around the frame aug 2019 – our experiences

Dear Frances,

When I read your story, “The Handyman” (May ’19) and wrote about contracts (June’19),

I had to consider my own history with such workers. While my non-contractual agreement with my dog-sitter is going smoothly, handymen are another matter.

Personally, my confrontational style is a mess. I want to improve it. I’ve tried in the past but I don’t know how to do better.

For one thing, I can always get a written quote from anyone I’m going to pay for any service they agree to perform. When I failed to do this in the past – not once but TWICE –with painters like in Frances’ story no less –I learned to get their word in writing. I also learned that I’d better include “trim” in the quote if you want that part to be painted. And I’d better state that I want TWO COATS of paint, not just one. Additionally, I’d better include “ceilings” AND the “cabinets” if that’s what I envision.

After the last painting I contracted, I wound up painting my own trim and cabinets after the fact. I also had to “beg” to have the second coat of paint applied to the trim on my house –even though the first coat was streaky and obviously needed a second coat.



Sherryl (July ’19) adds, “Life happens, and we learn.”



I have a few minutes of wonderful Sunday time that I can write freely.  I thought your edit of my response to what I would tell my younger self was fine.  I don’t like going into that dark alley that used to be my life.  I know that I will occasionally, but that doesn’t make it any less distressing.  It’s good to talk about it, though.  That sharing is fresh air blowing into a moldy old self and very healing.

I wanted to write sooner, but knew that I needed some time to say something more than just a few words about how I am sorry to hear about JK’s oxygen- starved ischemia. (Fancy words for dementia, right?)  

I don’t know as there is anything I can say that will offer more than word of support.  From your recent email, I see that you are already taking action steps: seeing your lawyer for advice and looking in to lifetime- care living areas.  It sounds like you have the situation as well in hand as you can.  

I can imagine emotions are swirling within you. I will keep both of you in my thoughts, my friend.  Being a caretaker is a challenge and I know that you know how to ask for help as you travel on this road. Please know that I am there for you.  Bless your good heart!

Take care of yourself.

Best of regards,

Linda Rosenthal

Linda Rosenthal (July ’19) adds, “Each season of life unfolds as it will.” 


Hello JK and Frances!

I was glad to see in July 2019’s Ninepatch that JK’s lab results were better than they could have been. I pray that the medications will successfully treat his condition.

JK your father and grandfather did live very long lives and I’m sure you’ll be doing fine, too.

Hope your time up North is going well. Hope you are seeing family and friends!

You are always in my thoughts and prayers.


VLB (Oct.2007) adds, “Sadly, my daughter’s great job that was supposed to start this month fell through. I was also laid off when my location closed. I’m sure we will find something else soon.”


Hi Frances!

 I have a quick suggestion for Elaine (July ‘19) about her photo albums.  I also ended up with lots of miscellaneous pictures so I created a miscellaneous album divided into categories like these:



Work Friends

I even divided the categories by themes. For example, I love sky/cloud pictures, so I put all of them together, and all the beach together, too.

  I didn’t worry about chronological order or anything. If the picture made me smile, I put it in a category. If it didn’t make me smile then I reluctantly let it go. 

  Hope your day is a good one, Frances. I’m pounding away at work stuff.

  God bless,


Georgene (July’19) adds, “By not having children and living far away from family for so many years, my picture stash is probably smaller than most. Hopefully my tip will still be useful.”


Dear Frances,

You say, “I don’t hear much from my older son … and I was such a dutiful daughter ….”

I was a dutiful daughter, too, when my ex- would let me. He couldn’t bother with visiting or relatives. Both my girls are more like their father than like me. Maybe you and I tried too hard!

All we can do is go on with life and make the best we can out of our own lives. One day at a time.

My pastor says, “All we can do is love them and pray for them.”

So many things in life are planned and changed or missed. The only thing we can count on is change! I saw a sign somewhere that said, “Man makes plans and God laughs.”

Still we all need someone to hear us. Sometimes I wish I were still in counseling. I can’t afford it now I am retired.

God bless you and keep you safe.

Love and Prayers,


LindaSue (July’19) adds, “I write and read a lot and I have friends. The Lord provides all I need and more. I am happy!”


Dear St. Frances,

I decided to sleep in this morning because I was so tired. For some reason, I was getting phone calls about every fifteen minutes!

Speaking of waking up in the very early hours, yep! I do that a lot. I turn on Netflix then do some needlework or read or work a puzzle.

I would like to sit on the front porch before daybreak, but that’s when the critters like to prowl and I don’t want to disturb them.


Malaina (July ‘19) adds, “Guess I better check the outdoor kitty and chickens.”


Hi Fritzie,

Nice to hear from you again and know you’re back in Goshen for the warmer months.  I’ve always thought that would be ideal, to have a place up north for summer and down south for winter!   

I am most likely not going to be at our high school’s class birthday party in July.  My lymphoma has returned and spread into wider areas of my body.

I am awaiting a second biopsy and pathology report to determine if it’s the same type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) or if it’s transformed into another type. That diagnosis will determine the type of chemotherapy I will receive. 

