Our webmaster, Lynn (See her letter in AROUND THE FRAME) needs help. She does not know how to proceed with the Word Press program the site uses. She is also overwhelmed with family needs and cannot give time to the matter.
Ninepatch needs a new webmaster. If you are willing to fill the volunteer this volunteer position, kindly contact Frances.
Copyright 2020
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ABOUT Ninepatch, Inc.
*ISSN 1094-3234
*E-mail: Ninepatch9@AOL.com
*Web site: http://www.ninepatch9.org
*Annual newsletter donation rate: $15-$35
On our web site at Ninepatch9.org you will find archives. Our webmaster Lynn (See her letter this issue.) went to quite some effort to make these available.
Notice a date after “Lynn” in her letter? Each newsletter contributor has a date after his or her name. That is the issue where person last appeared. You can (in most cases) follow a person’s “story” back to the first date he or she appeared.
Frances Fritzie Editor adds, “I admit I have made an error here and there, but the date is usually off by just one issue. Since I am commonly working of more than one issue at the same time, occasionally, I forget where I am writing the proposal! For example, if the date says ‘Jan.’18,’ it may actually have been ‘Dec, ‘17’ or even ‘Feb. ‘18.’ ”
NINEPATCH FACEBOOK Following are discussion topics for April 2020:
Week 1: “The right place at the right time.”
Week 2: “When did you last yell at someone? Why?”
Week 3: How do you react when someone sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to you in a restaurant?”
Week 4: “Do your close friends tend to be younger than or older than you?”
Week 5: “Describe the world you imagine a hundred years from now.”


Hinged bus courtesy of Wikipedia
Hinged bus courtesy of Wikipedia

Michigan Avenue, Chicago, 2002
Old express buses
with the double swinging-hinge middle,
the old smell of leather ancients.
These transits are ghosts,
no air-conditioning, and I’ll tell you what else is awesome –
elderly woman bent over toddling,
her shuffling, white hair with clutch purse carried in hands, whose shirt reads in big purple block letters: “I’VE FINALLY GOT IT ALL TOGETHER.”
Thank God for shirts like that worn by old ladies like her.

Brian Janisse (Apr.’19) adds, “That woman in her shirt
was a nugget of hope in a swirl of wild unknowns.”


maple leaves fall colors

Beauty is everywhere! And now and again Sometimes when You least Expect it. Thank you, God.

Simon Stargazer III (Feb.’20) says, “I used to carry a Cannon camera everywhere. Now my phone has taken over with almost instantly-sent pictures. (I miss the quality and editing abilities though.) My favorite subject is God’s beauty expressed in Mother Nature. Her handiwork is often surprisingly unique and special.”


My Mae-Mae
My Mae-Mae

The nice thing about Pets, They have no political Affiliation, No preferences of Candidates, Limited their likes, To which Dry or wet food, Adamant about Treats, (you would Think they could read Labels), Love they give Indiscriminately, Unconditionally, Not Needing to be Analyzed, No marriage counseling Is needed— The issues we question Focuses narrowly on How we treat them— Even euthanasia Needs no debate— The press whether The NY Times, Whether on TV Fox News or MSNBC, The fuzzy looks of Smiling dogs or cats Or speaking parrots- Needs no Ratings— And even those (animals) from Beyond our country ‘‘Tis of only We” We broaden our outlooks, From African deserts To sparkling seas, We forget Discrimination or Racism— Happy we are to watch How simple life Can be— No walls are built, We agree, Did I say we agree? Yes I did, It is settled, all of our Pets are winners!
Gayle Bluebird (Feb.’20) adds, “It is not uncommon for so many of us to agree we feel loved most and unconditionally by our pets. My little Chiweenie (part Dachshund, part Chihuahua) is always happy and agreeable, ready to go with me without complaint. Both of us are older
(she, at ten) and me at seventy-seven. I like to think we will both last forever, but know one of us will go sooner than the other.”


This book was written by Carol Shields. In the story, Reta Winters, a translator and writer, struggles to come to grips with her older daughter’s disappear-ance. The daughter turns up on a street corner mute and wearing a sign reading “goodness.” Reta sets about trying to find out what has happened in her daughter’s once-promising life that has led her to this point.
Chantal (Feb.’20) adds, “It was book number six of the twelve I read on my vacation.”


