around the frame jan 2013 – our experiences

Dear Francabell,

I seem to have minuscule personal time these days. When I am not at work, the Self-Realization Temple or meeting with friends, I am home and ready to crash. If I stop anywhere between work and home, it is dark by the time I get in.

Then I return phone calls and emails and suddenly nothing has been done, but it is still bed time.

I enjoyed reading about my trailer home in 9patch and I also plan on responding to the “cat game.” Purrfect!




Liz/Moascar (Dec. ‘12) adds, “My Siamese cats, Samson and Stella, follow me around the trailer park when I am home.”


Dear Frances,

Dad and I have been in the apartment more than two weeks. New home, new job, new life. We listened to records half of one day. A first! My husband didn’t allow that music.

On the down side, I am still trying to get transportation. Old plans won’t work because I am living in a new county. For now, several of the girls from work are taking turns picking me up.

I was scheduled for eye surgery, but my counselor and case worker suggested I get settled first. I am glad I took their advice. Too many other matters to work out.

Moving was a circus. I had lots of help. Both daughters came over and even a nephew I had not seen in years came to get me at work. Using vans, cars and a pickup, we made many trips back and forth from the house to the apartment. Luckily, my daughters arranged for the move when my husband was away.

I tried to be fair with him. I paid final bills, divided dishes, pot and pans and towels. I got most of the furniture–some came from my family. The rest, I paid for. The bank said after we handed over the house keys, we were “free and clear.” I figured my husband and I would go our own ways. I have not seen him since–not sure where he finally went. It’s probably better.

Little by little it’s all working out.

Love and prayers,

Linda Sue

LindaSue ( Dec. ‘12) adds, “We have a pond by our apartment. My dad loves watching the ducks and geese coming and going.”


Hi Frances,

In the last Ninepatch, I was happy to hear that LindaSue is finally getting to move to an apartment. It was a happy story after so many sad ones.

I have been working on two photo projects. One project is with, “the girls,” my surrogate granddaughters who are nine and thirteen.

We have been going over all their pictures in my albums since they were born, picking out the ones they like. I’ll make a book of them (on the computer) for their mom. I’ve had to digitize all of them.

My second project is a calendar for each of my children

When I redid my office this spring, I took down the pictures. One wall was covered with frames that held composites of each child. That gave me the idea of making a calendar with these pictures. Of course, I had to add to this collection, so I again went through all my albums and files of stored pictures.

I now have eight pages of photos of all of the family, many of them taken when they were very small. For the rest of the months, I have interspersed some of the better photos I’ve taken over the last few years. It was a real trip into the past and lots of work and fun.

To complicate all of this, my scanner/printer started acting up and so I went all out and bought a new printer/scanner.

So anyway, good to hear from you.



Palma (Oct. ‘12) adds,

Of course, after I bought the new printer, one thing led to another, and I ended up with a new Pro Mac (an Apple laptop) to go with it.”


 Hi !

Our son, Hunter, is here! I’m feeling darn good. I didn’t have any stitches, so recovery was short and simple. Though I’m having some trouble keeping up with things, I’m definitely getting stuff done over time.

I do feel energetic, and thank goodness. Trying to balance my three year old daughter Paloma’s needs with Hunter’s would be awful otherwise.

As for his birth, he was about a month early, which is later than Paloma was born. Compared to her, he felt like a big, strapping baby! He’s a much better eater and so far, has a great disposition.



Christa (Dec. ‘12) adds, “Paloma loves her little brother! It’s so sweet to watch her interact with him.”


Dear Frances,

I am worn out physically and emotionally. My husband spent ten days in hospital, again, being treated for pneumonia. Before that and now, he is weak and sleeps a lot. We see his doctor regularly.

I don’t want to feel sorry for myself so decided that making a gratitude list would help. Here’s my list:

1. My dog training program is working.

2. I have some nice friends in the neighborhood.

3. I put up some decorations which look really great.

4. I am healthy.

5. I have a friend who understands me (you).

6. I balanced my checkbook yesterday.

7. I saw Garth Fagan (dance group) perform last week– front row seat.

I feel better already!

I love you.



Louise (Nov. ‘12) adds,

We missed Thanksgiving with family because of my husband’s illness. Sadly, Hank is back in the hospital and we may miss Christmas plans, too.”


Dear Frances:

I have plenty to be thankful for this year.

