Friday, October 30, 2015


Boo Hoo. October is drawing to a close. Bare branches and chilly limbs are on the horizon as well as the hoards. You know, the hoards. Christmas shoppers. Anyway, I wrote these two poems years ago when I was a fledgling writer. I still like them and I hope you do, too. Don't eat too much candy now.

Halloween Things

These are the things of Halloween
A ghost, a witch and Frankenstein green

A pumpkin, a bat and a bushy tailed cat
My big brother Tom in his old wizard hat

Knocking on doors all down the street
We fill up our bags with good things to eat

There’s Billy Taylor dressed like a ghost
Without any pillows, he’s fatter than most

We’re lucky we didn’t see Sally Ann Green
They say that she’s really a vampire queen

At last it’s too dark to stay out much later
We drag ourselves home and lay out our treasure

It’s spooky and silly and great gobs of fun
Oh how I hate to see Halloween done 

Moon Dance
By Susan Sundwall

October drapes her burnished skirt
Stirred by an errant breeze

Bends down to earth and offers thus
Her crimson leather leaves

Too soon the crisping winter air
Will bare the ancient bones

Of starkened limbs that once were dressed
In vibrant greening tones

And yet once more beneath the moon
All held within her trance

The aching soul is touched for ‘tis
October’s dying dance

Image: Free Digital Photos

Monday, October 26, 2015

Echoes in the Stairwell

She’s only four but she knows all about God.  She surprised her mom one day, out of the blue, with this cheerful observation, “God is everywhere!” I’m so glad her mom told us. This little ray of sunshine, Sierra, also loves to sing. Rumor has it she sang to the nurses in the delivery room as she high-fived the doctor. Okay, it’s only a rumor.

Her love of singing was in evidence during the recent visit of two aunts and an uncle. My brother, his wife, and our sister whooshed in from Texas and California to experience a New York autumn. Like the best line in that song (I’ll teach it to Sierra one of these days) “It’s autumn in New York, it’s time to love it again.”

Anyway, we were all gathered at the big white – recently painted – house for dinner and the kids were running wild. Aunt Shari and Aunt Elizabeth had the girls well in hand and Sam was all about sports on television. I was cooking and fussing, a surprise to no one. But I did break away after dinner and found a small contingent hanging around in the stairwell. I went to sit with them.

“Echo, echo, echo!” Sierra and her sister, Melodi, were giving it their all. Because when you call “ECHO” into the stairwell it comes right back ‘atcha ringing around your head. My fault. I’ve taught all the grandkids to echo. They love it.

It grew quiet as we sat on that broad step but soon someone suggested a song. It was me. “How about Amazing Grace?” It’s Sierra’s favorite song. Oh, and the Hallelujah Chorus. The first Easter she heard that one she sang it full throttle at home all week to the delight of, and then just tolerable to, her parents.

She shrank back at the suggestion. Maybe because Aunt Shari and Aunt Elizabeth were there. New fans can be intimidating. “I’ll sing with you,” I whispered.

And then there was astonishment that a little child with golden curls could belt out nearly all the words to one of the world’s most beloved hymns. She and God must have a connection because up those words went swirling around our heads. That stairwell, at that moment, was a little piece of Heaven escorted to earth by a child. How sweet the sound and how amazing.

We had moved on to the Hallelujah Chorus before the rest of the family woke up to what was going on. “Hey,” someone called from the living room, “sounds like a concert in there. Come down and sing.”

I’m sorry to report that that did not happen. The small, golden moments of Heaven are fleeting and soon the shyness of children and the weariness of adults returns. Instead we came down for dessert.

The echoes in the stairwell teach us something, though. Beautiful, burning experiences come out of nowhere. All the time. We must look for them and stay on the mountain top for however long it takes to internalize what comes to us.

Right Shari, Tim and Elizabeth?

 Photo: Our mountain top – er – stairwell.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Taking a Break

Hello Readers!

I'm taking a blog break and hitting the road with out of town company soon. Brother Tim, his wife, Elizabeth, and my sister, Shari, will be arriving on Saturday. From Texas and California. Can't wait to see them. But we'll be off adventuring next week so I'm going to challenge you with a simple question. And I hope you leave some replies. Take a few days with it. Ask your friends, ask your family, ask the check out person at the grocery store.


How would life be different if there were no mirrors?

Go ahead. Put on your thinking caps because I'll be checking back between adventures and I'd love to know what you come up with. Why, some of your answers may even make it into our Happy Hour discussions. Wait - don't let that scare you off. Really. Just go for it and . . .

Have a super weekend!

Image: Free Digital Photos

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mishap Revisited

Still getting ready for  company – picking apples today to  make my irresistible apple pear sauce. Note self: buy pears. Anyway, here’s an oldie but goody I hope you enjoy.  


So I have this new vacuum cleaner. It was on sale at Sears last fall, in my color – white and turquoise – and number of horsepower - four. A nifty little canister job. I read online reviews and they were good, too. Before I could say “here’s my gold card” I had it humming around the house sucking up all kinds of stuff.

As with all my previous vacuums I use it for little tasks one might not think of. Like grabbing up flies – in mid-flight -  and whisking dried leaf and twig bits out of hubby’s shoes. Now, just to the right of where I’m typing this there’s a small file cabinet, almost against the wall. I happened to look between said cabinet a few days ago and reeled back – aghast to see Dust Bunny Village on its way to becoming a boom town. The shame!

