around the frame jan 2009

Dear Frances –

What a great issue of Ninepatch! I love the Nov.-Dec. ’08 chapter of your bus story and its balance with the familiar (parental trip) and the unknown. Poor you if you have to be stuck in a bus station overnight.

I’m loving the mystery of “The Birth Certificate,” too. I had a plausible answer at the tip of my cerebellum but it’s been frozen out by my son’s ice cream birthday cake.


Liz/Moscar (Nov.-Dec. ’08) adds, “Since I have been job-less, I feel like hiding. Being unemployed makes me feel like a non-person — a garlicky escargot hidden in its shell.”


Hi Frances,

You said that lately you felt like the old woman who lived in a shoe…You explained your “children” were ideas and projects and I do hear you! My actual children keep me running so you’d think there were more than two of them!

Seems I’ve gotten myself into a nice little spot because I’ve done the job change I’d mentioned this fall and am still getting used to new hours. Meanwhile I am struggling to get the apartment packed — to hopefully move!

House-hunting goes on but bank system changes and the market are working against me. I’m finding a lot of tension between me and my friend /real estate agent. Not only is it awkward with house hunting, but my pregnant daughter also lives at her place during the week and spends most weekends here with me.

On top of it all, while I know owning a house is a smart move, I almost wish I hadn’t started the whole thing. It’s looking like a move will possibly come just as my grand-baby does!

<Sigh!> I’m sick of the drama and sure my friends are, too.

Hope the holidays treated you well.



Lynn TROR (Nov.-Dec.’08) adds, “My daughter’s trying to keep working and tie up her loose ends, and move back in with me. But, my son has changed his mind and wants to stay in Niagara! Kids!”


Thanks for Ninepatch, Frances,

It’s been a few months since I last wrote, and I thought I’d tell you what’s been going on. Right now I am living with two other Sisters and am enjoying the community life we share here in New Mexico. It has been refreshing. I am job hunting. Meanwhile, I am still making lunches in the morning and working in the local school in the afternoon.

We will see where this journey takes me.

Many blessings!


Patience (July’08) adds, “I volunteer at a school for many of the poor families living in south west Albuquerque. It is in the neighborhood and called “Navaho” but has a majority of Hispanic children. That position is great to work in. It reminded me of old teaching days — the difference was, I didn’t have to do the lesson-planning!

Hi Frances,

Sorry to be out of touch for so long. It is getting very chilly here in the mountains, but it has been absolutely beautiful. The prediction was for a cold, snowy winter. I think I told you that we have been not traveling but staying here this winter. I am not working for these few months and my husband plans to transform our unfinished basement into an apartment that we can rent.

So many things have been happening — some that I chose and some that I am powerless over! Guess it’s good we’re staying home because just when I thought my health had stabilized, I learned that I have a lump in my breast — the same breast where I had cancer five years ago. I am scheduled for a lumpectomy in about a month. At this point there’s no way to tell if the mass is cancerous or not, so I’m getting to work on not worrying, but staying in today! (Not my best thing!) At the moment I’m OK about a

possible returning cancer, but at other times I get very upset, and start planning my funeral.

Thank goodness I have a spiritual program to rely on for peace. I am so grateful!

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Jane (Sept. ‘08) adds, “In spite of these never-ending health problems, I am still

enjoying life, the beauty of the mountains, and being with my friends here.”


Dear Frances,

Good morning! I had a day off from work and a little time for myself — a little space. I thought my life was a roller-coaster before my daughter, her husband and our grandchildren moved in… Not!

It’s quiet now because Molly and her husband (“the kids”) are not early risers. They are night people. They are just leaving for the evening or coming in when I am heading for bed. Sometime I hear them laughing and talking or listening to music or TV while I drift off to sleep.

My husband likes having them here — of course he isn’t working and sleeps a lot during the day, too.

I seem to have no influence on either my husband or the kids. It seems women just make peace. We adjust. I know I don’t stand up for myself — but, my husband doesn’t listen anyway.

In your last letter you said, “Maybe it is time to find peace for yourself.” Guess that’s it! I read, write letters. I go to my room and shut the door. I pray a lot and wait for God’s plan for my life to unfold. I remember a story my mom told me when I was little:

A little girl felt sad and said, “No one loves me and my hands are cold.”

Her mother told her, “God loves you and you can sit on your hands.”

I keep myself busy and remember, “God loves me and I can sit on my hands.”

Thank you for listening.

Love and prayers,


LindaSue (Nov.-Dec.’08) adds, “I have my job and I have my dad. He still lives here with me. I do what needs to be done and try to remember, Only what’s done for Christ will last. I focus on the idea that God has a plan for me. I wait and pray.”


Dear Frances,

My friend, Janet in New York, passed away last week. I have been pondering our twenty-three-year friendship that started when I met her at the funeral of a mutual friend in Dallas, Texas.

Except for the few times we physically saw each other, when I was traveling for business to the East Coast, our entire relationship has been the written word — first letters and then e-mail. I don’t think we spoke on the phone more than two or three times in all those years.

When her brother sent out an e-mail to notify me of her death, he used the address book on Janet’s computer. Since then I have felt so sad and uneasy. It will be hard to realize she is gone. I am sure I’ll be wondering why she hasn’t written — and then remember the reality.

Amazingly, the people on Janet’s list have “replied to all” with their eulogies. I am grateful for a chance to grieve with others who loved her.

I’ve also learned much about Janet through their stories. Our relationship was pretty much built on one window of communality. We opened it to let us see into each other’s lives. There were other windows in the house of her life.

I was comforted by every story I read … and I “replied to all,” too. I wanted to share my stories of Janet.

I will miss Janet’s words and the heart behind them.

In sadness,


Georgene (Nov.-Dec.’08) adds, “Grieving with others is a very healing thing.”

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