pull up the seedlings.  Such a loss!  I do see some around our Dairy Queen, but would feel kinda’ funny picking them there!

Anyhow, as an adult, they don’t taste quite as sweet as I remember them as a kid!




Simon Stargazer III ( See also his poem in THREAD.) adds, “Ya’ think my taste buds are wearing out?”


Hi Frances,

Speaking of mulberry trees that you mentioned in your August ’11“Glimpse”, Mulberry,Floridais so named because there used to be a large mulberry tree at the train station in the little town.  In fact, I have one in my yard.  It is in dastardly shape and barely hanging on to life, but it still produces mulberries. The birds love them. 

             Thanks for keeping in touch.



Judy (Mar.’11) adds, “My boyfriend and I are planning a week at Cocoa Beach starting next Monday. Hooray!  I love the beach.” 


Hey Frances!

Guess what?         I have yet another new critter in my yard.  I saw that one of my tomatoes was half-eaten and didn’t think raccoons, squirrels, possums or skunks liked  tomatoes.  I had tried putting a couple for the wild ones I feed last week. Nothing ate them.   

But, last week in broad daylight I saw the culprit — a big woodchuck!  A groundhog!  He ran away when he saw me, but he has now come back a few times every day to guzzle more tomatoes.  He prefers the ones that are close to the ground.  I salvaged one that has his big teeth marks in it. 

I don’t mind sharing my garden. He is cute.  He eats in the daytime, so I will get to see him plenty.  I love critters!



AKA, Laughing Girl


Barbarajean (Aug.’11) adds, “Also, I have bunnies now nibbling the last growth of the leaf lettuce.  I live in the city, but my yard’s a forest, I tell you.”



Dear Frances,

I had an interesting awakening yesterday afternoon. After an outpatient procedure, my instructtion from the doctor was to relax.  I went into my back yard and sat under my pergola to read a novel by Lisa See my sister suggested: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

It was a most warm, sunny day and I found myself totally in the moment, hearing the birds sing and having at least three encounters with hummingbirds as I was sitting near their feeder. The hummers stopped so close in front of me that I could hear the buzzing of their wings. I started talking to them, telling them how beautiful they were and how I appreciated them.

Later, I realized I don’t give myself permission to do this kind of relaxation — especially reading a novel since it’s a story and I am not “learning.”  In my sub-conscious mind I hear, You’re not accomplishing anything.

            The experience reminds me of what I read from one of Louise Hay’s books: “I choose to believe I have found a treasure when I discover an area (of my life) I need to change.”

Best wishes.



Dottie (June ‘11) adds, “Recently I spent two days at a lake. The serenity and beauty was wonderful. I am grateful.…”


Dear Frances,

Finally got a chance to post the August ’11 web site edition of Ninepatch. I figured it was a good time to touch base with you.   

It’s hard to believe my eight years on the job have ended and that it’s been a month since I left. Just glad I got out with severance when I had the chance!

You’re right in guessing I’ve been working on cleaning /chores/ maintenance and also touching base with people I haven’t talked to for too long. (Work really gets in the way of friendships, doesn’t it?) It’s time to start looking for something else. Still not sure ‘what’, but at this point any income’s better than none.  

For now, I’ve got to get off this computer and get my agenda started. Hope you have a great and productive day.


Lynn XO


            Lynn TROR (Mar.’11) adds, “When I first stopped work, I had a great visit with my mother, my brother and his family, and all. A blessing of the free time.”



            I’m still here!  The past few months I’ve been busy reconnecting with family — a good thing.  I have put my folks’ 8mm film and slides into digital for-mat. That way I can easily copy and share.  The film, slides and photos were just sitting in the basement, and I knew that others would enjoy these memories.  It’s been a labor of love.

My parents passed away eight months apart, six years ago.  I see this photo-sharing also as a way of honoring them.

            I continue to enjoy Ninepatch each month.  Thank you for your work to make it happen.




            Peter (Oct.’09) adds, “I was on vacation for the past couple of weeks — a very enjoyable, restful time away.” 


Dear Frances,

             You wrote, “You seem to have little sanity in your life.” What is sanity? Can I be sane in a crazy life where the people I thought loved me are using me to get whatever they want or need? Sometimes I just feel like yelling, “Help! I can’t take this anymore!”

            I want out but wonder if I can make it on my own.  My counselor says, I can “what if” myself to death. She says, “Just try.  You don’t know what you can do until you try.”

            I am still calling about the apartment. I have the deposit now. I hope I have the strength   and be ready to — as you say — to “…calmly make the move.” Sometimes I would rather be at work.

            I wonder what God wants for my life. I know what I want!  I want a life of my own

— not caring for anyone else. I have never had one. I want time with my dad and brothers, too.  In a way that would still be care-taking because we all have health problems.  On the other hand, maybe we could help each other.

My husband never liked my brothers and they don’t like him. I gave them up to stay with the marriage.  Maybe it’s too late.  Only God knows.

            Like you, I would also like “…to experience life and share what I discover with others.” Working in a nursing home, I love to bring a smile to a resident’s face. Anyone’s face. I want to spread joy and peace.  I feel like I just woke up from a long sleep and have yet to live.      

            I am glad I have my counselor, my dad and my faith in God. I pray a lot. I take one day at a time and hope for a better future.

            Thanks for listening.  

God bless you and bring you peace.

            Love and prayers,



            LindaSue (July ’11) adds, “Last month I told you our kids who live in our basement got a dog. Now they bought a new car. Guess they have no plans to leave anytime soon.”



No one can grow up for you.


James (Aug.’11) adds, “You have to grow up for yourself. “


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