Eager moves and pronouncements may be thoughtless.

James (Feb.’20) adds, “Careful consideration is usually rewarding.”


Recently a friend told me how much she enjoyed attending groups for discussion that fea-tured personal sharing on a topic without others questioning or adding to what had been said.
I’m more of a one-on-one or small group person.
This preference is not new. Since I was a child, I didn’t like slumber parties and I didn’t like high school groups like “cheer block,” either.
I can take small dinner parties, but no progressive dinners for me! I don’t mind taking classes that don’t require a lot of interaction. My church has a lot of group-y activities which I’ve tried. I haven’t returned for the sequential sessions.
An exception to this general category might be art classes. Unfortunately, those have become expensive. Also, a down-side of art classes is I have to go back semester/session after semester to really progress.
I think my favorite group is a presentation followed by questions and answers. There’s always a great feeling of unity after one of these forums.
Elaine (Feb.’20) adds, “I used to think there was some-thing wrong with me when I didn’t enjoy attending some groups. But in my maturity, I’ve decided it’s okay to just be who I am. I go to the movies with one or two people and out to lunch that same way.”


Recently, I got to thinking about an old relative: my great, great grandfather Peter Stull. (He was from my dad’s side of the family.)
He joined the Union Army on January 14, 1864. He was assigned to Company G, 162 Regiment, 17th Calvary of Pennsylvania. His brother Joseph joined up in February of the same year and was assigned to the 22nd Pennsylvania
Calvary. That unit was initially assigned to light duty in West Virginia. As the Civil War progressed in August of 1864, his unit was reassigned to General Sheridan’s campaign in the Shenandoah Valley.
The stories of these two brothers who both join the Union Army come together in a tale my grandad on my father’s side told

me when I was young.
It seems that Peter Stull was separated from his unit after a big battle and was trying to get back to them. He was exhausted. He had eaten all his food rations and was very hungry. In the distance he spotted a soldier cutting meat from a dead mule.
In his desperation, he decided that if the soldier – no
matter if he was Union or Confederate – would not share the meat, he would kill him for the food. When Peter got closer, the other soldier looked up. It was his brother Joseph!
I always wondered if that story was true or an enhanced war story. Thanks to the Internet, I found it could have happened during Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign since both the 22nd and 17th Calvaries fought there at the same time and place.
DVL (Feb.’20) adds, “Both Peter and Joseph are bur-ied at Union Center Cemetery in Nappanee, Indiana. Peter’s son
(my great-grandfather) became a German Baptist minister. Go figure! From a battle-hardened soldier to a pacifist minister in one generation!”


Dear Fritzabirthdaythoughts,
My friends treated me to lunch at a tea shop in San Juan Capistrano (California). We had so much fun! We borrowed silly hats from the tea shop and they also gave me a tiara.
Since I grew up English, I enjoy a lot of teas. The one I chose was a delicious pot of Lapsang souchong. We sampled each other’s various flavors.
The town is famous for its old mission and for the swallows which return on a certain date each year. A big parade with Mariachi bands celebrates the event.
I previously visited the mission which is like a little painted wagon inside. It’s a precious jewel.
Yesterday we sat in the Basilica and meditated for a while.

Love ‘n’ hugs
Liz/Moascar (Nov.’19) continues, “My friend Adrienne and I warmed up today by doing a ten-mile hike up a butte. We were very close to the Mexican border. I could see the mist rising up in the valleys between the mountains in Mexico. We are in training for a planned trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp. Wish us luck!”

smiley emoji
Love ‘n’ hugs

Liz/Moascar (Nov.’19) continues, “My friend Adrienne and I warmed up today by doing a ten-mile hike up a butte. We were very close to the Mexican border. I could see the mist rising up in the valleys between the mountains in Mexico. We are in training for a planned trek to Mt. Everest


Hi Fritzie,
I’ll soon have more information on my situation because I had a PET scan last Thursday. I’ll will get the results soon. (Curious to know if what remains of my lymphoma has spread or regressed. My oncologists assure me there are more treatments available, but I won’t be able to do them until after April 1. I have to wait and see what develops.
It’s hard being in the land of unknown-outcomes and living from scan-to-scan. But it also is a great lesson in “Not my will, but Thine be done.”
Meanwhile I am returning to more of my regular activities, church, movies and being with my grandchildren. I have a lot for which to be thankful.
Enjoy your time in the sunny, warm South!
Mary (Feb. ‘20) adds,
“I have many people praying for my good outcomes. I have to believe that is helping me cope on a daily basis.”


