around the frame mar 2017 – our experiences

American robin

American robin

Hey Fritzie!

The March ‘17 Midmonth Reflection about robins returning north was really peaceful and enjoyable.  

Thank you my friend.


Patricia (Mar. ‘17) adds, “I am so looking forward to spring.”


Franca springtime!

I am listening to the sweet chirp of birds as I write. Sometimes the chirps are loudly interrupted by the cawing of huge crows. These big birds drive my female cat, Stella, wild. she seems mesmerized by their movements. She will sit and watch them while her body vibrates and she makes jerky crying sounds.

Regarding your Midmonth Reflection for March, when I think of the robin, the above bird comes first to my mind. This is the kind of plump little red-breasts that abound (or used to) in the English winter when I lived there in my formative years. We used to sing the following tune in elementary school:

The North Wind Doth Blow

Nursery Rhyme:

The north wind doth blow,

And we shall have snow,

And what will poor robin do then?

Poor thing.

He’ll sit in a barn,

And keep himself warm,

And hide his head under his wing,

Poor thing.

English robin

English robin

I recall “the ides of March” you also mentioned. In secondary school we read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. I always think of that reference too. Other quotes, too: “Aye Caesar but not yet gone” and “Et tu brute? Then die Caesar” … “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.” (Hope I’m not misquoting.)

It’s my understanding that the ides are the middle part of any month so that all twelve months have ides.

<3 Love


Liz/Moascar (Mar. ’17) adds, “Spring has sprung and the California desert is abloom after all the rains. I am scheduled to go on a hike into the high desert this weekend so will hopefully be able to revel in the glories of the wildflowers.”


Dear Frances,

My husband John and I idly ask each other questions in the way you describe in your Midmonth Reflection e-mail.

I suppose any two people who are comfortable with one another while engaged in doing their “own thing” do the same.

Our dialog often follows the question and answer pattern you describe except that we have added one thing. After contributing our thoughts to one another one of us will pick up our smart phone and Google.

When I Googled “Ides,” Wikipedia gave me several meanings: As calendar dates; people; acronym; music; other uses and see also…

Who knew?!


Georgene (See also her “Annoying sound” comment in Monthly Question.) adds, “If our phones are not nearby at the time of the question discussion, we know that we will have them at bedside when we turn in as we use their alarm clock function. So often as we’re crawling into bed one will ask, ‘Now, what were we going to look up earlier?’ ”


Hey Fritzie,

Every time I come across this little sheet of paper when I am doing paperwork, I tell myself, “I am going to send this to Fritzie.”

I found it in a book I bought from you at one of the garage sales. I really wanted you to have it back.

I look at the list and it reminds me that we think alike –especially the “recopy recipes.”

The note

The note

After my back surgery, my doctor said “No work until March of 2018!” I sit a lot. No lifting at all and standing very long hurts. But, with help I still have yard sales! I can keep track of everyone and their things, and am good at counting the money!


Jodi (Jan. ‘17) adds, “Since I sit a lot, I thought I would start writing more or drawing. I always wanted time to do that kind of thing!”


Dear Frances,

Thanks for your note in my Ninepatch. You said that you miss my regular letters.

No, I am not ill. I just don’t have much to write about. The newness of my being free of Dad and my ex- has worn off. My family members have returned to their normal lives.

Of course, there are also new circumstances. My brother David has been sick after his chemo treatments. Bill and Barb, another brother and his wife, are who I spent the most time with. They have been having to deal with her father’s death and details of his estate in Florida. That’s on top of their regular jobs.

I miss them all.

Love and Prayers,


LindaSue (March ‘17) “A bright spot is we are all going to The Truck Show in September.”


Hi Frances,

Here in Canada, yesterday

(Feb. 20) was “Family Day.” It’s a relatively new holiday that I happen to like because it puts the highlight on time spent together with family.

I spent mine with my kids and grandkids, exploring a local park called Heartland Forest. We cooked “spider dogs”

Spiderdogs: hotdogs are skewered and cut to have 8 “legs.”

Spiderdogs: hotdogs are skewered and cut to have 8 “legs.”

and bannock bread ( a simple bread cooked on the end of a stick, rode a train, and I taught my granddaughter how to make a hat for her doll using French knitting or what we used to call “corking.” It’s a simple crochet that created a kind of cord.

Family Day was great!



Lynn D. (Mar. ‘17) adds, “Since Family Day was also your birthday, I thought of you. Now I wish you a belated Happy Birthday! Hoping you enjoyed your special day!”


Dear St. Frances:

I’ve just reread January 2017’s Ninepatch and the letter from Lorine struck me. She said the judge in her parent’s divorce case awarded her and her sister to their mother despite their wishes. I have a few thoughts on that matter.

Almost 30 years ago (so hard to believe how times zips by so quickly), my folks took care of a young cousin. He was probably two or three years old at the time and the son of a first cousin who had divorced his wife –who wasn’t a good person. To make an extremely long story much shorter, the ex-wife ended up with the toddler.

I was out of state at the time and my mother wrote about what happened in the courtroom –a tear-jerker –but the judge handed custody of the toddler over to his mother. It didn’t matter that the toddler screamed for my folks to take him home, that he said he would get his little suitcase, pack it and run back to my folks. The judge made his ruling and that was that.

The little cousin was very young yet his vocabulary was that of a much older child. He knew what the judge had said. He understood. My mother said my little cousin screamed for her and my dad as his mother carried him from the courtroom. (As far as I could tell, that little guy “died” then and there.)

How many judges have messed up the lives of youngsters over the years? Just because a woman gives birth to a baby doesn’t mean that little one should be kept/raised by her. I question the concept of returning a baby to the biological mother because “her care is the best.” 

Children themselves and even other adults know better. (It’s especially when a new husband or boyfriend is involved.)

I know there are good judges but I can’t bring myself to trust them. They may be the higher authority, but that doesn’t mean they make the right decisions.

Malaina (Mar. ‘17) adds, “Interestingly a similar case happened within the past couple of years with a friend of mine. It was a sad and terrible situation However, the ending was almost like something out of a fairy tale –which was good. I don’t know all the details, but it seemed (Dare I say it?) karma! This family was lucky.”

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