around the frame oct 2014 – our experiences

Dear Frances,

Today is September 11, the 13th anniversary of nine-eleven. A couple of months after that infamous attack, my family were gathered around my table for the Thanksgiving meal. As things got quiet, my son took off his cap, getting ready to say the blessing.

I spoke up. “Before we pray, I’d like to say something.” Everyone stopped and gave me their attention.

I told them I thought 9-11 was a signal; a time to make peace; to make amends; and to love and forgive one another. We never know what can happen.

Everyone was quiet a moment and then we bowed

our heads as my son said a prayer.

Bless’ed be,


June Poucher (Sept. ‘14) adds, “Thirteen years have passed and I can’t be sure we won’t be attacked again.”


Dear Frances and JK,

I have to tell you both, how impressed I am with the “risky hunting experience” you had with the frog adventure. The man of the house, one more time, showed the kind of man he is! Wow! He caught the beast. Congratulations, JK.

On the other side, Frances, your narrative of the incident reminds me of Hemingway’s tales of hunting safaris in Africa. The only difference is that yours is a lot more exciting than the one of Hemingway’s guy. (What’s his name?) I could feel the dangerous beast attacking.

This successful adventure, one more time, convinces me of how lucky I am to have you two as friends.

Happy to be your friend.


Jorge (April ‘14) “I look forward to seeing you guys and the ‘scene of the adventure’ when you return to Florida.”


Hi Frances,

You asked if I’ve been reading. I have been, but not too much fiction. I read a few books on quantum mechanics which were well written, but would have limited audience appeal. To summarize: everything is connected to everything else and the Universe is much weirder than it appears.

I also read two National Geographic books, which would appeal to everyone. One was by a couple who studied wolves for years. It is called, The Hidden Lives of Wolves and is by Jim and Jamie Dutcher. They followed a wolf pack that was reintroduced to the Sawthooth Range in Idaho.

The second book was called, Hubble: Imaging Space and Time. It contained gorgeous photographs taken from the Hubble space telescope. The researchers sometimes had to be talked into the aesthetic value of taking amazing panoramic shots. Sometimes the scientists wanted to focus their instruments on a small part of a small part of celestial target. However, those beautiful images captured the world’s imagination.



KarenLouise (Sept.’14) adds, “We’re finally through with the hot days of summer. It is cool and pleasant in Portland, Oregon.”


Dear Francesca,

Since you’ve been talking about your trip north and visiting Syracuse Lake, in Indiana for a week or so, I got to thinking about the old days there.

I’ve been meaning to ask, why did your parents leave that lovely lake and move to Florida? No doubt, it was because of the Florida weather, but I know how much they loved the lake, too. Did they have specific plans for Florida?

I think I would like living up north again, but I also know that the cold would be hard to take. I think cold weather could cause increased isolation for me because I might not want to leave the house except as necessary.

Another thing I know about myself–and this is kind of shallow–I like to live where shopping is both convenient and plentiful. Where one son lives, they have to go to a big town over an hour away for any

serious shopping.

My concern about “good shopping” is funny. I don’t consider myself a “shopper” like some women are, but I want the stores there when I need to shop, or when I just need to browse to see what’s available.

Shopping is kind of like a destination or adventure. It’s sort of people watching and materialistic meandering.


Elaine (Aug. ‘14) adds, “I finished reading The Gold Finch by Donna Tratt. The story-line in the beginning was fabulous but as the plot expanded, the book went out of control-at least in my opinion.”


Hi Fritzie,

I am not here in Houston, Texas that much. I have learned some things–like kids do when they live away from home for the first time. For example, I can survive on protein shakes when I have nothing but milk in the refrigerator. (I got very smart, very quick.)

Sometimes, I still can’t believe I am here, flying again after all my years of being a wife, mother and hair-stylist. I have been in the air again for over a year and am still based in Houston.

Luckily, I don’t have many expenses here. I pray I can finish paying off my Florida house and also have a car bought and paid for by the end of the summer.

Please keep in touch. Thank goodness for Ninepatch.

Love to all,


Jodi (Sept. ‘14) adds, “After lots of flights, it feels odd to just sit. I have to help myself and find my own land adventures.”


Betsy’s desk in her study.

Betsy’s desk in her study.

Dear Fritzie,

I’m sending a photo of where I often type my letters to friends and family. And I’m writing this sitting at my desk, though if something comes from my iPad, I’m usually at my kitchen table. Habits!

My study feels like a nice quiet spot for me to snuggle into! But, I’ll send you another photo after this one to show you the view out my window and door of my study which leads onto my back balcony. I try not to look there too often! Do you have a favorite spot in your home to work or are you all over?

Guess this is a rather strange email–but coming from me, I guess it could be a lot stranger!

Have a good day!


Betsy (August ‘14) says, “Here’s the view form my back balcony: pigeons!”




Dear Frances,

Glad to hear that JK’s feeling better and you made your trip north.

I’m glad to say that my mother is better, too. She’s in her late seventies, sight-challenged, and lives alone in an apartment where she recently fell and hurt herself quite seriously.