Dear Fritzie,
I finished the fourth book in the series Secrets of Wayfarers Inn in two days. Its title is Greater than Gold. This one was written by Roseanna White. I enjoyed the book and look forward to book five in the series.
Now that I am no longer baking for the December holi-days, I have had time to read while the weather turned from snow to rain and back again.
Now, every evening I read.
Kay (Feb.’20) adds, “I have passed along the books I’ve read so other can enjoy the Secrets of Wayfarers Inn Series.”


Dear Frances,
My life has calmed down some compared to the past. My older daughter Anita’s problems come in waves. If she is upset about something, she can call me six times in one day. If she is happy, I don’t hear from her so much. I try to be less involved with Anita’s troubles, but she doesn’t have many friends. Her own sister wants nothing to do with her!
My ex-has gone on with his life. He’s not a problem. In fact, I don’t even know where he is! (Which is fine with me.)
My father who was living with me at the end of life, died of cancer two years ago. I think of him and wish he could have gotten help with his drinking problem. (Such a waste!)
Like you, I don’t have a close relationship with my married child. My only contact is through her husband. He still works near me and drives nearly an hour back and forth every day. He stays overnight with me when the weather gets bad in the winter.

The couple has three beautiful daughters. I have good memories of them. I had them a lot when they were little. (Grandma was a cheap baby-sitter.)
I have been home all week with this cold that makes everyone feel so tired.
Love and Prayers,
LindaSue (Feb.’20) adds, “Sometimes I wish I could go back and start over. I wonder if I would have married my ex- if I really knew him. I should have taken “baby steps.” However, back then I thought I was in love!”


Dear Frances;
My mother has been in the hospital and released again. She is back home, but her dementia is progressing at an alarming rate!
My sister and I are having to visit her multiple times a day to check on and care for her.
I will do my best to keep posting monthly issues to the Ninepatch web site but if you have someone else/or can find someone to take over posting each month, you may want to approach them to take the job. I can’t be sure how long I can keep it up if Mom continues to deteriorate.
With sadness and love, Lynn
Lynn (Sept.’19) adds,
“My life is getting more complicated – again!”


Hello, Frances!
I’m spending a wonderful, peaceful morning here in Texas. Our motorhome is parked in a sparsely-populated campground operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. The artificially-created lake that we are parked next to is called Somerville Lake. It is a gem located north of Houston.

Somerville artificial lake at Texas campground

We see deer in the mornings and evenings. Fish jump and birds swoop over the water. It is a great respite from the pace of our adventuring these past couple of months.
I bought a mini Raggedy Ann doll a couple of years ago. It symbolizes how I often feel on these trips. Can you picture a child dragging the doll from place to place? The doll has that silly grin on its face and the grin that never changes! That’s me some days. It’s the way I am. This life is interesting and it’s one that I have wanted. (Still, it steals time for writing and reflecting.)
I am going to pop off the Internet for now. I pray all is well and you are enjoying Florida.
Best wishes and high regards,
Linda Rosenthal (Jan.’20) adds, “I’ve been reading your book a bit a time. I have enjoyed it very much. Your memory is so vivid and gifted. Amazing! I suspect you take plenty of notes? At any rate, I am savoring the book and your insights. The questions that you ask at the end of the chap-ters are always thought pro-voking. I appreciate the op-portunity to reflect on them. It’s excellent to have a tour guide help appreciate what you are seeing.”


