around the frame nov 2014 – our experiences

Hello, Frances!

I just read September 2014 e-Ninepatch. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with you and other Ninepatch readers I have come to know.

I didn’t know you were working on a new book. I will definitely want to read it, too.

Have a wonderful time with your friends and family and safe travel back to Florida.

Your friend,


Carolinelee is a widow with three adult children: two daughters and a son. She says, “I also have two adult granddaughters and one adult grandson. I have a sixteen- year-old grandson, and a great granddaughter who is eighteen months old. My family is my greatest joy. My hobbies include reading, crosswords and going to high school basketball games.” She adds, “Here’s a picture of my niece, walking on the bank of Ohio River. Behind her is the US Grant Bridge connecting Portsmouth, Ohio to South Shore, Kentucky, US Route 52.”


Hi Fritzie,

I just had a nice break back in Florida. It was fabulous. I enjoyed my home and taking my time doing things around the house. I painted two houses with my dear Father, one was mine. I cherish our hours working together.

I am happy. For one thing, my daughter is doing well. She’s back in college. The other thing I am happy about is that I have quiet time to reflect on what is important. When I am off on my own, my thoughts are deep and real. Intense. (I do get somewhat lonesome and I have to work with that.)

I liked your article about cursing when you were driving all over creation in Indiana. Fun stuff, right?

I think we all get weak when we are pushing for time, get lost and the unknown takes over. Later, I have to reflect on the anger and wonder why I lost my temper. Of course, the hard part is apology. I always feel like a heel on the end of a loaf of bread for a few days.

Good night, sweet friend.

Love your stories.


Jodi (Oct. ‘14) adds, “I’m back in Houston for another day and then out, flying again. For how long, I do not know.”


Dear Francanaughtywords,

I had to laugh at the notion of you cussing. Driving brings out my worst language, too.

I sometimes transport my students to and from school to equestrian therapy, swimming, parks and gyms. With them in my car, I temper my language–though an occasional “poop” may burst through.

Recently, I spent some wonderful times with my California son, Josh. Last week. I was invited to his dad’s house to break the fast of Yom Kippur. I get along very well with families of both my former husband and his wife. It was an enjoyable celebration.

The next day, Josh and I hiked around Pacific Palisades above Malibu. We climbed old stairs that were constructed

in the 1920’s–some of which had been washed away by landslides.

<3 Love to you,


Liz/Moascar (Oct. ‘14) adds, “Above the Getty villa, Josh spotted a huge giraffe statue standing watch over the Pacific. It was a great adventure to share with my son.”

Josh and me

Josh and me


Dear Frances,

Hello! In your last letter you asked me what I thought as I read my old letters as you publish them. (Editor’s note: Due to mailing, editing and re-mailing for approval, LindaSue’s letters are at least five months old when you read them.) They show me where I have been. I think I have made some headway!

I was tied down for so long – first with my husband, then with Dad. Sometimes, it scares me to go out.

Recently, I got a note from an old friend I worked with years ago. She said, “Let’s go out for lunch, sometime.”

At first, I thought, “Me?” My ex-husband used to tell me I had no friends. People just pretended to like me, to see what they could get out of me.

I think he’s wrong. My special friend–the one I write to every week–gave me a surprise visit yesterday. I hadn’t seen her in a long time. It was nice.

One day at a time, one step at a time. I still wait and see God’s plan.

Love and prayers,


LindaSue (Oct. ‘14) adds, “For Thanksgiving, my daughter, Anita, is coming over to cook with me. She is bringing part of the food, too. A first.”


Dear Fritzie,

Do you enjoy cooler weather? I love it. Only problem, I think I would enjoy it more if there was a place for the homeless to go. My heart breaks for them, especially here in winter’s snow and cold.

I didn’t really give them much thought in the past, but since my son is homeless and his mental state makes him run from us, my compassion and prayers are much stronger.

I believe God allows things to happen to open our eyes. Would you believe I play the lottery one time a week, hoping to win so I can help some of the homeless?

I pray for them much more earnestly too.


Patricia (Oct. ‘14) adds, “The weather people are predicting another cold and freezing winter. I bought a couple blankets for my bushes in front. I lost my favorite last year.”


Dear Frances,

My last day at this job is coming up soon. Closing up is hard but I am getting over some stupid resentment there and getting very excited about the new job challenge.

Somehow, I spent too much time thinking about the old position thing as “my failure” rather than simply, “a turn in the journey of life and career.”

Must get ready for church. Choir has started again and I need to go in early.



Georgene (Aug. ‘14) adds, “If I don’t create another monster job for myself this could be a very good move for starting to slow down and smell the roses.


Dear St. Frances,

The more I’m out and about, the more I just want to stay home and put my feet up! But, I have things to do. Since moving back to our first house, I’m trying to work out where to put all my hundreds of books. Also, I’m a quilter and trying to straighten up my sewing room. HA!

My husband wants everything neat so he can have company over. (I guess I don’t want company over!) Standing outside, talking to visitors in their car, is fine for me. Of course, can’t do that with three feet of snow on the ground.

As is usual this time of year in the mountains, I look forward to the first snowfall.

Have a great day and I’ll catch you later!


Malaina (Sept.’14) says, “Autumn felt like it started in August when leaves began turning. The last week of Sept, the leaves began falling from the trees, like colorful snow. Very beautiful.”