Once the cancer cells are eliminated, I may be a candidate for an autologous bone marrow transplant, using my own marrow. Again, I am in a holding pattern while all the appointments get scheduled.  The situation is disheartening and frustrating.   Will it be worse than the last round of chemo? Most likely. Will I lose my hair again now that it has just grown back?  Probably.  Will it work to cure me? Odds are good it will with the replaced bone marrow. 

I am learning to pay attention to how I respond to this news and what’s ahead.

Much love,


Mary (July’19) adds, “I’m just so sorry to miss seeing everyone at ‘our’ birthday party.”


Dear Francasummerfun,

  You sound as if you are busy with family and friends. I thought of Bookworm last week.

I visited Balboa Park in San Diego with my friend Trish. We saw a large pipe organ there at the Spreckels Pavilion. Trish and I enjoyed the last part of a performance by a very enthusiastic young man. Afterward, we were able to take a peek behind the stage at the workings of the organ. I was amazed by the number of attachments and other pipes we saw.

Love, <3


Liz/Moascar (July’19) adds, I’m travelling to central Europe next week: Munich, Prague, Budapest, Krakow then Vienna. I’m travelling most of the time with a small group then on to Vienna by myself. Right now, I am trying to get everything ready –no time to be excited yet.”


Dear Frances,

After having to cancel the event twice in the last year due to carpel tunnel surgeries, on July 20 I entertained my “fun group.”

Fourteen people attended. (I’d never entertained that many people and was a little nervous.) They began arriving at 3:30 and left at 11:00. I made hamburger and hot dogs on the grill.  Everyone also brought a dish to pass.  Such fun people! So helpful! There was a lot of laughter, too. We celebrated three birthdays with singing and candles on the cake. Also fun. They included my birthday, too! (I was away visiting my sister back then.)

I’ll have the people in again next year, but try for June which isn’t so hot!

Best wishes,


Dottie (June ‘19) adds, “Early in my recovery I played pickleball. I had to wear a biker’s glove as my hand was very tender in the area of the surgery.”


Dear Frances,

Yes Ma’am. As you observed in your last message, at times it can be rather tricky living with several women. Seems as though every lady goes through monthly stress and turns into a horrible monster for a day or two. (Chuckle, chuckle.)

Yesterday I reminded the suffering ones that three of us have been there and done that and burned the t-shirt. I said, “I’m very thankful I don’t have to deal with what you do! I’m past that. I’m going to go lock myself into my bedroom now, so if you are all going to kill each other, just leave me out of it. I’ll make sure it’s done with and over before I come back downstairs.”

I learned a long time ago when I lived with 15 brothers and sisters not to accept invitations to real arguments. Now when I say, “I’m not accepting your invitation to this argument,” it really stumps people and stops the argument.

What can anyone say when the other party leaves the verbal argument or just walks away.

Have a blessed day!


Meschelle (July’19) adds, “Of course, sometimes I get agitated and aggravated, then I forget I don’t want to argue. I have a strong distaste for arguments and some girls here have also learned how to push my buttons. But overall, except for about the same week every single month, we all really do love one another and get along very well.”


Dear Frances,

Surprise! Here’s a letter from me. (Shocked?) I have a list of things to write about and am determined to make time in my life for writing. First things first! Here’s a recent update.

If you remember, I have been de-cluttering for a long time. Thing is, I was never in one place (Up North or Down South) long enough to be able to complete it. (If, in fact, that can ever be accomplished!)

Now we have sold our mobile home up north where a couple of our kids live. (In fact, it sold before we even got there!) Originally, we had planned to be there until mid-July for my husband’s desire, returning for my Florida daughter’s birthday mid-July.

However, once we settled into a cold and rainy spring in Massachusetts, my husband told me he was ready to return home to Florida. We hurried around and in three weeks “emptied” the mobile. We shipped a couple of boxes and packed the rest into the car and came back home to Florida!

I feel like I’m home! This is where I live!


Nancyann (Nov.’18) adds, “I don’t have that ‘stressed to the max’ feeling anymore! Gratitude.”


Dear Frances,

This year I have been very busy with various programs and now I have a few minutes to explain. 

There is a program where I reside called Family Promise of Bergen County. They do a lot to help the homeless. I volunteered to host one night and also stayed overnight with a homeless family.

The mothers must have a job in order to be qualified for this program. Their kids go to school. Each family spends two weeks at a church then the company van brings them to a location where they have dinner and the kids play until it is time to go to bed. The van will pick them up and drive to the headquarters where they shower, get dressed and ready to go to their jobs. (They are also served breakfast.)

The Family Promise will get the family a transitional place to live until they have earned/saved money to get a permanent one.

As a volunteer, I slept on a provided air mattress. I brought my own blanket, sheets, and pillow.

The homeless family were respectful. We exchanged pleasantries until it was time for them to retire to the room which they had for two weeks.

Other homeless families will come. The program is seven days a week. 



Lotte (Feb.’19) adds, “I wrote this in July since that month is dedicated to efforts for the homeless.”

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>