Hi Fritzie
The weather is really cold. So cold today the ducks did not show up. On the other hand, it is supposed to warm up each day this week so they will be back. I am sure they will do a lot of fussing. (Funny animals.) However, the birds did gather on the deck waiting for their food. The doves are so sweet. I love their call.
Fritzie, believe it or not a robin has been hanging around all winter during the warm temperatures and even the cold times. I wonder if he is adopted. Maybe the egg he developed in was somehow placed in with the doves. He just hangs with them. Even eats the same food they eat.
Birds and other animals amaze me.
Take care my friend.
Talk to you later.
Patricia (Feb.’20) adds, “I hope you can find the new series by Anne Perry. I think you will really like it.”


Dear Frances,
Except for going to the grocery store, I spent a quiet day at home playing with my stamps. I am beginning to put together another exhibit.
It will be a guided image-ry with a stamp from almost every country in the world. The text will talk about all of the miles the stamps may have traveled and all of the times they may have been traded. It is one way to imagine bringing the people of the world together.
The exhibit will be mainly visual with the stamps mounted on maps of continents and oceans showing islands and countries.
Love and hugs to you and JK,
Carol (Feb.’20) adds, ”It remains to be seen whether this project will be too ambitious for me. I never did finish the paper mosaic of the Irish labyrinth which was the last project I started.”


Good morning Frances,
I have begun reading Finding the Blackbird. I love it just as much as your first mem-oir. Here are some impressions: 1) Surprisingly, what I am enjoying the most so far is the view into your life as a single woman. I see how you organized and filled your life with meaning by realizing your specific intent. Your solitude at that time in your life seems like a deeply joyous aspect, because of the way you handled it.
I have long considered myself an existentialist, because of the idea that life is a raging river – and we are all in the midst of it within our own solitary boat. One can see this as a depressing hopeless situation; or a beautiful adventure that is totally our own to create and pursue. In this novel I see you taking the creative empowered high road. I love that!
In fact, that is something I have always loved about you! Which brings me to my second point. 2) You have a full unique writer’s voice, and your novels are so true to form in their authenticity that reading them feels like spending time together.
To my mind, the experi-ence I have when reading your words makes me want to write. I like the idea that anyone who might miss me after I die could pick up one of my books and we could reconnect.
That’s all for now. Thank you for this story! I can’t wait to read the next one.
Love you woman!
Sherryl (Aug.’19) adds,
“If I were wealthy, I would commission it and tell you which part of your life to write about next, because I know exactly what I most need to hear about.”



Editor’s note: Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

My energy reminds me of fireworks. Up, up, up it goes through the morning. Around noon it bursts quickly losing color and brilliance, falling to earth and disappearing. How-ever, replenishing my get-up-and-go with a nap ruins my overnight sleep. Instead, I watch a mystery on DVD while I sip a cup of after-dinner coffee.
Last year I finished all forty-four of the British Mid-summer Mystery series. In casting about for another British mystery series, I chatted with one of the library volunteers, a gray-haired smiling woman who often checks me out. I said, “I’ve finished all the ‘Dr. Blake’s. Not sure what to try next.”
The woman paused in checking out my books. She offered, “I really like ‘Vera.’ “
I raised my eyebrows. “Vera?” I like other mysteries this woman has mentioned. “OK!” Turning, I trotted back to the DVD fiction shelves. Eight folders of the series where waiting. They were numbered from season one to seven with four episodes in each. That’s a good sign. “Vera” must be popular! I checked out two episodes from the first season to get a taste of the characters.
One happy aspect of the Vera tales was the slowly devel-oping stories. The ninety-minute British tales were often made for the PBS (Public Broadcast Service) “Masterpiece Theater” and filmed with an artist’s eye. In these character-centered tales, the culprit did not appear in the first fifteen minutes as I noticed was often the case with the original, hour-long American “NCIS” TV series.
A part of the “Vera” that brought me smiles was the scen-ery. Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Vera Stanhope lives and works in Northumberland, an English National Park. Located in northeast England on the border with Scotland, gray stone walls lined many two-lane, un-striped roads that wound through valleys between rolling green hills. Reminds me of my Ireland pilgrimage in 2002.

