around the frame jun 2012 – our experiences

Dear Fritzalonia,

Thank you for the 9patch. I am thinking of your May ’12 story.  How scary the journey with your parents sounds. I was flabbergasted to read of the doctor who at first refused to admit your mother due to her “terminal” condition. It sounds so heartless. It’s sad to think that human care seems to be run as a business at times.

James’s story of oatmeal made me salivate. It’s one of my favorite foods. My dad made the best I have ever had!  He cooked it overnight in a double boiler. I well remember how he used a chemistry beaker to precisely measure the amounts of oats and water. I like my oatmeal with salt and milk but am not averse to cooking in dried fruits or   adding fresh fruit to it later. Yummmmm!



            Liz/Moascar (May ’12) has a story in FABRICS.



Hi Frances,

Your May ‘12 story about your parents’ deaths was com-passionate and sweet. I read every word of the Ninepatch and enjoy everyone’s contributions.

I have a suggestion. I would

like to see a face for all these little articles. Wouldn’t that be fun to place a sheet in–maybe– just one issue showing all our mugs? Ha, ha. We could keep it for future references.

            A fond hello to all.




Glenda (June ’11) adds,

“My first book’s sequel is neglected, but still in progress.  (I am sooo busy!) But, my daughter just returned from visiting the place where the story is set. Her photos will spur me on again.”


Hi Frances,

 You ask where my next move will take me.  As you know I have been feeling an urge to relocate rising for more than a year.  

It takes a lot of energy to move.  There are advantages to preparing though. I’ve gone through papers and books and belongings. I sent much off to the recycle bin or to the Humane Society Thrift Store. 

I feel that in being here where my parents live, I’ve gotten a much improved relation-ship them.  During Dad’s sur-gery, I was glad to be there.  Both Mom and Dad are doing fine now.  Mom is really slowed by her arthritic knees, yet they joined me on a little outing to the zoo recently.

Truth is, I need a full time job.  And if I’m going to look for one anyway, it might as well be in the part of the country that I feel like living in.  I keep coming

back to the Pacific Northwest as the most Karen-friendly.  I’d love to live where it’s cooler and where they are much more into environmental sustainability.

My lease is up at the end of July. Maybe I’ll find something by then.   

My solitary life journey continues.  I’ve been reading poetry and have lately also painted some little water color pictures.  I had a meaningful dream recently where I was having a very unpleasant con-frontation with a co-worker from my old job. 

My usual deal is that I try to make someone understand my point of view. I make myself responsible for their feelings. However, in this dream, I real-ized this person was going to be mad at me and I just let it go. I walked away. I stopped trying to fix it or pretend it didn’t bother me.  The dream’s had lasting effects on me in my waking hours. 

You do such a good job charting your dreams.  Pat yourself on the back.

            Take care,



KarenLousie (Apr. ’12) adds, “On another note, I found your April ’12 story about attending your grandsons’ games something I relate to strongly. I, too, hate to be late. To have misplaced directions, then to have all that tension as someone yells directions over the phone, and to have your ex- give you a judgmental stare–ugh!”



Hi –

You say you haven’t heard much from me lately. Yes, I guess I have been silent. (Maybe I have nothing to say?)

I’m still working hard with my adult literacy student. First, we were focused on reading. Next, he told me he wanted to learn to spell. When I pointed out there’s no reason to learn to spell if he doesn’t write, he

admitted that he’d like to write to his adult son without looking stupid. (How sad.) Now we are working on reading, writing and spelling!

            I’ve been attending a differ-ent church for about a year. It is an interesting and intellectual experience. The congregation is quite social and they go out of their way for members to meet each other. I’ve been attending get-to-know-you dinners involving about eight people. Guests at the host home are selected randomly. It’s been fun and I’m amazed at how comfortable I quickly become among strangers.

            I do have an unpleasant story. I saw a man for about a month who was more of a peer than most men I’ve met for coffee. We really got along well and he was hinting toward a more lasting relationship. He grew up near my hometown.

We got along quite well and then I had one of my tough and un-predictable depression episodes. He dropped me quickly, saying he didn’t have the “skill set” to deal with it.

            That hurt for awhile but I got over it. I’m really wondering how that could be addressed in any future relationship.

            Even though I’ve been a poor correspondent, I always enjoy hearing from you.