Of course, I urged her to see a doctor but, stubborn and afraid, she refused. Over the next week or so, she got so weak, that she fell a second time and spent that day–helpless–on the floor. A friend found her and got her to a hospital. Since then, we’ve learned she’s cracked her pelvis.

She’s now convalescing in the hospital while awaiting an opening in a seniors’ home.

The one bright note about this situation is that, for years, I’ve been urging her to go to a home, but she’s always refused. She’s been in her apartment for fifteen or twenty years and invested a large amount of

money in it.

Unfortunately, staying there also meant that she was isolated, vulnerable, and lonely. Now that she’s been forced into the hospital, she’s having a blast! She’s meeting and spending time with people, and she’s changed her tune completely!

Best of luck on your return trip!



Lynn (Sept. 14) adds, “We are waiting for the last of her test results and I still worry about her. Hopefully, she’ll get into a seniors’ home and be happier there. I’ll also worry a little less in the long run.”


Hi Fritzie!

In your last e-mail, you wrote, “We are at the lake (aka Syracuse Lake.)”

I had to chuckle when I read that. A year or so ago, one of our newspaper reporters reported that upon moving to Ft. Wayne (Indiana), she noticed that everyone in the area went to “the lake.” She tried to find The Lake since she envisioned it as being a very large lake. She reasoned it must be huge because everyone went there and participated in different activities once they arrived.

Finally, she figured it out that around here, everyone called their lake, “the lake” and you had to know the people a little to understand which body of water they were talking about. She added she still couldn’t under-stand why no one used the name of their lake.

I don’t have the answer, but I always know where friends are going when they say, “the lake.”


Connie Slyby is married and has two adult sons, two great daughter-in-laws and four young grand-children nearly three and five. She adds, “I love being with my family and am so blessed they all live in my town. I also enjoy being at The Lake and volunteering for dental and mental health. This year has been special. I reunited with classmates–some I haven’t seen in fifty years!”


Hi Fritzi,

Glad you made it to Indiana and Michigan. Hope the trip was not too wearing. The weather up here has been quite pleasant–not too much humidity.

Bob is in the process of cleaning up his garden. We still have a few tomatoes and cucumbers left. This year, the beans this time were the best they have ever been.

One problem: we have a ground hog eating the cucumbers and the yellow tomatoes.

He is so cute, but Bob thinks he is a menace. My husband was going to turn the hose on him but I talked him out of it. After all, we have so many cucumbers we give them away. The little furry guy is hungry!

I think it is funny that he only picks on the yellow tomatoes. Maybe he’s a gourmet!

Going to close now, my friend. My best friend (Bob) just rolled out of bed and I want to get him some breakfast. He had some “Jim” oatmeal yesterday. I think I will fix him an omelet if he wants it.

Anyway, hope all goes well the rest of the trip.

Talk to you later, missy.


Patricia (Oct. ‘14) adds, “I Just finished a documentary by Edward Klein called, Blood Feud. It is about the Clintons and Obamas. I could not put the book down. What a book!”


Dear Frances,

I am excited about a spiritual speaker/writer named Abraham Hicks. He has videos on Google that I like to watch. I tune into an affirmation everyday. It lifts my spirits. The thought for today is: “Everything is always working out for me.”

If you’d like to check this out, go to “Google” and type in “Abraham Hicks.” Go to the bottom of that page and click on “videos.” Next, choose the topic you want. They are endless.

My granddaughter, her husband and I listen to Hicks and I tune in every day for a few minutes but my friend, Mark, listens for an hour a day.

I wish I did.


Dottie (July ‘14) adds, “I am having fun giving away produce from my backyard garden. Just this week, I gave my granddaughter a dozen cucumbers and seven tomatoes.”


Dear Frances,

In the midst of all my doctor visits for back pain, one thing I still enjoy is watching the critters who visit my backyard.

Right now, I have a family of raccoons: a mother and four growing-up young ones. They take over the back yard food I put out and are adorable to watch.

Last night, I observed them eating at the food bowl. It looked like the mother suddenly said, “OK, get out of my way!”

The young ones ran back to the lair under the deck, two by two, as if they were doing a little dance!

So cute!



Barbarajean (June ‘14) adds, “We tried to put various fish in our outside pond, but they are now all completely gone. That means the raccoons fished them out and ate them all! No more of that!”


Dear Frances,

Thank you for your letter. Yes, I am doing well.

October brings so many memories. I remember taking my kids out for “Trick or Treat,” and parties at their school when I was a Room Mother.

This year, I will go to a Halloween Party with my brother and his wife. My first adult Halloween party. Now I am single and without dad, I will probably do many things I never did before.

I have the day off work. It’s dark and gloomy. Rain comes and goes. The phone’s been ringing all day with “wrong number” calls. But, now the sun suddenly came out. It reminds me there is good and bad in everything.

May God bless you and keep you safe.

Love and Prayers,

Linda Sue

Linda Sue (Sept. ‘14) adds, “Good days, bad days–up and down. Nothing in this life is perfect. I pray and take it all one day at a time.”


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