I was looking at video games the other day and thinking that I’d like to try one or two. (I love indulging my kiddie self. ) I’ve also been thinking about taking up scuba diving. I see the occasional news story about some ninety-year-old running a marathon or riding in bike races. I hope to have their good attitude and health!

I purchased a Kindle Paperwhite as my holiday gift to myself. I look forward to the improved features. It has an internal light for reading at bedtime, which I do nearly every night.

Best Wishes for 2013,



Linda Rosenthal (Dec. 12) adds, “I think that my book collection is going to be significantly reduced over the next few years as I favor the e-readers. Our house is somewhat small and I want the extra space that the bookshelves are taking. It’s a changing world….”



I have not gotten back to you as much as I would like. Life has been so full–I just kind of drop into bed.

My position is going well.

All the staff is involved in many activities over and above the job description. That is OK, but there is no rest.

Because this is my first year here, I am learning the ropes. Anyway, it is an exciting place to minister but very tiring. On top of all that I am taking a master level course at Catholic Theological Union–ministry in a Latino context.

You take care and know I think of you and appreciate all that you do.



Patience (June ‘12) adds, “I’m headed for Michigan and my home-away-from-home for a little R&R soon. It will be good to get away.”


Dear Frances,

You said you didn’t like being whiny. Me, either. I’ve got a cracked rib and a bruised lung, but it’s not like I broke anything so I hate that I’ve been “ooh-ing” and “ow-ing” this past week.

My sister’s been forced to close her pet grooming shop and move it home. My records are everywhere as we rearrange the house to accommodate it.

My injuries make EVERYTHING exhausting. On the positive side, this certainly gives me something productive to do while I’m stuck on my butt healing, so I’m grateful for the distraction.

Anyway, I’m still working a split shift at the deli. Today I finished my first shift back to just work since I got hurt. I’m a little sore so think I’ll take it easy and hope you’re doing the same.

Lynn : )


Lynn TROR (Oct. ’12) adds, “I really want to move on. Healing can’t come soon enough!”



Monday night I am going downtown to try out for the Savoyards, a Musical Theater group. Of course, this is driving me nuts, although I’m only trying out for just the chorus–I don’t have to sing “La Boheme!”

Did I ever tell you about my Ed Sullivan Syndrome? When I came back to Michigan in the late 80’s, I had been performing operas in Chicago. I got a small church job and then got to sing easy show tunes with a summer concert band.

I was at my brother’s house, pacing the floor before this summer concert. He said, “What is wrong with you? This is Saginaw, Michigan, not Ed Sullivan!”

It was funny-and he was right.

My anxiety will “Ed Sullivan” me when I have to face anything, even speeches I had to give at school. This makes no sense, since I had faced some of the toughest conductors on earth!

But, if I haven’t been “in the spotlight” for a while, I get stage fright, no matter what!



Barbarajean (Dec. ’12) adds, “I figure if I get in the Savoyards’ Chorus, I will eventually take it in stride and go on automatic pilot after awhile.”


Dear Francesca,

I’ve started seeing my therapist after a thirteen-month hiatus. She has recommended Beyond Blue – Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes. The book is by Therese Borchard. It is part memoir, and part self-help.

It describes Borchard’s experience of living with manic depression as well as providing helpful, cutting-edge research.

I’ve related to its words and sobbed through most of the book. It has a positive outcome, hence the title.

In so many words she explains the inability to learn and understand while a person is under the influence of depression. I believe that is true. While I think my therapist is outstanding, I’ve found it so difficult to remember or implement her therapy.

The author seems to understand my plight. That helps.




Elaine (Dec. ’12) adds, “I write things down that the therapist says, but later I can’t always get the gist of it.”




I read something on the Internet this morning. It inspired me. Here are those words from Days of healing Days of Joy, a Hazelden book.

It has been said, ‘In the game of life nothing is less important than the score at halftime.’ Halftime means it’s not over; the game is still in progress and the outcome is still not decided.

It would be wonderful if all people started out with families steeped in relationship skills. However most of us did not start out that way, so it is only “halftime.” The final score has not been posted. The quality of our lives is determined not by how we start but by how we choose to end.”

I took the words to heart and changed “We” to “I” for myself. I can learn the skills necessary for a successful life. I can learn to care about myself, to stand firm in my relationships, and to choose wisely.

I can always use a morning peptalk.




Nancyann (Nov. 12) adds, “Some of us take a lifetime of learning.”



The future is the mother of disorder.


James (Dec. ‘12) adds, “With the passage of time, complexity increases.”

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