Hadrian’s Wall (an old Roman fortification)

The main character is at least middle-aged and makes no claims on being stylish. She also has no love-life to distract the viewer from the story. “Schmooze” might be a verb the detective could define, but no one will see Vera going out of her way to please bosses or impress her staff. Outside of work, the DCI is a loner. Unable to carry on small-talk, she avoids social situations. Vera is all about being a detective and solving her cases. Maybe I enjoy Vera because am somewhat like her: I’m at least middle age, like to solve mysteries, am focused on work and not good at small talk.
For a month I lost myself with Vera in Northumberland for ninety minutes nearly every afternoon. Then several weeks ago I stood at the public library checking out another episode. A younger-than-me librarian I did not know began scanning my disks. She said, “I like “Vera,” too. Have you read any of the author’s other books?”
‘Vera’ author? Books? I frowned, “No. Who’s the author?”
The blonde woman paused in the check-out process and glanced behind me. She probably wants to be sure there’s no line before chatting. She turned her eyes on me. “Ann Cleeves wrote many of the ‘Vera’ DVD stories.”
I shook my head. “I haven’t read any of them!” I stacked my checked-out items.
“I really like the ‘Vera’ series. The scenery is so lovely.”

The woman nodded. “I think I have seen them all. But, the author has another book series. It’s set in the Shetland Islands.”
My eyes opened wide. “Really?”
The heavy-set lady gazed into the mid-distance. “I think I saw books one and two in the back room this morning. Let me check.” She tapped several keys of her computer and focused on her screen. “Yes. They are checked in. Are you interested?”
I grinned. “Yes!”
The big woman slid off her tall chair, trundled down a hallway and disappeared. A few minutes later, she returned with Raven Black and White Nights by Ann Cleeves. She grinned. “Want to check them both out?”
Eyes bright, I nodded.
Smiling like a fellow conspirator, she placed the books on her scanner and handed them to me. “Let me know how you like them!”
At home that evening, I opened Raven Black and began reading. Used to American authors, I was struck with different punctuation used in Great Britain. I can get used to this. The opening page featured a Shetlander working in his “croft.” I know a croft is a small farm. The author wrote the man was “singling neeps.” Oh boy! Here I go with the English-isms!
While watching Vera, I had learned new words from the British Isles. “Kip” and “kip-ping” referred to staying over-night, “scarpered” meant “ran off” and “skint” meant “broke.” Mostly, I got the meanings of odd vocabulary without using Google for definitions.
With Raven Black, I was prepared to do the same thing. Since the man was using a hoe, I figured “singling” meant “thin-ning a sprouted crop.” However, I “neeps” puzzled me. It’s some kind of crop. But, when the word was mentioned again on page three, I got out my smart phone to ask Google. Google showed me a photo and I learned the fellow is thinning his large yellow rutabagas!
Continuing into chapter one, I tried to visualize the story’s setting. I figured the Shetland Islands were north of Scotland somewhere. They’d still have some of the warm current that keeps The British Isles mild. Never giving my smart phone a thought, I hauled down our world atlas and located the is-lands. I was surprised they were quite far north and west of Scot-land and located in the North Sea.

Shetland Island

My mental green-and-rolling-hill images from “Vera” did not work for the Shetlands which were described as craggy with ravines. This time, I reach-ed for my smart phone. “Hey Google! Show me pictures of the British Shetland Islands.”
Seconds later I had a choice of a video of Lerick, their tourist-centered area. The gray stone buildings and bright flow-ers in boxes and hanging baskets reminded me of older Irish cities I saw during my 2002 pilgrim-age. Other single shots showed tall grasses and land with deep ravines and gray-to-black stony outcroppings.
As I finish the second Shetland book which features a soft-spoken male, DI (Detective Inspector) Perez, I keep a map of the main Shetlands and my smart phone handy. I feel like a student again, learning geography, British words and slang.
Since my traveling days are behind me, I am seeing new places through videos and stories. In addition to England’s Northumberland, I am experi-encing life in the Shetland Islands where the sun doesn’t completely set in the summer.
Like so many threads of my life, I didn’t foresee how watching after-dinner mysteries would develop into such a blessing. Now, I not only get a little rest after our noon meal, but am adventuring and solving mysteries with DCI Vera. Evenings before sleep, I am in the British Shetland Islands shadowing Detective Perez – and learnings lots of British-isms!
My Higher Power supports me in mysterious ways.

Frances Fritzie