“I’ll get you!” I thought and scooted downstairs for my trusty new vacuum. Only the nozzle attachment was too big to reach the village. Dang! So I went for second best- my Swiffer duster. You know the one with the duster part you slide onto the yellow handle? Yeah, that’s the one. It worked great on the village, but when I took it out it was overloaded – blech! A lot of over-breeding in the village recently.

I do not know what prompted me to do what I did next. But my trusty dust sucker was right there beside me so I turned it on an applied it gently to the end of the Swiffer.

Sluurrrrppppppppp! In about two seconds the whole duster thingy was a goner.

I quickly shut the vacuum off and popped the top. You guessed it. The duster wasn’t in the bag, it was stuck half way up the hose. Visions of bent coat hangers danced before my eyes. What moron would think she could suck a tiny bit of dust off the duster at end of that wand thingy? Am I four years old or something? Yeesh.

Not to be too hasty about remedies, I decided to give trusty vacuum one more go before I broke out the hanger. So I closed the top, turned the sucker on and within seconds heard the satisfying “thwock” of the duster being pulled into the vacuum bag. It’s still there.

I love my new vacuum. It really sucks.

Image: Free Digital Photos

PS: That image is of some of the dust bunnies dressed up as impish children for Halloween. I'm dressed up as a witch with a vacuum. Eeeee, hee hee.  

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Out and About in October

My goodness the critters are busy out there. Chipmunks (Alvin and crew) and squirrels scurrying through dry leaves. Deer showing up at all hours to munch the acorns under the old oak on the hill. You’d think winter was coming on or something.  A few days ago as I pulled tomato stakes out of the garden rows, I looked down to see a woolly bear caterpillar. He was pale yellow and sat astride a leaf while taking in the sun. No stripe of brown or black could I see. Uh, oh. Does no stripe portend something brutal head or a season more mild? I can never remember. I’ll have to check the Almanac. And I’ll be watching the ground for other woollies as they telegraph their opinions on their backs in the coming weeks. I’ll let you know what I find out.

Yesterday, as I clipped along up hill and down dale on my way to pick up my nine year old charge, a vehicle came over the hill and down the dale right at me. An odd color. Tan. An odd shape. Boxy. As it got closer I saw it was . . . it was . . . wait for it. A Woodie!! No, not the Toy Story character, but a real, beautifully restored Ford Woodie. Probably from the 1940’s. I held my breath for a few seconds in case it wasn’t, but it was. And then every beach song and every weird surfer guy I ever had a crush on suddenly danced before my eyes. I saw no driver and heard no sound as it wooshed by me. I was too busy time traveling to notice. It was an awesome thirty seconds.

And then there was the rainbow. I have to confess I was bouncing on the edge of impatience when it appeared. It was nearing the end of a long day with children and I was pooped. I sat on the patio at our son’s home listening to two of our granddaughters playing in the side yard with their friends. I had no book, no Kindle, no cell phone and no other distractions when I saw it. First there was the reflection. Red, yellow, blue coming off the water. I was confused until I looked up and saw the same colors cascading through a small cloud. The sun must have been hitting it just right. It dawned on my then that I was one of the most blessed women alive. I thought of mothers, fathers, and grandparents in war torn places who would give a limb to be sitting in such a tranquil place as I was now.  A beautiful lakeside seat, autumn leaves just turning, the laughter of children floating towards me. At that moment my long day could have gone on forever and I prayed for a tranquil place, however brief, for anyone in need.

So those are my tidbits for now. How has  your week been going?

Image: Free Digital Photos

Monday, October 5, 2015

Remember This One?

I’m a crazy woman getting ready for company so I’m being lazy today. But – you might enjoy this blast from the past. And do let me know about some favorite old commercials. Yes, there is such a thing.

As we sat playing pinochle with friends the other night, we began talking about commercials. You know, the kind that advertise products we may or may not need, but whose companies have hired excellent ad men. Someone mentioned and the cornball Captain Obvious who touts for them. I said I loved the Geico gecko. Well, that got the ball rolling didn’t it?

Hang on – here comes Memory Lane.

“Please don’t squeeze the Charmin!” There he was, Mr. Whipple, right there in the aisle of your favorite grocery store. The big sneak. Scared the poop out of any shopper who dared put the moves on an eight pack.

Met himself coming and going did the Dunkin Donut guy. Pudgy, cute little mustache, and a gleam in his eye. “Time to make the donuts.” That was his line and he said it with passion and bleary eyes seeing as how it was always 4 in the morning in his world.

Madge. She dipped your fingers in emerald green liquid and patted your hand when you gasped, “Dishwashing liquid!” Yup, Palmolive had a great spokeswoman in that gal. Loved her.

A good ad campaign is the stuff of legends and gives a certain cache (whatever that means) to an era. Remember “Got Milk?” How about “Where’s the beef?” Your mind is churning like crazy now, isn’t it?

I could go on and on, but there’s right now a break from all the horror of world news and I think Flo is starring in another Progressive commercial – a new one! Gotta go.

Okay, I’m back. Have a few ad icons of your own you’d like to share?

Image: Free Digital Photos