I have some big news.  My daughter adopted a baby boy!  

What a surprise.  I guess the birth parents had not made arrangements to adopt out, but were strongly considering that.  They only started the process after the baby’s birth.  

It is an open adoption. Unbeknownst to me, my daughter and husband were on the list, and had been for a while. Evidently, this process can take years.   

They met the parents. Everybody liked each other, and so they brought the baby home after just meeting him the day before.

 It’s so exciting. My daughter is forty-four and pretty old to be starting out. I think she had given up on ever having a child.  

I also am happy at adding a new young one to my life to watch grow up.  



Palma (Oct. ‘14) says,I’m thrilled for her. What a blessing to have new life in the family after losing my partner, Ed.”


Dear Frances,

You asked about my routine. I’m an organized person by nature. I feel happier when I know I have a calendar and spreadsheets to keep track of events and finances. I have been taking a break from working.

This has given me the opportunity to get healthy (walks, meditation, yoga routine, fixing fresh foods without additives). I’ve done a lot of reading and a lot of writing, too. I don’t know if there is a larger purpose, but these activities help me understand my life in a clearer way. I have more patience with others when I’m clear.

Today, I got my hair cut and spent time joking with the girls at the salon. What a luxury after many years of rushing in and rushing out. I even take time to chat with neighbors and local business people.

My spiritual friends are in my Centering Prayer group, which I attend on Fridays.

It’s been almost two years with this group and I feel we know each other well. Sometimes I attend a faith-sharing group at the church that houses our Centering Prayer. I am drawn to prayer circles and less drawn to

structured services. I have also attended drum circles and energy medicine workshops. Perhaps after forty-nine years of mainstream church, I was ready for new perspectives.

Hopefully, this gives you a snapshot of my life here. I’ll let you know when I start working again and what I end up doing.



KarenLouise (Oct. ‘14) adds, “Portland is replete with coffee houses. There are all kinds of little quirky shops and stands. Believe it or not, I’ve had the friendliest experiences at the local Starbucks.”


Hey Frances,

Most of the time, I am not myself. I am a walking zombie with my back pain.

However, I had some strange and neat reactions after I talked with my friend, Greta, yesterday.

I used to perform with Greta and she reminded me of how I sang various operas and arias. She felt bad for me since my back pain prevents me from performing even the simplest things.

I told her the voice was still there, though rusty, and I feel a great loss. 

She said, “Well, you could try just singing in the bathtub –if it’s all you can do.”

I thought, “Yeah, I really could sing there,

or, lying on the couch. Just sing along with some tapes.”

Greta helped me rediscover my old, “true self.” It was amazing.

Love and blessings,


Barbarajean (Oct. ‘14) adds, “I felt that I have gone so very far away from my true self with this illness. But somewhere inside, it is still there!”


Dear Frances,

Last week, Bill received a call from his father. “Have you heard from your brother, John?”

At the time, we were starting out to do the fieldwork.  Bill called his brother’s phone, after hanging up with his father, and left a message. “Hey John! Call Dad, will ya’?” 

It wasn’t unusual for us not to hear from John.  Bill and his brother were close, but they didn’t talk frequently.  I asked, “If he’s worried, why doesn’t your father go down to John’s house?”  

Bill and I continued on our fieldwork. Mid-afternoon, we decided to pack our equipment up and call it a day. Bill was standing on the porch of a concerned neighbor of a survey client.   While Bill talked with her, I returned to our pickup for the tripods, traffic cones, and signs that were on the road.  I noticed that the phone had three voicemail messages, but put off listening to them until I stowed our gear.  Curiosity got the best of me, though, and I leaned against the truck and listened to the calls. 

The first message was from Bill’s dad. ”Come down to John’s ….”  He said that he found John in the garage, dead in his pickup truck.  The garage was shut tight, but the doors to the pickup were both open.  The phone message indicated that 911 had been called and the sheriff was on the way. 

I approached Bill, still on the porch speaking with the neighbor. I put my hand on his knee. “You need to come with me as quickly as possible.” 

I looked at the neighbor and said, “Sorry.”

Bill wound up the conversation, as we walked back, I said, “I’ll drive. Climb in.”

As I started off toward John’s house, I told him the awful news. 

John had tried committing suicide at least four times. It had been about ten years since the last incident. He was under the care of a psychologist and taking meds for his bipolar disorder.

Of course, that’s never a guarantee. 


Linda Rosenthal (Sept. ‘14) adds, “I can only imagine the despair that others must feel to go down this road.  The family situation is weary-ing, but I am managing to maintain my strength for Bill.  Please pray for us, if you would.” 


Hey Hun!

You asked about the boyfriend and me. Dan and I are doing great, thanks for asking. With so much else in my life being chaotic, I’m grateful that he is stable and self-sufficient.

Meantime, Mom’s now in a home in Belleville, Ontario and loving it! She’s happy to have new friends and activities. On the other side of that good outcome, I’ll be glad when her old apartment is empty and the move is complete.

Now, I’m exhausted and have to get some sleep. Have a great nite, sweety! : )


Lynn (Oct. ‘14) adds, “Funny you should ask about our travel, too. Our most recent get away was to Galeton, PA and then Watkins Glen, NY where Dan and I simply followed roads and enjoyed some quiet time.”

Big Red (left) rests in the Northern US.

Big Red (left) rests in the Northern US.

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