            Love you,



            Elaine (Oct. ’11) adds, “Recently I kayaked the man-grove tunnels off a Florida key, in the Gulf.  It was a fabulous experience. I’ve taken my kayak out once since then and am looking for other opportunities to go out with a group. ”




            I’ve been thinking. Being taken care of, at times, is a gift. Having to take care of yourself is a gift. Taking care of others, at times, is still a gift. It all bestows bounty to both giver and receiver–just a slightly different form.

            Even when it’s self-care –your body or your mind or your spirit is the receiver.  And, in that case, while the giver is man-ifest out of one’s own survival instinct, maybe it’s OK to call that God.

            If a drive to survival isn’t the pure love of God at its most basic level–I don’t know what is.



            Sherryl (Jan. ’12) says, “Frances wrote and commented, ‘Such wisdom from one so young.’ That is precisely why I have older friends! They teach me things and then call me young!”




Ninepatch Birthdays in June:

June Poucher         17

Serena                             18

Joy/JW                            18



Dear Frances,

            A funny thing happened. I just finished an Amish book by Kathleen Fuller and went to the library to get another by her.  While I was looking for another title, I found the book Beside Still Waters by Trisha Goyer.

I came home and your letter was on the table. I opened it up and saw that you had just read, Beside Still Waters by Goyer!

            The news here is about our daughter, Molly, her husband and three daughters who moved out about three months ago.  They didn’t pay their “rent” to us the last two months they lived here. And when they left they didn’t leave their new address or phone number!  We have not heard a peep form them. When bills come for them, we take them to the husband at his work. It is hard to not be negative.

            My husband is no help. He is always carrying on. I try to keep my mouth shut. I still have so many unanswered questions for HIM. I want him to just once tell me why in the world he married me!  

            Who can figure him? When I am working around the house, he leaves me alone. But when I sit down to read or write letters, he starts pestering me. Here he comes again. I had better close.

            Please pray for me!

            May God bless you and keep you safe.

Love and prayers,



            LindaSue (May ’12) adds,

“I am looking at another apart-ment next week. My brother said he would take Dad and me to see it.”                  *



Just sat down to read my Ninepatch. Your big story from Apr. ’12–the shots taken at your starship–is familiar.  Though I don’t have to deal with any ex-, and John is not that kind of

personality, there always seems to be some tough guy in my life. 

Lately it has been the husband of a couple who are our best friends here.

Since he retired several years ago, he’s been moody and grumpy.  While we’re playing games as a foursome, or meeting for dinner, out of the blue he will speak some cruelty to his wife, my husband, John, or me. 

I’ve told myself that it’s hard for anybody to adjust to no longer working–especially a guy. But recently I started thinking that I am falling into an old pattern of tolerating what is not acceptable.

    John and I talked about it. He was married to a person suffer-ing from depression, as was I. It was easy for us to make excuses for that former mate and now this friend.

Like you say–when you are used to attacks you can be pretty quick at “Shields up!”  Even the rocking of a direct hit hasn’t caused us to shut the door on years of good times and happy memories. But, we were starting to wonder–are we enablers?

So, yesterday when the man snapped at me, I bit back.  Whoa! I changed the pattern and now the four of us are all discombobulated. His wife is apologizing like it is her fault and I’m trying not to buckle and express regret for just standing up for myself.  Ugh. 

When do I get to grow out of this?




            Georgene (May ’12) adds, “Fortunately, the drama died down quickly. I’m happy to report that the discussions we’ve had, prompted by my outburst, have yielded very good results. Our little group cleared the

air and our last visit together was almost like old times. I know it’s not over–depression is a tough taskmaster–and we’ve built up some bad habits. But for now, we’re optimistic, and I feel like maybe, just maybe, I grew up a little bit. Whew!”




It seems I am always mov-ing from one thing to another.  I thought I would retire from my New Mexico job. But, after being there for three and a half years, my position suddenly ended.

 I was shocked and spent weeks praying and consulting with my spiritual advisors. I looked for other jobs and found a position in Chicago at St. Pius V Parish.  I am delighted!  It is a dynamic and challenging place to be.   

For one, I am honing my Spanish so that I can talk with the people–most of them are

recent immigrants from Mexico.  Also, there are so many things happening in the parish.  They have become very active in the neighborhood providing services for domestic violence and drug trafficking and offer a medical clinic as well as various other ministries.  

I am excited to be a part of all this. Keep me in your prayers. 

Much love! 



            Patience (Sept. ’09) says, “I am presently looking for appro-priate housing.”   


 Beware of expectations.


James (May ’12) expands, “The higher one climbs the ladder of expectations, the greater the injury after a fall.”


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