around the frame jan 2015 – our experiences

Hi Madame Ninepatch!

Loved your December ‘14 issue. What fond memories of flying on the play equipment at Chandler School. Your memory is much sharper than mine! But, I was there in Third Grade and looking back, I can see our teacher, Phyllis Payne, standing by wearing a hat (I think) as we young ‘uns used the giants to go flying over our playmates

(Betsy is the child at the far right.)

(Betsy is the child at the far right.)

Maybe this is the photo Betsy recalls.

Imagine us trying to accomplish that now! But, I’m not saying I couldn’t!

Okay, gotta’ get back to my book, reading Ian McEwan’s The Children Act, which I’m enjoying. I just finished reading Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.

Loved it! I recommend it.

Bisous, ( Kisses)


Betsy (Dec. ‘14) adds, “Don’t check the write-ups of Beside Ourselves. Reviewers might give a part of the story away, and that would be a shame.”


Dear Frances,

One more day and it will be another year. Happy New Year!

How time flies. I have been in my new apartment for six months, already. I’ve had some good days and some bad–but that is part of life.

I took some time off from work and don’t have to be back until Jan. 7th. Easier for me to be off now, since my brother, who takes me everywhere, is away in Florida.

My daughter, Anita, stayed with me the week of Christmas. I thought we would play cards and watch old Christmas movies. But, she brought her laundry to do and mostly watched TV.

I am working on new holiday traditions as part of my new life. I keep a journal of trips I went on with my brothers, for one. I also made a memory board from souvenirs I picked up when I went to “The Truck Show” last fall.

One step at a time. I can’t rush my new life. Only God knows what the future holds.

Love and Prayers,

God bless!

Linda Sue

LindaSue (Dec. ‘14) says, “I bought myself a Christmas gift: an embroidery kit. I’ve always liked needlework.”


Hi there, Frances.

I am finally coming up for air after days of a heavy workload.

The new job is going well. I am working for a brilliant Sister who has several Masters’ degrees and is careful about clutter and cleanliness.

Best of all, she is a Sister of Mercy, and as a person who deals with managing her seeming need for perfection, learning more about mercy will be good for me.

It is so nice to work for a mature woman. I’ve had men bosses for years. This is a good change.

Gotta’ fly,


Georgene (Dec. ‘14) adds, “I start working this Sunday. Working Sunday and an evening a week will be an adjustment for sure!”


Dear St. Frances,

Yesterday and today started out with what appeared to be frozen dew falling then it grew thicker through both days. I love days like this –no sun. I like sunshine once in a while–I’m too sensitive to light and heat. At least in this kind of cold, I don’t break out in a rash. ?

The hubs is always grumbling about the cold weather but I take the snow as it is. At least, I don’t have to deal with tornadoes and hurricanes!

Oddly, the two Yankees in this family want to go South; the two Southerners want to stay here.

Take care!


Malaina (Dec. ‘14) adds, “Right now, I just want to ‘winter in’ allll winter. The hermit part of me wants the privacy, or to just stay in for and work on some projects.”


Dear Francesca,

I thought of you today as I tried a little experiment. I spend sidewalk-chatting time with two young neighborhood women. They are smart and savvy. I like both women. Around Judy there is almost a tangible field of positive energy, but around Sarah I feel her stress and some negativity.

Over time, I’ve kept my interactions with Sarah short. The other day I saw Sarah and said “hi” to her. Quickly, I added, “Well, tell me one good thing about your day.”

She thought for a moment and then told me about a butterfly garden she helped plant at her child’s school. The moment was pure positivity. I see how I have the capacity to affect interactions with others.

I also showed myself that I have the choice to influence the energy others feel coming from me.

You might want to try it!



Elaine (Nov. 14) adds, “I’m reading Brene? Brown’s Daring greatly. She writes about vulnerability, which is a scary topic for me. You can find her on TED Talks. (It’s on the Internet at: It’s a winner!)


Hello Frances:

It’s pouring snow here today. Outside my window, the fields and woods are covered.

Work has slowed down to a crawl and I have time to think and write. I feel as though we are getting better in this culture, little by little, about discussing mental illness and suicide. I think I see it, anyway.

Yet, I know there is more to be done; I do feel sorry for my father-in-law, despite my irritation with his blaming behavior. I’m sure that he and his wife, when she was alive and whole in mind, did everything that they could to support John. I’m betting that they inspired him to live longer than if he might have been raised with other, less caring parents.

I can’t imagine what it was like for him to find his son that day. He was in shock when we arrived on the scene.

On another note, my husband and I feel good and life is good. Winter gives an opportunity for me: reading, listening to classical music and learning Spanish.

I think of you often.

Best regards,


Linda Rosenthal (Dec. ‘14) adds, “My husband is a wonderful friend and companion. That said, I really enjoy my connections with and reflections of my Twelve Step friends, like Frances.”


Hi Frances,

How are you? He he he he. (I know you like it when I say that. You say I am “more like myself.”)

At least there is some kitty news to relieve all my back troubles. The latest is that Miss Kitty, who lives two houses down, is here all the time. She is here most mornings, hangs out and gives my cats, Frida and

Cobweb, the me-ow business.

I don’t know why she does not like her own house–maybe kids are mauling her too much? , Most likely, she just enjoys being where she can see my kitties. She is real friendly, but I don’t give her a whole lot of extra attention. I don’t want Frida to develop behavioral problems. (It is HER house after all, and intruders are not very welcome.)

My husband and I don’t even know her owners, but we might go over and talk to them. They made the mistake of letting their cat out in the first place, and now she will want to always do it.

On the other hand, when it snows, I have found that my kitties literally balk at the door as if to say, “Where is the door into summer?”

They get used to staying in during the bad stuff.

Me, too!



Barbarajean (Nov. ‘14) adds, “All the kitties are pretty entertaining.”

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